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Belgium Assaults Democracy and Self-Determination

By Baldrson in Op-Ed
Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:19:24 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

"What happened in Brussels today is unique in the Western world: never has a so-called democratic regime outlawed the country's largest political party." The party outlawed is for Flemish self-determination. When Belgium's largest political party (despite being a minority, which even the largest parties usually are in parliamentary politics) cannot even seek self-determination via democratic means, aren't international organizations obligated to ask what "self-determination" really means in a "liberal democracy"?


In a message from Frank Vanhecke MEP, Vlaams Blok Party Leader dated November 9, 2004, a plea goes out to Western democracies:
Today, our party, the Vlaams Blok, has been condemned to death. This afternoon, the Belgian Supreme Court upheld the verdict, issued by the Court of Appeal in Ghent on 21 April, which declared the Vlaams Blok a criminal organisation. In order to preserve our party members from prosecution, we are now forced to disband. What happened in Brussels today is unique in the Western world: never has a so-called democratic regime outlawed the country's largest political party.
Vlaams Blok represents the Flemish independence movement in Belgium. Their agenda is to secede from Belgium and form a Republic of Flanders.

Given the ruling by the Belgium supreme court, it seems apparent why secession may be necessary. Vanhecke continues:

The Ghent ruling, today reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, stated that our texts (though some were mere quotes of official statistics on crime rates and social welfare expenditure and another was an article written by a female Turkish-born Vlaams Blok member about the position of women in fundamentalist muslim societies) were published with "an intention to contribute to a campaign of hatred."
...
The Ghent verdict literally stated: "Rendering punishable every person who belongs to or cooperates with a group or society [...] serves as an efficient means to suppress such groups or societies, as the lawmaker intended. Rendering punishable the members or collaborators of the group or society inherently jeopardizes the continued existence or functioning of the group or society [...]."
Fascinating doctrine.

Let's assume you believe that a group of people poses a substantial actuarial risk to society -- say racists. You might, as Brussels did, pass a law against them "as an efficient means to suppress such groups" because of the statistical risk they pose to society. On the other hand, racists would, and do, argue that they want to pass laws against some races "as an efficient means to suppress such groups" because of the statistical risk they pose to society. So one is left with a dilemma: Whose statistics are "hate speech" and whose statistics are legitimate political speech? It was VB's publication of statistics (already published by the Belgium government) that got them in hot water for "inciting hatred". The Belgium government didn't even bother publishing statistics on VB party members. Did they not have to provide their side of the argument simply because the VB party members are tarred as "racists"?

Apparently so. But even if you accept a doctrine that it is immoral to object to the dogma that races belong intimately mixed in high density populations, and that it is a legitimate function of government to punish sin, the VB Party has abjured race distinctions and is now focused on language and culture as determinative. One may claim they are merely hiding their racism and must therefore be subjected to inquisitorial suppression, but now we are in a difficult position indeed for who is to divine who is insincere in their catechism? Or are such questions best left to the Imams of Islam, the priests of Catholicism and the insight of the Belgian government?

The argument that European countries must be given greater latitude in imposing such quasi-religious suppression of ideas in intellectual proximity to racism due to the "recent" history of Naziism and its consequences. Europe was traumatized by Naziism and must be allowed their phobias of anything associated with racial thought, so goes the argument. One wonders then why the a similar traumatic phobia doesn't exist around communism's clearly internationalist and anti-racist ideology which killed more people than Naziism. This is particularly troubling since it was the genocide of millions Ukranians -- more than Jews were killed by Naziism -- starting in 1932 by communism's accessionism that can be argued to have provoked hysteria in the German people and their election of Hitler to chancelor the next year in 1933.

Moreover, countries far removed from Europe, with no history of fascism, such as Canada, have similarly draconian laws against free expression when it comes to racism. Why are Canadians so traumatized that they can't be allowed to talk openly and frankly?

One can stretch to try and fit all these facts into a mold that justifies universal suppression of free expression when it comes to racial information, such as VB's publication of Belgian government statistics on the impact of multiculturalism. It is quite a stretch though.

Is it perhaps any expression of hostility toward any group that is to be inhibited?

If one is to make a case for self-determination, particularly secession, it seems difficult to do so without stating negative opinions about the situation from which one is seceding. Indeed, as the Declaration of Independence states:

...a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
In that situation there was a convient individual, King George, upon whom all grievances could be lumped. Today, however, individuals are replaced by bodies politic including ethnic gruops that do comprise voting blocs that do serve their own ethnic interests. If you can't talk about them in the open, the way the signatories of the Declaration of Independence talked about King George, then there can be no discussion of one's grievances.

So one is left with a dilemma: Either one does not express "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind" or one states their grievances.

Grievances are, by their very nature, easily characterized as "inciting hatred" since they are negative in character.

Without clear guidelines on the difference between stating grievances and "inciting hatred" one is left with the justifiable impression that the doctrine that outlaws political movements for "inciting hatred" is in fact simply a doctrine to impose relationships on people against their will.

In other words "'No' means no." except when you say "No." to powerful interests, in which case it means you are engaging in "hate speech".

Now to take a look at the situation from the accessionism side, Flanders is a huge chunk of Belgium. Despite the fact that the VB Party represents a large constituency, it does not represent nearly as much of the populus as does Flanders represent the land area of Belgium. To regain legitimacy, the Belgian government should at least have the decency to set aside approximately 10% of its territory for the disenfranchized Vlaams Blok Party members. That is the territory they really require to form their Flemish Republic. Further, it should compensate VB members that reside outside that boundary for loss of citizenship and for the loss of their property rights under eminent domain and pay their moving expenses to migrate to their homeland. The new Flemish Republic should do the same for non-Party members within the boundary of the Flemish Republic who must migrate to Belgian territory. Both governments should assist migrants as though war could result from failure to do so.

The boundary should be chosen so that there is a minimum of imbalance in direction of migration and a minimum in the degree of eminent domain compensation. The Vlaams Blok represents 20% of the Flemish who are less than 60% of the Belgian population. This implies freedom for the Republic of Flanders would cost about 10% of Beglium's territory, but those VB members exiting Belgium would free up land, resources and votes now owned by them.

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Belgium Assaults Democracy and Self-Determination | 441 comments (384 topical, 57 editorial, 0 hidden)
Thanks.. (1.37 / 8) (#1)
by Psychopath on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 02:31:04 PM EST

..for the happy news!
--
The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain. -- Karl Marx
self-determination (3.00 / 6) (#2)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 02:35:16 PM EST

well, in the Belgian democracy, if 51% or more of the people vote "no" to the secession of Flanders, why should they be allowed to secede? Just because the party for Flemish independence is "the largest party" doesn't necessitate that they are a majority.

In fact, the flemish party home page you link to states: A recent opinion poll of the Brussels newspaper Le Soir and the Francophone state television RTBF (24 October) indicates that the Vlaams Blok currently stands at 26.9% of the Flemish vote.

We had a much greater than 26.9% of our own country attempt secession a little under 150 years ago, and the "north half" of the country went to war to keep that from happening. I would expect that the 75% of Belgians who don't want their country dissolved would fight as well.

Don't form democracies without express clauses for secession if you expect to keep your right to secede. Texas, for example, still has the political right to secede from the US; I see no such stipulation granted to Flanders.
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The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph

"largest party" (3.00 / 3) (#6)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 02:56:49 PM EST

furthermore, they are not just not a majority party in Belgium, they are not even a majority party in Flanders. While Flanders does have the largest population of Belgian "states", the Blok has only barely a quarter of the Flemish vote, and presumably very little support elsewhere in Belgium.

So essentially we have 1/4 of the population of a state wanting to:

  1. dissolve the current national government, affecting not only the other 3/4 of their state's population, but the rest of Belgium as well
  2. institute their own national government, affecting the other 3/4 of their state's population
And we haven't even talked about their actual policies yet. And yes, policies can and should make a difference when deciding whether or not to support self-determination of Flanders, particularly under the supposed rule of the Blok. There are 3 times as many Flemish persons living in Flanders than even support this party; surely they should have at least an equal say in whether they should secede and form a new government?
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The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
Burden of proof (2.00 / 2) (#12)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:06:19 PM EST

There are 3 times as many Flemish persons living in Flanders than even support this party; surely they should have at least an equal say in whether they should secede and form a new government?

Yes, of course they should -- and they were having their say up to the point that their choices were limited by decree.

Moreover, the ruling was not on the basis of their actual policies but rather was based on their political speech.

Finally, if you want to deny someone's movement for "self-determiantion" because you claim that they are denying self-determination of others, the burden is on you to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are doing so.

If you fail to do so and persist in your denial of their rights then it is you who should be outlawed and if necessary suppressed by force.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

burden of proof (none / 1) (#19)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:16:53 PM EST

funny you mention this, since the hate speech law (which passed in the Belgian government which supposedly includes this "largest party") specifically puts the onus on the accused to prove they did not intend hate speech.
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The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
Hate speech vs denial of self-determination (2.00 / 2) (#22)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:29:26 PM EST

The issue is clear:

Expression of preference, even when negatively phrased, is not justification to enslave else every slave master can justify continuing his ownership of his slaves.

We were talking about the proof that someone was suppressing the self-determination of others. You changed horses in midstream to inject emotional noise but you are still at a loss to address freedom's founding requirement.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

expression of preference (none / 1) (#26)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:37:16 PM EST

Expression of preference, even when negatively phrased, is not justification to enslave.

I agree that there is not a meaningful difference between saying "whites are smarter than blacks" (a positive statement I suppose) and "blacks are stupider than whites" (a negative statement I suppose.

But I think that there is a meaningful difference between saying "white are smarter than blacks" and "blacks should be striken from the citizenry".

The former is indeed a simple racist statement of preference; allowed but certainly detestable. The latter is a call for racist action. I do not accept calls for racist actions, no more than I would accept calls for any other illegal activity;  perhaps even less so.
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The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

You dispprove of actions of you you disapprove. (none / 1) (#29)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:42:23 PM EST

I do not accept calls for racist actions, no more than I would accept calls for any other illegal activity

People engage in racist actions all the time -- perhaps none more so racist than those who weild government power to impose racial "balance" in hiring by private companies as well as public institutions.

You simply disapprove of racist actions of which you disapprove.

Tautologies aren't always worthless but here they are.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

well (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:50:53 PM EST

Some examples of calls for racist and sexist actions:

"Women should not have the right to vote." A mixed statement of preference along with a call to action which harms a group of people defined by their Constitutionally protected class.

"Blacks should not be allowed to own businesses." Again, a mixed statement of preference along with a call to action which harms a group of people defined by their Constitutionally protected class.

"Businesses should not have racist hiring policies." The "quota" system to which you seem to generally allude is largely a myth; what is important is that racist and descriminatory hiring policies are not practiced. This is, I believe, neither a statement of preference nor is it a call to action which harms a group of people defined by their Constitutionally protected class. The only statement of preference which could be gleaned is "it is bad to have racist hiring policies". This possibly harms the group of people defined by their belief that racist hiring policies are good. This is not a Constitutionally protected class.

Or is it? God damn it, Baldrson, you have actually convinced me that it is. This pisses me off. OWN GOAL.

Fuck.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

speech vs action (none / 0) (#430)
by tantrum on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:44:49 AM EST

Moreover, the ruling was not on the basis of their actual policies but rather was based on their political speech.
just a bit offtopic, I protect the freedom of speech, however not speech of hatred.

Physical actions are not the only actions to hurt people. Emotional pain and physical pain are two different matters, however both do hurt.

A norwegian political party wanted to sterilize all foreigners and foreign adopted children a few years ago, I think I'd feel rather hurt if this statement went unnoticed.

[ Parent ]

Right (none / 0) (#8)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:00:52 PM EST

Why again does this make it OK that they're no longer allowed to participate in politics?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
didn't say it was ok (none / 1) (#14)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:11:29 PM EST

I didn't say it was OK that they were no longer allowed to participate in politics. I said they shouldn't be surprised to find opposition to their plans of secession, being that they only comprise 25% of the state which wants to secede, and a smaller minority in their nation.

They seem to want to blame the judges, though, when they should be blaming the legislature for writing the laws against hate speech (perhaps) so vaguely. But wait! They claim to have the largest party in the country! Why don't they change the laws? Because (surprise) nobody wants a bunch of racist seperatists making laws. They are in a democracy, and not knowing what rights their constitution grants them I can't comment on whether their constitutional rights have been abridged. Apparently, though, their surpreme court has upheld the law and found it constitutional. (Actually I don't even know if they have a constitution, not knowing Jack or Shit about Belgium.)
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Riddle me this (2.33 / 3) (#20)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:18:15 PM EST

If a democracy allows itself to ban political parties, then if one party comes overwhelmingly to power, what's to keep it from outlawing all the other political parties? Maybe a democracy without some built in checks and balances is a dumb idea, and tends to create nations that you can take over by burning down the Reichstag.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
agree (2.00 / 2) (#21)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:23:10 PM EST

Maybe a democracy without some built in checks and balances is a dumb idea.

It is a horrendously bad idea. But like I said, having not read the Belgian constitution (if there is one) I can't really comment on the merits of the case other than "yup that is to be expected in a democracy".
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Don't use the American Civil War as precdent (2.50 / 4) (#9)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:01:09 PM EST

We had a much greater than 26.9% of our own country attempt secession a little under 150 years ago, and the "north half" of the country went to war to keep that from happening.

Yes and it was losing that war until the US Congress stopped calling it a "War for Union" and started calling it a "War for Abolition of Slavery".

Denying so-called "self-determination" to those who are denying self-determination to others, ie: slavery, is not denying self-determination at all.

The American Civil War is a bad precdent for denying self-determination because it, in fact, upheld self-determination.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#105)
by minerboy on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:10:46 PM EST

After vicksburg, and gettysburg, (the summer of 1863) the south had lost, it was just a matter of exactly how bad, and how long they would hold out. the emancipation proclamation came after that. It was more in line with when nother conscription started. Southern conscription began much earlier, by the way



[ Parent ]
I stand corrected... (none / 0) (#114)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 09:10:31 PM EST

It may be that the Confederacy never stood a chance at any time in the so-called "civil war". It is true nevertheless that the reason the US Congress started calling it "The War for Abolition" was due to flagging morale on the Union Side, indicating that the US Congress recognized the populus from which conscripts were drawn were more motivated by self-determination as an ideal than the Union. It was wise of them -- even if the outcome of that particular war was not ultimately at stake.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Tell me... (2.60 / 5) (#63)
by skyknight on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:05:51 PM EST

if any arbitrary percentage of the population at large votes against the secession of Flanders, but everyone in Flanders wants to secede, why shouldn't they be allowed to do so? What is your infatuation with 51%? Of what intrinsic virtue is that arbitrary number when it comes to an arbitrary grouping of people imposing its will on some subset thereof?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Belgian constitution (none / 0) (#175)
by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:53:49 AM EST

I have no knowledge whatsoever of the Belgian constitution. If there are stipulations that Flanders may secede if "everyone in Flanders wants to secede" then by all means, seek this 100% decision and secede.

That said, as has been repeated several times by people much more "on the case" about Belgium than myself, secession is absolultely not the issue in this case, whatsoever, at all, zero, zilch, nada. Well maybe a little.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

according to the constitution (none / 0) (#191)
by woof on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:30:01 PM EST

Changing the limits of the Belgian State would require absolute parliamentary majority in the 3 communities + federal level (by passing a new law defining these limits.)
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]
so it is clear, then (none / 0) (#193)
by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:36:45 PM EST

The Blok may work towards their goals of secession within the law in at least 2 ways:
  1. work towards building this parliamentary majority
  2. work towards changing the constitution to reduce the requirements
Or, if they feel these requirements too onerous, they can appeal for international help in this resolution.

Or, they can take arms against their oppressors. Fun!
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

been a while since high school (none / 0) (#383)
by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:57:50 PM EST

but isn't this a simple constitutional matter, which requires predefinition of the article to be changed by a simple majority, followed by a dissolution of the chambers, and an approval by a 2/3 majority after the new constituant chamber is elected ?

Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !
[ Parent ]
well (none / 0) (#404)
by woof on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 05:32:12 PM EST

as I said in my previous post, the limits of the Belgian state are to be set in law, not in the constitution. The constitution only mentions how belgium is subdivided between the communities, regions, etc.
It's only a matter of changing the "laws", but needing a very high support from all chambers.

cf. previous comments, and google://"Constitution du Royaume de Belgique" (obviously, in french... you can find it in german or dutch if you wish...)

--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

divorce (2.50 / 4) (#147)
by Highlander on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 07:42:15 AM EST

So the wife should only be allowed to divorce if she reaches more than 50% of the family vote?

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]
how does that follow? (none / 0) (#174)
by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:51:38 AM EST

wanting a divorce (leaving the marriage) does not require a vote. likewise, wanting to no longer be under Belgian rule (leaving Belgium) does not require a vote.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
So I could secede ? (none / 0) (#254)
by Highlander on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:52:13 PM EST

So I could secede my apartment from Belgium and form my own country? I'll try that out ..

Or do you mean that the wife may leave the marriage, as long as she leaves her belongings and real estate behind !?

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]

Not so simple (none / 0) (#213)
by awgsilyari on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:12:20 PM EST

well, in the Belgian democracy, if 51% or more of the people vote "no" to the secession of Flanders, why should they be allowed to secede? Just because the party for Flemish independence is "the largest party" doesn't necessitate that they are a majority.

While I understand the appeal of the supreme simplicity of majority rule, don't you think there is something lacking in a system where (in your example) a full 49% of the population is massively unsatisfied? (Take the U.S. election as a case in point.)

In this case the number is 26.9%. While it is true that this is not a majority, do you really think it is fair to simply ignore the desires of every fourth person?

Certainly secession is not the answer, but the very fact that such a large portion would consider it should be enough of a motivation to address the concerns of that voting bloc -- it is unacceptable to simply outlaw it.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Much... much less than one in four are seperatists (none / 0) (#266)
by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:23:49 PM EST

In this case the number is 26.9%. While it is true that this is not a majority, do you really think it is fair to simply ignore the desires of every fourth person?
Don't believe the propaganda. Independence is not why people vote for the Flemish Bloc. Vague discontent, feelings of insecurity, good ol' racism, and disagreement about how the federal budget is spent, the idea that they only are the opposition, are. But not secession. There are also many people that want to cast a so called protest vote. By voting for the Flemish Bloc they want to send "a signal" to government to do better work. Unfortunately research shows that those voters have little concrete in mind. Although, sufrage for non-Belgian imigrants in municipal elections still hasn't been digested by many people. The "Snel Belg" (Quickly Belgian) law that makes it easier for imigrants who've lived here for many years, to take up our nationality has also been received badly. My point is that it's really far off the mark to say that one in four people want Flanders to secede, should your point not have been intented at just the theoretical level.

Also, having sucession on your political agenda, or promoting it, was not outlawed. This news item is about a 1981 law against inciting hate, discrimination, etc. on the basis of characteristics such as ethnic origin. The party that will succeed the Flemish Bloc party will continue to promote a Flemish independence as it does now.

[ Parent ]

Moureaux Law (none / 0) (#384)
by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:03:38 PM EST

Isn't the law in question not more the mid 90s law banning financing of racist parties rather than the Moureaux Law ?

Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !
[ Parent ]
-1, Vlaams Blok is not (3.00 / 10) (#3)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 02:41:37 PM EST

the innocent independentist party it claims to be.

It is MUCH more than an independentist party in Belgium. It is known for its xenophobic actions, amongst others.

Their appeal against the ruling was rejected because although "freedom of speech" can be guaranteed, it could not be used to back a xenophobic and racist programme as theirs.

Supporting a party with such policies is not something I'd like to do, I do not question the principle of self-determination, but the rest of their goals is something unacceptable.

Would any of you want to support the "Front National" of J-M. Le Pen (extreme-right wing party in France and french-speaking Belgium)? I do not think so, why would you want to support the Blok?

Hoping to be informative enough to convince other voters here.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!

So what (2.00 / 2) (#7)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 02:58:33 PM EST

The day the US outlaws the Klu Klux Klan is the day we've truly lost. We let them march in the streets instead.

Their appeal against the ruling was rejected because although "freedom of speech" can be guaranteed, it could not be used to back a xenophobic and racist programme as theirs.

Then what's it good for? And what exactly is it gauranteed from? Gauranteed from existing?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

well, free-speech, and limitations of it (3.00 / 5) (#13)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:07:50 PM EST

one of the comments posted here alleged the EU was a non-free-speech zone, which is not true. But calls for xenophobic or racist attitudes are banned in Belgium, for instance.

This is not the decision of one person, whose goal is to shut down free speech for everybody, this is the case of a law, passed by representatives of the People to stop the proliferation of such radical political parties.

And although I believe in many freedoms, I also believe that one's freedom stops when it starts harming someone else's. For example when they call for racist or xenophobic attitudes or policies.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

Seconded (none / 0) (#17)
by Psychopath on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:14:19 PM EST

Thanks for the good comment.
--
The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain. -- Karl Marx
[ Parent ]
I find your limitations on free speech insane (2.33 / 3) (#18)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:15:44 PM EST

And your understanding of the word freedom sorely lacking. I think that a democracy capable of voting to kill Socrates is a flawed democracy, like yours.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
oh? (none / 1) (#23)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:31:29 PM EST

Would you disagree with a well-written law which says that speech is not protected which calls directly for the death of another person? Which calls directly for the torture of another person? Which calls directly for the destruction of another person's property?

How about a well-written law, then, which says that speech is not protected which calls directly for the disenfranchisement of entire classes of citizens?

We do not let people point at someone and say, "Kill that man!" Should we let people point to a group of people and say, "Kill those people!"? What about pointing to a group of people and say, "Let us take their property and revoke their voting rights!"
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

You're talking about criminal law (none / 1) (#25)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:34:36 PM EST

Which applies to persons, not political parties. I would, of course, support criminal penalties against individuals who shout fire in a crowded theater and other such dangerous things. However if a Republican says something like "we should kill Kerry", I would not hope to outlaw the Republican party. I would hope to watch the gentleman frog-marched off to jail, of course.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
perhaps I am confused about this case (none / 1) (#30)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:44:01 PM EST

I see it more along the lines of, if the Republican party had as part of its official platform "Kill John Kerry" I would expect the party to be disbanded.
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[ Parent ]
I wouldn't (none / 1) (#32)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:44:34 PM EST

I would expect the people responsible for writing that to be sacked.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
and (none / 0) (#35)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:52:00 PM EST

for that tenet to be stricken from the platform, yes?

I would potentially support the idea that the Blok should be able to continue as a party if their hate speech is removed from their platform.
--
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[ Parent ]

Hold a party hostage to individual actions (none / 1) (#36)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:52:59 PM EST

OR put the individual in jail. Hmmmmmm.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
analogy time? (none / 1) (#40)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:56:35 PM EST

Yes, let's!

Let's say GWB "snuck" the phrase "and Kill John Kerry" into the Republican Party's platform statement.

  1. GWB is arrested.
  2. The party is operating as an illegal group until this platform statement is removed.
I would guess that both actions should follow.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
And I would disagree [nt] (none / 0) (#43)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:04:26 PM EST


--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
analogy (none / 0) (#429)
by tantrum on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:32:55 AM EST

a norwegian rap group recently created a website called killhim.nu, where they posted a reward for killing GWB. Took very little time for the US justice department to demand that they took the site down, and prosecute them.

They only wanted to make a point, though. As it is ok to publically give rewards for enemy terrorists, but not for the people the terroist look upon as terrorist.

I personally think this is wrong.

[ Parent ]

what is the difference? (none / 0) (#33)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:44:37 PM EST

what's the difference between a group of people thinking the same way on some matters (in this case, xenophobic or racist principles), and an individual holding the same thoughts and advocating them? None.

Therefore if this group holds these views, which is contrary to the law, why should it be allowed to exist only because it is a political party? They behave illegally!
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

Right (none / 0) (#38)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:53:37 PM EST

I mean, if they all conspired to hate the German people, then they all deserve the death penalty, right?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
FYI (none / 1) (#42)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:00:52 PM EST

I haven't heard of death penalty in Belgium since I was aware of what has been going on around me...

And I am certainly not advocating it.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

careful there (none / 0) (#39)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:54:02 PM EST

hat's the difference between a group of people thinking the same way on some matters (in this case, xenophobic or racist principles), and an individual holding the same thoughts and advocating them? None.

Uh... in the former there was no alleged advocation. It is completely acceptible to think "kill everyone, kill everyone!" all day long if you like. Anything else is advocating thought police, which I hope you wouldn't wish upon anyone.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

uhm, sorry (none / 0) (#41)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:59:09 PM EST

of course, you may think anything you wish, but calling for application of your "kill everybody! kill everybody!" though is something else.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]
Have they actually ever called... (none / 1) (#69)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:18:34 PM EST

...for anyone to kill anybody else?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
let's compare some statements (2.00 / 2) (#173)
by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:48:30 AM EST

Statement 1: "We should kill the Jews and take all their property by martial force, even though they have committed no crime other than being Jewish."

Statement 2: "We should take all the property from the Jews through legal force, even though they have committed no crime other than being Jewish."

Now, some milder forms of "statement 2" are pretty damned popular in the US. For example: "We should take some property from the wealthy through legal force, even though they have committed no crime other than being wealthy."

That said, statement 2 would obviously be strongly opposed by any Jewish person wishing to keep their property. Even if "legal force" was granted to perform this property taking, the property owner would likely not accept this legal force and defend their property with force. So, to take the property, you end up killing them anyway.

Oh yeah. I might mention that I disagree with all forms of statements 1 and 2.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

This is what happens if you base your information (none / 0) (#300)
by Belligerent Dove on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 06:39:02 AM EST

... on a Baldrson article.

The Flemish Bloc wasn't convicted as a party. Three of its non-profits organisations were. So, yes, we are in fact dealing with criminal law.

Furthermore this isn't anything like one party members saying something like "we should kill Kerry". It is about systematic incitement of hate, discrimination, segregation or races, etc. on the basis of people's ethnic origin. They were convicted on the basis of publication which the Flemish Bloc refuses to distance itself from to this very day.

[ Parent ]

and what's wrong with that? (none / 1) (#339)
by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:48:46 AM EST

People should be allowed to advocate for segregation of races. Obviously it's a stupid idea, so others should advocate against it, and people shouldn't vote for it, and it won't be enacted.

The solution to people wanting segregation is to convince them it's a stupid and bigoted idea, not to ban people from expressing that opinion. Banning isn't going to stop anyone from having it: I can guarantee you that the people who supported segregation before support it even more strongly now.

[ Parent ]

I don't disagree /nt (none / 0) (#348)
by Belligerent Dove on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 05:40:38 AM EST



[ Parent ]
By way of comparison... (2.75 / 4) (#67)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:17:29 PM EST

...it should be noted that under US law "speech" which engenders "attitudes" of any sort enjoys full 1st Amendment protections.1 Threats or incitements to violence, on the other hand, are not protected. From what I can tell, nothing Vlaams Blok has done would even begin to qualify as a threat or incitement ot violence under US law. They are guilty only of encouraging xenophobia and/or hate, which is a distressingly vague charge in my opinion.

1. Not to suggest by any means that the legal standards of US represent the gold standard, but reference was made here to old "yelling fire in a crowded theater," which is a phrase from one of the milestone SCOTUS decisions on the 1st amendment.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
law, law, everywhere a law (none / 1) (#152)
by killmepleez on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:56:34 AM EST

Would you disagree with a well-written law which says that speech is not protected which calls directly for the death of another person? Which calls directly for the torture of another person? Which calls directly for the destruction of another person's property?

How about a well-written law, then, which says that speech is not protected which calls directly for the disenfranchisement of entire classes of citizens?

We do not let people point at someone and say, "Kill that man!" Should we let people point to a group of people and say, "Kill those people!"? What about pointing to a group of people and say, "Let us take their property and revoke their voting rights!" --
...but enough about the Patriot Act and the Justice Department under the current US President. Let's get back to talking about Belgium.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
how is it not true? (none / 0) (#273)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:44:51 AM EST

If the EU bans speech it finds disagreeable, then how is it not true that it's a "non-free-speech zone"? Nobody claimed that it banned all speech, as that would be ludicrous. The claim is that it does not allow free speech: It bans speech it finds disagreeable. This appears to be true.

[ Parent ]
Except (none / 0) (#288)
by felixrayman on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:43:40 AM EST

All countries ban certain speech.

Name one that doesn't.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]

So no country has free speech. (none / 0) (#393)
by Danzig on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 12:33:12 AM EST

Am I missing something here?

You are not a fucking Fight Club quotation.
rmg for editor!
If you disagree, moderate, don't post.
Kill whitey.
[ Parent ]
Christ (none / 0) (#395)
by felixrayman on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 02:23:52 AM EST

All countries ban certain speech.

Which part of that are you unable to comprehend? Or do you have a counterexample?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]

The "Except" in your subject line. (none / 0) (#396)
by Danzig on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 04:34:13 AM EST

I generally (and perhaps erroneously) take the use of 'except' in that context to be refuting a point made by the parent post. I was wondering what you were refuting, as you seem to be supporting that post's parent.

You are not a fucking Fight Club quotation.
rmg for editor!
If you disagree, moderate, don't post.
Kill whitey.
[ Parent ]
Duh (none / 0) (#399)
by felixrayman on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 12:51:58 PM EST

A country that did not allow yelling fire in a crowded theater might still be called a country that allows free speech. All countries ban certain things, yet there are still differences between the things they ban that allow some to be designated as allowing "free speech".

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Truth as defense. (none / 0) (#402)
by Baldrson on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 01:09:54 PM EST

What about when someone shouts "fire" in a crowded theater and there actually is a fire?

Libel laws are similar -- truth is the ultimate defense -- except when it violates the most powerful of elites.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

No, there is not. (none / 0) (#438)
by Danzig on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:01:06 PM EST

No country (to my knowledge) allows free speech. Period. "Least restricted" does not imply free.

You are not a fucking Fight Club quotation.
rmg for editor!
If you disagree, moderate, don't post.
Kill whitey.
[ Parent ]
From what I've been able to dredge up... (none / 1) (#59)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:58:21 PM EST

...Vlaams Blok is no more extremist than Pat Buchannan is here in the US.

Would any of you want to support the "Front National" of J-M. Le Pen (extreme-right wing party in France and french-speaking Belgium)? I do not think so, why would you want to support the Blok?

Call it a cultural difference, but I don't think you'll find a lot of support among American's in general for this sort of censorship. Most of us are inclined to regard with some suspicion the ease with which unpopular speech can be censored in many European countries.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
indeed: cultural difference (none / 0) (#70)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:18:51 PM EST

It is a big cultural difference, while I acknowledge and estimate the power of your will to maintain "free speech for everybody and every matter" (correct me if I am wrong, please), but in some countries across the pond, the point of view is different: although many are supporters of free speech, freedom of press and all the rest, they feel that extremist ideas such as the one expressed by the members of the V.Blok should not be expressed, as they would go against a group's right to safety (i.e with xenophobic claims.)

I hope that'll help to bridge the gap...
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

Personally... (2.75 / 4) (#74)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:44:07 PM EST

...I find the prohibitions on "hate speech" common in European coutries to be rather silly, but I'm also not altogether inclined to get all hot and bothered over the subject; your country, your laws. On the other hand, I do wish more Europeans would adopt a similar attitude with respect to the US. Wagging fingers from from across the pond, as you can attest, can tend to irritate. In particular, I find it hard to swallow the presumptuous moral indignation from Europeans about our PATRIOT act (which I oppose from top to bottom), especially when one considers that many European countries (eg. France, Germany, and Britian) allow for far more unchecked police authority in cases of national security than we do even under the PARTIOT act.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
More better speech (none / 0) (#111)
by NoBeardPete on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:49:55 PM EST

The problem with deciding that some extremist ideas "should not be expressed", is that there is a danger that one day either your speech or the speech of those you agree with will be declared to be something that "should not be expressed". Racists and bigots make an easy target, but they can also be the thin end of the wedge.

The American attitude is that when there may be, from time to time, bad speech, the solution is more, better speech. If someone says something you think is wrong, say so, and explain why. If they're as wrong as you say, this should be easy to do. You need to trust that in the end, most people will go the right way if they are presented with compelling arguments for doing so.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Precision (none / 0) (#381)
by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:49:11 PM EST

The French and Belgian Fronts Nationaux are separate entities.

Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !
[ Parent ]
Yay for Europe! (1.60 / 10) (#5)
by NaCh0 on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 02:52:36 PM EST

Where you have freedom...except when the establishment disagress with you.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
They should have just followed the US's lead. (2.12 / 8) (#24)
by Torka on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:34:02 PM EST

Accused them all of terrorism and imprisoned them in a military jail in another country without trial.

A little humilation, beating and torture never hurt anyone, either. Am I right? Eh? Eh? Yeah.

[ Parent ]

You're so bitter. (1.80 / 5) (#101)
by partykidd on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 07:12:15 PM EST

It's sadly showing through loudly.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

not possible for US citizens (3.00 / 2) (#282)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:05:50 AM EST

The Supreme Court ruled that the US government cannot hold its own citizens without trial, even if it accuses them of terrorism. They have to get a normal trial in civilian courts.

Now what it can do to non-US citizens is still being fought in the courts. But it can't get rid of its own citizens quite that easily.

[ Parent ]

Why yes, (2.80 / 5) (#10)
by the77x42 on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:01:26 PM EST

banning racist parties should be the norm. Thank you, move on. We all know you hate non-whites and jews, Baldrson. Have a nice day.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

Incorrect (2.33 / 3) (#11)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:04:42 PM EST

Banning political parties is fascism.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
no; europe IS more advanced than the US (1.00 / 3) (#15)
by the77x42 on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:12:22 PM EST




"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
That must be why you fucks elected Hitler (1.87 / 8) (#16)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:14:19 PM EST

We shot Huey Long you know.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
yep but (1.33 / 3) (#53)
by vivelame on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:47:47 PM EST

you elected Bush.
BTW, there are hate-speech laws in place in most of Europe for a good reason:
We have seen first-hand the results of well crafted hate speech on the rationality-challenged masses.
It is akin to yelling fire in a theater.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Bush (2.00 / 3) (#55)
by Imma Troll on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:52:38 PM EST

hasn't gassed his own people yet.
Will somebody light my sig?
[ Parent ]
indeed. (2.60 / 5) (#56)
by vivelame on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:53:42 PM EST

neither did hitler, btw..
The jews, gays and gypsies weren't his people.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Oh, remember reading this somewhere, (none / 1) (#118)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 10:13:08 PM EST

but Hitler did have Jewish ancestry.

In any case, if you really want to argue ethnicities (as opposed to national identities), Saddam didn't really gas his own people; he gassed Kurds.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]

Winston Churchill gassed Kurds (2.50 / 4) (#180)
by GenerationY on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:59:13 AM EST

...and Bush has a picture of him in the Oval Office.

[ Parent ]
No, (none / 1) (#71)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:25:50 PM EST

You saw the results of a poorly constructed democracy, and blamed it on poor old Hitler.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
ah, you belong to the (none / 1) (#73)
by vivelame on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:43:20 PM EST

"can't happen here" school of thoughts?
I hope you're right.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
It can happen here (2.33 / 3) (#92)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:49:45 PM EST

Sadly, outlawing political parties would usher "it" in sooner rather than later.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Hate speech laws are fucking stupid (none / 0) (#379)
by mrcsparker on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 05:27:03 PM EST

and so is comparing Bush to Hitler. Laws that prevent speech - created to prevent fascist speech - seem fascist to me. Call me crazy, but suppression can only lead to curiosity which leads to rebellion. Cialdini's Influence book does a pretty good job at covering what suppression of speech does. Anyways, I have a feeling that I have been caught in a troll.

[ Parent ]
Hitler was not elected (none / 0) (#385)
by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:14:19 PM EST

Hitler was not even elected, he was appointed by the head of state, and by a parliament in which Socialist and Communist votes didn't count.

Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !
[ Parent ]
Banned parties and Hitler's appointment (none / 0) (#401)
by Baldrson on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 01:00:40 PM EST

So you are making an argument that Hitler's "appointment" as dictator was even more akin to the Belgian government's banning of the VB Party since it was predicated on banning "subversive" parties just as the banning of VB was.

PS: Yes I've heard the noise that VB wasn't "really" banned. But all I have to say to those sophists is when people are threatened with jail time for their political associations their precise terminologies and taxonomies are neither here nor there. The chilling effect on free political expression has occurred within a supposedly "democratic" environment and any subsequent dialogue is without legitimacy.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

In what aspect? [n/t] (none / 0) (#100)
by partykidd on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 07:10:29 PM EST


"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

in all aspects of society and technology [nt] (none / 1) (#133)
by the77x42 on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:36:52 AM EST




"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
So why aren't they a world power then? (2.50 / 2) (#326)
by partykidd on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:31:39 PM EST

Society - judgement call. I happen to disagree...

Technology - how in the world is any European country or even Europe as a whole more advanced than the US? Did Europe land on the moon and I don't know about it?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

well (none / 1) (#340)
by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:50:51 AM EST

They tried to land on Mars, but they failed.

Actually, has the ESA gotten anything right? NASA may be pretty bad too, but they seem to be downright competent compared to the ESA. All I ever hear out of the ESA are rockets blowing up left and right.

[ Parent ]

Uhm.. (none / 1) (#358)
by mikael_j on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:26:07 AM EST

Actually, has the ESA gotten anything right? NASA may be pretty bad too, but they seem to be downright competent compared to the ESA. All I ever hear out of the ESA are rockets blowing up left and right.

This wouldn't in any way be related to getting your news from US news media who seem to like ignoring Good Things(tm) from places outside of the US while maintaining a love for stories that let americans look smug and say to themselves that "dem dere yurpeans dunno howta do nottin' rite"..

/Mikael
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

I mostly read the BBC... (none / 1) (#378)
by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 04:46:01 PM EST

The Beagle2 stuff was on there nonstop for like 2 weeks, and then there was the Ariane rocket explosion...

[ Parent ]
beagle 2 (none / 1) (#431)
by tantrum on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:53:01 AM EST

remember that beagle 2 was just a gimmick. The original mission was just to send the sattelite orbiting Mars. I think the main goal succeded pretty well.

No doubt that NASA has got more merrits in space exploration, however ESA has not been around for the same timespan. Has lower funding, and generally uses less money for each mission.



[ Parent ]

they have more bananas. (none / 0) (#441)
by the77x42 on Sat Dec 04, 2004 at 03:04:35 AM EST




"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
If a political party's platform is so egregious... (2.50 / 4) (#60)
by skyknight on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:00:40 PM EST

they it ought not be of concern to you, as it shouldn't be able to obtain any serious support. The benefit of suppressing freedom of speech and association does not outweigh the cost. What should be of far more concern to you are the parties who sugar coat their malevolent truths with comfortable lies.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
i dunno... (none / 0) (#134)
by the77x42 on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:39:44 AM EST

... I do remember a little country.. oh shit what was it's name... you know, back in the 20's and 30's? Oh wait.. Germany... ya, that was it.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
And how did they rise to power? (none / 0) (#170)
by skyknight on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:37:14 AM EST

Did they have "kill the Jews" as a plank of their party from day one when they started spinning it to the public?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Mmhm (none / 1) (#287)
by felixrayman on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:40:46 AM EST

Yup.

Skeptics like yourself didn't read it though, until it was too late.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]

Comparing... (none / 0) (#304)
by skyknight on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 09:01:05 AM EST

Germany in the era after which it had just been ravaged in WWI and was being crushed under restitution payments to the present time US, a country that no doubt has its problems but is still the hyper-power in the world, seems like somewhat specious reasoning to me. The same degree for political opportunism just doesn't exist.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Hi everyone, (1.88 / 9) (#27)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:37:47 PM EST

You're all fucking insane. If people within a political party are truly guilty of speech which would represent harm to another person, i.e. "fire in a crowded theater", then those people should be convicted of hate speech. However outlawing their entire political party, for which nearly a million people voted, is absolutely insane. Outlawing a political party is something fascists do. There is absolutely nothing defensible about it. You can't call it enlightened or progressive or paint it with any other brush other than the black brush of political disenfranchisement and fascism.

In other news, fuck you Europe.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.

hm... (none / 0) (#28)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:41:09 PM EST

if a political party platform has as one of its tenets "unallowed hate speech du jour", then this party should be free to strike this from its platform and carry on. perhaps this is not the case in Belgium.

Also, even in Belgium, the people are still free to vote for the exact same people they voted for before their illegal party was ordered to "disband or remove hate speech from its platform", which is how I took the court order.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Well the linked text says the party was outlawed (none / 0) (#31)
by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:44:05 PM EST

I'm going by that.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
It was indeed outlawed. (none / 0) (#48)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:38:38 PM EST

From the linked article:
The Ghent verdict literally stated: "Rendering punishable every person who belongs to or cooperates with a group or society [...] serves as an efficient means to suppress such groups or societies, as the lawmaker intended. Rendering punishable the members or collaborators of the group or society inherently jeopardizes the continued existence or functioning of the group or society [...]."

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

outlawed [...] (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by zenofchai on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:45:45 PM EST

so what's in the [...]?

Is it "rendering punishable every person who belongs to or cooperates with a group or society that continues to profess hate speech as part of its official political platform"? Perhaps "that refuses to strike hate speech from its official political platform"?

Well gee, it's interesting that a law intending to outlaw groups which advocate hate speech... actually is used to outlaw groups which advocate hate speech. Where was this "largest political party" when the law was enacted by the democratically elected Beligian government?
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

seconded. (none / 0) (#66)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:08:54 PM EST

And furthermore, the Blok indeed holds a majority in the Flemish region of Belgium, by a tiny majority of seats, in all other circonscriptions (walloon parliament, francophone community, germanophone community, federal parliament/senate, and possibly the flemish community), they do not have any seats (in all the walloon-related parts), or are a small minority, like most of the extreme-right groups across Europe.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]
No they don't. (none / 1) (#360)
by uXs on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:35:34 AM EST

They don't have a majority anywhere. They are (more or less) the biggest party (in Flanders), but the other parties combined are still bigger. And since nobody else wants to form a coalition with them, they aren't even a part of the majority.

And another nitpick: they are not only well represented in the Flemish parliament, but also in the federal one, and I think they have some seats in Brussels too. Since a large part of their program is that they think the French-speaking part of the country is the cause of all bad things (well, that and immigrants), they don't get a lot of votes over there.

Currently, the only way they will get any actual power is that they effectively get the majority somewhere. For now, I only see that happening in Antwerp, one of the biggest cities where they supposedly have a lot of problems with immigrants. And corruption in the city council in recent years won't have helped matters for the other parties there.

--
What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?" -- (Terry Pratchett, Pyramids)
[ Parent ]

I stand corrected, thanks. (none / 0) (#405)
by woof on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 05:39:44 PM EST

You are right, in the number of seats, they outnumber every individual party, but if there is any coalition formed, they will be sent back into the opposition.

They did get some seats in Brussels too, but the Flemish parties are much less represented than the french parties, so they are clearly outnumbered over there...

Concerning the Walloon parts, they don't even bother to run for election over there, their Walloon homologues from the "Front National" (an emanation of the French party which has the same name) is taking care of getting the votes over there. (they're only 3 in the Walloon Parliament.)

(Hope I got everything right this time!)

--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

-1 Author is ignorant of subject. (3.00 / 14) (#37)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 03:53:02 PM EST

When Belgium's largest minority

Flemings are not in any way a minority in Belgium. They are in fact the majority. Belgium is roughly 60% Dutchspeaking, 40% Frenchspeaking. A collosal blunder on your part right there, but one indicative of the rest of the article.

Secondly, Flemish independence is hardly the Vlaams Blok only raison d'être, this political idea is found to varying degrees in other parties as well and it certainly long predates the Vlaams Blok. The primary reason the Vlaams Blok has grown to be the largest of such parties is because of its other, now deemed racist, ideas.

Thirdly, this will not be the end of the Vlaams Blok. They will disband and then form a new party where they will tone down somewhat and be more careful about their language and they'll regain much of their former strength, though perhaps not all.

Then there are lots of other nuances, such as why one can claim the VB is the "most popular" (because the Belgian political scene is horribly fragmented), but what really stood out is your attempt (including the obligatory quoting from some US document as though it were Biblical Truth) to try to somehow tie this in with your own agenda. My advice is to not do this about a subject you do not seem particularly knowledgeable about.


Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...

You're overblowing my supposed ignorance. (none / 0) (#46)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:31:55 PM EST

I reworded the intro to reflect my intented statement, which was a clarification targeting the many readers who are citizens of two party systems as to how the largest political party can nevertheless represent a minority.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

I doubt it... (3.00 / 5) (#68)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:17:36 PM EST

That's still not it. Technically, if there were elections now, the VB would be the largest Flemish party and they would have a plurality, certainly at the Flemish level. Problem for them is of course that none of the other major Flemish parties will touch them, let alone the Walloon ones. One reason the VB can achieve such a percentage of the vote is because the mainstream political movements in Belgium are very fragmented, both at the federal and the community level.

To say they are "Belgium's largest political party" will only confuse your so called "readers who are citizens of two party systems" (actually I think this will likely only apply to Americans), as this fails to explain why they are still some way from being able to hold office. The Belgian political scene is rather complicated and would require a far more in depth write-up than is presented here, one that I doubt you are capable of.

Secondly, you're still suggesting it was their desire for Flemish independence that landed them in hot water, which is not the case. It was their statements on immigrants that brought about this court case. Your link may suggest otherwise, but I don't care what they say in English, you should read and hear what they say in Dutch.

At any rate, this may very well prove to be beneficial for the Blok, as it will force them to tone down further and become more respectable. If there is a sufficient amount of reform, perhaps the cordon sanitaire will be abandoned. Though perhaps once in office they will then dwindle away again, as their pariah status is part of their electoral attraction.

So I stick by my previous closing comment, as you should stick to what you know.


Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]

One thing matters: Self determination (none / 1) (#72)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:35:15 PM EST

All of your sophistry is for naught.

The issue of relevance is not your nitpicking -- the issue of relevance is that some people want freedom for themselvse and they are being denied that freedom.

"Hate speech", particularly as defined by the oppressors, is the least the oppressors should expect.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

oppression, reverse order (none / 1) (#77)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:54:51 PM EST

What would you say when these kind of headlines hit the news agencies, then:

"Belgium far-right government pull out of EU, closes borders and expulses all non-belgians." "International Organisations run away from Brussels.", and the like, possibly resulting from their accession to the reins of the country? Of course, it's "democracy", the People has decided.

Then you'd call it a flawed democracy.

What has the govt. tried to do here? Make a cordon sanitaire, a "safety net" against this. Effectively removing this flaw.

I don't know how you consider xenophobia or racism, but over here, they're considered as unacceptable and treated as such.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

I deny the moral authority of oppressors (none / 1) (#79)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:01:56 PM EST

That some oppressors decide to run some emotive headlines for their propaganda has no moral authority with me or with any other rational person.

Any government that oppresses its population so as to avoid "bad press" deserves the loss of their legal authority.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

I don't think you get the point (none / 0) (#87)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:31:03 PM EST

rationality?

Well, try to rationalise: on one side, you have an extremist party, guys who want many bad things to take place, trying to gather people to stick to their propaganda.
On the other side, you have elected representatives of the people, a government, of mixed political origins.

Now, the former is seen as a growing mass, what can the latter do for its people and inhabitants (not necessarily belgian citizen)?

Legiferate.

Hence the <I>cordon sanitaire</I> law.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

No it doesn't, well to you maybe... (3.00 / 4) (#80)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:08:30 PM EST

Sophistry? Why? Because you don't have a clue about Belgium and its political environment? Because you so very much want to fit this event into your rather peculiar Weltanschauung?

The relevance is not self-determination in this case. For the last time, Flemish independence is not the issue here, plain and simply. It's their statements on deporting all immigrants that refuse to assimilate to their particular standards. You may call that "freedom for themselves", but I think that's a rather narrow interpretation.

Your latest addition (To retain legitimacy, the Belgian government should at least have the decency to draw up boundaries for the Flemish Republic,) really takes the cake though, a most amusing piece of fiction. It also proves you really don't know the first thing about Belgium (e.g. without Flanders there is no Belgium), so just give it a rest. Eminent domain compensation indeed...


Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]

Now you're demonstrating _serious_ ignorance.. (none / 0) (#82)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:18:36 PM EST

You're ignoring what I said which was:
the Belgian government should at least have the decency to draw up boundaries for the Flemish Republic...
and
The boundary should be chosen so that there is a minimum of imbalance in direction of migration and a minimum in the degree of eminent domain compensation.
Then you implied that such a Flemish Republic would take out most of the territory of Belgium.

Which led you to that statement? Was it ignorance or just stupidity?

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Au contraire.. (3.00 / 5) (#90)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:37:12 PM EST

You really don't get it. There already are clear boundaries for the Flemish Community, which would become the Flemish Republic should it become independent. I was not implying anything like you suggested. What I meant was that without either Flanders or Wallonia, Belgium as a country ceases to exist. If one leaves, the other becomes an independent country as well, and one hell of a fight breaks out over the region of Brussels. You seem to think there is some part of Belgium that is Belgian irrespective of Flanders or Wallonia, but this is patent nonsense. This is all rather elemental stuff, I'm afraid, the fact that you're not aware of it speaks volumes, but it certainly is amusing...


Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]
OK, its not your ignorance... its your stupidity. (none / 1) (#93)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:53:36 PM EST

The Vlaams Blok represents 20% of the Flemish who are less than 60% of the Belgian population.

A boundary chosen to minimize migration bias and eminent domain compensation between the two nations would probably result in the loss of no more than 10% of Beglium's territory.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Ooh, Baldrson calls me stupid... (2.60 / 5) (#98)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 07:05:13 PM EST

Hmm, I think you're suggesting the Vlaams Blok voters gather themselves in some part of Belgium (and just what lucky part would that be...) and declare independence, right? Fine, if that is what you feel should happen, you're entitled to your opinion. It, of course, has no basis whatsoever in reality, but that hasn't stopped you before.

Look Jim, having a resident neo-nazi on K5 certainly adds some spice to the mix, but stick to US issues, will you? You're embarrassing yourself beyond what even I thought possible.


Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]

Wrong... (none / 1) (#203)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:42:57 PM EST

Hmm, I think you're suggesting the Vlaams Blok voters gather themselves in some part of Belgium (and just what lucky part would that be...) and declare independence, right?

Wrong.

As I clearly stated, I am suggesting that the Belgian government set aside 10% of its territory for members of the VB Party as the Flemish Republic and expell the VP Party members from the remainder of Beligum through eminent domain procedings for the public good. Reciprocal expulsions should occur within the newly formed Flemish Republic.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Oh what a fantastic view of democracy (none / 1) (#380)
by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:35:52 PM EST

So your vision of democracy of elections is when elections (what's more, secret elections) are held with 10 % for party A, 25 % for party B, 30 % for party C and 35 % for party D, the jurisdiction should be divided in four regions A, B, C and D with proportional surfaces, and people forcefully moved to their appropriate region ?

Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !
[ Parent ]
Not at all... (none / 0) (#400)
by Baldrson on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 12:54:37 PM EST

What I am saying is that when a secessionist movement has to even bother forming a political party, a fundamental violation, perhaps the most fundamental violation of all, of human rights has already taken place.

If people are democratic idealists then of course they won't want to secede just because they lose in a vote. They believe in democracy's ultimate good.

That's fine, for them, as long a they continue to believe in democracy. The moment they want out, they should be able to leave and have land without having to engage in the political process at all.

Any presumed government that doesn't support such freedom is a tyrrany.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

what? (none / 0) (#428)
by tantrum on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:18:51 AM EST

As I clearly stated, I am suggesting that the Belgian government set aside 10% of its territory for members of the VB Party as the Flemish Republic and expell the VP Party members from the remainder of Beligum through eminent domain procedings for the public good. Reciprocal expulsions should occur within the newly formed Flemish Republic.
have you seen a map over europe? Or belgium. try to find 10% of it's landmass that is unpopulated.

You're from the US? If so, the two-party system you've got over there is very hard to compare with the political system in Europe. It is not like they just banned the republicans or the democrats. They tried to ban a party wanting to toss out everybody that did not follow their ideals, what has that got to do with democracy?

I think that people should be allowed to think whatever they want, but I will never protect injustice put into system.

[ Parent ]

that seems kind of odd though (none / 1) (#276)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:53:14 AM EST

I could see the courts overturning laws that tried to deport all citizens if the VB somehow managed to pass such laws. What I can't see is banning them from saying they want the laws. People should be allowed to have unpopular—and even ridiculous—opinions.

[ Parent ]
That's not what happened (none / 0) (#296)
by Belligerent Dove on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:41:30 AM EST

They have not been convicted for having an opinion.

The law that they were found guilty of breaking says that it is illegal to systematically incite discrimination, segregation of races, hate or violence toward parts of the population based on their so-called race.

[ Parent ]

True... (3.00 / 2) (#312)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:26:36 PM EST

...they were guilty of expressing their opinion.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Point is (none / 1) (#316)
by Belligerent Dove on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:51:29 PM EST

They were found guilty of systematically encouraging other people to commit crimes against certain groups in the population. They were not found guilty of saying our borders needed to be closed or anything like that.

If I take a look at freedom of speech in the US then it is interesting to see that advocating imminent violent action against particular persons is illegal also. Of course, this is much different from our anti-racism law, but the difference is one of degree (systematic vs. imminent, and ethnic groups within the population vs. particular persons), and not as fundamental as you imply.

It's a shame that Baldrson's article brings this topic to K5. Its slant has made it impossible to discuss this and other subtleties. But what would you expect when an article is voted up that states that voters have been disenfranchised when in actual fact elected VB representatives still sit in parliament, the VB gets to keep its dotation, and the VB will simply continue to operate under a different name.

[ Parent ]

As I've said elsewhere... (none / 1) (#319)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 03:35:09 PM EST

...your country, your laws. I'm pretty strongly inclined to view the outlawing of a political party to be an action which is beyond the pale, but then its not really my place to admonish you (individually or collectively).

On a more technical note, there is a world of difference, at least under US law, between threatening someone or inciting violence, and merely expressing a hateful viewpoint. In the latter case it's an expression of opinion, and in the former it is an action which legally represents intimidation and/or an attempt to cause physical harm to someone else.

Also, I suspect your objection to the characterization of this judicial decision as "disenfranchisement" might be a result of the fact that English isn't your native language. It's not a technical term of law, but a general concept meaning something very close to "marginalization." Generally speaking, I suspect you won't find many native English speakers who wouldn't consider the banning of a political party to fall under the term "disenfranchisement." As much as it pains me to be in agreement with Baldrson on any matter, I think his choice of language here was quite appropriate.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Ah (3.00 / 2) (#331)
by Belligerent Dove on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 08:18:10 PM EST

I indeed didn't understand disenfranchisement like that. m-w describes it as "to deprive of the rights of a citizen".

Anyway. The question if this political party was outlawed is an interesting one. Technically, the "only" thing that happened is that three of its non-profit organisations were fined for aiding an organisation which encourages discrimination. Although severe by itself, it is incorrect to say that the party was outlawed.

The conviction wasn't based on just a hateful opinion by the way. Reading the court's synthesis of the essence of the case, I see that concretely it would (legally) be fine to say that there is more crime among Morrocan youngsters proportionally, but not to keep repeating that all Morrocans are thieves. Now I don't know about you, but the latter claim sounds as hard core determinism in my book and seems like an obviously false empirical statement. It is speech, most certainly, but not opinion.

It also doesn't appear to be so that this law was crafted to hurt the VB directly, although it was an attempt to stop racism back in response to the success of the then-new VB. This whole ordeal, then, is more so the consequence of a law that got a life of its own, and of political bungling than of mallice or of some grandiose attempt to shut up facists. I think this is examplified by the fact that while the government is now technically allowed to retract government dotations, at least the Flemish government parties show no intent in doing so. Indeed, the Flemish parties are stressing that they do not want to (ab)use this arrest for political ends (notable exception, though seated in the oposition, are the greens).

Anyway. I think one has to be a leftish Belgian (maybe Flemish) to appreciate the combination of a very peculiar way in which this law ended up affecting a political party, and the transparantly ineffective manner by which it ends up doing this. Government is predictably going to end up only having made a joke of itself.

[ Parent ]

I find some of that dangerous to discussion (none / 1) (#338)
by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:46:37 AM EST

It's a logically possible point of view to claim that people of a particular race are genetically predisposed to certain traits. It's not one that has a lot of scientific backing, but IMO it should be possible to openly discuss it. People who feel that it is true should put forth their evidence, and others can debunk that evidence.

Preventing them from even saying it just makes more people believe it, because there's a strong feeling among many people that if something is important enough for the government to actually ban it, there must be some truth to it to it. This seems to be happening: The party actually got more popular because of the government's actions.

[ Parent ]

You twist my words (none / 1) (#350)
by Belligerent Dove on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:53:09 AM EST

I said it would not be ok "to keep repeating that all Morrocans are thieves". I didn't say it would be illegal to say people of particular race are genetically predisposed to certain traits. That isn't illegal from what I can tell.

In fact, as Baldrson pointed out, the Flemish Bloc doesn't advocate any of these as political opinions. They were not at all convicted for their political opinions. That's just not true. As the court explicitly stated, they are still allowed to argue against multicultural society as they did before.

Your interpretation of why the party is getting more popular is simplistic. The reason that the VB profits from this ruling is that many people disagree with the ruling itself. Incorrect information spread by the VB, and similar to this article, contribute much to this sentiment. E.g. this party has repeatedly insinuated that this ruling makes VB voters criminals before the law, that it makes it punishable to rent a room to the VB for meetings, etc. In actual fact, the convicted non-profits were just an extention of the VB. They were an extention of the VB and as profits they are legal persons before the law; it's only this unfortunate combination that made this law applicable to them.

Although, as I said elsewhere, this law has run out of hand even without the misinformation, I think it's mischievous to not consider the full context. Principled objection against this law is one thing, calling it an assault on demoracy and claming that opinions can no longer be expressed are something else entirely.

[ Parent ]

minority report (none / 0) (#411)
by mrsad on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 04:55:13 PM EST

When Belgium's largest minority
Flemings are not in any way a minority in Belgium.

i think that he wants to point out that the flemish people are the largest in count, but are still a minority. meaning that a political party like the PS is in control. if this is still true or not, i'll leave up to you to decide...
Yow!
[ Parent ]

-1 American opinion on non-American issue. (2.31 / 16) (#45)
by Stavr0 on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:29:48 PM EST

We are no longer interested to hear Americans' opinions on the rest of the world.
- - -
Pax Americana : Oderint Dum Metuant -- Bis Quadrennium
Why? (none / 1) (#50)
by Wateshay on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:42:27 PM EST

The rest of the world gives America plenty of their opinions!

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


[ Parent ]
We're cleverer than you though <nt> (none / 1) (#178)
by GenerationY on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:57:07 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#418)
by kurioszyn on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:19:10 PM EST

I will give that to Germans but British and clever don't belong together.

[ Parent ]
seconded for two reasons: (2.16 / 6) (#51)
by vivelame on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:44:35 PM EST

  1. americans don't want the opinion of the rest of the world about them.
  2. americans know jack shit about the rest of the world.


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
That's bigoted hate speech if ever I read it. (2.40 / 5) (#57)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:55:23 PM EST

And I defend your right to say it thus:

You are right in however the percent of Americans who have spoken out more publically than I have against the US government's actions around the world, is quite small.

Perhaps you think that I don't give a shit about what other people's think of me as a US citizen because I haven't advocated blowing up Washington D.C. but if I were to do so then I'd be engaging in "hate speech" against the rulers of the U.S., right?

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

that's not hate speech because, well (2.50 / 4) (#62)
by vivelame on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:03:12 PM EST

  1. it's factually exact
  2. i don't hate you.
really!
I can't bring myself to hating a whole category of people. Even americans.
I can hate individuals alright, mind you, but, say, i can't hate "the jews", "teh evil gays", "muslims", or, yes, "americans".

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
You don't know what hate speech is. (2.77 / 9) (#65)
by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:06:27 PM EST

The all-important aspect of "intent" by which "hate speech" is defined is not as reported by the speaker but as interpreted by the most powerful of the hearers.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

if this is the reason... (none / 1) (#150)
by Viliam Bur on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:22:26 AM EST

americans know jack shit about the rest of the world.

...let them discuss now! At least they will learn something.

[ Parent ]

What I've learned (none / 1) (#366)
by physicsgod on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 10:33:46 AM EST

Is that Belgium is off the list of bolt-hole countries.

What I'd like to learn: Is there any French-speaking region that isn't totally nuts? So far I've eliminated France, Quebec, Algeria, Ivory Coast, and now Belgium. Maybe Switzerland?

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

As a Jew (2.53 / 13) (#54)
by kitten on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 04:50:11 PM EST

As a Jew I am offended that our sinister plots of Zionist control are not being implicated in these nefarious ramblings.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
So call the ADL on him, (1.25 / 4) (#103)
by Esspets on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:06:22 PM EST

that's all you people ever do.


Desperation.
[ Parent ]
You're on The List, champ. (1.00 / 3) (#121)
by kitten on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:18:32 PM EST


mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
O_o (none / 0) (#123)
by Esspets on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:25:31 PM EST




Desperation.
[ Parent ]
This is sick. (2.10 / 10) (#76)
by LilDebbie on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 05:53:35 PM EST

Okay, I'll just start this off by conceding that these guys (Vlaams Bok) are probably a bunch of racist assholes. However, since when did having a fucking opinion, no matter how offensive, become illegal in a Western country? If there are any Belgians reading this, flee while you still can. The moderate left has long held the illusion that they are incapable of the injustices caused by the radicalization of their ideology, but that's exactly what people were telling themselves in Russia when Stalin was getting warmed up. There's a reason freedom of speech is sacrosant in a proper democracy; you can have no honest debate if you start forcibly shutting people up and therefore have no democratic rule. This is a move towards totalitarianism which, dear friends, has its expression on both sides of the aisle.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

I am a Belgian citizen (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by woof on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:13:45 PM EST

and, as many people, would very much love to see the Blok disappear from the political scene.

I can't accept that such an ideology be put forward and actually appear in the political spectrum, in a country where freedom of the individual, and human rights are to be respected according to the EU Charter of Human Rights and the future Constitutional Treaty.

Their political line is based on ideologies contrary to many countries' ground law.
An individual does something illegal, he gets into trouble.
An association does something illegal, same thing happens.
A company does something bad, they get problem.
A political party doesn't work by the law, they shouldn't have any problems? How do you justify that?

The Blok not only has "a fucking opinion" (sic), but they are trying to spread it, and to apply it. How does a racist and xenophobe government sound to you? To me, who'd have to live under it, it certainly DOESN'T sound right at all.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

What's distressing to me... (2.33 / 3) (#84)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:21:01 PM EST

...and I presume many others as well, is that the catalog of justifications you've just presented sounds no different than what Mugabe or any other tin horn dictator has claimed when they outlawed an opposition party.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
He's American (2.66 / 9) (#85)
by Doktor Merkwuerdigliebe on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:22:31 PM EST

LilDebbie's comment is a typical expression of the American view on freedom of speech, particularly in regard to limits of said freedom. There simply is a difference in how Europeans and Americans deal with this issue. The nuances of the European view are often lost on Americans (as they are obviously on LilDebbie), just like the sacred nature of this freedom to Americans is often underappreciated by Europeans.


Also Sprach Doktor Merkwürdigliebe...
[ Parent ]
Hmm? (3.00 / 2) (#112)
by KnightStalker on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:53:21 PM EST

What are these nuances to which you refer? I'm not sure that I've ever heard justification for actions like this that amounts to more than 1) We don't like this, so 2) We'll suppress it because 3) We can. Is there some deeper principle at work here?

[ Parent ]
As an American observer (2.66 / 3) (#132)
by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:15:06 AM EST

the nuances I see in Europes view of free speech boil down to 'We saw the holocaust in happen in our neighborhoods and we ain't letting it happen again.' It can be argued that Europe goes to far in restricting what an American would call first ammendments rights *cough*frenchheadscarfban*cough* but the basic motive is easily understood when you remember that there are still Europeans alive who can give first hand accounts of Nazi Germany.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]
The what about Canada? (none / 1) (#135)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:54:27 AM EST

the nuances I see in Europes view of free speech boil down to 'We saw the holocaust in happen in our neighborhoods and we ain't letting it happen again.'

Canadian laws are as restrictive as European laws. Why is that?

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Canada (none / 0) (#211)
by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:43:31 PM EST

IIRC Canada started on the road to true independence in the 1930's. A country that last had rulers in Europe 70 years ago is going to resemble European values more than a country that has last had Eurpean rules over 200 years ago.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]
Understanding motives (none / 1) (#162)
by LilDebbie on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 10:51:51 AM EST

I'll grant you that, but it appears that Europeans fail to appreciate that restrictions on speech were one of the many things that led to the rise of the Nazi Party. Germany was in the thrall of communists and Germans in disagreement could not voice their dissent without resorting to violence. Small wonder many Germans fell under the spell of Hitler's "voice."

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I'm not disagreeing (3.00 / 2) (#208)
by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:08:32 PM EST

I think this is a clear case of a country going too far, I'm just pointing out the country has a reason and motive for going to far. It isn't becuase they're totalitarian but rather their mistaken attempt at avoid totalitarianism.

Basically this action is like the Patriot Act, a really stupid idea but entirely understandable as a reaction to major events.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

They are aware of that (3.00 / 3) (#210)
by Ptyx on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:39:10 PM EST

Ok, most of them. Here is my stand on restrictions on speech, and hopefully it reflects part of the European opinion:

Passionate and simple discourse by charismatic leaders, even when full of lies and hate, is a lot more efficient than a wise but complex reasonment made by some boring establishment figure.

As a result, a large part of the population tend to forget about the thing called a brain when making political decisions or voting.

Because of their history, Europeans are extremely mefiant of passionate decisions and ideas (that's also why we don't like Bush: someone who doesn't appear to doub and involves God in its decisions is very high on the danger scale).

So, the only way to fix the brain-dead part of the population would be to educate them (I already hear cts screaming) - ok, make them use their brain. Noone found a way to do that yet.

Which means that small aggressive groups (typically extremist parties) can cause a lot of harm before the majority find a way to convince people their ideas are evil.

To preserve the cohesion of society, we restrict their right to express themselves.

It can be compared to a teacher telling a pupil to shut up, or a company evicting an employee actively spreading bad moral: it is a restriction of speach, but it is the only way to preserve the social cohesion and have people do constructive things instead of fighting against each other full-time.

The "ideal" alternative: using a lot of resources to fight the discourse itself, is simply too expensive to be feasible.

Problem is, this can be easily abused...

Restricting freedom of speech is dangerous. But allowing any moron to advertise its fascist ideas also is.

Finding balance is not an easy exercise.
-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

Wrong approach (none / 1) (#212)
by LilDebbie on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:03:00 PM EST

if you want to prevent another Hitler, don't put a country with the military and industrial might of Germany under a debilitating peace treaty such as Versailles.  Furthermore, avoid reperations to France at all costs - no self-respecting nation would endure having to pay tribute to effin France.

But yeah, I understand the Hitler-paranoia, Europe just needs to learn that people like Hitler will always be there, and you can't always marginilize them.  I believe der Fuehrer was thrown in jail for his speeches once - fat lot of good that did.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]

Man, we really look like caricatures... [nt] (none / 0) (#235)
by Ptyx on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:33:01 PM EST


-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]
Welcome to Kuro5hin. [nt] (none / 0) (#236)
by KnightStalker on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:39:17 PM EST



[ Parent ]
no, (none / 0) (#387)
by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:38:39 PM EST

He was put in jail for a putsch that did not succeed. By people who didn't really want to put him in jail and he only served a tiny portion of the sentence in a golden jail.

Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !
[ Parent ]
Is that as bad as it seems? (none / 1) (#219)
by KnightStalker on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:52:32 PM EST

I agree that what you're saying is true, there is a certain part of the population (most of it) that is easily swayed by xenophobic, nationalistic ideologues.

I'm not aware of any fascist movement that's ever come to power on nothing but that, though. Isn't there always some real issue that they exploit? (i.e. German suffering under Versailles). In this case it's Muslim immigration that actual people actually feel threatened by. Not that I have a solution for that problem, but if people didn't feel threatened, then I'm guessing the Vlaams Blok would have no teeth. I hope they can solve it in a good way.

The neo-nazis in the US have no real issues to exploit and have been losing ground for years, without being officially suppressed. People laugh at them more than argue with them.

It can be compared to a teacher telling a pupil to shut up, or a company evicting an employee actively spreading bad moral: it is a restriction of speach, but it is the only way to preserve the social cohesion and have people do constructive things instead of fighting against each other full-time.

That's precisely the right analogy, I think, but in neither of those cases is the student or employee presumed to have the freedom of speech or association in that context. In the context of participating in society, they certainly do have those freedoms -- I'm unable to conceive of a democracy in which some political statements are illegal. Free people ought to resist any government that treats them like sheep.


[ Parent ]

You are the government (none / 0) (#228)
by Ptyx on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:03:26 PM EST

...at least to some extent.

Remember that in Europe, because the states are a lot smaller, people are closer to the government. It is not some opressing instance of higher power you can only fight and which is only there to opress you (do all Americans really feel like this?).

Ok, many people still feel like that in Europe, but there really is a difference.

Compare the situation with a town not wanting a casino in its neighboorhood: it will elect a mayor opposing the idea, and support it when it takes step to "oppress" the casino supporters.

But certainly, it is hard to tell the difference between "we, the people" saying "you're not welcome here" and a tyrant government evicting a rival...
-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

Particularly from outside. (none / 1) (#231)
by KnightStalker on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:15:26 PM EST

(do all Americans really feel like this?)

With regard to the federal government, it's certainly the majority opinion among people I personally know. And it's probably the majority opinion among people who express opinions loudly. Beyond that, I'm not sure. ;-)

You have a good point. I had been interpreting this in terms of how I'd react to the American federal government doing the same thing. (assuming it were permissible for them to do that, which it is not.) Belgium is what, the size of Pennsylvania or so? I'm not sure how that changes things. I'd certainly oppose the state I live in doing this, though they've shown no inclination toward it.

[ Parent ]

So... (none / 1) (#227)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 04:44:35 PM EST

To preserve the cohesion of society, we restrict their right to express themselves.

Why bother with democracy then? You already know what's right, don't you?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Maybe the world is more complex than you think (none / 0) (#232)
by Ptyx on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:22:42 PM EST

Given your perfectly appropriate signature, I don't really know if your post is a troll or not.

I'll bite anyway.

A working democracy has to make some compromises between the right of eveyone to speak his mind, and the right of everyone to self determination.

If 51% of the population think it's ok to restrict speech, on which ground will you oppose that in a democracy?

As far as I know, the Belgian democracy did not choose to have a 1st amendment. This was a democratic decision. They also democratically choose to give their government the right to disband some political formations.

Digest that and try again...
-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

Democracy needs self-determination (none / 1) (#239)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:49:01 PM EST

If 51% of the population think it's ok to restrict speech, on which ground will you oppose that in a democracy?

On the grounds that virtually no democracy has demonstrated its willingness to respect the right of peaceful secession of a political minority.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

You guys are exhausting... (none / 0) (#241)
by Ptyx on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:12:26 PM EST

Of course you need self determination, as well as you need democracy, free speech and a lot of other things.

Now, I propose you (Baldrson) and cr8dle2grave try to find a system wich is completely democratic and still completely respect self determination and free speech (including the aspect of self determination allowing a sub group to decide of its own rules). Don't forget you'll have to split the assets (democratically) in case someone want to make secession.

Compromises and trying to understand the point of the oponnent before wiping it away with big nice-sounding words is not authorized.

LilDebbie can play too...
-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

I only demand self-determination (none / 0) (#245)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:20:33 PM EST

Democracy with respect for right of secession is free and therefore legitimate. Democracy without respect for the right of secession is tyrrany of the majority and therefore illegitimate. Freedom of speech without the right of secession is an empty mockery of "human rights" since those in power can simply pat you on the head and say, "Thank you for sharing."

The lack of respect for the right of secession is the greatest single cause of war.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Do you have any actual plan for selfdetermination? (none / 0) (#265)
by Rahaan on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:22:17 PM EST

As in:  what would you do if someone did grant you the "right of self-determination"?


you know, jake.. i've noticed that, since the tacos started coming, the mail doesn't so much come as often, or even at all
[ Parent ]
No one can grant you what is yours by birth. (none / 0) (#268)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:39:35 PM EST

In all international politics, any discussion of human rights is predicated on those rights being present in every human being. I'm simply building on that premise and arguing that all other so-called "human rights" are built upon a single primordial foundation: the right of self-determination.

The fact that people are deprived of their rights doesn't mean the thieves "grant" said rights to us when they give them back.

The only thing at issue here is how long those deprived of their rights will tolerate those who have stolen said rights.

If, on the other hand, you think that this is all sophistry -- that rights are rightfully owned by those who enforce them -- then I say, "If its war you demand -- you'll probably get it."

As far a plan is concerned, are you presuming that the powers that be will not be swayed by moral argument? If so, I'm not going to discuss my plans, should I have any at all, for obvious reasons.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#295)
by Rahaan on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:40:05 AM EST

by grant I more or less meant "stop repressing your right" of self-determination.  I can assume what you would have planned if this were not to happen.

I am, however, interested in what you would do if the powers that be were indeed swayed by moral argument.  Have you considered the logistics?  Do you plan on moving?  What would happen if 'the powers that be' did not resist, but some other group did?


you know, jake.. i've noticed that, since the tacos started coming, the mail doesn't so much come as often, or even at all
[ Parent ]

Don't go lumping me in baldrson... (none / 0) (#246)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:21:46 PM EST

...self-determination is his monomanical obsession, not mine.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
My excuses for that (none / 0) (#253)
by Ptyx on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:39:31 PM EST

It was the easy thing to do.
 
-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]
All democracies are limited democracies (none / 0) (#242)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:15:52 PM EST

I'm not trolling, per se, just asking uncomfortable questions.

Myself, I support democracy on strictly pragmatic grounds so it's as though I'm inclined to see through the lens of absolute rights. Actually, I must admit that I'm personally inclined to value free expression much more highly than I do democracy, which leads me to view censorious acts such those we're discussing as more than just a little foolish. 51% is a pretty poor excuse for a moral highground.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
correction (none / 0) (#243)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:16:53 PM EST

"pragmatic grounds so it's as though" --> pragmatic grounds so it's not as though

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Which is why democracy is not valid government (none / 1) (#325)
by kurtmweber on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:19:11 PM EST

Its only guiding principle is majority whim. If a democracy decides to outlaw certain speech, then I will oppose it on the grounds that that democracy has no moral right to exist--which is true.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Even worse than simple charismatic leadership... (none / 0) (#238)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:45:01 PM EST

Passionate and simple discourse by charismatic leaders, even when full of lies and hate, is a lot more efficient than a wise but complex reasonment made by some boring establishment figure.

So we can also conclude that motion picture story-telling, even when full of lies and hate via casting decisions, is a lot more efficient than simple discourse by charismatic leaders.

Looking at the casting "against stereotypes" that goes on Hollywood movies all the time it should therefore be easy to justify banning all Hollywood movies from Europe.

Casting "against stereotypes" is just another form of hatred and it is arguably worse since it exacerbates the statistically demonstrated propensity of immigrants and other minorities to commit crimes as a kind of vigilante "justice" against members of the indigenous people.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Society is not an end in itself (none / 1) (#324)
by kurtmweber on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:17:25 PM EST

The end is the individual. Sacrificing the individual for society is absolutely despicable.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
One minor point... (2.00 / 2) (#286)
by felixrayman on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:35:15 AM EST

Germany was in the thrall of communists and Germans in disagreement could not voice their dissent without resorting to violence.

You are full of shit.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]

seems to be attacking the wrong target (none / 1) (#281)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:02:55 AM EST

Hitler did not rise to power because he was allowed to talk. He rose to power because people voted for him. If he had been allowed to talk, and everyone dismissed him as crazy, he would not have risen to power.

The real way to stop the holocaust from happening again is don't fucking vote for the fascists. There's no need to ban them. Or are the citizens that stupid that they'll vote for the fascists unless you ban them?

[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 1) (#290)
by godix on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 02:05:35 AM EST

Hitler did not rise to power because he was allowed to talk

Amoung the many reasons Hitler rose to power is that he was allowed to talk AND he made sure others were afraid to dismiss him as crazy. It's not some psycho talking you have to worry about, it's some psycho talking at the same time his followers are silencing anyone who says 'what a dick' that's frightening.
Or are the citizens that stupid that they'll vote for the fascists unless you ban them?

Some European countries seem to think so. Given the lessons history has passed down I can't even say they're wrong.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]
They aren't lost on me (2.20 / 5) (#164)
by LilDebbie on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:03:29 AM EST

It's the same bullshit politicians have been saying since time immemorial. One of the things I really like about my "fascist" President is that he doesn't use words like "nuanced" nor acts in such a way. To me, "nuance" is just another way of saying, "we're curtailing your freedoms, but there's a really good reason for it that you just can't understand," and that, mes freres, is the bullshit they pile up to cover the scent of corruption.

The main difference I see between Americans and Europeans with regards to freedoms is that Europeans seem to trust their governments, which makes no sense to me whatsoever given European history. In America, we have a great tradition of not trusting our government in the slightest. This is why our Presidents suffer through so much vitriolic criticism - we simply assume they're out to screw us. We do this because politicians try to screw the people 99% of the time. Thankfully, here when the politicos screw us, it's usually just a little bit of graft, across the pond, they burn the whole place down and kill millions.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
excuse me?? (none / 1) (#181)
by woof on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:00:49 PM EST

European blindly trusting their politicians?

Jacques Chirac, aka "Super-Menteur", only re-elected in 2002 because in the second round he ended up to run against the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Tony Blair, accused of not serving his people wrt. European policies, in the center of a big affair (lies on WMD and the like) about Iraq.

Other names might follow, I only want to show counter-examples to invalitade your allegations.

Now, back to the "nuances". If I follow you correctly, you wouldn't ever want to seek any compromises? Sorry to dissappoint you, the EU, and many European countries are made of these. We have "rainbow" coalitions in governments and parliaments when needed, and it works perfectly.
Why do we disagree on this point? I see a major point of friction: having more than two parties.

Major differences, yes. Corruption, yes, but that takes place everywhere. From an outsider's viewpoint, I could say that there's exactly the same level or more corruption in the US.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

Works perfectly? (none / 0) (#201)
by LilDebbie on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:33:14 PM EST

Tell that to Pim Fortuyn's family. Tell that to the people living in fear in Ulster. Tell that to the people who are living in what was called Easter Germany 15 years ago. Tell that to the people in "Basque" territory. And though you'll probably blow it off as "eastern Europe," tell that to Kosovars. We aren't slaughtering each other wholesale in the US over political differences.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
We aren't? (3.00 / 3) (#274)
by cburke on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:46:37 AM EST

I was killed by a Republican just yesterday!

[ Parent ]
this is not originally an American view (none / 0) (#280)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:01:24 AM EST

This view was most strongly expressed by French intellectuals, notably Voltaire, who influenced the US's early development greatly. It's true that it is an idea that is popular in the US, and strongly enshrined in the US Constitution, but it is Europeans who invented it.

[ Parent ]
Preceded by Luther Hence Guttenberg (none / 0) (#309)
by Baldrson on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:12:37 AM EST

And I think its fair to say that Martin Luther laid the foundation for the Enlightenment by laying his life on the line for the right of free expression of free thought. And Luther, of course, couldn't have accomplished anything without the Guttenberg press.

We're going through something similar today.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

There's an old American saying (2.66 / 3) (#95)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:58:55 PM EST

"The remedy for too much free speech is more free speech."

It's better to crush this party in open debate and through education than to strengthen the precedent for denial of rights while probably just making that party stronger.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

blame the idiots voting for them (none / 1) (#279)
by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:59:08 AM EST

I don't see why you blame the party for existing. If they truly have ridiculous beliefs, then why does 20% of Flanders vote for them? Blame those 20% of the population for being the idiots. If it weren't for them, the VB would not be an issue, and you wouldn't have to ban them.

The real issue is: why are they popular? Banning them doesn't solve that problem.

[ Parent ]

Since when? (none / 0) (#102)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 07:33:40 PM EST

I don't know about Belgium, but France and Germany have outlawed some forms of political speech (Nazi related) since the close of WWII.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
um... (2.33 / 3) (#108)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:15:07 PM EST

Which western country other than the US doesn't have laws limiting speech?

Some research is in order, my friend.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

RE: um... (none / 0) (#122)
by codejack on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:18:34 PM EST

Whice western country, including the US...


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
um... (none / 1) (#171)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:43:33 AM EST

I acknowledged that, but unless you can prove otherwise, the US is an execption.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
do you want... (3.00 / 2) (#209)
by codejack on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:08:40 PM EST

Reasonable proof, or the other kind?

Let's start with "explicit lyrics" labels on albums, FCC rules concerning acceptable speech on television, "free speech zones" at Republican political events, etc.

I would also consider laws about workplace behavior to be restrictive of free speech, however justified they are.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
ahh sorry, (none / 0) (#226)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 04:32:25 PM EST

I missed your point earlier...agreed.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
lol (none / 1) (#248)
by codejack on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:29:21 PM EST

no problem


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Speech is (rightly) limited everywhere (none / 0) (#120)
by JanneM on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:09:10 PM EST

Being a right-wing racist political party isn't illegal AFAIK. What is illegal is inciting racist violence. Just as your freedom of speech does not allow you to yell "fire" to cause panic, neither are you allowed to incite violence - you aren't allowed to put up a web page with names of people to be killed or harassed and so on.
---
Trust the Computer. The Computer is your friend.
[ Parent ]
You aren't? (2.66 / 3) (#131)
by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:09:09 AM EST

you aren't allowed to put up a web page with names of people to be killed or harassed and so on.

Boy will the abortion doctors be glad to find out pro-lifers can't do this anymore even though it's been roughly a decade since US courts said it was allowed.

Perhaps your idea of exactly how free speech is limited everywhere needs a bit of rethinking.


"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

Seriously? (none / 0) (#167)
by basj on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:15:29 AM EST

That's ok in the US?

Wow, talk about a difference between European and American `free speech'.

And are only names allowed or can pro-lifers publish addressess and phone numbers and such too?
--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]

IIRC (3.00 / 2) (#189)
by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:26:57 PM EST

From what I recall a pro-life site had the name, work address, private addresses, etc. of abortion doctors on a web site. One of the doctors was assassinated and within a short period of time (an hour or so IIRC) the website had updated by crossing this doctors name off (not erasing it, crossing it off so no one could miss that the guy was taken off the list). The end result of the trial was that a list of names is not threatening in and of itself, there has to be some other element of threat there (IE titling the list 'People who's heads I want to blow off'). In this particular case no where on the site did the pro-lifers specifically say doctors should be murdered, just implied it, and crossing off a dead man's name like this is impossible to distingish from just updating the list. Thus there was no threat involved so it was legal.

This was one of the very few times I heard most pro-lifers and pro-choicers actually agree, no one seemed to like killing abortion doctors or the courts decision. I think at least one person posted the name/address/etc of judges just to make a point. As with most high profile cases, within a year everyone had forgotten about it and moved on.

I'm not bothering to look up the facts and am just going off my memory here, so while I'm sure I got the general idea down chances are pretty good I screwed up some of the details. Just FYI.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

off topic (none / 1) (#388)
by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:45:05 PM EST

a total other issue, but the problem would not even exist were all doctors to carry out abortions in any clinics, like on this side of the pond.

Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !
[ Parent ]
I have this idea for an organization. (3.00 / 9) (#143)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 04:58:48 AM EST

I would like to open in Dallas, Texas an office of the political wing of Al-Qeda, an organization I feel is wrongly understood. As Kuro5hin knows too well, our defense forces (so-called "terrorists") are maligned by demagogues who appeal without scruple to the passions, fears and tribal prejudices of taxpayers, while U.S. Marines -- whose solemn duty is likewise to defend against aggressive foreigners, or just foreigners -- are never described in ways that would reflect badly on the teachings of bin Franklin. Is that justice? No: it is a semantic and logical paradox, which men of reason must abhor. Thus American courts will be persuaded to give us permits to hawk our pamphlets on street corners, colorful brochures such as Almost-Death to America, and command police officers to protect our legal right to gather signatures and run candidates for office in Muslim precincts.

I am a politician so I will be somewhat candid with Kuro5hin. It is my not so secret wish, like Mohamed Al' Jefferson before me, that our polemics should stir the masses to rise against their oppressive barons (which I hope to be one myself eventually) but I suspect we'll be ignored in the marketplace of controversial speech that is America. This does not matter. The important thing is our legal status, which is guaranteed under some Amendment or other.

Yeah, right.

Two centuries of alternating rule by the Republican and Democratic parties, which are almost indistinguishable by European standards, and you presume to teach Europe tolerance for controversial politics? I think if you check your history carefully, you'll discover speech in America is legal so long as it poses no realistic threat, as is the case in every society. And let us not bring up systemic ways of social excommunication, spontaneous acts of censorship that are more prevalent, effective and enduring than formal acts of government, since frequently the best way to promote an idea is to outlaw it. In totalitarian society, which all are to some degree, totalitarian government is superfluous.

Rights are useful rhetorical devices but they are not for real. In the ambiguous flesh and blood world outside civics textbooks, freedom of speech is a _luxury_. Always has been. It's nice living in America; where the exigent issue of the day is whether to marry homosexuals, you're obviously in luxurious circumstances to even think to criticize another country's sins against ominous speech. But what else is nice? I think it must be nice to have a million dollars in the bank. Why do we never discuss passionately the ideal Free Money? I can tell you for rare fact that a large pool of liberated, or "available", capital is more important than, and precedes, free speech, which you can verify by moving to a poor or embattled country and yelling "Revolution!" in front of the police station.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

So its time for violence and fraud? (none / 0) (#158)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 09:51:02 AM EST

In the ambiguous flesh and blood world outside civics textbooks, freedom of speech is a _luxury_. Always has been.

The VB aren't asking for freedom of speech -- they're asking for their own republic. There is a big difference.

According to you the VB is foolish to pursue their agenda without the use violence and fraud.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

disingenuous (none / 1) (#169)
by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:28:36 AM EST

The VB aren't asking for freedom of speech -- they're asking for their own republic. There is a big difference.

It's a little more complicated. They're asking to abolish one government, split up one republic, and then additionally, as you say, asking for their own republic. Additionally they seem to additionally want this republic to occupy land on which they carry only a 25% majority of opinion.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

this is not the matter (none / 0) (#172)
by woof on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:48:03 AM EST

The problems with the VB is not their separatist ideas.

The Court's decision has been based on the grounds of the "other" part of their programme. I think I've said it enough times: xenophobia, racism, etc.

If there had been a second party, without any secessionist claims, the Court's decision would have been exactly the same.
--
"How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
Already three cables burned!
[ Parent ]

Negotiation (3.00 / 2) (#176)
by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:53:57 AM EST

If you shut out a group of people from participating in the public dialogue, you can't know whether they would be willing to settle for a land area proportional to their constituency or not because, well, you shut down the mechanism for peaceful negotiation.

So, ok, you want war without negotiation.

If people like you are allowed to continue imposing your policies on others you shall no doubt have your wish.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

let's see... (none / 0) (#182)
by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:02:17 PM EST

The Blok campaigns on a platform of an intact Flemish republic. If they wanted to discuss a smaller land area, they could have said so, without violating Belgian law.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
Why Al-Qaeda is a criminal organization (none / 0) (#322)
by kurtmweber on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:11:14 PM EST

It's because of their ACTIONS, not their IDEAS.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
That's what the judge in Dallas v. Al-Qaeda said. (none / 1) (#335)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:43:01 PM EST

Thing is we're just the political wing. We're all about ideas. Ideas are how we stay united and focused on the prize and plant within you the seeds of your own destruction. We are crafty. The judge said crafty was illegal.

I take it by drawing attention to their actions you mean to say Germany should follow the district court's example and outlaw the Nazi Party? Germany's way ahead of you, for better or worse. Or were you making a historical point the marketplace of ideas in Weimar Germany, which was doing brisk business I assure you, rescued us from noisy Nazis? It did the opposite because (a) the marketplace of ideas does not allocate truth efficiently, it's just a poor metaphor, and (b) such are the dialectical antimonies of liberty, which validate hostility toward free society and represent the scope and limitation of liberty itself.

Speech is action -- that's why we make a big deal about it -- and ideas are deemed important precisely because they have active consequences. Where exactly is the line between speech and action? Let me rephrase that: where is the line between Axis of Evil sermons and invasion? Why do you even bother to express (verb!) yourself? Why not be still ("inactive") and absorb what's coming to you and I never hesitate to say publicly that you deserve? The comments you write, what's in them for you? Fa sho you are an enigma.

Look, I'm just saying how free speech fares in practice in the real world. The society of men isn't rhetoric or some sacred commandments you don't seem to realize are internally incoherent -- freedom of vs. freedom from dichotomies. No, it is survival-driven lizard people with nasty amygdalae doing territorial things to one another, sometimes through proxies such as "government." We call this general state of things, the condition in which we find ourselves, "politics." We can't avoid it. We can't solve it. We have to deal with it. We don't deal with it by mouthing platitudes like clever parrots begging crackers. We assess different situations in their specific details and try to mediate among conflicting aims (sometimes.) Life hangs in the balance.

I'm a free speech absolutist just like you. For real I am. Unless we're trapped in the same room (<-- a metaphor for society, OK, intended as a cognitive aid to understanding) and you won't respect my freedom from your repugnant politics, I'm all for your freedom to annoy someone else.

I am saddened to report that what you call free speech is not actually three words, (1) freedom (2) of (3) speech, but instead a vast legal library filled with tome after tome of fudging, exquisitely rationalizing jurisprudence for (a) no (b) freedom (c) of (d) speech. Deal.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

Go right ahead. (none / 0) (#372)
by physicsgod on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:14:45 PM EST

As long as you maintain yourself as a purely political organization (no sending money, bodies, or information to terrorists) the government will just bug your phones and offices. You will be spared any opression from the state. In downtown Dallas I put your lifespan at about 15 minutes before some private citzens put an end to your membership. For which they'd go to jail.

Freedom of speech is fundamental for democracy. Without it, without the ability to hear all opinions, regardless of how hurtful, false, or unpopular, people cannot make informed decisions.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Typical. (1.50 / 2) (#377)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 03:23:38 PM EST

We'll watch you, harass you, stoke public outrage against you, drag you off to jail on trumped-up charges you're a threat to moral values or the Republic and finally kill you, then tell each other with solemn faces that we'll defend with our lives your right to speak from beyond the grave.

Gee thanks GI Joe.

Freedom of speech is fundamental for democracy.

That's nice. You think speech is a social conscience. You think mere laws prevent or encourage people from weighing opinions. You think your particular (no) Freedom of Speech laws are the sine qua non condition of a true democracy. You think a mere mechanism like public speech serves fundamental principles of popular and individual sovereignty when in America it has damaged the right to make a living, due process, no state religion, equality before the law, anti-racism and, yes, even representational leadership. You think categories and conceptual schemes like speech stand apart from everything. You think you can shout freedom of speech and not examine actual situations in their entirety.

You think speech is not sword and shield. But mostly you don't think at all.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

I don't know who you're replying to (none / 0) (#382)
by physicsgod on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:50:10 PM EST

It certainly wasn't me. The watching and harassment would come, not from the fact that your speech is unpopular, but because your organization has a strong possibility of being involved in something grossly illegal. The probable violence would come, not after trumped up charges, but after a good old-fashioned lynching. A political party advocating the conquest of Europe would not be any more popular than the "Al Qaeda political wing" but would also not suffer the same level of scrutiny.

Of course freedom of speech in a sine qua non of democracy. The only option is freedom of selected speech, in which case you don't have a democracy, you have an oligarchy around those who select the speech.

After this you spin off into some world where there are freedoms to "make a living" and "anti-racism". I guess I don't think as much as you, if only because I live in reality and don't have to rely on my thoughts to create a fantasy world.

I know that speech is neither sword, nor shield. Since speech is fundamentally nothing but information the only effect it can have is that caused by the receiver. Put another way: Speech cannot harm you unless you let it. Or, on a level you would probably be able to grasp (on a good day): "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I learned that lesson when I was 8, and trust me, the sooner you figure it out the happier your life becomes.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

To an idiot. (none / 1) (#386)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:17:37 PM EST


--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
[ Parent ]

Thanks for proving my point (none / 0) (#407)
by physicsgod on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 06:25:44 PM EST

Was that supposed to cause me pain? Because it didn't. To me your subject and body both carry the exact same message: You are unable or unwilling to form a cogent argument for your position and can therefore be safely ignored. Go run along and play junior, the adults are trying to talk.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Ah, OK. I'll connect the dots for you. (none / 0) (#408)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 10:07:49 PM EST

Since speech is fundamentally nothing but information the only effect it can have is that caused by the receiver. Put another way: Speech cannot harm you unless you let it.

  • WE LET IT. Duh.

  • If that's your attitude then you won't mind being censored. Duh. "Nothing but information" -- what the fuck is that supposed to mean? And you're nothing but some dry chemicals and water.

  • You're an idiot.

    --
    Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
    [ Parent ]

  • I don't see any connection. (none / 0) (#410)
    by physicsgod on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 04:32:14 PM EST

    WE LET IT. Duh.
    What do you mean "we" paleface? Like I said before I stopped letting assholes bother me in elementary school. The fact that you haven't done the same is YOUR problem, nobody else's

    If that's your attitude then you won't mind being censored. Duh. "Nothing but information" -- what the fuck is that supposed to mean?
    How does that follow? Information is essential for a democracy, since in order to make sound decisions the decision makers must be informed.

    You're an idiot.
    False statements don't become true just through repetition.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]
    Oh gawd it hurts. (none / 0) (#412)
    by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 07:51:31 PM EST

    What do you mean "we" paleface?

    Yes, that's exactly right, idiot.

    Like I said before I stopped letting assholes bother me in elementary school. The fact that you haven't done the same is YOUR problem, nobody else's

    It really doesn't matter what a mentally struggling idiot on the Internet thinks we should or should not do, or what he feels is or isn't someone else's problem. Do you understand this? It really doesn't matter what schoolyard rhymes he learned in kindergarten, either. I learned one, too: I see turtle on the sidewalk, I pick him up, he pees on me. Fucking turtle."

    If I wanted an incorrigible idiot to make my points, I'd inform him of what to say in advance. You can't have it both ways. If speech is fundamentally nothing but information that has no effect not caused by its recipient, then stop talking and scratch your ass instead. For I claim your speech has the same effect. I ought to know; stick and stones (or something.) You incoherent idiot, speech doesn't do anything. We do. We send and receive messages to one another, sometimes understand them, and act accordingly. It's called communication.

    How does that follow? Information is essential for a democracy, since in order to make sound decisions the decision makers must be informed.

    What will they decide to do -- talk some more -- nothing but bits and bytes, blinking lights, ones and zeros? Kill Jews? What? You know, maybe this argument business is not for you.

    I shouldn't be critical. Oh, you are a clever boy! Your mother must be proud of your good grades. Yes indeed, communication (of information) is essential to democracy. It's essential to dictatorship, too. In fact, as we've learned, you can't get from democracy to dictatorship without communication. You can't do anything without communication, except sleep in a cold, damp grave.

    The political message "shut up" is the one we are discussing. The interesting thing about this message is it, too, is speech. It operates the same way as "kill Jews," "hunt terrorists" or "freedom's on the march." With respect to function, "shut up" is an item in a group of things that could be enumerated on a list labeled "speech." In the speech example of "kill Jews," it causes Jews to die. In the case "shut up" it causes public mouths to close (except it doesn't really.) "Shut up" is neither good nor bad. It's just some sounds or squiggles on a page. What is good or bad are the anticipated outcomes that are intended when we speak it.

    Some people like to discuss the message "shut up" in the abstract, as if it didn't or should never happen. But in fact it is the most common message of them all, one so natural that often we don't realize when it happens, usually because its message is consistent and coherent and intended to protect a standard model or pattern of beliefs regarded as typical.

    It is more common and natural in some places, e.g. the United States, paradoxically, than in others. I claim this because the standard model or pattern of beliefs regarded as typical is typically more rigid and uniform in the U.S. than in (for example) Europe, which has a more varied history of politics and therefore antecedent speech. I could be wrong about that. Oh well, I don't care one morsel either way. I only mention it to rouse your tribal instincts and send you running to the nearest flag to wave for comfort. This discussion is over.

    --
    Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
    [ Parent ]

    And yet it continues (none / 0) (#413)
    by physicsgod on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 08:56:28 PM EST

    Why there are so many people who strive to have the last word in a discussion I don't know. If you really wanted the discussion to be over you simply wouldn't have responded, silence bears no penalty.

    Now, on to the meat of the matter. For the purposes of this discussion the world can be divided in two: The world of Ideas and the world of Matter. My point was that the world of ideas must be unlimited for there to be democracy, because as soon as you limit ideas you limit the decisions available and you've just replaced democracy with oligarcy. The argument that ideas should be limited because they harm people is absurd because ideas can't hurt matter. You can sit around and say "kill jews" from now until doomsday and no jews are going to die from it. You can sit in your pathetic room and scream "shut up" at your monitor...and I will continue. Now comes the power and the threat of ideas: ideas can result in decision, which can lead to action. That action is what can result in benefit or harm, and is what needs to be regulated.

    --- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
    [ Parent ]

    Speech is action. (none / 0) (#414)
    by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 11:23:38 PM EST

    The argument that ideas should be limited because they harm people is absurd

    Then don't make that argument. Who makes that argument? No one. Acts of public speech -- politics -- is what's restricted -- all the time -- either by deliberate acts of government or as happens spontaneously in society. A doctrinal position it should never happen I don't suppose is worse than other moral precepts taken without qualification, but is degraded as a model of what is rather than ought to be. It is secular, or normative, religion, and the tenuous connection between speech and democracy is perhaps the most turgid theology written. There is nothing special about speech or democracy that we need to accept as divine truth a culturally idiosyncratic system of sacred text, cherished word associations, there is. There is no causal relationship between democracy and speech. None that is unique to democracy, anyway. Despite an infatuation with our conceptual framework 'speech', we speak as freely as the ancient Egyptians. Free people are instances of a subjective attribute that happen in successful society, no matter its political mechanisms, provided they aren't slaves, you know, like in American history. Some of the worst excesses in human history have been perpetrated by democracies. Noisy democracies, filled with clamorous people charged with rights and infallible in their certainty.

    For the purposes of this discussion the world can be divided in two: The world of Ideas and the world of Matter.

    What-the-fuck-ever, dude, I have more useful things to do than engage Joe Internet's incipient philosophy of mind-matter duality. Is it not enough for you to accept that ideas don't exist unless communicated? They can't happen without people, who act in consequence of them. It is perfectly sensible to deter some actions if we can and have good reason to. And we do, sometimes in error. Other times we don't, again sometimes in error. That's too bad, weep if you must, but the alternative to real life, death, is I think worse.

    That action is what can result in benefit or harm, and is what needs to be regulated.

    This simple-minded distortion of justice fails to raise the dead and undo harm. No wonder it has never been implemented fully.

    --
    Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
    [ Parent ]

    Paging LilDebbie (none / 0) (#149)
    by wiredog on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:11:41 AM EST

    The Bears Want You.

    Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
    Phil the Canuck

    [ Parent ]
    When that fucking opinion.. (none / 1) (#225)
    by Kwil on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 04:28:04 PM EST

    ..is encouraging violence and hatred toward other people.

    That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


    [ Parent ]
    I FUCKING HATE KWIL (none / 0) (#278)
    by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:57:23 AM EST

    I hope a brick falls on your head.

    (It's a good thing I'm not subject to European jurisdiction.)

    [ Parent ]

    That is not an illegal opinion to express... (none / 0) (#362)
    by mikael_j on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:45:51 AM EST

    ..in most european countries. Now if you had said something like "I fucking hate Kwil and I'm going to drop a brick on his/her head." then that would most likely be illegal just like "I fucking hate Kwil and I encourage those who agree with me to drop bricks on his/her head."

    /Mikael
    We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
    [ Parent ]

    And...? (2.45 / 11) (#83)
    by jd on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:20:57 PM EST

    Brussels is entitled to ban whatever it feels like, provided it is legal within the EU Maastricht Treaty. The EU is not obliged to honor the US 1st Amendment, and personally I don't feel that it should be pushed into doing so. The US Constitution is a mess, right now.

    Then, there's this minor detail that extremist right-wing parties really don't deserve much of a say. I guess Americans don't understand that, as they just voted one in, but Europe understands that liberty is not preserved if fanatics hold power. They burned their hands that way, once too often.

    Most of the violence in the US is caused by extremist groups being, well, extreme. Most of the avoidable deaths were due, not to moderates, but dangerous extremists. Moderates, as a rule, don't kill cops for being given a speeding ticket. Yet over half the cop deaths last year were for that very reason.

    Nazis aren't permitted into the US for a reason. But, sadly, Americans have forgotten that reason in their obsession with religious mania.

    Are you misinformed! (1.85 / 7) (#86)
    by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:29:23 PM EST

    Most of the violence in the US is caused by extremist groups being, well, extreme.

    You are in desperate need of some education:

    • There is more black-on-white than black-on-black violent crime.
    • Of the approximately 1,700,000 interracial crimes of violence involving blacks and whites, 90 percent are committed by blacks against whites. Blacks are therefore up to 250 times more likely to do criminal violence to whites than the reverse.
    • Blacks commit violent crimes at four to eight times the white rate.
    • Hispanics commit violent crimes at approximately three times the white rate, and Asians at one half to three quarters the white rate.
    • Blacks are twice as likely as whites to commit hate crimes.
    • Hispanics are a hate crime victim category but not a perpetrator category.
    • Hispanic offenders are classified as whites, which inflates the white offense rate and gives the impression that Hispanics commit no hate crimes.
    • Blacks are as much more dangerous than whites as men are more dangerous than women.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    Oh, educate me Baldrson (none / 1) (#91)
    by sllort on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:48:51 PM EST

    Do it hard, do it fast!!!
    --
    Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
    [ Parent ]
    Hard facts in quick summary? Done. -nt (none / 0) (#99)
    by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 07:10:01 PM EST


    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    Since a Belgian rated that "hide"... (3.00 / 2) (#104)
    by Baldrson on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:07:55 PM EST

    Is this itemization of statistics debunking the claim that "Most of the violence in the US is caused by extremist groups" an example of what the Belgian supreme court considers "hate speech"?

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    Probably. (none / 0) (#107)
    by jd on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:13:26 PM EST

    Which goes a long way to showing the Belgians have a point.

    [ Parent ]
    You poor bastard, you were doing so well. (none / 0) (#151)
    by Russell Dovey on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:52:16 AM EST

    no text.

    "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
    [ Parent ]

    So were you ... (2.00 / 2) (#160)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 10:37:07 AM EST

    Free Tibet.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    Touche. (none / 0) (#345)
    by Russell Dovey on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 05:17:48 AM EST

    As an idealist, I think your ideas about nationhood deserve more study,  even though they don't seem to account of the political reality of the world.

    But your obsession with race is fucked, and poisons your otherwise brilliant mind.

    "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
    [ Parent ]

    Your disregard for natural heritage (none / 0) (#371)
    by Baldrson on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:02:29 PM EST

    Your disregard for natural heritage is what is endangering the planet. Tibetans may disappear like the dodo if not protected, along with a lot of the rest of us. Do you really not care about the fact that they do have a unique genetic heritage that is endangered?

    When technology changes the world as profoundly as it has in the last century or so, there is every reason to take uncompromising responsibility for the changes, and risks, even if that causes hypocrites to call you "OBSESSED".

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    Different story. (none / 0) (#439)
    by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 06:31:40 AM EST

    The preservation of Tibetan culture is a whole different ball of fish from whether the Jew is using the Black against you. Stop changing the subject.

    Quoting statistics about how black people are supposedly a race of white-bashing criminals, and trying to excuse that by pointing out that certain cultures need preservation against larger ones, is not cool.

    "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
    [ Parent ]

    A second point, now I reread your post. (none / 0) (#440)
    by Russell Dovey on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 06:35:51 AM EST

    Genetic heritage? Bah. We're all the same species, Baldrson, and the diversity you see now is as nothing to what we'll come up with when biotech, cybertech and neurotech really take off.

    Cultural heritage is much more important in the human frame of reference (as opposed to the frame of all other species, in which biodiversity is much more important.)

    "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
    [ Parent ]

    correlation and causation (none / 1) (#168)
    by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:22:54 AM EST

    of all those statistics, not a single one even purports to claim causation.

    e.g., the statement "blacks are twice as likely as whites to commit hate crimes". this is a statement of correlation. compare this to "blacks are twice as likely as whites to commit hate crims, due to their genes". this latter statement asserts causation.

    You seem to want to claim that some races are inherently inferior to others. I disagree, just as I would if someone claimed that the sky was orange. Have there been some experiments along the line of "raise 1000 white kids as blacks and raise 1000 black kids as whites" which showed correlation between race and violence? But even then it is hard to truly normalise the experiment, as the racial biases of others are bound to fill the target with anger.

    So are "blacks" statistically more likely to be violent because of their genes? Because of their environment? And even if it were because of their genes, is there still any reason to grant them less rights?
    --
    The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
    [ Parent ]

    Correlation and evidence... (none / 0) (#179)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:58:39 AM EST

    People are obliged to present correlations as evidence confirming their theories of causation. You do it when you say "just look at the history of racist ideology causing war". You haven't demostrated causation, an even worse you haven't even demonstrated correlation since there is far higher correlation between deaths and political (particularly communism) and religious ideology than racial ideology.

    Your objection to people presenting statistics as part of the statement of their reasons for secession is nothing more than a command to "Shut up!"

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    what? (none / 0) (#186)
    by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:04:27 PM EST

    You do it when you say "just look at the history of racist ideology causing war".

    I didn't say that.

    Your objection to people presenting statistics as part of the statement of their reasons for secession is nothing more than a command to "Shut up!"

    I didn't object to anyone's presentation of statistics, either. I merely stated that a list of statistics, no matter how interesting, do not comprise an argument. That is hardly an objection.
    --
    The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
    [ Parent ]

    "grant rights" (none / 0) (#321)
    by kurtmweber on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:10:05 PM EST

    Rights are not granted, either by institutional fiat or by a piece of paper. They are inherent to our existence. Every individual enjoys the exact same set of rights. Governments can neither grant nor revoke them. All government can do is decide to what extent it will allow them to be exercised.

    Kurt Weber
    Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
    [ Parent ]
    Statistics, and the losers that misuse them (none / 0) (#285)
    by felixrayman on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:30:54 AM EST

    There is also more left-handed albino-on-white crime than left-handed albino-on-left-handed albino crime.

    To the barricades!

    Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

    [ Parent ]

    reporting bias (none / 0) (#307)
    by cronian on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 10:14:54 AM EST

    I thought that was because white people hire lobbyists. It isn't a crime if you control the government.

    We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
    [ Parent ]
    the statistics are likely accurate (none / 0) (#341)
    by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:52:18 AM EST

    Poor people are more likely to commit violent crime, and black people are on average poorer than whites. So the statistic is likely correct, but the inferred causal relationship is not.

    [ Parent ]
    That works both ways... (none / 0) (#370)
    by Baldrson on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 12:49:06 PM EST

    You can't demand that one hypothesis meet one test and another hypothesis meet another test for causality.

    The fact is that there are multiple hypotheses and what you have done is no more, nor less, supported on the basis of statistics than the racist view.

    The fact of the matter is, if you look at income levels they are no more, and perhaps less, correlated with violent crime than race.

    The difficulty in teasing apart causal structures from sociological data is what makes this so obviously the domain of conflicting beliefs that it is ridiculous to handle it in any manner other than separate social experiments, voluntarily entered into by "true believers", with a firewall between them to minimize confounding variables for the interpretation of results.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    What extremist violence? (none / 1) (#89)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 06:36:32 PM EST

    Pray tell. Political violence is presumably what you're thinking of, correct?

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Nazis aren't permitted in the US? (3.00 / 2) (#119)
    by KnightStalker on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 10:22:03 PM EST

    Of course they are. There are numerous groups and at least two political parties that explicitly claim to be Nazis. Specific members of the Third Reich aren't, but not because of their beliefs.

    [ Parent ]
    you never filled in (3.00 / 6) (#142)
    by the sixth replicant on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 04:54:44 AM EST

    a US visa form then.

    Ciao

    [ Parent ]

    you're right. (3.00 / 2) (#198)
    by KnightStalker on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:22:41 PM EST

    sorry, i misunderstood. but immigration is a completely different issue from suppression of citizens.

    [ Parent ]
    Eh? (none / 0) (#144)
    by Empedocles on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:43:45 AM EST

    CAUSES OF POLICE DEATHS (1997-2003)

    It appears your numbers may be somewhat off.

    ---
    And I think it's gonna be a long long time
    'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
    I'm not the man they think I am at home

    [ Parent ]

    this is not a US 1st amendment issue (none / 0) (#277)
    by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:54:51 AM EST

    This is an issue of universal human rights.

    Remember that European intellectual, Voltaire? He would condemn this as immoral.

    [ Parent ]

    No, not entitled at all (none / 1) (#320)
    by kurtmweber on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:02:36 PM EST

    Brussels is entitled to ban whatever it feels like, provided it is legal within the EU Maastricht Treaty.

    Wrong. Perhaps they can get away with it legally, but they are morally entitled to do it about as much as Stalin was morally entitled to punish dissidents in Siberia--that is, not at all.

    Kurt Weber
    Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
    [ Parent ]
    +1 (1.16 / 12) (#109)
    by Liberal Conservative on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:18:51 PM EST

    +1

    baldrson cannot tell a lie

    i first hated him with a passion

    i thought he hated me

    i thought he hated my people

    in reality he was simply expressing fact with a shot of emotion for good measure

    blacks are more violent than whites

    baldrson states this and is labelled a troll but a million dollar research institute states it and we praise it as lovely

    be fair here

    brussels does assault democracy

    brussels is not perfect

    let's move on

    let's work toward change and a better world

    miserable failure

    signed,
       liberal conservative

    are you channeling cts? (none / 0) (#271)
    by LilDebbie on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:05:41 PM EST

    or are you cts? do you have any idea why you're getting so many zeros on this comment?

    My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
    - hugin -

    [ Parent ]
    A modest proposal .. (2.66 / 3) (#110)
    by Nyarlathotep on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 08:19:08 PM EST

    .. from a clueless American.

    I understand that Europeans have good reason for fearing racist political parties.  Its just too easy to get too many people rolling down the path of wanting to kill a lot of other people.  Outlawing racist speech is like "campaign finance reform," except where people might die without it.

    Now lets imagine a nightmarish near term future for the world: American neo-conservatives continue to win all the elections, thanks to the religious right, and run around the world "realizing America's unique destiny" (quote from the PNAC) with a lot of pseudo-religious wars.

    Mabye, just maybe, the European principle should be applied to extreme religious parties too?

    Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!

    Why bother having parties... (none / 1) (#128)
    by cr8dle2grave on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:49:18 AM EST

    ...much less holding elections? If you're proposing outlawing the party which currently represents the majority interest, it isn't much of a democracy anymore, is it?

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Actually, I'm working on an article... (none / 0) (#148)
    by israfil on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:06:07 AM EST

    ... on non-partisan democracy. (shameless plug)  I'll be submitting it to K5 within about a month, I hope. (no time otherwise)
    .
    i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
    [ Parent ]
    majority party (none / 0) (#165)
    by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:07:55 AM EST

    actually the Blok has an about 25% support in its region (which contains 60% of the national population). even assuming 10% support in the rest of the country (unlikely) this still works out to less than 20% of the country.

    not that this makes any action more or less wrong but some correction was warranted.
    --
    The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
    [ Parent ]

    In the above... (none / 0) (#183)
    by cr8dle2grave on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:02:32 PM EST

    ...I was responding to the parent's enquiry about outlawing the party of neo-cons and fundamentalists here in America.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Apotheosis of pluralism? (2.66 / 6) (#117)
    by waxmop on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 09:38:04 PM EST

    Every society that wants to call itself tolerant or and pluralist gets to a point where it realizes some subculture is out to dismantle the whole system, and it just might succeed. It's tough to figure out how to react, but eventually, the choices come down to ignoring the threat or breaking the "live and let live" guideline and cracking down on dissent. The thing I don't get about Europe is the schizophrenic way it reacts to threats from the far right vs. the far left.

    I guess the US is pretty schizo too, but in an opposite way. Here, the far right can do nothing wrong. Or, when something like the Oklahoma City bombing happens, the first thing discussed by the talking heads is how McVeigh shouldn't be linked to the talk radio crowd.

    When Grover Nordquist said he wants to starve the federal government down the size of something he can strangle in a bath tub, people chuckle. Meanwhile, we give the police blank checks to shut down antiglobalization protests in any

    I guess I'm not sure which is worse.
    --
    Limberger is the angeldust of cheese.

    Except... (2.33 / 3) (#127)
    by cr8dle2grave on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:44:51 AM EST

    ...I can think of nothing in modern US history which compares to the outlawing a political party. Well, maybe the McCarthy era abuses against Communist party members; not exactly a shining moment in our history. Or Debbs perhaps?

    And how radical are these Blok folks anyhow? From what I've been able to turn up, their platform on immigration seems to be indistinguable from Buchannan's. Uncomfortably provincial maybe, but goose stepping fascists?

    Perhaps Belgium isn't really as left leaning as some would believe? What does it say about the state of concensus when a democratic society has to disenfranchise 25% of its electorate in order to preserve the system?

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    What is wrong? (1.57 / 7) (#124)
    by Wallas A Hockpock on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:42:55 PM EST

    This group has adopted the notion that you adopt the culture of Belgium or you leave. That is racist according to the people against the block. As small as Belguium is I don't find that too much to ask of immigrants.

    Lets try some examples (2.20 / 5) (#130)
    by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 02:01:47 AM EST

    "Either those damned niggers start acting like they're white or we're going to send their ass back to Africa where they can stick bones in their nose and dance around a fire!"

    "Those fucking ragheads better start worshiping the same way we do or their butts are going back to whatever sandpit they came from!"

    "That slant eyed jap bastard better quit bowing all the time or I'm gonna kick them in the head next time they go down and ship their ass back to that dumbfuck island they come from"

    "This asshole foreign kid we adopted better quit babbling in their insane ass language. 'Tu mama es puta', what the fuck does that shit mean? I'm gonna take this bastard back to the orphanage and demand a refund."

    "you adopt the culture of Belgium or you leave."

    Hmmm, as far as I can tell the only difference between the first four and the last one is the curse words, all of them have the same general idea.

    "Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
    - Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
    [ Parent ]

    You total missed it. (2.20 / 5) (#145)
    by Wallas A Hockpock on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:24:34 AM EST

    They are not expected to give up their religion, They are however expected to try and fit in. These Islamic folks there haven't even given it a try. Europe is not the US were being seperate and unassimilated can work. You obviously haven't read a thing about the problems in Beligum. These people want to remain as a seperate cultre and have the rest of society pay for all their needs. The backlash is understandable. I suggest you read about the situation before you try to discuss it any further.

    [ Parent ]
    Oh no, I got it (none / 1) (#192)
    by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:33:50 PM EST

    I just don't buy your arguement that racism isn't racism when you do it. Sorry, hating someone so much you want to drive them out of your country because of their religion or native country is racism. End of story. No ifs, ands, or buts. It's racist no matter if it's an American bitching about Mexicans, an Islamic bitching about jews, or 'the culture of Belgium' bitching about basically anyone but themselves.

    "Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
    - Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
    [ Parent ]
    I don't think some amount of assimilation is bad (3.00 / 1) (#197)
    by Delirium on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:04:32 PM EST

    Certainly some of the far-right is actually racist, but I don't think it's unreasonable for countries to try to protect their culture: That's part of why we have nations in the first place. Making people give up their religion is one thing, but asking that they learn to speak the language and know something of the history and culture isn't too much to ask, IMO.

    [ Parent ]
    Assimilation and explusion are two different thing (none / 0) (#244)
    by godix on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:19:11 PM EST

    I have no problem saying a group should assimilate, at least somewhat, into a country. I personally find it annoying and stupid when foreigners move to America and do NOT learn English for example. However there's a huge difference between thinking people should assimilate into culture and kicking out any and everyone I don't think has assimilated, or assimilated enough, into the culutre. There is a line between belief and action and it's a line that shouldn't be crossed.

    "Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
    - Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
    [ Parent ]
    that's definitely true (none / 0) (#249)
    by Delirium on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:33:22 PM EST

    I'd be alright with not granting citizenship though.

    [ Parent ]
    Of course (none / 1) (#297)
    by godix on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:46:56 AM EST

    Citizenship in a country is not a right, every country can and does put requirements on what it takes to become a citzen/subject/insert proper term for your country here. Speaking the language, knowing the countries history and legal system, passing physical exams, not being a wanted criminal in another country (asylum from the hellholes of the world being a possible exception), etc all make sense.

    That's not what we're talking about here though. As far as I can tell, what this party supported was kicking out other citizens and/or creating a new country specifically to get away from other citizens because they're of a different ethnic background. That is an entirely different arguement and one who's supporters I consider racist pinheads.

    Just for the record, I don't support banning the party though. First off while I don't like the ideas of the party this time I'm not comfortable with the precident of outright banning someones ability to say what they want no matter how moronic it is. Who knows, next time a political party gets banned it might be one I like. Second off, it won't work. The government just handed racist twits the myterious appeal of being forbidden and god knows simpletons around the world are drawn to the forbidden. I suspect the new form of the party will be more popular than ever and somehow I doubt that's what the court wanted.

    Of course, I'm an American so my opinion on other countries legal issues just isn't all that important. It isn't my country and I have no sway, nor should I, over it's policies. Still doesn't change the fact that the original poster is a racist and I'm not going to let his comment go by unchallenged on K5.

    "Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
    - Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
    [ Parent ]

    Your correct about the attraction. (3.00 / 2) (#298)
    by Wallas A Hockpock on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 05:24:16 AM EST

    The party has grown the more the government and other parties have tried to suppress it. It also has moderated it's original ultra nationalist/right wing leanings and become more moderate as it has grown. It's own success and gain in membership has moderated it.

    Being attacked by the government has helped the party grow.

    [ Parent ]

    first real "newsletter" post (1.00 / 5) (#125)
    by Liberal Conservative on Tue Nov 09, 2004 at 11:58:40 PM EST

    yes, this is probably the first real newsletter post

    baldrson, i would like to know what newsletter you read or what websites for news because i wish to subscribe to them

    i simply watch fox or cnn for my news and i know it's lacking but there's not much else out there

    local news tv is crap it's all about weather and shootings and old people

    i wish to be informed of important events, but if i can't trust my news sources to report them then who can i trust?

    by voting against this story you're voting against true democracy

    miserable failure

    signed,
       liberal conservative

    the website he is linking to (none / 0) (#146)
    by woof on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:35:36 AM EST

    is the official website of the party. Not a website I'd even dare to visit.
    --
    "How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
    Already three cables burned!
    [ Parent ]
    So you've been terrorized - by who? -nt (none / 0) (#188)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:25:11 PM EST


    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    terrorised? (none / 0) (#200)
    by woof on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:28:41 PM EST

    hm, I do not get you point here.

    What I wanted to say is that I do not agree at all with those guys from the VB, and I would not dare to get in contact with any of them, nor to read their propaganda. I've learnt enough about them.

    Their ideas disgust me to the highest point.
    --
    "How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
    Already three cables burned!
    [ Parent ]

    I have read their program. (none / 0) (#361)
    by uXs on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:44:04 AM EST

    The entire thing can be summarized in a few points:

    -Immigrants are bad
    -There should be tougher punishment for criminals: repression instead of prevention
    -If we stop giving money to the Walloons, all our problems will be solved

    Point 3 seems to be the most important one. So while I agree that they are a bunch of racists and fascists, their program supports the idea that they are mostly about seccession.

    --
    What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?" -- (Terry Pratchett, Pyramids)
    [ Parent ]

    From an American perspective, (2.00 / 4) (#136)
    by Kasreyn on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:02:26 AM EST

    this is rather hard to comprehend. Hell, I can't tell the difference between Belgians and Frenchmen! Now you tell me I have to also discern Belgian from Flemish?

    Of course, this is how our own internal Midwesterner, East Coast, Texan, Yankee, Southerner divisions must seem to other countries: completely impenetrable, and ultimately pointless.

    Btw, I have a hard time imagining a majority party ever being successfully outlawed in any democratic country. Assuming that the Belgian Supreme Court is appointed-for-life like the U.S.'s, and assuming that they were appointed by a different party that once held power, then who is going to enforce this outlawing? If they're the majority party, doesn't that mean the majority of Belgian cops, lawyers, and jurists are members?


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    Actually (3.00 / 4) (#137)
    by john flipping kerry on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:27:53 AM EST

    Belgium has 3 distinct regions. The northern part is Flemish and the people are called Flems and the area called Flanders. The southern part is Wallonia where they are called Walloons, and the language they speak is not exactly French. And the area around Brussels is a special area where they speak German. It's actually more complex than with many dialects but in a nutshell I think that is correct. There has been talk of dividing the country for a long time, but it's not really serious. Kind of like the French Canadians wanting to split off from Canada and the rest of Canada wishing they would. At least that is what my Belgian co-worker says. Check out Wikipedia if you want to know more about this patchwork country.

    Wallonia, Flanders, Brussels-Capital Region

    [ Parent ]

    Not exactly (3.00 / 2) (#199)
    by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:27:16 PM EST

    The Belgian region where they speak German was annexed by us after WWI/WWII, and thus lies next to Germany. Brussels on the other hand, lies in the center of the country. The majority of people that live in Brussels speak French, with a Dutch minority. There is are a lot of Flemish commutors though, and I think Dutch is the prevalent language in corporate settings.

    The German 'part' of the country is not a region, by the way, it is a (language) community. It is part of the region Wallonia.

    Aside for the word nonante for quatre-vingt dix, Walloons do speak French. Also, Flemish is Dutch as much as British and American are both English. Even more so perhaps.

    [ Parent ]

    Nit (none / 1) (#252)
    by wobblywizard on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:37:20 PM EST

    septante Excusez moi, je ne pouvais pas resister ;-)

    [ Parent ]
    is Walloon French? (none / 0) (#323)
    by Battle Troll on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 04:14:41 PM EST

    Yes, it's a langue d'oïl, and yes, most Walloons know how to speak Académie French, but no, Walloon is not itself Académie French.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]
    Walloon (none / 0) (#328)
    by woof on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 06:22:04 PM EST

    What people call "wallon" (french pronounciation) is a very old form of French, which doesn't sound at all like the current academic French.

    This is mostly spoken by the oldest generation, while some part of the younger generation still understands it.

    On the other hand, everybody (except for a very small minority) speaks "academic french" with a few differences (which result in those famous "Belgian jokes" the French like to tell.)
    --
    "How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
    Already three cables burned!
    [ Parent ]

    hmm (none / 0) (#332)
    by Battle Troll on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 09:06:12 PM EST

    What people call "wallon" (french pronounciation) is a very old form of French

    I would actually say that it's younger, considering that Académie French is frozen in the XVIIth century.

    On the other hand, everybody (except for a very small minority) speaks "academic french" with a few differences

    Netcraft confirms it: Walloon is dying.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    No no, Walloon is older than Academic French (none / 0) (#406)
    by woof on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 05:50:01 PM EST

    It derives from Ancient French (which was there ... prior to the actual French language), if you compare texts in Ancient French (XIIth Century), and texts in Walloon (XXth Century) you can see similarities.
    --
    "How many cables do you want to burn today? Go Wireless!"
    Already three cables burned!
    [ Parent ]
    true (none / 0) (#423)
    by Battle Troll on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 03:45:34 PM EST

    It is both older and younger. Its connection to the langue d'oïl is much more direct.

    Thanks for the post - I didn't know that Old French was called 'ancien.' Learn something every day.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    what woof said (none / 0) (#329)
    by Belligerent Dove on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 07:43:43 PM EST

    I was really talking about Belgian French and not Walloon. There are, by the way, langue d'oïl spoken in Wallonia other than Walloon (e.g. Picard).

    [ Parent ]
    yeah (none / 0) (#333)
    by Battle Troll on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 09:07:40 PM EST

    No disagreement from me. I just like talking about the Walloon dialect because Ysaÿe is one of my personal heroes.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]
    perspective (none / 0) (#283)
    by felixrayman on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:17:04 AM EST

    They weren't a majority party. They were the largest party. You don't understand because you only have experience with a two-party system. Do the math.

    Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

    [ Parent ]
    well, the Ghent court (2.00 / 2) (#139)
    by the sixth replicant on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 04:39:01 AM EST

    gave the verdict but their strong hold is in Antwerp. DOes this make any difference? Gent is a pretty liberal/tolerant city (university town) as Antwerp isn't (broad generalisations here)

    Ciao

    PS nice article though I don't agree with your interpretation of the events

    No. (none / 0) (#363)
    by uXs on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:48:25 AM EST

    It doesn't make a difference. Furthermore, the verdict of the court in Ghent was upheld by "het Hof van Cassatie", which is a federal court that rules about technical parts of court cases. It is also the highest court in Belgium. You can't go any higher, except by going to the international court of human rights in Straatsburg. There was some talk that they were going to do that, but I believe they won't. Much easier to just take on another name and just continue with what they're doing.

    --
    What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?" -- (Terry Pratchett, Pyramids)
    [ Parent ]
    I don't get it at all. (1.22 / 9) (#177)
    by Sen on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:56:04 AM EST

    So this party is getting banned? If they are religious, then this is good news.

    Both sides are "religious"... (2.50 / 2) (#185)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:03:40 PM EST

    There are articles of faith adopted by both sides here:

    1. Multiculturalism is good.
    2. Multiculuralism is too risky for the Flemish nation.

    If the VB party were to accept land area in proportion to their membership, as I described at the end of the piece, there is a clear choice about which of these beliefs should hold sway in the current situation.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    1st bullet should be further (none / 1) (#195)
    by zenofchai on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:59:02 PM EST

    the belief on the 1st bullet should read "multiculturalism is not only good, it is fundamental to the point that anti-multiculturalism is not only invalid but must be repressed". or something.
    --
    The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
    [ Parent ]
    Why are blacks in Canada less violent (1.16 / 6) (#196)
    by tetsuwan on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 12:59:03 PM EST

    than American blacks?

    Full of factoids, -1. Though interesting topic.

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance

    There are 2 dimensions... (none / 1) (#207)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:53:02 PM EST

    1. How much crime is there in Canada generally.
    2. How much racial bias is there in the crime that does exist.
    To 1, I'd say Canada's lower population density and presence of a geographically contiguous frontier is a big part of why it has a lower crime rate. Indeed, I expect if Canada and the United States were to unify there would be a lowering of the overall crime rate.

    To 2, I'd say there probably exists a racial bias, similar to the US bias, in the existing crimes in Canada. See the crime of the week archive of Toronto for a sampling of the phenotypes of the perpetrators of the most outstanding crimes committed in that multicultural city.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    You're right (none / 0) (#264)
    by calimehtar on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:17:17 PM EST

    There is a tendency for black Jamaican immigrants in Toronto to be gangsters and shoot each-other. And yes, the lower murder rate among this same group by comparison with American cities like Chicago is likely related with the lower overall crime-rate in Canada, and the fact that there is much less racial prejudice here than elsewhere.

    +++

    The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.


    [ Parent ]
    Canada never had slavery (none / 0) (#317)
    by cdguru on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 02:25:05 PM EST

    African-Americans are simply enforcing their rights to "forced reparations". They aren't criminals at all.

    The "culture" of the African-American community places heavy emphasis on the slave origins of all non-white Americans and their traditional oppression which continues today. In this oppressed environment, the only opportunities available to most young people are the taking of these "forced reparations". As the oppressive white government assumes a minority role, the jails will be opened and the oppressed masses released to resume their rightful place in society.

    It is generally understood that given that the nonwhite population still considers themselves to be slaves under the bootheel of the white (soon-to-be) minority, there can never be an end to these "forced reparations" as long as there is a white person left oppressing nonwhite people.

    [ Parent ]

    all non-white Americans? (none / 0) (#337)
    by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:43:12 AM EST

    I think you will find it is hard to argue that all non-white Americans are descedents of slaves. Indeed, not even all African-Americans are descendents of slaves (recent African immigrants are not).

    [ Parent ]
    Bad precident (2.00 / 2) (#202)
    by lukme on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:42:12 PM EST

    I am sure there are many republicans in the US who would declare the democratic party illegal.


    -----------------------------------
    It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
    While I agree with the sentiment.... (none / 1) (#204)
    by codejack on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:44:19 PM EST

    There are also many Democrats who would do the same to the Republicans.


    Please read before posting.

    [ Parent ]
    Such as? /nt (none / 0) (#389)
    by greenrd on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:10:23 PM EST


    "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
    [ Parent ]
    And (none / 0) (#424)
    by Cro Magnon on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 04:10:26 PM EST

    I'm sure they'd both like to outlaw Libertarians.
    Information wants to be beer.
    [ Parent ]
    What's the point? (3.00 / 2) (#206)
    by codejack on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 01:48:27 PM EST

    Will outlawing the Vlaams Blok change the minds of it's members? Will it cause them to join other parties?

    Or will they go out and form a new party, with the same goals and ideals, but avoiding whatever comments, etc, caused them to get banned before? Let sit for ten years, rinse, repeat.

    Great plan, I'd go with it.


    Please read before posting.

    This doesn't change anything (3.00 / 2) (#217)
    by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:36:31 PM EST

    They have already filled in and (IIRC) submitted the necessary paperwork to start a new party. (By the way: there is, in my opinion, no excuse why this isn't mentioned in the article as this has been known for months.)

    It is also clear as daylight that the current government is going to pay the electoral price. This certainly seemed to have happened after the original court ruling in Ghent which was shortly before the last elections. So I think that it's only few people like the greens, and anti-racist organisations that are happy with this ruling. Oh, and the Flemish Bloc of course.

    [ Parent ]

    This also doesn't change anything. (none / 0) (#237)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:40:03 PM EST

    Papers signed under duress are null and void.

    Legitimacy is available through one route and one route only for the Belgian government: Self-determination for VP Party members under terms they would have demanded prior to their oppression which started in the mid 90s.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    eh (3.00 / 2) (#258)
    by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 07:37:24 PM EST

    These papers weren't signed under duress. They were composed and handed in by the Flemish Bloc in order to start a new party.

    There's no duress involved in that. Unless you'd want to count the court's ruling as pressure. But the Flemish Bloc has said that they accept the rule of law and will strive to change that law, so why can't you? Besides, the new VB party, like the old one, will not be restricted in setting self-determination on their agenda. They just need enough votes to carry it out. Also, saying what is null and void is for the courts to decide, not you, nor the Flemish Bloc.

    What part of their oppression started in the mid 90s by the way? The law suit? Because the government has got nothing to do with that. And the law has existed since 1981 so you can't be referring to that either. What does self-determination for the party member mean anyway? Should we declare the VB headquarters a souvereign nation?

    [ Parent ]

    Yeah, right, and jail isn't duress... -nt (none / 0) (#262)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:04:03 PM EST


    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    I handled that part already /nt (none / 0) (#267)
    by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:25:56 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Citations (3.00 / 5) (#214)
    by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:22:41 PM EST

    I'll try to translate a bit of the text that was used in the first trial in Ghent. Hopefully this will at least give you some idea about this party.

    I use http://www.linxplus.be/files/Brochure%20Blok-arrest.PDF as source. Some of the court's criticism of the court appears to be the Flemish Bloc's continuous portrayal of certain ethnic groups as being criminals, using those groups consistently as scape-goats for all misery, &c.

    Page 17, I'll translate the first part of the frame (I don't know what an "allegaartje" is, so I translated it by "little allegaar"):

    extracts:

    • using the title: "Borgerhout, holiday stay for Moroccan gangs?":

    "We are a people. And we want to remain a people. No melting pot, no little allegaar, no trash can community. Flanders was and remains a hospitable country. Where in the course of centuries innumerable numbers have found a new home, and have been accepted by Flemings. In the course of that same history Flemings have however also thrown out those who have occupied, robbed or even threatened us. Are we so different today, because we ask that only those who will respect our laws and our culture should get a chance at becoming Flemish? Are we so different because we respond rejectingly at a massive North African invasion of people who consider our culture inferior to their religious vision? Who disrespect our laws absolutely, because they aren't enforced by brusque violence?

    Comments by the court (emphasis copied):
    The first extract was kept back because of, among other things, choice of worth and use of language. Because of the presence of aliens our society would be threatened to become a "melting pot", an "allegaar", " a trash can society". The North African origin of the aliens sighted is explicitly mentioned here, while the people belonging to this group of people, are without distinction, are portrayed to be people only willing to obey our laws, if this is enforced with brusque violence.
    I notice the trash can remark is used also in an overview of quotes on page 12 in that document. I'll list the other quotes below. I didn't check if these were the precise statements that the court objected to or not, but they're telling regardless.
    • "Isn't it curious, that precisely those representatives of the population that have the highest rate on crime in Antwerp want to become police officers. Quite probably all those commit arson will be invited to become police officers. Quite probably all pedophiles will get a job in the city's schooling?"
    • "Rape: is in a multicultural society the most intimate form of integration. Form of physical interracial communication misunderstood by stupid and old fashioned Flemings."
    • "Using the title: "On the road in the streef-of-Leuven", with below a mocking drawing that is supposed to show aliens (black hair, fat lips, wide nose) equipped with baseball bats and packs of needles, with the explanation "we will shop in the street-of-Leuven later".
    • "Evidently a return policy is possible. A large part of the aliens still feel they are Turkish or Moroccan first, even though they have a Belgian passport. They stay here solely for reasons of economics. If we shut down the money tap, many aliens will return to their country"
    And a quick scan shows me these aren't necessarily the worst quotes.

    The following part, from page 19, is either from there old and infamous 70 points programme, or a version of it intended for the larger public (I can't tell which). They no longer use this but have repeatedly refused to distance themselves of it:

    • Using the title "Immigration: The Solutions.":

    "Immigration stop. ... Also the hidden immigration by means of family reunion ... must be made impossible.

    Jobs for our own people first. ... must remain the requirement of our nation. For the temporary and contractual employed, without statue of civil servant, the same requirement must be made.

    Social housing for our own people first. At the assignment of social houses and apartments priorities must be given to needy families and persons of our own people.

    Separated schooling. ... The Flemish Blocs argues for the construction of a separate educational net for Islamic aliens. Via this separate net the aliens of the 2nd and 3rd generation must be prepared for a guided return to countries of their origins.

    Reconquering our districts. The Flemish Bloc opts for a strategy of reconquering so that the pushing away of the actual inhabitants by non-European aliens is stopped.

    Stopping the Islamisation. The increasing Islamisation of our districts must be slowed down by the effective installment of a Mosque-stop. The large majority of Mosques, Jewish schools and Islamic centers must be replaced by a temporary central Mosque and/or Islamic meeting center at the edge of the city."

    I forgot to copy the dates but I think these texts (except the court's note) were all written between '95 and '97. I should note that this trial had been going on for ten years.

    2 corrections (none / 1) (#234)
    by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:30:37 PM EST

    • That big fat bold "worth" should be "words", of course.
    • In that last translation, "must" should be replaced by "need". That's a more close translation of the Dutch "dient".


    [ Parent ]
    Allegaartje (none / 1) (#355)
    by uXs on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:09:13 AM EST

    Translation of "allegaartje": some sort of a collection of things which are not equal to each other. In the text here, it refers to a group of people of different origins.

    Note: "allegaar" isn't a word.

    --
    What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?" -- (Terry Pratchett, Pyramids)
    [ Parent ]

    Weird. (2.75 / 4) (#215)
    by waxmop on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 03:25:58 PM EST

    So, an article about an unpopular minority being silenced by the majority is submitted by a guy that in other articles has voiced ideas that the majority here finds distasteful. And now, this article is getting voted down, most likely because of what the author has said in other articles. I feel like I'm looking at a fractal.
    --
    Limberger is the angeldust of cheese.
    Good subject, bad article (3.00 / 3) (#229)
    by noproblema on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:05:58 PM EST

    Really, I don't think that the author has made a minimal effort to research or understand the issue.
    • Only has sources from the party itself.
    • No info about the imputations, defense or verdict.
    • Not related with autodetermination.


    [ Parent ]
    Why!? (3.00 / 3) (#230)
    by LO313 on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:12:27 PM EST

    Why did you include the last 2 paragraphs? You were doing just fine. Then you throw the migration thing in. So basically we would all eventually migrate down into individual states comprised of one household. Because eventually some "minority group" in the Republic of Flanders would desent and secede to a smaller land mass. Lumping people together based on some criteria is not the solution. You can say put all whites in one place, then all the whites who have blue eyes will want to seperate from the rest because of some "grievance". Then all teh whites with blue eyes and uni-brows will feel disenfranchised for some reason and will want their own state. It a never ending cycle. Democracy with a well defined constitution of rights is the best situation. Some times you're in the minority other times you're in the majority. That's what society is all about otherwise go find an island somewhere.

    Ever hear of Tyrrany of the Majority? -nt (none / 0) (#240)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:54:18 PM EST


    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    arguable (none / 1) (#233)
    by aphrael on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 05:25:23 PM EST

    The Turkish government has outlawed large political parties before. Whether or not Welfare, for example, was the largest party in the country when it was outlawed is open to debate.

    of course (none / 0) (#275)
    by Delirium on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:50:01 AM EST

    When they did that, the EU criticized them quite severely.

    [ Parent ]
    So? (none / 0) (#409)
    by Arker on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 03:02:46 PM EST

    Since when was Turkey part of 'the Western World?'

    [ Parent ]
    +1 FP, with some reservations (2.00 / 2) (#247)
    by wobblywizard on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:24:40 PM EST

    Although I resent the author's fact at distorting European history (Hitler's accession to power was _not_ primarily motivated by happenings outside of Germany, rather a combination of national factors brought it about) I vote this one up to FP, because I think the debate it creates is worthwhile.

    Problem with that (none / 0) (#259)
    by Belligerent Dove on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 07:45:50 PM EST

    A large majority of those that read a K5 story may never read the comments. And that's probably even more true for front page stories. I'm not sure if K5 or Belgium is going to be the big loser in the eye of the casual reader, but Baldrson definitely will definitely have won.

    [ Parent ]
    not so sure (none / 1) (#272)
    by khallow on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 11:35:19 PM EST

    There seem to be some internation factors involved. I think the USSR's substantial support for German communism was a significant factor for the German military and industrial support for Hitler and IMHO those two groups were the deciding reason why Hitler was able to get so much support over the course of a few years.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Birdrson (none / 1) (#251)
    by Highlander on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 06:33:42 PM EST

    Whether it's about Jews or not, Baldrson still believes that migrating is the highest good.
    Actually it is not about migrating, but separating.

    If you recall the stuff about the correlation between autism and (nordic types*indians).

    (Some people might complain that that is discriminating against indians, but you could just as well say it is discriminating against the nordic types)

    Of course, what if people migrate to separate, but mix with others in the process .. ;-)

    Still why bash Baldrson for this when the Buddhists say the same thing about reacting to violence by avoiding the violent - would you bash the Dalai Lama too? I mean, he's so cute, smiling all the time ..

    Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

    Who said this (2.50 / 2) (#261)
    by minerboy on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 07:48:26 PM EST

    "Every society has a right to fix the fundamental principles of its association, and to say to all individuals, that if they contemplate pursuits beyond the limits of these principles and involving dangers which the society chooses to avoid, they must go somewhere else for their exercise; that we want no citizens, and still less ephemeral and pseudo-citizens, on such terms. We may exclude them from our territory, as we do persons infected with disease." , Baldrson or Thomas Jefferson



    Well, I know Jefferson said this... (2.50 / 2) (#263)
    by Baldrson on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 08:13:52 PM EST

    In his autobiography, written when he was seventy-seven years old, Jefferson said:
    Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free, nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    And yet... (none / 1) (#289)
    by Blarney on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:50:53 AM EST

    He had a Black wife, Black kids.... Pretty obvious that, if he did believe in separatism, he wanted to leave posterity on both sides just in case. Or maybe he just didn't think things through all the way, didn't want to look too harshly upon the contrast between his politics and his own family life.

    I will never forget the words of my economics/social studies teacher when I had pushed him to the limit -- "Everyone's a hypocrite. Remember that". And, you know what, I have.

    [ Parent ]

    political smear (3.00 / 2) (#299)
    by minerboy on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 06:37:57 AM EST

    It's not clear that this is true. There are definitely Two points of view. I imagine that people will believe whatever suits them. Everything from Jefferson as a ruthless oppresor, objectifying his young slave girl, to a generous and loving man, making amends for the excesses of his family members. I doubt we will ever know for sure



    [ Parent ]
    OMG! what have i done, i +3'ed a minerboy comment! (none / 1) (#310)
    by vivelame on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:21:52 AM EST

    (nt)

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Blame it on France. (1.25 / 4) (#269)
    by QueenOfEngland on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 09:11:49 PM EST

    This is all the fault of that revolutionary Napoleon and his rabble. It was they who detached the Austrian Netherlands from the Hapsburg crown, thereby creating the nonsensical state of "Belgium". A brief union with the United Netherlands notwithstanding, this abomination of modern statecraft has been a disaster since its inception. Far better that it be reunited with the good people of Austria than that it continue in its contemporary misery.

    They opress Luxembourg too! (2.87 / 8) (#270)
    by Stereo on Wed Nov 10, 2004 at 10:19:16 PM EST

    Belgium also occupies a part of Luxembourg that was wrongfully given to it after the treaty of London in 1839!

    Few people know that after the Congress of Vienna of 1815, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were part of the same country before the Belgian revolution. They were both part of the Netherlands: Belgium was ruled by the king of the Netherlands Wilhelm 1, and Luxembourg was supposed to be his personal possession, but it didn't make any difference to him, although the Luxembourgers gave him the very fancy title of Grand Duke. He treated Belgium and Luxembourg like shit, e.g. illegally tried to draft the population into his army. This led to the Belgian revolution in 1830. The Luxembourgers hesitated for a while, then joined the Belgians in their revolution, probably because it was one of the best revolutions the world has ever seen and they were promised free chocolate and beer. Belgian beer is fucking awesome. I'd fight a revolution for a crate of Rodenbach Grand Cru.

    In 1831, pretty much all of Belgium and Luxembourg, apart from the fortress of Luxembourg city where Prussian troops prevented uprisings, were ruled by the revolutionaries. More on these troops later. But Wilhelm just ignored the situation! Fucking outrageous, I tell you. Well, nothing happened for the next eight years because people were too busy watching the footie. And then on the 19th of April, 1839, the Greater Powers (GB FR DE A-H) met in London to put an end to all this crap. They decided Belgium and Luxembourg would become independent states. They bought some lousy maps at the local Asda, which explains all the flabbergastingly braindead stuff they did. They decided to give the Walloon, Lorrain and Champenois-speaking parts of Luxembourg to Belgium, and let Wilhelm 1 keep the Luxembourgish-speaking part of the Grand Duchy. There were some Walloon-speaking people on the Luxembourgish side, and many Luxembourgish-speaking villages on the Belgian side. Walloon is the extremely nice French dialect spoken by most southern Belgians.

    As I said, there was a Luxembourgish-speaking part of what is now southern Belgium. Luxembourg was a member of the German confederation. It opted out of the it a couple of years later, when Bismarck decided to kick the Austrians out of it. I say 'opted out' but in fact we were kicked out because we didn't speak German. Bismarck kicked the Austrians out, although they spoke German, and then he didn't want to let the northern Germany Danes out, although they didn't speak German. The king of Denmark eventually managed to get his guys out with a clever trick, I think some kind of referendum. That Bismark guy was weird. Anyway, because Luxembourg was part of the confederation and didn't have an army, Prussian troops were stationed in the fortress of Luxembourg City to guard it. The Luxembourgish-speaking region of what is now Belgian occupied territory was just north of the French fortress of Longwy. The French didn't want to give the Germans easy access to it. So what did these lollard froggies do? They gave the Luxembourgish-speaking villages that disturbed them to Belgium!

    End The Belgian Occupation of Luxembourgish Territories Now!


    kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


    facist party verboten (2.66 / 3) (#291)
    by fhotg on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 02:09:03 AM EST

    Big deal. We don't give hatemongers that degree of "free speech" you possibly were used to in the U.S.A.(pre-PATRIOT).

    If society finds them dangerous, we get rid of them before somebody gets hurt. We are happy about that, because we don't have to waste our time to deal with them in the streets then.
    ~~~
    Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

    so you ban everyone you don't like? (none / 1) (#336)
    by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:41:46 AM EST

    Sounds like Stalinism to me.

    [ Parent ]
    no (none / 0) (#347)
    by fhotg on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 05:33:46 AM EST

    It's not about "liking" somebody. It's about considering dangerous allowing certain populists to gain mindshare among the simple minded majority.

    There is a relatively fresh memory of how tolerating hatespeak targeted at minorities synergizing with populistic politics, and a critical mass of psychologically handicaped people results in tolerating "not so violent" public demonstrations of hate and the blaming of some groups as a scapegoat for the personal misery of an easily manipulated public leads to unhuman atrocities which cannot be stopped that easily anymore.

    If the majority of the people believes that facists should be shown their borders, that's stalinism for you ? It's a healthy society for me.
    ~~~
    Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

    [ Parent ]

    but who is a fascist? (none / 1) (#349)
    by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:49:48 AM EST

    Many Europeans would ban the US Republican Party as "fascist". Where exactly do you draw the line?

    In any case, you seem to have a pretty low opinion of European intelligence. If people have the relatively fresh memory of fascism's horrors, shouldn't that prevent them from ever voting for a fascist? Why would the majority need to ban fascism if they could just avoid voting for fascism? Are people really that stupid that they'd make the same exact mistake twice unless Big Brother takes the fascists off the ballot?

    [ Parent ]

    a more question sort of comment (none / 0) (#352)
    by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:02:43 AM EST

    One thing that I'm curious about is why this seems to be such a more politically charged issue in Europe. It's not just that the laws on free speech are different, but there seems to be a very odd racial tension.

    Here in the US, we certainly have plenty of racial tensions as well, but it never really rises to the level of banning anyone being particularly necessary (even if it were allowed to do so). We've got a whole slew of extremist groups: There's the remnants of the Ku Klux Klan, a set of "Christian identity" neo-Nazi groups that focus on anti-Semitism for the most part, a few "black power" groups that publish books talking about how all non-blacks are inferior sub-humans, even a racist Mexican group that calls for expelling all white people from the southwestern US and joining it with Mexico.

    But none of these really seem to be a problem, because everyone realizes they're stupid, and so nobody supports them. There's actually an American Nazi Party that occasionally fields candidates in elections, and they aren't banned... but also aren't a threat, because nobody would even consider voting for them.

    Somehow the European racist groups seem to be less "fringe" though, which is odd. Somewhat more mainstream, Jörg Haider in Austria or Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands seem to be vaguely like Pat Buchanan in the US as far as "moderately xenophobic, but not outright racist" politicians go, but Buchanan is much less popular. Le Pen is probably worse, and he actually got 15% of the vote, which is odd. Why do people vote for these parties? Supposedly Americans are more conservative, but we never vote for the America First Party or any of that nonsense.

    [ Parent ]

    A different kind of racism (none / 1) (#357)
    by Belligerent Dove on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:21:22 AM EST

    At least it is at the surface. While in the US it appears to be only skin colour and religion that separates people, in Europe racist discourse is centered around cultural determinism. I'll give some examples.

    Moroccan and Turkish families tend to let their kids run about the streets more than 'Belgian' families do. They also let their kids stay up later than is customary in this country. From this, causal relationships with a higher crime rate among Moroccan and Turkish youngsters is easily suggested, and many people will consider such a belief to not be racist. They just happen to think that Moroccan and Turkish families have ways of raising their children that are badly adapted to our society.

    Another problem is the head scarve. Some call this a symbol of oppression of women in the Islam. This is a half truth, of course, and the fact of the matter is that women often choose to wear such a scarve. Furthermore, in Western society these head scarves have begun to symbolise a last connection of 4th generation girls to their fathers' conservative beliefs. It is often seen as a comprimise for being allowed greater freedom, such as the freedom to go out. So it's actually used for an opposite effect in our society.

    Feelings of insecurity. Polls show that people feel less secure year after year. Sociological research shows that this is not so much based on prior experience with crime, but more so on perception. Consider that mostly (although with current teenagers there finally seems to be a bit of a change) Belgians and Moroccans/Turkish interact very little and that Moroccan/Turkish youngsters show a real tendency to walk about in larger groups, and a bias in this perception becomes obvious.

    And there are, in my opinion, also valid complaints. It is quite common for young Morrocan/Turkish kids to call there sisters whores. This question of values belongs in the public sphere in my opinion, and I believe one should point out that this is inappropriate behaviour. To many, this disconnect demonstrates a failure of politics.

    Another problem is that the political climate in Europe is very leftish compared to the US and that there are little to no genuine rightist alternatives. This allows racist parties to describe themselves as the only right wing alternative to the establishment. Over time, as such parties soften their rhetoric, more and more people who aren't racist will vote for the extreme right for this reason. Those people will focus on the "they have a point" and will claim that the party's extreme points are history, or that those won't be executed in practise anyway. But facism is the wolf in sheep's clothing, isn't it?

    [ Parent ]

    America doesn't have proportional representation. (2.00 / 2) (#367)
    by sllort on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 10:54:15 AM EST


    --
    Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
    [ Parent ]
    Yes (none / 1) (#390)
    by greenrd on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:15:08 PM EST

    The good thing about PR is that it gives smaller parties a more realistic opportunity to win seats.

    The bad thing about PR is that it gives smaller parties a more realistic opportunity to win seats.


    "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
    [ Parent ]

    European history (none / 1) (#432)
    by tantrum on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 09:29:41 AM EST

    Somehow the European racist groups seem to be less "fringe" though, which is odd
    I think that this is caused by long history of Europe, France, England, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Greece and even the scandinavian countries were once amongst the mightiest nations in the world. Nationalist create the illusion that our countries might return to our former glory. And "some dumb fools" actually believe in it.

    At the moment US is the mightiest nation in the world, and it is therefore no quest to return to the former days. Look at Russia, after the fall of the Sovjet union there has been a rise in nationalist parties. This is just because it is not counted as a superpower anymore.

    The US has a very short history (compared to Europe), and no single cultural herritage. The bill of rights, is what which seems (to me at least) to be your only cultural asset.

    You still believe in the values that worked for you 500 years ago (First come, first served.) When (not if) the US is no longer a superpower(/not the only superpower) I expect to see a nationalism uprise.
    This will probably not happen next year, but probably in less than 50-100 years.

    [ Parent ]

    Oh yeah? (2.50 / 4) (#293)
    by jeremyn on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 03:22:05 AM EST

    And the Freedom Front voters in South Africa should have been given their own white homeland, right? Belgium is already small enough without making another country that's 1/10th the size. Still, I guess even one tenth of Belgium would be more relevant than most of the elected states in the UN security council. Did you even know there was a country called Benin?

    Vlaams Blok is a fascist party (2.42 / 7) (#294)
    by ak1 on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 03:57:12 AM EST

    Vlaams Blok is a fascist party and everybody in Europe knows that. This article also claims that more Ukrainians were killed by the Soviets than Jews by the Germans, which is plain _wrong_. But this is typical for fascists, they're presenting their assertions as "the truth", they're often denying Holocaust, and they're trying to counterfeit history.

    Cites, please. (3.00 / 2) (#302)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 07:13:30 AM EST

    Having known a few Ukranians, and knowing my history, I know the estimated number of people killed by Stalin is 14 million and that seven to ten million of them were Ukranians.

    There are some recent claims that the death toll was not that high; but if you add the number of Ukranians that Stalin killed for rebelling during WWII, I think you'll still pass the number killed in the death camps.

    Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
    [ Parent ]

    At some point (none / 1) (#311)
    by dteeuwen on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:11:27 PM EST

    I hope we will be able to argue numbers without the idiotic dogma of emotion that is raised when the question of the Holocaust comes up.

    _________

    Down the slopes of death he rides
    The eight hooves pound like drums
    Darkness reigns the crumbling sky
    Invasion has begun


    [ Parent ]

    That would be almost impossible. (none / 1) (#313)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:31:13 PM EST

    But it's a good hope.

    I'm certainly not trying to denigrate the holocaust - I simply dislike people saying or implying that things like the Ukranian famine never happened.

    Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
    [ Parent ]

    I'm not minimizing the holocaust... (none / 1) (#305)
    by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 09:06:34 AM EST

    Which is in the millions of deaths (I often hear 6 mil the most), but didn't the soviets kill fucktons upon fucktons of people? I don't know if they win in this contest of morbidity, but I'd be shocked to the core if they didn't finish a close second.

    The only question left, then, would be how many of theirs were ukranians.

    --
    Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
    [ Parent ]

    6 million jews and 5 million others. (none / 1) (#314)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 12:34:53 PM EST

    The total figure seems to be 11 million. Of those, 6 million were Jews and the rest were other "undesirables".

    Stalin probably killed many more that that, if you add up all the purges and programs. But keep in mind that the Nazis themselves killed nearly 30 million soviet citizens during WWII.


    Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
    [ Parent ]

    That's horrible! (3.00 / 4) (#308)
    by sllort on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 10:57:26 AM EST

    The proper response to this fascist posturing is to remove their right to speak, to persecute them in their homes and workplaces, force them to wear a mark if they do not comply, whatever it takes! Hell, ban their political party!
    --
    Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
    [ Parent ]
    I believe your claim is plain _wrong_ (none / 0) (#342)
    by Delirium on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:55:56 AM EST

    I have seen plenty of estimates for Ukranians killed by the Soviets, but none have been less than six million.

    Of course, this proves nothing: A lot of Ukranians were killed by the Soviets and a lot of Jews were killed by the Nazis. Both Hitler and Stalin were despicable, regardless of the exact numbers.

    [ Parent ]

    What this comes down to (repost) (2.33 / 3) (#315)
    by brain in a jar on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 01:01:09 PM EST

    should a tolerant society also tolerate intolerance? USians feel that the answer to this should always be yes because suppression of any form of political speech sets a dangerous precedent. Who is to say which speech should be controlled? Is this too much power to put into the hands of one group of people? There is however a body of opinion in Europe that believes that some viewpoints are so dangerous that it is necessary to suppress them, regardless of the dangers which attend any kind of suppression. This comes from the bitter experience with fascism in the Germany of the 1930s and 40s. The government which precede Hitlers NAZIs was the Weimar Republic, a liberal democracy which was I believe elected by proportional representation. Germany had major economic problems, and the Weimar government was seen as ineffective (I believe it was often a coalition). The rise of the NAZI party was gradual, and those in power allowed it to grow unchecked because of their liberal ideals, and also because it was seen as a pro-business counterweight to the anarchists and communists who also had significant support at the time. Eventually the NAZI party, grew using coercion and hate speech to gain enough votes to take power. The rest is history. It is this bitter experience, that makes Europe think twice about extending the benefits of its liberal ideals to those who do not believe in them. It is hard to say whether it is right or wrong, it is truly a difficult question. I still have not made up my mind on this one.

    Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.

    And another thing (1.50 / 10) (#318)
    by QueenOfEngland on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 03:00:16 PM EST

    Belgium still hasn't thanked us for our noble sacrifice on behalf of her neutrality. Graciousness is evidently not a Belgian trait.

    a hasty +1,FP (1.66 / 3) (#334)
    by Esspets on Thu Nov 11, 2004 at 11:01:43 PM EST

    So it looks like this story is going to get posted. Good for you, good for all of you. It's win-win. I get to not only see sycophantic continental European liberals and their pantywaist American counterparts whing about fascist speech and how much they want to silence it, I cannot help but grin at the prospect of this getting posted. It's grand! At any rate, the story has produced some very good discussion.


    Desperation.
    Vlaamse Block is not a democratic party (2.60 / 5) (#343)
    by hitoro on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 03:53:51 AM EST

    It was born as a far right party with its own militia (with uniforms and submachine guns training in some hidden forests) and a party leader who has never hidden his sympathy for the nazi regime and greeted himself with a lifetime presidency of the party.

    From the start, the Vlaamse Block has exposed its hatred speeches -- mainly against non-white people, including people coming from southern parts of Europe, then Muslims, and now people who are not integrated in the social living -- via all-boxes mailing. Many times, judiciary procedures were launched to stop them and they did continue by either finding a way to avoid the rulings or by changing the tone of the newsletters. Interesting enough, the French translation is not very accurate and tends to dim some parts of the programme (our people first, a Vlanderen -- and by extension Brussels -- where Flemishes feel like home).

    The worst is that many other parties have recuperated the nationalist aspects of the Vlaamse Block and are pushing toward self-determination of the Flemish region, thus validating many parts of the party's programme. Just watch television and the acrobatic figures of once democratic parties (SP.A socialist party with a leader who was a publicist, VLD liberal blocking against the vote of foreigners) and confirmed nationalist parties (NVA, Spirit, CD&V center-left christian but having a strong tendency to goes right).

    The ruling banning the Vlaamse Block is not an attack against self-determination, which Vlanderen will obtain anyway as all parties are moving to that side, nor democracy simply because the judges are independents in Belgium and the government has no means to make pressure on juridical matters.

    Your article is disturbing because you are mixing up freedom of speech and democracy. Democracy is a way to achieve welfare for all by the participation of all citizens. Freedom of speech can contribute to this effort, but the Vlaamse Block is hiding itself behind this idea to divide the society. The consequences can be seen in recent reports showing that the Vlaamse Block voter is a middle-class people who doesn't want to pay for the elder, poor and unemployed people.

    The Vlaamse Block's moto is "We say what you think". What kind of democracy is that? Why vote when a party has all the questions and the answers? Maybe it is freedom of mind, you don't have to think, the party does.

    Too true! (none / 0) (#359)
    by HereticMessiah on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:30:33 AM EST

    Vlaams Blok is probably one of Europe's bigger neo-fascist parties, and an embarressment to Belgium.

    And it has a history of the sort of crap that led to its banning, so this is far some some antidemocratic action on the part of the Belgian judiciary.

    And this article is inaccurate: it's the fifth largest party in Belgium, and second largest only in the Flemish parliament.

    For everybody outside of Europe that hasn't heard of them, take a read of the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlaams_Blok

    --
    Disagree with me? Post a reply.
    Think my post's poor or trolling? Rate me down.
    [ Parent ]

    A "Ban"? "Outlawed"? No so (2.50 / 4) (#344)
    by Angostura on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 04:03:16 AM EST

    Here are the first two paragraphs from coverage on the BBC Web site - seems to paint a rather different picture...

    Belgium's highest court has ruled that the Flemish far-right Vlaams Blok party is racist.

    The ruling means the Blok will lose access to state funding and access to television which will, in effect, shut down the party.

    So who is right?

    BBC gets it more right than Baldrson (bravo) (3.00 / 2) (#353)
    by Belligerent Dove on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 07:30:36 AM EST

    The party wasn't banned as the BBC web site correctly states. What happened was that three non-profits related to the VB were banned, because they aided (being part of, really) a racist organisation - i.e. the VB.

    The ruling doesn't necessarily mean the Blok will lose state funding. While legally this should be possible, no measures to that effect have been taken so far, and it doesn't look like this will actually happen.

    It's not yet obvious to me what the "access to television" part means but I think it's about airtime on the public tv channels for political parties. This wouldn't be a big deal as far as I can tell they only get a few minutes of airtime to advertise themselves the week before elections anyway. We don't have anything like the Netherlands have where political parties get to split the airtime of three public television channels. So as long as they can appear in news shows, as they do now, I don't see this having much effect -- nevermind "effectually shutting down the party".

    But of course, they're going to reincarnate as a different party. They do this so that in the future they will no longer be hindred by having been ruled a racist organisation, to point out how they triumph against the establishment's evil schemes, and simultaneously to legitimate themselves.

    I find it ridiculous to consider this ruling without also considering its practical effects and the political games that accompany it. That only gets you a judgement on an abstract event taken out of context, and not on the whole story.

    [ Parent ]

    Nothing to see here folks (none / 1) (#356)
    by manxome X on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:19:14 AM EST

    Given that the party was not actually banned, this article is a huge overreaction based on unverified information that the writer believed could be used to support his particular view of the world.

    It doesn't look like much of an assault on democracy or free speech to me. We can dismantle the barricades and go home now, I think.


    Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu
    [ Parent ]

    Thanks... (none / 0) (#375)
    by cr8dle2grave on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 02:48:32 PM EST

    Much thanks for taking the time to explain some of the details of the Belgian political system and helping us outsiders understand something of a local perspective on this ruling. You're doing a much better job than your fellow countrymen in explaining the rationale for this judicial decision (even if I still find it highly objectionable).

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Hmm... (2.75 / 8) (#346)
    by Bert D on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 05:18:33 AM EST

    Seems to me you failed to do a few things:
    1. Failed to gather knowledge about the Belgian law which states that the justice system is independent (Montesquieu, la séparation des pouvoirs...). Furthermore, this decision of the High Court is simply a confirmation of the mid-April arrest from the court in Ghent.
    2. Failed to see that laws are for everybody to abide by, and that being the "largest political party" does not give you any special right to ignore law.
    3. Failed to read the verdict, obviously. It mentioned specifically that this does not "limit free speech". Free speech is not an ultimate right, anybody knows that you can't spread lies and hatred about somebody without being properly punished or censored (Herman Brusselmans' Uitgeverij Gugenheimer if I'm not mistaken is a good example). In the same way, a political party can very well be pro-assimilation, it can criticize the multicultural society, but it cannot make claims that "no Mohammed should be allowed to become part of our police force" or that "every self-righteous citizen should avoid buying at shops owned by foreigners".
    That's just hate-mongering, and the High Court had every reason to confirm that this is illegal.

    No Hate-Mongering is in conflict with Free Speech (none / 0) (#392)
    by DoorFrame on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 12:05:41 AM EST

    You can't ban Hate-Mongering and say it's not an infringement of free speech.  Of course, we're talking about Belgium here so I don't really know what your local standards about this sort of thing are.  However, if the standards say that banning hate-mongering is a-ok, then the standards are bad.  

    The hate-mongerers should move to the US.  We love them here.  Nothing beats a good hate-mongerer. Any sort of mongerer really.

    [ Parent ]

    Crap Article (2.60 / 5) (#351)
    by chbm on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:56:52 AM EST

    I'll just assume all the people that voted this article up did it cause they were boored and not because they're idiot enough to vote a story that doesn't have *any* links explaining problem at hand.
    And for fun and giggles, let's ignore this wasn't written by someone who clearly didn't finish elementary.

    For a minute it seemed I reading slashdot! Help!

    -- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --

    It's a product of a win at all costs attitude (1.33 / 3) (#354)
    by lukme on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 08:03:47 AM EST

    In either case the US would become a one party system, which is in effect communism.




    -----------------------------------
    It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
    for more far-right whining... (2.60 / 5) (#364)
    by timme on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 09:02:26 AM EST

    ...see newsgroup be.politics (though mostly in dutch). (right-winged) People really like to see this verdict as though the whole world comes tumbling down.

    As a Flemish Belgian, I am simply amazed that such a non-event made it all the way to kuro5hin. There are much more interesting things happening in this region:

    • a near-pogrom of muslims in the Netherlands, following the murder of Theo Van Gogh
    • sympathisers of the Vlaams Blok (skinheads) following the dutch trend in Flanders (one mosque already targeted)
    • politicians noticing belgian social security isn't maintainable much longer
    etc...

    About the verdict: It is not about free speech, althought the Vlaams Blok likes to play this victim-role. The verdict is about a party that makes a living by spreading hate versus minorities, by spreading fear, and by communicating as though they are the poor underdogs targeted by all of the belgian political world.

    And because it is not allowed in Europe to spread hate, especially in an organized way like the Vlaams blok did, they were sentenced. Not to close down their party, but to stop spreading hate, THAT'S ALL !! They can even keep their name if they'd like to. But they don't, that only makes them less of a victim.

    Of course, outlawing the spreading of hate means outlawing the Vlaams Blok. They can't survive if they can't keep their voters fearing and hating.



    ITIDWTP (none / 0) (#369)
    by wurp on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 12:10:26 PM EST

    *I think I disagree with this post

    But I 3 you because it's a well written opposing viewpoint.
    ---
    Buy my stuff
    [ Parent ]

    I disagree (none / 0) (#397)
    by Wildgoose on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 09:17:44 AM EST

    I don't think banning political parties is a good idea. If you deny people the ballot box, then their only other recourse is violence.

    The whole point of Democracy is that you create a system in which people can agree about their disagreements, and are given the opportunity to make their case.

    Sinn Fein was never banned in the UK, even though it is the political arm of active terrorists. Vlaams Blok aren't attacking government buildings, blowing up children (Warrington), bombing Remembrance Day services and all the other atrocities the I.R.A. committed. I really think that your excuses are just that. Excuses. You don't like them, so you agree with their being banned. Well like the vast majority of the U.K. I loathe Sinn Fein. But I still wouldn't ban them.

    [ Parent ]

    but they aren't banned ... (none / 0) (#398)
    by timme on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 12:14:02 PM EST

    ... they are just (well, just) condemmed as being rascist.

    I really disagree with your comparison of sinn fein and our Vlaams blok, though I must agree I only know sinn fein as being the political arm of the IRA. Anyhow: I don't think you can see sinn fein as being rascist (feel free to correct me, please). They oppose strongly the britisch occupation/ownership (pick whatever you want) of Northern Ireland, but I don't think they go about saying: "All Britisch people are pigs which deserve to be shot !"

    Of course, saying : "Britisch in Northern Ireland, and Britisch politicians who agree with the occupation are pigs who should be shot" isn't much better, but there still is a subtle difference. The first targets a whole lot more innocent people, and makes listeners think about a certain group of people in a standardized way.

    The Vlaams Blok does just that: twenty minutes after the arrest, Philip Dewinter (one of the big ones of the Vlaams Blok) said to a news reporter: "muslim girls who wear a headscarf sign a contract they should be evicted from the country". See what they are doing all along ? The message is: whenever you see a girl with a southern outlook and a headscarf, you can be sure she doesn't want to be a part of our society.

    So, again, this is a party who very knowingly spreads hate, not versus specific persons, but versus people groups. And this is illegal in Europe, and herefor they were condemned, not banned.

    They can keep their name if they really want to, they can still trive as a political party, AND THEY WILL !! But they will have to stop spreading hate versus people groups.

    [ Parent ]

    Not Banned? (none / 0) (#415)
    by Wildgoose on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:55:42 AM EST

    How else do you describe being ruled "an illegal organisation"?

    And I didn't mean to in any way conflate Sinn Fein and Vlaams Blok, as obviously VB are far more liberal and democratic than Sinn Fein, (which is a racist organisation by the way).

    You also seem to be under the mistaken impression that the British are occupying Northern Ireland. On the contrary, the majority of the Northern Ireland population consider themselves to be British. To put it another way, would you consider Belgium to be occupying Flanders?

    [ Parent ]

    not banned ! (3.00 / 2) (#427)
    by timme on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 03:56:36 AM EST

    The ruling is in fact about the three organizations (vzw's) who support the party both financially and ideologically. Those organizations have been ruled rascist, and therefor illegal.

    The party itself could very well distance itself from their (previously) supporting organizations, reform their basis structure, excuse themselves for the rascist remarks they made (not for all remarks, merely the rascist), and go on their old ways.

    By the way, I really am not implying the British are occupying Northern Ireland, I just liked to point out that there are people (electors of Sinn Fein) who feel that way. And before you ask: yes, choosers of the VB think Belgium is occupying Flanders.

    I was just now trying to find some video feeds from the 'renaming-party' the VB held (they are now called Vlaams Belang (Flemish Importance), which can still be abbreviated as VB). At certain points, there were those chilling Neuremberg-scenes (or maybe easier: AmericanHistoryX-scenes). Like the point where one member raised serious threats to the judges (together with pictures of those judges, and an old-flemish song that's about judges being hanged). And of course the point where all the attendees raise and start shouting "Eigen Volk Eerst, Eigen Volk Eerst, ..." (own people first).

    So don't worry, they're condemmed, but not banned. They are, as we speak (type), doing the exact same thing they were doing before: Preaching hate and fear.

    [ Parent ]

    No (none / 1) (#417)
    by kurioszyn on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:09:16 PM EST

    ""muslim girls who wear a headscarf sign a contract they should be evicted from the country""

    Then the proper response is to have someone get on the air and announce that this kind of race/religion biting is wrong.

    You either trust your own people to make a correct choice or you don't, in which case you end up treating them not as free citizens but rather as subjects who need to be guided thru their lives ( which accidentally is what European democracies had degenerated into in the last couple of decades.)

    [ Parent ]

    Oh I don't know... (1.33 / 3) (#368)
    by mindops on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 11:04:09 AM EST

    I'm not so sure if this is unique, it seems to be a modern trend. What trend!? Right her in the good ole Divided States of America! Let them have their independence! This imperialistic nonsense that has been around for centuries has got to go. Why is there still royalty in England? What is this "United Kingdom" BS? It's time for those countries "united" to divide and 'own' their own coutnries again. As to the Flanders, take it! Don't be ruled by those imperialistic a$$holes! Throw the dictators out!
    Coming to a theater near you.
    Not about self determination (2.60 / 5) (#373)
    by stud9920 on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 01:25:00 PM EST

    The law could not care less about self determination. Belgium has been deconstructed for the last 60 years anyway by the traditional parties. Heck, it's been 95 years ago Jules Destree wrote his pamphlet 'Sire, there are no Belgian'. Most Flemish do not give a fuck about the Walloons, and the latter don't give a fuck about the former. They do not speak the same language, do not have the same popular culture, don't know what is happening on the other side of the language border

    I consider myself member of the small minority of Belgians in Belgium. That's maybe 10%-20% of the 10 millions citizens. I had the chance to have a bilingual education, and then to study in the bilingual city of Brussels. I have about as many Flemish friends as Walloon ones, and enjoy the Flemish coast as well as the Walloon hills. I love the town of Leuven, as well as the town of Namur. There IS a common Belgian culture, which granted is mostly based on living with the absurdities of the Belgian system, but that's the way I like it. Belgium is the proof people who don't belong together actually CAN live together. In the 175 years our system has been existing, few if any people have died because there was a problem with the other half of the country.

    I fear that the day is near when the sum of all absurdities in the Belgian system will make it collapse within the EU system. It's a matter of years, maybe decades but eventually it will happen. I think it will be a huge loss but I fear few people will really miss it. For me, Belgium is like a family with the kids always fighting for who will get to sit on the front seat of the car : families always fight, but in the end they are ebtter off together.

    Anyway, sooner or later Belgium will collapse. I don't really know how this might legally happen : Belgium is defined in the first articles of the constitution, and the constitution can only be ammended after a 2/3 parliament majority after an election haq been elected. There is no fucking way a Walloon of Brussels MP will vote for killing Belgium, unless there is a huuuuuuge amount of money involved. But money is precisely what the Flemish separatists want to avoid paying.

    Whatever, increasing Flemish autonomy has been the  goal of traditional Flemish political parties for decades. There is no reason it will not eventually happen, and it's certainly no reason the Vlaams Blok was "banned".

    The "banning" of the Vlaams Blok has two reasons.

    The first being that for the last 15 years, private political parties financing has been very restricted, as have been their expenses. This avoids situation à la USA where Bush beats Kerry just because his party spent more money because they just had more. To replace the financing, a system was put in place where you have to get votes to receive financing. This does have a consequence on the renewal of the political landscape, as a small new party will not get quick electoral results.

    The second is that in the mid 90s, the parliament chose not to finance hate speech anymore. Public financing is no longer granted to hate mongering political parties. The Vlaams Blok has a very long continuous tradition of hate speech, their rethorics and iconographics is a verbatim copy from the darkest periods of our history. Most VB stars are not too ashamed about having contacts with old school ex Nazis. Even 'softened' to meet the above mentioned legal issues, their platform does nothing at all but try to take away rights from people, where traditionally democracy has been about giving opportunities.

    The traditional parties have all failed to demonstrate that the main reason not to accept the Vlaams Blok is that the VB antogonizes immigrants - who are for the vast majority peaceful, hard working, liberal (not a 4 letter word in Europe) people without whom the economy will collapse, and whom we asked to come here in the first place to do the jobs that were not good enough for us anymore starting 50 years ago - because of a very small minority of angry, impoverished rogues that would basically not exist in today's proportion if it were not for the Vlaams Blok mentality of a too great part of the population. The traditional political parties have failed to show that racism IS one of the causes of insecurity, is a cause of people feeling rejected with all the consequences it can and does have. Hate only creates more hate and the VB is one of the causes of hate.

    Is this week's ruling a good thing ? Problably it is, but it should have come way earlier, and it will probably have a sympathy effect on the VB remainders, because victimisation is one of the specialties of extreme right. Is the ruling an Assault on Democracy and Self Determination ? No more than the  similar clauses in the modern German Grundgesetz (sp ?)

    Linux Zealot fan fiction. Post yours !

    Belgium should address the real issue. (2.50 / 2) (#374)
    by KnightStalker on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 02:12:37 PM EST

    It seems to me that the far right psychos will be a problem in Belgium and the rest of Europe as long as there is something going on that they can exploit, even if their lunatic ranting is suppressed, and maybe especially then.

    As I understand it, the Vlaams Blok and other fascists are currently exploiting the fears of a lot of people there about the mass immigration of Muslims who don't adopt European culture. Are people right to be afraid? I don't know. What should Belgium, etc. do? I don't know. I do think that attempting to silence the fascists won't solve the problem, and it might make it worse, and it makes Belgium seem like they don't have any idea what to do.

    Also, I'm pretty sure that having Flanders secede from Belgium won't solve anything, either.

    Irreconciliable Differences (2.66 / 3) (#376)
    by cr8dle2grave on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 03:06:02 PM EST

    This article and the ensuing conversation have effectively brought to light a fundamental difference between American views on democracy and political rights and those of at least some Europeans. It is part of the very fabric of American political culture that certain rights, among them freedom of speech, occupy a exalted position which transcends the democratic process. That is to say, democracy is not a good in itself, but a means to an end. Freedom of speech, on the other hand, is understood to be a good in itself, which we value above and beyond democracy (majority rule).

    Different strokes for different folks.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    Freedom, yes -- but freedom to do what? (2.00 / 1) (#391)
    by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 10:49:20 PM EST

    What about your freedom to speak out at work? This is not something usually addressed by chauvinists for the American way. Well why not? I think everyone would agree their boss has greater power to affect their person than elected haircuts. More telling still, our leaders are the best investments corporate money can buy, so some people are truly freer than others. Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is hampered by fewer restraints than you or I, and his speech is louder.

    None of this might bother you -- we benefit materially from the system, like no other people have before us -- but it should give you pause to wonder why an American should feel freer than a European, or why he bothers to debate freedom with a European instead of more usefully with Fred Carlucci.

    But forget Europe. I have no idea why he should feel freer than a Hittite, unless it were because Hittites lived before English philosophers concocted a secular theology around definitions of 'freedom', 'speech', and gobble-gobble jibber-jabber. Seriously, where does this idea come from that politics makes progress? I look at history and see different values and mechanisms for conducting the same politics we've always conducted, producing the same results. Sometimes the results are deemed good; other times bad. By some standards, our freedoms are fewer and less sophisticated than those of primitive cultures.

    --
    Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
    [ Parent ]

    What about your freedom to speak out at work? (none / 0) (#416)
    by kurioszyn on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:03:42 PM EST

    There is a huge difference.

    You are free to associate with anyone or any group within a society. If you feel that your freedoms are constrained by certain associations you can change them almost at will.

    In other words you have an ample choice, which is not the case when dealing with the state itself.

    [ Parent ]

    That seems arbitrary. (none / 0) (#422)
    by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 03:03:08 PM EST

    Your vague and nonchalant description of people making pleasant choices that in reality affect their wellbeing more frequently and profoundly than their usual lack of business with the state -- indeed everyone's wellbeing if (for example) it's a choice between blowing the whistle on the company for scamming widows and making the next mortgage payment -- applies generally, so that you always have a "choice" when dealing with the state, too. If one were so inclined, one can the words to say persuasively that even if the state went so far as to ban your political association, you can always form another. The point is some countries do have strong (-er) protections for the right to speak out in the workplace, which is "freedom" when the state is one with capitalist relations and modes of production. Distinctions between commercial and political speech are not "right" or "true"; they are arbitrary, though there might be systemic reasons, good or bad, for perpetuating them.

    It wasn't so long ago your boss had the right to refuse to hire you if you were black or female, and the people and their intellectuals "explained" why anti-discrimination laws made a travesty of natural rights ordained by God or Reason or whatever. It seems there is an inexhaustible supply of categories with which to box reality and impose our way of doing things.

    --
    Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
    [ Parent ]

    No (none / 0) (#425)
    by kurioszyn on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 06:30:30 PM EST

    There is no way to have a realistic strong protection in workplace simply because more often than the content of your speech can directly be linked to your performance as an employee.
    In other words, whoever is paying your money they do so an account that you will further their agenda and if they perceive that your "free speech" is not contributing to the cause they have every right to act in a manner they find necessary.

    "the right to refuse to hire you if you were black or female"

    Please, there is a huge difference between your racial background (something you can do nothing about) and the manner and content of your verbal communications (over which you have 100% control )

    If you don't see the difference then that's because you don't want to see it.

    [ Parent ]

    Don't say no. (none / 0) (#426)
    by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 08:17:23 PM EST

    Never say no. No does not exist in politics. There is no society that is the standard for correct.

    There is no way to have a realistic strong protection in workplace simply because ...

    Friend, there is no way to be completely free, period, and your categorical objection against free commercial speech but for a different set of adjectives resembles this: "The society that sustains your person can legitimately censor you if you aren't furthering its agenda. This can be demonstrated to the reluctant masses by abstracting our existence into a set of separate social relations, as you might do with "employee" and "profit", and investigating the components is as much detail as you would like." We can play a ping-pong match with words or you can accept the fact that some countries protect commercial speech better than the USA. If citizens of those countries tell you they are free, then that is what they are. They believe their cultural cant as strongly as you might yours.

    Please, there is a huge difference between your racial background (something you can do nothing about) and the manner and content of your verbal communications (over which you have 100% control )

    Please, try to parse less and understand more. The analogy (which is not an identity relation, therefore obviously different) was meant to illustrate by example that free and right are intellectually arbitrary mental boxes of a transient existence -- despite our contemporary convictions they are inviolate and correct for an eternity. They are cant, ideological buzz, high-flown moral descriptions of a system. You are defending a particular system, yours presumably. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing right with it, either.

    Furthermore, you don't have full control over what you know and therefore can communicate. You don't inhale knowledge from a colorless medium that fills all space with truth. You absorb it from your culture, which is why people from different cultures communicate passionately different, frequently conflicting, "knowledge," for example why Yanks and Europeans disagree strongly over what should qualify as free and speech, or why 50 years ago employers could communicate verbally "we don't hire niggers."

    --
    Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
    [ Parent ]

    Ok (none / 0) (#433)
    by kurioszyn on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:53:51 PM EST

    " If citizens of those countries tell you they are free, then that is what they are. They believe their cultural cant as strongly as you might yours."

    But that doesn't prove anything beyond the fact that they think they are more free.
    If they like what they have then I have no problem with that, but you cannot use their subjective opinions as a some sort of proof of alleged superiority of their model.
    My point was that no private enterprise has the power or motivation to sideline you the way your own government does, and consequently I would rather make sure that the historically most dangerous daemon is restrained first before moving onto lesser evils.

    "You are defending a particular system, yours presumably. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing right with it, either."

    I have no quarrel with that.
    In fact I am surprised you brought this point up considering that it was you who started passing judgments regarding desirable "protections for the right to speak out in the workplace."

    "You absorb it from your culture, which is why people from different cultures communicate passionately different, frequently conflicting, "knowledge," for example why Yanks and Europeans disagree strongly over what should qualify as free and speech, or why 50 years ago employers could communicate verbally "we don't hire niggers."

    I think that is pretty darn eloquent argument as for why the government should stay away from trying to define what constitutes agreeable "free speech" in a peer-to-peer environment.


    [ Parent ]

    Mind your metaphors. (none / 0) (#434)
    by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 03:16:41 PM EST

    The fantastic notion that a loosely connected collection of institutions that are the means of social policy descends unbidden from Planet Tyranny to rule virtuous nodes in a peer-to-peer network might be palatable to our resentment of authority or geeks straining at the network metaphor, but belies the fact there wouldn't be a peer-to-peer network were it not for government. It is government that makes possible and protects with deadly force the social mechanisms that in this country are the only real authoritative presence in most people's lives, the managerial, profit-driven mentality of business overlords driving their subordinates. This isn't something like a model of living under state authority, it is state authority.

    Everything is ONE. Not good, not bad -- ONE.

    In fact I am surprised you brought this point up considering that it was you who started passing judgments regarding desirable "protections for the right to speak out in the workplace." Where? I think people feel "free" to the extent they live comfortably -- food, shelter, an easily defeated enemy, money for the circus, mundane shit like that. That is the thing itself. Everything else is a byproduct of the discourses that surround it, discursive formations of the Third Gobble-Gobble Jibber-Jabber Division, faster, louder, kill kill kill.

    All my comments in this article were meant to challenge acculturated apparatchiki about the importance of not restricting political criticism to the supposedly objective standards of a semantic network derived from Thomas Jefferson, which is rife with contradiction and as "natural" as the one that's taught to Cubans, who I can assure you are as "free" as those Americans who aren't yet in prison. As far as SIGNOR SPAGHETTI is concerned, politics is some kind of crude compensation for our submissiveness and dependence as individuals in society, and for which it seems we will abase ourselves intellectually and willy-nilly.

    I hate government too -- it is teh evil. But, a funny thing, a chorus of my peers sings hallelujah with its every (in this outnumbered node's opinion) excess.

    --
    Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.
    [ Parent ]

    Hatred cleanses the soul (1.00 / 1) (#394)
    by Karl Rove OBrien on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 01:30:12 AM EST

    Hate speech is the lingua franca of the Party. We thrive on hate speech, for we know the truth about the human animal: that the human animal, in all its ridiculous ludicrous self-absorption, wants hate, wants spite, wants someone to blame for his pathetic life of misery and desperation. The Party gives the people what they want, people to hate -- liberals, Muslims, Michael Moore, gays, Emmanuel Goldsteins out the yazoo, and these silly wobbly two-legged creatures with their ridiculous ears (I mean, come on, look at a human ear, have you ever seen anything more ludicrous?!) thrive on it and wallow in it and come back for more, more, more... it is a lust deep in the very being of humanity, that lust for a reason for our pathetically brief lives of nightmare and pain, and hatred fills that emptiness with the cleansing fire of someone to blame...

    It seems that Belgium has decided that no political party can be allowed to use hate as its lingua franca. Perhaps they are thinking about the last European Party that used hate as its prime motivator, which ended up turning most of Europe into rubble. No matter. Here in America, we of the Party are free to give our pathetic sheep-like constituents the lies they want to hear, the scapegoats they want to hate. Who cares what Belgians do, anyhow?!

    Orwellianly Yours,
    Bush's Brain
    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever

    What people are missing (2.00 / 3) (#403)
    by freddie on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 05:31:16 PM EST

    Most of the ppl writing comments seem to think that its ok to outlaw the party if they engage in "hate spech".  What one needs to think about is this: who defines what "hate" is?  What could be defined as "hate"?

    Those in power are the ones that decide what is defined as "hate" and they can define it to be anything that they don't like.  That's there can't be free speech with restrictions on "hate speech".  The vaguer the restriction is, the less freedom of speech there is.

    Here hate is being defined as criticism of immigrants and foreigners.  If it was criticism of Flemmish people for example, you know that they wouldn't call it hate and ban the party.  Therefore some groups are being treated with preference over others.  Nothing about this that is 'fair' or 'equal'.


    Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

    Parlimentary vs. strong man government (none / 1) (#419)
    by Karl Rove OBrien on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:23:43 PM EST

    It seems that many of us Americans have a false view of how democracy works, because we have what's known as a "strong man government", rather than a parlimentary democracy. In a parlimentary democracy, "the government" is not a single person or single set of people. "The government" is a coalition of parties with various interests who have come together in common cause to select one of their own as the prime (first amongst others) minister. At any point in time, if "the government" takes some action such as, say, branding all speech opposed to the government as "hate speech", it risks outraged coalition partners withdrawing and the collapse of the ruling coalition, meaning that a different ruling coalition will then form and select a different person as the "prime" minister.

    Thus parlimentary democracies tend to be rather sparing with their definitions of "hate speech", restricting them to speech which actually does incite violence against others. I am not aware of any parlimentary democracy which has expanded the definition of the term "hate speech" to include speech critical of the government.

    Of course those are functional democracies, unlike the United States, whose Constitution sets up a disfunctional democracy that has never worked particularly well, from the Federalists passing the "Alien and Sedition Acts" in order to outlaw criticisms from Thomas Jefferson's dastardly Democrats, to Woodrow Wilson using similar laws to place those who criticized his "War to Make The World Safe for Democracy" (that only succeeded in making the world safe for Hitler and Stalin) in jail. It is clear that if people like John Adams and Woodrow Wilson had been able, under the Constitution, to define criticism of the government as "hate speech", they would have done so.

    And that, my friends, is the difference between a functioning democracy, and one that is disfunctional. That is also why no currently-functioning democracy borrows the American model, but, rather, borrows the European model of parlimentary democracy. Which is a shame. That is why we are installing American-style strong man rule into Iraq, rather than allowing them to create a parlimentary democracy. A parlimentary democracy might actually be a DEMOCRACY -- and given that those rag-heads hate our guts, that would not be in our best interests.

    - Karl R. O'Brien, Bush's Brain
    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever
    [ Parent ]

    "cordon sanitaire" (none / 0) (#420)
    by Baldrson on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 01:28:06 PM EST

    When all parties agree to a "cordon sanitaire" against one of the parties, refusing to form any coalitions on any issues the system you describe has failed. Those represented by that party really do have to get out of the same parliamentary system or risk being without representation at all.

    They are being told to get out.

    Well, ironically, the reason they are being told to get out is because they want to get out.

    The only rationale for not setting aside about 10% of Belgium in Flanders for the Republic of Flanders demanded by the VB is slavery -- the desire to enslave the VB members.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    [ Parent ]

    Germany's ban on Nazi party (none / 0) (#421)
    by Karl Rove OBrien on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:49:20 PM EST

    seems similar in nature. When a party goes beyond the realm of what is acceptable in polite society, and starts sanctioning hatred and, implicitly, violence against entire groups of people, why should it NOT be banned? Other than that in the disfunctional "democracy" of the United States, this power would be used to ban the opposition party, rather than parties that encouraged violence?

    Or do you believe that Germany should allow the Nazi party to reconstitute -- anti-semitism and all?

    Just curious. Not that it matters in practice, of course. In the U.S. provinces of Oceania, the Party uses hate speech quite effectively, thank you, and it is only a matter of time before the Party makes similar onroads into other provinces of Oceania.

    Orwellianly Yours,
    Karl R. O'Brien, Bush's Brain
    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever
    [ Parent ]

    KKK? (none / 0) (#435)
    by csmiller on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 01:20:15 PM EST

    That means the KKK are allowed, if they form a political party?

    [ Parent ]
    And Europe Thinks We're Odd... (none / 0) (#436)
    by twestgard on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 08:50:52 PM EST

    Not like we're not. Sure, we're odd.

    I'm just pleased I live in a country where I don't have to explain why I think it's funny that a country just outlawed a huge political party. Try telling that to the Burmese, or something - "Dang, they did that to us too!"

    Thomas Westgard
    Illinois Mechanics Liens

    Belgium Assaults Democracy and Self-Determination | 441 comments (384 topical, 57 editorial, 0 hidden)
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