Contemporary threats to free speech

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Sam Vara
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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:55 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:44 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:09 am
I do understand such a thing being a sackable offence, but I cannot fathom on what basis it ought to be deemed a criminal offence. The blurring of these two domains is a concern...
Indeed. Criminal law means you have a criminal record, are prohibited certain freedoms, may serve prison time & can be fined statutory penalties, which can often be the same regardless of the degree of the offence.
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:41 pm
Some legal infringement of speech I hold to be entirely justified.
There is a difference between 'civil law' & 'criminal law'. 'Criminal law' is the gulag for the subjective assessment of thought crimes.
The difference between civil law and criminal law turns on the difference between two different objects which law seeks to pursue - redress or punishment. The object of civil law is the redress of wrongs by compelling compensation or restitution: the wrongdoer is not punished; he only suffers so much harm as is necessary to make good the wrong he has done. The person who has suffered gets a definite benefit from the law, or at least he avoids a loss. On the other hand, in the case of crimes, the main object of the law is to punish the wrongdoer; to give him and others a strong inducement not to commit same or similar crimes, to reform him if possible and perhaps to satisfy the public sense that wrongdoing ought to meet with retribution.

Examples of criminal law include cases of burglary, assault, battery and cases of murder. Examples where civil law applies include cases of negligence or malpractice.

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Civil_ ... iminal_Law
Indeed. My view is that I reluctantly accept the criminalisation of certain types of speech, but think that this particular example of proposed legislation (as far as I understand it) should be vigorously resisted.

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by Mkoll » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:18 pm

In California, people are used to the rollout of these kind of nanny-state laws. There's really no "vigorous resistance" to them AFAIK, unless you include people complaining but not doing anything about it in this category. Mostly on the internet. I'm pretty certain that most people I encounter IRL would see this as no big deal.
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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by DooDoot » 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?
Last edited by DooDoot on Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:29 pm

No, opining that someone that one disagrees with is PC, alt-right, or other similar name-calling, is a matter of free speech:
Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech
Demanding certain standards of behaviour in work situations, and so on, seems to me to be quite different, on a par with complying with health and safety legislation.

I would agree that it should be the employer, or the professional body, who manages such issues, rather than courts, but perhaps that's how the US system functions...

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Re: Contemporary threats to free speech

Post by chownah » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:34 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:13 pm
I'm happy with the legal curtailment of some kinds of speech. My issue here is that thinking that this is an issue of free speech is not, as you claim, evidence of a "lack of perspective". I think it's an issue of free speech not because I lack a particular perspective, but because I think that the concept of the infringement of freedom of speech is analytically derivable from the concept of a law which penalises people for saying what they would say had the law not been there.
My view is that to think that the issue of free speech is that people should be free to say whatever they want to whom ever they want when ever they want and where ever they want is a perfectly fine presentation of the issue of freedom of speech within a personal context.....that is to say if this is what freedom of speech means to an individual then considering it is rational and reasonble and if pondered can possibly yield fruits worth considering.

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.

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.
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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.
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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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