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Free Speech


ydoaPs
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Should freedom of speech extend as far as those deluding populations into pandemic, or are some messages so dangerous that they must be stopped at all costs?

 

 

Re: "condoms are evil" in AIDS ridden countries

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Personally I believe freedom of speech is only truly rational thing where information is freely available. Freedom of opinion should be freely exercised everywhere, freedom of speech in the form of telling people whatever you want to tell them without being able to find alternative opinions is truly terrifying.

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Although we want to allow as much free speech as possible, we have to begin by admitting that some free speech can be harmful, such as libel, giving false advice to someone who relies on you for professional guidance, directly counselling the commission of a crime, or inciting a riot. All organized societies make these types of free speech illegal because of their obvious harmfulness. But what about less clearly harmful speech, such as Holocaust denial, which is now illegal in several European countries, or pornography, which some feminist theoreticians now assert denies the free speech rights of women by 'silencing' them, or harms women by diminishing their stature in society? In all these cases the concrete harm following from such uses of free speech seems difficult to prove, so if we value free speech seriously, I think to avoid a slippery slope we have to allow unlimited free expression unless its harmfulness is emphatically clear.

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Since, you can access the internet has often been the target of this efforts. It provides practically everyone with the ability to communicate their ideas or to say free speech platform to wide audiences and escapes the ability of the state to control it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There should definitely be a limit to the freedom of speech. Discimination, insult and other things against entire groups of a population (within or outside the borders) should not be allowed. The ultimate result when a whole group of people starts to dislike or hate another group of people are well-known. Riots, or even war are the sad result.

 

Sadly, our own politicians use these tricks on a daily basis.

 

Freedom of speech is a wrong phrase. What we should be discussing is a freedom of intent.

I think it doesn't matter what you say - it only matters what your intentions are when you say it.

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Most legal systems that punish 'hate speech,' that is, discriminatory speech against certain groups, have to make an exception for religious speech, since preaching often condemns Pharisees, Atheists, Heretics, etc. But once you have to make a special exception for religion, that amounts to a violation of the separation of church and state, since you privilege religious speech over secular speech, while the liberal state should be neutral between them.

 

Also, shouldn't there be hate speech against certain groups? What about statements condemning the thugee cult, an ethnically defined group of people in South Pakistan who used to go around murdering travellers to steal their money? How could the law neutrally distinguish between reasonable criticism of various groups and unreasonable, racist hatred? You might try to say that the speaker's intent is the basis of the distinction, but the law can't be a mind reader, and so statutes usually punish acts rather than attitudes.

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The problem is that there are always multiple sides to every argument, and if the argument is never heard how can we make up our minds?

 

The example you quote (condoms and AIDS) is a good one because there are now studies which suggest that the use of condoms in Africa has exacerbated the AIDS epidemic. The studies suggest that condoms have not been being used properly and/or are of poor quality, so even people who use them still catch HIV, but wearing the condom creates a false sense of security making casual sex more common. I have no idea how true this is (or whether there is an attached agenda) but it seems a reasonable discussion to have.

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There is objective reality and subjective reality. Free speech was intended to prevent subjective reality from trumping objective reality. If you yell fire, and there is no fire, subjectivity is being used to alter objective reality, in a subjective way, to create a panic. This is not free.

 

On the other hand, if we have a philosophy, which has elements of subjectivity, it can be used to fog objectivity. The free speech is needed to point out this subjectivity, so people can become more objective to that philosophy. If we restrict speech, objectivity can become subjective.

 

Political correctness defines the proper use of language and restricts free speech. This is partially objective. Certain words can make people feel uncomfortable, so there is a cause and effect reaction. However, the foundation of the effect is learned behavior, stemming from subjectivity. There is no natural cause and effect between sounds and reactions, until one is subjectively told how to react. If I said a bunch of swears in another language, it may not offend anyone. The meaning is the same, but the reaction to the sounds are subjectively different. I may say somewhere the world, "may your goats give sour milk", and start a fight. But most other places don't have this conditioned reaction, with the natural reaction more of a giggle.

 

Say we use the PC template a different way. We train you to react to X with hate. Anytime X is brought up you need to get mad. Also, we will tell you that Y will make you feel better. We then prevent anyone from ever saying X again so we all feel better. We can manipulate you to accept a subjective standard, by taking away free speech. Rather than deal with the conditioned reactions, because of free speech, one is required to ignore the core subjectivity training, by focusing on the superficial conditioned cause and effect reaction. Once you get used to that, there is swamp land that I would like to show you. When you see, it you will make you feel good.

 

Free speech concerning X, although inducing the conditioned reaction of hate, places the reaction in front of everyone, so you can become objective to the training. You may get tired of feeling mad and ask yourself why am I being mad? I was told to be mad. It turns out X is full of crap and Y is no bargain either. Free speech led to greater objectivity at the core of the subjective conditioning, but it first had to get past the conditioned cause and effect on the surface. The trick of PC is too focus on the conditioned cause and effect on the surface, since it seems to be a legitimate restriction of free speech; add more objectivity. But this is not deep enough to realize, at the core of this reaction is subjective conditioning that needs objectivity via free speech.

Edited by pioneer
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The problem with saying that free speech is intended to prevent subjective reality from overcoming objective reality is that the issue is then just pushed back one stage when people say, "But my vision of reality is the objective one, while yours is the subjective one." This disagreement about what is objective and what is subjective then becomes something which can only be settled in a free society by debate and discussion, so then we are back to allowing free speech without any predetermined restrictions that it always only be 'objective.'

 

American law has some good instincts for dealing with free speech restrictions. If speech is uttered in a time, manner, or place where it creates a danger of physical harm so immediate that there is no time for reasoned debate to defuse it, then it can be forbidden. But what is forbidden should only be the time, manner, or place of the speech causing a danger, not the content of the speech generally, since if the government discriminated among speech acts by their content, this would violate the neutrality of a government committed to respecting free expression of opinion.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If you are not deliberately spreading misinformation that can cause damage (Physical, not mental), then it can be suppressed. That could be inciting violence (IE: We must blow up the world trade centers). However, something like "Condoms are Evil" is an opinionated point and should be protected by free speech. I think that lying about someone is OK as long as you aren't causing physical harm in the process.

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Since many people depend on their reputation for their career and income, such as lawyers, judges, doctors, engineers, etc., then libel really has to be forbidden by law, as it is everywhere in the world I know of. You can do undeserved and real harm to people by saying false things affecting their public reputation, so that type of speech really does cause objective harm and not just hurt feelings, which anyone believing in free speech should be prepared to endure.

 

Publishing false news has been forbidden in various jurisdictions and has been used as an excuse to punish Holocaust denial. But since historians have serious debates all the time about what really happened in the past, it seems dangerous to allow society to punish Holocaust denial. How many people might be offended by any one of a number of denials of past events? Would the British Royal Family be offended if someone denied that the Duke of Clarence was innocent of the Jack the Ripper murders? If so, should that assertion be illegal? If the Armenians are offended by the Turks denying that the Armenian Genocide occurred, should that be illegal? If the descendants of the tribes killed by Moses en route to the promised land are offended if the truth of the Old Testament is denied, should we all be forced to subscribe to belief in the tales of Moses?

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