Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

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Caodemarte
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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm

DNS wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:51 pm
Mr Man wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:29 pm
What is the connection between your post and Caodemarte's post?
Caodemarte mentioned / asked why anti-Semitic remarks are allowed on DW and retro asked him to report any. After the Protocols of Zion was mentioned, Caodemarte reported that and I said the Protocols of Zion can easily be dismissed/refuted (rather than censored).
Not to engage in a long discussion, but the title of this thread alone makes this directly relevant to the discussion. All these Nazi videos, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, racist propaganda (sometimes openly defined as such by the poster) can easily be refuted. They have been, sometimes for centuries. They keep coming back because the purpose of repeating them is not to advance an argument, it is simply to advance hatred and inject these easily and previously refuted ideas into accepted discourse; to normalize bigotry; to make the irrational seem reasonable.

DW, a forum for Theravada Buddhism, increasingly seems to be a safe haven for this sort of thing. The publisher or owner is indeed responsible for what is allowed and what is not. It is hardly censorship for a publisher not to print or take down incitement to murder, for example. Would it be acceptable on DW for anyone to post an “easily refutable” case for the murder of people we don’t like? In this case, there are, sadly, other places for hate speech after all. Simply telling people to become complicit by closing their eyes when others are attacked in front of them does not seem a particularly moral or reasonable response.

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SDC
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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by SDC » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:45 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm
Simply telling people to become complicit by closing their eyes when others are attacked in front of them does not seem a particularly moral or reasonable response.
Who is telling who "to become complicit be closing their eyes when others are attacked"?

Caodemarte
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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:32 pm

SDC wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:45 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm
Simply telling people to become complicit by closing their eyes when others are attacked in front of them does not seem a particularly moral or reasonable response.
Who is telling who "to become complicit be closing their eyes when others are attacked"?
retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:55 am
Greetings Caodemarte,

Please remember the rules of this section, specifically...
5. We do understand that politics can be an emotional or disruptive subject for some people. Therefore if you wish, you may voluntarily opt out of the News section by following the instructions here. Because participation in the News, Current Events & Politics section is entirely optional (and won't even show up in your "Active Topics" search, if you opt out), please refrain from meta-discussion in the form of complaining about the existence of such topics here at Dhamma Wheel. If they are burdensome to you personally, simply opt out.
Metta,
Paul. :)
Upeksha wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:33 am
......I think it's wrong to sideline Caodemarte's point by suggesting 'opt out.' The issue at stake is that there is a difference between making conservative, radical or libertarian arguments and posting web content which is anti-Semitic.

Are we really at the point where we conclude: if you're offended by anti-Semitic content on a Buddhist forum, then it is your problem for being offended?

Really??
Last edited by Caodemarte on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by SDC » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:59 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:32 pm
SDC wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:45 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm
Simply telling people to become complicit by closing their eyes when others are attacked in front of them does not seem a particularly moral or reasonable response.
Who is telling who "to become complicit be closing their eyes when others are attacked"?
retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:55 am
Greetings Caodemarte,

Please remember the rules of this section, specifically...
5. We do understand that politics can be an emotional or disruptive subject for some people. Therefore if you wish, you may voluntarily opt out of the News section by following the instructions here. Because participation in the News, Current Events & Politics section is entirely optional (and won't even show up in your "Active Topics" search, if you opt out), please refrain from meta-discussion in the form of complaining about the existence of such topics here at Dhamma Wheel. If they are burdensome to you personally, simply opt out.
Metta,
Paul. :)
Yes, you can "voluntarily" opt out if you choose to do so. If you don't want to be complicit by closing your eyes, then I suggest you don't opt out. Stay and keep your views on the table.

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Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Upeksha » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:14 pm

I have re-posted this from the News thread, so that all forum members may consider their position:


The issue at stake is whether Dhammawheel is an appropriate place to post text book antisemitic material. And the answer to this of course depends upon what our community standards are - and these are something we all have to continually define.

Now it seems to me that the community standards set by the moderators frame the issue around free speech and mere offense. i.e. the moral value is with free speech, if anyone is offended they can either opt out or speak up.

In my view this is very, very unsatisfactory, and I will take the time to briefly explain why:

In general, the idea of free speech has its roots in a distinction that JS Mill made between harm and offense. Mill was trying to set the boundary for where a state should and should not intervene upon its citizens with respect to law. And he argued that where direct harm occurs, it should. But in all other cases - most importantly in cases of 'mere offense' - it should not.

As a basic template, I think it is fairly useful, and I generally favour a maximal notion of free speech. i.e. I think it is always best to let people air their views, even where they may be unfounded or prejudicial.

However I think it is also plainly true that words or certain kinds of speech have the capacity to directly incite violence or create other forms of direct harm. This is clearly the case with texts such as The Protocols of Zion which by any measure played a large role in the Pogroms against Jews living in Russia in the early 20th century, and a little later, in Nazi Germany. And quite obviously, these ideas have not disappeared in the 21st century, but have re-merged in different ways on both the left (see British Labour Party) and right.

I simply don't see how anyone would think it reasonable or morally valuable to defend the right to promote such ideas, which have already caused some of the most grievous direct harms of the 20th century, unless through sheer ignorance of history.

So, to be clear, this issue is that it is not simply a matter of mere offense here. I am not offended. It is rather that I think there is a moral obligation to prevent the propagation of false ideas that lead to direct harm.

:anjali:

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:53 pm

no idea whats going on lol, but if someone is being racist, cut and dry, not indirectly or ambiguously, why shouldnt they get a warning. free speech doesnt apply to a private internet forum. not wanting to be around that kind of ignorance may not be a personal deficit. one thing about the news section, which i just opted out of, is that it is supposed to be 'bringing a dharmic perspective' to politics and current events, but it doesnt seem like the topics intersect with or are shown to intersect with dhamma. it's just a cesspool that you could find on any other plain internet forum.
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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by DNS » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:06 am

Upeksha wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:14 pm
However I think it is also plainly true that words or certain kinds of speech have the capacity to directly incite violence or create other forms of direct harm. This is clearly the case with texts such as The Protocols of Zion which by any measure played a large role in the Pogroms against Jews living in Russia in the early 20th century, and a little later, in Nazi Germany. And quite obviously, these ideas have not disappeared in the 21st century, but have re-merged in different ways on both the left (see British Labour Party) and right.
I see you mentioned Protocols of Zion in that thread. Did anyone else? I don't see it mentioned by anyone else, unless I missed it. Did anyone make a statement inciting violence? If so, please show it here or report it. Did anyone even say Protocols of Zion is a great work, a true and wonderful book, etc? It (Protocols) is so obviously fiction that it is easy to refute.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:10 am

Upeksha wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:14 pm

So, to be clear, this issue is that it is not simply a matter of mere offense here. I am not offended. It is rather that I think there is a moral obligation to prevent the propagation of false ideas that lead to direct harm.
I agree with the general point here, but would warn that ideas having caused direct harm in the past is a poor predictor of whether they will cause harm in the present or future. Ideas about homosexuality being a sin against God, for example, or ideas about racial purity and miscegenation: these have clearly caused direct harm in the past, but are very unlikely to gain much traction now. I see the Protocols in this category, in that they are so thoroughly discredited that few take them seriously other than those who are already anti-Semitic. As such, citing them is more likely an intention to give offence than cause harm; it is like using an abusive racial epithet. Those who want to challenge such a citation can easily do so, and those who want to leave well alone can opt out.

Having said that, could anyone give a clear example of where someone has openly expressed an anti-Semitic viewpoint which is likely to lead to direct harm? PM me if you wish to spare the poster's blushes...

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:12 am

Greetings,
Upeksha wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:14 pm
So, to be clear, this issue is that it is not simply a matter of mere offense here. I am not offended. It is rather that I think there is a moral obligation to prevent the propagation of false ideas that lead to direct harm.
And who is to judge what are indeed "false ideas"? A man, a woman and their cat? The Ministry Of Truth? Wikipedia?...

Rather, here...
At Dhamma Wheel, we respect your intellectual and spiritual autonomy. As such, the staff here will not enforce reverence to anyone or anything, nor censor speech gratuitously. In keeping with this respect for your autonomy, we expect you to be personally responsible for your own emotions and responses.
We are not the thought police.

:spy:

The very suggestion that staff should be the thought police, ought to be concerning to all members. Members, please, do not delegate, outsource or surrender your intellectual autonomy to us.
Dhammarakkhito wrote:no idea whats going on lol, but if someone is being racist, cut and dry, not indirectly or ambiguously, why shouldnt they get a warning.
They do, and have... see TOS2f.

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

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

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:14 am

Congratulations for showing the moral maturity to face this problem. I would suggest that this not be confined to anti-Semitic speech alone but to the clearly racist, anti-Muslim, and other forms of bigoted speech that often appears here. I doubt not beleive that this is free speech issue at all. This forum is as a form of publishing and there is no right to demand that a publisher print anything at all. Rights to free speech do not include the “right” to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, call in bomb threats, publish instructions on making bombs, threaten, or incite lynchings.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:21 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:10 am
...I agree with the general point here, but would warn that ideas having caused direct harm in the past is a poor predictor of whether they will cause harm in the present or future. Ideas about homosexuality being a sin against God, for example, or ideas about racial purity and miscegenation: these have clearly caused direct harm in the past, but are very unlikely to gain much traction now. I see the Protocols in this category, in that they are so thoroughly discredited that few take them seriously other than those who are already anti-Semitic. ...
I live in the US where violent hate crimes do occur. Anti-Semitic propaganda, such as the infamous document cited, are routinely cited as justifications by the perpetrators for attacks on Jews and temples. I believe the situation is similar in every Western country. Check out the situation in Eastern Europe, where the cited document is widely circulated among hate groups. Other area have their own hate crimes where similar propaganda against different targets is cited.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by SDC » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:24 am

Upeksha wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:14 pm
I have re-posted this from the News thread, so that all forum members may consider their position:


The issue at stake is whether Dhammawheel is an appropriate place to post text book antisemitic material. And the answer to this of course depends upon what our community standards are - and these are something we all have to continually define.

Now it seems to me that the community standards set by the moderators frame the issue around free speech and mere offense. i.e. the moral value is with free speech, if anyone is offended they can either opt out or speak up.

In my view this is very, very unsatisfactory, and I will take the time to briefly explain why:

In general, the idea of free speech has its roots in a distinction that JS Mill made between harm and offense. Mill was trying to set the boundary for where a state should and should not intervene upon its citizens with respect to law. And he argued that where direct harm occurs, it should. But in all other cases - most importantly in cases of 'mere offense' - it should not.

As a basic template, I think it is fairly useful, and I generally favour a maximal notion of free speech. i.e. I think it is always best to let people air their views, even where they may be unfounded or prejudicial.

However I think it is also plainly true that words or certain kinds of speech have the capacity to directly incite violence or create other forms of direct harm. This is clearly the case with texts such as The Protocols of Zion which by any measure played a large role in the Pogroms against Jews living in Russia in the early 20th century, and a little later, in Nazi Germany. And quite obviously, these ideas have not disappeared in the 21st century, but have re-merged in different ways on both the left (see British Labour Party) and right.

I simply don't see how anyone would think it reasonable or morally valuable to defend the right to promote such ideas, which have already caused some of the most grievous direct harms of the 20th century, unless through sheer ignorance of history.

So, to be clear, this issue is that it is not simply a matter of mere offense here. I am not offended. It is rather that I think there is a moral obligation to prevent the propagation of false ideas that lead to direct harm.

:anjali:
It is a sad fact that in order to have a vibrant community that we need to allow our membership the opportunity to discuss that which is not explicitly Buddhism. I wish we didn't have to have it, but forums that do not give that opportunity lose traffic and/or fall apart. There is overwhelming evidence that this is the case (we can get into it if you want.) Our goal is to remain one of the largest Buddhist forums and that is one of the sacrifices we have to make in order to do it. That is how I see it at least.

Please bear in mind that there are members of the Theravada Sangha that thought it pertinent to "get political" in recent years. It seemed many were "down" with this, but now that a broader spectrum of political stances have entered that discussion, all of the sudden people want to pull on the reins. "No it has to be these sort of views in order for it to be okay." It just isn't that simple nor convenient. Politics have been brought in and the Buddhist community as a whole must now face the consequences. (But this is surely nothing new, western Buddhists have been overwhelming political - let's not forget it was the hippies that "went east" in terms of spirituality. So politics and Dhamma have been paired up in the west since day one. Well, day two - the first to ordain from the west were surely not hippies. But you get my drift.)

Yes, yes, the ages old argument that the Buddha was involved in politics - we all know that, but what is happening now is the call for a paradigm shift in terms of "what is the responsibility" of the ordained and lay Sangha when it comes to the direction of the world. And while the Buddha had things to say to Kings and rulers, he never attempted to alter the crux of his teaching in order to accommodate the need of the laity to obtain his advice when it comes to worldly matters. He simply said his piece and went back to propagating and teaching the Dhamma - at least that is how the suttas appear to me. So this "call" seems really bizarre and pointless - no side of the political spectrum has the Buddha in their corner.

My whole point is that the landscape that produced these things that you see as morally reprehensible, are there on DW because the community as a whole, asked for it. We asked for it on DW through our behavior in the Lounge prior to the creation of the News section. We asked for it in the broader Buddhist community when we supported members of the ordained Sangha, from various sides of the aisle, when they opted to talk politics in the age of global warming and Donald Trump. You can't let even a little bit of it in without getting all the trash that comes along. Unfortunately we were all arrogant enough to think we could regulate it.

So now what? Now we use our "Buddhist" values to regulate content? But wasn't it our so-called "Buddhist" values that put us in this position in the first place? I surely think so.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:52 am

We are not discussing the question of the decision to allow or not allow political dIscussion with a Buddhist perspective or not to have a vibrant forum. The question is, “ Is the forum a vibrant Buddhist forum if it is a platform for promoting Nazism, anti-Semitism, racist bigotry, and religious hatred? Is it appropriate to allow it to be used in this way?”

These are not mere “political views,” just as shouting obscenities is not an exercise of free speech. Liberals and conservatives can be against Nazism, religious bigotry, and racial hatred.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by DooDoot » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:43 am

Upeksha wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:14 pm
This is clearly the case with texts such as The Protocols of Zion which by any measure played a large role in the Pogroms against Jews living in Russia in the early 20th century, and a little later, in Nazi Germany. And quite obviously, these ideas have not disappeared in the 21st century, but have re-merged in different ways on both the left (see British Labour Party) and right.
Caodemarte wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:21 am
Anti-Semitic propaganda, such as the infamous document cited...
Are these posts some type of joke; that a 19th century document of fake news is the cause of 'Antisemiticism'? :roll:
Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm
All these Nazi videos, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, racist propaganda (sometimes openly defined as such by the poster) can easily be refuted.
If it is easy to refute, just refute. Why be so defensive, like the folks in this video?


Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm
DW, a forum for Theravada Buddhism, increasingly seems to be a safe haven for this sort of thing.
Is this suggesting members of DW should not find the following blameworthy?




Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm
DW, a forum for Theravada Buddhism, increasingly seems to be a safe haven for this sort of thing.
So articles like the following should be banned from DW so DW can be a safe haven for the Chosen People of God?

The Rise of the Jewish Policy Elite: Meritocracy, Myth and Power (Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University)

Israel Ramps Up Support for Syrian Rebels, 'Arming 7 Different Groups' (Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd)

Nathan Abrams on Jews in the American porn industry (2006 Jewish Quarterly)

Zionism versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People (Hon. Winston S. Churchill)

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by DooDoot » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:54 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:28 pm
anti-Semitic...
Hi Caodemarte

Why is the term 'Anti-Semitic' used when the majority of Semitic people (such as my good self) do not identify with or have no relationship to Judaic culture & ideology? Since you personally appear to claim to be an upholder of TRUTH & able to "refute" untruth easily, can you refute the following photo recently created about recent shootings is Gaza (as shown in a video, above)?



Can you refute the following Wikipedia entry? :shrug:
Semites, Semitic people or Semitic cultures (from the biblical "Shem", Hebrew: שם‎) was a term for an ethnic, cultural or racial group who speak or spoke the Semitic languages. First used in the 1770s by members of the Göttingen School of History, the terminology was derived from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Book of Genesis, together with the parallel terms Hamites and Japhetites. The terminology is now largely obsolete outside linguistics. However, in archaeology, the term is sometimes used informally as "a kind of shorthand" for ancient Semitic-speaking peoples.

Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples were West Asian people who lived throughout the Ancient Near East, including the Levant, Mesopotamia, Arabian peninsula, and Horn of Africa from the third millennia until the end of antiquity. The languages they spoke are usually divided into three branches: East, Central, and South Semitic. Proto-Semitic was likely spoken in the 4th millennium BC, and the oldest attested forms of Semitic date to the mid-3rd millennium (the Early Bronze Age). Speakers of East Semitic include the Akkadians and the descended cultures of Assyria and Babylonia. Central Semitic combines Northwest Semitic and Arabic. Speakers of Northwest Semitic were the Canaanites (including the Phoenicians and the Hebrews) and the Aramaeans. South Semitic peoples include the speakers of South Arabian and Ethiopic.
Wikipedia further says:
The terms "anti-Semite" or "antisemitism" came by a circuitous route to refer more narrowly to anyone who was hostile or discriminatory towards Jews in particular.
While Wikipedia may be correct above, do you think using the term 'Antisemitism' exclusively as meaning 'hostility towards Jews' is a form of cultural & racial genocide because it essentially deems the only Semitic people to be Jewish and voids the other Semitic people (Palestinians, Syrians, Arabs, etc)? :shrug:

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