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Prejudisim & Slander/Libel

PervRat
Posts: 963
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7/31/2009 3:06:22 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
If someone makes a claim about a group of people (for instance, says "Queers are peophiles,") should that be grounds for slander (if its spoken) or libel (if it is written)? If a gay person can prove they are not a pedophile, should they not be able to sue the person who accused them (as a member of the group) for the maliciously fraudulent claim made against each and every member of that group the same way making false claims about a person constitutes slander/libel?
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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7/31/2009 3:31:51 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 7/31/2009 3:06:22 PM, PervRat wrote:
If someone makes a claim about a group of people (for instance, says "Queers are peophiles,") should that be grounds for slander (if its spoken) or libel (if it is written)? If a gay person can prove they are not a pedophile, should they not be able to sue the person who accused them (as a member of the group) for the maliciously fraudulent claim made against each and every member of that group the same way making false claims about a person constitutes slander/libel?

First of all, you can't sue away prejudice and ignorance; it may get the plaintiff a sum of money, but it's not going to rid the defendant of his beliefs.

Second of all, as detestable as it is, there's a right to free speech, even hate speech such as that, until the point at which it causes some kind of physical harm; for example, if the person just says 'queers are pedophiles', you can't restrict that expression of opinion; however, if the person says this, and then a homosexual loses his job at say, a daycare or elementary school, then that could possibly be grounds for a lawsuit on the basis of slander/libel; though, generally, those kind of cases only happen on an individual basis (for example, if Chris calls Bob a pedophile, as opposed to Chris calling the entire homosexual community pedophiles).
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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7/31/2009 3:41:12 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Sure, you see it as being right when your on the side of the LGBT community. of course, then shouldn't you be sued for saying all conservatives are "gay-bashers"? A slippery slope.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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7/31/2009 3:52:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
/cast Delete rank1, [target="slander", "libel"]

Fixes the lawbooks up good.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
PervRat
Posts: 963
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7/31/2009 4:17:34 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
First of all, you can't sue away prejudice and ignorance; it may get the plaintiff a sum of money, but it's not going to rid the defendant of his beliefs.

Second of all, as detestable as it is, there's a right to free speech

Even speech has laws applied to it -- libel, slander, or something like shouting "Fire!" in a crowded room that gets people killed in a stampede.

And why shouldn't suing someone for making up a vicious, false accusation of you be allowed? Why should people not be held to account for what they say?
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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7/31/2009 9:52:21 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Slander and libel are important laws, though they can get out of hand. But regardless, they are important.

The thing to remember about slander and libel are that they're both public communication of something other than the truth, which can lead to damages against the person is was intended to harm.

For instance, if someone says that another person was a murderer to their colleagues at work or their friends, the person who was called a murderer could be fired from their job, or attacked by others who believed the law.

The person would have a right to sue for damages against the person that spread around the rumour which lead to those damages, as they were responsible for the actions that occurred.

That being said, judges should always be careful to note what the intent and reasoning behind the rumour was. Did the person do it by accident, and didn't realize what they said was wrong? Or, did the person do it on purpose, and knew it was a lie exactly. These are the kinds of things you must take into account when ruling on slander and libel cases.

In the OP's example (someone says "queers are pedophiles"), slander and libel laws wouldn't apply because such a statement, while untrue and abhorrent, is too generalized of a statement. I don't think an individual could sue on those grounds and get a ruling in their favour.

This is because due to the generalized nature of the statement, the person who said it escapes personal blame for any actions taken against homosexuals based on the statement - he made a general statement, with no direct aim at an individual, and any damages directed at a homosexual because of the statement are not his fault, because others only took his statement too literally, or the wrong way, etc. The blame would be almost impossible to pin on him because of the vagueness of such a statement.

This is why politicians are always careful with words when referring to some group. "Socialists are trying to ruin the country" is not a specific statement, compared to "Barack Obama and the Democrats want to destroy the country with their socialist agenda, stop them!"
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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7/31/2009 10:02:11 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 7/31/2009 9:52:21 PM, Volkov wrote:

The thing to remember about slander and libel are that they're both public communication of something other than the truth, which can lead to damages against the person is was intended to harm.
The only one whose RIGHTFUL stature is harmed by communication of the false-- is one who is deceived by it. That is what fraud statutes are for (Incidentally why do I see so many libel and slander cases speculated about over things that can neither be proven true nor false?)


For instance, if someone says that another person was a murderer to their colleagues at work or their friends, the person who was called a murderer could be fired from their job, or attacked by others who believed the law.
I presume you mean "believed the statement." No one has an inherent right to a job, if the one firing it finds out it was done on false premises THEY may sue for damages on the grounds of fraud, not the one who was fired on that ground, since unless there was a contract forbidding it (in which case you sue the one who fires you) no grounds, true or false, is needed to fire. Your reputation, by definition, is the thoughts of other people-- to state that you have a right to your reputation is to state you have an unqualified right to another's brain.

And anyone in a country with a valid legal system (a hypothetical but w/e) who attacks on unfounded suspicion is guilty of violating the law whether it is true or not, and so cannot hold the statement responsible for their actions.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
PervRat
Posts: 963
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7/31/2009 10:14:38 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
In the OP's example (someone says "queers are pedophiles"), slander and libel laws wouldn't apply because such a statement, while untrue and abhorrent, is too generalized of a statement. I don't think an individual could sue on those grounds and get a ruling in their favour.

If you happened to be gay, and someone publicly declared (like in a speech) that queers are pedphiles, is that not a personal attack against you and every person who is gay?

I think it is wrong to dodge out of that legal responsibility to the truth. If you accuse everyone in a group of something, everyone in that group should have a legal right to clear their names of the maliciously made-up allegation to me.
PervRat
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7/31/2009 10:18:08 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 7/31/2009 10:02:11 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Your reputation, by definition, is the thoughts of other people-- to state that you have a right to your reputation is to state you have an unqualified right to another's brain.


The point isn't whether you have a right to make your reputation what you wish it to be -- else people would have a right to sue to have /true/ things about them erased, such as a conviction recor. The point is that you may not cause harm to another by making people believe something false and atrocious about them.

If your name was associated with, say, child rape, even though you never committed child rape and had never even been legally charged with it, would it be just for you to suffer with the consequences of that reputation?
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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7/31/2009 10:25:58 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 7/31/2009 10:02:11 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
The only one whose RIGHTFUL stature is harmed by communication of the false-- is one who is deceived by it.

That is half true, though those harmed by the communication of the false - ie., someone that has an outright lie about them spread around that causes them to lose their jobs, or causes physical harm to come to them, or causes the loss of property, etc.

(Incidentally why do I see so many libel and slander cases speculated about over things that can neither be proven true nor false?)

Because people like bringing frivilous lawsuits up, as well those cases are (or should be) rarely ruled in favour of the plaintiff.

I presume you mean "believed the statement." No one has an inherent right to a job, if the one firing it finds out it was done on false premises THEY may sue for damages on the grounds of fraud, not the one who was fired on that ground, since unless there was a contract forbidding it (in which case you sue the one who fires you) no grounds, true or false, is needed to fire.

If the reasoning for the termination of employment was found to be based on faulty information (ie., daycare worker being fired because someone said they were a child rapist), then the person who started the communication of the falsity carries the blame.

Your reputation, by definition, is the thoughts of other people-- to state that you have a right to your reputation is to state you have an unqualified right to another's brain.

Reputation is the thoughts of other people, but in public. Someone can't sue someone for thinking something privately - but someone can sue someone for sharing false information that damages their reputation - reputation that affects their productivity, health and etc.

And anyone in a country with a valid legal system (a hypothetical but w/e) who attacks on unfounded suspicion is guilty of violating the law whether it is true or not, and so cannot hold the statement responsible for their actions.

I agree. Someone who attacks on the grounds of false information doesn't have a right to escape prosecution for the crime committed, but hypothetically they could sue for damages against the person who told them the falsity that lead them to act - if the falsity was a direct call to action, that is.

If someone says "he is a child rapist," and someone attacks him, the person who attacked him cannot hold the statement responsible for their actions, as they acted on the information themselves and chose to take it into their own hands, as the communicator said nothing about attacking him.

If the communicator said "he is a child rapist, lets hurt him," then the communicator could be held culpable for damages, as they suggested the attack that was carried out. The person who attacked with the communicator would still get punished for their choice in committing the crime, but they can sue for damages because they were lead on false information that lead them to their actions in the first place. This would be contingent on proving that they would have acted otherwise if they had not been told about the falsity - if they were shown to have reason to attack before, not based on the falsity, then they wouldn't be awarded damages.
regebro
Posts: 1,152
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7/31/2009 11:51:04 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 7/31/2009 3:06:22 PM, PervRat wrote:
If someone makes a claim about a group of people (for instance, says "Queers are peophiles,") should that be grounds for slander (if its spoken) or libel (if it is written)? If a gay person can prove they are not a pedophile, should they not be able to sue the person who accused them (as a member of the group) for the maliciously fraudulent claim made against each and every member of that group the same way making false claims about a person constitutes slander/libel?

I'm sceptical to all sorts of collectivism. Therefore I of course know that all statements of this type are wrong. That can be seen as an argument for this position, but then again, the slander/libel suit would be a class action, which is more collectivism. I don't think you should fight fire with fire, so I say "no".

Even the people who say these thing will typically go "All arabs are thieves. Well, except Muhammad down at the Kebab shop. He is a good guy." Everybody with any brain knows these statements are wrong. Why sue? That presumes that the statement *could* be correct, and therefore might help spread the idea that it is reasonable to say these sorts of things.

Also, the point of these types of arguments is to create an "Us vs Them" situation. Suing for libel and slander will only play into the hands of the morons that said it.

No, I think it's better to just shake your head at them.
So prove me wrong, then.
PervRat
Posts: 963
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8/1/2009 12:02:10 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I'm sceptical to all sorts of collectivism. Therefore I of course know that all statements of this type are wrong. That can be seen as an argument for this position, but then again, the slander/libel suit would be a class action, which is more collectivism. I don't think you should fight fire with fire, so I say "no".

How is it "fighting fire with fire" by persuing justice against a lie? It would only be "fighting fire with fire" if you countered someone's malicious, vile and untrue accusation about you with a malicious, vile and untrue accusation about them. Can you not distinguish between justice and revenge?

Even the people who say these thing will typically go "All arabs are thieves. Well, except Muhammad down at the Kebab shop. He is a good guy." Everybody with any brain knows these statements are wrong. Why sue? That presumes that the statement *could* be correct, and therefore might help spread the idea that it is reasonable to say these sorts of things.

It is unreasonable to presume all minds are set about all things. Someone in a position of authority -- like, say, a priest -- does carry influence with their audience. If a priest over a congregation of 1,000 people declares homosexuals to be child rapists, are there not at least some in his congregation who would believe this because their man of god told them it was so?

Also, the point of these types of arguments is to create an "Us vs Them" situation. Suing for libel and slander will only play into the hands of the morons that said it.

Doing nothing validates what they say. Taking action to hold them to account to their false accusations at least might convince some people that the person who made the false claim did make it up and what they said is not true. It does not undo all the damage, no, but it is better than nothing in my book.

Can you come up with any solid reasons why the victim of such a group-prejudicial slander/libel should not be allowed to seek justice and set the record straight on the issue in a court of law?
regebro
Posts: 1,152
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8/1/2009 12:30:47 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/1/2009 12:02:10 AM, PervRat wrote:
How is it "fighting fire with fire" by persuing justice against a lie?

You forget that the people who believe the lie will not see it as justice, but rather further proof that they are correct.

Can you not distinguish between justice and revenge?

This seems to fall in the revenge category. As mentioned, everybody with a brain knows that the statement is false. Pursuing legal action against it doesn't look like justice to me, but revenge. Justice would be getting the people who said it to admit that they are wrong, and saying they are sorry. A lawsuit is a slap in the face as a response to their slap in the face. I silly girly fight. Not justice.

It is unreasonable to presume all minds are set about all things.

I agree. Also I never implied any such thing.

Someone in a position of authority -- like, say, a priest -- does carry influence with their audience. If a priest over a congregation of 1,000 people declares homosexuals to be child rapists, are there not at least some in his congregation who would believe this because their man of god told them it was so?

Yes, and? You surely do not believe that the priest loosing a law suit is going to change these peoples mind about that, do you? No, it's the exact opposite in fact.

Again: The purpose of saying the homosexuals are child rapists is to create a sense of "Us vs Them". A law suit will make that sense of separation *stronger*, thereby just acting in the priests interests.

Doing nothing validates what they say.

So don't do nothing.

Taking action to hold them to account to their false accusations at least might convince some people that the person who made the false claim did make it up and what they said is not true.

No. People don't work like that. Those who are inclined to believe the false statement will just be more convinced they were right, because of the strong reaction.

It does not undo all the damage, no, but it is better than nothing in my book.

No, it's worse than nothing. But I never said you should do nothing.

Can you come up with any solid reasons why the victim of such a group-prejudicial slander/libel should not be allowed to seek justice and set the record straight on the issue in a court of law?

Yes, and I have stated them clearly, twice now.
So prove me wrong, then.
PervRat
Posts: 963
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8/1/2009 2:22:32 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/1/2009 12:30:47 AM, regebro wrote:
At 8/1/2009 12:02:10 AM, PervRat wrote:
How is it "fighting fire with fire" by persuing justice against a lie?

You forget that the people who believe the lie will not see it as justice, but rather further proof that they are correct.

Overgeneralized and inaccurate claim.

Can you not distinguish between justice and revenge?

This seems to fall in the revenge category. As mentioned, everybody with a brain knows that the statement is false. Pursuing legal action against it doesn't look like justice to me, but revenge. Justice would be getting the people who said it to admit that they are wrong, and saying they are sorry. A lawsuit is a slap in the face as a response to their slap in the face. I silly girly fight. Not justice.

A very distorted point of view. Revenge is returning a wrong with a wrong. Your arguments suggest you don't think libel and slander are harms or that judicial systems are just.

It is unreasonable to presume all minds are set about all things.

I agree. Also I never implied any such thing.

When you used the word "everyone," you most definitely did.

Someone in a position of authority -- like, say, a priest -- does carry influence with their audience. If a priest over a congregation of 1,000 people declares homosexuals to be child rapists, are there not at least some in his congregation who would believe this because their man of god told them it was so?

Yes, and? You surely do not believe that the priest loosing a law suit is going to change these peoples mind about that, do you? No, it's the exact opposite in fact.

Having no objective party to refute the priest's claims gives full credence and no credible contradiction to the minds of many in the congregation. Your claim the opposite is true is both absurd and unsupported.

Again: The purpose of saying the homosexuals are child rapists is to create a sense of "Us vs Them". A law suit will make that sense of separation *stronger*, thereby just acting in the priests interests.

Inaction makes the sense of righteousness stronger. I speak with experience on this. Your argument is baseless.

Doing nothing validates what they say.

So don't do nothing.

Your entire argument is you should do nothing, do not attempt to contradict a malicious lie with a legal process to prove the lie is false.

Taking action to hold them to account to their false accusations at least might convince some people that the person who made the false claim did make it up and what they said is not true.

No. People don't work like that. Those who are inclined to believe the false statement will just be more convinced they were right, because of the strong reaction.

I fail to see how any credibility would be added to a person whose vicious allegations against a group of people are disproven in a court of law over the alternative of allowing the allegations to pervade unchecked.

It does not undo all the damage, no, but it is better than nothing in my book.

No, it's worse than nothing. But I never said you should do nothing.

You have yet to establish how establishing truth using objective means is worse than allowing false allegations to stand unchallenged.

Can you come up with any solid reasons why the victim of such a group-prejudicial slander/libel should not be allowed to seek justice and set the record straight on the issue in a court of law?

Yes, and I have stated them clearly, twice now.

You have not stated any solid reasons why victims of vicious allegations made against them as a member of a population should have no right to have the record set straight through the justice system.
regebro
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8/1/2009 3:18:42 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/1/2009 2:22:32 AM, PervRat wrote:
At 8/1/2009 12:30:47 AM, regebro wrote:
At 8/1/2009 12:02:10 AM, PervRat wrote:
You forget that the people who believe the lie will not see it as justice, but rather further proof that they are correct.

Overgeneralized and inaccurate claim.

It is not inaccurate, it's the honest to god truth. And obviously there are exceptions, but that doesn't make it overgeneralized. Since more people will react like this, than react like how you expecte them to, a libel suit will hurt more than it helps. It's not an overgeneralisation to say so.

This seems to fall in the revenge category. As mentioned, everybody with a brain knows that the statement is false. Pursuing legal action against it doesn't look like justice to me, but revenge. Justice would be getting the people who said it to admit that they are wrong, and saying they are sorry. A lawsuit is a slap in the face as a response to their slap in the face. I silly girly fight. Not justice.

A very distorted point of view.

No, it's a realistic, rational point of view, instead of an emotional gut reaction.

> Revenge is returning a wrong with a wrong.

That definition would mean that all revenge you find justified is not revenge, which leads to circular reasoning. You now claim it's not revenge because it's justified, and that it's justified because it's not revenge. Since I believe it hurts more than it helps, I think it isn't justfied, and hence it would with your reasoning become revenge. :-)

> Your arguments suggest you don't think libel and slander are harms or that judicial systems are just.

No, my argument suggests (or rather states clearly) that suing for libel or slander is going to make things worse, not better, and is playing into the hands of the one doing the libel/slander. And I explained why. You seem to be very intent on ignoring this, which is annoying.

It is unreasonable to presume all minds are set about all things.

I agree. Also I never implied any such thing.

When you used the word "everyone," you most definitely did.

No. I never claimed that anyones mind is all set about all things, let alone everyone. Your are now intentionally misinterpreting me instead of countering what I actually said. You are building a straw man, in short.

Yes, and? You surely do not believe that the priest loosing a law suit is going to change these peoples mind about that, do you? No, it's the exact opposite in fact.

Having no objective party to refute the priest's claims gives full credence and no credible contradiction to the minds of many in the congregation.

The congregation believes the priest is objective.

Your claim the opposite is true is both absurd and unsupported.

Look, I'm trying to explain to you how people like this think. You say that it's absurd. That is of course true. What these people believe, and their ways of thinking is absurd to anyone who is rational and logical. But that is not my fault. If you want support I can give you recommendations for some books to read. But first, remember that this is people who believe things like "God is all loving all powerful and all knowing, and therefore he tortures people", or things like "every time you have tried to implement communism it has failed, therefore we must try again" or "the extermination of 4 million jews is proof that jews control the world" or "the complete lack of evidence for a Bush controlled conspiracy behind 9/11 is proof that Bush is behind 9/11". And yes, "All gays are pedophiles".

These people believe absurd things, because their mind works in absurd ways. You assume that if you get a judge to say "Look, there is no evidence for X, therefore do not say X" will change their minds. THAT is absurd.

Again: The purpose of saying the homosexuals are child rapists is to create a sense of "Us vs Them". A law suit will make that sense of separation *stronger*, thereby just acting in the priests interests.

Inaction makes the sense of righteousness stronger. I speak with experience on this. Your argument is baseless.

I speak out of experience, insight and with the support of research on psychology of cults and mass-movements.

Your entire argument is you should do nothing

You seem to believ that you either sue, or do nothing. That is a false dichotomy.

No. People don't work like that. Those who are inclined to believe the false statement will just be more convinced they were right, because of the strong reaction.

I fail to see how any credibility would be added to a person whose vicious allegations against a group of people are disproven in a court of law over the alternative of allowing the allegations to pervade unchecked.

Yes, you fail to see that because you don't understand the psychology behind this. I'm trying to explain, but you react with anger instead of trying to understand. We are not going to get anywhere that way.

No, it's worse than nothing. But I never said you should do nothing.

You have yet to establish how establishing truth using objective means is worse than allowing false allegations to stand unchallenged.

You have not stated any solid reasons why victims of vicious allegations made against them as a member of a population should have no right to have the record set straight through the justice system.

Yes I have. It's time for you to read them instead of sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming "Lalalalitsabsurdandbaselesslalala".

Why did you ask a question if you don't want to hear the answer? Oh, stupid me, I know the answer to that as well.
So prove me wrong, then.