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 nefarious101
Joined: 7/25/2007
Msg: 1
Wither freedom of speechPage 1 of 1    
http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/the-platform/editorial-writers-notebooks/2008/06/wither-freedom-of-speech/

By Alex Mayer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.
–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952

That was then.

This is 2008. In the 21st century, freedom of speech, long revered as the cornerstone of Western liberal democracy, is being slowly but consistently eroded worldwide. And I’m not referring to Russia, China, or the Middle East, where freedom of speech is well-known to be limited. No, this new campaign against free expression is increasingly showing up in places once thought to be paragons of liberal democracy — Western Europe and even Canada.

In Canada, the government has set up rather unfortunately named quasi-judicial “Human Rights Tribunals” in each province. Established under Canada’s Human Rights Code, the alleged purpose of the tribunal is “accepting, screening, mediating and adjudicating human rights complaints.” Human rights violations under the Canadian Human Rights code include “hate crimes,” which apparently includes any statement that could plausibly cause a group to “be exposed to hatred or contempt.” (Section 7.1, to be exact.)

The tribunal follows virtually no standards of legal jurisprudence. There are no established rules of evidence — the three panel members may admit or reject the admission of evidence on a whim. There is no due process. Defendants are not allowed to testify on their own behalf.

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal is now hearing a case that has been brought against Canada’s Maclean’smagazine for publishing an excerpt from renowned British-American columnist Mark Steyn’s most recent book, America Alone.The excerpt in question is alleged by Faisal Joseph, the lawyer representing the complainants, to expose Muslims to “hatred and contempt.” Joseph claims to have filed the complaint “on behalf of all the Muslim residents of the province of British Columbia,” who he claims were “offended” by alleged anti-Muslim sentiments in Steyn’s piece.

This is, of course, ridiculous — no Canadian Muslims were polled or canvassed prior to the case. In fact, there are only two named complainants: Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) president Mohammed elMasry, of Ontario, and Naiyer Habib, who recently moved from Saskatchewan to B.C. CIC spokesman Khurrum Awan has said he felt “personally victimized” by Steyn’s piece. The CIC wants the Tribunal to “order” Maclean’s to publish a lengthy five-page letter to the editor they wrote that criticizes Steyn’s piece.

I have read America Alone, and in my educated opinion the book contains no offensive or anti-Muslim statements. The defendants’ alleged “evidence” in this case is a number of anonymous anti-Muslim blog postings on unrelated web sites which they have unsuccessfully attempted to tie to Steyn’s book.

What is most disturbing about this whole fiasco is the attempt to have a government tribunal dictate what a private publication should and should not print — in effect, to have control over its content. That level of censorship is something you might expect to find in a totalitarian state.

But this is no isolated case. Authorities in Scandinavia closed down a website for fear it would “offend” Muslims. A story this week in London’s Telegraph described two Christian preachers who were told by a police community support officer to stop handing out leaflets about Christianity in a Muslim-majority neighborhood of Birmingham, UK, or face arrest on ”hate crimes” charges.

A police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham. The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a “hate crime” and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned.

I fail to see how peacefully distributing leaflets about Christianity constitutes a “hate crime.” In most Muslim nations, proselytizing is illegal. In fact, while I was in Jordan, a group of Baptist missionaries was deported for doing just that. But in Britain?

Maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking. Recently, Muslim-majority areas in Europe are becoming increasingly hostile to free speech, especially religious speech, that ”threatens” Islam in any way. Certain viewpoints about Islam should apparently be considered “off-limits” for public discussion and debate.

This is a dangerous threat to Western democratic society as we know it. It stands in direct conflict with the fundamental Enlightenment principles of rational argument, skepticism, and critical thinking. Rather than offer their own counter-arguments and provide evidence that contradicts the claims of critics who write or say things critical of Islam, the trend in Western Europe and Canada is to get such points of view labeled as “hate speech” and banned from public discourse.

In fact, America alone remains one of the last places on earth where the notion of freedom of speech is still cherished and essentially undiluted — hence the title and one of the major points of Steyn’s book. Dean Steacy, the principal “anti-hate” investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission put it succinctly:
 Muslim_Jihadist
Joined: 5/23/2008
Msg: 2
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 6/11/2008 3:30:27 AM
The legislation introduced here in the UK and throughout Europe have been a welcome and long overdue improvement to our freedoms including freedom of speech. Blindly permitting those who would say or write derogatory or inflamatory remarks targetted at individuals or groups which are intened to insult, belittle or incite hatred and intollerance should not be allowed.

Most of the people in here have had sufficient education to be able to express their views in a way that does not offend others or causes distress. There are many contributions to these forums which are specifically intended to invoke hatred and intollerance of a particular minority group. This is most prevelant in discussions on Immigration into the USA. Hiding behind the anonimity of a nom de plume in a away which denies their human rights and freedoms is not an expression of that persons right to freedom of speech, but is in fact an abuse of that freedom.
 mungojoe
Joined: 11/15/2006
Msg: 3
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 6/11/2008 2:27:45 PM
There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion

And therein lies the rub...

At least for those who think they are 'losing' their freedom of speech because they might face a hate crime charge, will be labelled as racist, etc.

Just to clarify why that is so...

Main Entry:
tem·per·ate Listen to the pronunciation of temperate
Pronunciation:
\'tem-p(?-)r?t\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Middle English temperat, from Latin temperatus, from past participle of temperare
Date:
14th century

1: marked by moderation: as a: keeping or held within limits : not extreme or excessive : mild b: moderate in indulgence of appetite or desire c: moderate in the use of alcoholic beverages d: marked by an absence or avoidance of extravagance, violence, or extreme partisanship

When people like Phelps scream about how "fags must die" is their speech "marked by moderation"? Is it void of "violence"?

When the bigots who troll these forums screaming about "the evils of Islam" and how they "want to kill us all", when they talk about how they should be invaded, killed, etc, when they scream about the "destruction of society" due to acceptance of "evil", "immoral", "degenerate" homosexuality...

Are their comments "marked by moderation"? Are they void of "violence"?

The very first line of that article, the quote from Douglas, actually contradicts and renders void the entire argument that follows.
 FireKnight
Joined: 4/24/2006
Msg: 4
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History
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 12/12/2008 12:45:50 PM
In general one needs to remember a few things when discussing freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom to invoke dangerous situations. The classics being
:Fire in a crowded theater not on fire
:Incitements to riot the classic being "All your problems are the jews fault kill the jews", "Jews killed jesus go gettum etc"
:In this nation government propaganda against the citizens is actually illegal *completely ignored during the Bush whitehouse*.
:Deliberate misrepresentation with intent to cause harm Libel/slander.

Also one needs to remember Forums are not protected by Freedom of speech laws they are privately owned and follow rules as explained in the user agreements.

Freedom of speech is being eroded and its not been so much the liberals at fault although PC certainly hasn't helped. The problem is religious intolerance and inflexibility to discussion and more directly to the point fear. People fearing hearing different views then their own and having to weigh the merits of such. People fearing that doubt is a sin rather then virtue. Our governments have been quick to take advantage of our fears securing holds on territories once forbidden without just cause now tightly wrapped around your ears knowing now your discussions even in venues not meant for their ears.

Its a dangerous situation we are in where we create taboos on discussions of serious matters but encourage frivilous ones. One of the posters complains for example how "conservative threads get deleted" Without considering that the majority of the "conservative threads" so deleted are removed because often they don't hold a rational level of merit and or have been debunked a thousand times and in a community forum there is a difference between a legitimate discussion...

Will Obama take a socialist course in order to corrected the economic crisis.

And Propoganda by people afraid and ignorant

Obama is the most socialst senator in history and will turn us communist.

One is free speech.. one is just gutter trash. Many have forgotten which is which.
 FireKnight
Joined: 4/24/2006
Msg: 5
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History
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 12/12/2008 1:37:03 PM
I have no idea how you can say that....its is the liberals on here that do the deleting...


I can say it because it is true, and because it relates directly to the op. The problem remains that many of the "conservatives" don't ever seem to actually read or think about what it is they are replying to. They post their feelings to percieved slights and insults and make assumptions as to the motives of the other posters. This generally results in the left, right, liberal, conservative polarized crap that debate has come to. The OP is about the fact that Freedom of speech has been infringed upon by muslim sensitivities to discussions of their religion. Here is a quote from the op in example


But this is no isolated case. Authorities in Scandinavia closed down a website for fear it would “offend” Muslims. A story this week in London’s Telegraph described two Christian preachers who were told by a police community support officer to stop handing out leaflets about Christianity in a Muslim-majority neighborhood of Birmingham, UK, or face arrest on ”hate crimes” charges.

A police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham. The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a “hate crime” and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned.


Finally it is not "the liberals" there is no ghostly group out to deny you your right to discussion or debate. I do not know who voted about your EPA post I frankly didn't read it given the EPA has been useless for the past 8 years. People who vote to delete threads seldom have the same reasons. I vote to remove threads that lack reasonable merit of discussion as I gave examples of. However I will often support inflamatory discussion which doesn't always make the mods and admin happy with me. However I do so within the rules perscribed here.. and when I don't like everyone else I get punished and reminded to behave. Then again I am frequently called liberal.. I'm not one.. never have been one. I get called one by those who lack the ability to think and discuss and more often then not those are the ones who post the subjects that get deleted.


How absurd....it has nothing to do with religion...anyway...even atheism is a religion....liberalism is also a religion...enviromentalism....I could go on..
I am as you say a 'religious' person in the way of Christianity....yet it is not me or my other christian friends that are doing the deleting..
RELIGION DEFINITION: a system of belief.....an obsessive pursuit or cause....


I was discussing the op as I said before.. not your personal quarrel or view of forums. However you are correct and I have said so myself that atheism is a religion. Still that does not change my point that ultimately it is fear of difference that causes the state we have in regard to freedoms. Atheists are afraid of religion corrupting them.. Religious are afraid of Atheists offending their faith etc. The problem is not changed by labeling.


Here is a 'different' perspective for you...How about the 'they dont hold a rational level of merit and have been debunked etc"...Yea...that can happen when you have deleted and kicked out the opposition. and all thats left to post are people with the same point of view....


There is a difference between being debunked your evidence does not hold any weight whatsoever in light of day after peer reviewed experimentation time and again, and your view is different then mine and by virture of being different you are wrong. The problem here ironically is you are arguing from your left foot as it were.

You want a difference of view to be 100% valid just because it is a difference of view, and even if i were to accept that you want it to be MORE valid because it is a difference of view.. thats where the problem comes in. I love debate and discussion of different views but I am not going to hold the view as MORE valid then another if there is nothing legitimate behind it, and I am going to get rapidly annoyed if the only support for it is someone else shouting I agree with that view and also have nothing to prove it. I positively don't want to hear it any more after I hear "your evidence is wrong because its liberal"

Per Hawaiian's post here

I was one who read that thread before deletion.
It most likely was due to being chat and flame/baiting and not because of your assumptions of left vs. right, my original point and justified.

Might not have even been about your issue ultimately anyway.
 Hawaiianluau
Joined: 11/13/2008
Msg: 6
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 12/12/2008 1:49:38 PM
Yes indeed.
Play through !
 OneBlend
Joined: 3/31/2007
Msg: 7
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History
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 12/12/2008 3:55:06 PM
Wow! That stinks ... no pun intended.
I wanted to read about the taxation of cow flatulence.
It's unfortunate when we all know we're adults here and someone else comes along and decides what we can talk about. Why not just get rid of the ones who intentionally insult and railroad threads and remove them instead?????? Wouldn't that be the right thing to do?
 FireKnight
Joined: 4/24/2006
Msg: 8
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History
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 12/12/2008 4:26:53 PM

It's unfortunate when we all know we're adults here and someone else comes along and decides what we can talk about. Why not just get rid of the ones who intentionally insult and railroad threads and remove them instead?????? Wouldn't that be the right thing to do?


Well oneblend the problem with that is that forums and conversations within them are free flowing. Forexample and PLEASE do not misunderstand this.. your post by your suggestion should have you removed because your railroading the thread. This thread wasn't a discussion of the forums and freedom of speech withing private forums. Its a thread about it on an international scale and by government agencies.

So now its grown more and more into a thread which is not permitted by the rules of the forums rather then discussing the legitimate topic and is likely to be deleted. Still you nor the person who started this deviation did so with intention to get the topic deleted but rather to discuss what part of the issue most immediately effected you. So now the question goes back to you in a way.

Should the admins if they decide this thread is in violation at this point delete the thread, of which another one could possibly be created that doesn't follow this path, or remove the people who caused the problem but thereby silence their voices?


In a choice of those evils I choose the lesser and say let the thread go and keep the people.
 CharlesEdm
Joined: 9/16/2006
Msg: 9
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 12/12/2008 5:29:49 PM
The person in question keeps plagiarizing articles in their posts. It's not an issue of free speech, it's an issue of not being able to stick to some very basic rules.
 FireKnight
Joined: 4/24/2006
Msg: 10
view profile
History
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 12/12/2008 6:15:37 PM
Mungajoe while I agree with the spirit of most of your post I am rather confused how you can invalidate the entire OP which does none of the issues which you are discussing.

The OP does not discuss Phelps, nor does it does discuss the other comments you cite.

Please clarify if you could.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 11
view profile
History
Wither freedom of speech
Posted: 2/10/2012 7:25:24 PM
Nobody ever goes to your youtube links. You're not really wasting any else's time, just your own.
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