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StringJunky

Freedom of speech - Can we really have it?

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7 minutes ago, nae said:

And I am aware it is not all about ME jeez... 

I didn't mean it in a bad way, just trying to make a point as clear as possible :) .

To be clear, if you don't like people of color, for whatever reason, that is perfectly acceptable, and not against the law.
However, you cannot act on that dislike; everyone should be treated equitably, to do otherwise, is against the law.
Sometimes, speech can incite hatred towards certain groups, however, and that is also against the law.

When you start to tell people what, and how, to think, you've gone past the 'slippery slope', and right off the cliff.

Edited by MigL

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13 minutes ago, MigL said:

I didn't mean it in a bad way, just trying to make a point as clear as possible :) .

To be clear, if you don't like people of color, for whatever reason, that is perfectly acceptable, and not against the law.
However, you cannot act on that dislike; everyone should be treated equitably, to do otherwise, is against the law.
Sometimes, speech can incite hatred towards certain groups, however, and that is also against the law.

When you start to tell people what, and how, to think, you've gone past the 'slippery slope', and right off the cliff.

Then I've been off the cliff for a long time. I think u kind of of misunderstood what I said I was using POC as an example. And how racism towards that group of people could effect them and how I didn't like that. So I didn't say I dislike people of colour XD I am coloured myself after all.

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3 minutes ago, nae said:

I am coloured myself after all.

Most people here are only concerned with opinions and facts.
And opinions and facts don't have 'color'.

If, in our attempts to make a point, we sometimes say something that you find offensive, simply say so; most of us are considerate enough not to repeat it, and intelligent enough to find an alternate way to make that point.

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11 minutes ago, MigL said:

And opinions and facts don't have 'color'.

I was talking about my skin colour XD

 

12 minutes ago, MigL said:

If, in our attempts to make a point, we sometimes say something that you find offensive, simply say so; most of us are considerate enough not to repeat it, and intelligent enough to find an alternate way to make that point.

I'll probably do that instead XD

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The issue that never seems to get properly defined is what one means by freedom of speech.

Case 1: where one is referring to a document such as a country's Constitution (or similar document), then it's a right that the people have to not have the government retaliate or otherwise interfere with speech.

But other people mean it as the ability to say whatever they want (case 2), and some go beyond that to mean saying whatever they want without fear of repercussion (case 3)

So when one says there is no freedom of speech on this forum, or on some other public forum, that's wrong on terms of case 1. This is not an arm of a government, so there there is freedom of speech in that regard. But such a right is not without limits. 

If considering case 2 and case 3, then no, there is not. This is a privately-run place, even if the door is (initially) open to all. There are rules (things we won't discuss), and also repercussions for what one says (there may be pushback if someone disagrees with what you say or how you say it)

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23 minutes ago, swansont said:

The issue that never seems to get properly defined is what one means by freedom of speech.

[ ... ]

I concur, the term 'Freedom of Speech' is far too vague and leaves itself open to numerous and disparate interpretations.  May I offer words to the effect:

'Freedom of Speech that is acceptable in accordance with the law, the norms and conventions of the relevant society at any given time which may be subject to amendments in response to changes in that (or any other) society now or at any time in the future.'

Fr'instance I am free, in theory, to say what I like about anyone and anything but as a police officer I am bound by certain rules not applicable to others.

Conversely, I am free to criticise and condemn President Putin's management style all day long but others may end up having a cup of tea washed down with two lumps of Novichok.






 

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On 6/5/2020 at 3:32 PM, StringJunky said:

Is it not really an unattainable aspiration because freedoms must always have limits?

I agree that it is unattainable. There will always be limits. I think even if unrestricted by govt social norms would still demand a prescribed etiquette. In a aggressively male dominate society women would still feel intimidate or forced to follow social norms. The laws regarding speech would only serving as semantics. Likewise for a Jewish person living in a anti-semtic dominant society. Regardless of govt standards. Speaking freely against or in a different manner to social norms runs risks. At a job interview saying certain things can prevent one from getting the job. Assuming one wants the job they must follow a specific etiquette or face the consequences of not getting the job they want. Whether it is Govts, employers, peers, family, clergy, or etc we all have censorship in their lives. 

On 6/5/2020 at 3:32 PM, StringJunky said:

Where do we draw the lines between acceptable and not?

It is arbitrary. The standard ethical arguments I am familiar with are that we draw the line at speech which threatens or promotes violence. Yet I see the predominant religions in the world often using threats and promote violence. I think the very concept of Hell exists as a threat. So as above it comes down to social norms/etiquette rather than anything definitive. Just the collective whims of a give society.

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I think it's still safe to discuss Mathematics and Physics freely,  without worrying about ideological repercussions.

Chemistry is OK too, as long it's strictly the inorganic branch.  But if you venture into Organic Chemistry,  and from that to Biology, the ice begins to get thinner. And If you go further, into Human Biology,  and, even more dangerously, Anthropology, the ice starts audibly creaking.

At that point it's best to stop. For your own safety.  Particularly,  you should in no circumstances whatsoever express publicly any support for the "Multi-Regional"  theory of human evolution.

That theory is now definitely ideologically offensive.  Stick to the alternative  "Out of Africa" theory, which might or might not be scientifically correct, but is politically correct.  By fervently espousing it,  you will send out a strong virtue signal.   Which may protect you from getting arrested in a few years' time, after the Revolution.

 

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You can publicly express support for any theory you want.
But others can publicly express their displeasure, and ridicule you for it.
Free speech is for all.

Even on this forum, you are allowed to present alternate theories of human evolution.
But you had better do it in good faith, and back it with evidence. 

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22 minutes ago, Charles 3781 said:

Stick to the alternative  "Out of Africa" theory, which might or might not be scientifically correct, but is politically correct.

Nothing to do with politics: Linguistics, genetics, fossil record, material culture... Most everything checks.

41 minutes ago, MigL said:

You can publicly express support for any theory you want.
But others can publicly express their displeasure, and ridicule you for it.
Free speech is for all.

Even on this forum, you are allowed to present alternate theories of human evolution.
But you had better do it in good faith, and back it with evidence

Absolutely. Only thing I would phrase differently "ridicule your idea for it".

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Obviously in most modern societies we are free to express pretty much anything we want (with notable exceptions, and with the caveat that some forms of speech will certainly result in consequences of various kinds). But - and let me play the devil’s advocate here - where does this fit into a larger picture? Is unrestricted freedom always necessarily a good thing, no questions asked? I hear so many people keep going on about their “right to free speech”, but very few ever talk about their corresponding responsibility to engage in ethical speech. People like freedoms, but they don’t like the responsibility that comes with it. If I say or do something that is deeply hurtful to a lot of other people, and is not conducive to peace, prosperity and well-being of society as a whole, in what sense is such a freedom to be considered ‘good’? Much has been said about people’s freedom to engage in whatever speech they want - but what about people’s freedom from forms of malicious or otherwise hurtful speech that is simply not compatible with a civilised and peaceful society that values the well-being of all its citizens?

Before anyone responds, I’d like to point out that I grew up under a communist regime in the former Eastern Bloc, so I know first hand what it is like to live in a society that does not grant freedom of speech (well, theoretically you could say anything you wanted of course...but some things you were only ever going to say once, so effectively the freedom was severely curtailed). It isn’t just an academic concept to me, I’ve experienced it, and it is not a good thing.

On the other hand though, I am also on the autism spectrum, and as such I am simultaneously more sensitive and vastly more conflict-avoidant that most neurotypical people. Some forms of speech with malicious intend, directed towards me, will affect me very deeply, and at the same time I am entirely incapable of confronting the speaker about it. So for everyone like myself, who is affected in different ways by harsh and malicious speech (essentially everyone who does not fully conform to the accepted norms of society) - where is our freedom from such forms of speech? Why is this never really debated? Given the choice, I would personally be very happy to trade some of my ‘freedom to’ for a bit more ‘freedom from’, if that is conducive to my overall wellbeing. Of course I am aware of the difficulties - who makes these decisions, based on what, etc etc...but still.

I don’t have a very specific point to make, I just wanted to put this ‘freedom to’ vs ‘freedom from’ thing out there.

 

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5 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

I don’t have a very specific point to make, I just wanted to put this ‘freedom to’ vs ‘freedom from’ thing out there.

That's a very fine line to tread, unless we're willing to forgive.

While, I think, I understand your difficulties; the neurotypical are capable of dissociating the insult received from the limited freedom we possess, empathy is a powerfull resource. 

 

 

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it depends on what point of view you're trying to see this question. Maybe we do have some freedom to say whatever we think, or (let's be paranoid) maybe 'they' let us think we can say whatever we want. Who knows

 

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5 minutes ago, AlexCaro said:

it depends on what point of view you're trying to see this question. Maybe we do have some freedom to say whatever we think, or [...] maybe 'they' let us think we can say whatever we want. Who knows

 

Who are 'they'? How many of 'them' are there? Where are 'they' and what do 'they' want? Can I be one of 'them'? Who chose 'them'? Who chose those who chose 'them'? Do 'they' speak to you? Do 'they' speak to each other? So many questions...

10 minutes ago, AlexCaro said:

let's be paranoid

Let's not. Let's be reasonable and understand how things happen.

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On 9/5/2020 at 1:56 AM, Markus Hanke said:

Obviously in most modern societies we are free to express pretty much anything we want (with notable exceptions, and with the caveat that some forms of speech will certainly result in consequences of various kinds). But - and let me play the devil’s advocate here - where does this fit into a larger picture? Is unrestricted freedom always necessarily a good thing, no questions asked? I hear so many people keep going on about their “right to free speech”, but very few ever talk about their corresponding responsibility to engage in ethical speech. People like freedoms, but they don’t like the responsibility that comes with it. If I say or do something that is deeply hurtful to a lot of other people, and is not conducive to peace, prosperity and well-being of society as a whole, in what sense is such a freedom to be considered ‘good’? Much has been said about people’s freedom to engage in whatever speech they want - but what about people’s freedom from forms of malicious or otherwise hurtful speech that is simply not compatible with a civilised and peaceful society that values the well-being of all its citizens?

Before anyone responds, I’d like to point out that I grew up under a communist regime in the former Eastern Bloc, so I know first hand what it is like to live in a society that does not grant freedom of speech (well, theoretically you could say anything you wanted of course...but some things you were only ever going to say once, so effectively the freedom was severely curtailed). It isn’t just an academic concept to me, I’ve experienced it, and it is not a good thing.

[...]

 

I think a speech regulation paradigm that revolves around limiting a person's air-time could incorporate that.  Nobody should have more freedom to speak than anybody else does, and one potential solution could be that listening to a person's speech should always be a consensual choice.  This would also increase the dialectical quality of speech by limiting most one-way proselytizing scenarios.  I do think any regulation of speech should be democratic rather than authoritative, but the systems that are supposed to enact the democratic will will always be manipulated from the outside in ways that virtually guarantee the desired outcomes of the powers that be.  Thus I have to fall back on individualistic libertarianism in this case.  I just don't trust the antagonist, ruthless, power-hungry people.

I do think socialist principles are generally aligned with progress in social justice, and that there are certain things which should not be comodified.  Forced child marriages in exchange for dowry payments was an awful idea, and so was slavery and so is wage slavery.  Natural resources aren't the same as mass produced commodities.  Moreover, I think a case could be made that speech shouldn't be commodified either.  Look at the Festinger and Carlsmith peg turning experiments for example.  In that case it was a good outcome, because the people who were paid had an out that reduced the experience of cognitive dissonance.  Alas, maybe there are other cases where this might manifest as moral wrecklessness.  I didn't kill those people who died from what I said; I was paid to say those things and therefore I am not responsible.

> I.e. everyone should be an honest actor who is responsible for the effects of what they say.

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No we cannot. As long as you are vulnerable to violence or ostracization you do not have freedom of speech, and you are always vulnerable. Apparently even the most powerful man in the world is vulnerable, hence why the Secret Service exists and believe it or not the POTUS can't say absolutely anything he wants without repercussion.

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On 9/12/2020 at 3:34 AM, drumbo said:

No we cannot. As long as you are vulnerable to violence or ostracization you do not have freedom of speech, and you are always vulnerable. Apparently even the most powerful man in the world is vulnerable, hence why the Secret Service exists and believe it or not the POTUS can't say absolutely anything he wants without repercussion.

That's right.  In theory, you can express your opinion . But if your opinion is  "politically incorrect", you will be at the least, ignored, or at the worst, banned from this scientific forum.

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There is no 'politically correct' law, or police; some of us are 'politically incorrect' quite often.

But I'm fairly stubborn, so hard to ignore, and I haven't gotten banned, yet.
( although some complain about my sense of humor )

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6 hours ago, Charles 3781 said:

That's right.  In theory, you can express your opinion . But if your opinion is  "politically incorrect", you will be at the least, ignored, or at the worst, banned from this scientific forum.

People have a right to ignore you. 

Writing bans off as being tied to political correctness is a cop-out, IMO, for people behaving or wanting to behave like an a-hole but not suffer consequences for it. People asserting opinions as if they are facts, or trying to shield shoddy “facts” as if they were opinion. Just running away from accountability 

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On 9/4/2020 at 9:45 AM, MigL said:

However, you cannot act on that dislike; everyone should be treated equitably, to do otherwise, is against the law.

I think laws only apply in somewhat narrow range and of course only if it can be demonstrated to be a patterns of sorts. Individual actions based on dislikes are quite difficult to address in a legal sense.

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