Contemporary threats to free speech

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retrofuturist
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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:43 am

Greetings Chownah,
This statement of freedom of speech, however, is not consistent with a legal perspective on freedom of speech. For example, if Sally stands really close to Alice and shouts expletives in Alice's face and Alice strikes Sally rendering her unconscious it is unlikely (unheard of?) that Alice would be charged with violating Sally's right to free speech but she will probably be charged with aggrevated assault I think....and in pursuing personal damages if Sally's attorney claimed that Sally's rights of free speech were violated the judge might just laugh and dismiss although I don't know for sure.

Also, if someone is at work and someone becomes beligerent and berates people and refuses to stop then a common result is that the employee will be removed from the premisis and probably fired from their job.......claiming a violation of freedom of speech would not fly in a court of law.
These kind of thought experiments needlessly conflate the "right to free speech" with the non-existent "right to injure people" or the equally non-existent "right to keep my job, regardless of my speech".

Metta,
Paul. :)
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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by chownah » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:43 am
Greetings Chownah,
This statement of freedom of speech, however, is not consistent with a legal perspective on freedom of speech. For example, if Sally stands really close to Alice and shouts expletives in Alice's face and Alice strikes Sally rendering her unconscious it is unlikely (unheard of?) that Alice would be charged with violating Sally's right to free speech but she will probably be charged with aggrevated assault I think....and in pursuing personal damages if Sally's attorney claimed that Sally's rights of free speech were violated the judge might just laugh and dismiss although I don't know for sure.

Also, if someone is at work and someone becomes beligerent and berates people and refuses to stop then a common result is that the employee will be removed from the premisis and probably fired from their job.......claiming a violation of freedom of speech would not fly in a court of law.
These kind of thought experiments needlessly conflate the "right to free speech" with the non-existent "right to injure people" or the equally non-existent "right to keep my job, regardless of my speech".

Metta,
Paul. :)
These were not meant to be thought experiments.....they were just what I thought were obvious examples illustrating that the idea of freedom of speech taken from a legal perspective is not defined as being the freedom to say anything you want to whoever you want whereever you want and whenever you want. On the contrary it seems to me that the only place this definition of freedom of speech would resonate is in someones own personal perspective.....or perhaps within some ultra extreme anarchist ideologies in attempts to deconstruct the rule of law.
chownah

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:15 am

chownah wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:34 am

I think that from the legal perspective the concept of freedom of speech being anything, to anyone, anytime, anywhere is a non starter. I am claiming that what you have posted while being just fine for one's personal perspective does not account for the legal perspective which is after all what this new california law is about.....the law.
chownah
p.s. Note that I have not said much about how I view whether this is a good law or not in our discussion.....I've been talking about the free speech issue and whether that is actually something to be considered with respect to this law.
chownah
I don't think that there is much of a meaningful distinction between a "personal perspective" and a "legal perspective" here, in that if I am prevented from saying what I otherwise would have said, then the agency preventing me by definition curtails my freedon of speech, regardless of the agency and the powers at its disposal. Of course, there are differences between me curtailing my own ability to speak in certain ways (which is keeping the precepts regarding wrongful speech); having that ability to speak curtailed by informal or non-governmental bodies; and being curtailed by law. But you seem to have accepted my point that this proposed law does in fact curtail the freedoms of those to whom it applies. Most laws and rules do this: they curtail our ability to take things, kill people, indulge in specified behaviours, go to certain places, etc.; and it is entirely right and proper that they do so.

Like you, I am refraining from a detailed consideration of whether this law in question is good (although I suspect it is very bad, but am happy to leave that for the moment!). My concern is to show how this law is a free speech issue.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:21 am

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:08 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:55 pm
My view is that I reluctantly accept the criminalisation of certain types of speech...
For example?
It's not possible to give universal examples, as the justifications for criminalising certain types of speech vary according to culture and circumstance. But in my country, I would be happy for the state to curtail speech which jeopardises state security, or life, or significant amounts and forms of liberty.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by DooDoot » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:40 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:21 am
But in my country, I would be happy for the state to curtail speech which jeopardises state security, or life, or significant amounts and forms of liberty.
Sounds very general. I think clearer examples would be better.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:34 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:40 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:21 am
But in my country, I would be happy for the state to curtail speech which jeopardises state security, or life, or significant amounts and forms of liberty.
Sounds very general. I think clearer examples would be better.
Sure. The Security & Intelligence and Defence provisions of the UK Official Secrets Act of 1989; and the Fear or Provocation of Violence provisions of the UK Public Order Act 1986 seem to me to be well founded, if not always well implemented.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by chownah » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:07 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:15 am
I don't think that there is much of a meaningful distinction between a "personal perspective" and a "legal perspective" here, in that if I am prevented from saying what I otherwise would have said, then the agency preventing me by definition curtails my freedon of speech, regardless of the agency and the powers at its disposal. Of course, there are differences between me curtailing my own ability to speak in certain ways (which is keeping the precepts regarding wrongful speech); having that ability to speak curtailed by informal or non-governmental bodies; and being curtailed by law. But you seem to have accepted my point that this proposed law does in fact curtail the freedoms of those to whom it applies. Most laws and rules do this: they curtail our ability to take things, kill people, indulge in specified behaviours, go to certain places, etc.; and it is entirely right and proper that they do so.

Like you, I am refraining from a detailed consideration of whether this law in question is good (although I suspect it is very bad, but am happy to leave that for the moment!). My concern is to show how this law is a free speech issue.
I do accept your point that from a personal perspective the law curtails freedom of speech.

When I speak of a legal perspective I am not just meaning that one is subject to punishment for transgressing the law. What I am trying to get at is that the meaning of the concept of freedom of speech as it is presented in the establishing, maintaining, and administering the law is different from the personal perpective of anything/anyone/anytime/anyplace concept. In fact (considering US laws since this is a matter of US laws) the idea of the freedom of speech was directed to speech which conveyed IDEAS which the powers that be would like to suppress. In the case of the california law I doubt that the law is concerned with the IDEA of some care has when calling someone under their care a faggot so much as it is concerned with the quality of care that an inividual receives. The IDEA that a care giver has can be freely expressed but not in such a way as to jeoprodize the care of a person which is their duty under their job. A care giver could in public declare how they don't like taking care of faggots and how she wishes and hopes that all the faggots will leave her care and there would not be any laws broken because of the legal perspective of the freedom of speech. I think the law is more concerned with being sure that all ideas have a way to be expressed publicly and not that any idea can be expressed at any time etc.

Another issue (I hope introducing this does not dilute the conversation) is concerning those people (trump supporters) who were denied their right to speak in public at berkeley by the demonstrators. While I think that their rights were violated there is another perspective. In the day and age of the internet the speech (as in 'freedom of speech') which was not allowed by the demonstrators could easily have been presented by remote video. My view is that if those speakers were primarily concerned with their ideas being repressed then they could have very easily made internet arrangements to give their address......but they didn't. IN my view this shows that they were/are more interesed in playing political football than they were/are in communicating ideas to the public.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:17 pm

chownah wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:07 pm
In the case of the california law I doubt that the law is concerned with the IDEA of some care has when calling someone under their care a faggot so much as it is concerned with the quality of care that an inividual receives. The IDEA that a care giver has can be freely expressed but not in such a way as to jeoprodize the care of a person which is their duty under their job. A care giver could in public declare how they don't like taking care of faggots and how she wishes and hopes that all the faggots will leave her care and there would not be any laws broken because of the legal perspective of the freedom of speech. I think the law is more concerned with being sure that all ideas have a way to be expressed publicly and not that any idea can be expressed at any time etc.
Yes, I take your point, Chownah. I'm uneasy about separating the intentions motivating the law from the effects of that law, however. A law with unintended bad consequences is a bad law, for all its good intentions. In this particular case, the law could compel a citizen (albeit in a limited context) to use words which are not of their own choosing. This seems to be a very serious line to cross, and is - as far as I know - unprecedented in the West. It is the legal prescription of discourse, which seems to be totalitarian in spirit, as opposed to the proscription of certain terms, which is a common-sense piecemeal approach to human wickedness.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:21 pm

From the Wiki entry:
Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.[2][3][4][5] The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the UDHR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".[6] Therefore, freedom of speech and expression may not be recognized as being absolute, and common limitations to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury. Justifications for such include the harm principle, proposed by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty, which suggests that: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."[7] The idea of the "offense principle" is also used in the justification of speech limitations, describing the restriction on forms of expression deemed offensive to society, considering factors such as extent, duration, motives of the speaker, and ease with which it could be avoided.[7]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:44 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:17 pm
Yes, I take your point, Chownah. I'm uneasy about separating the intentions motivating the law from the effects of that law, however. A law with unintended bad consequences is a bad law, for all its good intentions. In this particular case, the law could compel a citizen (albeit in a limited context) to use words which are not of their own choosing. This seems to be a very serious line to cross, and is - as far as I know - unprecedented in the West. It is the legal prescription of discourse, which seems to be totalitarian in spirit, as opposed to the proscription of certain terms, which is a common-sense piecemeal approach to human wickedness.
The Wiki passage I quoted above shows that restrictions to free speech already exist.
The issue now seems to be what exactly constitutes "respect of the rights or reputation of others" and "protection of public health or morals".

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by chownah » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:35 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:17 pm
In this particular case, the law could compel a citizen (albeit in a limited context) to use words which are not of their own choosing.
If someone feels compelled to use language which presents a health risk for someone under their care then I think that they have violated the ethical standards of health care professionals. Perhaps all care givers should be licensed (perhaps they already are) by gov't and a condition for keeping the license should be to required to use modes of speech which are conducive to etc. Antagonizing patients/clients is known to present a health care risk...should the law allow health care professionals to behave in a way that jeoprodizes heath care quality? I think that you are saying that the law should allow this. Should a health care professional be allowed to be so hostile towards lbjqt people to the extent that it forces them to leave their care? I think that you are saying that the law should allow this.
chownah

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:23 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:44 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:17 pm
Yes, I take your point, Chownah. I'm uneasy about separating the intentions motivating the law from the effects of that law, however. A law with unintended bad consequences is a bad law, for all its good intentions. In this particular case, the law could compel a citizen (albeit in a limited context) to use words which are not of their own choosing. This seems to be a very serious line to cross, and is - as far as I know - unprecedented in the West. It is the legal prescription of discourse, which seems to be totalitarian in spirit, as opposed to the proscription of certain terms, which is a common-sense piecemeal approach to human wickedness.
The Wiki passage I quoted above shows that restrictions to free speech already exist.
The issue now seems to be what exactly constitutes "respect of the rights or reputation of others" and "protection of public health or morals".
Yes, I have not only acknowledged that restrictions to speech exist, but that circumstances dictate that this should be so. I don't see that the issues of respecting others' rights and reputations, or protecting public health or morals, are - or more correctly, should be - relevant. What makes this a bad legal proposal is that it can lead to a person's speech being prescribed, as opposed to proscribed, which is an abrogation of individual agency. A lesser point is that, despite this, it is probably unnecessary, except in the sense of some people finding it "necessary" that some people's feelings trump the autonomy of others.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:30 pm

chownah wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:35 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:17 pm
In this particular case, the law could compel a citizen (albeit in a limited context) to use words which are not of their own choosing.
If someone feels compelled to use language which presents a health risk for someone under their care then I think that they have violated the ethical standards of health care professionals. Perhaps all care givers should be licensed (perhaps they already are) by gov't and a condition for keeping the license should be to required to use modes of speech which are conducive to etc. Antagonizing patients/clients is known to present a health care risk...should the law allow health care professionals to behave in a way that jeoprodizes heath care quality? I think that you are saying that the law should allow this. Should a health care professional be allowed to be so hostile towards lbjqt people to the extent that it forces them to leave their care? I think that you are saying that the law should allow this.
chownah
Claiming that language can be a "health risk" sounds like an attempt to ramp up the emotion rather than reflecting reality. ("My client was so upset that they might actually die!!"). But I'm an open-minded person, so would be amenable to discussing examples of clinically dangerous language...

The law should be able to proscribe certain types of speech, but I can't think of any that might be used in the context of a care or health setting. What it shouldn't be allowed to do is to force anyone to use language which is prescribed by another agent, regardless of who that agent is.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:39 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:23 pm
Yes, I have not only acknowledged that restrictions to speech exist, but that circumstances dictate that this should be so. I don't see that the issues of respecting others' rights and reputations, or protecting public health or morals, are - or more correctly, should be - relevant.
Why shouldn't they be relevant?
What makes this a bad legal proposal is that it can lead to a person's speech being prescribed, as opposed to proscribed, which is an abrogation of individual agency.
A professional employed by a company has limited individual agency to begin with, and is bound by company policy.
A lesser point is that, despite this, it is probably unnecessary, except in the sense of some people finding it "necessary" that some people's feelings trump the autonomy of others.
It seems to me that this is more of a specifically American problem (that seems to be spreading across the world, though).
Elsewhere in the world, such things seem to be understood simply as a matter of common sense and common decency, generally not requiring specific regulation or policing.

It's especially Americans who are so vocal about their freedom of speech. But it seems that as a cultural counterbalance, there developed in America also a culture of being sue happy and hyperlegislating details.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:48 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:39 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:23 pm
Yes, I have not only acknowledged that restrictions to speech exist, but that circumstances dictate that this should be so. I don't see that the issues of respecting others' rights and reputations, or protecting public health or morals, are - or more correctly, should be - relevant.
Why shouldn't they be relevant?
Three reasons. Firstly, because in this particular case they don't really apply. Second, because they sound like suspicious totalitarian excuses for the extension of power. No English person should hear the phrase "protection of public morals" without reaching for their copy of J S Mill's On Liberty. Most importantly, though, because my objectioon to this proposal is based upon the prescription/proscription distinction, and I consider the ramping up of concerns about "public morality" to be waffle.
A professional employed by a company has limited individual agency to begin with, and is bound by company policy.
Indeed. Let the sheep work for the shepherds if they want to, but let's not use the state to make the shepherd's life any easier.
Elsewhere in the world, such things seem to be understood simply as a matter of common sense and common decency, generally not requiring specific regulation or policing.

It's especially Americans who are so vocal about their freedom of speech. But it seems that as a cultural counterbalance, there developed in America also a culture of being sue happy and hyperlegislating details.
Yes, that may well be so.

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Mr Man
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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mr Man » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:18 pm

Here are the details of the amendment, which also contains some background. - Senate Bill No. 219

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... 20180SB219

The pronoun bit is only one bit of the bill.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:30 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:18 pm
Here are the details of the amendment, which also contains some background. - Senate Bill No. 219

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... 20180SB219

The pronoun bit is only one bit of the bill.
Yes, it was posted some way upthread.

It's rare that any legislation is completely and uniformly lamentable.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mkoll » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:43 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:30 pm
The law should be able to proscribe certain types of speech, but I can't think of any that might be used in the context of a care or health setting.
HIPAA is kinda a big thing in healthcare in the US, to put it mildly. It's taken very seriously and violations can lead to civil penalties, criminal penalties, and prison.
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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by PuerAzaelis » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:55 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:08 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:55 pm
My view is that I reluctantly accept the criminalisation of certain types of speech...
For example?
The classic example is shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. In that situation the risk of harm is great, and is a proximate result of the speech - which is not the case with respect to the CA regulation.
And nobody in all of Oz. No Wizard that there is or was.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mr Man » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:57 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:30 pm
Mr Man wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:18 pm
Here are the details of the amendment, which also contains some background. - Senate Bill No. 219

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... 20180SB219

The pronoun bit is only one bit of the bill.
Yes, it was posted some way upthread.
Thanks :smile:

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