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Thursday Sober Thread: Free Speech

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dcc001, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Dcc001

    Dcc001
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    Yesterday, a former Conservative party advisor (similar to the US Republican party) and present University of Calgary professor gave a lecture where he bluntly stated that he thinks looking at child pornography is a victimless crime. He claims to be uncomfortable with the current laws that allow a person to be jailed when they are, in his eyes, not causing any harm.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ex-tory-adviser-viewers-of-child-pornography-shouldnt-be-jailed/article9152587/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... le9152587/</a>

    Another thing that happened yesterday was the Canadian Supreme Court clarified its stance on what constitutes hate speech, ruled that religious pamphlets distributed by an anti-homosexual activist were, in fact, hate speech and ordered him to pay $17,000 in restitution.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.newnownext.com/canadian-supreme-court-anti-gay-pamphlets-are-hate-speech/02/2013/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.newnownext.com/canadian-supr ... h/02/2013/</a>

    Focus: To what extent should the state limit the people's right to speak? Where is the line between freedom of speech and freedom of expression?

    Please don't turn this into a debate about homosexuality or pro-choice/pro-life. You know what will happen.
     
  2. Juice

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    Anyone that thinks its a victimless crime is a prick.

    Other than that, we've had this debate before but in the US, one thing Repubs and Dems agree on is that freedom of speech is paramount. That's why we hate the Westborough Baptist Church but equally hate any attempt to silence them.

    With regard to the porn thing, there's a clear victim of sexual/physical abuse and that's not freedom of speech. Fuck anyone who thinks that.
     
  3. E. Tuffmen

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    I don't know what the laws in Canada are, but fuck the State. It has no right to limit anyone's speech. Ever. At any time. Someone yells "Fire" in a crowded movie theater? Let the crowd kick his/her ass after they find out it was a joke. That should be sufficient to stop the morons, and if it doesn't, there will be one less moron in the world. Win win. But that's just me. I'm crazy that way. I believe in personal responsibility and common sense.
     
  4. ghettoastronaut

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    Interesting fact: the fire in a crowded theatre metaphor comes from a Supreme Court case from people being arrested for spreading a pamphlet in Yiddish arguing against American involvement in WWI.

    That's about it, really. Christopher Hitchens had a great speech about the Canadian hate speech laws - it's on youtube - but I'm only on my blackberry these days so I can't post a full link.
     
  5. RCGT

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    I think the paramount thing for me is this: When you're talking about making laws, you're talking about using the highest power in the land - state power. State power is essentially the right to ruin your life - to lock you up if you violate certain laws, to take away your possessions, and in the extreme case, to take your life. It's a cudgel, one that rational people won't fuck with. So when you make any laws concerning speech, you have to be very careful about the chilling effect, because a lot of times you're operating with a kitchen knife instead of a scalpel, and there's a more nuanced approach to solving whatever problem you're trying to tackle.

    I wish all speech laws - heck, all laws in general - were constructed with this as the main concern.
     
  6. Crown Royal

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    Freedom of speech is not open for negotiation. And as much as I dislike hatemongers and would like them stripped of their rights, I dislike our anti-hate laws just as much because it IS our right to say whatever we goddamn please. The only time you are not allowed to to talk is when you corner me while high at a party and try to explain to me who really killed Bruce Lee.

    Part of the reason our society thrives is freedom of speech. It shouldn't be open for debate. Just like a separation of church and state: not open for debate. Women are allowed education, jobs and we can't abuse or poison gas them: not open for debate.

    "Sit down and shut up" has to be one of the most slimey, depressing, white-knuckle-inducing catchphrases ever invented.

    On the other hand, censorship is something that needs a complete overhaul in North America. People are ridiculous fucking prudes here. Ri-dic-u-lous. Canada is a fair share more lax than America, but there are still so many prudes in both countries is the reason why you don't see things like nude beaches over here (save for B.C.). Because pee-pees are for potty mouths, you filthy little whores. Go pray. You don't see this in Europe or South America, I know that at least. Ever seen an Italian TV commercial? They have full-on nudity and softcore sex. Youtube So You Think You Can Dance Argentina if you want to see hot stuff. It is Red Shoe Diary shit.
     
  7. Sully

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    He seemed to refer just to the act of viewing child pornography, not to producing or disseminating it, and whether that alone caused direct harm to the victim, in turn warranting a prison sentence for offenders. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting exercise in critical thinking, which I'd guess was his intent to cultivate.

    Note that I'm not defending the guy's opinion, because I don't agree that viewing child pornography doesn't harm its victims, but I'll give him credit for taking an objective second look at it, ham-fisted as it was. I'll also admit, begrudgingly, that it does sound odd to throw a person in jail just for looking at a picture.

    As far as the issue of freedom of speech goes, I was amused at how quick the university and other parties were to disassociate themselves from his comments, and without directly addressing his point at that. They're perfectly free to do so, of course, but I've seen, read about, and heard of many university faculty members say the most ridiculous shit without the institution batting an eyelash. It goes to show how sensitive this issue is in the public eye when a university, one of if not the most stalwart supporters of free speech in contemporary society, readily throws someone under the bus for questioning it.

    I was also a little disappointed when I read some more articles and saw that he apologized for his comments, if only because, instead of taking a public lashing and stepping back in line, just once I'd like to see someone give society a giant middle finger and say, "Fuck all y'all, I said it and I'm sticking to it." It seems pointless to be given the freedom of speech and expression when everyone is unwilling to exercise it in the face of the pressure from society not to stray from the norm.
     
  8. RCGT

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    Not really. Rational people understand that while looking at child porn doesn't hurt anybody, you cannot in any way separate that act from the production of said porn. It's not so much "starting a dialogue" as "stating the obvious while missing the point."

    The more useful path is to (as Nom, iirc, has done on several occasions) point out the problems with consuming the pornography that is already being legally produced.
     
  9. T0m88

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    Think the US is bad? Try the UK.

    You can literally be jailed here for calling someone a cunt.

    Publicly state "I really wish XXXX would fucking die already", and face prison time.

    A guy here was the subject of a high-profile trial and only avoided prison time because of a last-ditch appeal and a nonstop campaign by an assload of big celebrities to defend his right to free speech. His crime? After a severe snowfall, he Tweeted "Local Airport, you have seven days to get your act together, or I'm going to blow the Airport up!". Some employees of the airport saw his tweet (notoriously the dissemination method of choice for the Terrorist manifesto of a middle-class, atheist white guy). And felt "threatened". Cops showed up and arrested him.

    Another example: Fairly recently, a footballer here collapsed during a game (heart failure). A guy tweeted "I hope you die" at him. Granted, not a particularly nice thing to do. However, a Judge decided the best way to deal with this was to give the guy a two-month jail sentence. For SOME FUCKING WORDS. That the footballer (who recovered) never read. But were deemed jail-worthy because they "distressed" some members of his family. Was this man a hardened, violent repeat offender? Nope. He was an 18-year-old fucking kid, with no criminal record whatsoever. An 18-year-old who made a stupid comment, like we all have. He's since been kicked out of college and lost his job. Assuming he doesn't get buttraped in prison, he gets to come back to a ruined life. All because he said something that someone deemed distressing, in a public forum.
     
  10. StayFrosty

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    Every time I start to hate something about living in the US I stop and thank God we got away from Britain before she went all Liza Minelli.

    But to be fair, isn't football considered more sacred than the Queen's cunt over there?
     
  11. RCGT

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    Yeah, but the guy's black. I thought that would have canceled out.
     
  12. Sully

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    I'd argue the opposite (viewing child pornography does cause harm to the subject, but viewing it and producing it aren't necessarily inextricably linked), but I'd be splitting hairs, as the conclusion is still child pornography = bad.

    The point remains that in all likelihood this guy didn't intend to do anything more sinister than ruffle some feathers and/or shift some paradigms, as college professors tend to believe they do every time they open their mouths.

    That his attempt to do so, clumsy and ill-considered as it may be, was unequivocally shut down by the university, the press, the general public, and even his audience simply for questioning the logic behind popular opinion on a taboo subject speaks volumes about the true menace to free speech in our society. After all, who needs laws quelling it when we have political correctness, public shaming, and a good, old-fashioned lack of rational thought to do all the work?
     
  13. Cult

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    I'm normally not an idealist but I speech should be completely unrestricted. I don't understand how kiddie porn is somehow a free speech issue in any manner.