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PC versus Freedom, which side are you on?

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posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 04:49 AM
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It seems from my reading of news articles from the US and Europe that there is a secret war being waged in the halls of power, not a war of democracy versus terrorism though that is going on too, but a war between Political Correctness and Personal Freedom. A war between the freedom to choose ones own ideology either for good or ill, and the right of the state to force a perceived beneficient ideology upon its citizens. Though I believe those who are pushing for a PC world do so with the best of intentions I fear they are leading us on the road to hell.
Though most apparent within the EU, this trend has taken hold in the US as well, and that worries me greatly. I will attempt to show what I believe to be instances of this misguided crusade and why I feel it s so dangerous.
1) The proposed EU wide ban on the swastica.
This is IMHO the most easily misinterperted and misguided front in the war on personal freedom. The Nazi party were responsible for some of the greatest crimes against humanity in history, and the symbol they chose to represent themselves has become synonymos, however rightly or wrongly, with that party. However I am not here to comment on its 5000 + years of use as a symbol of beneficience, rather I would like to question the banning of the symbol despite its negative connotations. You see as revled as the Nazi's deserve to be in my own eyes can not in good consience support the banning of Nazi ideology. While I feel any man or woman who wishes to embrace such an ideology repugnant, that is thier choice. If we begin to remove a persons freedm to beleve and display the symbols of that belief in a ideology which we feel is repugnant, then we are essentially stating that the only ideologes which are permissible are those agreed upon by the government in power and current social trends. Today to is the banning of nazi symbology, but what hapens when the government of the day decides that the ideology of the opposition is dangerous to society and must be banned? What happens when the government of the decides that, in view of the many wars and genocides which have been sparked by religous ferver, that all religon and religous symbols must be banned and all religous teaching be supreesed to ensure that no such tragedy ever agan takes place. Yo see my position isn't in support of the Nazi ideology rather based on an understanding that once any ideology is succesfully banned it becomes that much easier and palatable to the populace to accept the banning of any other ideology.
2) Hate crimes laws.
Again I feel all hate crimes laws are part of the well meaning though misguided trend torwards government mandated beliefs. The idea behind Hate crimes legislation is as well meaning as it is dangerous, the idea being that those motivated to crime by hate should be judged more harshly. However once again, what we are seeng is an attack on what is considered a hostile ideology. Further more they are truly unecessary as anything which qualifies as a hate crime is already a crime. It is not the place of the Government, US or other, to legislate morality and/or thought. Now many here will retort "All laws legslate morality" However that is a specious and fallacious argument. Moraltiy is an ideology, a belief system. Current laws do not regulate beliefs, they regulate actions. It is in the US legal to hate (insert group here), however it is not, nor has it been, legal to attack that group or a member of it, for any reason. By enacting hate crime laws we are taking the first step torwards legislating thought, belief, and morality. In addtion it is unnecessary to enact these laws as the acts which they are concerned with are already illegal. If a man is killed it makes no difference if he was killed becuase he was (insert group here) or if he was killed because he had 200 dollars in cash which the killers wanted. In both cases the killer valued his life less than they valued thier own satisfacton, however the penalty is not, nor should it be, directed torwards thier belief in the mans vaule but rather at the actions they took based on that belief.
It is my fervent belief that unless those who are most repugnant in thier beliefs are secure in those beliefs then none of us are. Unless the neo-nazi has the right to idolise hitler, we as citizens can not be secure in our right to idolise Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna Gahndi or anyone else. Unless the right of an communist to support Mao in pblic is preserved our right to support christanity in public is endangered.
As larry flnt so famously stated "If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you."




posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 07:47 AM
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As far as I am concerned 'PC' is all about treating everyone with respect.

We may not be able to do much (or choose to do much) about the personal and private prejudices we all hold but as far as our interaction commercially in our business lives or officially in our political activities we are entitled to do our utmost to try to ensure base and ignorant prejudice does not go unchallenged and is not the basis of what goes on and that all are treated equally and with genuine respect.

IMO the whole 'anti-PC' thing is picking on the wildest (and most uncommon) extreme in an attempt to discredit the entire idea as it threatens the cosy status quo some 'enjoy'.



posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 08:03 AM
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Thank you for providing real examples of discussion for an often overblown and misunderstood "conspiracy" - Political Correctness.

I agree with your examples for the most part.

The swastica ban is a bit of EU government silliness, and one I hope you wouldn't find happening in America...but if you did! ...I'm confident the oft maligned ACLU (which most blame as the hub of so called "political correctness") would resolutley defend against as an infraction of free speech and civil liberties.

On hate crimes I'm torn. I don't think allowing juries the ability to dispensate 'special punishment' for 'special evil' is legsilating thought, or restricting civil liberties or speech at all.

The man shot for $200 is not worth less than the man drug behind a truck to his death, but juries and judges tend to want the ability to dispense the "ultimate" justice in extreme circumstances (and reserve that justice for those situations). I really don't see hate crime legislation as more or less worse than some conservative groups that want special rights in prosecuting killers of pregnant women or cops or Presidents or what have you.

Thanks again for not making this about PC boogeymen, but real issues.



posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 08:06 AM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
As far as I am concerned 'PC' is all about treating everyone with respect.


But therin lies the problem sminkeypinkey, I do not feel the government has a right to force me to treat all people with respect. There are a great number of people I have no respect for as they have shown me they are unworthy of my respect.

However my biggest problem is that once the concept of the government approving and or dssapproving of belefs, ideologies, etc has been accepted, our only defense against our ideologies being branded unacceptable is hope that the majority of citizens do not dsagree with us. Which as far as I am concerned is no defense at all.
Once a precedent has been established allowng the government to otlaw any ideology no matter how repugnant, it can then be used to allow the government of the time to outlaw any ideology, as the argument that it is harmful and repugnant can be made about any system of belief by its detractors.
For example on this board I have seen persuasive, well researched, and logical arguments stateing that due to the amount of death's over the years in holy wars Islam/christianity is an ideology which promotes intolerance.
The simple fact is that christians beleieve only christians go to heaven, can that not be interperted as prejudiced against other religons?
By saying "the only way to heaven is through me" was not christ saying that anyone who does not believe in him, is not going to heaven and thereby is lesser in the eyes of god than those who do believe in him?
Understand I am not implying that the EU has any intention of bnning chrstianity, however the fact that such a precedent would allow them the authority to do so worries me.
Sminkey though very Pro-EU I have also observed that you love and take pride in your home country. However since natonalism lead to the outbreak of WW1 + WW2 couldn't a legitimate argument be made that nationalism is a destructive ideology and must be stamped out?
My point being while these are far fetched scenarios under the rule of law any precedent set changes the interpertations of all laws from that day forward.
Yes ignorance and hate must be challenged but is giving up our right to free speech and thought really the best way to go about it?



posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 08:11 AM
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Rnt -
Well I try.................... sometimes


In reference to hate crmes however I agree that a man who shoots another should not be given the same penalty as a man who drags another to death behind his pickup. However the penalty should be dfferent not because of the ideology behind the crime but because the nature of the crime is more brutal.
However if the crimes are equal, say two men shot in the head from behind at close range, then no I dont believe the motive should be a factor in sentancing. If one was killed for sleeping with the perps wife and the other killed for sucking a cock so what? Both perps did the same crime and should do the same crime.



posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by mwm1331
But therin lies the problem sminkeypinkey, I do not feel the government has a right to force me to treat all people with respect. There are a great number of people I have no respect for as they have shown me they are unworthy of my respect.


- I think the issue is one of differentiating between our private lives and our public.

You are free to hold whatever prejudices you like privately but in public life we are trying to excise these as they are no real basis to do 'business'.

It seems that depending on your outlook prejudice is great....until it's pointed at you/me/whomever.


The simple fact is that christians beleieve only christians go to heaven, can that not be interperted as prejudiced against other religons?


- Well it's the point again about whether that private belief is taken into the 'public sphere' isn't it?

No-one is attempting to suppress or outlaw private convictions or ethics as far as I can see; all I see is an insistance that in our public dealings with each other we will not deal with each other in any way other than with as much open equality as possible.
Certainly that is the point in Europe.

Most seem happy to accept this as I suppose it is not that long ago that 'we' saw and suffered the consequences of the opposite approach.

For all it's possible faults I know which approach I prefer - and when it comes to it I think we simply don't need to put up with not making the effort.
There's none of us perfect but we should try IMO.


Understand I am not implying that the EU has any intention of bnning chrstianity, however the fact that such a precedent would allow them the authority to do so worries me.


- I really don't see where you are getting the idea that this would ever be possible never mind feasible.


Sminkey though very Pro-EU I have also observed that you love and take pride in your home country. However since natonalism lead to the outbreak of WW1 + WW2 couldn't a legitimate argument be made that nationalism is a destructive ideology and must be stamped out?


- Yes, well, I guess there is patriotism and then there is always an extreme.
The extreme 'ultra' version is well worth 'the authorities' keeping an eye on, I agree, because whatever the delusion the 'ultra' version is in actual fact almost invariably traitorous to our people and nation (as they and it actually are) and our 'national values and ideals'.



Yes ignorance and hate must be challenged but is giving up our right to free speech and thought really the best way to go about it?


- I really don't see anything has happened to have anyone lose their right to free speech.

People in Europe have a perfect right to free speech - but what they can say is not always without consequence, same as anywhere, surely?

Others have the right to draw conclusions and make evaluations from what has been freely and legally said (as we saw with the fuss over the original EU commission nominations and the comments one of the original nominees which had his nomination quashed).

Is there anything strange about that?
That's pretty much the same as anywhere, isn't it.


[edit on 8-2-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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I don't recall anywhere in our government documents where is says that anyone has the right not to be offended.

Although PC probably comes from bad implimentation of good intentions, I think it is damaging to society in the long run and produces people like John Kerry, who can't make a decision without seeing what everyone else thinks about it, first.



posted on Feb, 9 2005 @ 03:08 AM
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Sminkey, I do see where you are comming from but I think you may be mising my point.
The rule of law is built upon a foundation of precedents.
Each legal ruling adding to and inflluencing the interpertation of all successive laws.
Once a precedent has been established to outlaw any sybmbol, belief system, no matter how repugnant, it becomes easier for the government to outlaw any other symbol or belief sytem.
I think we can at least agree so far?

Now my point being, once the precedence has been estabished that a given belef system or its symbols can be outlawed because the government or society of the day decides its "immoral" then the only protection your belefs then have is if you agree with the majority.

Now lets take a hypothetical scenario ripped from recent headlnes.
Dutch school officials as reported in this thread have asked schol children to wear the dutch flag to school becase it might offend immigrants.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Now the smple fact is once the nazi swastica is banned it sets a precedent which would allow any symbol to be banned.
So lets say in a moment of sheer madness the UK government bans the Union Jack on the basis that the england imperil undertakings in the 18-19th centuries counts as a genocide (say as a result of the boer war for the hell of it) and that as such a new symbol fr the nation must be created and the union jack completly banned so as not to offend any people of boer or indian descent.
Allthough thisis an admittidly highly unlikely scenario, by setting a precedent with the banning of the swastica, you would have no fundamental protection against this happening. By having banned the swastica you have set a precedent which means the only way to change this course of action is to get others to stop being ofended by the flag.

Now my question is do yu really want to set precedent of banning symbols and deologies, if the only protection those deologies have is if they dont offend anyone?



posted on Feb, 9 2005 @ 08:27 AM
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mwm1331 yeah likewise I can see what you are getting at but I think you are building a 'case' on the basis of a very obvious exception.

Europe has special and obvious reasons for never wanting to see a swastika ever again and I do not think it is logical to apply this exception as a basis for imagining what this makes possible or what 'might' happen next.

This isn't about a 'belief system' it's about a symbol of great hurt and pain to Europeans many of us feel we can happily do without.

Flags are, sadly, sometimes a difficult issue here in Europe.

I really don't think it is something straight forward or simple. The problem we have with our national flags is that some people use them to indicate what other people are not and it is nothing to do with a pride in what the flag is all about.
It's a sad fact of life that racist and fascist groups in Europe invariably attempt to hijack the national flag.

The point here is not about 'banning' the 'union jack' or the Netherlands flag but to remove it as a 'tool' of those who would abuse it.



posted on Feb, 9 2005 @ 08:49 AM
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I understand where you are coming from smink, but I think there has to be a better way than establishing what I find to be a very worrisome precedent.
I understand the rage and guilt the swastica can conjure I feel it myself. But just as I support the rights of gays, blacks, muslims, etc. to protest also support the right of the KKK, and neo nazi's to peddle thier hate.
Not because I agree with it but becuase I disagree with it. because I find it repugnant. If we do not stand for the rights of those we find morally reprehensible, then we are not IMHO standing up for our own. I truly believe that unless the law defends those whose beliefs are undefendable none of us can sleep easy in our beds.
A government that can ban a swastika can ban the cross, the star of david, or the national flag, just as easily, all they have to do is label it a symbol of intolerance.




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