Contemporary threats to free speech

A place to bring a contemplative / Dharmic perspective and opinions to current events and politics.
Locked
User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3999
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:26 am

Mr Man wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:16 am
Rather than addressing the style perhaps you could address the point - What you wrote is untrue.
Sorry, Mr. Man, the style seemed the more important point, in that calling someone is a liar is offensive rudeness, whereas there was no point to be discussed - you didn't say what the lie consisted of. In such a context, just calling someone a liar is no better than claiming they are stupid, or insane, or otherwise evincing one's distress at what they say.

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3352
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mr Man » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:35 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:26 am
Mr Man wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:16 am
Rather than addressing the style perhaps you could address the point - What you wrote is untrue.
Sorry, Mr. Man, the style seemed the more important point, in that calling someone is a liar is offensive rudeness, whereas there was no point to be discussed - you didn't say what the lie consisted of. In such a context, just calling someone a liar is no better than claiming they are stupid, or insane, or otherwise evincing one's distress at what they say.
I quoted the lie. But obviously you are not interested in addressing that (or correcting). More interested in distraction?

Here it is again:
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:37 pm
But sadly, I don't think it is. The country of Milton, Locke, and Mill has (depending on your local police force) thought crimes.


User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3999
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:47 am

Mr Man wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:35 am

I quoted the lie. But obviously you are not interested in addressing that (or correcting). More interested in distraction?
No, I would be happy to address responses to my posts if people want to say why they think I am mistaken. But I'm not going to second-guess what is bothering people who stoop to personal abuse. That might be gratifying for the person who just wants to abuse another poster, but it's a waste of my time.

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3352
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mr Man » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:04 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:47 am
Mr Man wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:35 am

I quoted the lie. But obviously you are not interested in addressing that (or correcting). More interested in distraction?
No, I would be happy to address responses to my posts if people want to say why they think I am mistaken. But I'm not going to second-guess what is bothering people who stoop to personal abuse. That might be gratifying for the person who just wants to abuse another poster, but it's a waste of my time.
You are still avoiding the point. There is no need to second guess I have made it very clear. Here it is again -
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:37 pm
But sadly, I don't think it is. The country of Milton, Locke, and Mill has (depending on your local police force) thought crimes.


User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 19977
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:11 am

Greetings Mr Man,

Is this a lie?

The state of free speech — dog's Nazi salute deemed a hate crime

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3352
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mr Man » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:24 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:11 am
Greetings Mr Man,

Is this a lie?

The state of free speech — dog's Nazi salute deemed a hate crime

Metta,
Paul. :)
Yawn. You are so predictable. No it is true he was convicted but he was not convicted for "thought crimes". He was convicted under the Communications Act 2003 I believe.

Are you guys a tag team? :rofl:

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3999
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:39 am

Mr Man wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:04 am

You are still avoiding the point. There is no need to second guess I have made it very clear. Here it is again -
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:37 pm
But sadly, I don't think it is. The country of Milton, Locke, and Mill has (depending on your local police force) thought crimes.

How is that a lie?

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3352
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mr Man » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:47 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:39 am
Mr Man wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:04 am

You are still avoiding the point. There is no need to second guess I have made it very clear. Here it is again -
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:37 pm
But sadly, I don't think it is. The country of Milton, Locke, and Mill has (depending on your local police force) thought crimes.

How is that a lie?
Because it is not true that the there is such a thing as "thought crimes" in UK law and I am pretty sure that you would know that. If there is no action there is no crime.

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by binocular » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:01 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:55 pm
Other people's thoughts have certainly been seen as important, and this is (in one sense at least) even more important within Buddhism than in Catholicism. Intention determines action, so is of extreme significance. But there are two important differences here. Buddhism does not express unskilful actions as "crimes". This might be because there is no developed Buddhist jurisprudence, but the differences are clear. Unskilful actions are not determined as such by human convention; and they often do not have humanly-imposed penalties attached. Vipaka is not "punishment" in the conventional sense.
In contrast, in theistic authoritarian systems, the legal system is deemed as having divine origin, or is at least sanctioned by God, and as such, is, in effect, deemed the same as God's.
So in such systems, for all practical intents and purposes, being judged by particular people is the same as being judged by God (even though those judges claim that they are not doing their own will, but God's).

In Buddhist and Hindu cultures, there exist folk and some more serious conceptions about what karmic consequences follow for what action. Something like "karmic concordance charts" ("If you do X, you will get karmic consequences Y"). And some people elevate those conceptions almost to the level of law, seeeing themselves as arbiters and enacters of other people's karma ("You did such and such, therefore, I can do such and such to you, and I will be guiltfree for doing so").

There's something that bugs me about that, but I haven't been able to formulate it concisely for days.
The second difference should be seen in the context of the English legal system which I was talking about. There has long been a convention that people cannot be tried for their opinions and ideas. In matters of religion, Elizabeth 1 said "I would not open windows into men's souls", and there has been a jealously-guarded tradition of independence of religious thought which was very well established by the middle of last century.
That then makes England special.
It seems rather to be expected that secular society would have similar concepts, even if somewhat toned down. It seems that the principle of social cohesion demands that people not only peacefully coexist in their verbal and bodily actions, but also in their mental actions. Because otherwise, that peaceful coexistence in words and deeds would be rendered a mere pretense, as there would be no meeting of minds. Which has wide-ranging implications.
Sure. Similar, but not "crimes". Norms and customs and freely-chosen modes of interacting with others do very well here. And there is also the point (again derived from the English liberal tradition) that radical and unorthodox ideas should be actively encouraged and freed from both state and religious supervision in order to enhance human progress and flourishing. Minds can meet in passion and disagreement, with no threat to society at all. As William Blake said, "Opposition is true friendship...One law for the lion and the ox is oppression". That's probably a key difference between European Catholicism and the glory that is English liberal protestantism.
Interesting. I thought that all over the world, if there's one thing that people can't stand and judge severely, it is pretense, fakery. I would think that in most places in the world, few things are regarded as as bad as looking like a decent person, talking like a decent person, acting like a decent person, but not actually thinking like a decent person. I have the impression that to most people, being internally, mentally different (while externally seeming average or normal) is worse than blatant villany. At least where I come from, people feel intensely betrayed if a person seems normal in their appearance, words, and deeds, but then it turns out that they don't think "normal" (such as if they are of the "wrong" religion or without one).


You did have something like McCarthyism in the U.K. in the 20th century too, didn't you?

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3999
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:03 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:01 am

In contrast, in theistic authoritarian systems, the legal system is deemed as having divine origin, or is at least sanctioned by God, and as such, is, in effect, deemed the same as God's.
So in such systems, for all practical intents and purposes, being judged by particular people is the same as being judged by God (even though those judges claim that they are not doing their own will, but God's).
That might happen, but doesn't have to. There is a clear theological distinction between those people who believe that God divinely ordains laws by means of kings and judges, and those (mainly Protestant) who think that the radical nature of the gospel message entitles them to challenge and overthrow those kings and judges. If by "theistic authoritarian systems" you mean Catholic autocracies, then sure. Otherwise not.
In Buddhist and Hindu cultures, there exist folk and some more serious conceptions about what karmic consequences follow for what action. Something like "karmic concordance charts" ("If you do X, you will get karmic consequences Y"). And some people elevate those conceptions almost to the level of law, seeeing themselves as arbiters and enacters of other people's karma ("You did such and such, therefore, I can do such and such to you, and I will be guiltfree for doing so").
Maybe, but I've not got any experience of this. Buddhist and Hindu countries seem to have fairly secular legal systems that work pretty much as Western ones do. Again, it's possible, but I doubt if Indian or Thai judges think this way.
That then makes England special.
Indeed it does.
I thought that all over the world, if there's one thing that people can't stand and judge severely, it is pretense, fakery. I would think that in most places in the world, few things are regarded as as bad as looking like a decent person, talking like a decent person, acting like a decent person, but not actually thinking like a decent person. I have the impression that to most people, being internally, mentally different (while externally seeming average or normal) is worse than blatant villany.
I don't think so. I got the impression from Japanese friends that Japanese society allows one to think and do almost anything, providing you just "play the game" and maintain the image. And Liberalism at its best allows for a wide range of opinions. The thoughts and ideas of other people are their own concern, providing they don't infringe my rights. I think the difference is beween hypocrisy (which consists of professing one standard while never intending to live up to it) and the unconcern with other people's morality providing they don't bother other people. The former tends to be disliked in the UK, whereas the latter was until recently the mark of a "gentleman" or noble mind. It ties in nicely with the Dhamma, in my opinion; all beings are the owners of their kamma, and not of anyone else's.
You did have something like McCarthyism in the U.K. in the 20th century too, didn't you?
No. There were no mass accusations, and the worst that happened was that during the Cold War the secret services monitored the actions of Communists and Soviet "fellow travellers". I have friends who grew up in Communist families during the 1950s. There was a fascinating network of Jewish communist intellectuals across North London and elsewhere, and it all seems like jolly middle-class fun. Communist summmer camps, Russian songs, "Ban the Bomb" marches, and Daddy lecturing on the evils of capitalism over the tea and sandwiches.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3999
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:27 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:47 am

Because it is not true that the there is such a thing as "thought crimes" in UK law and I am pretty sure that you would know that. If there is no action there is no crime.
That's a big improvement. You have avoided personalising the issue and giving in to abuse. That's commendable.

There can never be crimes which consist of thinking alone, without some form of expression of that thought. But that's not what "thought crimes" means outside of a narrow science fiction brain-scan scenario. That's not what Orwell meant when he coined the phrase.

What it means here is that actions which would otherwise be legal are increasingly criminalised because of the determination of the thoughts behind them by the police and other agencies. As the tweet says,
"Though what the perpetrator has done may not be against the law, their reasons for doing it are".

This means that the only component of an intentional act which attracts the attention of the police is the thought behind it. In Retro's example, posting a clip of a pug raising its paw is legal, until the police judge that you had intent that they disapprove of. The same applies to the famous "Fawlty Towers" scene where Cleese does Nazi salutes. If someone posted a clip of themselves doing something similar, the police could make a judgement as to whether their intention was good, or bad. They are looking at (more precisely, trying to determine) the thoughts behind the action, not merely the action. That's very different from the principle of mens rea, which only looks at the intentions behind and understanding of an action which is otherwise clearly criminal.

Similarly, police questioning 10 year old schoolboys because of misspelling or requesting where the prayer room is, involves someone (a teacher, in both cases) making a judgement about their intentions. The 2015 Act requires teachers to do this. Or the case of this man:
https://semipartisansam.com/2016/03/24 ... r-attacks/
who merely asked a Muslim to account for the terrorism of her co-religionists. Doing this in the context of a debate about Muslims used to be perfectly acceptable, but someone has decided that his intentions were of a kind they don't like.

This is what I mean by "thought crime"; not that Her Majesty's Government table Bills with the actual term in the title or preamble, or that your local constabulary have a thought-detector van patrolling your streets. There is a great deal more of this concentration upon thoughts and attitudes than there has been in my lifetime, which is why I think it a retrograde step.

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3352
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mr Man » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:53 pm

Keep blowing your smoke and trying to justify your dishonesty. Here is what a barrister says -
The Met’s website seems to presuppose the existence of an entirely novel type of criminal offence: a crime which requires only a guilty mind, mens rea but not actus reus. If such an offence existed then “thought-crime” would be a very good description of it. But of course it doesn’t.
http://barristerblogger.com/2018/03/18/ ... #more-2507

--
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:27 pm

This is what I mean by "thought crime"; not that Her Majesty's Government table Bills with the actual term in the title or preamble, or that your local constabulary have a thought-detector van patrolling your streets.
You are being disingenuous. This is what you wrote + remember the context of your post - you were referring to the text from the Met Police website (which has now been changed https://www.met.police.uk/advice-and-in ... ate-crime/) -
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:37 pm

One hopes that the police statement is wrong due to the mangled English and poverty of expression that afflicts many British police officers. But sadly, I don't think it is. The country of Milton, Locke, and Mill has (depending on your local police force) thought crimes.
You chose to put forward that thought crime exists in the UK rather than except that it was "mangled English and poverty of expression".

You chose to perpetuate that which is not true.

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by binocular » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:09 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:03 pm
That might happen, but doesn't have to. There is a clear theological distinction between those people who believe that God divinely ordains laws by means of kings and judges, and those (mainly Protestant) who think that the radical nature of the gospel message entitles them to challenge and overthrow those kings and judges. If by "theistic authoritarian systems" you mean Catholic autocracies, then sure. Otherwise not.
I find it hard to see this. I mean, I suppose it is as you say, it's just a foreign perspective to me.
In Buddhist and Hindu cultures, there exist folk and some more serious conceptions about what karmic consequences follow for what action. Something like "karmic concordance charts" ("If you do X, you will get karmic consequences Y"). And some people elevate those conceptions almost to the level of law, seeeing themselves as arbiters and enacters of other people's karma ("You did such and such, therefore, I can do such and such to you, and I will be guiltfree for doing so").
Maybe, but I've not got any experience of this. Buddhist and Hindu countries seem to have fairly secular legal systems that work pretty much as Western ones do. Again, it's possible, but I doubt if Indian or Thai judges think this way.
Like I said, some people elevate those conceptions almost to the level of law; not that they are made into laws in any formal capacity. For example, in the way some individuals treat others poorly, on account that it is "their karma to be treated that way".
I don't think so. I got the impression from Japanese friends that Japanese society allows one to think and do almost anything, providing you just "play the game" and maintain the image.
I would think that here, that would be regarded as reprehensible fakery. (I would say we don't think the Japanese are fakers in any way; I think we're quite mystified by them -- IOW, don't understand them, but because they seem rather classy, we're less likely to make negative assumptions about them.)
The thoughts and ideas of other people are their own concern, providing they don't infringe my rights. I think the difference is beween hypocrisy (which consists of professing one standard while never intending to live up to it) and the unconcern with other people's morality providing they don't bother other people.

I think that here, those two are still one and the same.
I think we have always had a sense that it is important for everyone to maintain social cohesion in thought, word, and deed, and that was the same under Catholic rule and in the communist/socialist variant we had here, and the (Christian) capitalist we have now. It's not so much in particular about controlling others, but about maintaining an image of a unified, unanimous nation, or culture. And one should never rock the boat, in any way.
You did have something like McCarthyism in the U.K. in the 20th century too, didn't you?
No. There were no mass accusations, and the worst that happened was that during the Cold War the secret services monitored the actions of Communists and Soviet "fellow travellers". I have friends who grew up in Communist families during the 1950s. There was a fascinating network of Jewish communist intellectuals across North London and elsewhere, and it all seems like jolly middle-class fun. Communist summmer camps, Russian songs, "Ban the Bomb" marches, and Daddy lecturing on the evils of capitalism over the tea and sandwiches.
Aww!


Anyway, from where I come from, it makes complete sense to introduce the category of thought crimes as suggested earlier. I don't personally agree with it, but in a society very much invested in social cohesion, it makes sense that such a category exists and is legally enforced.

binocular
Posts: 5454
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by binocular » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:21 pm

P.S.
As for Japanese culture: It's sort of en vogue here because Slovenia is part of a project of promoting Japan. Who on earth thought that Japan needs promoting is beyond me. But now on national tv, we have a Japanese soap opera every day; tourist infomercials about Japan, mostly about what places to visit, what foods to eat, and what trinkets to buy, all explained by an über exuberant female Japanese voice; and other documentaries about Japan. I've seen some; I'm not any closer to understanding Japanese culture.

:focus:

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3999
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:49 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:09 pm

I find it hard to see this. I mean, I suppose it is as you say, it's just a foreign perspective to me.
Understood. Once you believe that you have the possibility of understanding God, then earthly powers don't really amount to much. Our regicide in 1649 was a good example of this.

Anyway, from where I come from, it makes complete sense to introduce the category of thought crimes as suggested earlier. I don't personally agree with it, but in a society very much invested in social cohesion, it makes sense that such a category exists and is legally enforced.

Yes, my fear is that this will soon be extended to the UK, hence my original point; and hence, incidentally, my opposition to the UK remaining in the EU. The complexity of societies is likely to require ever-increasing social control, and it makes sense for managers to eradicate undesirable thoughts because it's more efficient than eradicating the problems they will give rise to. It's about avoiding dystopias.

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests