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A Discussion on Free Speech

bsh1
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3/30/2016 6:39:07 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
Aloha!

Given my recent debate on the issue [http://www.debate.org...], I thought I would make a forum post discussing the topic of free speech. As an initial disclaimer, this post is not about the debate per se; however, I may uses quotes from the debate to save me having to retype the same arguments all over again. Because this post is not about the debate, I do not consider this an appropriate forum for litigating the debate's outcome, and I would ask respondents to stick to the content presented here. Also, for source numbers included in quotes from the debate, see the debate for those citations. Please wait until I have posted all my comments (4, including this one) before replying.

This discussion will attempt to tackle several issues related to free speech, but will primarily seek to discuss whether, as I did in the debate, the European approach to free speech is superior to the US approach to free speech.

=====================

What is Free Speech?

The questions of what are "speech" and "free speech" are fairly interesting questions unto themselves. Different legal systems and traditions would give different answers to that question, often producing controversial results, when two such traditions or viewpoints clash. One example of this is the Citizens United v. FEC and Buckley v. Valeo rulings, in which SCOTUS held that money was essential to disseminating speech, and thus restricting an agent's ability to spend money also restricted their ability to exercise free speech. Effectively, the court held that money (and how you spent it) was protected under the umbrella of free speech. [1] Some might even argue that money is speech, because how you spend it makes a speech-like statement.

Other controversial traditions argue that certain kinds of speech are so devoid of content that they ought not to be protected, or even classified as speech. Pornography is frequently cited as an example of this kind of "contentless" speech. In the sense that porn is not a medium to engage substantively in political, economic, or social discourse, but is merely a form of personal gratification, protecting it may not further the actual objectives of free speech protections. Now, whether you buy that claim rests on what you think those objectives are. If you believe that they have something to do with the right to criticize government, to engage in a public debate about meaningful ideas, and to inform people about subjects of importance, you may be less inclined to support porn as a protected class of speech. If you believe that the objectives are more about ensuring as much freedom as possible (among other things), you may disagree with that assessment.

For the purpose of my subsequent analysis, though, I will try to interpret "speech" and "free speech" in a fairly broad way. I will use this definition moving forward: "Free speech is the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, by any means." [2] The subsequent discussion will surround the issue of where the limits to free speech ought to be, and whether a European approach to free speech better encapsulates those limits, as opposed to the US model.

The EU vs. The US

What are some of the key differences between the US and EU models of free speech? First, let's clarify what the legal frameworks for these models are. As I said in the debate:

"[T]he U.S. model of free speech refers primarily to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well any currently valid precedent set by the Supreme Court around and about it and its application. The European approach to free speech primarily refers to Articles 10 and 11, Section 1, of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECvHR), and to relevant European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rulings around and about them and their application."

These models have some immediate structural differences that are worth evaluating. Again, I will quote from the debate:

"The key difference between the way the European model (EUM) and the US model (USM) are formulated lies in how they allow rights to interact. The USM employs very absolutist language in constructing its free speech rights, notably that Congress shall 'make no law' that limits this right. [2] Given the categorical nature of this statement, as well as the First Amendment's primacy at the start of the Bill of Rights, a legal culture has developed in which it is harder to balance free speech against other rights. [14] While some balancing does take place, the courts must go through hoops to make their rulings comport with the strongly worded nature of the amendment...The ECvHR puts free speech among a variety of other rights, none of which use categorical phrasing, and many of which have stated exceptions. [4] This eases the burden on judges seeking to weigh the various interests at stake...To compare the systems more directly, we can note that 'the Supreme Court has evolved a complex set of rules for deciding constitutional cases, especially those involving the application of the free speech clause of the First Amendment...The rules go by such names as 'strict scrutiny,' 'heightened scrutiny,' 'intermediate scrutiny,' and 'rational-basis review,'...The courts of the European Union, by contrast, follow a much simpler approach, known as 'proportionality.' They ask, Breyer explains, does 'the [regulatory] limitation' on private conduct 'impose a restriction that is disproportionate to the legitimate interests the governments seeks to achieve?' As Breyer points out, answering that question 'requires the judge explicitly to balance the harm to the protected interest (e.g., speech) against the need for the limitation to protect a critically important objective.' [5]"

To condense that into the most salient detail, the US approach to free speech treats free speech as more important than other rights. The absolutist language protecting free speech makes it hard for SCOTUS to find against free speech and in favor of other rights. The European approach does not do this, and treats free speech as equally important to other rights and interests. The point being that the structure of the legal frameworks of the two systems makes it harder to violate free speech in one (the US) and easier in the other (Europe). Of course, these are comparative terms, and I certainly think Europe does protect free speech well; so it is not "easy" to violate free speech, simply it is "easier."

But, apart from this structural distinction, what differences are there? I am going to touch on two areas of distinction here: privacy and hate speech. Let's start with privacy.

The ECvHR recognizes an explicit right to privacy for people (Article 8 [3]); SCOTUS has inferred a right to privacy from the 14th amendment. [4] While both systems have a right to privacy, they differ on how they uphold this right. In the US, the primacy of free speech is an impediment to the effective protection of privacy. For instance, your right to access information about me is protected under free speech rules because access to information is an essential part of free speech. If I write a story that could damage some public official's reputation, but they bury it, then, even if the information may still exist, it is a form of censorship. In the US, using this reasoning, privacy measures such as the right-to-be-forgotten (to be discussed momentarily) are non-starters. This is not the case in Europe, where RTBF has been established as a right due to the strong privacy protections there.
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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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bsh1
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3/30/2016 6:39:30 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
The EU vs. The US (cont'd)

As for Hate Speech, this is clearly protected in the US to a far greater degree than in Europe. The case of National Socialist Party v. Skokie clearly demonstrates the US's willingness to safeguard the legality of hate speech; it ruled in favor of American Nazi's right to march in a Jewish neighborhood. [5] Conversely, Europe has a variety of restrictions on hate speech which are equally clear, even without getting into the case law behind it.

I now want to address the Pro's and Con's of those distinctions that I've drawn. I will start with hate speech, and then move on to privacy.

Hate Speech

Some have intimated that I support restrictions on hate speech. My personal views on this topic are fairly nuanced. I do believe that, in general, hate speech should be legal. As vitriolic and repugnant as it may be, having public debate about those topics is often the best way to crush those that hold such archaic and bigoted views. On the other hand, I believe that hate speech restrictions are justified in certain jurisdictions in order to keep the peace. The example that I gave in the debate was Bosnia. [6] It has recently endured a bloody ethno-religious civil war, and Muslim-Christian, Bosnia-Serb-Croat, tensions remain high. Kosovo (with it's Albanian-Serb tensions) is similarly positioned to Bosnia. Hate speech in such an environment has the potential to be explosive and to destabilize the fragile peace that was cobbled together. Hate speech is like the fire in a field of dry wheat; it would be folly to strike a match.

As countries riven by conflict gradually become more stable, they should relax whatever restrictions on free speech they have. This gradual process protects vulnerable, violence-prone countries while setting an end-goal of having a wider public forum for debate. I don't personally buy the argument from personal responsibility advanced by some others. The argument goes: "if person X says something inciting violence, it is still Y's choice to engage in violence. Thus, X cannot be blamed for the actions of Y and X should be allowed to continue saying the things he said." To me, this argument misses the connection that obviously exists between X's words and Y's action. If X inflames Y's racist passions, while it may be Y's choice to act in the end, that does not mean X did not nudge Y closer to violence, and nor does it mean that X is somehow blameless. More to the point, a responsible government should seek to protect its people; if it realizes that violence could erupt due to hate speech, then it makes sense for the government to restrict hate speech to save lives. To me, the trade-off is worth it.

So, to bring this home to the US, I might support hate speech restrictions in a place like Baltimore, where racial tensions are soaring and where there is already a history of riots, but I would not support the same restrictions in Boise, Idaho, for instance, where I doubt such discussion would lead to the same negative outcomes.

So, now that I have expounded on my personal view on this issue, there is another important question to ask ourselves: if hate speech restrictions are appropriate in some, but not all jurisdictions, what is the extent of the damage to free speech that hate speech restrictions inflict on a general level? In other words, does limiting hate speech have a significantly depressive or negative impact on free speech as a whole?

The answer, as I see it, is "no." First, let's put into perspective what we're actually talking about here. Imagine all the things I could possibly talk about. Then imagine how many of those qualify, under most reasonable understandings, as hate speech. View all of this information as a pie chart. The whole pie is speech. Anything that counts as speech gets included in the pie. I then cut a tiny sliver of the pie and remove it. This tiny sliver represents hate speech.

In less visual terms, hate speech represents only a fraction of all of those subjects we could talk about, and most of us don't engage in it anyway. The total universe of things you are still free to discuss shrinks only a little when hate speech is removed from that universe, because you still have so, so many things that are fine to discuss. From this angle, the harms to "free speech" that restricting hate speech may cause seem fairly small.

Additionally, Europe does have protections that are designed to enable people to discuss ideas that shock, offend, or disturb. As I wrote in the debate: "In 'Gunduz v. Turkey,' a man was convicted of inciting religious hatred with his extremist views. The ECtHR found that his remarks were not inciting violence, overruling the lower court. [4] In 'Lehideux and Isorni v. France,' authors were convicted of defending the war crimes of Marshall Petain, and were cleared by the ECtHR in large part because of the historical value of their explorations of Petain's legacy. [5] In 'Dink v. Turkey,' Dink had been convicted of 'denigrating Turkishness' for expressing pro-Armenian views. The ECtHR vacated that conviction because 'his resentment toward attitudes he regarded as a denial of the 1915 events, he was not but expressing his opinion on a matter of public interest in a democratic society.' [6] This ruling was 'in line with...established case-law.' [6] In 'Jersild v Denmark,' a journalist was convicted of inciting racial hatred by airing an interview with racists; the ECtHR again cleared the journalist on the basis that impartial interviews for informational purposes are not inciting racial hatred. [7]"

These examples, I think, go to illustrate several points of importance. Historians and journalists are protected and allowed to report on these subjects because such reports are of public and historical interest, and because they are treated in an impartial and dispassionate manner. There is also protection for people discussing things of public importance; Europe does not view holocaust denial as something of "public importance," because it is settled fact, but for areas where there is reasonable debate to be had, Europe is permissive of varying viewpoints.

While some may see in this various insidious trends, I think the general point I want to make is that, just as there are restrictions on hate speech, there are restrictions on restricting hate speech. There are still protections in place in Europe for discussing controversial topics that may, by some, be regarded as "hate speech."

Finally, if, as you were reading earlier, you agreed that there is such a thing as "contentless" speech, and you agreed that speech of this sort need not be protected, then you will probably also support hate speech restrictions, because hate speech is without merit, and is unsupported by any reasonable evidence. If anything, hate speech is merely spouting defamatory falsehoods. In this way, I never understood why laws against libel and defamation were okay, but laws against hate speech were not. Hate speech claims are equally false and equally slanderous regarding a particular class of persons...but maybe that's just me. Anyway, the point here is, if you take that approach to speech, hate speech--because it is, basically, drivel--is something you shouldn't have a problem restricting.

So, how would I sum all this up? Basically, Europe does restrict hate speech in jurisdictions where restricting it is unnecessary. But, those restrictions do not seem to onerous or too limiting, and the very fact that Europe allows some places which need to, to restrict hate speech, is a benefit. If Kosovo or Bosnia were a US state, they would not even have the option of anti-hate speech laws.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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3/30/2016 6:39:56 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
Privacy and Due Process

Now, I want to talk about the issue of Privacy, and, also, a little about Due Process. I am first going to explain why privacy is important, and I am going to quote from the debate to do this:

"'Friendship and intimacy would be impossible...without the ability to reveal oneself more fully to some people than to others...[B]y protecting the ability to have moments...when one can 'be oneself', privacy facilitates emotional release and promotes liberty of thought and action. This is in turn viewed as a vital precondition for meaningful participation in democratic society. Freedoms such as...freedom of expression lose much of their value if people do not first have the chance to learn to think for themselves.' [12] Also, ' '[i]t is the essence of the dignity and personal autonomy and wellbeing of all human beings that some aspects of their lives should be able to remain private if they so wish.' ' [12] Privacy and reputation protections have a 'serious impact on the ability of a person to engage in communicative processes...Accessibility and durability of information may lead to self-censorship and...persons may hesitate to act and to participate in social and public life, which...affects the development of democratic citizens.' [13]"

This has several impacts: (1) privacy is an important prerequisite to effective free speech, (2) privacy is essential to our wellbeing as people, and (3) privacy is important for our engagement with the community. Now, I want to discuss 2 policies in particular that Europe has which the US cannot have because of it's strong free speech protections. The first of these policies will be "reporting restrictions." Then, I will touch on RTBF; I promised to get back to this topic, and I shall very shortly.

Reporting restrictions are restrictions on reporting the names of accused persons. For example, suppose I was accused of murder, but I was not yet convicted or being tried. Reporting restrictions would prevent news outlets from identifying me by name in their coverage of the investigation, and, depending on the stringency of the restrictions, in their coverage of the trial. To explain the benefits of such restrictions, let me quote again from the debate: "When the media latches on to a case, the populace often hears so much commentary and opinion that it poisons the potential jury pool (or judges) or risks doing so during the trial. It also can destroy reputations--even if someone is exonerated, they have had themselves mentioned negatively on media outlets, and that is all many may remember of them. So, not only is this an issue of privacy, but it is an issue of due process of law. The EUM has affirmed the importance of reporting restrictions, while the USM has not really done so as a whole. [11, 12]"

Take the case of the Tsarnaev brothers. I highly doubt, with the intense media coverage of them, that there were many Americans out there who did not think they were guilty. Effectively, what this reporting does, is it poisons the jury pool and makes it difficult to find truly impartial jurors with whom to conduct a fair trial. There is also the risk that reporting names can also ruin reputations; this is a privacy issue, and one that I think is fairly clearly understood. Even if the jury finds you not guilty, there will be many, many people out there who, after following a high profile case, will still treat you as guilty.

Now, let's talk about RTBF. I will quote from the debate in order to spare myself retyping the information:

"The EUM also has made room for a right-to-be-forgotten (RTBF) which protects a variety of interests. RTBF gives people 'the right--under certain conditions--to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them. This applies where the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data processing.' [13] Data permanence, the phenomenon that online material is permanently available, stunts a person's ability to grow overtime. Rather than being judged on one's present maturity and credentials, one youthful indiscretion (e.g. a pot conviction) could limit a person's job prospects for the rest of their life. Data permanence is also problematic in that it leads to self-censorship; rather than creating an atmosphere where people can be frank or express themselves, fear of things you say online haunting you for the rest of your life often dulls speech. RTBF helps fix this. RTBF can also address issues like revenge porn, i.e. posting explicit pictures or video of your ex on the web in order to get revenge. 'While pictures of women branded as sluts, victims, home-wreckers (etc) stay accessible on the internet, job opportunities, new relationships, college entry and basic self-esteem are wrecked. On many US based sites, images stay up till blackmail is paid...because websites hosted in the US benefit from a law which gives them complete immunity from prosecution or action relating to content posted by users, smaller, less reputable sites...can refuse to take down revenge porn without incurring legal liability and do so as a lucrative business model.' [14] Deleting the links from search engines, as RTBF would do, solves for these problems and protects victims from this content. Unfortunately, RTBF would not survive in the USM. [15]"

RTBF would not be legal in the US, according to almost every jurist I can locate. It would not be legal, as my source 15 from the debate explains, because SCOTUS would view it as a form of censorship (deleting links restricts access to information). Thus, free speech protections here would prohibit the US from implementing a useful tool for the protection of privacy.

In Conclusion

Before I launch into my conclusion, I want to thank you for bearing with me through this long OP. I also wanted to say that I only addressed hate speech and privacy because (a) this OP is already massive and I didn't want to elongate it further, and (b) these were the core issues in the debate. There were more things I could've said had I the inclination.

Let's take a moment now to balance the US and European approaches to free speech as I have presented them here. The US allows hate speech. Europe does not. This may be a slight check in the US's favor (I say "slight" because--as I noted--the restrictions on hate speech are not all that limiting or onerous), but, the potential for hate speech restrictions to actually be useful in preventing violence in some jurisdictions makes me lean more toward it being a net positive. The right to life should trump the right to free speech when the two conflict (IMO), and, I would trade a small reduction in the right to free speech for a modest gain in the right to life.

As for privacy, I think this is a clear win for Europe. The US regularly prioritizes free speech over privacy. While there are some promising signs, e.g. the recent Hulk Hogan ruling (though now his sex tape is out there), it is not enough. Privacy is just as important as free speech as far as I am concerned, and so I think it is absolutely vital that privacy be treated on par with free speech. Only Europe does this.

As I said in the debate: "We are, in fact, due many different kinds of rights, and it is important that we realize that no lone right or set of rights can be pursued to the exclusion of all others. Rather, all rights must be balanced against one another. To have safety without freedom, equality without property, or free speech without privacy would deny people an important share of the rights owed to them." I think the US system trends too close to "free speech without" then to an equal partnership among the panoply of rights we have. This is really, for me, the crux of the issue.

On balance then, I favor the European approach.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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3/30/2016 6:40:19 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
Discussion Questions

What do you think should be protected under the auspices of free speech? Do you agree with my opinions on hate speech, on privacy, and/or on any other issue I raised here? Which approach (US or European) do you favor and why?

Again, thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it :)

=====================

Sources

1 - https://en.wikipedia.org...
2 - https://www.amnesty.org.uk...
3 - http://www.echr.coe.int...
4 - https://en.wikipedia.org...
5 - http://civilliberty.about.com...
6 - http://www.rferl.org...
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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3/31/2016 1:14:15 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
Bump
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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tejretics
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3/31/2016 6:40:23 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
tl;dr please

If the post is somewhat like your argument in your debate with Airmax, I disagree. I'm fine with hate speech laws insofar as it's in a place ridden by strife and ethnic conflict, but outside of that I prefer very little or no hate speech laws. With regards to hate speech laws, the status quo is fine. I lean towards RTBF, and privacy is good, but I think hate speech laws outweigh both.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
bsh1
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3/31/2016 6:49:52 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 6:40:23 AM, tejretics wrote:
tl;dr please

If the post is somewhat like your argument in your debate with Airmax, I disagree. I'm fine with hate speech laws insofar as it's in a place ridden by strife and ethnic conflict, but outside of that I prefer very little or no hate speech laws. With regards to hate speech laws, the status quo is fine. I lean towards RTBF, and privacy is good, but I think hate speech laws outweigh both.

You should read the post. I can't really think of a good way to do a TL;DR. At the very least, read the "EU vs. US" and "Hate Speech" sections.
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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autocorrect
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3/31/2016 8:07:53 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
I couldn't be bothered to read the four lengthy posts that begin this thread. I think the OP is a jerk to dump that on the page from the outset. Why not just write a blog, and tuck it away in some obscure corner of the internet where no-one goes - if you want to have four acres of say before anyone else utters a word? And then you have the temerity to call it a discussion. And I bet throughout, you respond by saying, '...if you had read my opening remarks...' - as if they were cannon. What a ...profanities are not allowed in the forums. How dare they limit my freedom of expression!
cybertron1998
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3/31/2016 2:37:00 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 8:07:53 AM, autocorrect wrote:
I couldn't be bothered to read the four lengthy posts that begin this thread. I think the OP is a jerk to dump that on the page from the outset. Why not just write a blog, and tuck it away in some obscure corner of the internet where no-one goes - if you want to have four acres of say before anyone else utters a word? And then you have the temerity to call it a discussion. And I bet throughout, you respond by saying, '...if you had read my opening remarks...' - as if they were cannon. What a ...profanities are not allowed in the forums. How dare they limit my freedom of expression!

just leave...just leave
Epsilon: There are so many stories where some brave hero decides to give their life to save the day, and because of their sacrifice, the good guys win, the survivors all cheer, and everybody lives happily ever after. But the hero... never gets to see that ending. They'll never know if their sacrifice actually made a difference. They'll never know if the day was really saved. In the end, they just have to have faith.
autocorrect
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3/31/2016 2:42:04 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 2:37:00 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 8:07:53 AM, autocorrect wrote:
I couldn't be bothered to read the four lengthy posts that begin this thread. I think the OP is a jerk to dump that on the page from the outset. Why not just write a blog, and tuck it away in some obscure corner of the internet where no-one goes - if you want to have four acres of say before anyone else utters a word? And then you have the temerity to call it a discussion. And I bet throughout, you respond by saying, '...if you had read my opening remarks...' - as if they were cannon. What a ...profanities are not allowed in the forums. How dare they limit my freedom of expression!

just leave...just leave

why?
cybertron1998
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3/31/2016 2:43:33 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 2:42:04 PM, autocorrect wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:37:00 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 8:07:53 AM, autocorrect wrote:
I couldn't be bothered to read the four lengthy posts that begin this thread. I think the OP is a jerk to dump that on the page from the outset. Why not just write a blog, and tuck it away in some obscure corner of the internet where no-one goes - if you want to have four acres of say before anyone else utters a word? And then you have the temerity to call it a discussion. And I bet throughout, you respond by saying, '...if you had read my opening remarks...' - as if they were cannon. What a ...profanities are not allowed in the forums. How dare they limit my freedom of expression!

just leave...just leave

why?

You did not contribute to the thread. forum posts don't have to be short. IE this is not Twitter. If you don't have time to read it, then don't come into the thread in the first place, since you will probably have no substantive input on the topic at hand.
Epsilon: There are so many stories where some brave hero decides to give their life to save the day, and because of their sacrifice, the good guys win, the survivors all cheer, and everybody lives happily ever after. But the hero... never gets to see that ending. They'll never know if their sacrifice actually made a difference. They'll never know if the day was really saved. In the end, they just have to have faith.
autocorrect
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3/31/2016 2:46:24 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 2:43:33 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:42:04 PM, autocorrect wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:37:00 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 8:07:53 AM, autocorrect wrote:
I couldn't be bothered to read the four lengthy posts that begin this thread. I think the OP is a jerk to dump that on the page from the outset. Why not just write a blog, and tuck it away in some obscure corner of the internet where no-one goes - if you want to have four acres of say before anyone else utters a word? And then you have the temerity to call it a discussion. And I bet throughout, you respond by saying, '...if you had read my opening remarks...' - as if they were cannon. What a ...profanities are not allowed in the forums. How dare they limit my freedom of expression!

just leave...just leave

why?

You did not contribute to the thread. forum posts don't have to be short. IE this is not Twitter. If you don't have time to read it, then don't come into the thread in the first place, since you will probably have no substantive input on the topic at hand.

Interesting you should say that when the topic at hand is freedom of speech. Clearly, you don;t like what I've said but would you not defend my right to say it?
cybertron1998
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3/31/2016 3:16:39 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 2:46:24 PM, autocorrect wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:43:33 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:42:04 PM, autocorrect wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:37:00 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 8:07:53 AM, autocorrect wrote:
I couldn't be bothered to read the four lengthy posts that begin this thread. I think the OP is a jerk to dump that on the page from the outset. Why not just write a blog, and tuck it away in some obscure corner of the internet where no-one goes - if you want to have four acres of say before anyone else utters a word? And then you have the temerity to call it a discussion. And I bet throughout, you respond by saying, '...if you had read my opening remarks...' - as if they were cannon. What a ...profanities are not allowed in the forums. How dare they limit my freedom of expression!

just leave...just leave

why?

You did not contribute to the thread. forum posts don't have to be short. IE this is not Twitter. If you don't have time to read it, then don't come into the thread in the first place, since you will probably have no substantive input on the topic at hand.

Interesting you should say that when the topic at hand is freedom of speech. Clearly, you don;t like what I've said but would you not defend my right to say it?

free speech is a political conundrum, because while you do have to right to say, but I have just as much right to nay say what you've said.
Epsilon: There are so many stories where some brave hero decides to give their life to save the day, and because of their sacrifice, the good guys win, the survivors all cheer, and everybody lives happily ever after. But the hero... never gets to see that ending. They'll never know if their sacrifice actually made a difference. They'll never know if the day was really saved. In the end, they just have to have faith.
autocorrect
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3/31/2016 3:27:59 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 3:16:39 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:46:24 PM, autocorrect wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:43:33 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:42:04 PM, autocorrect wrote:
At 3/31/2016 2:37:00 PM, cybertron1998 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 8:07:53 AM, autocorrect wrote:
I couldn't be bothered to read the four lengthy posts that begin this thread. I think the OP is a jerk to dump that on the page from the outset. Why not just write a blog, and tuck it away in some obscure corner of the internet where no-one goes - if you want to have four acres of say before anyone else utters a word? And then you have the temerity to call it a discussion. And I bet throughout, you respond by saying, '...if you had read my opening remarks...' - as if they were cannon. What a ...profanities are not allowed in the forums. How dare they limit my freedom of expression!

just leave...just leave

why?

You did not contribute to the thread. forum posts don't have to be short. IE this is not Twitter. If you don't have time to read it, then don't come into the thread in the first place, since you will probably have no substantive input on the topic at hand.

Interesting you should say that when the topic at hand is freedom of speech. Clearly, you don;t like what I've said but would you not defend my right to say it?

free speech is a political conundrum, because while you do have to right to say, but I have just as much right to nay say what you've said.

But your hurtful remark had nothing to say about what I posted. It was just a hurtful remark. I wasn't just making a hurtful remark about the OP, even if my remarks were hurtful - they had some relevance to what was posted; and, as you've just discovered a deeper, hidden reason. I wanted the OP to respond - to see if his high falutin' principles are borne out in practice. (You see, I actually did read the OP) But you have sprung my rhetorical trap. Thanks for taking offence on someone else's behalf. You're a diamond!
birdlandmemories
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3/31/2016 3:42:02 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
http://www.post-gazette.com...

I would say a situation like this may violate free speech since she was fired over an online post, but I guess she violated something so I'm not quite sure.
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Objectivity
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3/31/2016 10:29:30 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
I realize that this response probably doesn't do due justice to the entirety of your post, and for that I apologize in advance, but this was alluded to in our handgun debate where I was neg and you were aff, the issue is that I think you are presupposing that some of the things you are discussing are actually conflicting rights or entitlements.

Like when you discuss the right to privacy as it is framed under the so called "right to be forgotten" in Europe, I posit that we don't have such a right when it comes to private citizens and the media collecting information on us, we only have that right when it comes to being protected from government intrusion on our privacy. I also don't believe we have any right to be protected against harmful speech. Maybe in your debate you justify why we have a right to these things, and if so I'll definitely read it, but if you haven't established that, I don't see what rights conflict.
bsh1
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4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/31/2016 10:29:30 PM, Objectivity wrote:
Like when you discuss the right to privacy as it is framed under the so called "right to be forgotten" in Europe, I posit that we don't have such a right when it comes to private citizens and the media collecting information on us, we only have that right when it comes to being protected from government intrusion on our privacy.

I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

I also don't believe we have any right to be protected against harmful speech. Maybe in your debate you justify why we have a right to these things, and if so I'll definitely read it, but if you haven't established that, I don't see what rights conflict.

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.
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Objectivity
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4/1/2016 2:47:01 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 10:29:30 PM, Objectivity wrote:
Like when you discuss the right to privacy as it is framed under the so called "right to be forgotten" in Europe, I posit that we don't have such a right when it comes to private citizens and the media collecting information on us, we only have that right when it comes to being protected from government intrusion on our privacy.

I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

If it entails doing something like trespassing or stalking then they should be punished, but if the information is disseminated and made public, it shouldn't be censored. I make this same argument against the "fruit of the poisoned tree" in criminal prosecutions, information should never be suppressed, if the information was obtained unjustly, the people that obtained it should be punished.

I also don't believe we have any right to be protected against harmful speech. Maybe in your debate you justify why we have a right to these things, and if so I'll definitely read it, but if you haven't established that, I don't see what rights conflict.

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.

Why is that a right?
bsh1
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4/1/2016 4:11:45 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 2:47:01 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 10:29:30 PM, Objectivity wrote:
Like when you discuss the right to privacy as it is framed under the so called "right to be forgotten" in Europe, I posit that we don't have such a right when it comes to private citizens and the media collecting information on us, we only have that right when it comes to being protected from government intrusion on our privacy.

I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

If it entails doing something like trespassing or stalking then they should be punished, but if the information is disseminated and made public, it shouldn't be censored. I make this same argument against the "fruit of the poisoned tree" in criminal prosecutions, information should never be suppressed, if the information was obtained unjustly, the people that obtained it should be punished.

Interesting. I am not sure I buy this. You're into Nozick right? He talks about just acquisition, just transfer, and just rectification as key principles of justness. Respectively, these mean that property must be acquired through just means, can only be transferred through just means, and--if not acquired or transferred justly--the situation must be rectified in some fashion.

If you believe that a peeping tom's photos are fruit of the poisonous tree, i.e. that "the information was obtained unjustly," then how can you argue that it's subsequent dissemination is just, and that the information ought not to be censored?

I also don't believe we have any right to be protected against harmful speech. Maybe in your debate you justify why we have a right to these things, and if so I'll definitely read it, but if you haven't established that, I don't see what rights conflict.

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.

Why is that a right?

Let me ask you first, why do we have rights in the first place?
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Objectivity
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4/1/2016 5:34:16 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 4:11:45 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 2:47:01 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 3/31/2016 10:29:30 PM, Objectivity wrote:
Like when you discuss the right to privacy as it is framed under the so called "right to be forgotten" in Europe, I posit that we don't have such a right when it comes to private citizens and the media collecting information on us, we only have that right when it comes to being protected from government intrusion on our privacy.

I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

If it entails doing something like trespassing or stalking then they should be punished, but if the information is disseminated and made public, it shouldn't be censored. I make this same argument against the "fruit of the poisoned tree" in criminal prosecutions, information should never be suppressed, if the information was obtained unjustly, the people that obtained it should be punished.

Interesting. I am not sure I buy this. You're into Nozick right? He talks about just acquisition, just transfer, and just rectification as key principles of justness. Respectively, these mean that property must be acquired through just means, can only be transferred through just means, and--if not acquired or transferred justly--the situation must be rectified in some fashion.

Oh, I certainly think Nozick is a good read and interesting and makes for some good LD arguments, but I don't agree with most of what he says, particularly justice in transfer, haha. I don't believe there is ever a time its OK to suppress information.

If you believe that a peeping tom's photos are fruit of the poisonous tree, i.e. that "the information was obtained unjustly," then how can you argue that it's subsequent dissemination is just, and that the information ought not to be censored?

I also don't believe we have any right to be protected against harmful speech. Maybe in your debate you justify why we have a right to these things, and if so I'll definitely read it, but if you haven't established that, I don't see what rights conflict.

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.

Why is that a right?

Let me ask you first, why do we have rights in the first place?

They're an extension of our existence, i.e natural rights.
bsh1
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4/1/2016 5:36:13 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 5:34:16 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 4:11:45 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 2:47:01 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

If it entails doing something like trespassing or stalking then they should be punished, but if the information is disseminated and made public, it shouldn't be censored. I make this same argument against the "fruit of the poisoned tree" in criminal prosecutions, information should never be suppressed, if the information was obtained unjustly, the people that obtained it should be punished.

Interesting. I am not sure I buy this. You're into Nozick right? He talks about just acquisition, just transfer, and just rectification as key principles of justness. Respectively, these mean that property must be acquired through just means, can only be transferred through just means, and--if not acquired or transferred justly--the situation must be rectified in some fashion.

Oh, I certainly think Nozick is a good read and interesting and makes for some good LD arguments, but I don't agree with most of what he says, particularly justice in transfer, haha. I don't believe there is ever a time its OK to suppress information.

Not even for national security purposes?

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.

Why is that a right?

Let me ask you first, why do we have rights in the first place?

They're an extension of our existence, i.e natural rights.

Why are they innate, though? Just saying "they exist because we exist" is hardly helpful, because it doesn't explain why our existence means we have rights.
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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Objectivity
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4/1/2016 1:17:17 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 5:36:13 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 5:34:16 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 4:11:45 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 2:47:01 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

If it entails doing something like trespassing or stalking then they should be punished, but if the information is disseminated and made public, it shouldn't be censored. I make this same argument against the "fruit of the poisoned tree" in criminal prosecutions, information should never be suppressed, if the information was obtained unjustly, the people that obtained it should be punished.

Interesting. I am not sure I buy this. You're into Nozick right? He talks about just acquisition, just transfer, and just rectification as key principles of justness. Respectively, these mean that property must be acquired through just means, can only be transferred through just means, and--if not acquired or transferred justly--the situation must be rectified in some fashion.

Oh, I certainly think Nozick is a good read and interesting and makes for some good LD arguments, but I don't agree with most of what he says, particularly justice in transfer, haha. I don't believe there is ever a time its OK to suppress information.

Not even for national security purposes?

No.

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.

Why is that a right?

Let me ask you first, why do we have rights in the first place?

They're an extension of our existence, i.e natural rights.

Why are they innate, though? Just saying "they exist because we exist" is hardly helpful, because it doesn't explain why our existence means we have rights.

We are entitled to things we own, we own ourselves (we are our own property), therefore our lives and liberty (the ability to do what we please with our lives) are also our property, rights are moral or legal entitlements. If we don't own our person and everything that extends from that, who does? The government? Society?
Quadrunner
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4/1/2016 7:05:25 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 5:36:13 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 5:34:16 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 4:11:45 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 2:47:01 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

If it entails doing something like trespassing or stalking then they should be punished, but if the information is disseminated and made public, it shouldn't be censored. I make this same argument against the "fruit of the poisoned tree" in criminal prosecutions, information should never be suppressed, if the information was obtained unjustly, the people that obtained it should be punished.

Interesting. I am not sure I buy this. You're into Nozick right? He talks about just acquisition, just transfer, and just rectification as key principles of justness. Respectively, these mean that property must be acquired through just means, can only be transferred through just means, and--if not acquired or transferred justly--the situation must be rectified in some fashion.

Oh, I certainly think Nozick is a good read and interesting and makes for some good LD arguments, but I don't agree with most of what he says, particularly justice in transfer, haha. I don't believe there is ever a time its OK to suppress information.

Not even for national security purposes?

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.

Why is that a right?

Let me ask you first, why do we have rights in the first place?

They're an extension of our existence, i.e natural rights.

Why are they innate, though? Just saying "they exist because we exist" is hardly helpful, because it doesn't explain why our existence means we have rights.

Rights are things which we consider sacred. That which is required and so important to the way we wish to live, that it must be ensured. They are not natural. They are made, by whomever makes them, and like law, only exist in reality if we uphold them. Unlike Law, personal rights do not place direct limits on what we can and can't do, they do however by nature limit our actions towards other people who have rights, as their rights should not be infringed like anyone else's, and as such draw the line on how far our own rights can extend.
Wisdom is found where the wise seek it.
Quadrunner
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4/1/2016 7:40:48 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 7:05:25 PM, Quadrunner wrote:
At 4/1/2016 5:36:13 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 5:34:16 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 4:11:45 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 2:47:01 AM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 12:28:48 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I disagree. Should peeping toms be allowed to spy on women in their homes because the peeping toms aren't the government?

If it entails doing something like trespassing or stalking then they should be punished, but if the information is disseminated and made public, it shouldn't be censored. I make this same argument against the "fruit of the poisoned tree" in criminal prosecutions, information should never be suppressed, if the information was obtained unjustly, the people that obtained it should be punished.

Interesting. I am not sure I buy this. You're into Nozick right? He talks about just acquisition, just transfer, and just rectification as key principles of justness. Respectively, these mean that property must be acquired through just means, can only be transferred through just means, and--if not acquired or transferred justly--the situation must be rectified in some fashion.

Oh, I certainly think Nozick is a good read and interesting and makes for some good LD arguments, but I don't agree with most of what he says, particularly justice in transfer, haha. I don't believe there is ever a time its OK to suppress information.

Not even for national security purposes?

I wouldn't frame it as a "right to be protected against harmful speech." I think, in the instance of revenge porn, for example, it is about a right to keep intimate, private information private. It's really that simple.

Why is that a right?

Let me ask you first, why do we have rights in the first place?

They're an extension of our existence, i.e natural rights.

Why are they innate, though? Just saying "they exist because we exist" is hardly helpful, because it doesn't explain why our existence means we have rights.

Rights are things which we consider sacred. That which is required and so important to the way we wish to live, that it must be ensured. They are not natural. They are made, by whomever makes them, and like law, only exist in reality if we uphold them. Unlike Law, personal rights do not place direct limits on what we can and can't do, they do however by nature limit our actions towards other people who have rights, as their rights should not be infringed like anyone else's, and as such draw the line on how far our own rights can extend.

As one might imagine, there are natural lines to the right free speech and those lines lie directly where other rights may be infringed. One cannot yell fire in a crowded room and cause panic, because that causes great risk of bodily harm, and jeopardizes our right to live. One cannot betray another's right to privacy if privacy was demanded, such as in security situations which typically have a sworn oath or signed document to voluntarily waive your freedom of speech before proceeding, but you cannot be required to maintain privacy and forced to proceed, as that would infringe upon your right to freedom of speech. Just the same, if you notably and voluntarily waive your right to free speech, and agree to privacy, you must respect the other party's privacy.
Wisdom is found where the wise seek it.
Objectivity
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4/1/2016 10:07:36 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 9:55:21 PM, SolonKR wrote:
if speech free thin y mom n dad spanek kidz?

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... sh!t............

ya got me. gg mate
bsh1
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4/2/2016 11:31:34 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/1/2016 1:17:17 PM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 5:36:13 AM, bsh1 wrote:
Why are they innate, though? Just saying "they exist because we exist" is hardly helpful, because it doesn't explain why our existence means we have rights.

We are entitled to things we own, we own ourselves (we are our own property), therefore our lives and liberty (the ability to do what we please with our lives) are also our property, rights are moral or legal entitlements. If we don't own our person and everything that extends from that, who does? The government? Society?

How is our privacy not an extension of our person, then?
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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Objectivity
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4/2/2016 11:42:13 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/2/2016 11:31:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/1/2016 1:17:17 PM, Objectivity wrote:
At 4/1/2016 5:36:13 AM, bsh1 wrote:
Why are they innate, though? Just saying "they exist because we exist" is hardly helpful, because it doesn't explain why our existence means we have rights.

We are entitled to things we own, we own ourselves (we are our own property), therefore our lives and liberty (the ability to do what we please with our lives) are also our property, rights are moral or legal entitlements. If we don't own our person and everything that extends from that, who does? The government? Society?

How is our privacy not an extension of our person, then?

It is insofar as the violation thereof would result in a property or liberty violation. Like if someone trespasses on my property so they can get a peep at me, like you alluded to, they violated my property rights, or if someone hacks my Iphone and gets information from it, they likewise should be punished for violating my property rights. Information is not exclusive property though, we acquire information through learning it, like if I find out your bank code, you can't say "give me that knowledge back" (unfortunately we can't erase people's memory yet, haha). In that same sense, if we don't exclusively own information, we don't have claims on what other people do with it either.
The-Holy-Macrel
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4/4/2016 10:49:23 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/30/2016 6:39:07 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Aloha!

Given my recent debate on the issue [http://www.debate.org...], I thought I would make a forum post discussing the topic of free speech. As an initial disclaimer, this post is not about the debate per se; however, I may uses quotes from the debate to save me having to retype the same arguments all over again. Because this post is not about the debate, I do not consider this an appropriate forum for litigating the debate's outcome, and I would ask respondents to stick to the content presented here. Also, for source numbers included in quotes from the debate, see the debate for those citations. Please wait until I have posted all my comments (4, including this one) before replying.

This discussion will attempt to tackle several issues related to free speech, but will primarily seek to discuss whether, as I did in the debate, the European approach to free speech is superior to the US approach to free speech.

=====================

What is Free Speech?

The questions of what are "speech" and "free speech" are fairly interesting questions unto themselves. Different legal systems and traditions would give different answers to that question, often producing controversial results, when two such traditions or viewpoints clash. One example of this is the Citizens United v. FEC and Buckley v. Valeo rulings, in which SCOTUS held that money was essential to disseminating speech, and thus restricting an agent's ability to spend money also restricted their ability to exercise free speech. Effectively, the court held that money (and how you spent it) was protected under the umbrella of free speech. [1] Some might even argue that money is speech, because how you spend it makes a speech-like statement.

Other controversial traditions argue that certain kinds of speech are so devoid of content that they ought not to be protected, or even classified as speech. Pornography is frequently cited as an example of this kind of "contentless" speech. In the sense that porn is not a medium to engage substantively in political, economic, or social discourse, but is merely a form of personal gratification, protecting it may not further the actual objectives of free speech protections. Now, whether you buy that claim rests on what you think those objectives are. If you believe that they have something to do with the right to criticize government, to engage in a public debate about meaningful ideas, and to inform people about subjects of importance, you may be less inclined to support porn as a protected class of speech. If you believe that the objectives are more about ensuring as much freedom as possible (among other things), you may disagree with that assessment.

For the purpose of my subsequent analysis, though, I will try to interpret "speech" and "free speech" in a fairly broad way. I will use this definition moving forward: "Free speech is the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, by any means." [2] The subsequent discussion will surround the issue of where the limits to free speech ought to be, and whether a European approach to free speech better encapsulates those limits, as opposed to the US model.

The EU vs. The US

What are some of the key differences between the US and EU models of free speech? First, let's clarify what the legal frameworks for these models are. As I said in the debate:

"[T]he U.S. model of free speech refers primarily to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well any currently valid precedent set by the Supreme Court around and about it and its application. The European approach to free speech primarily refers to Articles 10 and 11, Section 1, of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECvHR), and to relevant European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rulings around and about them and their application."

These models have some immediate structural differences that are worth evaluating. Again, I will quote from the debate:

"The key difference between the way the European model (EUM) and the US model (USM) are formulated lies in how they allow rights to interact. The USM employs very absolutist language in constructing its free speech rights, notably that Congress shall 'make no law' that limits this right. [2] Given the categorical nature of this statement, as well as the First Amendment's primacy at the start of the Bill of Rights, a legal culture has developed in which it is harder to balance free speech against other rights. [14] While some balancing does take place, the courts must go through hoops to make their rulings comport with the strongly worded nature of the amendment...The ECvHR puts free speech among a variety of other rights, none of which use categorical phrasing, and many of which have stated exceptions. [4] This eases the burden on judges seeking to weigh the various interests at stake...To compare the systems more directly, we can note that 'the Supreme Court has evolved a complex set of rules for deciding constitutional cases, especially those involving the application of the free speech clause of the First Amendment...The rules go by such names as 'strict scrutiny,' 'heightened scrutiny,' 'intermediate scrutiny,' and 'rational-basis review,'...The courts of the European Union, by contrast, follow a much simpler approach, known as 'proportionality.' They ask, Breyer explains, does 'the [regulatory] limitation' on private conduct 'impose a restriction that is disproportionate to the legitimate interests the governments seeks to achieve?' As Breyer points out, answering that question 'requires the judge explicitly to balance the harm to the protected interest (e.g., speech) against the need for the limitation to protect a critically important objective.' [5]"

To condense that into the most salient detail, the US approach to free speech treats free speech as more important than other rights. The absolutist language protecting free speech makes it hard for SCOTUS to find against free speech and in favor of other rights. The European approach does not do this, and treats free speech as equally important to other rights and interests. The point being that the structure of the legal frameworks of the two systems makes it harder to violate free speech in one (the US) and easier in the other (Europe). Of course, these are comparative terms, and I certainly think Europe does protect free speech well; so it is not "easy" to violate free speech, simply it is "easier."

But, apart from this structural distinction, what differences are there? I am going to touch on two areas of distinction here: privacy and hate speech. Let's start with privacy.

The ECvHR recognizes an explicit right to privacy for people (Article 8 [3]); SCOTUS has inferred a right to privacy from the 14th amendment. [4] While both systems have a right to privacy, they differ on how they uphold this right. In the US, the primacy of free speech is an impediment to the effective protection of privacy. For instance, your right to access information about me is protected under free speech rules because access to information is an essential part of free speech. If I write a story that could damage some public official's reputation, but they bury it, then, even if the information may still exist, it is a form of censorship. In the US, using this reasoning, privacy measures such as the right-to-be-forgotten (to be discussed momentarily) are non-starters. This is not the case in Europe, where RTBF has been established as a right due to the strong privacy protections there.

Haha, made you come and look at this!
XD
Rigoletto
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4/5/2016 4:10:46 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
A great post, my friend.

It's a downright shame people use their "free speech" to intentionally perpetuate insults, aggression, and racist comments- all in the name of liberty.