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[P]
What "Human Rights" Really Means

By trhurler in Op-Ed
Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:00:09 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

In an unusually blatant show of disregard for both reality and any sensible referent of the term "rights," the "Canadian Human Rights Commission" has ordered www.zundelsite.org shut down, as detailed in this article.


The ruling disregards reality because the people and the site in question are no longer in any way run from or on Canadian soil. A civilized court would have ruled that it had no jurisdiction, but the Canadian Human Rights Commission is neither a real court nor in any way a civilized forum.

The ruling disregards respect for "rights" in that it is political doublespeak; apparently "human rights" in the Canadian view include the right not to hear anything offensive, rather than the right to speak your mind. (Note that this is not a case of yelling fire in a crowded theater; the speech in question is dry, academic historical argument.) A civilized court would have ruled that laws cannot impinge in such a broad, poorly defined manner upon freedom of speech without some demonstration of harm actually caused - but again, the Canadian Human Rights Commission exists independently of the Canadian court system precisely so that it can be neither a proper court nor bound by the ordinary rules of civilized legal proceedings.

It is not my intent to pick on Canada; this is a growing phenomenon around the world, in the US and elsewhere. I only chose the Canada example because it was the first such event in the news that recently happened across my view. As Paul Fromm, director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression (also quoted from the article,) said, "The most damaging thing to free speech in this ruling is that truth is no defense. In human rights cases, the truth doesn't count, only people's feelings." This sums up the legal problem with this ruling, but more broadly, one can ask what justification there is for a pseudo-court whose job it is to prevent people from offending one another.

Of course, I don't agree with Holocaust revisionism any more than the next guy, but ask yourself: what good is a right to free speech if it only means you can say popular things? You could say popular things in the most repressive regimes in history; what is always forbidden is to say unpopular things. The claim that "promoting hate is not free speech" needs careful analysis, but it doesn't take any real insight to realize that since it has no definition(a sentence in the style of a corporate mission statement is not a definition,) and therefore no limits, it will be abused by anyone who can find a way to do so.

Human rights is just a term used to mean "the mob gets whatever the mob wants, and justifies this by insisting upon being justified more loudly than anyone else insists otherwise." There has never been any greater amount of theory behind it than that, or any greater justification. Real rights that people actually need are being trampled in the interest of the political Disney-ification of society. It is time for this farce to end. Those of you who trumpet this cause need to wake up: the actions being taken in your names are not the actions you had in mind, and were never intended to be such; this does not mean giving up your ideals, but it may well mean giving up on the "lots of heat and very little light" emotion-based style of argumentation that is so common with popular political movements, because unless you say exactly what you mean and why, you see your words twisted by your "leaders," as they are twisted in the example of this ruling. Those who do not support "human rights" as a cause need to speak up about why, and make it clear that you're not just hatemongers who want to see people suffer, but rather that you have real fears that this "cause" will make things worse rather than better; as someone's rather clever k5 signature says, when free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

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Poll
Free speech
o Anything goes 24%
o No fraud, but other than that... 13%
o No fraud, and no yelling fire in a theater, but other than that... 45%
o The government should be allowed to silence unpopular expression 0%
o The government should be allowed to require preapproval of any unorthodox viewpoint's expression 0%
o No unpopular expression should be allowed 0%
o I am Chairman Mao and Josef Stalin rolled into one! 5%
o Blame Canada! (If you haven't seen the South Park movie, take a hint: this is a JOKE.) 9%

Votes: 197
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o www.zundel site.org
o this article
o Also by trhurler


Display: Sort:
What "Human Rights" Really Means | 298 comments (268 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
This means nothing (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by core10k on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 07:11:44 PM EST

Here in Canada, we have a few bizarre laws. Freedom of speech isn't a right in Canada, but the only effect has been that certain random topics are frowned upon legally. Repeat, RANDOM topics. There's no rhyme or reason, and there's no thought police involved.

Ok... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by trhurler on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 07:59:34 PM EST

In what way is random oppression better than oppression by explicit design? At least with the latter you know what you're getting, after all.

At any rate, I already said this isn't about Canada in particular; quit with the hypersensitive defensive nationalism and think about what I'm actually talking about: the use of feel good terminology to engage in oppressive acts in violation of what really ARE basic human rights, such as freedom of expression.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Freedom of Speech isn't a right in Canada (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by core10k on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:12:38 PM EST

And it's certainly not a basic human right to the exclusion of all else; when's the last time you tried to walked downtown with nothing but bodypaint on?

[ Parent ]
Consistency (5.00 / 2) (#10)
by jasonab on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:16:08 PM EST

And it's certainly not a basic human right to the exclusion of all else; when's the last time you tried to walked downtown with nothing but bodypaint on?
Core, if this happened in the US, you would be the first to jump up and down screaming about how evil the US is. Why are you so nonchalant about this happening where you live?

[ Parent ]
I'd say it was Evil why? (NT) (none / 0) (#12)
by core10k on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:20:53 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Your reasoning (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by jasonab on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:38:22 PM EST

Well, it just seems to be your general thesis. You seem to take every opportunity to attack the US yet here you defend Canada for shutting down a web site.

Alas, I cannot find a place where you criticized the US for violating speech rights, so perhaps you would not take the opportunity. I have a hard time believing that, though.

[ Parent ]

heh. Re:Consistency (none / 0) (#32)
by core10k on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 11:13:52 PM EST

Alas, I cannot find a place where you criticized the US for violating speech rights, so perhaps you would not take the opportunity.

That's because I'm consistent.



[ Parent ]
Two things (4.50 / 4) (#14)
by trhurler on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:24:32 PM EST

First off, rights are not created by governments, contrary to what your local g-man tells you. The right to free speech is a part of being human, and no government, not even such a fine one as Canada possesses, can change that.

Second, the fact that we have not yet really managed to work all the ramifications of free expression into our societies is a reflection of work yet to be done, not of some limitation on the right to free expression.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
American theory of rights still not widely held (4.85 / 7) (#28)
by UncleMikey on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 10:36:07 PM EST

First off, rights are not created by governments

You've just hit upon one of the fundamental points of philosophical contention between the US and Great Britain during the 1700s. The theory before the Revolution was exactly that rights are created by governments, and can be uncreated, or applied selectively, at whim.

When the American Constitution was being drafted, there was a strong current of thought that no Bill of Rights should be included, or ever added, to the document, because that would imply that rights could and should be granted by an act of human legislation. There was an almost equally storng current of thought that, without a Bill of Rights, later, more comfortable and complacent generations (like ours) might be fooled into allowing encroachments.

The compromise was to make the Bill of Rights a set of amendments, and to word those amendments not as explicit grants of rights, but as restrictions on what laws could be made by Congress. So: the right to free speech is a 'natural' human right, and to make sure nobody forgets it, Congress can pass no law that restricts the exercise of that right.

Not that that kept the Communication Decency Act from getting passed and signed, of course, but it did guarantee it would be struck down...
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

Exactly (none / 0) (#115)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 08:42:44 AM EST

Yes, both sides agreed the rights were inherent in being human. One side wanted the important ones enshrined as a hedge against a government grown too powerful, the other didn't want them because that might make future governments tend to gather power by proclaiming those listed were the only rights.

And you know what? Both sides were right. Witness, for example, the debate over the right to privacy supporting abortion. It's not an enumerated right, it gets in the way of abortion laws, therefore it must be considered wrong by abortion opponents, and must be considered right by abortion supporters.

Without listing freedom of speech, the government would have censored a ton of things by now. Moreover, with a list, the government regularly trods on areas that it shouldn't simply because of the principle that if the Constitution doesn't list it, the presumption is that the Constitution authorizes legislative action in that area.











[ Parent ]
Sigh... (none / 0) (#86)
by Eccles on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:21:25 PM EST

In the bodypaint case, it's the action, not the message, that is the basis for the restriction. The revisionists would be restricted by many here regardless of whether their message was a book, a website, or wearing a bodypaint swastika.

[ Parent ]
Canadian speech codes... (4.75 / 4) (#2)
by wji on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 07:23:07 PM EST

...are the shame of this country. What really scares me is that you can pick a jury of 12 people who will unanimously order burning a man's entire library because he was an anti-semite.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Get rid of speech codes (none / 0) (#143)
by ariux on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:10:40 PM EST

Surely the thing to do about irresponsible lies is to expose them for what they are, not to suppress them.

[ Parent ]

oh, really? (none / 0) (#173)
by eLuddite on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 04:16:52 PM EST

There are school boards in Buttfuckville, USA that would ban evolution for creationism if they had their druthers; and the majority of Buttfuckville residents would approve. I would fight to censor those school boards in their choice of textbooks. If you disagree, then you are using FoS as a *sword* instead of a shield. Do you understand this? FoS can be used to effectively censor the truth whenever a lie is popular. Funny, I could have sworn trhurler said something about FoS not being a tool for enforcing majority opinion.

Note: I am not interested in windy rationalizations for why the above example isnt a FoS issue, because it clearly is. If you have to redefine FoS situationally, then obviously FoS is not absolute and I have to ask who died and put you in charge of cooking up "situations."

Philosophically, FoS is gibberish. As a practical, political matter, it is both necessary and necessarily violable.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

But that is NOT a freedom of speech issue (none / 0) (#175)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 05:36:18 PM EST

There are school boards in Buttfuckville, USA that would ban evolution for creationism if they had their druthers; and the majority of Buttfuckville residents would approve. I would fight to censor those school boards in their choice of textbooks.
That is not a freedom of speech issue. It is a conflict of epistemology and pedagoguery. Unless. . .

Now, if you want to censor the school board from even considering whether or not to teach absurdities such as creation science or if you want to censor what people can say and print about whether or not the school board can or cannot consider the use of Creation Science, then it is an issue of free speech. And if you want to block the school board or the citizens of the won from free speech on this level, you scare me.

Note: I am not interested in windy rationalizations for why the above example isnt a FoS issue, because it clearly is.
No, it is not and the unwillingness to regard core premises of your argument as disputable leads to few people taking your argument seriously.
Philosophically, FoS is gibberish.
No, it is not.
As a practical, political matter, it is both necessary and necessarily violable.
I'll agree with the first, as we have no "ideal" government. The second is highly disputable contingent a large number of semantics and presuppositions across a pretty wide spectrum.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

make an argument (none / 0) (#178)
by eLuddite on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 06:09:53 PM EST

That is not a freedom of speech issue.

Yes it is. See how easy that was? I simply dont subscribe to American interpretations of already incoherent ideologies. As a matter of historical fact and current events, America censors. Deal.

But why is that fact surprising? Tolerance runs up against limits whenever it imperils a way of life. What doesnt seem to have limits is the exquisite sophistry of people committed to the defense of their platonic ideals. FoS is a matter of justice and justice is a matter of social bias.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

I did and you ignored it (none / 0) (#183)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 06:41:13 PM EST

me: That is not a freedom of speech issue.
eLuddite:Yes it is.

Hmm. Apparently the support of my argument got cut out:

It is a conflict of epistemology and pedagoguery. Unless. . .

Now, if you want to censor the school board from even considering whether or not to teach absurdities such as creation science or if you want to censor what people can say and print about whether or not the school board can or cannot consider the use of Creation Science, then it is an issue of free speech. And if you want to block the school board or the citizens of the won from free speech on this level, you scare me.

I'll repeat my other point that went unanswered as well: your unwillingness to regard core premises of your argument as disputable leads to few people taking your argument seriously.

Regards,

-l

[ Parent ]

make an argument, lee (none / 0) (#185)
by eLuddite on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:05:15 PM EST

Apparently the support of my argument got cut out: It is a conflict of epistemology and pedagoguery. Unless. . .

What does that bit of verbal flatulence mean? I think I know where you're coming from, but I have no idea why a "conflict of epistemology and pedagoguery" is magically not a free speech issue.

I'll repeat my other point that went unanswered as well: your unwillingness to regard core premises of your argument as disputable leads to few people taking your argument seriously.

No, lee, try to understand english. I am not interested in rationalizations such as "conflict of epistemology and pedagoguery" because I already know that the purpose of rationalization is the purely doctrinal justification of social bias.

I'm not interested in why pornography that offends public standards isnt free speech because I know censorship of communication when I see it. I'm no interested in why enemy ideologies are silenced during times of war, why creationism cannot be mandated by school boards, why web sites can delete comments, why your employer has rights over what you say during business hours, why the rest of the world has laws against hate speech, etc, etc.

I want an argument that concludes FoS is an absolute right. If it's an absolute right, why doesnt the universe implode everytime it's violated? And violated it is, everywhere throughout all of history?

And if you agree that FoS is not absolute, please tell me what universally applicable set of principle decides for or against censorship?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Because it isn't an issue over censorship (none / 0) (#188)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 08:58:02 PM EST

What does that bit of verbal flatulence mean? I think I know where you're coming from, but I have no idea why a "conflict of epistemology and pedagoguery" is magically not a free speech issue.
The issue simply isn't one of speech. The school board isn't censoring any ideas, they are merely deciding which ideas to teach. Now as I mentioned and you ignored, if the issue is over whether or not the school board even has the right to discuss the issue, then I agree that it is over speech. But as presented it isn't. The issue is not one of censorship, of freedom of speech but over the quality of a decision that a school board is taking. The issue is over what sound education consists of (pedagoguery) and over what constitutes a sound basis of knowledge (epistemology). As long as there is meaningful dialogue and debate concerning the issue, the issue is not one of free speech.
No, lee, try to understand english. I am not interested in rationalizations such as "conflict of epistemology and pedagoguery" because I already know that the purpose of rationalization is the purely doctrinal justification of social bias.
The distinction between issues of speech and issues of methodology of education and science is not rationalization.
I'm not interested in why pornography that offends public standards isnt free speech because I know censorship of communication when I see it. I'm no interested in why enemy ideologies are silenced during times of war, why creationism cannot be mandated by school boards
I'm with you so far.
why web sites can delete comments, why your employer has rights over what you say during business hours
These topics are entirely another topic, assuming that property rights exist, which is not undisputable.
why the rest of the world has laws against hate speech
The rest of the world? Hardly. Certainly, some of the rest of the world.
I want an argument that concludes FoS is an absolute right.
Try JS Mill:
It is the duty of governments, and of individuals, to form the truest opinions they can; to form them care- fully, and never impose them upon others unless they are quite sure of being right. But when they are sure (such reasoners may say), it is not conscientiousness but cowardice to shrink from acting on their opinions, and allow doctrines which they honestly think dangerous to the welfare of man- kind, either in this life or in another, to be scattered abroad without restraint, because other people, in less enlightened times, have persecuted opinions now believed to be true. Let us take care, it may be said, not to make the same mis- take: but governments and nations have made mistakes in other things, which are not denied to be fit subjects for the exercise of authority: they have laid on bad taxes, made unjust wars. Ought we therefore to lay on no taxes, and, under whatever provocation, make no wars? Men, and governments, must act to the best of their ability. There is no such thing as absolute certainty, but there is assurance sufficient for the purposes of human life. We may, and must, assume our opinion to be true for the guidance of our own conduct: and it is assuming no more when we forbid bad men to pervert society by the propagation of opinions which we regard as false and pernicious. I answer, that it is assuming very much more. There is the greatest difference between presuming an opinion to be true, because, with every opportunity for contesting it, it has not been refuted, and assuming its truth for the purpose of not permitting its refutation. Complete liberty of con- tradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.

When we consider either the history of opinion, or the ordinary conduct of human life, to what is it to be ascribed that the one and the other are no worse than they are? Not certainly to the inherent force of the human understanding; for, on any matter not self-evident, there are ninety-nine per- sons totally incapable of judging of it, for one who is capable; and the capacity of the hundredth person is only compara- tive; for the majority of the eminent men of every past generation held many opinions now known to be erroneous, and did or approved numerous things which no one will now justify. Why is it, then, that there is on the whole a pre- ponderance among mankind of rational opinions and rational conduct? If there really is this preponderance--which there must be, unless human affairs are, and have always been, in an almost desperate state--it is owing to a quality of the human mind, the source of everything respectable in man, either as an intellectual or as a moral being, namely, that his errors are corrigible. He is capable of rectifying his mistakes by discussion and experience. Not by experience alone. There must be discussion, to show how experience is to be interpreted. Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument: but facts and arguments, to pro- duce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning. The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment, depending on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong, reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand. In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criti- cism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was falla- cious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by per- sons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner. The steady habit of correcting and completing his own opinion by collating it with those of others, so far from causing doubt and hesitation in carrying it into practice, is the only stable foundation for a just reliance on it: for, being cognizant of all that can, at least obviously, be said against him, and having taken up his position against all gainsayers knowing that he has sought for objections and difficulties, instead of avoiding them, and has shut out no light which can be thrown upon the subject from any quarter--he has a right to think his judg- ment better than that of any person, or any multitude, who have not gone through a similar process.

If it's an absolute right, why doesnt the universe implode everytime it's violated? And violated it is, everywhere throughout all of history?
You have a curious understanding of absolute and natural laws. Natural laws are immutable, but are often in tension with each other and simply because one force wins over another force in a given situation does not mean that the forces are not immutable and are not natural laws.

Therein, lies the mistake of your reasoning. Freedom of speech being an absolute right does not mean that that it is not intention with other rights, nor does it mean that individuals can escape from the consequences of their speech.

Which brings up another question that has thus far been unanswered in this discussion. Just what freedom means. Some would say (mistakenly, I believe) that freedom of speech entails not being held liable for the consequences of one's speech. I think that such a position is ludicrous. For example, if an individual's speech causes real harm to another individual, the first individual is clearly liable and should be required to offer restitution. Similarly, if an individual lies a good deal of the time, that individual will pay the price of not being trusted by anyone other than new aquaintances.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

it must be very convenient ... (none / 0) (#193)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 01:44:08 AM EST

to impose your own definitions on an argument.

The school board isn't censoring any ideas, they are merely deciding which ideas to teach.

As presented, Evolution is intentionally censored in Buttfuckville schools. Furthermore, if the State forces Buttfuckville to rescind its curriculum, that too is an example of censorship. In both instances, someone is prevented from communicating ideas. I understand why people feel the need to pick and choose definitions of speech to suit their cause; the elaboration of different doctrines serve to make my point that FoS is interpreted according to social bias.

Obviously if I'm stuck in Buttfuckville, my children will graduate stupid. Buttfuckville has censored Evolution. Yes, 1% of Buttfuckvillians might learn about Evolution elsewhere, but that's because Buttfuckville has the unfortunate bad luck to share the world with Cosmopolitania. Similiarly, Canadians can visit www.buttfuckville.org to learn about Holocaust Denial. So what's trhurler's problem?

These topics are entirely another topic,

No they arent another topic, they are examples of the way communities practice censorship. Tbey may be another topic for Americans raised on American ideology, but America is one society among an infinite number of possible societies.

You have a curious understanding of absolute and natural laws.

Forget I wrote the paragraph you are referring to, it's noise that doesnt make or break my point.

Natural laws are immutable, but are often in tension with each other and simply because one force wins over another force in a given situation does not mean that the forces are not immutable and are not natural laws.

Okay, look, there is no such thing as natural law. If FoS is a matter of such absurd metaphysical posturing, everyone should feel no remorse over violating it at will.

*snip JS Mill*

So what? That certainly wasnt "an argument that concludes FoS is an absolute right", that was advice on how liberals ought to live in pursuit of an idealized liberal outcome. I wrote idealized but I may as well have written "fantastic". You must also realize that Marx, to pull a name at random, might have written different advice.

if an individual's speech causes real harm to another individual, the first individual is clearly liable and should be required to offer restitution

Well, this is wonderful. Under my un-American interpreation of harm to individuals, hate speech is illegal speech. In the American legal admonition to "punish actions, not words", I hold that words are actions. That's *my* doctrine in defense of *my* social bias. America disagrees but Canada and the UN does not. What does that mean? Correct, FoS is not absolute.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

my last word on this non-sensical subject (none / 0) (#180)
by eLuddite on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 06:23:21 PM EST

Pretend I cut and pasted these two comments.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

hold on a sec (none / 0) (#187)
by eLuddite on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:37:20 PM EST

And if you want to block the school board or the citizens of the won from free speech on this level, you scare me.

What about the school board that is imposing creationism on my child against my wishes? Why arent *they* scary. Please dont tell me to send the kid to New York because I can always ask Canadians to learn Holocaust Denial in Buttfuckville, USA.

The point I'm trying to make is that communities define the boundaries of FoS subject to a myriad of influences. FoS is not written in the star dust of a platonic universe composed of a single disconnected idea.

Free Speech means different things to different peoples. Is there a coherent reason why the UN definition of Speech is incorrect vis a vis American doctrines? If so, many modern liberal states violate American principles. So what? That's the point: so what? If you like numbers, people in those countries outnumber Americans. So they win, right? If not, how do you propose we settle this?

Across time, in every land, communities censor in order to preserve their identity. If you threaten a community's identity, be prepared to do battle. If you think you can undermine your own socially constructed identity, you think too highly of yourself, and not at all about what "self" means.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

So, wheres the book burning, then? (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by imrdkl on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:05:19 PM EST

I found the actual ruling from the CHRC. The case was brought against Zundel by B'nai Brith and several other Jewish activist organizations.

The key finding in the case seems to be that the information was transmitted telephonically, and that the Canadian Human Rights Act specifically forbids the telephonic communication of hate messages, which means specifically:

any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Naturally, jurisdiction and location of the website today is a factor in the eventual "punishment" phase, but the Canadian Human Rights Act does seem to me to have been the proper and correct basis for this ruling. I have some reservations about the definition of "telephonically" in this case, but a packet will eventually wind up on a phone line, before it arrives on little Juniors screen, won't it?

Neither would I regard the activist organizations which brought the case as "mobs". In fact, they seem to have a very specific target(s), and a limited membership and audience.

Ah (4.50 / 6) (#13)
by trhurler on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:20:58 PM EST

The key finding in the case seems to be that the information was transmitted telephonically, and that the Canadian Human Rights Act specifically forbids the telephonic communication of hate messages,
Which is irrelevant to my point. I didn't make any claim about whether he violated some particular Canadian law. What I said is, these sorts of laws are wrong.
Naturally, jurisdiction and location of the website today is a factor in the eventual "punishment" phase, but the Canadian Human Rights Act does seem to me to have been the proper and correct basis for this ruling.
There is nothing here to make any ruling on. The man has done nothing but state his point of view. I'm not talking about what's legal - I'm talking about what's right. There are places in the US where having sex outside of marriage is technically a jailable offense; do you support that too?
I have some reservations about the definition of "telephonically" in this case, but a packet will eventually wind up on a phone line, before it arrives on little Juniors screen, won't it?
Not necessarily, but as of today's date, quite likely. In any case, I doubt little Junior would read that website; it isn't exactly entertaining.
Neither would I regard the activist organizations which brought the case as "mobs". In fact, they seem to have a very specific target(s), and a limited membership and audience.
I think you missed my point. Any time you disregard individual rights in favor of vaguely defined "human rights" to things like not being offended or not being criticized, you turn over control of peoples' lives to whatever the majority will tolerate - hence, mob rule. Yes, specific organizations brought this case, but if your average Canadian really opposed it, it would never stand. Even in apathy, a mob's will rules a democracy; the whole point of individual rights is to curb the will of that mob - to say, there are some things that are not matters of opinion, be that the opinion of one man or a million.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You said more (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by imrdkl on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:45:02 PM EST

You accused the commission of being uncivilized, even while it based it's ruling upon law. That seems quite a contradiction, to me. I am not debating with you whether the law, itself, is right or wrong, neither whether or not the owner of the site should disobey the ruling of the commission. Those are issues outside of your premise that the commission is uncivilized. The commission acted in the most civilized way that it could, which was to follow the law.

In Canada, this form of "free" speech is not, apparantly a right, again completely independent of whether or not it is "right".

Incidentally, your dismissal out of hand of whether or not a child will get ahold of the subject matter which is available on this sight seems not so well reasoned, either. I suspect, although I have not investigated in depth, that the material in question is more than "dry, academic historical argument", in any case.

And finally, as regarding what the majority will dictate or tolerate, the law seems to me to be in place to protect the minority, as it has in this case. At least insofar as this commission has any real authority.

[ Parent ]

French are the worst offenders (4.00 / 3) (#24)
by medham on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 09:04:07 PM EST

Not to engage in reflexive frog-bashing (which has its merits, don't mistake me), but the French have set some truly dreadful precedents here. If you're a Chomsky-watcher, you doubtless know something of the Faurisson business, which I will not detail here. The recent case of the general writing about his Algerian experiences is another travesty.

States cannot be allowed to determine historical truth. This aspires to the axiomatic.

Having said this, I think the article uses "human rights" as a red herring.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Frog bash at plenty.... (none / 0) (#37)
by neuneu2K on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:09:05 AM EST

Here, closing the web site would have been nothing, the owner would have gone in jail (and I would not want to be the backbone provider).

Yes, in france, hate-speech is not simply censored, it is a full crime !


- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
Review of Zundelsite (2.00 / 3) (#26)
by Bad Harmony on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 09:19:36 PM EST

As reviewed by the Gospel Broadcasting Association in Houston, Texas:
The "Zundelsite"

           Ernst Zundel is one of the foremost "revisionist" crusaders. As a result of the direct and intense persecution directed at him by the Jew, Zundel has devoted his life to exposing the distortions and fabrications by which the Jew has created and perpetuated the myth of the so-called "holocaust." Jewish forces have repeatedly dragged Zundel into court, attempting to imprison and thus silence him. However, Zundel has continued to emerge victorious, because his historical & scientific investigation has been able to withstand the most minute courtroom scrutiny.

           Transcripts of the trials to which Zundel has been subjected contain voluminous testimony, obtained under oath from a large number of expert witnesses and verified by cross-examination, which establishes beyond doubt the fact that there was no "holocaust" of the Jews in Germany in World War II. To an unbiased observer, it is evident that the so-called "holocaust" is nothing more than a fiction which has been cleverly contrived by the Jew for the purpose of extortion.

           The Zundelsite is a website located on American soil. The Zundelsite was instituted by Ingrid Rimland, a citizen and resident of California, and is operated by her. Ernst Zundel is a citizen and resident of Canada. As part of the world-wide effort by the Jew to outlaw inquiry into the alleged "holocaust," Jewish interests in Canadian are seeking ways to force Rimland to shut down the Zundelsite!

Truth invites, nay, truth rejoices in inquiry, for inspection can but confirm and publish truth. Only the lie fears scrutiny.

The Zundelsite [ www.zundelsite.org ]

This post is a public service of the International Zionist ConspiracyTM.

54º40' or Fight!

Username (2.00 / 2) (#29)
by greenrd on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 10:42:47 PM EST

Your username fits your post, indeed.

[ Parent ]
Etymology for Dummies (none / 0) (#42)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:21:52 AM EST

Baldrick, you wouldn't see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing 'Subtle Plans Are Here Again'.

(Rowan Atkinson Black Adder)

54º40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Er, s/subtle/cunning/ and s/see/know/ (none / 0) (#110)
by pwhysall on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:40:38 AM EST


--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
I like looking at these websites (3.00 / 3) (#27)
by Sheepdot on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 10:06:39 PM EST

They remind me of those get-rich-quick schemes and MLM (Social Security-style) "ventures" that have websites all over the net.

Banning websites with offending material because you are looking out for the "best interests of the public/society", not only fails to solve the problem, but opens the door for the next batch of people with a radical political message or "get-rich" scheme to have an effect.

In other words, while very few (if any) citizens of a country would be duped into believing these revisionists, if they (the citizens) think that the government is removing "grossly improper" material from the web, they are all the more likely to believe the multi-level marketing websites since the government hasn't removed them.

And on continues the cycle till the Internet is moderated by some global commision like the FCC (US specific) monitors the TV waves.

Ironically, this case, or one like it, will most likely bring about just that, a global Internet censor within the next decade. Possibly even the next five years. It's not like this is a suprise though, everyone expects the Internet to eventually be censored, and the transactions on it to eventually be taxed.

I'm afraid we are fooling ourselves if we think we can stop it, too. People like things to be easy for them so they don't have to do much work. They want the Internet "free of defects", just like they want their cars, homes, lives, (and the big one) children, free of defects. Any policy that can give them more security at the sake of what they perceive to be a 'little liberty' is a just policy.

I'm surprised no-ones yet noted the irony (3.75 / 4) (#31)
by greenrd on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 11:10:05 PM EST

Trhurler says human rights in practice have no justification other than mob rule. Well, yes, I agree! - but I would make a very similar criticism against narrow "libertarian" conceptions of freedom - the philosophical justifications for them are bogus. Trhurler believes that some rights are inherent in being human. This doesn't make any sense. A moral "ought" can't be derived from an "is" alone, as Hume and others have pointed out.

In other words, morality is in a certain sense relative. (This certainly doesn't make it meaningless, however!) From my readings in moral philosophy I've come to the conclusion that there is no absolute truth about whether killing someone is wrong, only "truth" relative to some value system. If there were such an absolute truth, it couldn't be based on non-moral facts (because you can't derive an "ought" from an "is" alone) so it would have to be an analytical truth - true by definition of the words involved. But then you would have a situation where millions of people were simply mistaken about what "right" and "wrong" means - which is highly implausible to say the least.

Not only that, I also believe rights theories like Human Rights and freedom theories like "libertarianism" are both flawed for the same reasons: inadequate treatment of what to do when rights/freedoms conflict, as they so frequently do; and inadequate coverage of desirable rights and freedoms. They are certainly useful in keeping people and governments on the straight-and-narrow, but for me, consequentialism (weighing up the consequences) works better as a basis for a fundamental value system - partly because it works the same way as amoral reasoning, except with a conscience.

And yes, I know, there are a whole bunch of problems or apparent problems with consequentialism such as "who does the weighing up?", "what about collective responsibility?" and "what about determinism?" But that's philosophy for you - tends to be that all but the most trivial of theories have problems.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

The 'ought' axiom from which springs all others (none / 0) (#156)
by pin0cchio on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 08:24:31 AM EST

If there were such an absolute truth, it couldn't be based on non-moral facts (because you can't derive an "ought" from an "is" alone)

However, you can derive an "ought" from objective "is" truth plus the following "ought" axiom: "Genus Homo ought to preserve itself as long as possible." Have you ever tried building a moral system off that axiom?


lj65
[ Parent ]
this appears to me (4.50 / 2) (#36)
by fhotg on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:27:31 AM EST

as a not so carefully contructed troll. I comment anyway.

So a Canadian pseudo - court ruled something not under it's jurisdiction with no consequences whatsoever. Except the symbolic "signal setting" for this country, which doesn't exactly add anything new to all signals before; it's completely in line with Canadian mentality. Noting that

apparently "human rights" in the Canadian view include the right not to hear anything offensive, rather than the right to speak your mind.
you want to be sarcastic here I suppose, but it doesn't work. It's the plain bitter truth. Remember, in the Canadian motto, life, liberty or let alone happiness are not mentioned, it's good government, order and peace instead.

An now to something completely different: The Human Rights have a pretty good definition wich is widely accepted and publicized. That's an important paper to remind people of the meaning of "civilezed". Particularly you want to take not of the preamble:

..,and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,..
and article 19.

Don't build straw mans, words are misused and redefined to their liking by every kind of power. Expose their semantic trickeries, attack their intentions, but leave the human rights alone.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

Is this a valid statement? (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by 90X Double Side on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:42:54 AM EST

"Those who do not support 'human rights' as a cause need to speak up about why, and make it clear that you're not just hatemongers who want to see people suffer, but rather that you have real fears that this 'cause' will make things worse rather than better"

I think this is as great a bastardization of the term, "Human Rights" as the one you accuse the Canadian government of.

human rights
pl.n.

The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.

By this (pervasive) definition of human rights, anyone who supported this ruling would be against human rights and anyone who opposed it would be for them; your argument is completely backwards. If you want to make a point about this being an abuse of the term, why are you going after the group that is on your side?

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith

What a wet dream for Neo-Nazis. (2.50 / 2) (#39)
by Apuleius on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:19:50 AM EST

This guy gets to say his piece through his Californian site, and he gets to be a martyr. Can it get any better for him?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Troll. (1.33 / 9) (#40)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:27:19 AM EST

People. wake up.
---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Nah, Diary entry [nt] (1.00 / 2) (#47)
by axxeman on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:58:44 AM EST


Desperately need Egyptologist. Can you help?
[ Parent ]

Response: see your request for response. [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#49)
by Alarmist on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 09:45:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
That was pretty harsh, PresJPolk. (none / 0) (#84)
by Alarmist on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:19:38 PM EST

Why the 1 rating?


[ Parent ]
Walk on a shitstrewn path (none / 0) (#240)
by axxeman on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:31:42 AM EST

And you get shitty feet.

Desperately need Egyptologist. Can you help?
[ Parent ]

Think, man... (none / 0) (#55)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:49:07 AM EST

If I wanted to troll, I'd say something inflammatory. Most k5ers are going to AGREE with what I just said. That's a sorry ass way to troll. You could accuse me of being some manner of whore, if there were anything to be gained by being a yes man on k5, but a troll? Perhaps you've gone daft.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Human rights: definition (3.50 / 2) (#43)
by ragnarok on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:40:51 AM EST

Human rights are essentially a statement by the state that certain powers it has are not infinite; eg, if I think my nation's head of [government | state] is a dork, I can say it and still live free. Or I can meet with my friends and sit around saying said minister is a dork, and laugh about it, and nobody's going to knock down my door in the night and haul me off to [Siberia | Coventry | wherever].

But if I take this mockery to plotting the death of this politico, the state's full authority may swing into force. But even then, its powers are not unlimited - I may be questioned, and subjected to a certain amount of coercian, but not to the extent that I am harmed physically, nor may the state offer me deliberately misleading information, or affect the lives of my family, if they are not involved in my political life.

The use of "human rights" as between private citizens and private corporate bodies, is a misnomer.

It should be discouraged. Instead, the outlawing of hate speech, etc, can be covered by the ordinary, sane application of the legal doctrine that the state is there to keep the peace, and leave it at that - after all, if my postulated ethnicity [European | Jew | Arab | Gypsy | Black | Indian | Chinese | Polynesian | Malaysian | whatever] is the target of hate speech and some people choose to put that hate speech into practice, that means an end to the peace, and the state is there to maintain that peace.

Any need to add that a major breaking of the peace, means interrupted trade, which means a loss in inland revenue, which means a loss of politicians' pay, which hurts politicos much much more than ... anything else.


"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sister's prophecies

"Real rights"? (3.57 / 7) (#44)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:57:05 AM EST

What are these? Are they immutable facts of nature in the sense that the law of gravity or the inverse-square law are?

Or are they the rights enshrined in the US Constitution, elevated to the same status as natural law thanks to the deity-like status of the Founding Daddies? ("We hold it to be self-evident ... that one plus one is three. Whosoever sayeth different, shut thy trap.")

Or are they the rights as enunciated by the Taliban, elevated to the status of natural law thanks to the godliness of Osama Bin Laden?

Or is this just a Real Slim Shady pissing contest, spurred on by the painful fact that the libertarian mob is far too small and ineffective to promote its version of "human rights" as effectively as the Disney mob?

any Locke-ian would say.... (none / 0) (#75)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:38:09 PM EST

that your rights given in the first amendment are given to Humans by nature.

the founding fathers of this nation interpreted Nature to mean he who created nature which would be God and there fore God gave us those rights.....

I prefer Locke's way of putting it because it does not give any room to a super secular authoritarian government to say, "there is no God so he could not have given people any rights"

the observation that Nature gives us our freedoms comes from the fact that we have free will to do as we please.
an authority can tell me that I am not allowed to do somthing, but he can not stop me from doing it if I choose to, there for Man is free.

[ Parent ]
It's contradictory anyway (none / 0) (#114)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 08:24:26 AM EST

The idea there are no rights is self-contradictory anyway. "You have no rights" has no other meaning whatsoever than "I choose to force you to do what I want because I have the bigger gun and more people behind me." "Rights" are an enshrining of "Just leave other people the hell alone, please," a rather novel concept historically, and one that even democracies trod heavily on in the name of the holy vote of the masses.




[ Parent ]
Holocasust denial; Canada; speech (4.87 / 8) (#46)
by streetlawyer on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:36:27 AM EST

I'm ambivalent about this case. Conflicting intuitions:

1) There are altogether too many people who want to tell other people what to do, and an awful lot of them work for the government. Censorship of unpopular viewpoints is almost always a bad idea. Mill on Liberty, etc.

2) Having said that, Holocaust denial is not just a point of view. It's dangerous to take the very naive view that context can be ignored and that any single webpage can be taken as a purely solo item, abstracted from the network of abstractions and actions which give it meaning; if the deconstructionists taught us anything, they taught us that.

Holocaust denial is a perfect example of a kind of speech which shouldn't be treated ahistorically. If I were to put up a webpage saying that the Scots were the scum of the earth, controlled the financial system and needed to be eradicated, then that would be something that could be taken at face value. Because there is no real systematic antiScottishism in the world; my webpage would stand more or less alone.

But to write the same page with "Jews" substituted for Scots changes the meaning in far more fundamental ways than a simple find & replace. It locates the page within the tradtion (the "discourse", to use a technical term of which some are afraid) of Nazism. This means that it can no longer be taken as only meaning what it says it means.

Which is why I say Holocaust denial is a perfect example. The vast majority of people who are Holocaust deniers are also Nazis and anti-Semites. If they want to get rid of the Jews, and they idolise Hitler, why do they spend so much time trying to prove that Hitler didn't get rid of the Jews? It makes no sense, taken at face value.

It makes a lot of sense, however, if you interpret the webpage as part of a wider discourse. Another part of that discourse is beating and killing Jews. And the two are inseparable from one another.. Holocaust denial pages are part of the propaganda and the structure of meaning which enables violent antiSemites to do what they do. Zund and company are part of the Nazi movement, just as someone who drives a car for Nazi supporters is. So there is a good case to be made for taking measures against this kind of "expression"; where the views expressed are necessarily part of a wider discourse which includes violence.

3) On the other hand, in my view the above is a good reason for being very cautious abut allowing the full right of free epxression to Nazi Holcaust deniers in, say, Germany. Or even France or Sweden, where there are genuine and dangerous active Nazi movements. In the UK, Holocaust denial shouldn't be such a big issue; Muslim and anti-Muslim race hate literature certainly should.

But Canada? To coin a phrase, nigga pleeease! Canada is a notoriously open and tolerant multiethnic society. It simply doesn't have a violent Nazi movement of any meaningful strength. Unlike the political cultures of France and Germany, the political culture of Canada is strong enough to bear the expression of Holocaust deniers without needing to fear the consequences. Given this, the fact that they have decided not to shoulder this burden is shameful.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

I'd have to disagree (3.75 / 4) (#52)
by seebs on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:41:33 AM EST

I don't think the history changes things all that much. The correct response to holocaust revisionists is *corrections* and *debate*. Not silencing them.

There are several reasons for this. The most obvious is, simply, that no speech should be prohibited because it is offensive. If we, the enlightened, can squelch the holocaust revisionists, then some day, the majority will believe a false thing, and we will have granted them moral authority to deny us the chance to correct them. You have to allow statements which most of us believe to be false, as long as they aren't *fraud*. (If he were using the denial of the holocaust as advertisement for his Jew-removal service, for instance, it might be fraudulent.)

The next reason is that we all know about conspiracies and cover-ups, and the sorts of people at risk of believing these things are most dangerous when you support their feelings of persecution. Treat him with indulgence and bemused tolerance, and you deprive him of his credibility. Try to have him shut down, and you tell a thousand people (admittedly, a thousand fucking morons) that he was *on to something*.


[ Parent ]
you have no arguments (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by streetlawyer on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:51:33 AM EST

The most obvious is, simply, that no speech should be prohibited because it is offensive.

That's not an argument; it's purely an assertion.

If we, the enlightened, can squelch the holocaust revisionists, then some day, the majority will believe a false thing, and we will have granted them moral authority to deny us the chance to correct them

By not allowing lies, we have given up the right to tell the truth? You seem to believe that it is a moral irrelevance whether something is true or not.

This isn't some deep, ambiguous matter of economics or philosophy we're talking about here. It's the presence in 1934 and absence in 1945 of six million Jews, and the same number of gypsies, homosexuals, etc. Why are you overestimating the difficulty of working out what's true and what is lies?

The next reason is that we all know about conspiracies and cover-ups, and the sorts of people at risk of believing these things are most dangerous when you support their feelings of persecution

No. They are at their most dangerous when you allow them to disseminate propaganda, recruit people who hate the same groups as they do, form a political party and declare war in Europe.Treat him with indulgence and bemused tolerance, and you deprive him of his credibility.

This policy was tried between 1934 and 1939 and it didn't work.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

It's a matter of beliefs... (3.00 / 2) (#66)
by seebs on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:48:48 PM EST

We have no evidence either way. Since I believe that free speech is a *right*, not just a convenience, I don't believe anything trumps it.

You're missing the point on the true/false distinction entirely. We're not talking about moral rights; we're talking about what powers we want the majority to have. If you say the majority should have the right to squelch this thing, because the majority believes it to be false, then you have given the majority the power to squelch *ANY* statement the majority believes is false, *EVEN WHEN THE MAJORITY IS WRONG*. You simply can't make the distinction based on whether something is "really" true or not - the only way you can frame this, as a social rule, is in terms of *what the majority believes*. Thus, it is vital that we never allow the majority to squelch an opinion just because they don't like it.

The comparison between Hitler's government and an isolated hate group is not a reasonable one. Hitler's power base was formed by governments *actively supporting* him, because he seemed to be getting Germany back in order after WWI.

Indeed, the key was that people felt that a government should be able to squelch unpopular or hostile viewpoints - so no one was surprised when Germany did.

The lesson to learn is never, ever, to let a government shut people up.


[ Parent ]
you are wrong (none / 0) (#72)
by streetlawyer on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:26:38 PM EST

If you say the majority should have the right to squelch this thing, because the majority believes it to be false

No; all of my statements are based on what is true. I'm not sure I believe in this entity called "the majority"; in any case, there has never been a state in history ruled by an abstract entity called "the majority".

You simply can't make the distinction based on whether something is "really" true or not - the only way you can frame this, as a social rule, is in terms of *what the majority believes*.

I do not share your loose and flabby relativism about basic concepts such as truth.

The comparison between Hitler's government and an isolated hate group is not a reasonable one. Hitler's power base was formed by governments *actively supporting* him, because he seemed to be getting Germany back in order after WWI.

Indeed, the key was that people felt that a government should be able to squelch unpopular or hostile viewpoints - so no one was surprised when Germany did.

The lesson to learn is never, ever, to let a government shut people up.

Your history is screwed up as well. Hitler's power base was formed by mass recruitment of a popular party, because the Weimar government was too weak to stop him.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Relativism (5.00 / 7) (#87)
by S_hane on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:21:44 PM EST

The world "relativism", much as you seem to enjoy using it, is not really relevant here. Perhaps you don't actually understand the meaning of the word?

You've used it twice (at least); once in the comment I'm replying to, and once in response to Znork. Apparently, relativism can be "wet", "flabby" and "loose".

Relativism, as defined by dictionary.com (as good a resource as any), is A theory, especially in ethics or aesthetics, that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them. (see this link).

Hence, "relativism" in this debate would be something along the lines of "it's OK for the Nazi's to do what they did because truth and moral values aren't absolute, hence the Nazi's probably thought they were acting morally", or some other bullshit like that. Note that this is patently not what seebs or Znork were saying.

In fact, both seebs and Znork made a very valid point. You would do well to go back and read their posts, but I will attempt to represent their point here in case you don't have the time to go back and read them.

Essentially, seebs and Znork are pointing out that the Revisionist argument (which may be True or False, and let's say for argument's sake that it is definitely, undeniably False) would only be disclaimed as dangerous because (now read this bit carefully) the majority of people believe it to be False.

Conveniently for you, the truth state of revisionism and the perceived truth state of revisionism appear to match in this instance.

However, revisionism would not be banned because it is False, but because people believe that it's False. Comprehend?

Now, what seebs and Znork are pointing out is that it's very dangerous to allow the public to have their way in this case, because it sets a precedent to ban things not because they are wrong but because people believe them to be wrong.

In the future (note: Not In This Instance) there may be a point that arises which people believe is wrong, but which is in fact right! If we let people ban revisionism, then they can ban this too!

This might sound a little far fetched to you, but it's already happened several times in Science. Think flat vs. round Earth. Think Earth as the center of the universe. Think disease as a spontaneous creation.

Now, please, use words in future that you understand, and argue points with logic rather than dismissals.

Thank you,

    -Shane Stephens


[ Parent ]
here's a dismissal: you're a twit (none / 0) (#291)
by streetlawyer on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 06:59:36 AM EST

dictionary.com (as good a resource as any),

No it isn't.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

really... (none / 0) (#292)
by S_hane on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 08:57:32 AM EST

dictionary.com: A theory, especially in ethics or aesthetics, that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    Although there are many different kinds of relativism, they all have two features in common.
    1. They all assert that one thing (e.g. moral values, beauty, knowledge, taste, or meaning) is relative to some particular framework or standpoint (e.g. the individual subject, a culture, an era, a language, or a conceptual scheme).
    2. They all deny that any standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.
Seem to be the same to me. And what better than an Encyclopedia of philosophy? :)

You would also do very well to read this page, especially the part about absolutism/relativism. I particularly like the point that if you're absolutist, then "Either: you conform with what we know to be the single/universal/unchanging/absolute truth [including a set of moral and political values] that is the only valid truth for all peoples at all times in all places under all circumstances, OR: you're wrong!".

Why is this interesting? Well, there's one place in society where it might be valid to take an absolutist standpoint - in science. After all, a theory is either right (mirrored by nature) or it's wrong. Right?

But there's a slight problem here. Often things which are thought to be right are much later shown to be wrong. And if you let the scientific society decide absolutely what's right and wrong, then these judgement changes would never occur. Imagine if Einstein's papers had all been rejected on the basis that "It's not what Newton said, and we know that Newton's right, and that anyone else who says otherwise is a flabby relativist". Of course, the Cold Fusion debacle would also not have occurred, but that's the price you pay...

    -Shane Stephens


[ Parent ]
Truth? (1.00 / 1) (#100)
by seebs on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:26:03 PM EST

I think you're missing the point. Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe to ours, in which the Holocaust *didn't* happen, but in which Secret Zionist Forces have somehow made it *appear* that it happened. In this world, *THE GUY DENYING THE HOLOCAUST IS CORRECT*.

Do you think the response to him would be any different? I sure don't. I am deeply offended that someone would deny the deaths of millions of people, because I *believe* those deaths happened. But, if they hadn't, and I believed it, *I would feel the same way*. Knowing, as I do, that my judgement is fallible, I say "let him speak", even though he offends me.

It seems to me vanishingly unlikely that the holocaust revisionists are right. However, many true things I know today were, once, believed to be false by just as many people.

If God comes down, incarnate, and appears to each and every person, undeniable in His glory, and tells us that something is false, sure, go ahead and prohibit people from saying it. Failing that, I'm not comfortable with society taking it upon itself to keep people from saying something just because we *think* it's false.


[ Parent ]
Arguments (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by Znork on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:51:36 PM EST

That's not an argument; it's purely an assertion.

All speech is offensive to someone. If you prohibit speech merely because it is offensive you have a blank check to prohibit any and all speech.

I find religious speech offensive, and I find sugarsweet TV series that pretend that the world is ok offensive, and I find 'reality TV' an extrordinarily offensive and dangerous occurance, since it promotes offensive behaviour as being socially acceptable in human beings, as well as a lot of other things. None of which gives me any form of ethical right to persue banning of it. Offensive is not ground enough to prohibit speech.

By not allowing lies, we have given up the right to tell the truth? You seem to believe that it is a moral irrelevance whether something is true or not.

You seem to believe that objective reality has something to do with what a society considers truth. If we regard it as moral to allow censorship because something is untrue in general you've just opened the door to the censorship point I rather like the best. Lets ban those pesky religions.

Of course, I think that it is morally irrelevant wether something is true or not when it comes to censorship. Truth has a wide definition when you're dealing with society, and todays truth may not be as true tomorrow, nor may my truth be exactly the same as yours. That does not give me the right to censor.

No. They are at their most dangerous when you allow them to disseminate propaganda, recruit people who hate the same groups as they do, form a political party and declare war in Europe.

They are their most dangerous when you allow them to disseminate propaganda unopposed. So are any hate groups like churches that preach intolerance against other minorities. The propaganda must be met and the idiocy pointed out _massively_ by society. Just because we're too lazy to actually work against the propaganda doesnt make censorship a good solution.

Letting hate lies take root and stand unopposed is what we cannot allow, and any action based on such grounds must be dealt with hard and fast. But the right of speech itself is dangerous to deny, however good our intentions are, lest we find ourselves on the censored end some day.

[ Parent ]

no (none / 0) (#71)
by streetlawyer on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:23:01 PM EST

If you prohibit speech merely because it is offensive you have a blank check to prohibit any and all speech.

I never suggested doing that. I suggested that it could be correct to ban speech which was false and dangerous.

You seem to believe that objective reality has something to do with what a society considers truth. If we regard it as moral to allow censorship because something is untrue in general you've just opened the door to the censorship point I rather like the best. Lets ban those pesky religions

I have no opinions about "what a society considers true". The fact that twelve million people were killed by the Nazis is true whatever any society considers. It is provable, unlike any of yours or my opinions about religion.

Truth has a wide definition when you're dealing with society, and todays truth may not be as true tomorrow, nor may my truth be exactly the same as yours.

It is clear now that your wet relativism is irrelevant. The fact that twelve million people were killed does not "have a wide definition", and is true in equal measure for you, me and Adolf Hitler. It's a physical, historical fact.

The propaganda must be met and the idiocy pointed out _massively_ by society

This was also tried in Europe between 1934 and 1939 and did not work.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

ahem (none / 0) (#78)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:47:06 PM EST

<i>I never suggested doing that. I suggested that it could be correct to ban speech which was false and dangerous.</i>

false speech is already protected through Civil courts by way of lawsuits, Dangerous speech (somthing you seem to have left ambiguous which is very dangerous to free speech) I will term in the Public safty realm. dangerous speech in the way that saying somthing will have an imediate physical threat to the people in the area, such as yelling fire in a crouded theater, is already illegal.

Danger needs to be firmly encapuslated in spesifices otherwise, what ever the governmnet decides as dangerous can be deemed illegal.
that is why a narrow scope is defined for dangerous speech and it only includes imediate physical threat to others, or endangering the national security of your country (but that has already been covered mostly in treason law, it was just clarified in the US by the supreme court.

other than that, I believe it to be a very bad idea to silence unpopular speech because it may foster others to think the same.



[ Parent ]
The dangers of speech (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by Znork on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:23:30 AM EST

Banning speech which is false and dangerous again comes back to depending on what we consider false and dangerous. It has varied throughout history, ranging from theories on evolution, wether or not the earth is flat, to wether people have a right to determine their own sexual preferences, etc. What society and those in power considers false and dangerous in many cases bears little relevance to facts and reality.

That millions of people were killed by the Nazis is true and provable, but that _doesnt matter_ when a society allows censorship, nor has it ever mattered throughout history. Censorship is a tool of power and it will be used by those in power to further whatever their own agendas is. The agenda will vary, even if the truth wont, but if you're allowing the tool of censorship, the first thing you give up is your right to tell the truth if it doesnt match popular opinion or the interests of those in power.

Should revisionists ever come into power, how long do expect it to take before those facts are no longer provable and the evidence is removed? Your truth is much more fragile than you believe.

Oh, and if you think censorship would have stopped the Nazis and the second world war then I'd say you're far off base. The ground had been laid with the WWI peace either way for the rise of them. And how long do you think that censorship would have lasted after their ascension to power?

Truth is only truth as long as you live in a society without censorship. The more censorship you allow the more the truth degrades into being merely the popular opinion.

[ Parent ]
Streetlawyer, the Holocaust Denier (none / 0) (#287)
by minra on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 07:34:50 AM EST

The fact that twelve million people were killed does not "have a wide definition", and is true in equal measure for you, me and Adolf Hitler. It's a physical, historical fact.

The fact that thirty million people were killed does not "have a wide definition", and is true in equal measure for you, me and Adolf Hitler. It's a physical, historical fact.

You, Streetlawyer, are denying the true extent of the Nazi Holocaust. Your speech should be banned.

Don't be afraid. I won't advocate that your oxygen supply be cut-off ;-) Your existence does have some entertainment value.

[ Parent ]

This is hokey and you know it (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:55:37 PM EST

By not allowing lies, we have given up the right to tell the truth?
When you use the law to accomplish something, you are no longer in the hypothetical realm of "true and false." True and false become whatever the majority believe them to be, and so if the majority come to believe in a falsehood, you will find that it is your real truth which is silenced by the laws you wrote to ban falsehoods.
It's the presence in 1934 and absence in 1945 of six million Jews, and the same number of gypsies, homosexuals, etc. Why are you overestimating the difficulty of working out what's true and what is lies?
If it isn't hard, then just do it and quit trying to silence people. Personally, I've never seen anything but bold claims. A picture of a few hundred unidentified bodies could be any mass grave in the European theater. A picture of a gas chamber that looks suspiciously like a shower. Sure, I believe those people died there. I've never seen an accounting of who they were, or where all their remains went. I've never seen the engineering reports by that gas chamber expert actually debunked. I still believe - because I don't think a lie on this scale is possible. But I'd like to know why nobody has even seriously tried to provide credible evidence, or why it hasn't been popularized, if indeed someone has. Why not provide that, or see that it is provided, instead of spending the same effort trying to shut up people who claim otherwise?
This policy was tried between 1934 and 1939 and it didn't work.
This is the part you know to be false. In that time period, the average German was so poor and so desperate that he'd try almost anything, if it promised a better future. Economic disasters are the most common cause of wars, and this one is no different. Sure, Hitler may have wanted war for other reasons, but what let him have one was the collapse of the German economy. Unless you think Europe is on the brink of economic collapse, they've nothing to fear from Nazis and similar thugs, save that they'll rise to power by renaming themselves and persecuting their old names.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Evidence (4.33 / 3) (#89)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:07:02 PM EST

For debunking of holocaust deniers in general The Nizkor Project is generally a pretty good place ot look. They've got point-by-point rebuttals of most of the usual pieces of propaganda, plus documentation of the links between "revisionist" historians and neo-Nazi groups, if that were ever in any doubt.

The reason the evidence for the holocaust isn't more widely known is because most people are not in serious doubt, nor, more importantly, do they want to be. Compare and contrast the evidence that HIV really does cause AIDS, where there's been more publicity given to the dissenters, and to rebuttals, because in those cases far more people would like to believe the cranks.

On the specific issue of the evidence of gas chamber "expert", Leuchter, there's a debunking of his report here.

Providing this evidence doesn't satisfy the people who want to shut up Zundel, Leuchter and the like (and, indeed, Nizkor count amongst those trying to shut Zundel down), because they won't engage in debate under the normal principles of public reason. Zundel is never going to turn round and say "OK, I was wrong, the Nazis really did kill 6 million jews", because the academic point is an irrelevance. Its just part of the intellectual structure he uses to support his politics. There are long discussions on the Nizkor site about Zundel's refusal to enter into public debate, and similarly David Irving made it pretty clear during his libel action here in the UK that he's prepared to lie and misrepresent his opponenents. I think those who want to shut these people down believe that the right to political speech is conditional on being prepared to enter into debate.

I don't personally take that view. In my view extremist politics only become popular in times of great hardship. The best way to prevent hardship the maintainance of a liberal capitalism, and that depends on a government based on liberal values. Preserving those values, and keeping them as clear, hard lines strikes me as a much better defence against tyrrany than silencing the intellectually incoherent rammblings of a bunch of elderly thugs.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

I believe trhuler's post was not (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by acronos on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:35:06 PM EST

an attempt to determine absolute truth in this instance. I interpret trhurler to be trying to demonstrate that while there may be an absolute truth, laws are based on the perceived truth. If we allow laws to outlaw speech, even if the law correctly interprets the truth in one instance, then at some time we will find that the law was incorrect in it's analysis of truth. People make laws, and people make mistakes. When this happens the law could outlaw someone who is speaking the complete truth. The risk of outlawing new scientific progress and new truths that are unpopular outweighs the risk that some individual will see the lies spoken by someone else and not be able to judge them for what they are. It is more important, IMHO, for individuals to be able to make up their own minds based on all the evidence rather than have the decisions of what evidence is acceptable controlled by some central authority and risk that authority being wrong.

I found your link that refuted the nazi website interesting. Thank you for posting it.


[ Parent ]
it's a question of hazard ratios (none / 0) (#177)
by streetlawyer on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 05:57:27 PM EST

When you use the law to accomplish something, you are no longer in the hypothetical realm of "true and false." True and false become whatever the majority believe them to be, and so if the majority come to believe in a falsehood, you will find that it is your real truth which is silenced by the laws you wrote to ban falsehoods.

Sadly, the perfect world is not available, so we have to decide; which is the greater risk, an authoritarian government coming into power and going around randomly banning things which don't deserve to be banned, or an active Nazi movement recruiting members and harassing Jews?

Which was the point of my original post; you can't answer that question without reference to the specific situation of a country. In Canada, they have a fairly serious problem with PC censorship and no real Nazi problem; in France, the opposite is the case. Just ruling things out like this makes no sense.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

False dichotomy (none / 0) (#190)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 10:33:20 PM EST

Sadly, the perfect world is not available, so we have to decide; which is the greater risk, an authoritarian government coming into power and going around randomly banning things which don't deserve to be banned, or an active Nazi movement recruiting members and harassing Jews?

Hello my lovely John Saul! Your comment is a false dilemma. It also begs a rather pivotal question in that you've yet to offer good reasons to believe that censorship is more effective at controlling an active Nazi movement than unrestricted freedom of speech. It is possible that in certain situations, such could be the case, but such situations are likely to be few and far between in the modern world.

Regards,

Lee

[ Parent ]

OK (none / 0) (#195)
by streetlawyer on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:18:53 AM EST

The Incitement to Racial Hatred Act in the UK played a key part in curtailing the British Movement, BNP, National Front and similar thugs.

Your point, again?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

No... what's *your* point? (none / 0) (#285)
by minra on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 06:52:47 AM EST

...other than naked hypocrisy, "Streetlawyer"?

Streetlawyer wrote: "Their oxygen supply should be cut off at the source."

You advocate murder of a group you feel has committed a crime because...
they advocate murder of a group they feel has committed a crime.


LOL!


----------------------------
Computer system: 4,000 euro
Internet Access: 0.7 cent per minute
Streetlawyers' incohate sputum... priceless

[ Parent ]

on the other hand (none / 0) (#290)
by streetlawyer on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 03:36:45 AM EST

At least I don't tell lies about the law in Germany.

(which is why you don't get a response to any of your other posts, by the way)

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

In addition to Lee's comments (none / 0) (#205)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 12:05:19 PM EST

I'll add the following.

Nazis are about as serious a political force in France as Natural Law Party members are in the US. On the other hand, France feels fine passing laws that do everything from ban discussion of certain political viewpoints all the way out to banning the use of foreign words while speaking French. The notion that France is a "free country" is a complete joke; it is a free country for those whose views are mainstream. Until recently, it was illegal for private citizens in France to possess a copy of the regular export Netscape Navigator, because it contains cryptography, and that might be used to facilitate discussion of banned subjects!

In short, France is a horrible example for your argument. You need someplace else, and Germany isn't it either. As it happens, the Nazis aren't a serious threat to anything but peoples' emotions ANYWHERE in the modern world.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
factual innaccuracies (none / 0) (#208)
by streetlawyer on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 12:34:05 PM EST

Nazis are about as serious a political force in France as Natural Law Party members are in the US.

How recently did the Natural Law Party gain 11% of the vote in a Presidential Election? Which major American towns have had Natural Law Party mayors? This just ain't true.

all the way out to banning the use of foreign words while speaking French.

I'm assuming you're going on the basis of press reports of the Academie Francaise. Which is not a lawmaking body; it is simply a body that makes rather po-faced statements about what it considers to be correct French. Its pronouncements have no more legal standing than the proscriptions on saying "Linux" without "GNU".

Until recently, it was illegal for private citizens in France to possess a copy of the regular export Netscape Navigator

"Until recently", seems to pretty much undermine your point in raising this.

In short, France is a horrible example for your argument

No, it's a perfect example. The French political culture has far more genuine freedom of expression than the USian. It has political parties of all colours and a wide variety of viewpoints in its newspapers. And somehow, it manages to sustain this political culture alongside a tough policy against political parties which want to destroy that culture. Three cheers for France, I say.

As it happens, the Nazis aren't a serious threat to anything but peoples' emotions ANYWHERE in the modern world.

Assertion in the face of the evidence, not made any more credible by use of capital letters.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Um... (none / 0) (#210)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 01:20:39 PM EST

Last I heard, the Nazi party was banned in France, so I fail to see how they can have captured 11% of an election. I heard they legalized the Communists, though, so maybe this changed? (I'll point out that if your average French or German person actually knew the details of WWII, instead of just having heard phrases like "our awful past," the Nazis would have no hope. Too bad that vaunted freedom of expression you claim exists doesn't allow for frank discussions of such topics. The German exchange student I met a couple of years ago was under the impression that the Holocaust was something a bunch of Polish people did!)

As for "genuine freedom of expression," I think you're confusing apathy with shackles. Your average American may express "mainstream viewpoints," but that's only because he can't be bothered to actually learn anything and yet still has to avoid appearing "stupid" or "uneducated" whenever the subject of politics comes up - so he picks a "safe" position and sticks with it. Were he not such a lazy fuck, you'd see a lot more variety in US politics, but so long as our "tragedies" are measured in hundred-thousandths of the population and similar fractions of our GDP, your average Joe isn't going to get too upset even if he ought to be.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
well, that is my point (none / 0) (#212)
by streetlawyer on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 01:30:09 PM EST

Last I heard, the Nazi party was banned in France, so I fail to see how they can have captured 11% of an election

The Front Nationale is a National Socialist party in the European tradition of Fascism. They don't wear regalia or deny the Holocaust in public, becase they're not allowed to. This makes them that little bit less exciting to young French Nazis, who go off and form their own little, disorganised Nazi gangs. Do you think the world would be made a better place by allowing the national FN to wear regalia, deny the Holocaust, etc?

I'll point out that if your average French or German person actually knew the details of WWII, instead of just having heard phrases like "our awful past," the Nazis would have no hope. Too bad that vaunted freedom of expression you claim exists doesn't allow for frank discussions of such topics. The German exchange student I met a couple of years ago was under the impression that the Holocaust was something a bunch of Polish people did!)

You must have met a complete fuckwit. Every German I've ever spoken to is massively informed about the detail, chapter and verse of the Third Reich. They teach it in schools in vast detail. Of course, it is perhaps not impossible that he was trolling you :)

Your final point is mine, expressed in another way. The USA has mineral resources, plentiful land and no hostile powers with land frontiers. It's also a culture which has not experienced significant setbacks in its history. For this reason, it's not likely to breed political extremists of any kind; there isn't the feeling of "something must be done to restore our national prestige" that was hanging around Europe in the 1930s and is one of the main characteristics of Fascism. The USA is a strong enough nation that it can afford to be fully consistent about liberal values like free speech. Weaker countries like France have to be more careful, because there is a more credible threat from forces that would want to annihilate them completely.

You yourself, I seem to remember, have been onside with the concept of shutting down people like that professor in Florida, who act as mouthpieces and recruiting agents for Muslim fundamentalists. I don't see that the sort of restrcitions the French have on Nazi speech are necessarily all that different.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Muslim fundamentalist (none / 0) (#216)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:31:48 PM EST

As I recall, he was actually accused of something more than just running off at the mouth.

In any case, I have no problem banning organizations that have actually been found in a courtroom to have mounted conspiracies to engage in criminal activity, and if some Nazi party were to do so, I'd say ban them. However, I do not regard saying vile things as criminal activity. When their members go out and beat up some Jews, ban them. When their members kill a cop, ban them. Steal from a little old lady? Ban them. I don't see why you can't just go after the ones who actually do something and let the talkers embarass themselves into irrelevance. Even if they themselves are shameless, their influence can be eliminated by simply listening, rebutting, and trying not to giggle.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
fair enough (none / 0) (#232)
by streetlawyer on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:33:29 PM EST

I don't see why you can't just go after the ones who actually do something and let the talkers embarass themselves into irrelevance.

Most of the time, you can, and should. That's what JS Mill is telling us in On Liberty. But sometimes you can't, because the talkers create the climate in which the doers can recruit. I don't expect you to understand this (and I'm trying not to say that patronisingly), because it's about forty years since America actually had violent political gangs on the streets. I've actually fought hand-to-hand against fascists in the 1980s, and have been reluctantly (you'll have to trust me on this one) driven toward the conclusion that their oxygen needs to be cut off at the source.

Even if they themselves are shameless, their influence can be eliminated by simply listening, rebutting, and trying not to giggle.

As I say again and again, the Germans tried this for six years between 1933 and 1939 and it didn't work. If this sort of treatment worked every time, the Berlin cabaret would have stopped Hitler. Chrissakes, I'm a contributing editor of adequacy! You don't need to tell me how fucking useless satire is to achieve anything in the world.

I don't think either of us has anything to add, but I've enjoyed this discussion. Thanks.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

The hysteria ratchet (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by minra on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:32:26 PM EST

Well, since local law forbids me to say otherwise, I'll have you know that 30 million Jews were murdered by the nazis in concentration camps. This is the highest printed figure I have seen, and I am forbidden by law to 're-vision' that number to any lower number. I am also forbidden by law to research into Jewish geneology to come up with hard evidence that might call the aforementioned number into question. I am also forbidden by law to tell you that

[ Parent ]
yeah yeah (none / 0) (#166)
by streetlawyer on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:36:28 AM EST

Which local law, of which locality?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Which locality? Which do you think? (none / 0) (#182)
by minra on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 06:34:37 PM EST

Germany.

The base irony lost upon so many of my countrymen is that limitating freedom of speech in the name of preventing faschism is... well, faschistic.

People in my country DO go to prison for expressing views such as Zundels'. I don't want to go to prison.

So I'm dead-serious when I say I believe the Nazis killed 30 million Jews. I can't be sure what the official figure is, so I choose to err on the side of caution.

But I think the fact that we even see this reflexive ostracism is evidence for ...

Damn, I can't say that either.

[ Parent ]

Wrong (none / 0) (#295)
by yooden on Sun Feb 17, 2002 at 11:07:22 AM EST

Are you lying or ignorant?

[ Parent ]
Re: Violent Canadian Radicals (none / 0) (#62)
by Begbie on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:20:16 PM EST

But Canada ? To coin a phrase, nigga pleeease! Canada is a notoriously open and tolerant multiethnic society. It simply doesn't have a violent Nazi movement of any meaningful strength.

Actually, the neo-nazi movement gained a fair bit of strength about 10 years ago. Groups such as the ARA (Anti-racist action) were formed to fight the neo-nazis (their methods were fairly ... radical), while other groups focused more on the lobbying side of things. Through their efforts it seems that the movement is more or less dead. Ernest Zundel has left the country (he used to live just down the street from where I live in Toronto, in a house painted in nazi colours), and the Canadian media no longer gives these groups any coverage (they used to get coverage whenever they had a free speach crusade, usually after they said something a bit too radical).

[ Parent ]
About Sweden (none / 0) (#70)
by Hong Kong Phooey on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:15:12 PM EST

I'd just like to point out that the Swedish nazi movement is not really all that dangerous on the level you mean. They are basically a bunch of street thugs, dangerous to any individual who may cross their path, but they have zero political influence in Swedish society.

[ Parent ]
You may very well be right (none / 0) (#73)
by streetlawyer on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:27:32 PM EST

In which case, the same analysis would apply.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Efficacy (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by ucblockhead on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 08:07:33 PM EST

If holocaust revisionism is a dangerous position that must be suppressed, then wouldn't countries that don't suppress it (like the US) have bigger problems with neo-nazis and antisemitism than countries that do (like Germany and France)?

But in any case, the trouble I have with your position is the question of who decides what is "dangerous". I agree with you that Nazism is an abhorant philosophy. So we might decide to ban 'Mein Kampf'. But what concerns me is that US Attorney General John Ashcroft almost certainly considers Communism an equally abhorant philosophy. Do we give him the power to ban "Das Kapital"? Because certainly it won't be us, but him making the decisions.

US-Centric I know, but applicable to any country. Even if we can trust our current leadership, can we trust any potential future one?
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

c'mon, think (none / 0) (#165)
by streetlawyer on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:35:28 AM EST

If holocaust revisionism is a dangerous position that must be suppressed, then wouldn't countries that don't suppress it (like the US) have bigger problems with neo-nazis and antisemitism than countries that do (like Germany and France)?

Perhaps they would, if a model of human psychology was true in which the same causes had the same effects everywhere and specific histories didn't matter. You might as well say that if frostbite is a dangerous complaint which can freeze your toes off if you don't wear warm boots, why isn't it more of a problem in Somalia where children go barefoot?

But in any case, the trouble I have with your position is the question of who decides what is "dangerous". I agree with you that Nazism is an abhorant philosophy. So we might decide to ban 'Mein Kampf'. But what concerns me is that US Attorney General John Ashcroft almost certainly considers Communism an equally abhorant philosophy. Do we give him the power to ban "Das Kapital"? Because certainly it won't be us, but him making the decisions.

I never understand why people think that these easy questions are so difficult. While we're all happy to libel John Ashcroft, the fact is that no major political party in the USA, in fact, is attempting to ban Capital or any other political work. Your threat model is screwed up. Personally, in some of the former Soviet republics, I think it might be a good idea to remove "The Communist Manifesto" from sale.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Perhaps (none / 0) (#169)
by ucblockhead on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 02:31:30 PM EST

Perhaps they would, if a model of human psychology was true in which the same causes had the same effects everywhere and specific histories didn't matter.
Regardless of that, I see little evidence that suppressing "dangerous" information stops dangerous groups from spreading. Can you point to a place where suppressing "dangerous" information did indeed suppress such groups?

Perhaps a better example would be the "militia" movement in the US, which fell apart precisely when its views became more common knowledge. Before Timothy McVeigh, few had ever heard of "The Turner Diaries". After that work became famous (and more widely read!) the militia movement mostly collapsed. I'm not claiming cause and effect, merely lack of any effect at all. The wider disemination of the ideas had no effect.

the fact is that no major political party in the USA, in fact, is attempting to ban Capital or any other political work.

Today, yes. Are you saying that certain groups would not have attempted to ban "Das Kapital" in 1957 had they had a chance of success? Are you saying that certain works wouldn't be banned today if the Supreme Court didn't stand in the way? Forgive me, but that seems a bit niave.

I think it is a real mistake to base law that is supposed to last for many years on the idea that the behavior of our leaders will always be just like it is now.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Holocaust denial and lack of courage (none / 0) (#105)
by mami on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:31:00 PM EST

On the other hand, in my view the above is a good reason for being very cautious abut allowing the full right of free epxression to Nazi Holcaust deniers in, say, Germany. Or even France or Sweden, where there are genuine and dangerous active Nazi movements.

Well, the motivation to engage in Holocaust denying, is part of the general human make-up, not inate to Germans, French or Swedes. Or do you believe we carry a Holocaust denying gene around ? That would be really ironic, almost material ripe for usage by the Nazis themselves. Didn't they say Jews are genetically inferior or better the other way around Arians are genetically superior ?

And concerning multiethnicity in Canada vs. France and Germany, I think you need to update your facts. Last time I was sitting in a class at a German University over 1/3 of all students were from sub-saharan Africa and the middle East. France is not different. How do you know if a Nazi movement is dangerous and genuine or not ?

What's the difference between a Nazi movement and any other racially based hate group movement, when it comes to their danger potential ? Didn't the German colleges were extremely friendly to people like Atta and other ethnically and religious motivated hate groups, simply because they were not able to recognize the hate behind the polite demeanor of the Middle Eastern class mates ?

The reason, why I am getting getting nasty about this issue is that Libertarians, who promote their wisdom of absolute freedom of speech rights online for Holocaust and other fact deniers, play these genuine and dangerous Nazi movements into their hands. If they intend to or not, they are conspirateurs of their hate propaganda.

It might not even be necessary to ban their web sites, but instead of giving those crooks verbally one on the head, you go around and bash people, who like point out that a lie is a lie. No thanks. Each time I read those threads I have the feeling I need to take a shower.

What about denying the Ruanda genocide, Cambodia killing fields, Stalin's camps or what about denying slavery? I mean, why shouldn't we all go around and say the myth of blacks having been enslaved is nothing but a conspiracy theory of some black racists, who are up to pull the American values and freedoms in the dirt.(sarcasm on ) As a proud American freedom loving patriot I declare this the new slavery-deniers movement. Like to make a web page proving that slavery never existed ?

I also think we should immediately change the schoolbooks to reflect our new way of thinking about slavery and the holocaust to demonstrate how seriously we take our freedom of speech rights and act as responsible citizens of our society to teach our children the truth and nothing but the truth. (sarcasm off - these tags are necessary for Libertarians).

Are you ambivalent or just too coward to make a moral judgement? Aren't you a streetwise lawyer or something ? If a country can carry the burden of holocaust and slavery deniers without intervening, then they are lucky. Bbut it is nothing but a question how hard the country has been challenged with such movements. Germany had his lessons, America might have the lessons still ahead of them.

To say it with the horrible words of Osama bin Laden: "America will lead its people into a hell with regards to their human rights" Let's hope it will not be true. To think that brave Libertarians are the true fighters for freedom and human rights like freedom of speech, is doubtful, because they are not brave enough to regulate their absolute freedoms in a way that such forces like race or ethnically based hate movement, can't abuse these freedoms. They lack the courage to make a moral judgement. You just haven't experienced the mess. That's all.

[ Parent ]

Oh, yeah (none / 0) (#268)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 03:54:38 PM EST

The reason, why I am getting getting nasty about this issue is that Libertarians, who promote their wisdom of absolute freedom of speech rights online for Holocaust and other fact deniers, play these genuine and dangerous Nazi movements into their hands. If they intend to or not, they are conspirateurs of their hate propaganda.
If people are too stupid to resist Nazi propaganda in the face of good information from other sources, then maybe they deserve to live under Nazis? This isn't a problem here in the US, of course, where we tend to laugh at and/or harass Nazis, but maybe in mamiland it is a serious problem.
It might not even be necessary to ban their web sites, but instead of giving those crooks verbally one on the head, you go around and bash people, who like point out that a lie is a lie.
I am all for websites and authors that expose the truth. If you(mami) were engaged in such behavior, I'd be all for that too. You're not, though - you're just advocating censorship. You have yet to post a scrap of argument regarding the Holocaust, and have instead posted tons of crap trying to justify silencing people by the use of force.
Like to make a web page proving that slavery never existed ?
I've seen attempts at it. It is fairly standard US white supremacist bullshit. So what?
Are you ambivalent or just too coward to make a moral judgement?
Maybe he's one of those people who isn't stupid enough to think that HIS judgements will always be those followed. You seem to have this idea that you can have your cake and eat it too, but in reality, a government which silences people for being "wrong" will eventually make mistakes, and may well actively and knowingly silence truths it finds inconvenient. Your world, with censorship, is more amenable to Nazis than mine without ever could be.
Germany had his lessons, America might have the lessons still ahead of them.
You might think so. However, I do not. We have our problems here, but the kind of utter economic collapse that led to Nazi Germany is not likely to occur here.
They lack the courage to make a moral judgement.
Or maybe we possess the courage to shine light on the evils of the world, which they cannot stand, rather than let them grow in the dark. It isn't as though Germany's repressive policies have actually had any effect in reducing Nazi activity; on the contrary, it has been steadily rising over time and shows no signs of abating!

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Congratulations Trhurler (1.00 / 13) (#53)
by core10k on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:43:15 AM EST

On exploiting Canadian pride for your own trolling means.

I was wondering why your article seemed to 'distort' the facts of the case and Canadian law in some way, but now it's obvious; this is a troll, and I and many others have been trolled.

Clap yourself on the back.

Then go fuck yourself.



You wish (4.00 / 2) (#61)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:19:51 PM EST

As I've said elsewhere, if I wanted to troll, I'd pick a topic that wasn't guaranteed to resonate with 90% of the k5 audience. If it isn't controversial, it isn't a troll; you're thinking of a whore, perhaps. But I'm not that either; what is there to gain by getting this story posted, other than a discussion of this story?

I think what you have realized is that you were suckered, but that was not my intention; your nationalist pride did that to you. :)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
What trhurler really means (1.80 / 10) (#65)
by mami on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:48:12 PM EST

but ask yourself: what good is a right to free speech if it only means you can say popular things?

Well, the right to free speech doesn't give you the right to lie in public for propaganda purposes, as soon as it violates human dignity. Even if you go around and cry foul and claim to be a victim of being violated yourself in your rights to freedom of speech, because someone proofs that you are a blatantly lying moron, as well as insulting millions of people.

I learned from President Bush that's ok to give the evildoers a clear message and bring justice to them. I learned they can run, but not hide and that you can track them down and go after them, wherever they hide. Nations who harbor them, feed them are against us. You are either with us or with them. I am with you, Mr. President, and a proud American.

Auschwitzlyers are evildoers. Be prepared, we come after them and violate their freedom of speech rights of talking bullshit online. I am one of those German authoritarian monster (like those Nazi morons), who don't feel sorry to bring justice to the world. Am I reacting to your story the way you expected ? Good.

I guess the "lady", who has vowed to keep up the site running, needs a shrink for detoxification of her mentally and emotionally brainwashed mind, a product of the "brilliant" political mind of her lover. The U.S. constitution needs an amendment to its freedom of speech rights to protect the population from online brainwashing techniques of "brilliant" intellectual, political crooks and we should all cook trhurler a nice meal to feed him into his mouth to keep him happy and prevent him to talk and write too much.

If it thinks like a crook, talks like a crook and acts like a crooks, it's most probably a crook. If it looks like a lie, smells like a lie, taste like a lie, reads like a lie and talks like a lie, it's most probably a lie.

the US constitution needs no such thing.... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:11:19 PM EST

we protect our rights to free speech no matter what, if the speech is slanderous and a lie then you are liable for a civil law suit. it is not a criminal offence to lie about a person, and it should never be.

[ Parent ]
Oh really? (4.00 / 3) (#77)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:41:25 PM EST

Well, the right to free speech doesn't give you the right to lie in public for propaganda purposes, as soon as it violates human dignity.
Says who? (Also, I say that silencing a man for his views violates human dignity, even if his views are "bad" in some way.)
because someone proofs that you are a blatantly lying moron, as well as insulting millions of people.
If insulting millions of people is outlawed, then dissent is outlawed. If dissent is outlawed, then freedom of speech means nothing. You would create the evil you vilify.
Auschwitzlyers are evildoers.
Are you saying that Mr. Zundel has murdered people, or are you just engaged in hyperemotional non-sequitur?
Be prepared, we come after them and violate their freedom of speech rights of talking bullshit online.
If by "violate their freedom of speech rights" you mean air their videos on television, then yes. Perhaps you do not know what "violate" means.
I guess the "lady", who has vowed to keep up the site running, needs a shrink for detoxification of her mentally and emotionally brainwashed mind,
Ah yes. Maybe you ARE a Nazi; they too believed that those who disagreed with them were sick and needed "help."

I love arguing this topic with Germans. They're so incredibly hypocritical when they talk about it:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Yes, really (none / 0) (#88)
by mami on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:02:03 PM EST

According to your response, freedom of speech and freedom of press includes the right to lie, do I understand you correctly ?

I just listened to the Pentagon briefing, Rumsfeld discussing with the press, if they should release photos of the Guantanamo Bay detainees only with their own Pentagon approved captions to avoid photoes being exploited by the press in an irresponsible manner.

Rembember that one photo, published in a British newspaper with the big headline "Torture" aroused the whole European continent to cry out loudly that they suspect the U.S. Armed Forces might be involved in possible torturous treatment of the of the detainees.

The press took the right to put up the headline on the merits of a suspicion, not a fact. Though it has done great damage to the U.S. Armed Forces and the British newspaper stretched their freedom of speech rights to the utmost, I am sure you agree with me, first that their writing was irresponsible and not based on proven facts. Still, that's something I would say is still acceptable as free speech. It was the preventive whistle blower's premature outcry without backup research.

In the case of people who release "doctored facts online" about Auschwitz with the intent to make the reader believe that Jews were not killed there in the hundreds of thousands, people use their freedom of speech to promote a lie, which can be proven to be one. There is no room for having a suspicion about what happened in Auschwitz, because facts are there. Or do you think that the U.S. Armed Forces, who liberated the camps, made all false statements, "invented and doctored" photes, numbers etc ? Therefore the only reason to publish such lies is the intent to violate the human dignity of the victims who died in Auschwitz. This is according to the UN resolution and German basic law not allowed.

Can you tell me, why you think that the freedom of speech and freedom of press should include the right to lie ? The press is the only entity these days, which does not undergo any check and balance system, but relies only on self-control. Why ? And why should we agree with leaving this entity as the only one, which is free of any check and balance system ?

Think about the current ENRON scandal. People get a glimpse of insight how corporations manage to doctor their accounting statements, shuffle money offshore etc. All of the sudden a couple of million people ask themselves how many other companies might have used the same scams. A dozen malicious journalist can put out rumours on the internet and publish wrong facts, doctored numbers and accusations. The stock market can brought down into its knees within hours. Millions of people loose millions in assets.

Do you still think that the freedom of speech and freedom of press should include the right to publish lies ?

If people publish lies by simply ignoring true, proven facts, like all the dead corpses found in Auschwitz, then what you do, is not voicing dissent. You lie. There is a difference. As far as I know, there is no human right

I know that you guys win your dirty arguments, because the only reason you defend your interpretation of freedom of press and speech the way you do, is to be able to continue your dirty work.

But I guess you will get with your kind of freedoms exactly what you deserve.

I hate discussing with American Libertarians this issue. They are so incredible hypocritical. :-(



[ Parent ]
Haha, 0wned (1.00 / 2) (#92)
by Jongo on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:54:38 PM EST

Owned indeed. This 'free speech at all costs' thing is pathetically naive.

[ Parent ]
You are confusing two things (4.50 / 2) (#95)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:10:37 PM EST

As with streetlawyer's responses, you are confusing facts with political perceptions. Political decisions are based on perception - on what is believed to be true by the majority, or by whomever is in power(but that, in our societies, is generally the majority,) or possibly what is believed by the majority but known to be false by those in power, exploited for their own ends.

In this case, it is true that the facts and the perception of the facts agree - or at least, you and I believe this to be true. As such, it seems "reasonable" to ban speech to the contrary. However, if we do so, then when the facts and perception of the facts disagree, the same laws we passed will be used to justify silencing those who utter truth.
Therefore the only reason to publish such lies is the intent to violate the human dignity of the victims who died in Auschwitz. This is according to the UN resolution and German basic law not allowed.
Two reasonable people can disagree. This does not mean that Zundel is reasonable, but do you really want governments making decisions as to who is reasonable? Do you believe for one instant that they will not abuse this power for their own ends? The point is, Zundel has his reasons for doing this, and while we believe he is a liar, we do not actually have access to his mind; we cannot determine what goes on in there. We don't know what his reasons are. Maybe he hates Jews. Maybe he just doesn't want to believe his people did this to other people. Maybe something neither of us can even think of.
Can you tell me, why you think that the freedom of speech and freedom of press should include the right to lie ?
Maybe the guy actually believes what he's saying. An untruth is not necessarily a lie; it can be a mistake, or a belief persistently held in error. I believe that religion is false; does this mean that I should demand that all religious speech be stopped on the grounds that everyone saying such things is lying?

Remember, when a lie harms someone, he can seek redress for the actual harm; you don't have to "ban lying" to solve that problem.
I know that you guys win your dirty arguments, because the only reason you defend your interpretation of freedom of press and speech the way you do, is to be able to continue your dirty work.
My dirty work? I take it that by this you mean 'expressing beliefs that disagree with what mami "knows" to be true?' If so, then yes, "my dirty work."

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You have tried this before (none / 0) (#96)
by mami on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:33:35 PM EST

several times. Your line of argumentation is standard "art of obfuscation" among Libertarian online groups and it's time to ignore you.

[ Parent ]
No obfuscation here (4.00 / 1) (#99)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:18:01 PM EST

Here's the shortened form of our conversation so far:

You: bad things should be disallowed.

Me: we have no foolproof way of deciding what is bad, and it is wrong to silence those who are not bad simply because the authorities disagree with them or find them annoying.

You: I'm going to go do something else now, because you're obfuscating the argument!


I suppose I can't blame you for wanting to avoid arguing your present position; so far streetlawyer hasn't chosen to defend that particular point either, and he's your intellectual better by a far sight. Have a nice day:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
extraordinary conceit (none / 0) (#112)
by eLuddite on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 05:14:45 AM EST

This is very important to understand: either FoS is absolutely true under all circumstances or it is a platitude. If I cannot scream fire, Zundel cannot scream Jew.

we have no foolproof way of deciding what is bad

We have a foolproof way of deciding that Zundel is wrong and a dangerous influence. You need to traffic in absolutisms because you have the extraordinary conceit to tell us FoS -- an idea -- matches reality in every single case. Most people are perfectly capable of thinking situationally; since those people will not defend Zundel's right to lie, Zundel's FoS is rhetorical flourish.

It really is that simple.

Think, man. Why should anyone limit their options by uncritical, blind obedience to a platitude? Even a casual perusal of First Amendment cases will reveal that there is quite clearly no such thing as FoS, not even the American variety of FoS which is narrowly defined to exclude various social and commercial pressures that are de facto forms of censorship.

FoS means nothing if people would rather shoot Zundel than wage war to protect his Right To Lie. I'm all for useful principles, but I would sooner trust myself to decide extreme cases than trust ideologues who will decide to imperil me for the sake of their reductionist principles. Telling me I may be wrong in a parallel universe is not encouraging when you are quite clearly wrong in this universe.

So yeah, it isnt nice that Zundel was officially told to stuff it in a country where his speech is in danger of being completely ignored instead of dangerous, but I'm certainly not losing any sleep over his loss.

Let me put it another way. I would fight to silence the KKK in a racially heterogeneous community because I know damn well that racism is communicated, not an inherited trait. As far as I'm concerned, under those circumstances, no sane person will defend speech above life. So whither your FoS absolutism?

I mean, really, you are so guilty of confusing the barely coherent and elusive quality of language with reality. You are literally telling us that stipulating a narrow range of language, cooked up for narrow interpretation, is sufficient to guide action under any and all circumstances.

Rubbish.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

slight elaboration (none / 0) (#113)
by eLuddite on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 05:31:22 AM EST

the very same Court system which protects the KKK's speech has had no problems with censorship under war "like" conditions. The very same American public which defends the KKK's FoS applauds such Court decisions. The doctrinal subtext is that national safety trumps speech. Well sure, national safety includes the safety of white people in a historically racist nation. However, why the safety of exclusively colored people is excluded from this doctrine is a little difficult to understand; the KKK has quite clearly been a force of racial civil war in American history, so what gives?

FoS was an incoherent platitude, is an incoherent platitude, and will always remain an incoherent platitude. Communities will always practice censorship or they will not be identifiable communities. Since it isnt possible to live out of community, learn to deal with the *fact* of censorship by picking your fights, by actually *thinking critically* instead of rationalizing a lot of empty platitudes with empty words.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

thanks (none / 0) (#116)
by mami on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 09:12:36 AM EST

for both of your comments

[ Parent ]
Thank Goodness For The Second Amendment (none / 0) (#121)
by skyknight on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 12:21:35 PM EST

Sometimes it's all we have to protect the First when censor mongering authoritarians like mami and eludite get into positions of political power. I find it very alarming that some people think that FoS is something which can be had on a pick-and-choose basis. It's all or nothing, and if you don't realize that, I recommend reading some history books. Furthermore, if you don't like free speech, you can always leave. Cuba would be happy to have you.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
It shouldn't be all or nothing (none / 0) (#179)
by mami on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 06:19:03 PM EST

exactly for the reasons your speech above stands for. Think about it.

[ Parent ]
It can't not be all or nothing (none / 0) (#192)
by skyknight on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 12:01:16 AM EST

It's a simple matter of fact. Either speech is free or it isn't. You can't have "sort of free speech." It's a contradiction of terms.

In response to your jab, individuals who realize the sanctity of free speech are willing to defend it. Those who are mealy mouthed equivicators either find themselves toeing the party line, or getting trampled by oppressors. Where do you fall?



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#204)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 11:59:47 AM EST

The "doctrinal subtext" is an illusory bit of horseshit dreamed up by law school profs in need of papers to publish. The truth is that the courts change their minds on issues like these over time. Until WWII, national security was a phrase hardly uttered, and recently we've been seeing more and more court decisions telling the military to fuck off and die when it tries to encroach on liberty in the name of national security.

In fact, we're quite likely to see that very same set of courts nullifying a great deal of the post-9/11 legislation passed so far, when it actually gets enforced.
Since it isnt possible to live out of community, learn to deal with the *fact* of censorship by picking your fights, by actually *thinking critically* instead of rationalizing a lot of empty platitudes with empty words.
Or by amassing the biggest mob to fight for my side. Your way leads to fighting much more vicious than anything mine can create.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#215)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:31:44 PM EST

The "doctrinal subtext" is an illusory bit of horseshit dreamed up by law school profs in need of papers to publish. The truth is that the courts change their minds on issues like these over time.

That's right. Welcome to society, trhurler. I hope your stay is a pleasant one.

Or by amassing the biggest mob to fight for my side.

Or a mob of FoS absolutists to defend KKK terrorism. Yes, targeted hatred is terrorism. Sorry, trhurler, FoS is both sword and shield which is why there is no independent, internally consistent way to justify your position exclusively over mine.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You would be correct, if you were not just wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#233)
by beergut on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:40:07 PM EST

Or a mob of FoS absolutists to defend KKK terrorism. Yes, targeted hatred is terrorism.

Topic for a different, prolonged debate. But, you're wrong about this, too.

Sorry, trhurler, FoS is both sword and shield which is why there is no independent, internally consistent way to justify your position exclusively over mine.

This is where you are wrong on this point. Yes, Freedom of Speech is both sword and shield. But your perception of their utility is incorrect.

You use it as a sword, in order to promote the suppression of speech that you detest. You speak against the freedom of others to speak their minds. You choose to exercise your Right to Speak Freely (not necessarily a Right to Be Heard) in this way.

To me, this is reprehensible. Were I other than I am, I would call for you to be silenced, and for scourge that is the entity known as "eLuddite" to be vanquished and all traces of his having existed removed from history for all time. I, too, can use speech as a sword to call for your silence, though I do not agree with what the KKK and its ilk preach. Think about that for a moment. Now, think about the ramifications of such a sentiment, were I in some position of power within society, and you were not protected by an "absolutist" First Amendment protection of free speech.

The other side of the argument sees Freedom of Speech used as a shield - your words, not mine. If I were to try to oppress you, and suppress your speech, you would (rightly) trolley out "Freedom of Speech," label me a fascist, and berate me for attempting to coerce you into a consensus opinion with me and those who believe the same way as I. But, you would deny others that same right.

Luckily for you, I am not in a position of any kind of power within society. I cannot squelch your pathetic, incessant, open-sewer-whiffing, profane blabbering.

Perhaps luckier for you is the fact that I, and others of my ilk, would not want to suppress your speech. Maybe we will deride it, laugh at it, poke holes in it, and see it torn down for the farce that it is. That is our Freedom of Speech (as well as an amusing pasttime.) The difference, then, is that I (and many, many others,) who do not agree with you, would yet defend your right to say what you would, as stupid and hare-brained as it may be.

Please extend to others the same courtesy, and help to secure those rights to them, as well as to yourself.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

gee, thanks, more speeches (none / 0) (#241)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 03:02:06 AM EST

Perhaps luckier for you is the fact that I, and others of my ilk, would not want to suppress your speech.

Yes, that's what everyone says. I say the evidence makes everyone a liar. The evidence is not at all hard to understand -- when speech causes demonstrable harm, whether to a bunch or racists or a Freedom Loving People led by Bush and Ashcroft, it's suppressed. And unlike you, I'm not staking a pious claim to my good fortune during peaceful, affluent times under no threat, nor am I passing judgement according to a hypothetical set of unshared values, I'm simply telling what happens.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

geez, what a blowhard (none / 0) (#244)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 04:41:34 AM EST

Please extend to others the same courtesy

Oh, I do, no more and no less than you. Your mantle of USian moral certainty is very pious but it doesnt contradict your history and current events. All it does is further lower the market price for USian blowhards.

and help to secure those rights to them

The only ostensible Right anyone has ever possessed is the Right to state their case and lose. You have no right to diminish my life with your hate speech because you have no Rights at all. Get it? Maybe you're proud of KKK history and the black experience in America, maybe you think that history fell from sky without the aid of racist communication, but none of these opinions regarding the relative value of life and speech is persuasive. That means you lost your case.

I'm sorry Canada isnt emulating KKK history. Tell you what. I'll feel sorry for your blacks that were and you can feel sorry for our klansmen that will never be, ok?

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

sorry to appear so vindictive with 3 replies (none / 0) (#245)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 04:54:52 AM EST

but it's kinda fun.

Please extend to others the same courtesy, and help to secure those rights to them

Good news! I've just invented a new courtesy that will save even more lives (free lives, natch) than FoS: Freedom from Racism.

Whee, that was easy.

But, you know, something's missing. Oh yea, let it be known that if any evildoers resent my newly invented Freedom, I'm going to run them down and smoke them out of their holes.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#254)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:06:31 PM EST

It amuses me greatly to realize that you think racism has ever been fought successfully but by the grace of those "rights" you claim we don't have.

You are a complete fucking moron.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
sorry, you misunderstand (none / 0) (#256)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:35:12 PM EST

The point was to show I can invent a right which can and is defended just as passionately as FoS. You didnt understand the sarcasm at all, which isnt surprising since, as I've told you elsewhere, YOU NEVER READ FOR COMPREHENSION. You read for the opportunity to make speeches. That makes you the complete fucking moron, trhurler. But you know this.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

No, actually... (none / 0) (#261)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:33:31 PM EST

The reason I didn't understand your (weak) sarcasm was that sarcasm does not travel well in print, unless it drips so heavily from the sentences as to be painful. This is why few writers ever produce amusing sarcasm, while it is so common among stand up comedians of even the worst sort.

As for inventing rights, that's just silly. Attacks on a person and so on are wrong, but merely being disliked, regardless of the reason, is not something you have a right not to experience. That you believe otherwise merely shows that you have substituted your ugly breed of pragmatism for any semblence of understanding.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
well, yes (none / 0) (#265)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:57:50 PM EST

The reason I didn't understand your (weak) sarcasm was that sarcasm does not travel well in print,

How many times do I have to write Rights are incoherent babble before you get the message?

Attacks on a person and so on are wrong

but merely being disliked, regardless of the reason, is not something you have a right not to experience.

I dont care who you like or dislike. I care that your expression of hatred does not demonstrably diminish peoples lives. If it does, your liberty is worth very little to both myself and to the social outcome I prefer.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

and finally (none / 0) (#262)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:41:06 PM EST

just to dot the i's on this imaginary Freedom from Racism, I support racist policies such as affirmative action. Sure, there's no shortage of ponderous eggheads who will argue why AA isnt racism because of exquisite doctrine xyz, but that's the price of incoherent Rights babble -- sophistry.

Face it, trhurler, action is goal oriented. It's the way of the world.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

and finally (none / 0) (#246)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 05:52:55 AM EST

Maybe we will deride it, laugh at it, poke holes in it

On behalf of the victims of a history of vile minority opression under the the voluble KKK, thank you for laughing at White Robed Bubba. I'm sure if the descendants of those victims didnt finally, literally take to battle, your derision would eventually have protected our Rights and our Lives.

A million thanks. Thank you. Danke schon. Molto grazie. Gracias. Merci. Obrigado. Get real.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Indeed (none / 0) (#202)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 11:52:46 AM EST

either FoS is absolutely true under all circumstances or it is a platitude.
Seeing as something approximating all of the US population disagrees with you, and seeing as you are a pragmatist of the crudest sort(your whole argument is that freedom of speech is a platitude because it isn't absolute, and that the courts should do "whatever works,") by your own reasoning your argument does not matter. Of course, I'm not foolish enough to think that'd actually shut you up, but at least now everyone else knows you're a hypocrite. :)
We have a foolproof way of deciding that Zundel is wrong and a dangerous influence.
I'd be interested to hear about your method for making human knowledge infallible. An odd claim, coming from a pragmatist.
Most people are perfectly capable of thinking situationally;
Certainly. When darky speaks up, it is OK to lynch him, right? That's not the same as a good old white boy speaking. eLuddite said think situationally!
since those people will not defend Zundel's right to lie, Zundel's FoS is rhetorical flourish.
A great many of them WILL protect Zundel's right to lie; in general, in the US at least, we DO protect it. Once again, your appeal to pragmatism is showing flaws.
Why should anyone limit their options by uncritical, blind obedience to a platitude?
That "platitude" is the only defense they have against a mob that disagrees with THEIR speech as well as those they disagree with.
Even a casual perusal of First Amendment cases will reveal that there is quite clearly no such thing as FoS, not even the American variety of FoS which is narrowly defined to exclude various social and commercial pressures that are de facto forms of censorship.
Perhaps my careful study missed something that a more "casual perusal" would have illuminated, but I suspect you're just talking out your ass again, since you didn't bother to elaborate.
FoS means nothing if people would rather shoot Zundel than wage war to protect his Right To Lie.
By this reasoning, your desire to live means nothing in the face of the fact that I'd sooner shoot you than see you elected to office, so it is a fine thing for you that you are not a US citizen.
I'm all for useful principles, but I would sooner trust myself to decide extreme cases than trust ideologues who will decide to imperil me for the sake of their reductionist principles.
"We don't need no lawyers n' courtrooms! We got tar n' feathers!"
I would fight to silence the KKK in a racially heterogeneous community because I know damn well that racism is communicated, not an inherited trait. As far as I'm concerned, under those circumstances, no sane person will defend speech above life.
Were it not for silly platitudes, I'd fight to silence YOU, because I know damn well that statist enslavement politics are communicated, not an inherited trait. As far as I'm concerned, under those circumstances, no sane person would defend speech above life.
You are literally telling us that stipulating a narrow range of language, cooked up for narrow interpretation, is sufficient to guide action under any and all circumstances.
"Yeah, that's a mahty-fine law youse gots there, but ahm' pretty sure he needed killin'. Lookit em - he's a darkie! Them congressmen musta not thought he mighta slept with a decent white girl! I'll fix things up for em!"

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
evil pragmatists (none / 0) (#217)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:59:41 PM EST

There no better than socialists!

Seeing as something approximating all of the US population disagrees with you,

Neither the world nor your SCOTUS agree. Sorry.

I'd be interested to hear about your method for making human knowledge infallible. An odd claim, coming from a pragmatist.

There isnt any. I dont know what you're reading, trhurler, but it cant be my posts. Unlike you, I dont challenge round reality to squeeze into square holes. I'm not telling how things ought to be, I'm telling you how things are. My position is that Rights questions are interpreted according to social biases and that we are better served debating those biases than we are counting how many Rights can fit on the head of pin.

Rights talk impoverishes debate because it is incoherent secular religion. This hasnt been a particularly controversial opinion since Bentham and your love of 18th century liberalism is not convincing in the 21st century. And I dont care if Jefferson provokes USian religious veneration (notice a pattern?) in the vast majority of your compatriots, he's Man, not Truth.

*snip*

I've posted all I need to post under this article, I'm not interested in a ping pong match of slippery slope arguments. If there's a reason why you think you the KKK can oppress me but I cannot oppress the KKK, that reason is the first clue you might prefer authoritarian dogma over logically consistency.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Er... (none / 0) (#222)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 05:13:41 PM EST

You did in fact say that we can know with certainty that Zundel is a liar. This would in fact require an infallible means of knowledge. That was in fact your post I read. Perhaps you should stop now before being thoroughly humiliated. Deny it again and I'll post linked quotes of your exact words :)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
think rigorously (none / 0) (#242)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 03:21:18 AM EST

Zundel's words are lies, even if we do have no "infallible means of knowledge" in the general case. That particular case is easy because Zundel is contradicted by historical *facts*. However, I want to emphasize that my position does NOT require uncovering something so rarefied as "The Truth." Communities are held together by a field of contingent beliefs (eg, slavery is wrong or slavery is right.) If you threaten that community, it will protect itself.

This is what happens. People take sides. Rights dont explain why this phenomenon happens, but ever since their invention, they have been used to justify both sides. I say: Argue your side, dont tell me you have a magical Right to your side, because I neither care nor believe you.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

to elaborate (and this really is my last word) (none / 0) (#243)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 04:00:55 AM EST

Argue your side, dont tell me you have a magical Right to your side, because I neither care nor believe you.

For example, "the DMCA is desirable because ...", or "the DMCA should be revoked because ..." I dont want to see the word Right after because, I want to know why the lack or presence of the DMCA is a good thing to our[1] established way of life.

This is actually what happens, anyway, even if legal decisions are massaged with the language of Rights after the fact. After the fact, people eventually adopt doctrinal modifications to their venerable absolutist notions, as if, heh, those modifications were never controversial.

[1] I realize you dislike the word "our" -- who doesnt? -- but that only serves to make you a necessary and valuable component in the process of Rights dynamics. Social biases arent imposed; your victories and failures determine what will constitute "our."

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Ah (none / 0) (#252)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 12:49:40 PM EST

Zundel's words are lies, even if we do have no "infallible means of knowledge" in the general case. That particular case is easy because Zundel is contradicted by historical *facts*.
Those historical *facts* were acquired by what particular infallible means of knowledge, good sir? They must have been discovered infallibly after all, or else they are not sufficient grounds to be infallibly certain that Zundel is a liar! (Also, proving that he is a liar requires proving that he knows these facts, and believes them to be true.)

As for your incoherent babbling about communities, would it be too much trouble for you to whip that into shape so that it actually is identifiably some argument and not another, such that perhaps I can at least know what you're saying? It would be hard to evaluate what you've written so far, as it could mean almost anything. For instance, where do these "contingent beliefs" come from, how are they justified, why should we accept their guidance, and so on?

As for the rigor of my thinking, I'll point out that your arguments are becoming successively less coherent as you go, and mine are not :)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
you're just being obtuse (none / 0) (#257)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:46:11 PM EST

Those historical *facts* were acquired by what particular infallible means of knowledge, good sir?

What standard of evidence do you have in mind? Whatever it is, we have it. Zundel is wrong. He is factually incorrect. There's nothing more to be said.

(Also, proving that he is a liar requires proving that he knows these facts, and believes them to be true.)

I could care less whether he is stupid or lying.

where do these "contingent beliefs" come from, how are they justified, why should we accept their guidance, and so on?

Who cares. You believe libertarian bullshit. I dont know why, but you do.

As for the rigor of my thinking, I'll point out that your arguments are becoming successively less coherent as you go,

My arguments are not getting less coherent, you are becoming dumber and more intransigent. My argument is constant and simple: rights are social bias.

and mine are not :)

You have no argument. You have a belief in these mystical thingies you refer to as Rights. You invent them, you stipulate their number, their use, their absolute and inviolable nature. Unfortunately, history disagrees with you on every count. But you dont care, you're too eager to tell people how they *must* live or... disappear into nothingness, I guess.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

oh, the irony (2.00 / 2) (#258)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:58:01 PM EST

I could care less whether he is stupid or lying.

Actually, for the purposes of Rights babble, he could be correct for all the difference it makes to my argument. I've already told you Truth is irrelevant. For example you believe he might be right. This is clearly wrong, but it does suits your defense of absolute FoS. It doesnt matter whether you are stupid or lying, all that matters is that you are willing to trade safety for the inviolable freedom to spew hatred. It doesnt doesnt make a shred of difference to you that hatred has detestable consequences, what matters is your bias. It doesnt make a shred of difference to you that someone else might invent a freedom from racism, what matters is your bias.

Well, what is the nature of your bias? It is a set of contingent beliefs called libertarianism. How do I know they are contingent beliefs? Easy, I dont believe in them.

Rights are incoherent babble.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Ah (5.00 / 1) (#263)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:48:31 PM EST

Actually, for the purposes of Rights babble, he could be correct for all the difference it makes to my argument.
In eLudditetopia, truth is no defense. I'm glad to hear you admit it.
It doesnt matter whether you are stupid or lying, all that matters is that you are willing to trade safety for the inviolable freedom to spew hatred.
Safety at the expense of those who have not provided very compelling evidence that they wish to harm me is not something I have any use for.
Well, what is the nature of your bias? It is a set of contingent beliefs called libertarianism.
My beliefs include one, explicitly, which says that rights are inherent in humanity. However, this does not mean that awareness of rights is inherent in humanity. That appears to be your entire beef with this "contingent beliefs" business, and it is a simple reasoning error on your part.

In any case, neither your beliefs nor mine are a mere bias, and suggesting otherwise is truly crude. You might really wish to do so, though, in light of the fact that you're advocating a world in which might makes right is the only guiding principle. (What do you think your "community" really is? It is merely the unthinking mob, exalted as though it were some noble entity.) After all, if my beliefs were mere "bias," that might be the only way such lust for oppression as you evince could be "justified."

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
that's what you say (none / 0) (#266)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 03:00:25 PM EST

and you're welcome to your opinion as I am to reality.

In any case, neither your beliefs nor mine are a mere bias

No, but the exercise of Rights are.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Standards of evidence (none / 0) (#264)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:53:18 PM EST

What standard of evidence do you have in mind? Whatever it is, we have it.
You used the word "infallible." I'm not going to let you back down from it without actually saying that you mean to do so. The standard is "infallibility." Get to work.
Who cares.
What you are saying then, is that you are content to be ruled by whims, from whence you do not know, whose nature you know only by the fact that when someone violates them, the "community" violates him in return, and you explicitly do not wish even to investigate this matter? Are you actually a moron, or do you merely play one on k5?!
My argument is constant and simple: rights are social bias.
That's not an argument; it is merely a statement. I could similarly state that eLuddite's mother was a hamster.
Unfortunately, history disagrees with you on every count.
History is full of failures. Every political system so far tried has failed, or has become something it was not intended to be, and generally both. How you can regard history's claims regarding political systems as of any importance whatsoever, I do not understand; it is like asking a kindergarten student who flunked his addition quiz to balance your checkbook!

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
i also have a question (none / 0) (#267)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 03:52:56 PM EST

The standard is "infallibility."

No, YOU used the word infallible in your original challenge because you know damn well no such trinket exists in its pristine state. Your argument was intentionally dishonest. In my naivete, I assumed you were willing to acknowledge historical fact under a mountain composed of every sort of documentary evidence possible.

So here's my question: Do you, trhurler, know for infallible fact that Zundel was silenced by the CHRC? Well, do you?

That's not an argument; it is merely a statement.

I've made the argument many times in many threads under your article, usually by example. Demonstrating the incoherence of Rights is dead simple: Rights come in pairs. Your Right to X is contrary to my Freedom from X. Your Right to Spew Hatred is contrary to my Freedom from Hatred.

What you are saying then, is that you are content to be ruled by whims, from whence you do not know, whose nature you know only by the fact that when someone violates them, the "community" violates him in return, and you explicitly do not wish even to investigate this matter?

No, I dont believe in libertarianism.

How you can regard history's claims regarding political systems as of any importance whatsoever, I do not understand;

Specifically, I have a problem with your conceit of ideology. This was my original criticism. I get the sense that you neither understand nor recognize the limitations of Aristotlean Logic. In any case, your analogy is flawed and should be rewritten as follows: Asking people to honor incoherent Rights is like expecting an innumerate kindergarten student to balance your checkbook. This is not an earth shattering conclusion, it is a conclusion supported by a correlation of historical evidence, and you dont have permission to resist empirical evidence and methodology.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#269)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 04:29:40 PM EST

YOU used the word infallible in your original challenge because you know damn well no such trinket exists in its pristine state. Your argument was intentionally dishonest.
I used the word "foolproof," and I was using it in the context of a government decision making process. You turned around and claimed that you DID have a foolproof way of knowing whether Zundel is lying or not, and I called you on it. I was not being "intentionally dishonest," but rather was merely pointing out what you now admit - there is no foolproof way of determining the truth. Why you even argued with it I do not understand.
I've made the argument many times in many threads under your article, usually by example. Demonstrating the incoherence of Rights is dead simple: Rights come in pairs. Your Right to X is contrary to my Freedom from X. Your Right to Spew Hatred is contrary to my Freedom from Hatred.
And I've answered it in a thousand different comments in my time posting on k5, so I presumed you were just being a gasbag, knowing that you've read the(quite bulletproof) answer from me many times before. Here it is AGAIN.

My right to speak freely does not impose upon you any obligation except NOT to silence me. My right to associate with whom I will does not impose upon you any obligation except NOT to prevent me. And so on. That which cannot be formulated in this way, is not a right. You have no "right" to prevent me from expressing myself; there is no "second" in this "pair" to use your terminology. Your argument is powerless here. What you need is an argument attacking my justification for rights, but you have never asked what it was; instead, you merely insist that there is none. To put it mildly, I find your certainty in the face of ignorance to be somewhat amusing.
Asking people to honor incoherent Rights is like expecting an innumerate kindergarten student to balance your checkbook.
You are confusing your lack of knowledge and/or critical analysis with "incoherence."

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Bzzt! (none / 0) (#271)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 04:46:30 PM EST

My right to speak freely does not impose upon you any obligation except NOT to silence me.

What makes you think you can impose any obligation?else

That which cannot be formulated in this way, is not a right

If you say so.

You have no "right" to prevent me from expressing myself; there is no "second" in this "pair" to use your terminology.

Err, I have a freedom from your expression *by definition*.

I stopped reading trhurler. You arent demonstrating a damn thing, you're making speeches again. Stop trying to convert me to your secular faith.

Notice that my demonstration follows from the definition of Rights. I make no assumptions about the nature of Rights. Unlike you, I dont have to.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

this is difficult for you, so... (none / 0) (#272)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 04:58:29 PM EST

allow me anticipate your tireless incomprehension (it's not your fault, all religionists are immune to critical insight into their religion.)

Err, I have a freedom from your expression *by definition*.

Think about it. What makes you think you can subject me to your speech? Who gave you permission to make me your captive audience? Please dont ask me to leave the room if I dont want to listen, I'll ask you to leave the country in reply.

It's no use pretending speech happens in a vacuum without an audience. If there's no room for both the audience and the speaker, who should yield?

Rights are incoherent babble.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

this, i cannot pass up (none / 0) (#273)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 05:18:35 PM EST

You are confusing your lack of knowledge and/or critical analysis with "incoherence."

Trhurler, I am soooo much better read than you, it isnt even funny. You cling to a 300 year old philosophy (which you understand rather poorly) and appear *completely* ignorant of its well known objections. I havent made any revolutionary, original observations, here. Here's another: False certainty in one's dogma requires ignorance.

Now I've been rather civil with you, but I've grown quite tired of listening to your insults, so I'm going to have to end this little conversation and ask you to go fuck yourself. It's for your own good, you appear to have become frustrated at your inabilities.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

we interupt trhurler's babble to reveal his lies (none / 0) (#275)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 05:37:37 PM EST

I used the word "foolproof,"

No. The first instance of the word infallible in this entire fucking article and comments belongs to you.

and I was using it in the context of a government decision making process.

Technically, no you didnt. Substantively, why would this distinction matter? Do you believe "government decision making processes" use something other than human faculties of reason?

What are we going to do with you, trhurler? I realize you like to argue but this is ridiculous.

To put it mildly, I find your certainty in the face of ignorance to be somewhat amusing.

I'm smiling right now because I find the nonchalant manner in which you utter rhetoric very sexy.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

had enough? (none / 0) (#278)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 06:30:36 PM EST

My right to speak freely does not impose upon you any obligation except NOT to silence me.

Obviously if *your* so called Rights depend upon a form of *my* acquiescence, you dont have any. You have what I decide to give you, for as long as I decide to tolerate you. The fact that people can and will do whatever they want just wont penetrate your thick skull, will it?

Why do you insist on telling me what I must do? I insist on telling you what to do, too, but I dont pretend your compliance is some kind of fundamental religious debt. That would be cheating. That would be a good way to prevent you from thinking for yourself. I mean, Rights! You cannot violate Rights! They're Rights for crying out loud.

Ok, goodnight trhurler. It's been fun.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

So (none / 0) (#280)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 07:15:08 PM EST

In your continual insistance that I don't read carefully and don't think before I post and all that, have you ever considered that I don't go around posting four replies to one post as a matter of course? Pot? This is Kettle.

As for whether I've had enough, I could go on with ease, but somehow I feel like I'm talking to a less sophisticated cousin of Eliza, so I think I'll just let you wallow in your crude pragmatism and attacks on arguments you don't even grasp.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
OKAY! (none / 0) (#284)
by eLuddite on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 02:45:36 AM EST

Sounds like a man with a plan!

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

And which plan is that ? (none / 0) (#294)
by mami on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 06:22:45 PM EST

I just wonder how you two can stand this and say it's fun. I think it's the worst BS in the world to argue against trhurler's "logic".

It's a "nuke everything" logic. I guess trhurler relies on the fact that as long as he is spewing hate by words only, he can go away with anything under the protection of the constitution. He is relying on the attacked person to brake the law and engage in revenge "acts", not words.

He must be thriving on his addiction to cause pain by the power of his words and his "logic".

He has a very perverse taste of having fun. Time to change the neighborhood. I think you should give this guy up to talk to. Or may be not, for the sake of the poor kids he recruits, and for the archive's sake. Or do you have any other good reason, why fighting with this terrible guy ?

[ Parent ]
mami (5.00 / 1) (#296)
by eLuddite on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 12:35:24 PM EST

Trhurler's opinions are nothing more notorious than popular American ideology. I see no reason to personally dislike trhurler. If we knew each other in real life we might be close personal friends; neither his politics nor his cultivated, celebrity notoriety in a community of anonymous nicks indicates any moral failure in the man himself. He might be a nicer person than eLuddite. Probably is.

Ok, so he appears to have a high opinion of himself, is quick to dismiss ideas disagreeable to his faith, adopts a flamish tone in debate, and he votes Republican. So what? Sounds like he might be an American.

As far as kuro5hin nicks go, I prefer the argumentative to incoherent cranks like sheepdot or the right wing rating ninjas who stalk this place in a pathetic attempt to register and enforce their strong but silent disagreement.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Hmm.. (none / 0) (#297)
by Sheepdot on Tue Feb 26, 2002 at 08:09:16 PM EST

Looks like I haven't been ratings stalking you enough. I'll have to remedy that so I can live up to the "right-wing conspiracy" that you feel I am a part of. Looks like we exist even on K5!

I don't know if I should take offense as being called "right-wing" or laugh as your inability to accept anything *but* right and left wing. The middle ground is where *you* claim to be. Hell of a regulatory middle ground if you ask me.

[ Parent ]
"Hmmm..." <--- sheepdot "thinkin (5.00 / 1) (#298)
by eLuddite on Wed Feb 27, 2002 at 05:13:37 PM EST

looks like I haven't been ratings stalking you enough.

Not only that, it looks like you cannot read. I write "or" for a reason. Why do you read -- I mean, except to give yourself the flimsiest excuse to stray all over the place in barely coherent fashion.

I'll have to remedy that so I can live up to the "right-wing conspiracy"

What right wing conspiracy? Are you being a crank again?

laugh as your inability to accept anything *but* right and left wing.

That's a rather poor inference for something I never said. This is a pattern in your posts, sheepdot. You talk to yourself. There's absolutely no meaningful reason for me to defend against your imputations except for the opportunity to go "WTF?!"

(However, I will freely admit the socialists are out to get you so keep your guard up and never stop hmmm-ing.)

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Why not protecting Osama's FoS rights ? (none / 0) (#251)
by mami on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 09:06:15 AM EST

If I understand you correctly, protecting KKK speech and the hate revenge speech of some "potential lynched nigga" candidates, would lead to the conclusion that also Osama's FoS rights on U.S. soil need to be fiercely protected, right ? Or how do I see that ?

[ Parent ]
Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#255)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:11:27 PM EST

Taking into account the procedures that would be necessary to safely imprison him, I'd be in favor of whatever free speech he could have. In particular, if he wanted to write memoirs or anything like that, it would be wrong to suppress them. He may be an evil mass murderer, but he's still a human being. Even if we kill him, while he's still alive, he has certain rights, which we should protect in order that others might protect our own.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Indeed ... you are wrong (none / 0) (#281)
by mami on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 07:41:42 PM EST

in assuming I intend to prevent Osama from writing his memoirs.

What you are saying is that he can say anything he want, but he takes the chance that we shoot him for it... Great freedom of speech, indeed.

Basically, if Osama could go to Ground Zero and held up a sign, saying "Death to Satan America" with a smile and let him do some secret recruiting of unhappy John Walker types, then he could be safe because of his FoS rights, and his killing on U.S. soil would be unconstitutional, but when he does so from somewhere in the world, U.S. Armed Forces can go to whereever he is and shoot him ?

Not that I think he doesn't need to be captured or shot, because the evidence of his danger is enough to hunt him down, but imagine a case, where you haven't intelligence evidence.

Let's say some blond, blue-eyed German looking guy and one Middle Eastern looking type go in front of the ENRON building and hold up a sign with "Death to the capitalistic pigs. Down with the ENRON tower of bable-accounting". But they don't do anything more. Just standing and expressing their thoughts.

So, right now, the blond, blue-eyed German guy would fall under FoS, because there is no evidence that blue-eyed Germans have organized terror cells with the intent to harm the U.S., the middle Eastern guy is not protected under FoS, because there is suspicion of him to be Al-Queda member.

Now, Secret Service, searches both guys' traces they left on the internet. It turns out the blond-blue-eyed guy has accessed a couple of time some (US-based) NeoNazi sites and the Middle Eastern guy has no traces. On which grounds are you going to hold one or the other in detentions and deny them FoS rights ?

Why would most probably the NeoNazi guy be less at risk to have his FoS rights infringed than the Middle Eastern guy ? And how do you prevent them from having their friendly looking girlfriends from putting some stuff incognito into the building to blow it up ?

I offer you now the post of Tom Ridge for homeland defense. What are your going to do ?

How do you intend to prevent any terror act, if your intelligence isn't up to the task to understand the hate behind the friendly smile of your terrorist neighbor ?

Osama couldn't have recruited as many young college educated kids from Europe (or may be the U.S.) without his propaganda material on the net. Somewhere the hate behind the friendly smile needs an outlet to express itself somehow and to organize with others. Does that mean that preventive actions against terror acts (trying to reduce recruiting of little kids to end up in the wrong crows basically) will never be possible ?






[ Parent ]
who do you trust to make decisions? (5.00 / 3) (#81)
by ethereal on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:55:43 PM EST

If it is so clearly a lie, then what is the problem with letting the populace decide for themselves that it is a lie, the same way that they decide whether a new bus terminal is a good idea or who should be the President/Prime Minister/etc.? Do you not trust people to decide truth from falsehood?

It took me a while to decide how to reply to this article, because I was daunted by streetlawyer's arguments above. But I think that I've thought it through enough in my own mind to make my viewpoint clear. Here goes:

Censorship is about control. Not just control of what people say, but more importantly control of what other people hear. And I refuse to cede control of what I hear, or rather what I could choose to hear if I were so inclined, just because of anyone's fears that I can't handle it. If you don't think that people can be trusted to make their own decisions, based on taking in all the information available and considering it, then perhaps you should reconsider whether you want to be part of a democratic society. I will choose free will, as the song says, and free will means that you know of all the choices and can decide for yourself what path to take. Censorship is destructive of free will in the same way (although perhaps not always to the same degree) that the Nazis themselves were, and so I can't understand why censorship is always proposed as a response to Nazi hate speech.

As for me, I've read various Nazi propaganda and found it mostly ludicrous in the extreme. There's no way that a person would actually believe that stuff if given access to all of that propaganda and the opposing evidence that the Holocaust did really occur. But as soon as you try to shut those Nazi loons up, you've given them exactly the argument that their persecution complexes require, and a potent argument about why their speech would be suppressed unless maybe it were true ... ? No, it's far better for an open society to meet these scurrilious lies in the field of open public debate, and to leave them lying on that field forever exposed for the falsehoods that they are. We owe no less to our fellow man than to tell him always the truth, and to provide sufficient evidence of the truth that he cannot choose falsehood.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

More to the point... (none / 0) (#229)
by beergut on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:41:17 PM EST

It is people like mami who seek to control what others can hear because she is afraid that they cannot decide for themselves what is right and wrong, true or lies, good or evil. This comes from a deep-seated problem within herself, and within the minds of those like her, wherein she finds herself lacking in the ability to discern these things. She projects her own shortcomings, flaws in her character, onto others, and then proceeds to bash them for it, whether correctly or not, in order that she does not seem indecisive or less than smugly self-righteous, upright, and morally superior herself.

Leftism 101. Brought to you by the letters "K", and "M", and the number 1917. This stuff works its way into people's brains like a cancer, and renders them unable to think in any but the most gutteral, suspicious, self-loathing ways. The problem is, then, that they think that all their neighbors and countrymen are like them, and that "someone should do something about it."

Oh, and let us not forget that the "Nazi" party was the "National Socialist Workers' Party."

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

One step further (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by A Trickster Imp on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 12:26:52 AM EST

> but ask yourself: what good is a right to free speech if it only means you can
> say popular things?

I often go one step further. What good is free speech if every action is regulated or prohibited? It is the result when one accepts virtually unrestricted mob rule as a basis for political morality rather than freedom. Forcing those in power to have to whip the mob, however briefly, into a 51% majority to gain power doesn't really raise the bar that much.











[ Parent ]
I can only look at this from historical view (3.00 / 3) (#69)
by Vicegrip on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:13:53 PM EST

These nazi sites are about history revisionism and lies. This, if you will recall, is also what the original nazis were about too.

The problem as a society is we've had that war. That war cost millions of innocent lives abd took a great country into total ruin-- all because of a nazi government that came to power through lies and large propaganda machine.

And so now, I come to this point. I believe it is proper to shut down nazi propaganda sites, not because they hurt people or aren't "politically correct" but because we've been there before and they don't deserve to be heard anymore. Not after what they did.

I do recognize that there is a precendent issue here: what happens when my opinions are deemed 'offensive'. Unfortunately, in this case, we are in a world where there are still active nazis.. still trying to create destruction; still full of lies, propaganda and hate.

Humanity cannot ever again make the mistake of ignoring facist retoric in the name of human rights; rights these nazis would so quickly remove from us if they ever came to power again.

Wrong (none / 0) (#74)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:31:36 PM EST

"Fascist rhetoric" did not cause World War II. The causes were economic and political in nature, and the sad truth is that fascism and nazi politics were just the symptom; Europe has had a culture of warlike hatred for neighbors since before recorded history. Every time something bad happened(ie, the economy of Germany between the world wars,) they blamed their neighbors, they blamed the Jews, they blamed anyone they could, and they went to war over it.

This is why they outright ban speech in Europe; they want to believe it was "just the Nazis" when in fact it is Europe for the last several thousand years. Granted, things appear to be changing, but one could reasonably ask if that isn't just because Europe as a whole is prosperous at the moment.

Freedom of political expression is all or nothing; if you stand on a principle that everyone has a right to express his viewpoint, then nobody will be silenced, and if you do not, then whoever is in power will silence whomever he wishes, and your opinion will just be another one under his boot.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I stronly disagree (none / 0) (#79)
by Vicegrip on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:52:50 PM EST

>"Fascist rhetoric" did not cause World War II.
I see.. perhaps the nazis didn't invade Europe afterall in the name of a greater Germany. I must be mistaken.

>The causes were economic and political in nature,
>and the sad truth is that fascism and nazi politics
>were just the symptom;
The nazis took advantage of social conditions at the time. I will give you that. But to extrapolate that they were the natural *unavoidable* consequence of them is something I strongly disagree with.

>Europe has had a culture of warlike hatred for neighbors since before recorded history.
So has every square inch of this planet. But in that war, 6 million jews alone were murdered. The nazis bulldozered over everybody, murdering everyone in their path who didn't bend over to their will. I don't know, but to me that sounds like a good enough reason to say "we don't wanna hear your ideas anymore". Chamberlain made your mistake too before the war. Thinking that the nazi rhetoric could be countered, that Hitler could be reasoned with... that people would do the right thing. So they let them be, ignored the propaganda and lies, and look what it cost Europe.

>Every time something bad happened(ie, the economy of Germany between the world wars,)
>they blamed their neighbors, they blamed the Jews, they blamed
>anyone they could, and they went to war over it.
Yes, and this is exactly what this planet has become too small to accomodate anymore. Civilization will not survive world war III.

[ Parent ]
Different things (5.00 / 3) (#82)
by Pseudoephedrine on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:04:37 PM EST

It is ridiculous to equate Ernst Zundel's rantings with the Holocaust. One is an old man writing papers, the other involves the death of six million people, as you yourself pointed out.

Allowing freedom of speech does not mean we condone those viewpoints or allow them to express themselves physically - we can crack down on hate groups for assault and robbery and vandalism without having to violate their rights to free speech at the same time.

If they aren't using physical force to carry out their agenda, who cares? It's just so much talk with nothing to back it up. On the other hand, if they instigate violence, what good will banning their speech do that simply throwing them in jail for assault and battery won't?

It wasn't speeches that caused World War 2, it was action. And that is an important difference. Freedom of speech and freedom of action are not synonymous.


"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
[ Parent ]
Fine, but you're still wrong:) (4.50 / 2) (#83)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:08:25 PM EST

I see.. perhaps the nazis didn't invade Europe afterall in the name of a greater Germany. I must be mistaken.
No, just foolish enough to believe that Hitler could ever have done what he did without the economic context that was the essential underlying cause of his rise to power. I'm not saying Hitler wasn't a Nazi - I'm not saying Nazis are ok to have in power. What I'm saying is, Nazis do not inevitably rise to power; only very odd circumstances allow this, and those circumstances can be prevented or corrected. By itself, their propaganda is harmless.
But to extrapolate that they were the natural *unavoidable* consequence of them is something I strongly disagree with.
If not the Nazis, someone else would have taken advantage of the circumstances. Many tried; you just never heard of them because the first rule of revolution is to stamp out all other revolutionaries.
But in that war, 6 million jews alone were murdered.
Why don't you cry for the 50 million dead Russians, or the millions of Chinese? You think all those Russians were soldiers?! Why aren't you crying for the millions of homosexuals, gypsies, Catholics, and so on who were also murdered? Because your argument is based on emotion rather than fact, I'd guess.
Chamberlain made your mistake too before the war.
No. Chamberlain made a very different mistake. He tried to counter military aggression with pacifism. You act as though there is no difference between talking trash about people and killing them.
Yes, and this is exactly what this planet has become too small to accomodate anymore. Civilization will not survive world war III.
You'd better hope otherwise, because the next worldwide economic disaster(not the little things we see on CNN, but a real worldwide disaster) will be the next world war, whether nazis are involved or not.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
The difference (none / 0) (#111)
by Vicegrip on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:45:59 AM EST

The difference is that you believe speech in of itself should be sancrosanct, whilst I believe that it is truth that should be. Speech that conveys lies, violence and historical revisionsim is not useful to society or good for its long term health. I agree that the dividing line is not usually clear, but when it is, as I believe it is in the case of nazi propaganda, society has duty to act.

You are definitely wrong about propaganda in my opinion. This is because people in general tend to do very little thinking about their views, adopting for their views whatever is the loudest or most appealing speech around.

Propaganda is very dangerous, because it is only its delivery that matters. Many educated people I know formulate most of their strongest opinions based on 30 second segments on CNN about issues that have taken decades to come into being. People do not seek truth-- they seek the easy solution. And that solution, more often than not, is a lie.

Your statistic (which is incorrect I believe) about the russians is ironic as the reason that the nazis targeted them is because they were communists. Communism was viewed by the nazis as a jewish plot to undermine progress in the western world. Additionally, the fact that Chamberlain was a pacifict does not in anyway undercut my criticism of him for ignoring the nazi propaganda.

The mere fact that history is such a poorly delivered subject in school these days is evidence enough for me that nazi propaganda has no place in civilized societies.

[ Parent ]
And who decides? (4.00 / 1) (#120)
by skyknight on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:59:10 AM EST

The difference is that you believe speech in of itself should be sancrosanct, whilst I believe that it is truth that should be.

Sure, it would be great if somehow we could magically prevent any lies from being published. I don't think that was ever in question. The real problem is simply the matter of who gets to decide what is and isn't "truth." Censorship involves governments (or packs of thieves; read my comment on the main thread), and such groups of people always have their own agenda to promote. As a result, they deem whatever it is with which they disagree to be a "malicious lie" and everything they promote to be divine words inspired by the one true god.

It's a tired and over used metaphor, but I think that the "slippery slope" is quite appropriate here. There are certain things that you might like to see go away, but there is no way that one can accomplish such an end without utterly and completely trampling freedom of expression. It might start with regulating against Nazis, but where would it stop? Republican material would be censored when the Democrats were in power, Democrat material would be censored while Republicans were in power, and minority groups such as Libertarians, Communists and Greens would be censored all the time.

Quite simply, freedom of expression is quantized into two states: complete, and non-existant. Which one do you desire?



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Oh really? (none / 0) (#203)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 11:56:38 AM EST

This is because people in general tend to do very little thinking about their views, adopting for their views whatever is the loudest or most appealing speech around.
Normally, that's used as an argument FOR free speech, and AGAINST tyranny. Glad to see that your propaganda skills are top notch.
Your statistic (which is incorrect I believe) about the russians is ironic as the reason that the nazis targeted them is because they were communists.
No. The Nazis targetted them because they were what was geographically next after Poland. The rest was merely excuses. Anti-semitism was an excuse. Empire was all Hitler cared about.
Propaganda is very dangerous, because it is only its delivery that matters.
And you are stupid enough to think that the society that falls to this propaganda has any business silencing people on the basis of their views. Whatever.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
First one to toss insults loses (none / 0) (#235)
by Vicegrip on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 08:09:57 PM EST

I'm done here. Ta ta...

[ Parent ]
Hehe (none / 0) (#237)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 09:56:11 PM EST

If you leave a discussion every time someone is rude to you, you won't be conversing much on this website:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I think it was Einstein... (none / 0) (#225)
by beergut on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:07:58 PM EST

... who said, and I paraphrase:

"However World War III is fought, it is sure that World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Furthermore... (4.50 / 2) (#106)
by KOTHP on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:57:54 PM EST

Whatever damage was done by Nazi propaganda in creating WWII and the Holocaust was not done in an environment of free and open speech. I don't think anyone would have felt too safe spreading information about the logical flaws of the Nazi platform in 1940 Germany.

The original argument focuses on the ideas themselves rather than the arena in which they compete. Essentially, "look at the the horrible things that happened when only government-backed ideas X were allowed to be expressed. Obviously ideas X were wrong, so now we must only allow the new and improved government-backed ideas Y to be expressed."

I share the opinion of many that as long as all ideas are allowed to compete in a free and open forum, people will prove to be pretty good at sniffing out B.S. when they are presented with it.

[ Parent ]

And what would you do with the Communists? (none / 0) (#90)
by darthaggie on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:29:38 PM EST

I've taken the liberty of modifying one of your paragraphs a bit:

Humanity cannot ever again make the mistake of ignoring communists retoric in the name of human rights; rights these communists would so quickly remove from us if they ever came to power again.

So, we should outlaw Communism? according to my understanding of your argument, yes. Am I mistaken?

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

The comparison with communism is ironic (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by Vicegrip on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 03:59:32 PM EST

As I've mentionned in another post, communists were significant targets of the nazis. Why? Because they judged communism to be the fruit of a plot to undermine the greater civilizations of Europe. A plot by jews to control none-jews.

Communism at its origin was a belief system with the goal to make everyone equal and give everyone the same opportunities. In the end it morphed into a revolution by the people against their tzar and became and ugly beast. Yet socialist ideals are still prevalent today and you do them great injury by comparing them to nazism. Where do you think wellfare, subsidized education, or free health care come from?

In fact, what I have been saying is that I believe in the case of nazi propaganda it is proper and right to make an exception to the greater good of freedom of speech. An exception-- not a generalization.

[ Parent ]
Welfare, Education, Health Care (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by Wildgoose on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 07:01:05 PM EST

...had nothing to do with communists.

Here in the UK we have had guaranteed free universal education since 1870, an act passed by Gladstone's Liberal government. Here in the UK Welfare provision was almost universal for 100s of years through Poor Relief, and became truly universal in 1905 (iirc) thanks to Lloyd-George and the Liberal Party (again). Free Health care became universal when the Beveridge Report was acted upon, (Beveridge being yet another Liberal).

Where are the communists in all this? Nowhere. They were more interested in filling Nazi death camps like Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen with their own "enemies of the state". That's right. The Nazi concentration camps in East Germany continued to be used until 1950, 5 years after the war in Europe ended. Used by Communists. People who have repeatedly shown themselves all over the world to be no different to Nazis.

[ Parent ]

You are so damn right !!!! (none / 0) (#119)
by bigjocker on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:18:18 AM EST

We all have freedom of speech, but you must draw a line somewhere. Thats the difficult part of it all, but we must do it. They have to shut down nazi propaganda sites, they have been judged and convicted by the humanity, they are guilty of human crimes. And it goes beyond that: a lot of people still get disturbed whenever the subject is spoken of. Shut the damn sites down, and keep an eye on the publishers. They are dangerous people. The people who dont learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

[ Parent ]
They will be heard (none / 0) (#125)
by Tatarigami on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 04:07:18 PM EST

Shutting down websites, banning the publication of books, breaking up public meetings -- it's all pointless in the long run. The message will always find another medium, whether it's pamphlets run off on a household printer, graffitti in an alleyway or muttered conversation around a dinner table.

Worse, the more you try to squash the distribution of a particular message, the more convinced the people distributing it become that they are right, and must be heard.

If someone already believes the holocaust was a hoax and feels justified by that 'fact', you'll never convince them otherwise, by any means at your disposal. The best way to steer them away from revisionism is to give them access to the opposing view, and a counterargument for every point raised by the revisionists, at the time they first begin considering their opinions on the topic.

I'm also a firm believer that in presenting only one side of an argument, you're encouraging people to fill in the blanks on the other side for themselves -- and you'll be lucky if what they come up with isn't more extreme than what you've tried to shield them from.

[ Parent ]
What are rights? (4.50 / 8) (#76)
by Pseudoephedrine on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:38:19 PM EST

The problem with human rights is that of semantic ambiguity. We use the term 'human rights' to mean a broad category of various laws, regulations, and privileges. Much of the confusion and complaint over the issue comes from this.

I won't claim to be any sort of authority, but here's there working definition I use:

Rights are things that cannot be done to you without your express consent. If you have the 'right' to free speech, then that means no one has the right to limit or control what you say unless you agree to let them. Rights are absolute because they are prohibitions. In an ideal world, rights would be as broad as possible without being self-contradictory, but unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world.

Rights are _not_ various privileges, handouts and government schemes. You don't have the 'right' to 'shelter' or 'a name'(UNCHR) because these are not prohibitions against shelter or a name. Rather, these are privileges and enablements, and should be called as such. Don't say 'You have the right to shelter', say 'We consider it worthwhile to give you shelter and therefore, we will give you one'.

Rights are absolute statements of principle. Saying that someone has a 'right' to shelter obscures the issue, because what you really mean to say is 'Everyone should have a shelter'. This is a very different statement. Saying something is a right gives it a gravity and necessity that otherwise it would not have.

What trhurler appears to be complaining about is the erosion of rights (in my definition) in favour of privileges. One has the right to free speech but one can also be privileged to never hear hate speech. Confusing one with the other leads to the downfall of freedom.

On a side note, I agree that the CHRC is a Bad Thing [tm] as a Canadian, but for a different reason. The CHRCom is a faceless bureaucracy responsible to no one. The Canadian Charter of Human Rights is a piece of bureaucratic regulation pretending to be a law. If parliament really wants to get rid of racism, it should outright make it illegal (as inciting genocide is) and let the public court system handle it. Since they know this would be struck down by the SCC, they let it remain a bureaucratic regulation with a private court system and its own rules, unable to be brought to task over its many abuses.


"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Holy shit, I agree with trhurler? (4.88 / 17) (#85)
by gbd on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:20:35 PM EST

*blink*

Though I always find government/corporate censorship to be thoroughly distasteful, I am particularly opposed to instances such as this. Sites like Zundelsite fulfill a very specific and important public service .. though not the service that their maintainers think! I'm sure their maintainers like to believe that they are "getting the word out", and indeed they are. They are communicating a clear and unmistakable message to society: There are some very sick people out there, and we would do well to not ignore them.

As another example, take Fred Phelps' infamous godhatesfags.com. I believe this to be an important Web site .. not because its content has any intrinsic value whatsoever, but because it serves as an excellent and frank reminder of the level of psychosis and blind hatred that infects a small segment of our population. There's a distinct line between condemning homosexual activity based on Scriptural principles and carrying signs reading "MATT IN HELL" and "AIDS KILLS FAGS DEAD" outside of Matthew Shephard's funeral, and Phelps is so far over that line that I doubt he'd be able to find his way back.

Is there a danger that Web sites such as these will spread their hate to people and places where it does not already exist? Possibly, but to be honest, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. I can't imagine that a moderate person would sit down for ten minutes in front of Phelps' site and walk away a mouth-frothing, funeral-picketing lunatic. By and large, if you walk away from a site like Zundelsite a militant Holocaust denier, it's probably because you came to the site as a militant Holocaust denier. Sure, it's possible that sites such as these might push some borderline cases over the edge, but I think the risk is worth it.

Holocaust deniers and Nazi sympathizers are among the worst human scum on this planet, as are Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist "Church" (enclosed in quotes to stress that they speak for no "Christians" other than themselves.) But we, as a society, gain nothing by sweeping them under the rug and pretending that they don't exist. They have the right to free speech, but even more fundamental than that is the right of decent society to know its enemies and have a window into their tortured and wretched souls.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.

ok, I've got a question. (3.50 / 2) (#91)
by pb on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:39:53 PM EST

Can I invoke Godwin's Law here, and make this article disappear from the Front Page?

Just curious ...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
Not About Neonazism, but Free Speech in General (5.00 / 4) (#93)
by QuoteMstr on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:04:26 PM EST

Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. [319 U.S. 624, 641] As governmental pressure toward unity becomes greater, so strife becomes more bitter as to whose unity it shall be. Probably no deeper division of our people could proceed from any provocation than from finding it necessary to choose what doctrine and whose program public educational officials shall compel youth to unite in embracing. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

The case is made difficult not b ecause the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism [319 U.S. 624, 642] and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

- U.S. Surpreme Court, WEST VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION v. BARNETTE, 1943. The case decided that the flag salute (that is, the pledge of alleigance) cannot be compulsory.

Why are you citing this ? (none / 0) (#293)
by mami on Fri Feb 15, 2002 at 05:53:47 PM EST

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

I don't quite see where this fits in. If "officials" can be "bought", like legislators and judges, then you can tweak the constitution to allow that, what you wanted to prevent, namely the coercion of citizens through laws. If it's the money of "crooks", which can buy "legislators", then most probably the constitution will represent the interests of the crooks more than the interests of the people. Is the choice of Supreme Court Judges beyond the influence of political parties and the parties beyond influence of political interest groups and the power of political influence groups not dependent on how much money they have ?

May be I don't understand your example. Of course, you shouldn't be able to "force" a citizen to a pledge of the alleigance, as long as you are not servant of the government or the military. That example is too easy.

Can you explain what you had in mind of proving aisde that the constitution is set up to prevent the political representatives to change the constitution in a way that the laws allow coercion ? Is there anything which can't be bought ?

[ Parent ]

First they came for the Nazis... (2.50 / 2) (#94)
by Wah on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:04:35 PM EST

...wait that doesn't sound right.
--
Choas and order, flowing down the drain of time. Ain't it purdy? | SSP
Note about your note.(sort of ot) (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by thePositron on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:43:19 PM EST

TRHURLER WRITES:
"Note that this is not a case of yelling fire in a crowded theater"

This is one of the most misquoted phrases in the english language. The phrase is actually yelling; "FALSELY fire in a crowded theater". In cases subsequent to where this phrase was introduced it was found that this was poor argument for squelching our right to free speech. In other words it is not an applicable test of whether some types of speech are allowable or not under the First amendment.



This subject is more complex (4.00 / 2) (#98)
by Wing Envy on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:45:49 PM EST

Human rights more or less boils down to safety.
Say, for instance, you're in a crowd of many "sane" individuals, but one exists who spouts out racial slurs, calls the pope a bastard, says women are all whores, etc. and in the process has pissed off everyone around him to the point that some physical altercation may take place against this individual- I'll call him "Phil".

1. Phil has every right to say what he wants, he isn't specifically saying these comments directly to anyone in particular, he isn't saying anything harmful to anyone, and yet everyone is still offended in some way. I personally find it necessary to silence Phil as opposed to calming the others. I do it for his safety as well as the others.

2. Phil writes a book. He says the same things he spoke before in public, but fortunately he is no longer in the mob, so therefore I allow him to do so.

3. Phil is reading his book in public. People harrass him, knowing the content. Phil is keeping to himself, not instigating anything in any way. I silence those who harrassed him.

4. Phil decides to organize a march. The opposition is there as well. The event is peaceful, although tax dollars support the security required to maintain the peace.

5. Phil decides his organization is going to adopt-a-highway. For all intents and purposes, this is legal, yet the neighborhood protests- commits felonious acts, and Phil is no longer able to adopt-a-highway, although Phil never committed any crime. *See 1(?)

6. Phil is harrassed at his home. Destruction to his property has been done, although no one has been caught. (?)

7. Phil builds a website based on his views. People are offended, even though he didn't specifically single any one person out. People have the ability to contact him and find him- in fact, a greater number are aware of him than ever before. What happens next? Do you flood the justice system with acts committed against him- paid for with tax dollars, or do you 1.- silence the one to save the mob?


You don't get to steal all the deficiency. I want some to.
-mrgoat

Not really (none / 0) (#107)
by KOTHP on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 12:16:26 AM EST

A just government is based on a set of laws, not on utilitarianism. Apply your set of questions to Rosa Parks riding at the front of the bus. It would have been safer for her and less trouble for everyone involved to just silence her - which is exactly what was attempted at the time.

My point is that the 'wrong' set of answers to your questions would create a government system that merely supressed minority opinion any time it offended a large enough number of people.

Furthermore, the same set of answers would reward inappropriate behavior, namely that of a violent mob. Since they're just going to beat down that nut Phil anyway, let's save them the trouble and have the government silence him for them.

[ Parent ]

Censoring speech will chain us all (5.00 / 10) (#104)
by Eloquence on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 10:29:57 PM EST

I am a free speech absolutist. I think there's no kind of speech that should be banned. There are actions associated with speech that are and should be illegal (e.g. creating a panic), but these need not be, nor are they, prosecuted as speech, but as actions. I should also point out that I'm a German, which makes the issue of the Holocaust obviously particularly sensitive. Let me first discuss the situation in Germany.

In Germany, after the war, several laws have been created that ban Nazi propaganda -- text, pictures, music. Several Nazi organizations have been outlawed as well. Currently the German government is in the process of trying to get the NPD, a neo-nazi political party, banned. (This process has been hampered as it became public that several of the key NPD members, who were cited in the lawsuit to show that the party is unconstitional, were in fact informers of the secret service.)

The Holocaust and other Nazi crimes have been treated in a somewhat strange fashion in contemporary German culture. Like a terrible monster whose name must not be said aloud, the public discussion has mostly just referred to "our terrible past", and been centered on public events of shared concernment and sadness, such as visits of the concentration camps. (In one of the most embarrassing public events, our minister of defense has recently visited Auschwitz, accompanied by 160 uniformed soldiers.)

The historical facts are less well understood. A public exhibition called "Verbrechen der Wehrmacht" ("Crimes of the Wehrmacht") that documents the participation of common soldiers in mass murder, for example, has been criticized even by high level conservative politicians. The "Sudetendeutsche", the often openly neo-nazi people who have been expelled from Eastern Europe after the war, are still referred to as "victims" of the other side and used as a political tool. When our minister of the interior recently spoke at a meeting of Sudeten-Germans, he shortly mentioned Hitler's crimes and was surprised when he was immediately booed by the rather conservative audience. Still, these are "mainstream" organizations, their meetings are reported regularly, they are paid lip service by politicians, and criticizing them is almost taboo. Similarly, the continuity of nazis in conservative politics and industry after the war is historically well-documented (and to some extent even continues today), but is also a taboo in public discussions. So is likening or comparing any political figure from the mainstream to the radical right: Godwin's Law seems to be widespread even outside the Internet in Germany.

The understanding of nazi crimes by the German youth is limited. Recent surveys revealed that 20% of the German youth do not even know what Auschwitz was. That's the consequence of the emotional, but not rational debate of the Holocaust. I'm fairly sure that many kids only became really aware of the meaning of the Holocaust with movies such as "Schindler's List" and "Life is Beautiful", both not made in Germany. Given this, it is not surprising that the nazi movement is gaining new members especially in East Germany. Fueled by high unemployment and poverty, kids are joining nazi groups which offer simple explanations: It's all the foreigners' fault, Germany must "rise" again and assert its superiority. The towns and cities with the least immigrants are often the most nationalist. The problem is that these idiotic arguments are not really discussed by the mainstream media. In fact, mainstream politicians have used them as well to boost their platforms.

To watch an interview with someone from the radical right on German TV is quite impressive. The interviewer will frequently cut short the interviewee, attack him personally, and twist his words. The problem is: They don't really know how to counter the propaganda. The Internet is changing all that, and a new culture of political discussion is evolving. I have witnessed discussions with neo-nazis where they actually changed their opinion: amazing, but true. And this brings me to my free speech arguments.

Discussion is necessary

A frequent argument is that allowing neo-nazi claims to be spread will strengthen their numbers. Why do kids join neo-nazi movements in the first place? Because they are offered simple explanations which do not contradict their knowledge and resonate well with their emotions. It seems only logical that propaganda claims can be better refuted if those who should do the refuting (parents, teachers) already have some experience at doing so. This can be well-accomplished on Internet forums and by looking at the available propaganda. On the other hand, banning nazi speech makes exactly this impossible. Indymedia Switzerland has recently been sued (by a Holocaust victim organization) for not deleting nazi posts from their discussion boards. A German journalist, who has reported extensively on the nazi-scene, was sued for linking to nazi websites on his own site, in spite of the fact that he is a leftist. The list goes on.

Censoring nazi propaganda will always limit our knowledge about this propaganda, and thereby our means of refuting it. It will even endanger those who publically oppose it. It will not destroy the mindset, and it will not limit its propagation. Think about it: How many people become nazis by visiting nazi websites? Doesn't that seem a little bit unlikely?

The slippery slope

There is also a slippery slope argument, which is both technical and social in nature. Technically, it should not require much explanation here. The Internet by its very nature seems to resist attempts of censorship. Such attempts have been answered with mirroring even by opponents of the propaganda in question, and even in much more extreme cases (remember the Christian site that listed abortion doctors and striked those out who had been shot? that one was mirrored, too). Projects like Freenet aim to make censorship impossible. The slippery slope argument is that we either choose to arbitrarily prosecute some violations of the law and not others, or that we have to destroy the Internet and turn it into something entirely different, which most people would see as undesirable (I won't go into detail as to why I think it is -- a site like this one would not be possible on that TV-like Internet, so if you're reading this, you can't really argue that it's desirable). This argument is very plausible to anyone who understands the technology involved.

The social slippery slope argument is somewhat different. It says that when we ban speech that is offensive or "false", we risk having this law misapplied, since we are transferring a capability to our courts that they do not have: To decide, generally, what is true and what is false. Courts have made terribly wrong rulings in the past, and they will continue to do so. They are a very imperfect, and giving them blanket powers is always highly dangerous. Their rulings on what is "true" and "false" speech would change as the culture around them changes. After the nazis, the communists would be prosecuted, or maybe anti-copyright or pro-drug activists. The social slippery slope argument is not generally applicable. Some countries, like Germany, have laws that specifically outlaw nazi speech. Here we need not expect a slippery slope of this kind. We need to worry about having these laws applied to the new media, though, as that would eventually chain us irrevocably.

Today, a German ministry in the state of NRW has sent letters to ISPs in that state requiring them to censor nazi sites on their DNS servers -- a terribly inefficient measure, yet the first one of its kind. The first link in the chain is already forged. To advocate censorship always promotes the ideology that creates more of it.
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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Absolutism is absolutely wrong (4.33 / 3) (#109)
by Sunir on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 01:56:31 AM EST

Everything in moderation, even moderation. Free speech absolutism is one of those easy answers to complex questions that you're complaining about, Erik. While it may be convenient to assume that allowing anyone to say anything at any time will be safely checked by other mechanisms, it just isn't true. Chapter 11 in the Art of War will explain why cutting off the information supply of your enemy is vital. Thus, banning the list of abortion doctors to protect their lives is vital--especially since you can only arrest someone after they commit a crime; an expensive and useless trade off for simplistic idealism.

Similarly, the right to a fair trial trumps free speech any day. A fair trial is not just the right of the accused, but the victims' and society's. Tainting the jury is a travesty of justice because a guilty man may go free. The other option is jury sequestring which is a dubious moral decision in itself, bordering on imprisonment of the innocent.

So I don't think it's legitimate to claim absolutism has any place in a democratic society. The whole purpose of a democracy is balances. Absolutism is the extreme unbalance.

So Freenet--the network itself, not the technology--should probably be illegal due to the nature of its design and the content disseminated on it. I remember seeing the Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo (Canada's most famous serial rapist/murderer couple) trial transcripts float around on the underground BBS networks. That was illegal due to the publication ban; that whole right to a fair trial bit rearing its ugly speech-oppressive head. Making the dissemination of the transcripts illegal did nothing to subvert the democratic principles that allowed us to set up the network in the first place. The transcripts would be published eventually, just not immediately. Society remained unharmed and probably better off.

So, everything in moderation, including moderation. You don't want to restrict speech too much, but only insomuch as to keep society rolling forward.

Deciding how much moderation is a complex question, like I said. Having no restriction is too simple an answer. Restricting all information about Nazis is also too simple an answer, as you have noticed.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

There is no truth in relativism (4.00 / 1) (#126)
by Eloquence on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 04:25:30 PM EST

With "absolutist", I do not mean that I would not change my opinion if better argumetns are made -- just to make this clear in advance. I also do not consider some things "speech" which others might. The US First Amendment, for example, has been used to protect stripper clubs, and while I obviously don't think they should be prosecuted, I find it rather arbitrary to classify sexual expression as "speech".

Everything in moderation, even moderation

No. That is a false doctrine. This argument, which comes in many forms, can be summarized as "the truth is always in the middle", and it is nonsense, dangerous nonsense even. It has been used to justify burning witches: If we can't provide any evidence that a woman is a witch, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't kill her, since "the truth is always in the middle" and so the suspicions must at least be to some degree justified.

Like it or not, sometimes it is not only desirable but necessary to take "absolute" stances. That, again, doesn't mean that you won't change your opinion: Just that you will hold on to it until better evidence is presented. Everything else would be arbitrary, meaningless relativism: "All statements are of equal value" -- including, unfortunately, the statement itself, making it a meaningless expression. All truth is approximation, surely, and we must reject dogma. But it should not surprise us that those who have most strongly supported dogmatic thought have alwayse seeked to disparage the relevance of science, and to advocate relativism: After all, if you want to make arbitrary statements, you first need to disarm science.

After this rant, let's examine your actual arguments:

Trial transcripts

This is a reiteration of a false argument you have made before: That declaring free speech absolute would also somehow imply having to give up private information. These are clearly separate issues, deciding to publish something, or trying to control something that is published. If trial transcripts which are supposed to remain private for a limited time to protect the trial become public, this is unfortunate. Someone may be responsible for leaking these documents, or the security as a whole may not have been sufficient. The cause of the leak can be determined and it can be closed to prevent further leakage. If this is done properly, it will not repeat. Period. (Whether trial transcripts need to be kept private at all is a different matter -- I have no strong opinion on that, but I tend to favor a point of view that gives the public as much insight as reasonably possible.)

Now, if it happens, to think that you could prosecute the people who somehow take part in the distribution is not only naive but extremely dangerous and undemocratic. You know that these documents would be popular, and "you" (the government) are in part responsible that they became public, now you're trying to blame the public for distributing them? Shut down the BBS, the Freenet nodes, the freespace mirrors, the K5 stories, the newspapers and magazines citing excerpts etc. etc.? To think that you would go down this road is frightening.

Let's examine another case where I do have some understanding for the opposite side, the abortion doctor hit list. It doesn't really matter if it's about abortion doctors or any other group, of course. Here we have a list of people, with their addresses and even photos of their children (and possibly the names of the schools they go to), with the implied threat to kill these people. Now let's say one of those fanatics out there visits the site and is properly motivated by the propaganda. Not only that, he finds all the information he needs to act on his impulses directly on the site. Let's say that he kills an abortion doctor, his wife, and his children. Now, do the people publishing the site bear part of the responsibility? I think they do.

This is, however, not a "speech crime", in my opinion. It's not the opinion that they expressed that is dangerous, it's the act of assisting people in committing a crime, and could be punished as such. Reasonable efforts can be made to determine the identity of the authors, even if published on a technically anonymous network: These are groups of people that can be observed and infiltrated. They can be ordered to stop publishing these threats, and if they do not comply, be arrested.

Note that, again, we do not need to prosecute any of those who aided in the distribution -- operators of proxy servers, visitors, web browser manufacturer, peer-to-peer nodes. We merely need to prosecute those responsible for assisting in the murder. On the other hand, in the case of a site merely publishing statements like "KILL PRESIDENT BUSH" or "DESTROY THE STATUE OF LIBERTY AS AN OPPRESSIVE SYMBOL OF CAPITALISM" or "HOW TO BUILD A NUCLEAR BOMB: YOUR HELPFUL GUIDE FROM AL QAEDA", we can likely safely ignore such statements, as both the motivation alone or the knowledge alone are without danger. (Take note, paranoid FBI agents!)

Now let's examine another case, which you do not cite, but which I find relevant nevertheless: slander. I'm ambivalent about slander laws, since they can be used to prosecute critics, but I can see how an individual or a corporation could suffer enormous damage from false statements. This does not appear to be the case, however, if the person accused of the slander is anonymous: Surely, some people would still believe it, but it would be received much more critically and only acknowledged if a lot of evidence is provided. To protect whistleblowers and to maintain free speech, it therefore seems reasonable to prosecute slander only if someone admits responsibility for it, that is, to treat anonymous slander as protected free speech. This is already practiced to some extent in reality, but should be formalized in laws or precedents, so that even if the anonymity is not technically secure, it cannot be exposed. In other cases, however, we can again prosecute the individual responsible and need not go after common carriers (they are completely unconcerned since they do not need to provide any data, like names behind IP addresses, as the identity is already known).

While I do not agree with your "everything in moderation" statement, I do therefore agree that simple answers to complex questions are often dangerous. Free speech especially is a tightrope walk. But, given your statements about Freenet, you seem to be willing to practically run down the slippery slope and throw all common sense overboard in order to achieve what you call "moderation".
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Is Freenet a decentralized conspiracy? (3.00 / 1) (#129)
by Sunir on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 06:36:41 PM EST

I am not a lawyer, blah blah blah. Just playing a little devil's advocate.

The technology of Freenet is not illegal, but since it's clear illegal material is in the majority on Freenet (assuming that it's hasn't changed since the last time I checked--but you can use Gnutella as another example), and it's clear that each node is aiding the distribution of such material through the caching, the circumstantial evidence is that each node on Freenet is conspiring to disseminate illegal content. If the intent of a node operator is to break the law, where's the slippery slope? I believe you're looking in the wrong place. The slippery slope was when the first conviction based solely on circumstantial evidence took place, and that had nothing to do with the Internet.

It's very much like a biker gang. While it's possible that the club members are just hanging out with other people who like Harleys, the overall intent of the organization is criminal. So, the police investigate on the presumption that there is a conspiracy to break the law. These warezing networks are the same thing, except non-centralized.

I don't think it's enough that Ian Clarke intended Freenet to subvert totalitarian regimes because Freenet itself was subverted.

As for your rebuttal about the abortion doctor hit list, if I recall correctly, it wasn't aiding or abetting or conspiracy because the perpetrator wasn't aware of a specific crime that will be committed based on his website. So, it could only be banned under hate crime provisions, much like you can be arrested for incitement (i.e. speech) to riot even if you didn't throw a brick. There's a specificity requirement that wasn't being met. He was not assisting in the murder if he didn't know the murderer.

By the way, where did the discussion of proxy servers, etc. come in? I don't think that's relevant to the discussion.

You will now draw the parallels between the abortion hit list and Freenet (or Gnutella). The node operators on Freenet do not know each other either. But it's still criminal, so maybe there's a new class of conspiracy facilitated by the Internet?

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Copyright is a conspiracy (4.00 / 1) (#132)
by Eloquence on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 07:12:31 PM EST

Just playing a little devil's advocate.

How so? I thought you really believed that.

The technology of Freenet is not illegal, but since it's clear illegal material is in the majority on Freenet (assuming that it's hasn't changed since the last time I checked--but you can use Gnutella as another example), and it's clear that each node is aiding the distribution of such material through the caching, the circumstantial evidence is that each node on Freenet is conspiring to disseminate illegal content.

Not at all. It doesn't matter if the majority of use is "illegal" (under which country's laws?), if a substantial minority of legal use still takes place that justifies the existence of the system -- this has been confirmed in lawsuits against VCR manufacturers as well as ISPs that provide newsgroup access. Freenet is currently being used for newsgroup-style discussions, for free website storage, for legal MP3 publishing, for porn, for mirroring of public domain or openly licensed content, for publishing of material whose legal status is controversial, and for publishing material which is only illegal in single countries, to name just a few legal uses. This is quite substantial.

Generally, it is expected that "reasonable efforts" are made to prevent the distribution of illegal material. Freenet is designed in such a way that only very few such efforts can be made. To derive from this that operating a node is illegal is absurd.

If the intent of a node operator is to break the law,

It's not, or at least it cannot be assumed to be.

where's the slippery slope?

Besides the errors in your arguments, the slippery slope is of a technical nature. The problem is that once you declare the operation of a Freenet node illegal, the network (if it doesn't already provide such mechanisms) will be changed to make detection harder. This can be accomplished, for example, by disguising all traffic as typical HTTPS traffic (this is called a steganographical protocol) -- it's possible that Freenet is already doing this. At this point, to detect and prosecute Freenet node operators, further steps are required, e.g. restricting use of cryptography, restricting operation of peer-to-peer nodes, all of which restrain speech in unacceptable ways.

It's very much like a biker gang. While it's possible that the club members are just hanging out with other people who like Harleys, the overall intent of the organization is criminal.

Um, I don't know if I accept your biker gang wisdom, but even if I do, we can, if we examine Freenet's culture and content, come to no similar conclusion.

These warezing networks

Please, do your homework. Of all networks, Freenet is the least suitable for distributing commercial software because of its low throughput and high latency. Child porn, I would accept, but warez -- that's what FTPs and IRC are made for, which I'm sure are also virtual biker gangs in your book.

I don't think it's enough that Ian Clarke intended Freenet to subvert totalitarian regimes because Freenet itself was subverted.

That is a moral judgment. Personally, I can only encourage people to fight ridiculous laws, among which copyright is one of many.

He was not assisting in the murder if he didn't know the murderer.

That is one possible interpretation. As you can see, the US courts are often more liberal than I am when it comes to freedom of speech.

By the way, where did the discussion of proxy servers, etc. come in? I don't think that's relevant to the discussion.

I do, because if you only selectively apply the law (e.g. against Freenet node operators, but not against proxy server operators), you're turning justice into a travesty. A proxy server essentially does the same as a Freenet node, namely mirror content as it is downloaded and thereby facilitate its availability. Without proxy servers, many sites that offer illegal content would have gone down under their high load.

But it's still criminal, so maybe there's a new class of conspiracy facilitated by the Internet?

That's the problem with conspiracies: Once you see the first, you start seeing them everywhere ..
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Hotel Cocaine (none / 0) (#134)
by Sunir on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 08:23:08 PM EST

re: Devil's advocacy. Well, it's not legitimate to interpolate the eventual use of Freenet based on its primordial beginnings, so it's hard to make a judgment now. A lot of technology is created by the military to kill people, but it gets translated to civilian usages later. If you are morally against the military (not saying that I am), you might be against such things as computers. Freenet is being used by pr0n right now because pr0n is always first. It would be like saying all e-commerce is bad because the only profitable companies are porn sites.

Speaking of pr0n, equate warezing to pr0n. Geez, Eric, of all people you should be able of making that logical leap. And yes, I would equate some IRC channels to these biker gangs and some FTP sites to these biker gangs. After all, motorcycles aren't illegal nor immoral. Society is not defined by technology.

Thus, it's not the same as VCRs because Freenet is a network--a society--not just something isolated in your basement. When you join Freenet or Gnutella, you join knowing that illegal material will come through your machine eventually (with a high enough probability to declare it so), and thus you will be helping break the law.

Suppose we built a hotel in a random country Cocaineland. You know that when registering at the hotel, cocaine is often (not always) hidden in patrons' luggage unbeknownst to them and unfindable by them. When returning to the US (say--they have a War on Drugs), luggage handlers at the airport would remove this cocaine and pass it onto druglords. All of this is specifically unknown to you, but you know this is very likely.

What are the legal and moral liabilities for you if you registered at the hotel? If you were caught with the cocaine? If you were only caught registering at the hotel?

If you are in favour of cocaine, suppose it were illegally harvested human organs or kiddie porn. Immoral contraband.

Now compare that to if you went to another random country Saintland where we built a hotel where nothing illegal or immoral ever happened. But entropy being what it is, one day someone managed to slip some cocaine in your luggage without you knowing it. On returning to the US, you are caught with cocaine.

What are the legal and moral liabilities for you this time?

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Zen and the Art of Server Administration (none / 0) (#137)
by Eloquence on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 09:14:23 PM EST

Speaking of pr0n, equate warezing to pr0n. Geez, Eric, of all people you should be able of making that logical leap.

Warez is a rather specific term. If you call Freenet a "warezing network", that implies this is its reason for existence and there are no substantial non-infringing uses. Porn is a border case. As I have shown, there are plenty of non-infringing uses for Freenet, like an FTP server where you cannot delete stuff.

And yes, I would equate some IRC channels to these biker gangs and some FTP sites to these biker gangs. After all, motorcycles aren't illegal nor immoral. Society is not defined by technology.

As I said elsewhere, society is formed by technology to a large extent. Our society would look completely different without its technology. With very high likelihood, you would already be dead, for example.

Thus, it's not the same as VCRs because Freenet is a network--a society--not just something isolated in your basement.

Not really. The Freenet node may well run isolated in my basement. The FTP server is a more clear cut case because it is often deliberately set up to host certain kinds of content. The IRC server where a conversation takes place that you may deem illegal can also run in someone's basement.

When you join Freenet or Gnutella, you join knowing that illegal material will come through your machine eventually

That may be the case, but that doesn't imply that this is why I join the network. But we can agree that a Freenet node operator acknowledges the fact that illegal actions may be facilitated by his node. A worker who has just finished building a road does so in the full knowledge that this road will be used by cars, some of them driven by criminals, some of them driven by drunk drivers who kill children. He may take pleasure in this thought, or he may despise it.

Suppose we built a hotel in a random country Cocaineland. You know that when registering at the hotel, cocaine is often (not always) hidden in patrons' luggage unbeknownst to them and unfindable by them. When returning to the US (say--they have a War on Drugs), luggage handlers at the airport would remove this cocaine and pass it onto druglords. All of this is specifically unknown to you, but you know this is very likely.

Whoa, you're coming up with some weird examples there. I liked my road analogy better. But let's examine the liability situation nevertheless. Why would I do this again, if I'm not paid for it? I don't see a liability unless it can be proven that the patron acted in cooperation with the cocaine peddlers, although rules may be passed requiring passengers to make reasonable efforts to check whether they are unknowingly taking part in such a transaction. The same for Saintland.

And yes, I am in favor of drug legalization. I also think child porn possession should be legal to protect kids from being abused by otherwise sexually imbalanced perverts. And I believe that a human has no right to his organs after his clinical death, which would make illegal organ trade obsolete as well as save us from the disease-dangers of xenotransplanation.
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

The whole crux is whether it's cooperation (none / 0) (#138)
by Sunir on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 09:38:15 PM EST

The whole argument turns on whether you are implicitly cooperating with the drug peddlars because you entered in full expectation of what would happen or you are innocent because you didn't cooperate with them because you didn't have any knowledge of what was going on. It's not like you couldn't stay at another hotel. You went to Hotel Cocaine of your own free volition.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

So .. (none / 0) (#139)
by Eloquence on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 09:57:57 PM EST

.. how is your conclusion any different from mine?
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Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]
that he has some moral and ethical standards (5.00 / 1) (#158)
by mami on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 10:23:49 AM EST

which you don't.

[ Parent ]
This is just too much (none / 0) (#288)
by S_hane on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 01:08:59 PM EST

Get your head out of your arse, Mami.

Just because somebody's morals aren't exactly identical to yours doesn't mean they don't exist.

Eloquence has repeatedly and capably demonstrated that he has an ethical/moral framework. He demonstrates this by clear and logical arguments that make some consistent basic ethical assumptions (which is more than I can say for you, by the way).

So yes, this is a flame. It's a flame because I'm sick and tired of people trying to argue against "freedom of speech" on an ethical basis, especially when they don't even appear to understand what ethics are.

Grow up.

    -Shane Stephens


[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 0) (#289)
by mami on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 01:50:11 PM EST

I am already shrinking, That's how much grown up I am.

I understand your concerns. It's very hard to understand why I engaged in participated in this exercise of demonstrating "hate speech".. You would have to read a lot of my comments, even in other articles to understand how I came to make this remark. And it has nothing to do with "just because somebody's morals aren't exactly identical to yours doesn't mean they don't exist. "

I have nothing against eloquence at all. I think he is (as long he doesn't hide behind deceiptful arguments) a brilliant thinker and if he is German, his language skills are just "sweeping me off the floor". :-)

Don't worry. I don't have to do this again. Take care.

[ Parent ]
`Absolutism is always, always utterly wrong.' (none / 0) (#146)
by ariux on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:37:51 PM EST

`Completely; in every single possible case; without even one exception.'

Hmm... ;)

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#152)
by Sunir on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 01:20:13 AM EST

That would be the joke, yes. ;)

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Nothing to do with censoring speech (3.00 / 1) (#135)
by mami on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 08:31:46 PM EST

I refuse to be a freedom of speech absolutist. People have called me names here, so you know already what I am. I don't need to repeat it.

A freedom of speech absolutist has given up to discriminate and to judge under the assumption that absolute freedom of speech will automagically balance out truth versus lies and provide ample possibilities to hear dissenting voices and therefore will allow anybody to make an informed judgement for himself.

You state also that the absolutism of the freedom of speech rights will guarantee that courts can't make horrible judgements of what is "true" and what is "false".

Hate propaganda is best revealed and dismantled, you say, if we allow it to flourish freely, because we believe that it will counterbalanced in a free speech society just by the mere fact that all dissenting opinions to that propaganda can flourish as well. That's the thesis of the absolutist.

I do not believe that and challenge that assumption.

I do believe that even under absolute freedom of speech rights online, the propaganda of an elite will dominate and/or be very different from popular opinion. The media including the internet will be in line with an elite opinion, which is not representative of the popular opinion, nor much more representative of or capable to decide what is "true" and what is "false".

(May be I should repeat here that any restriction to the free distribution and broadcast of speech, I could imagine to be justified, is limited to hate speech or violence speech with the intent to incite hate or the intent to violate human dignity. It has nothing to do with the freedom of speech with the intent to document proven facts of hate speech or proven facts of gross violations of human dignity. Nor has it something to do with restricting voicing dissenting opinions. Nor has it something to do with restricting rude behaviour in discussions.)

In the book "Understanding Power", the Indispensable Chomsky, he cites Thomas Jefferson as one of the greatest American Libertarians saying: "traitors in thought, but not in deed" should be punished, meaning that if you say things, which are treacherous, (he even went further and said, if you think things that are treacherous) they should be punished. And there was repression of dissident opinion at that time.

Chomsky continues saying that the media understood and understands itself having the role of counter-weight to the government or elitist opinion of the powerful. So, the media must have the absolute right to freedom of speech, be ubiquitous and obstinate to guarantee the right of the people to know and have meaningful control over the political process and the elitist opinion of the powerful.

The absolutism of your freedom of speech rights is the only tool, you believe, to guarantee you that the power of the government or other entity is counter balanced and controlled. You believe it will guarantee that all speech, popular and unpopular, will be saved from oppression and a fair representation of opinions from the general population will be generated. Does this really happen ?

Let's see. Because we have freedom of speech and no coercive government to throw us in jail, if we publish treacherous things or other trash, a responsible media still wants to represent the important issues of our social and political life as balanced as possible and as true as possible. So, in order to make sure it's balanced, we need the "point of views" from all sides. In America this means the pre-assumed points of views from both sides of the aisles, from the "left" and from the "right".

The media has also to sell its products to guarantee a living for its writers, so the more "inciting" the discussion, the more absolute and fundamentalist the difference of opinion, the better. This leads to a propaganda system of "acceptable view points" of an elite within the corporate, academic and governmental institutions, which is artificially hyped up to be sellable.

This propaganda system serves the interests of those institutions of power the same way and manufactures filtered opinions as well. Somehow cable TV news must have an inkling about this filtering process, because they constantly ask the population for their opinion via email these days in the hope to get the "popular" opinion and not the "elitist" opinion of some manufactured bipartisan consent of acceptable view points. They want to be sure that left and right, authoritarian and anarchist thought processes of the population get a voice.

Unfortunately they seem to gently overlook that they have already propagandistically messed up their viewers, so that the chances to get responses, which don't conform, is minimal. It is no surprise that most dissenting unpopular voices on TV can only be heard via a joke. TV polls reflect the success of their manufactured consent and are unrepresentative the same way polls on K5 are.

Obviously I am out to prove that the point that absolute freedom of speech right supporter fall also under the category of promoters of elitist propaganda, who (unknowlingly or not) have an interest to manufacture consent opinions.

The issue of absolute freedom of speech rights comes up mostly within the context of two subject areas porn and NeoNazi-like hate speech propaganda of race/ethnically/religious based groups, online and/or TV.

In other subject areas we take freedom of speech for granted. No one in his right mind would support any restriction of the media to report facts of events in public life, which cover abuse of power etc. We want to be sure that we get the info we need to counterbalance the governmental power to detect potential abuse of power.

But why then would the same person, who rightfully tries to protect freedom of speech rights for the good purposes, at the same time support the distribution of material, which imposes opinion upon the viewer for the purpose of gaining financial or political power over a medium?

Who are the groups, for example, who support the idea that all around availability of porn of whatever couleur must be protected under the freedom of speech rights ? I would imagine the ones who make a profit of it.

So, the freedom of speech absolutists became a nice conspirateur of some corporate and system admin/geek interests, who need to convince the population that porn must be available and is good for your mental health. So, subtly, all people are under the propaganda shower of pseudo psychologists, who try to make us believe that without our daily potion of whatever porn a free, healthy and happy population is a thing of the past. (Side note: You will argue that porn is consumed, therefore popular consent is representative for the population, but drugs are also consumed and the trade for it a financial vehicle to gain political power).

How about hate speech ? Why support that under freedom of speech rights ? What incites hate ? What do people get upset about most ? Most probably if you put them down and insult them for any sort of identifying entity they are born or grown up with. Ethnic animosity, religous self-rightenous, pure degradation of human dignity, blatant lies gets everybody up in arms.

What serves sales better and helps to execute psychological and poliltical power than a juicy, hateful lie. To support freedom of speech rights for those purposes is generating no control over political or corporate power interests whatsoever.

The thesis is proven to not work. Interest groups hiding behind and/or using hate speech propaganda, generate fake elitist consent over an issue (that we all have to be for absolutist freedom of speech rights to protect us from evil), that itself manufactures again fake consent over the truthfulness of facts promoted on sites like Auschwitz deniers.

The battle cry of freedom of speech absolutists is as much a propaganda instrument in the interest of a small elitist group as any other absolutist ideology propaganda. The interest is to get the most inciting and arousing thing heard, read and seen. That sells books, TV series, online forums and helps you to profile yourself as intellectual and brings some money in your pockets as well. It certainly doesn't reveal the true popular opinion of any uncle Joe, nor does it help to protect from obfuscation of truth.

Of course for a group like the freedom of speech absolutists it is convenient to prove their status as an oppressed minority, hence you have desperately to find examples of "unjust" oppression of opinions. Most of the examples you give fall under the category of "editorial process" of publications of institutions, who paid you to write them. Most often the old fashioned editorial process, which is more or less lacking for online publications, was meant to assure that the media itself doesn't abuse its own power.

But apparently that power counter-balancing argument comes only into play, when it comes to control the power of government and other institutions, not when it comes to control the power of the everyday hate monger "John Doe" abusing his power as a self-proclaimed journalist to incite interest and distort facts for his own online publishing interests..

What freedom of speech absolutists deny is any form of editorial process for online speech. Therefore they enhance the possibilities of propaganda going wild. This again leads to "brainwashing under freedom effect" (chomsky's expression), which again leads to the cry for protection from "the rage and trampeling of the bewildered herd" (cited by Chomsky as a quote from Walter Lippmann), that is us people, who don't get the elitist opinion of a group of people, who have an interest in promoting hate.

Again, what happens is that also the absolutist freedom of speech protectionista will generate an unrepresentative, biased opinion of an elite group, the opposite of what they intended to..

That's why I refuse to be an freedom of speech absolutist.

[ Parent ]

Don't do drugs, kids (5.00 / 1) (#140)
by Eloquence on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:25:56 PM EST

Do I get brownie points for reading through that? Hm. Didn't think so. It's hard for me to find your core arguments, and I spotted some rather strange phrases, so correct me if I'm misunderstanding you.

A freedom of speech absolutist has given up to discriminate and to judge under the assumption that absolute freedom of speech will automagically balance out truth versus lies and provide ample possibilities to hear dissenting voices and therefore will allow anybody to make an informed judgement for himself.

You repeat this quite often in different forms. However, while some people may assume that freedom of speech alone will lead us into a wonderful new world, I do not (and the author of this story will probably be insulted by that notion -- he doesn't want a wonderful new world, he just doesn't want to get arrested for flaming you ;-). Your generalizations are clearly overbroad: I am, for example, not a libertarian, and I only see freedom of a speech as a necessary, not a sufficient building block for a free, peaceful society.

Historically we can observe that all regimes or movements which have created suffering on a massive scale were both anti-sexual and anti-secular. They burned books, banned photos and art, censored newspapers, arrested authors and artists. The very pornography you so much despise was also despised by them. The notion that it is the government's role to censor that which is harmful was shared by them. In spite or because of this, they killed millions.

We can be fairly sure that they would not have been able to carry out their deeds without censorship. In fact, there seems to be an empirically proven proportional relationship between freedom of the media and freedom from corruption (cf. this).

What you argue is that the "other extreme", namely allowing absolute freedom of speech, would have equally negative effects. But let us first agree that it is censorship that has accompanied all the major mass murders of which we know.

In your posting, you refer to treachery several times:

"traitors in thought, but not in deed" should be punished, meaning that if you say things, which are treacherous, (he even went further and said, if you think things that are treacherous) they should be punished. And there was repression of dissident opinion at that time.

And later:

Because we have freedom of speech and no coercive government to throw us in jail, if we publish treacherous things or other trash,

What are "treacherous things"? Personally, there are some acts of "trachery" that I applaud, and others that I despise. The problem is: The government will always despise all of them. But this, again, is not a case of a "speech crime", as I explained in my discussion with Sunir, but rather the violation of certain limits on information availability, which can be prosecuted under the respective laws.

The media has also to sell its products to guarantee a living for its writers, so the more "inciting" the discussion, the more absolute and fundamentalist the difference of opinion, the better. This leads to a propaganda system of "acceptable view points" of an elite within the corporate, academic and governmental institutions, which is artificially hyped up to be sellable.

You're contradicting yourself here. Are they presenting the extreme viewpoints at the edges, or are they presenting a carefully picked mainstream view? I agree that the mainstream media, as Chomsky describes in Manufacturing Consent, are behaving according to a specific propaganda model, and only giving attention to certain views which the power elites are comfortable with. This, however, are most often not the extreme viewpoints, unless extremists are part of the power elite (e.g. religious fundamentalists). That's because you can't broadcast a viewpoint to millions without spreading it to some degree.

This is also why the whole idea of a "free market economy" is flawed, because informed decisions do not exist, even if theoretically, every consumer has the possibility to inform themselves.

However, realize that this is only a transitional state that applies to the broadcasting media. The Internet, which you so carelessly include in your generalizations, develops completely new techniques of dealing with information and may actually even make a free market economy viable to some extent (although there would still be regulation where consumer choice is not sufficient). Note that I do not say this is inevitable. It depends, in fact, to a large degree on whether we allow absolute freedom of speech or not. K5 is only the beginning of the new Internet-based community media, and you have to understand this in order to understand freedom-of-speech arguments. The growth rates of Slashdot & Co. go beyond what many dot-coms have ever accomplished, in spite of billions of venture capital. That's because the Internet, by its very nature, is best powered by community, not by cash.

This all cannot happen without freedom of speech. Because the mainstream media can operate in a strictly regulated climate. The Internet, on the other hand, cannot. It will perish like a flower without water. Thus, the old elite opinions will again be perpetuated.

You fail to understand that propaganda does not spread itself. Much as I like meme theory, nazi propaganda is a fairly idiotic meme that does not grow well in a free environment. After all, we have tolerated the sites of Zündel, Lauck & Co. for years now, and I cannot see any marked increase in the number of nazis.

So, the freedom of speech absolutists became a nice conspirateur of some corporate and system admin/geek interests, who need to convince the population that porn must be available and is good for your mental health.

Porn must be available and it is good for your mental health. I have cited more than enough arguments for this, and you fail to provide evidence to the contrary. Of course you are free to ignore the porn. How you can conclude that having porn freely available will generate profits for the porn industry is beyond me ..

Of course for a group like the freedom of speech absolutists it is convenient to prove their status as an oppressed minority

Huh? Where are you going now, mami? While I'm a one-man minority, I don't consider myself oppessed. I do however consider society as a whole oppressive/repressive to different extents in different areas.

What freedom of speech absolutists deny is any form of editorial process for online speech.

Please, try to develop some kind of non-contradictory view. On the one hand, you criticize the media for being elitist. On the other hand, you want an "editorial process for online speech"? So who will the editors be but an elite supporting elites? Much as I do support freedom of drugs, this goes a bit far.

Again, what happens is that also the absolutist freedom of speech protectionista will generate an unrepresentative, biased opinion of an elite group, the opposite of what they intended to..

How so? With what broadcasting power, money, control? Freenet is a pull system like the WWW, not a push system like TV. How will Zündel & Co. "force" their opinions on you? Why the heck do you visit their fucking websites?

Giving this a second look, I'm starting to wonder if I'm talking to a Markov Chain.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Beautiful reply, but I've one nit to pick (none / 0) (#151)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 01:01:07 AM EST

Historically we can observe that all regimes or movements which have created suffering on a massive scale were both anti-sexual and anti-secular.
The French Revolution and most (not all) Communist/Socialist revolutions caused suffering on a massive scale and were secular revolutions. For example, the only places that the Communist regime in the former Soviet Union did not mercilessly persecute the Russian Orthodox Church was in the areas where it was (1) a minority movement, and (2) useful in persecuting the majority religious movement such as in heavily Catholic provences.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

Hear, hear (none / 0) (#157)
by mami on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 10:16:28 AM EST

is there light at the end of the tunnel ? :-)

[ Parent ]
I considered that (none / 0) (#162)
by Eloquence on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 10:52:36 AM EST

I reject the label "secular" for Stalin's Soviet Union for the same reason I reject it for Hitler's Germany. Hitler was, while catholic, opposed to a lot of organized religion (at the same time, he wanted Nordic cults to be revived, like Jule instead of Christmas). Like under the nazis, censorship was quite rampant under the Soviets in their worst days, and anything opposed to the doctrine or the leaders was taboo.

Some people won't like to hear it, but there's really no fundamental difference between allowing only some Marxist theories as the paragon of truth (when "correctly interpreted") or only allowing some religious book, and between allowing no criticism of God and His Servants, or allowing no criticism of the Party and Its Representatives. Whenever you have doctrines that may not be criticized without persecution, you're dealing with an (at least partially) anti-secular culture.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

That is quite bizarre (none / 0) (#167)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 01:10:37 PM EST

Political censorship is now a religion!

While I'll readily admit that the Soviet Communist Party apparatus had certain similarities to religion, to compare it to the neo-Paganism of Adolf Hitler is rather a stretch.

Aside from that, the French Revolution still serves as a counter-example to your observation.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

Dogma (none / 0) (#170)
by Eloquence on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 02:37:57 PM EST

The problem is the basic philosophy that a truth is absolute and cannot be replaced by any other, evidence or logic notwithstanding. Whether this truth is of a "religious" or "political" nature is irrelevant, and the distinction fades away as the philosophy ages. We commonly call this "dogma", and it is a concept that we apply to both religion and politics. The more dogmatic a philosophy is, the more likely it is to be anti-secular, i.e. against rational thought based on data and logic "from this world".

The nazis had made detailed plans on how to deal with Hitler's eventual death: As he got older, he would recede from the public, and more and more often only be shown in pictures and archive films. His death should be surrounded with mystery, and his omni-presence in society should still be guaranteed. In other words, Hitler should be worshipped as God, long after his death -- the Nazi iconography provides some good evidence for that. The worst period of suffering in the SU was under Stalin, and Stalin was not completely unlike Hitler in that respect. Is this really so much different from a religious leader who claims to be the direct (and only) messenger of God?

The French Revolution is a different case altogether, since we're not dealing with violence under a stable government. Here we can only examine factional motivations for violence, as well as possible outside influence.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
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[ Parent ]

Isn't that nice ... (none / 0) (#171)
by mami on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 03:26:36 PM EST

he nazis had made detailed plans on how to deal with Hitler's eventual death: As he got older, he would recede from the public, and more and more often only be shown in pictures and archive films. His death should be surrounded with mystery, and his omni-presence in society should still be guaranteed. In other words, Hitler should be worshipped as God, long after his death

Thanks for making such a nice analogy to Osama's upcoming future.

That being said, it doesn't refute your absolutism stance on freedom of speech rights.

If the intentions of absolute freedom of speech rights are to prevent the fundamentalist, authoritarian semi-Gods from left, right, hell or haven of any sort from an undemocratic power grab, then it's pretty obvious that an absolute stance on freedom of speech won't do the job.

The 1rst amendment says:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Seems to me that this law is so absolute that it circumvents amendment, because any amendment of the 1rst amendment, would violate the 1rst amendment.

It's also the law which allows crooks of any couleur to find a save haven to distroy democracy and freedom, because of it's absoluteness, undermining the democratic process. Doesn't that come close to say "There shall be made no other license then the GPL". Even RMS didn't go that far.

Unless Congress has not the courage to amend the first amendment to take away one little bite from this absoluteness, you might not have any chance to get the corruption of the political process reformed. All you can do are band-aids, til the next crook comes around and finds another new technology and another trick to gain power under the freedom of speech absolutists' protection.

I didn't know that there is a philosophy which says that truth is absolute. And then let's say, if that is true, what does it help, as we are not capabable of finding this absolute truth. All we are dealing with is our best effort of our own judgement to find a certain fact as being true. I can't see how this ever can be absolute. What would Einstein say ?

[ Parent ]

Where your argument fails is... (none / 0) (#221)
by beergut on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 03:37:27 PM EST

Unless Congress has not the courage to amend the first amendment to take away one little bite from this absoluteness, you might not have any chance to get the corruption of the political process reformed. All you can do are band-aids, til the next crook comes around and finds another new technology and another trick to gain power under the freedom of speech absolutists' protection.

This doesn't fit well with the problem that the First Amendment was instituted to guard against, which is government abuse of citizens for printing and diseminating facts which would be detrimental to the "powers that be."

If Congress were to "amend the first amendment to take away one little bite from this absoluteness," then it would become quite easy for Congress (and associated Nazis^Wpersons, like John Ashcroft,) to determine that "you can't call Lewis Farakhan a 'piece of bigoted trash', because this is counter to 'national security.'" (I pick that particular dodge because it seems to be all the rage nowadays in the U.S. authoritarian circles.)

Likewise, it would be illegal to point out that people like Ted Turner and Scotty Pippin receive millions of dollars in farm subsidies each year, when clearly they are not "farmers", and are not in "need" of these subsidies - it is a threat to "national security" to mention this. In truth, this is only a threat to those who institute these grand subsidies, for if their folly is known publicly, they might not be in power after the next election cycle, right?

Oh, wait... that's already illegal, according to sections of the USA/PATRIOT Act. I guess I'm a terrorist now. Gee. You see how this "non-absoluteness" gets abused, if you let it? I'll probably get sent to ass-pounding federal prison now, just because I dared make a point about free speech.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

More and more bizarre (none / 0) (#174)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 05:17:32 PM EST

The more dogmatic a philosophy is, the more likely it is to be anti-secular, i.e. against rational thought based on data and logic "from this world".
That is a different definition of secular than I've ever experienced anyone use in any conversation. I'd be willing to wager that no dictionary defines the word "secular" as "rational thought based on data and logic". Nor will you find many people that use the term thus.

The word secular has always been used to differntiate between things that belong to the "Church" or to the "World" or within the Church to differentiate between the monastic realm or to the "worldly" realm. There is also a rather archaic usage to designate things that happen once a century. But never has the word "secular" been used to to mean "rational thought based on data and logic".

And even if it does, such a definition begs the question. Any religion based on "data" and "logic" would then be "secular". I could give an apology for Orthodox Christianity that argues its truth solely based on data and logic.

The worst period of suffering in the SU was under Stalin, and Stalin was not completely unlike Hitler in that respect.
But Stalin was not the only instigator of suffering. You ignore the vast amount of suffering that was caused by the secular Communist state of not only the Soviet Union, but of other secular totalitarian states as well. Aside from the French Revolution, I could cite the Italian Fascist government and more and more. I haven't even started on East Germany, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, etc., etc.
The French Revolution is a different case altogether, since we're not dealing with violence under a stable government. Here we can only examine factional motivations for violence, as well as possible outside influence.
In other words, the French Revolution serves as a defeater for your observation.

Regards,

Lee Irenæus Malatesta

[ Parent ]

Welcome to Bizarro World (none / 0) (#176)
by Eloquence on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 05:49:12 PM EST

The word secular has always been used to differntiate between things that belong to the "Church" or to the "World" or within the Church to differentiate between the monastic realm or to the "worldly" realm.

Dogma is, by its very nature, irrational: It cannot be defeated by evidence from "this world", it is resistant to observation and argument. Any truth you define as dogmatic will, over time, be expanded with a large body of irrational justifications to create the impression of "consistency", while contradictory thought is violently opposed and important facts are therefore ignored and eventually forgotten. This characterizes well both fundamentalist religion and fundamentalist politics. To call dogmatic thought "religious" in one case and "political" in another is mostly an arbitrary distinction. The very idea that a truth can never be refuted is anti-secular, for it denies the reality of this world.

Any religion based on "data" and "logic" would then be "secular".

Only if it allows new data and logic to replace the old. Which would increasingly make it appear more "philosophical" and less "religious".

Aside from the French Revolution, I could cite the Italian Fascist government and more and more.

And you will find that the more suffering a government has caused, the more it found itself in need of suppressing dissident opinion (and holding its own as the only acceptable one). Thus, increasingly less secular. We can also agree on "anti-rational" if you find this term less "bizarre". Sure, your average military dictatorship can be fairly rational. But as its bloodlust increases, so does its separation from reality.

In other words, the French Revolution serves as a defeater for your observation.

There's not enough data about the individual motivations of the different factions in order to allow such a conclusion. I would assume that the most violent factions and groups were also the most opposed to any opinion other than their own, and the most sexually repressive.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

well, good luck in bizarro world (none / 0) (#181)
by mami on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 06:32:25 PM EST

If you read all threads, answers and reactions to trhurler's story, your thesis refutes itself.

The fact that you deny that, is a sign that you are a brilliant, eloquent, intelligent and dangerously evil obfuscating *** (out of courtesy to rusty's archives).

I gladly do you the favor to prove your observation of the conspiracy theory right. Just thought I must show a bit of humane feelings and let you get off the hook with that one.

Otherwise, your eloquence gets thoroughly on my nerves and your motiviations are thoroughly mistrusted.




[ Parent ]
For the record (none / 0) (#250)
by mami on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 08:56:16 AM EST

I am, for example, not a libertarian, and I only see freedom of a speech as a necessary, not a sufficient building block for a free, peaceful society.

No disargreement here. We are talking not about FoS, but about FoS being absolute. You said it has to be absolute. I said I refuse it to be absolute. That's the discussion point.

Historically we can observe that all regimes or movements which have created suffering on a massive scale were both anti-sexual and anti-secular. They burned books, banned photos and art, censored newspapers, arrested authors and artists. The very pornography you so much despise was also despised by them. The notion that it is the government's role to censor that which is harmful was shared by them. In spite or because of this, they killed millions.

This is a broad and wrong generalization. Examples were given elsewhere and I will one day write a paper that refutes this in detail. Especially your causal relationship between oppressed sexuality and censorship of the government and killing of millions is grossly overstated.

This, however, are most often not the extreme viewpoints, unless extremists are part of the power elite (e.g. religious fundamentalists)

They are part of that power elite.

he Internet, which you so carelessly include in your generalizations

Not carelessly, purposefully. develops completely new techniques of dealing with information and may actually even make a free market economy viable to some extent

Disagree. I consider this a shortterm and wishful and false conclusion. The techniques used today won't influence the degree of how much freedom of speech there is in a society over the long run. Those techniques will adapt to the degree of FoS, the society will allow. It won't accept an absolute FoS approach.

The growth rates of Slashdot & Co. go beyond what many dot-coms have ever accomplished, in spite of billions of venture capital. That's because the Internet, by its very nature, is best powered by community, not by cash.

One communities among manies. They will always exist as long as there is FoS accepted. That has nothing to do with the absolutism of FoS you are advocating. It still won't be absolute.

Because the mainstream media can operate in a strictly regulated climate. The Internet, on the other hand, cannot. It will perish like a flower without water. Thus, the old elite opinions will again be perpetuated.

The internet under current FoS rights represents elite opinions the same way other mainstream media do. There is nothing revolutionary in this conversation. Nevertheless absolute FoS is a thing, which society can't tolerate with or without internet.

Porn must be available and it is good for your mental health. Both is debatable. The availability is not a must or must not question, because it will always exists in one form or anothe. Mental health questions I won't discuss on this forum. Please, try to develop some kind of non-contradictory view. On the one hand, you criticize the media for being elitist.

I don't think you got me right. I don't criticize the media to be elitist, I observe the fact that they are. I think they always will be.

On the other hand, you want an "editorial process for online speech"? So who will the editors be but an elite supporting elites? Much as I do support freedom of drugs, this goes a bit far.

No, editors are the ones who control how much or how little the "manufactured opinion" represented in the media is popular or elitist opinion. By design of their work they influence just the degree of that elitism vs. populism. The drug reference I don't understand here in this context. It seems to be a bit ridiculous.

How so? With what broadcasting power, money, control? Freenet is a pull system like the WWW, not a push system like TV. How will Zündel & Co. "force" their opinions on you? Why the heck do you visit their fucking websites?

WWW is not an opt-in system with regards to hate propaganda and porn. I don't visit Zuendel & Co's websites, but they are brought to my private living sphere without my consent or choice.

It's a packaged deal. I get the internet with all there is or nothing. It is forced upon me to filter and censor content out I don't want to have available and hanging around in my private living sphere.

For all practical reasons that task I don't want to be forced to do, but I am, because of the current absolutism of FoS rights on the internet due to the current lack to contain it by technical means.

What's treacherous thinking ?

In the context of the subject area or the article, it means intellectual dishonesty and fallacious logical conclusions.

[ Parent ]

Horseshit (none / 0) (#253)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:02:55 PM EST

WWW is not an opt-in system with regards to hate propaganda and porn. I don't visit Zuendel & Co's websites, but they are brought to my private living sphere without my consent or choice.
Completely untrue. Nothing from Zundel's site even crosses into GERMANY, much less your "private living sphere," unless someone therein requests it.
I get the internet with all there is or nothing. It is forced upon me to filter and censor content out I don't want to have available and hanging around in my private living sphere.
So what you're saying is that you can't handle being a human being, and actually having to use your own judgement. Well, those of us who can and will do so are uninterested in limiting our own lives for your sake. Get over it.

By the way, yes, I am serious. The unwillingness to judge for yourself and make your own way is a conscious choice to live like a dog or a cow. Human beings think, and therefore judge, and therefore are responsible. You may be able to abdicate responsibility by giving up your freedoms, but you do not have any right to force other people to also do this.
For all practical reasons that task I don't want to be forced to do, but I am, because of the current absolutism of FoS rights on the internet due to the current lack to contain it by technical means.
Containing it by technical means is not impossible. Legally it is harder. More to the point, in the US, legally it is impossible, because we don't want your silly Euro-peon nanny state protecting us from "bad speech." I suppose Germany could just block all US internet traffic. That'd be a hoot.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
right..real horseshit (none / 0) (#277)
by mami on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 06:22:51 PM EST

Completely untrue. Nothing from Zundel's site even crosses into GERMANY, much less your "private living sphere," unless someone therein requests it.

What do you mean ? The website can't be accessed from Germany ? That any search of a twelve year old for some paper about the Holocaust wouldn't turn out Auschwitz denier sites ? That a twelve year old couldn't easily mistake bogus information from valid historical documentation sites ? That the child would need someone to help him figure out what's true and what not ? That it wouldn't take at least a couple of hours of a well trained adult, who has a clue, to help the child draw the correct conclusion from the material it reads ? That my hourly rate of doing something like it as a mother or teacher is around $ 30.00 and hour at least ? That around 80 percent of mothers are not educated enough to make such decisions in case of political and religious sites ? Who should decide, if I as a mother or teacher have to waste hours over hours to do this job for free ? You ?

So what you're saying is that you can't handle being a human being, and actually having to use your own judgement.

I use my judgement quite nicely. But my time is limited. I don't want to be forced to waste my life to help the ones, who need guidance to make their judgements, because they are too young, to save them from the brainwashing methods of fraudulous hate propaganda. I simply refuse to get from some FoS absolutists my work load as a mother at least tripled if not more.

So far, if I let my kids use the internet, I have no opt-in possibility to a library grade kind of internet, I have to actively opt-out from stuff I rather let my kids discover when they are ready to handle it on their own.

You may be able to abdicate responsibility by giving up your freedoms, but you do not have any right to force other people to also do this.

I don't think I would ever force other people not to have the internet available the way it is right now. I am not saying that guys can publish their hate speech propaganda somewhere. What I am saying is that within the privacy of my home, school and libraries I want the opt-in possibility into an edited version of the internet with no fraudulous hate speech sites and without porn. How one can achieve it, I don't know. There is no solution as far as I know. Neither techniqually, nor legally.

because we don't want your silly Euro-peon nanny state protecting us from "bad speech."

Sure, you have never worked as a nanny in the U.S. to protect your U.S. kids from the stuff American parents have no time for to take care off. You are so far off. I bet you that I have in Germany much more freedoms to express myself in any way I want saying much "bad things" without risking my life than you guys will ever have in the U.S. But you simply don't get it and rest in your little prejudiced world.

Have a nice day.

[ Parent ]

Ah (none / 0) (#279)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 06:30:58 PM EST

I see the problem now. "Save the children!" Here's a hint: the children aren't as stupid as they look, and if yours are, then don't let them use the Internet; it was made by and for adults.

The notion that my life should be Disneyfied because your kids are ignorant and/or stupid and/or too young to use the Internet unsupervised and you can't be bothered to do the right things to deal with that situation is ridiculous.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Thanks trhurler (none / 0) (#282)
by mami on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 11:38:48 PM EST

You have been an excellent teacher to my niece. She wants to let you know that she can read better than you. She detects one reading comprehension error of yours after the other.

Again have a nice day. My niece and me decided it's time to finish our class in "How to deal with hateful comments".

[ Parent ]
A lot of errors (none / 0) (#270)
by yooden on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 04:45:40 PM EST

I should also point out that I'm a German, which makes the issue of the Holocaust obviously particularly sensitive.

Thusly, you perpetuate the notion that Germans have to have an entirely different set of opinion about the Holocaust than everybody else.



Several Nazi organizations have been outlawed as well.

This is an entirely different issue. These organizations are outlawed because they are judged to be enemies of the constitution.



The Holocaust and other Nazi crimes have been treated in a somewhat strange fashion in contemporary German culture. Like a terrible monster whose name must not be said aloud, the public discussion has mostly just referred to "our terrible past", and been centered on public events of shared concernment and sadness, such as visits of the concentration camps.

This is a gross exaggeration.



A public exhibition called "Verbrechen der Wehrmacht" ("Crimes of the Wehrmacht") that documents the participation of common soldiers in mass murder, for example, has been criticized even by high level conservative politicians.

This exhibition was also withdrawn by its organziers through scholarly shortcomings (and subsequently reopened).



The "Sudetendeutsche", the often openly neo-nazi people who have been expelled from Eastern Europe after the war, are still referred to as "victims" of the other side and used as a political tool.

I doubt that there are many scientist who say that their expulsion was fair and just; they are victims. Their problems are severe delusions about the proportion of their suffering.

They are also notorious for influencing a certain political party, not for being a tool.



When our minister of the interior recently spoke at a meeting of Sudeten-Germans, he shortly mentioned Hitler's crimes and was surprised when he was immediately booed by the rather conservative audience.

Well, he should know more about rightish mindsets.



Still, these are "mainstream" organizations, their meetings are reported regularly, they are paid lip service by politicians, and criticizing them is almost taboo.

All people I know regard them as lunatics and a political liability. (In case you haven't guessed already: I live in Germany.)



Similarly, the continuity of nazis in conservative politics and industry after the war is historically well-documented (and to some extent even continues today), but is also a taboo in public discussions.

This was true 10 or 15 years ago, but a lot has changed since then.



The understanding of nazi crimes by the German youth is limited.

No other part of history takes as much room in German schools.



That said, Germans have an unhealthy relationship towards the Holocaust.



[ Parent ]
Human Rights equals Freedom (3.00 / 1) (#117)
by eliwap on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:24:33 AM EST

I once heard somewhere, there are two types of Freedom. Freedom to be responsible and the Freedom from Responsibility.

One of the main ideas behind the protection of human rights is to protect the Freedom to be responsible. Which means accepting the consquences for ones actions, words and deeds. In most countries it is illegal to represent a lie as truth, because doing so takes away individual rights.

Freedom of speech does not mean you can say anything you want. It is illegal to encourage an individual standing on the edge of building to jump. It is illegal to encourage people to commit a crime (any crime). It is illegal to do harm to an individual or groups by calling them liars. This is called liable. Zundel and his supporters are committing acts of liable and therefore any words or publication that supports Zundel's position perpetuates this liable and therefore it is illegal.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"

The truth is not libelous. Period. (none / 0) (#141)
by pin0cchio on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:46:03 PM EST

It is illegal to do harm to an individual or groups by calling them liars. This is called liable.

You mean "libel." If what is written is provably true, then (at least under US law) it isn't libel. "The truth does not matter" should be thrown out of court because it doesn't agree with the existing body of legal precedent.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Zundel's Position is a Lie (none / 0) (#153)
by eliwap on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 01:20:18 AM EST

Yes, I meant libel. Zundel's Position is a Lie. It does harm to millions of people. It indirectly promotes criminal activity against millions. Libel is one of the most difficult things to prove because it usually entails proving malice. Be that as it may. His position is a lie and he is representing it as truth.

In my opinion, any democracy that tolerates this in the name of free speech is tolerating the denial of human rights because it denies dignity by abusing individuals of trust in a free press (especially the news) as it permits the publication of any lie and passing it off as truth and consequently it becomes much more difficult to know what is the fact and what is fiction.

WWII happened. The atom bomb fell on two Japanese cities. German cities were bombed to the ground. London was bombed, millions upon millions of people did die; civilians and soldiers. The Holocaust happened. Six million Jews were executed by the Nazis.

The Nazis came to power and began there conquest of Europe on the basis and the tolerance of lies and deception. Tolerating the Neo Nazi revisionism is the beginning of the denial of all of that. It is a betrayal of the memory of the millions who perished. The lessons that we have learned as a single human family. It is a denial of the beginning of teaching our children to respect and to celebrate the differences between individuals and cultures as a cultural imperative. It is the beginning of the end of Human Rights. It is the beginning of WWIII.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

"Indirectly promotes..." (none / 0) (#191)
by Macrobat on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:24:21 PM EST

...are the two words that prove to be the sticking point in your argument. Those acts you cited previously (encouraging a suicide, incitement to riot) have immediate and direct consequences. This is the meaning of "clear and present danger" as cited in Schenck vs. United States--a decision that authorized the suppresion of an anti-WWI pamphlet, by the way, and validated the imprisonment of an anti-war protester. I'm no lawyer, but the law, as it's been put to me, also puts additional limits on what qualifies as libel over and above patent untruth, or even intent to mislead.

Nonetheless, putting up hate speech on a web site is less like "falsely shouting fire in a theatre" and more like (to quote a comedian whose name I now forget) shouting "Theater!" around a blazing fire. Reasonable people will not believe you. And the irrational will believe whatever they want, anyhow.

To suppose that this kind of behavior began or end with Holocaust Revisionism is naïve. If it is the "beginning of WWIII," to use your melodramatic phrase, then WWIII has been brewing for at least the last three thousand years.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Censorship on "liberal" college campuses (4.77 / 9) (#118)
by skyknight on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 10:55:27 AM EST

If you think censorship is tough in the real world, you should try being a college student with anything other than extremely left wing viewpoints. I am the national affairs editor for a campus publication at Tufts University that espouses a mixture of Libertarian and Republican views. In the past year we have been the victims of assault, theft and slander to name a few crimes. In every case the provocation for those crimes against us has been an issue of freedom of speech and expression. Here are a few of the incidents:

  • There is a Tufts tradition involving painting a cannon that is on university property. It gets painted just about every night by some various group or other. The main rules regarding it are that you may not paint the cannon during the day, and you may not approach the cannon while another group is painting it. This provides for "guarding" wherein your group paints the cannon, then someone stays at it until sunrise, thus guaranteeing that the group's message is on the cannon for the day. Shortly after the 9-11 attacks my publication decided to paint the cannon in a patriotic red, white and blue. Our chief editor stayed to guard it for the night. While he was there he was assaulted by three leftists, two of which held him down while the third proceeded to paint over the stars and stripes. Our CE filed assault charges with Tufts against them. The leftists turned around and claimed that the three of them were assaulted by him. The result of the judiciary panel was that our CE was cleared, and the three leftists got Probation I, which is nothing more than a warning (it has no effect on your university life, and isn't even on your permanent record; it just carries the threat that another infraction could result in Probation II). Two of the leftists then appealed the ruling and got their Probation I rulings repealed, and in place they were just given "warnings." So now, effectively you can assault someone on Tufts property and all you get is a warning. Although, I suspect this only applies to assaulting ideological minorities.
  • There is a particularly obnoxious and hypocritical member of the Tufts Feminist Alliance that was the target of our criticism in our October 11 issue. She filed frivolous sexual harrassment charges against our magazine and the CE which were unanimously dropped by the Committee on Student Life. Meanwhile, she vandalized a large chunk of our print run by placing stickers on them that read "Imagine A Campus Free From Sexism." However, vandalism wasn't good enough and another group decided to steal the rest of the print run.
  • Our November 22nd issue contained an article arguing that affirmative action is a racist institute, in that it does precisely what a racist does: discriminates based on color. This enraged the Pan African Alliance at Tufts (I guess a lot of them got in on affirmative action instead of the old fashioned way: academic merit) to the point that they stole the entire print run, and the entire next print run, and our last print run as well. They are organized to the point that they have signup sheets for people to steal our issues. They are not content to merely condemn us as racists, but feel compelled to censor us completely for months on end. They disagreed with one article, so they have silenced the voices of the entire publication's staff.

As a publication that only puts out half a dozen issues per semester, this embargo on free speech has been particularly damaging. It's been about four months since we have been able to put out an issue and not be the target of mass censorship. Meanwhile, the University has remained conspicuously silent. One should note that whenever there is some kind of "hate crime" against a "minority" on campus, there is always an immediate and campus wide response by the administration. However, there has been no response to the crimes perpetrated against us. Tufts doesn't actually care about ideological minorities; it only cares about ethnic, cultural, and sexual minorities.

Of what exactly are the campus leftists so afraid that they must silence us? If they are so right, why do they need to squelch our voices? Is suppression of dissenting opinion a prerequisite for the triumph of their ideologies?



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Re: Censorship (3.50 / 2) (#123)
by DarkZero on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 03:13:57 PM EST

You do, of course, realize that the exact same complaints are spoken by liberals at conservative colleges... right?

I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying that it's not a problem of liberal censorship, it's a problem of mass stupidity and oppression on all sides throughout the US and Canada.

[ Parent ]
Examples? (none / 0) (#164)
by skyknight on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:06:52 AM EST

Can you cite some examples? I'm sure you are right. Both sides have stupid people on them for sure; I probably notice leftist stupidity more because I am the target. However, the matter of fact is that the large majority of college students are in fact very left leaning. It is the very rare school that has a majority of right-leaning students, so hazing by lefties ends up being far more common.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Campus Censonship (none / 0) (#136)
by tripwyre on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 09:06:32 PM EST

As a conservative college student at a large American university, I've observed these types attitudes/actions exibited on my campus. The right not to be offended is the common excuse for this censorship, but it flies in the face of the free speech, a right that many hypocritical liberals trancend when they pull crap like this. For those who doubt the validity of these claims, I recommend this book because it examines this topic in depth and explores the legal and philosophical failures of these policies.


[ Parent ]
Good Book (none / 0) (#159)
by skyknight on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 10:43:45 AM EST

I actually already have it, and Tufts University is in it. :) Look up the 1988 "15 Reasons Why Beer Is Better Than Women At Tufts" fiasco and the subsequent imposition of "speech zones." It's on page 149 in my version. It's just absurd how authoritarian so called "liberal educations" can end up being.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
reminds me of.. (none / 0) (#155)
by luethke on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 02:46:04 AM EST

... watching ricki lake being interviewed several years ago. She had attended a PETA "protest" where they went inside a fur shop and proceded to push and assault customers and throw paint on the furs. Needless to say they were arrested. She was on whatever talkshow it was interviewing her (letterman I think) complaining that her right to free speach had been impeded, she thought she had the right to go onto private property and push/hit people she disagreed with. The funniest part was that the meals the jail serverd were baloney (can't remeber the correct way to spell this) and cheese sandwiches with milk (mosst, if not all of the protestors were vegan). I still think that is hilarious.

where I went to school the womans group had a "take backthe night" night where a large (~30-50 women) grouped up and marched around the campus screaming at men walking around. Supposedly this was to stop rape but the "event" was cancelled after some of the women decided that some guy was not just walking back to his dorm, but one the prowl for some harmless women - in the end they only broke the group up, had a male done that to a female they would have been expelled. In short colleges are not liberal, they are leftists.

[ Parent ]
I've got more stories... (none / 0) (#163)
by skyknight on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:00:34 AM EST

So the story about the feminazi who stickered our publication with the "Imagine a Campus Free From Sexism" stickers... Well, in the Tufts Daily newspaper she (while not admitting to doing itself, although she was later overheard bragging about it) claimed that our publication was being hypocritical on issues of free spech, and that "whoever" placed the stickers on the issues was "just exercising their right to free speech." Are people really stupid enough to believe that, or are they just complete assholes who think they are being cute? I honestly can't tell...

Ok, another great story, although it predates my tenure at Tufts (I was a freshman in 98, this happened in 95). Some PETA-esque group took a trip to Hinsdale MA, to "liberate" a bunch of minks from a mink farm. I guess they were faily inept because they got busted, fined several thousand dollars, jailed for a few days, and put on probation. The story is here.

If you took our campus publications and put them in the supermarket they could easily pass as tabloids. The stuff that happens here is unbelievable.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Democracy IS Dialogue. (none / 0) (#184)
by Icehouseman on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 06:59:49 PM EST

My favorite Charlton Heston quote. I suppose the groups that have attacked you are afraid of actually having a fair democratic dialogue and just want to have one voice. They're afraid that you might sound smart, logical and convincing and that they would have no argument against you.

Anyways, don't get discouraged and don't fight dirty like they feel they must resort to. I'd personally take the stolen newspapers and the physical violence as a compliment. Obviously you're pissing off someone so your message is getting through to some people. However, it's pathetic your school will not discipline students and organizations that steal and resort to violence. The more they steal they more they're telling you that you're saying to much for them to combat. Great job, keep it up, man.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
[ Parent ]

Other stuff I forgot to type earlier. (none / 0) (#186)
by Icehouseman on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:28:04 PM EST

These, Tom, are the Causeheads. They find a world-threatening issue and stick with it for about a week. -- from the movie <u>PCU</u>
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
[ Parent ]
beware of assuming false causality (none / 0) (#198)
by kubalaa on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:29:45 AM EST

This kind of post is good, because it challenges the idea that only conservatives are responsible for censorship and/or lack of reasoned debate. BUT, you come across strongly as implying the opposite, that liberals are more likely to resort to violence and such because their ideas can't be upheld any other way. This is equally unfair. And you can bet good odds that these same rabid liberals will be staunch Republicans in 20 years.

If there is any lesson to be learned from this, it's that college students of all stripes are immature as a rule. The fact that liberalism is the "default" in college means that especially those who don't do their own thinking default to it; but this should not count against it in general, any more than the fact that most adults "default" to conservativism should.

[ Parent ]

The real matter of fact... (none / 0) (#199)
by skyknight on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 08:43:24 AM EST

is that there are a lot of people out there who would like to have only their opinion heard. You are right, in that there is no one group that has a monopoly on censorship. Often conservatives try to censor ideas of liberals, and equally as often liberals try to censor criticism of their ideas. On the political spectrum, I fall closest to libertarian, so I find just about any form of censorship to be deplorable, authoritarian and counter productive.

Free speech is a double edged sword. It is a fantastic way to get the truth out, and it is an equally fantastic way to let stupid people show themselves up for the idiots they are. I would never steal one of my political opponents publications if for only one reason: their own publication does a better job of making them look like idiots than my criticism ever could. Meanwhile, their theft of my publication puts them in an even darker light. We could just publish a cover with empty inner contents, have them steal it, and still come out winners. :)



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
One thing this shows (none / 0) (#224)
by medham on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:00:18 PM EST

Is that, in any kind of physical contest, the left-leaners are always going to kick ass and take names, most particularly at prissy schools like yours.

I'd recommend hitting the weight room, so that you don't get your ass held down at will by prep-school hooligans.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Um, actually... (none / 0) (#231)
by skyknight on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:30:22 PM EST

If the truth be known, I'm 6'6", 240 pounds, quite strong, trained in both Tae Kwon Do and wrestling, and proficient with firearms. Contrary to popular belief, being a computer hacker does not entail being physically incapable. Had I been present at the cannon as opposed to my not as capable compatriot, they wouldn't have even bothered trying to do what they did. The matter of fact, however, was that I was not there, and there were three of them and one of him. I'm sorry to dispel any fantasy you were having.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Me too (none / 0) (#234)
by medham on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:56:13 PM EST

I bet you also think you're going to turn into Dinesh D'Sousza.

Dispelling my fantasies, eh?

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#238)
by skyknight on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 10:14:32 PM EST

Dinesh D'Sousza does a good enough job being Dinesh D'Sousza. He doesn't need any help from me. Now, do you have a meaningful comment to make, or are you just trolling by calling me a liar?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Zundel lying? Canadian Supreme Court upheld him (4.00 / 4) (#122)
by Jonathan Walther on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 01:38:28 PM EST

A lot of people assume, without more than a cursory glance at the propaganda on Zundels site, that it is lies.

If you had open minds, you would get the case numbers of the cases referenced there, and look them up and see the transcripts etc. By the highest standards of legal evidence, Canadas highest court found that Zundel was telling the truth and dismissed all charges against him.

Zundel is not a Nazi, or even a sympathizer. He doesn't claim the Holocaust didn't happen. He argues that the Holocaust against the Jews was somewhat more limited in scope than is claimed by current orthodoxy.

Note well: the ruling of the CHRC, by their own admission, was predicated on the fact that "the Truth does not MATTER". They decided his Holocaust revision was "Hate Speech", and unilaterally made their decision based on that.

They could just as easily tomorrow decide that anyone posting about Israeli attrocities against the Palestinians is guilty of hate speech too, because "The Truth Does Not Matter" in such cases. That would make it impossible for Noam Chomsky to visit Canada.

(Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")


Yes, Zundel is lying. (none / 0) (#144)
by Apuleius on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:15:14 PM EST

1. If Zundle is not a neo-Nazi, why the hell is his site called lebensraum.org, may I ask? 2. As for his court cases, you are wrong. He has not been upheld as telling the truth; he was upheld as exercising his rights.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Wrong on all counts (none / 0) (#147)
by Jonathan Walther on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:50:07 PM EST

Zundel was taken to the Canadian Supreme Court on charges of fraud; those charges were dismissed based on the forensic evidence he provided the court.

The Lebensraum website is not Zundels; it belongs to a friend of his, a former Mennonite who grew up in Russia and wrote a series of books called Lebensraum about the Mennonite experience under the Nazis and the Communists.

(Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")


[ Parent ]
Try again. (none / 0) (#148)
by Apuleius on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 12:06:06 AM EST

Here is the judgement. It was not dismissed out of forensic evidence.
Lebensraum and Zundelsite sit on the same server and share namespace. Close enough by my count.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Film (1.66 / 3) (#127)
by zephc on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 04:37:35 PM EST

I think this Zundel character never saw the actual film and pictures the american G.I.'s took of the concentration camps and how actually horrible it was. I'm sure that prick is burning in hell (if you believe in such places). As long as people remember the truth, and people are allowed to see the original films, and given the facts (not that nazi-appologist shit), then we have a much smaller chance of history repeating itself.

If truth was a defense... (none / 0) (#128)
by Paul Johnson on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 06:00:10 PM EST

<I>The most damaging thing to free speech in this ruling is that truth is no defense.</I>
<P>
Of course even if truth was a defense it wouldn't make any difference here, since what this guy is saying isn't true. Whilst I haven't gone through this particular site (life is too short) I have read debates between holocaust revisionists and their opponents before, and concluded that the holocaust is a historical fact.
<P>
As to whether it is right to censor holocaust revisionism I am, frankly, undecided. On the one hand the freedom of speech argument is a strong one. On the other hand I'm not convinced that the claims of such people to be merely interested in historical fact stand up to scrutiny. They have a habit of turning up at meetings of anti-semitic groups to explain to the assembled faithful that the holocaust is a lie and that this lie is one more crime to add to the list against the Jews. I find it difficult to distinguish such behaviour from plain incitement to racial hatred.
<P>
Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
Two things. (4.00 / 1) (#206)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 12:10:47 PM EST

First, "incitement to hatred" is not a crime. "Incitement" is only a crime when you're inciting someone to commit some other crime.

Second, even if "incitement to hatred" were criminal, you could easily distinguish between writing a book making certain assertions and citing certain references(or a website, or whatever,) and showing up at a meeting full of hicks screaming about "International Jewry" or some similar nonsense.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Over here (none / 0) (#248)
by Paul Johnson on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 06:11:52 AM EST

First, "incitement to hatred" is not a crime.

"Incitement to racial hatred" is a crime over here in the UK. The link points to the text of the law.

you could easily distinguish between writing a book making certain assertions and citing certain references(or a website, or whatever,) and showing up at a meeting full of hicks screaming about "International Jewry" or some similar nonsense.

Really? I can imagine a wide range of speeches to a wide range of audiences, and the line between the two extremes you describe seems very unclear to me. This is usually the case in censorship questions. Also the people being censored will learn the rules regulating their speech and carefully construct what they say to skirt around the rules, rendering them less effective.

I'm quite sure that holocaust revisionism contributes to race hatred against jews, and therefore meets the definition of "incitement" in UK law. The question which divides me is whether censorship aimed at preventing this is a worse evil.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Okay, everyone go over and actually read the site (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by Gord ca on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 07:05:50 PM EST

I did, and it totally changed my outlook on the situation.

Well, I only read a bit of it. Mostly, http://www.zundelsite.org/english/basic_articles/nutshell.html.

Labeling this site as 'Holocost-denying' is a serious misnomer. It's just saying that the holocost was much smaller than comonly taught. (~0.5-1 million dead, instead of 6 million dead). Mainly that there were no gas chambers, and that though Jews and others were seriously mistreated, there was no intention to completely irradicate them. It also goes on quite a bit about how the holocost extermination exageration was promoted as useful propoganda by the allies and zionists.

Note that this is much milder, and more believable, than the 'Auschwitz-simply-didn't-exist' position that the 'Holocost-denier' title suggests they hold. The fact that Zundel is portrayed as having views much stronger and stupider than those he actually holds suggests somebody's propoganda is doing its job well.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if there are others who deserve the title Holocost-denier. These deserve the shame and distaste heaped apon them by society. Zundel does not.

If I'm attacking your idea, it's probably because I like it

Huh? (3.00 / 2) (#133)
by Demiurge on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 07:58:11 PM EST

Those who completely deny the Holocaust because they feel Jews are manipulative and greedy are scum. Zundler, who says the Holocaust described by the Jews who survived it was mostly a lie, because Jews are manipulative and greedy. So, how is the website's author just the misunderstood scapegoat, while other Holocaust revisionists are excreble vermin?

[ Parent ]
That makes it worse, not better. (3.00 / 1) (#142)
by Apuleius on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:10:22 PM EST

As if it's not bad enough that this site is throwing calumnies at Jews, it is using pseudo-science that is easily refuted with high school chemistry. What you are paraphrasing is the Leuchter Report, which Zundel commissioned for earlier litigation. Here's the report, and here is where it is torn to shreds with AP-level high school chemistry.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
To the contrary (none / 0) (#149)
by Jonathan Walther on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 12:15:35 AM EST

The rebutting report you cite focusses on the chemistry and avoids the meat of the Leuchter report, which had nothing to do with chemistry, and everything to do with the physical capability of the sites to be used for both gassing, and cremation. Neither of those aspects were covered in the report you cited, but they make it impossible for more than a handful of people to have been gassed per day, if such gassing did happen. The ability of the chambers to safely vent the gas afterward, and to safely contain it during the gassings also wasn't addressed in your articles rebuttal. Crucial issues, which have nothing to do with chemistry. And although the report would like to say "we found traces of Zyklon-B, all it could say was "we found one element of Zyklon-B, which is what the Leuchter report had already said.

If the Leuchter report is to be refuted, it should be done PROPERLY, then I'll believe it. Half assed, dumbed down, pansy attempts at the scientific approach just don't cut it. The people making the refutations are making the assumption that they don't have to work too hard: most people that left the fold are dumb, were dumb to believe an opposing viewpoint, and are dumb enough to believe and accept equally dumb arguments to bring them back into the fold.

Refuters should take people seriously, and treat them as intelligent beings if they want to convince them.

(Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")


[ Parent ]
Leuchter did even worse on those issues. (none / 0) (#150)
by Apuleius on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 12:45:14 AM EST

The rebutting report you cite focusses on the chemistry and avoids the meat of the Leuchter report, which had nothing to do with chemistry, and everything to do with the physical capability of the sites to be used for both gassing, and cremation. Okay, see the rebuttal here, of those issues, in which Leuchter comes out looking even dumber. Once again, a high-school level education shreds Leuchter to pieces.




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Debunking Leuchter (none / 0) (#161)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 10:48:34 AM EST

Leuchter tackled a range of issues, very few of which he had any qualifications for. Most notably, he shows an almost totaly ignorance of how human bodies burn. There exists an thorough debunking on the Nizkor site. Please read it.

It should be noted that there is enough documentation in existence showing that Holocaust deniers are willing liars and have links to neo-Nazi groups that you should take anything written or commissioned by them with entire deserts of salt.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Holocaust Deniers (none / 0) (#160)
by Simon Kinahan on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 10:44:23 AM EST

Beware of reasonable-looking websites advocating controversial viewpoints, for they are one sided, and prone to fabricate. Unless you're actually a neo-Nazi (which I doubt), in which case just stop reading here, then you've fallen into the classic trap of reading apparently reasonable advocacy which undermines something we all believe, but most of us are unaware of the evidence for. I strongly suggest you check everything you read on Zundel's site by reading Nizkor.

Those usually labelled holocaust deniers hold a number of viewpoints, and often one individual will advocate different perspectives to different audiences or at different times. None of them, however, advocates the view that Auschwitz never existed, or even that Nazi Germany was not anti-Semitic. They prefer the term "Hololcaust Revisionist", but the general feeling outside their circle is that this does a disservice to the essential and constant process of historical revision. The term "denier" is though appropriate because they deny that there was an organised systematic attempt to exterminate Europe's Jews.

Zundel most definitely deserves the label, and indeed the equally applicable "neo-Nazi". He has some kind of nationalist persecution complex, and (in case you had not noticed) a certain fondness for quaai-military uniforms and Nazi-style insignia.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Nice insight... (5.00 / 1) (#211)
by beergut on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 01:28:56 PM EST

It's always good to remember that everything that was done in Germany and throughout Europe in that time period was legal and government-sanctioned. That is because the government were the Nazis. Your statement here, though profoundly true, could not have been made where such a government existed. Zundel's speech, then, would have been the accepted and "popular" speech, and you derided as a troublemaker and a "revisionist."

Not that this is a personal attack against you, or an endorsement of Nazi policies. Quite the contrary.

Zundel should have the right to say whatever it is that he wants to say. And you should have the right to post links and debunk whatever sputum dribbles from his infected virtual gob.

THAT is Freedom of Speech.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Remember though (5.00 / 1) (#230)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:11:22 PM EST

that Nizkor and similar organizations can be just as one-sided and just as prone to making shit up. Being the "good guy" does not make you an infallible deity.

I don't remember what it was I saw on that site, but I did in fact see at least one thing that appeared to me to be nothing more than a bald assertion, and that's not good in a "debunking" paper.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Never understood anti-FoS'ers (5.00 / 2) (#154)
by hstink on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 02:38:49 AM EST

JQP: x should be banned.
Me: Why?
JQP: It's hateful.
Me: It's illegal to hate people? How does one legislate against an emotion?
JQP: It's the government's job to make sure no one ever feels hated.. wait that doesn't sound right.

JQP: What he's saying is wrong - that's why it should be censored.
Me: Who decides what's wrong?
JQP: People who know about it, I assume. Once the government has been informed that something is wrong, it should censor it.
Me: If it's known to be wrong, why ban it? Can't people just research the topic and see for themselves?
JQP: It's the government's job to make sure that people can believe everything they hear without questioning.. wait that doesn't sound right either.

It's The Republic all over again - we'd be so happy if we just had a council of really smart people who decided what we should and shouldn't know. If no one could read nazi propoganda, there'd be no nazis! That's one problem solved, what next. If no one had ever heard of discriminating against women, no men would be sexist!

If someone really believes people to be as stupid as Plato did, how could they possibly condone these simpletons having a say in who comprises government? We're talking about people who read something and accept it at face value - they must accept it, or their reason for censorship is moot. "Some guy on the web said jews have been injecting pigs with HIV to give us ham-eaters AIDS. I'd better get the gun." They've forfeited their role of keeping government in check, as they are incapable of critically evaluating anything.

As soon as something is censored it will be distributed regardless - unless the censor brigade have a better method of enforcement than the FBI against drugs. I guess some people feel better about being hated, when said hatred is "illegal." I don't see the difference, apart from a false sense of security.

-h

i never understood FoS absolutists (1.50 / 2) (#168)
by eLuddite on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 01:39:56 PM EST

Do you understand the purpose of communication (not "thoughts", you git)? Here's a clue: action isnt random happenstance. The distinction between action and speech is indefensible, which is why communication *is* regulated -- everywhere -- whether you are perceptive enough to realize it or not[1].

Regarding Nazi literature expressly written to incite hatred: There's no conceptual gulf between defamation of a group and defamation of an individual. If there is, explain, dont screech "Freedom of Speech" as if 3 little words are enough to end discussion and force us to resign ourselves to unpleasant consequences.

[1] People lose FoS cases all the time. The judgements in such losses are pure legal misdirection and sophistry which pretend to preserve FoS as doctrine while undermining it in practice. There is no absolute FoS. As soon as a community is under threat, FoS goes out the window. That's all there is to it, that is the sum total of all facts in the past, present and future, except to realize that people who repeat FoS like a broken record are rarely members of a community under threat.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

a disagreement on k5! (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by hstink on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 09:49:48 PM EST

My main issue is that your argument assumes people to be so stupid that they will believe anything they read, thus it's up to some elites to decide what's fit for their ingesting. That the "right" to not be hated by ignorant fools, trumps the right to speak your mind.

For all the victories censorship has supposedly given us, can you honestly provide an example where censoring a text achieved anything along the lines of reducing hatred? Wasn't that the aim? Has it worked? Are there any Nazi sympathisers left in Europe? Any Muslims who have heard of "The Satanic Verses?"

Perhaps... censoring an idea doesn't make it go away.

Deep.

There are more reasons to preserve FoS apart from simply "censorship works almost as well as the drug war." To further chastise a rotten horse, once you give a government the power to silence speech, all manner of "unpleasantness" can be subjectively squashed. I don't particularly care about the censorship issue, seeing as the works will be distributed anyway, so much as the jail terms that would go along with speaking your mind.

But that doesn't matter, does it. Governments only censor those texts which are life-threateningly dangerous, whose sophistry is so masterful as to dupe anyone who dares read them, and have no contextual value to society whatsoever.

-h

[ Parent ]

it can happen (1.00 / 1) (#194)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 04:49:19 AM EST

For all the victories censorship has supposedly given us, can you honestly provide an example where censoring a text achieved anything along the lines of reducing hatred?

I want you understand that I dont care who or what you hate. You are welcome to your feelings. I care that the *expression* of your hatred not make my life unnecessarily more difficult than it should be[1]. A choice between my misery and your speech is a foregone decision.

You will eventually die, and if I've prevented you from winning adherents through "persuasion", your influence will eventually die with you. This is why a black man in Canada isnt bothered by the KKK; if there is a KKK in Canada, its hate rhetoric has been rendered 100% ineffective by law. If you compare the Canadian and American black experience, you have your example.

Your position *must* defend FoS as a right to foment hatred but there's nothing you can say to convince me such a conclusion is formidably, logically correct. As far as I'm concerned, the language and logic of Rights is a secular religion that impoverishes debate. It's babble.

Perhaps... censoring an idea doesn't make it go away.

So? The certain knowledge that I will die is hardly a compelling argument for my immediate suicide either, is it?

Again, honor the distinction between ideas and their expression. For example, the expression of communist ideas was mercilessly suppressed in the USA. While communism, the idea, has survived in poorly understood, propagandistic form, American communists... are not a threat to anyone.

To further chastise a rotten horse, once you give a government the power to silence speech, all manner of "unpleasantness" can be subjectively squashed.

I dont particularly care to debate this, but I dont share the American fantasy of government as a monolithic, external imposition on society. I think societies "define" their own governance, that American society deserves its government, and that government is the least censorious force in our lives. American social policies and institutions survive every administration and are perpetuated by Americans making American choices for American benefit. (1) Americans are not victims of their history. (2) America censors. The two preceding statements are *yours* to reconcile; I dont have a problem with knowledge of censorship as a characteristic fact of social organization. Yes, that means "all manner of 'unpleasantness' can be subjectively squashed." I'm sorry, life is a messy proposition, but it's better than the alternative. But let me ask you something. Why should I err on your side of the "unpleasantness" debate? Just because mistakes happen doesnt mean everything that happens will be a mistake. It seems quite arbitrary to ask me to suffer the KKK when I can ask you to suffer its absence. It doesnt affect the bottom line in the calculus of speech because both sides make mistakes. (This class of objection has typically eluded every liberal philosopher since Locke.)

That said, FoS must be defended precisely because "all manner of 'unpleasantness' can be subjectively squashed." There's a difference between demanding absolute adherence to a platitude and picking one's fights. You can fight for the other side, I hope someone does, but dont tell me you deserve to win on principle. There is nothing sancrosant about speech and nobody has ever been held hostage to stupid or evil expression having, as the function and purpose of communication, stupid and evil consequences.

It's the difference between idea and reality. If reality were a mop of hair, an idea would be a single wispy strand that sorta, kinda, under the right light, looked like it might be made out of a hair-like material.

[1] You're thinking, "who decides what's unnecessarily more difficult than it should be?" Me and my friends do, that's who. Just because life is ambiguous doesnt mean I have to submit to avoidable misery *on principle*. If you insist I do, your principle is made worthless for its incoherence and I have to ask what fascist principle pretends I never had any choice in the matter? Whatever that principle is, it sounds a lot worse than censorship. Finally, when I say difficult I dont mean "Ooh! that makes me so mad"; I assume my premature violent death is "difficult".

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

something (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by hstink on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 07:08:54 AM EST

I want you understand that I dont care who or what you hate. You are welcome to your feelings. I care that the *expression* of your hatred not make my life unnecessarily more difficult than it should be[1]. A choice between my misery and your speech is a foregone decision.

Were this universal - that someone's discomfort could invalidate speech - who gets to gauge discomfort? You and your friends? Anyone without thick skin?

Or did you only mean speech which directly advocates physical harm? Well no, because that wouldn't include huge portions of KKK and Nazi literature. Anything that degrades a community? Well no, because that excludes legitimate criticism. Anything that degrades a community and is false? That sounds better. Now who judges what is true and false? Oh, the government. That bunch could never get the decision wrong.

Of course I don't like seeing people degraded, but you are advocating, however good your intentions may be, enshrining government as the ultimate arbitrater of truth and falsehood - thus truth becomes whatever the mob wants it to be. That is not a legitimate power of government.

You will eventually die, and if I've prevented you from winning adherents through "persuasion", your influence will eventually die with you. This is why a black man in Canada isnt bothered by the KKK; if there is a KKK in Canada, its hate rhetoric has been rendered 100% ineffective by law. If you compare the Canadian and American black experience, you have your example.

I am somewhat isolated in Australia - I can't comment on how a black man's experience in Canada differs to that in the USA, but I do know that KKK influence isn't constant throughout the states.

It smells much more like a community issue, being encouraged by the family unit.

Your position *must* defend FoS as a right to foment hatred but there's nothing you can say to convince me such a conclusion is formidably, logically correct. As far as I'm concerned, the language and logic of Rights is a secular religion that impoverishes debate. It's babble.

You have just presupposed the "right" to be free from hatred to not only exist, but to trump the "right" to speak your mind. Therefore you are similarly required to justify this ranking, seeing as no "correct" answer can exist. As I find censorship to be incompatible with democratic rule, I value FoS above being able to get the police to beat up the irish guy down the street, who happens to hate people of english descent.

So? The certain knowledge that I will die is hardly a compelling argument for my immediate suicide either, is it?

I've tried to understand the analogy, but it's lost on me. In your case, you're fully ignorant of the consequences (i.e. the afterlife, if it exists). In my case, the consequences are known - the speech will be distributed regardless, so the extra powers we've given to government will not achieve anything close to their intention.

Again, honor the distinction between ideas and their expression. For example, the expression of communist ideas was mercilessly suppressed in the USA. While communism, the idea, has survived in poorly understood, propagandistic form, American communists... are not a threat to anyone.

You're saying McCarthyism was a good thing? That if free debate were left to its devices, we'd all be reds?

I dont particularly care to debate this, but I dont share the American fantasy of government as a monolithic, external imposition on society. I think societies "define" their own governance, that American society deserves its government, and that government is the least censorious force in our lives. ...

I don't care if a society wants to censor something - people can burn whatever books they feel like, for reasons as stupid as they care to dream up. It doesn't worry me one bit, as long as I can keep those books in my study without a policeman kicking down the door and taking away my "dangerous" collections of binded paper. Does assigning that power to government actually sound right to you? That a list of what we, the citizens, are and are not allowed to know will be enforced by the police?

That said, FoS must be defended precisely because "all manner of 'unpleasantness' can be subjectively squashed." There's a difference between demanding absolute adherence to a platitude and picking one's fights. You can fight for the other side, I hope someone does, but dont tell me you deserve to win on principle. There is nothing sancrosant about speech and nobody has ever been held hostage to stupid or evil expression having, as the function and purpose of communication, stupid and evil consequences.

Freedom is one of those nasty booleans though - there is either a prior restraint on what you say, or there isn't. I'm not advocating some kind of fantasy land where speech has no consequences - if your speech is provably false, and someone detrimentally affected by it files a civil suit against you, you deserve everything you get. I don't see why you'd then go and censor the speech - if it's known to be false, and will remain in the public record as testament to your own stupidity, who is harmed by it?

-h

[ Parent ]

ok, i give up (1.00 / 1) (#200)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 10:32:07 AM EST

who gets to gauge discomfort?

Unless you're posing a rhetorical question, it should be obvious the same judicial processes that settle FoS disputes in country A settle them in country B.

You and your friends?

If my friends and I are more persuasive than you and yours we get to write the law; it's the perogative of victory in such debates, the entire purpose for having them.

Anyone without thick skin?

To paraphrase a question you ignored, who gets to gauge comfort in your system? I'm not being flip, I'm trying to impress upon you how incoherent FoS doctrines can be. There is simply no logical justification for absolute FoS. Like all Rights talk, FoS is easily deconstructed into a selection of social biases.

I've tried to understand the analogy, but it's lost on me.

Reread the thread. What you mistakenly refer to as the idea instead of expression doesnt have to go away, it has to be tolerable. Just because I cannot get rid of hatred doesnt mean I cannot get rid of the KKK. Just because I know I will die doesnt mean I must commit suicide in 5 minutes.

You're saying McCarthyism was a good thing? That if free debate were left to its devices, we'd all be reds?

No, follow context. I was saying Americans are as censorious as they are obnoxious in their defense of FoS. Since they have always been both, it is fair to question the reason for such cognitive dissonance. The answer is, censorship is a fact of social organization and FoS is an excuse to exercise social biases. I think it's more constructive to address these biases than it is to argue something as nonsensical as the religion of FoS.

I don't care if a society wants to censor something ...

Well, that would be one of the reasons why censorship is so banal. I already addressed why your point of view is a naive fiction.

Freedom is one of those nasty booleans though

That's what *you* say. I dont see how something that resists definition can possibly be boolean.

there is either a prior restraint on what you say, or there isn't.

Of course there is.

if your speech is provably false, and someone detrimentally affected by it files a civil suit against you, you deserve everything you get.

This is from my very first reply in this thread:

Regarding Nazi literature expressly written to incite hatred: There's no conceptual gulf between defamation of a group and defamation of an individual. If there is, explain, dont screech "Freedom of Speech" as if 3 little words are enough to end discussion and force us to resign ourselves to unpleasant consequences.
So we agree that there is no conceptual gulf between defamation of a group and the defamation of an individual? Anti-defamation laws are so called hate laws.

I don't see why you'd then go and censor the speech - if it's known to be false, and will remain in the public record as testament to your own stupidity, who is harmed by it?

Your stupidity is of no concern to me. The effects of your stupidity on me are a concern to me, and I'd sooner avoid those effects than punish you. Speech has consequences. Speech is action. This is why I asked you to compare the experience of minorities in American and Canadian society.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You just lost me (5.00 / 1) (#209)
by S_hane on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 01:09:57 PM EST

I was reading this very interesting debate, with no clear viewpoint on which side was correct, but you just lost it in my opinion, eLuddite.

Why? Because you completely fail to address valid points, and instead attempt to provide a flippant response to every sentence that you can.

You may be right; free speech may not be absolute; but arguing it in the way you are is not going to convince anyone.

    -Shane Stephens


[ Parent ]
more (5.00 / 1) (#236)
by hstink on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 08:23:41 PM EST

If my friends and I are more persuasive than you and yours we get to write the law; it's the perogative of victory in such debates, the entire purpose for having them.

In other words, the mob gets to decide what you and I are allowed to say, with every "law" further diminishing the bounds of what may be legally debated. I fail to see how this is beneficial to a democracy, it seems the mob could ban whatever they want - the precedent will certainly be there, and you have permitted no limits on what can be banned, as "discomfort" is all the grounds you need to enact law.

To paraphrase a question you ignored, who gets to gauge comfort in your system? I'm not being flip, I'm trying to impress upon you how incoherent FoS doctrines can be. There is simply no logical justification for absolute FoS. Like all Rights talk, FoS is easily deconstructed into a selection of social biases.

The point I have continually been making in response to this is that no one may have that power if any degree of FoS is desired - the idea that "we'll only censor things that make us uncomfortable" is laughable when the definition of uncomfortable is left up to the mob.

My defence of FoS is that free debate is the basis of scientific inquiry and recourse against government - that people feeling uncomfortable is a lesser tragedy than a government able to silence debate and control speech - and that censorship does not and can not achieve its goal of reducing the expression of hatred. That last goal, while noble, is something achieved by people's attitudes influenced by debate, not policemen influencing people with guns.

Reread the thread. What you mistakenly refer to as the idea instead of expression doesnt have to go away, it has to be tolerable. Just because I cannot get rid of hatred doesnt mean I cannot get rid of the KKK. Just because I know I will die doesnt mean I must commit suicide in 5 minutes.

In other words, you admit that censorship cannot achieve the end of removing hatred, only force its manifestations underground until the mob deems it "tolerable." It's the same argument used to forward the drug war, I'm familiar with it.

No, follow context. I was saying Americans are as censorious as they are obnoxious in their defense of FoS. Since they have always been both, it is fair to question the reason for such cognitive dissonance. The answer is, censorship is a fact of social organization and FoS is an excuse to exercise social biases. I think it's more constructive to address these biases than it is to argue something as nonsensical as the religion of FoS.

Here we go again. Society censors itself, that's how society works. The mafia was defeated by societal change, not by law enforcement. Or do you think throwing Nazis in jail is going to make them go away? Or that burning a Mein Kampf print run will make them think "Oh, guess I was wrong, I think I'll give up this Nazi business."

Well, that would be one of the reasons why censorship is so banal. I already addressed why your point of view is a naive fiction.

No, you just stated the obvious about how society arranges itself. You did nothing to demonstrate why giving government the power to silence speech is a better method of combating hatred, as it is historically inferior. If real people didn't support the KKK via a bigoted upbringing, it wouldn't exist. Unfortunately, removing children from families proved to be racist isn't as palatable as asking the government to "make the KKK go away."

That's what *you* say. I dont see how something that resists definition can possibly be boolean.

Freedom - a lack of restraint. No it doesn't exist physically, because we are limited by our bodies and the concept of property. FoS - the lack of restraint on speech. Please note that I didn't say lack of consequence.

Speech is either restrained or it is not. Please explain how restrained speech can be deemed "free."

So we agree that there is no conceptual gulf between defamation of a group and the defamation of an individual? Anti-defamation laws are so called hate laws.

When did I say that I support anti-defamation laws? If I falsely call you a child abusing drunkard, and you lose a job at a kindergarten because of it, I owe you reparations as determined by a civil suit. My slander has directly and quantifiably harmed you.

Your stupidity is of no concern to me. The effects of your stupidity on me are a concern to me, and I'd sooner avoid those effects than punish you. Speech has consequences. Speech is action. This is why I asked you to compare the experience of minorities in American and Canadian society.

Pity you still haven't detailed how that's actually possible. Nor have I seen any demonstration of speech being an action. I'll try to contact some minorities in the areas you mentioned - I only know one black person there, in Chicago, and he's told me that the KKK hasn't contacted him as of yet.

Oh, and I'm still waiting for that justification of the right not be be hated trumping the right to free speech.

-h

[ Parent ]

circles, ever widening circles (1.00 / 1) (#247)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 06:11:19 AM EST

I've already answered the points you are fond of repeating without insight. The answers appear to elude you so I will stop. Let's just say we disagree on whether FoS is the sine qua non of "democracy", and let me end by listing 2 rights found together in more Constitutions than found alone.

Freedom from Racism.
Freedom of Speech.

And with that, blah, blah, blah, blah, democracy, blah.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

re: "without insight" (1.00 / 1) (#249)
by eLuddite on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 07:01:36 AM EST

Thing is, you are so incoherent that the embarrassing variety of shoddy thinking in your replies is... daunting. Your repeated attempts to drive a wedge between govt and society is unjustified beyond the incredible proposition that I should accept your naive dichotomies on infallible faith. So it's not ok for the government to censor racism if society develops along racist lines because that's, in your words, what society wants. Society does what it will do and the government is merely there to observe.

Hokay! If you say so. What the fuck is goverment good for, then? Oh, you know, kinda like, whatever, as long as it's my whatever, like, and maybe it can find gainful employment burying minorities.

Pity you still haven't detailed how that's actually possible.

Yes, I did, Mr. Broken Record. Acquire some reading comprehension and tad more sophistication. Meanwhile, I await your explanation for why Canada cannot possibly exist. Actually, I dont await.

I only know one black person there, in Chicago, and he's told me that the KKK hasn't contacted him as of yet.

Oh, the KKK is a rediculous liberal myth! A perfectly harmless group without an oppressive history. Tinker, tailors, soldiers, candy makers. I wish you were black living in KKK territory circa 1800. Doesnt every FoS absolutist wish that? They should.

I mean, I just cannot countenance a reply to all your points, you know? I apologize, I know you mean well, but you consistently miss every point and I. Just. Cannot. Shake. The. Absurdities.

Bottom line: You have no Rights and I, for one, am thankful that you dont. Stop telling me what I can ask the government to do, the government is I.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

frustrated? (5.00 / 1) (#286)
by hstink on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 07:02:19 AM EST

Hokay! If you say so. What the fuck is goverment good for, then? Oh, you know, kinda like, whatever, as long as it's my whatever, like, and maybe it can find gainful employment burying minorities.

Let's see government, government.. maybe it's there to restrict those acts which are injurious to others. And maybe, given those nasty tyrannies throughout the years, we should limit what it is able to do to people living under it.

And maybe, just maybe, I don't like the idea of a government which can silence me on a whim!

And here's what you just hate hearing again and again, you have no right not to be offended by what you read! You DO have the right not to have a skinhead threaten you or beat you with a lead pipe. See the difference? NOTHING HAPPENS WHEN YOU READ A PIECE OF PAPER. You aren't injured, you aren't suddenly oppressed, since they require ACTIONS.

But that's right, "speech is action!" My saying you're an idiot makes you so! Your saying that asians should die will leave billions dead! Powerful things, those vocal chords.

Yes, I did, Mr. Broken Record. Acquire some reading comprehension and tad more sophistication. Meanwhile, I await your explanation for why Canada cannot possibly exist. Actually, I dont await.

Oh that's right, you admitted that government-enforced censorship is a waste of time and effort (since it, well, doesn't work) and danced around the issue of the government abusing said extra powers, then wrapped it up with "and that's how it works, stupid!"

Your marked inability to distinguish between societal censorship and government-enshrined (with the implied threat of force), and their respective consequences, is making this rather difficult.

Oh, the KKK is a rediculous liberal myth! A perfectly harmless group without an oppressive history. Tinker, tailors, soldiers, candy makers. I wish you were black living in KKK territory circa 1800. Doesnt every FoS absolutist wish that? They should.

I assume then, since there are no restrictions on the KKK's speech that weren't there in the 1800's, that the KKK is just as potent today as it was then. I mean, it MUST be, because the ONLY recourse against racism that works is government-enforced censorship!

Oh? The KKK doesn't have the same influence? Gee. I guess society has changed.

Society can do that right?

Bottom line: You have no Rights and I, for one, am thankful that you dont. Stop telling me what I can ask the government to do, the government is I.

I'm really trying to follow you here.

Since government is of the people, by the people, it should do whatever the people want it to, free from any constitutional restrictions and without regard for any "rights" that pesky minorities may claim to have.

Gotcha.

-h

[ Parent ]

Ah, I have figured out eLuddite! (4.00 / 2) (#207)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 12:32:47 PM EST

Do you understand the purpose of communication (not "thoughts", you git)? Here's a clue: action isnt random happenstance. The distinction between action and speech is indefensible, which is why communication *is* regulated -- everywhere -- whether you are perceptive enough to realize it or not[1].
Does eLuddite understand the purpose of "thoughts?" Here's a clue: communication isn't random happenstance. The distinction between speech and thought is indefensible, which is why thought *is* regulated -- everywhere -- whether you are perceptive enough to realize it or not.

I can't decide which makes me more sick - that this is probably the opinion of our present leaders, or that eLuddite sees no problem with it.

How does it feel to be a thuggish advocate of Orwell's dystopia?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
sigh. not thoughts .... (1.00 / 1) (#213)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:19:59 PM EST

communication. It's up there in black and white. If you're going to quote me, understand the meaning of words. Unless you have some mad skillz I'm unaware of, mind reading isnt a form of communication and it's regulation isnt an option.

I can't decide which makes me more sick

No, trhurler, you excel at erecting strawmen and talking to yourself. I have no interest in debating you because you resist understanding and routinely misinterpret anything that challenges your little self contained universe. You dont want to think, you want to make speeches.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You apparently missed my point (5.00 / 1) (#214)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 02:26:40 PM EST

If there is no difference between communication and action, then why between thought and communication? You claim that communication begets action; I claim that thought begets both. Therefore, if your argument supports regulation of communication, then it also supports regulation of thought; whether or not it is possible to regulate thought and in what ways is irrelevant to the justification for doing so.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
this is not difficult (2.00 / 2) (#218)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 03:08:28 PM EST

If there is no difference between communication and action, then why between thought and communication?

Because I cannot read your mind, your thoughts arent oppressive. You must to choose to express your thoughts before you affect me. Incidentally, I make hot passionate love to Pamela Anderson every night. Dont tell, I want to keep it a secret from her.

I claim that thought begets both.

I cannot do anything about your thoughts. They're yours. I can do something about your communication, it's *ours* (as long as you dont talk to yourself.) Oh, and thanks for indirectly affirming that communication is action.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Heh (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by trhurler on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 03:15:46 PM EST

Because I cannot read your mind, your thoughts arent oppressive.
So now you're saying that a pathetic little old man who has few friends and whose house has been firebombed, and who as far as we know has done nothing more to deserve this than say things that are not true and express related opinions that are unpopular is an oppressor, rather than the oppressed. An interesting viewpoint, if by "interesting" you mean ludicrous.
You must to choose to express your thoughts before you affect me.
Actually, someone(me or someone else) must choose to do a lot more than just express thoughts before he affects you or anyone else. Talk may hurt someone's feelings, but that has never been a good enough reason to ban it. Or are you saying that when someone spouts off a bunch of Nazi shit, those listening are somehow forced, and do not get to "choose" in the matter?
I can do something about your communication,
Yet another form of "might makes right." By this reasoning, as I said before, the only reason you don't regulate thought is because you are incapable.
it's *ours*
I find it interesting that a guy so uninterested in property rights is so interested in the trappings of ownership.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
well, yes (2.00 / 2) (#220)
by eLuddite on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 03:35:28 PM EST

Actually, someone(me or someone else) must choose to do a lot more than just express thoughts before he affects you or anyone else.

The fact that harm must be demonstrated only serves to make anti-defamation cases notoriously difficult to prosecute. It doesnt invalidate anti-defamation principles any more than SCOTUS mandated censorship invalidates FoS doctrine. There's isnt any law that can be applied without consideration.

Re: thoughts, communication and action. Action <-- communication <-- thoughts <-- neural activity <-- electrons <-- quarks --> OMIGOD! I can control you at the subatomic level. Thanks, but I dont think there's enough room in your navel for the both of us.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Well... (5.00 / 2) (#172)
by Elendale on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 04:11:34 PM EST

Obviously, i would agree with the author- for a change. The right to speak has to include unpopular speech or there is no right to speak. If some people don't think the holocaust actually occurred, they should be free to say so. Here's another angle: if we disallow speech that is wrong (let's say, for example, "the earth is flat") then we have a great limitation on the ability to inform others of "truth". If i am wrong, i need the ability to voice what i believe as truth or i will not be able to understand where i am wrong.

-Elendale (Ok, so this whole comment was basically just to note the signature... sue me)

When free speech is outlawed, only the criminals will complain.
Bastard Operator Of Video Game Retail

Profoundly Disagree (1.00 / 1) (#223)
by eliwap on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 05:26:56 PM EST

If someone does great harm to someone dear to you while you and somebody else were watching it (I hope that never happens to anybody). And you and the other told the whole world about that person and what happened. Forty years later the other dies of natural causes, and then fifty years later, somebody comes around that not only says it never happened, but that the person never existed and does so in public and by doing so implies that you are a liar. Show me the records he says, but you don't have any, because a series of freak accidents destroyed all records of this person. So, other people start to believe the person that is publishing the lie. You are branded as a person people can't trust and consquently persecuted for it even though you were telling the truth. Should the harm done to you from this "freedom of speech" be allowed?

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#227)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:37:17 PM EST

Sorry, but your carefully constructed shiboleth is nonsense.

You are free to produce evidence that the person speaking is wrong. You are free to express your opionion is wrong. You have no right to silence another person for any reason, no matter how much they hurt your feelings.


------
When ruling an evil empire, keep in mind that no matter how attractive that captured rebel is, you can probably find someone else who doesn't act
[ Parent ]

I swear (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:38:45 PM EST

I swear there's some kind of filter on my submissions that randomly deletes words. That should be

You are free to produce evidence that the person speaking is wrong. You are free to express your opinion that they are wrong. You have no right to silence another person for any reason, no matter how much they hurt your feelings.


------
When ruling an evil empire, keep in mind that no matter how attractive that captured rebel is, you can probably find someone else who doesn't act
[ Parent ]

Profoundly Disagree (1.00 / 1) (#239)
by eliwap on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 01:49:04 AM EST

Once the evidence is produced and the individual insists on perpetuating the lie then what? This isn't about hurt feelings. Protecting Zundel's freedom to speak his lies is not your freedom or human rights. It is promoting their destruction. Possibly your destruction. And, he is knowingly doing so despite the evidence.

The Nazis and Neo Nazis are not about revealing the truth. It is simply about domination. It is about the false belief of superiority over equal opportunity, the rule of strong man over democratic representation, the destruction of the freedom of association and religion, the destruction of the rights of life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. Any means to achieve these goals goes. If that means denying history, or trying to rewrite history, so be it. Its like if you keep repeating the same lies over and over again, they believe, that sooner or later the repitition will rewrite the truth in peoples minds. They believe that the evidence, much of which is recounted in the stories of people who lived through WWII, stories that are consistent with the hard evidence that does exist, will soon disappear. A great deal of the evidence to refute the denial of the Holocaust will disappear. Why? Because the Nazis destroyed the records of their victims. The Nazis simply tried to make people disappear. The most recent example of similar action occurred in Cosavo.

Protecting Zundel's freedom to speak his lies is not protecting your freedom or human rights. It is promoting their destruction. Possibly your destruction. And, he is knowingly doing so. despite the evidence. This is not tolerable.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Profoundly tied (none / 0) (#259)
by yooden on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:18:01 PM EST

I can follow you almost all the way. I talked with a survivor who was deeply troubled about stories of denials.

However, as long as freedom of speech is unmarred, the survivors' stories can be told. If you limit this freedom, history will be filtered every time a new government will come to power.



[ Parent ]
Your argument is flawed (5.00 / 1) (#260)
by jacob on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 02:28:43 PM EST

Your argument has two flaws:

  1. You presuppose that the revisionists are wrong. You believe the Holocaust to have happened, and I believe it did too, and in fact evidence for it seems to both of us to be very strong and evidence against seems to be very flimsy. That doesn't mean it must be true, though. The public has been misled before.

  2. You presuppose that you have a right not to be insulted. You categorically do not have such a right. You will never find any such right discussed anywhere in any founding legal document or philosophy tome [at least, not that I can think of off the top of my head]. If you believe you do have such a right, I'd like to hear why you do.


--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
Look up the terms assault and libel (1.00 / 1) (#274)
by eliwap on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 05:21:57 PM EST

Look up the term assault and then libel

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Okay ... (5.00 / 1) (#276)
by jacob on Tue Feb 12, 2002 at 05:58:12 PM EST

I'm not exactly sure why you wanted me to do that, so I'll assume you're arguing that you have a right not to be offended. Well, if that's your idea you're wrong: neither of the definitions you cited was a legal definition.

If I recall correctly, the legal definition of assault is unwanted physical contact only, so verbal assault isn't covered. Libel definitely has a very strict legal definition: you have to deliberately lie about someone in order to cause them some material harm. This restriction is very much like the restriction against tricking someone out of money; it's not about restricting your right to speech, it's about giving people you materially damage legal recourse against you.



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
Right Not to Be Insulted. (none / 0) (#283)
by eliwap on Wed Feb 13, 2002 at 01:42:10 AM EST

Put it simply... It is illegal to injure anyone.

The term assault when it comes to verbal abuse is indeed illegal. It is illegal to threaten harm to another. There is no protection nor should there be any protection of anyone to threaten anyone. If the threat is believable then there is and there should be legal recourse to act against the threat. The mildest forms of legal recourse are restraining orders and cease and desist orders.

As far as libel is concerned. Yes... Libel is not only restricted to material loss. The restriction to material loss usually falls under fraud. Libel entails deliberate harm to the public reputation of individual on the basis of lies. I would agree that it is extremely difficult to prove becaue it usually entails proving malice. However, because, malice is difficult to prove, does not mean that libel is legal.

People do not have the right to be protected from offence based on a personal code of morality. But they do have the right not to be insulted. Zundel has no right here.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Just a quick question (1.00 / 1) (#201)
by derek3000 on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 10:37:50 AM EST

I consider myself an Free Speech absolutist--I think.

Something happened recently that bothered me though. I'm not sure of the details, but I heard that there was a radical pro-life site that offered the names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors from all around the country who performed abortions. While I'm not sure that this is anything you couldn't find in the public domain, it does make me cringe a little bit, since I *think* the information was used to kill one of them. I'd be interested to hear what other K5'ers have to say about it.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars

Untrue. (5.00 / 1) (#226)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:33:44 PM EST

Yes, the information was available on the net, yes the guy who put up the site was prosecuted for terrorizing abortionists for putting their names on line, no, no one ever showed a connection between his site and an actual attack on an abortionist.

This is also very old news - the reason I'm vague about it is that it happened 2-3 years ago, at least.


------
When ruling an evil empire, keep in mind that no matter how attractive that captured rebel is, you can probably find someone else who doesn't act
[ Parent ]

What "Human Rights" Really Means | 298 comments (268 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
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