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Where to draw the line.
FN Posted: Wed Apr 27 11:41:18 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  First some background info:

In Belgium you had an extreme right party, "Vlaams Blok" (Flemish Block), which was forced to disband after courts decided it spread racism and caused animosity between the native population and immigrants. The party disbanded, and within the next month the same people started basicly the same party, this time called "Vlaams Belang" (Flemish Interest).


The story goes on (this all happened over a year ago or something), but since it isn't relevant to any of you, I'll pose the 2 questions starting from here:

1) Is there a limit to freedom of speech? Are there things to say that should be punishable by law if you do say them (in public)?

2) Do you think that it should be allowed that a court forces a political party to disband, by example because of the (supposed, opinions vary) racist nature of it?

Why (not)?


Perhaps it's not this easy to understand for the American people here, but you have to imagine that there are a lot of parties, not just 2 (would be fairly obvious that they couldn't outlaw 1 then. or not?)


 
libra Posted: Wed Apr 27 11:46:51 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I don't think there's a limit in free speech...and I don't think they have the right to break up that party.

I go kind of off the example of the KKK marching in that little mostly jewish town here in the US...they wanted their parade permit, eventually they got it, and they marched, the citizens of the town stood on the side with picket signs, and the day was done.

With the advantages of free speech, and the good it provides us, we have to accept that there are going to be people we don't agree with who are voicing their opinions, and they should be allowed to do so.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Wed Apr 27 12:30:30 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  1. There are more than two parties here.

2. They had no right to break up that party unless they were committing crimes.

3. There should be no limit to free speech, short of shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theater, unless of course, there really is a fire.


 
JesusOnline Posted: Wed Apr 27 12:36:44 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
 
1) Is there a limit to freedom of speech? Are there things to say that should be punishable by law if you do say them (in public)? There is a limit on what you can and cannot say in public, it should not be the case but it's the world we live in. Why should someone be forced to follow the trend of other people (even if his/her views are racist/homophobic or against the norm.) I firmly believe that if someone wants to be *I'll use racist as an example* then why should they not be allowed to air their opinions on tv/radio in books or newspapers...Hell stand on a street corner and shout it out if thats what you wanna do. We should not live in a society where someone's views/beliefs are restricted and outlawed.
-I'm most certainly not saying that being racist is acceptable to me, I think it is the scurge of the world, however thats my opinion, my freedom to say this, surely this should extent to everyone.




>2) Do you think that it should be allowed that a court forces a political party to disband, by example because of the (supposed, opinions vary) racist nature of it?
- Call to note the BNP, *british national party* In recent local elections tthe bnp have attracted voters to them and their anti-immigrantion policies (it is much advertised that leaders within the party are white supremists), if they are attracting votes then obviously they are spinning views and policies which are agreed with by the people who are voting. Apathy has played it's part in them winning council seats, however votes are binding and they won on fair ground. Should they be banned, disbanded and council seats overthrown? No, the people have the right to be run by whomever they choose. Lets just hope they start to choose wisely and don't end up with BNP power. *I do realise that the BNP do not attract attention during geeral elections, but it is feasable that by winning more local election and winning council seat they become a more powerful association within Britain.


 
FN Posted: Wed Apr 27 13:55:22 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>1. There are more than two parties here.

I know, but it's not like any of the others have a chance, right?

>2. They had no right to break up that party unless they were committing crimes.

Racism is a crime here.

Slander is too.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Wed Apr 27 18:09:24 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>ifihadahif said:
>>1. There are more than two parties here.
>
>I know, but it's not like any of the others have a chance, right?
>
A realistic chance of winning ? no.
But they do get their ideas incorporated into the platforms of the bigger parties. They all vote and their votes do count
>
>>2. They had no right to break up that party unless they were committing crimes.
>
>Racism is a crime here.
>
>Slander is too.
It's not a crime to be a racist here.
It is however a crime to discriminate base on race.
Slander is a crime here as well.


 
Silentmind Posted: Wed Apr 27 18:41:54 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'll go with the view of gov't that we have today. Secular and rational. Racism is not based in rational thought, and they are spreading views that are detrimental to society as a whole. Granted, they are a part of society, but again, their views have no rational thought. So I think that the courts do have the ability to look at the party. I think there is a limit to freedom of speech. You are free until your freedoms infringe upon the freedoms of others. So, slandering a name, or screaming racist comments can infringe upon a person's rights/freedoms. Provided they are a law-abiding citizen, they are provided such rights and freedoms. This may sound a bit, idealistic, but its one way to look at it.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Wed Apr 27 19:43:37 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Screaming racist comments might very well get your ass kicked for you, but it is not illegal and should not be.
Slander is another issue entirely, but you cannot charge someone with a crime because they hurt your feelings.


 
Silentmind Posted: Wed Apr 27 20:12:44 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Racism is similar to slander. Just instead of a specific person, its an entire race. So because its a huge section of the population, it should be ignored?


 
FN Posted: Thu Apr 28 01:12:58 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Silentmind said:
>Racism is similar to slander. Just instead of a specific person, its an entire race. So because its a huge section of the population, it should be ignored?

That's basicly the idea behind the law against racism, on which basis the party was convicted.


 
Posted: Thu Apr 28 02:31:56 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Censorship of any and every variety is an unnecessary evil in the world.

To say that someone's speech acts are causing a wrongdoing is to become ignorant of the real cause of wrong action.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Apr 28 06:31:51 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I don't see slander and racism as being similar.
If I get up on a podium and call Jesse Jackson a no good nigger, that's racism.
If I get up on that same podium and say Jesse Jackson is a no good opportunist that lies to his own people in order to profit from them, that's slander.
Apologies for use of the word "nigger", I personally find that word disgusting and was only trying to make a point.


 
misszero Posted: Thu Apr 28 08:46:11 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  i think its a bit condescending to break up the party. like the people breaking it up don't trust the general public not to get sucked in by it. Was this party representative of a minority opinion Chris? either way, by disbanding the party, its infringing on people's free speech, and unfairly influencing the public's decisions.


 
FN Posted: Thu Apr 28 09:08:56 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  First of all, hif, I think most people would see the "nigger" thing as a worse insult. I don't see any difference, no.

Also, if complete freedom of speech is allowed, why have a law against slander?



Misszero:

Well, it supported racism (still does), so no, it wasn't supported by just a minority. They also had about 25% of the votes, which made them the biggest party in Flanders.

Covertly, most people here endorse it, yet only a few admit that because of the whole (breaking down) political correctness thing here. It's dying though, as everybody is discovering that political correctness doesn't help anybody anything.

The big problem though is the fact that the wholeparty is based on just their immigration politics but they don't have a clue about anything when it comes to cultural or economic planning. They also have some ties to neo-nazi organisations and want Flanders to be split off from Wallonia, esentially breaking Belgium in half. They also have a few other unknown factors on their wishlist, like curfews (?) for minors and stuff like that.

The fact that they only have 1 real strong point going for them and (compared to the other parties) close to no expertise whatsoever when it comes down to, for example, the economy, has a lot of the "intelligentia/educated people" worried.

Because of this nearly everything has been tried to stop it in its tracks, but nothing seems to be working and the party keeps on growing. The "common folk", as many studies have showed, basicly only know 1 thing about the party, the forementioned immigration policy, but they don't seem to know much, if anything about the party's other policies, and most people who vote for them don't even seem to care.

It has quite a few "educated" people here wondering about what democracy is becoming.

A stick to beat them with was found when they sued the party based on the racism law, with the known results, which also opened a pandora's box about quite heavy discussions on racism and freedom of speech.

But I do think that cultural differences make it a bit harder to relate with an American crowd. Wolffie, you have any comments? About what happened with Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh, for example.



I'm still holding out a bit with my personal views on the party or on the whole banning thing, I want to see where this goes first.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Apr 28 09:22:57 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>First of all, hif, I think most people would see the "nigger" thing as a worse insult. I don't see any difference, no.
>
>Also, if complete freedom of speech is allowed, why have a law against slander?
>
It's not about whether or not one is being insulted, it's about defamation of character in the legal sense.
Calling someone a name does not impugn their character, it only calls attention to your own ignorance.
Accusing someone of doing something unseemly is an entirely different thing.
If you look at the two examples using Jesse Jackson above, you will see that calling him a name doesn't cost him anything but the other example could conceivably cost him a great deal in cash receipts and credibility.


 
FN Posted: Thu Apr 28 09:58:09 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  So you're saying that somebody actively spreading the fact that all niggers should die a horrible death since they're only good at collecting welfare and harassing people in the streets and who's actively encouraging discrimination against all non-white races isn't really doing anybody any damage, but saying that somebody might be cheating on his wife with another man is?

Double standards.

You can't be for a law on slander and be against one that makes racism punishable. That's about as unlogical as you can get.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Apr 28 11:03:34 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>So you're saying that somebody actively spreading the fact that all niggers should die a horrible death since they're only good at collecting welfare and harassing people in the streets and who's actively encouraging discrimination against all non-white races isn't really doing anybody any damage, but saying that somebody might be cheating on his wife with another man is?
>
You seem to be putting words in mouth, exactly where did I say the above ?


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Apr 28 11:14:03 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  If one gets on his soap box and says that all people of a specific race are lazy, prone to violence and thievery, that they tend to lower property values wherever they go, this is racism and it is not a crime here, nor should it be.


 
FN Posted: Thu Apr 28 13:11:03 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Whats the difference between for example saying that a politician is a liar, and saying that all niggers are liars.

Aiming at one person to finish him off is a bigger crime than randomly shooting into a crowd and killing five?


And yeah, I'm putting words in your mouth, because that basicly was what you're saying.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Thu Apr 28 13:48:26 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>Whats the difference between for example saying that a politician is a liar, and saying that all niggers are liars.
>
Because the term all niggers applies to nobody, when you use a persons name it becomes defamation.

>Aiming at one person to finish him off is a bigger crime than randomly shooting into a crowd and killing five?
>
Does not apply to my argument.

>And yeah, I'm putting words in your mouth, because that basicly was what you're saying.
>
No it's not.


 
FN Posted: Thu Apr 28 15:08:37 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>Because the term all niggers applies to nobody, when you use a persons name it becomes defamation.

Nobody's a nigger?

I wonder what they have to say about that in Africa.

Or most city centers.

>>Aiming at one person to finish him off is a bigger crime than randomly shooting into a crowd and killing five?
>>
>Does not apply to my argument.

Explain the difference.

>>And yeah, I'm putting words in your mouth, because that basicly was what you're saying.
>>
>No it's not.

Yes it is.

ha!


 
misszero Posted: Thu Apr 28 22:12:49 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>The big problem though is the fact that the wholeparty is based on just their immigration politics but they don't have a clue about anything when it comes to cultural or economic planning.

seems kind oif like they might be appealing more emotionally to the population than logically.

the whole 'one issue' is pretty interesting for me. At our last Federal Elections (where i was finally able to vote) there was a party called The Legalisation Of Marijuana Party (or something like that). Now, i'm known in some circles as a bit of a stoner at times, and drug de-criminalisation is an issue i've given thought to, (let's not get into it here, lol) but there was no information given on their policies besides the pot issue. However, since we have mandatory voting in Australia, i have to wonder how many stoners went to the polling booths, saw the name of this party (which clearly stated they wanted pot to be legal) and voted for them without any knowledge of their other policies. I thought it was a bit sneaky, and i pointed out to a friend who voted for them that they could have all kinds of other nasty policies that he didn't know about, but use that one drug issue to get stoners to vote for them. And lets face it, a party that appeals mostly to stoners quite possibly might not be the best to run the the country.


 
Dancer Posted: Thu Apr 28 23:23:24 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>First some background info:
>
>
>1) Is there a limit to freedom of speech? Are there things to say that should be punishable by law if you do say them (in public)?


i think there is no limit to the freedom of speech. However what is said that should be punishable by law depends on the damage that it could cause. In this case, racism could cause the peace of a society. Afterall, we do not want to upset the status quo.

Similarly, on a micro level, a person should also know what to say and what not, though there's nothing that we can't say, we keep in mind what are things we say that could hurt another person. It is just being responsible to ourselves.

>2) Do you think that it should be allowed that a court forces a political party to disband, by example because of the (supposed, opinions vary) racist nature of it?
>

opinions vary no doubt. being racist or not could be subjective. but if there is any racist element in the party, then it should be disbanded.





 
Silentmind Posted: Fri Apr 29 00:09:33 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>I don't see slander and racism as being similar.
>If I get up on a podium and call Jesse Jackson a no good nigger, that's racism.
>If I get up on that same podium and say Jesse Jackson is a no good opportunist that lies to his own people in order to profit from them, that's slander.



here's the thing. I say, for example {in no way do I believe this} that a certain person, that is of a different ethnic background then myself is an idiot, doesn't know his head from his ass, and that he should be shot for his stupidity. Thats slander. Now I say that about all the people that belong to his particular ethnic background. It suddenly becomes a-ok and its not slander.

Slander and racism are one and the same, just one is specific, and one is more general.


 
FN Posted: Fri Apr 29 05:32:31 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  misszero said:
>And lets face it, a party that appeals mostly to stoners quite possibly might not be the best to run the the country.

That's the thought behind the banning of the party. To protect the public from itself in a way, if that's how you want to see it, but basicly it is what it comes down to.


 
FN Posted: Fri Apr 29 05:35:26 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Dancer said:
>i think there is no limit to the freedom of speech. However what is said that should be punishable by law depends on the damage that it could cause.

That is a contradiction already.

Technicly, unless you have some handicap, you have freedom of speech everywhere then. If you reason like that I could have said that I was the child of Satan in the middle ages, but I would have burned at the stake for it. Is that freedom of speech?

>Similarly, on a micro level, a person should also know what to say and what not

You can't base anything on "should" when it comes to a population.

>opinions vary no doubt. being racist or not could be subjective. but if there is any racist element in the party, then it should be disbanded.

Freedom of speech?


 
ifihadahif Posted: Fri Apr 29 06:39:31 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Silentmind said:
>>
>Slander and racism are one and the same, just one is specific, and one is more general.
>
not in a court of law


 
FN Posted: Fri Apr 29 08:24:33 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>Silentmind said:
>>>
>>Slander and racism are one and the same, just one is specific, and one is more general.
>>
>not in a court of law

That's the whole point hif...


 
kurohyou Posted: Fri Apr 29 15:00:19 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I don't believe that there should be legally imposed restrictions on freedom of speech. Not only because it dances a line of censorship which no on wants to see, but also because it would be so subjective to define, defining it would become impossible. What is offensive, and therefore viewed as punishable by one, may not be to another. I don't think a happy medium could be struck to effectively do that, even if it was something that anyone wanted to see.

I do believe however, that freedom of speech comes with a great moral responsibility. Yes the freedom of speech gives you the right to say anything you want at anytime that you want. And the associted freedoms allow people not to listen if they don't like what they hear.

But just because you can say anything that you want to say doesn't mean that you should. And therein, in my mind lies the responsibility of freedom of speech. Its a similar responsibility for any other freedom that you can have.

Just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.

For what its worth...




 
misszero Posted: Sat Apr 30 06:39:09 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>...To protect the public from itself in a way,


that's what i mean by condescending. they're acting like they're the 'parent' trying to pretect the 'child' i guess in some ways they might be, but i personally feel its stupid. but then, i also believe people should be allowed to do whatever they want to themselves. if they want to engage in behaviour that harms themself (eg smoking weed) and no-one else, they should be allowed to do that. i think that's similar to the attitude in the netherlands, but i might be wrong.


 
FN Posted: Sat Apr 30 11:48:20 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Marihuana is legal here too.

I don't think it's much of a comparison though.


 



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