Freedom of Speech and common misconceptions

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posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:21 PM
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I may be going out on a limb here but i feel in light of recent events, the exact notion of 'Freedom Of Speech' and what exactly it entails might need some clarification in the heads of some ATS members.

Hopefully with the help of some open mindness and rational thought, we can use our collective intelligence to reach some common ground here....

To Begin i think its appropiate to introduce a closely related concept of speech;

Hate Speech - is, outside the law, communication that vilifies a person or a group on the basis of color, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic.[1][2]

In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.

Source wikipedia en.wikipedia.org...

HOWEVER.

Every liberal democracy has laws or codes against hate speech—except the UNITED STATES. For constitutionalists, regulation of hate speech violates the First Amendment and damages a free society. Against this absolutist view, Jeremy Waldron argues powerfully that hate speech should be regulated as part of our commitment to human dignity and to inclusion and respect for members of vulnerable minorities.

Source 'Harvard Univeristy Press' - www.hup.harvard.edu...

The above definitions and notions can ve found in abundance across many different literatures and mediums in one form or the other...some even devling deeper into the actual concept ...

But lets keep it simple for the sake of......simplicity?

I believe when the idea of freedom of speech was first introduced ( as a human right), im sure it was rather obvious that the user should exercise their discretion when attempting to express their feelings or emotions within their opinions...so that they could still get their point across in a respectful manner.....whether it be with a stern attitude....intense in nature regardless as long as it is within ideological and humane limits and does not come across as blatantly disrespectful and vulgar.

Such is the way a human being should carry themselves no? im sure whatever religion you are from or whatever form of belief you follow....respect to a fellow human being is simply manners and basic etquette, in most cases its usually natural, because we have a high capacity for intelligence which promotes such behaviour and what seperates man from animal.

As an individual exercising their right to an opinion (freedom of speech) one should consider the indirect and direct effects of what they say, how it would affect others on the Grand scheme of things....will someone die as a result? will a building be set on fire as a result of the words or opinions you have displayed?.....given the current climate its very easy for words to manifest into violent destruction perhaps thats a factor that should make itself part of the thought process before a person executes their opinions in whatever medium they choose wether it be video, cartoon or verbally etc.

To conclude some from of diligence is required on part of those who wish to exerisce free speech in addressing what could be deemed as severley disrespectful by the other party or opposition. Research and understanding is always the key.

I have just exercised my right to freedom of speech in a respectul approach as an example

Its not logical to blame a reigion for violence, its a debate that can go on forever but blame the person carrying out the actions....not every human being is perfect but you can still do more good by finding more intelligent ways to express your opinions that does not lead to the loss of life.

As for those whose intention is to TROLL, to incite such violence , the above also applies to you, as showing a disregard for other peoples beliefs is disrespectful to say the least when those who have such a belief.....base their entire lives around that belief system and who are we to judge unto others ?.




posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:29 PM
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As an individual exercising their right to an opinion (freedom of speech) one should consider the indirect and direct effects of what they say, how it would affect others on the Grand scheme of things....will someone die as a result? will a building be set on fire as a result of the words or opinions you have displayed?

That is the part that many get wrong!


You just wrote exactly what I have been thinking about this whole cartoon fiasco.
Bravo! Great thread!



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:30 PM
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you can't regulate people talking or writing, or communicating.

or punish someone for speaking.

whats next, installing microphones in everybodies home and fining them if they say something someone else deems inappropriate.

what governments are afraid off is people rallying other people and gaining support.

then they become a threat to their power.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:32 PM
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post removed for serious violation of ATS Terms & Conditions



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:33 PM
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In the United States, hate speech is protected as a civil right (aside from usual exceptions to free speech, such as defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words).[55] Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.[56][57][58][59] The "reason why fighting words are categorically excluded from the protection of the First Amendment is not that their content communicates any particular idea, but that their content embodies a particularly intolerable (and socially unnecessary) mode of expressing whatever idea the speaker wishes to convey."[60] Even in cases where speech encourages illegal violence, instances of incitement qualify as criminal only if the threat of violence is imminent.[61] This strict standard prevents prosecution of many cases of incitement, including prosecution of those advocating violent opposition to the government and those exhorting violence against racial, ethnic, or gender minorities.[62]


Hate speech like it or not is constitutionally protected.

Hate speech is only not covered by the constitution if it will cause Imminent violence, IE: Lynch mobs.

A simple cartoon does not fall under imminent violence, the burden is on those who commit the violence in that case.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:37 PM
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A very similar, although much more basic, thought goes through my head every time I see/hear some one write/talk about the freedom of speech. Yes, we have the freedom of speech, but we also have the responsibility to use it wisely. Hate rhetoric is not only unwise and disrespectful, but is really nothing more than flapping ones gums in order to cause conflict and to rise ones self to a dominant level in their own mind. It's ego and superiority complexes that hide behind a given right when it should be a basic and understandable responsibility. That's my opinion such as it is.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by randomname
you can't regulate people talking or writing, or communicating.

or punish someone for speaking.

whats next, installing microphones in everybodies home and fining them if they say something someone else deems inappropriate.

what governments are afraid off is people rallying other people and gaining support.

then they become a threat to their power.




is it so hard to use respect when offering up a "free speech" opinion?

the govt doesn't need to regulate such a thing.......its more a personal responsibility responsibility as a whole.

did you ever think people don't wanna hear the slanderous BS that comes out of their mouths???? regardless of the "free speech" rights ...its distasteful and completely disrespectful.

2 years olds express their opinions more respectfully than half the people out there.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by randomname
you can't regulate people talking or writing, or communicating.

or punish someone for speaking.

whats next, installing microphones in everybodies home and fining them if they say something someone else deems inappropriate.


What's next?! Monkeys marrying Martians?!?!?!


Thanks OP, you've pretty much summed up what I've been trying to drum into people all day long. But I'm afraid this logic will be lost on most here, as they can't comprehend English all of a sudden and take any reasonable discussion about this as a defense of violence and an attack on freedom of speech.

I discovered today that a lot of people on ATS might be able to read, but they are incapable of understanding what someone is actually saying. No wonder America is f'ed.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:44 PM
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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


So, who get's to decide what is respectful or hateful or dangerous speech? Who's job is it to tell us what books we may read or what films we may watch? The answer is Nobody.



The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best. – Thomas Sowell


The first amendment doesn't explicitly state what free speech exactly entails by design. This is because the first amendment protects ALL SPEECH. Despite what you may "feel", the public welfare cannot override constitutional privilege. "NO LAW ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH."

If you "feel" different, I invite you to do your best to get the people to amend the constitution. Good luck.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:00 PM
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By the way, I got a huge warning for my so-called free speech, even though it was to illustrate a point. I even had a couple of words that weren't censored by ATS censored and i got a warning out of it.

Speech is regulated in America.

To say it isn't is a lie.

You can say all kinds of hate speech, but somehow you just can't say the sseven dirty words.

It's bullchit.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:03 PM
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reply to post by ISeekTruth101
 


I haves some questions on how such regulation would work.

Who would be responsible for determining what constitutes hate speech?

Who would be responsible for determining who these protected groups are and aren't and on what basis?

Would the communicators intention have to be proven to be hateful in order to be successfully prosecuted?

Would there have to be an accuser or could prosecution proceed with charges issued by the state on behalf of "the people"?

What protections would remain as to insure that prosecution under "hate speech" laws wouldn't be politically or financially motivated?

Is it not discrimination to determine that some groups are too weak to handle negative speech and therefore need to be protected while other groups are deemed to be fit?

Does such a philosophy discourage a society to develop self esteem, self control, the ability to articulate one's view point, and the ability to learn to reach a consensus? And conversely does it not encourage narcissism, neurosis, disregard for self esteem, the acceptance that it is acceptable to be influenced and incited by another's words as opposed to developing one's own mental and emotional strength, the belief that one should be able to control others thoughts and the communication there of?



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:07 PM
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There are laws on the books which restrict freedom of speech. What about slander and defamation of character. There are laws about these and they clearly control what you can say in reference to another person.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:09 PM
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reply to post by harvib
 


well i feel many people tend to over think things...., all i can say is that common sense should prevail to all those points you mentioned..the human intellect is pretty powerful....its can be pretty stupid when it wants to be....either way im sure others can discern the motives behind any type of speech given....all i am saying is exercise freedom of speech with diligence...nobody is saying re-write any laws......just simply be more respectful to others by means of understanding and research.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:13 PM
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Common sense goes the way of the dodo under certain circumstances.

Such as when people are given to knee-jerk reactions because somebody dared say an offensive word.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:17 PM
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reply to post by EvilSadamClone
 


the extent to how offensive a word or action can be is information that can be readily found or researched before attempting to implement it there is simply no excuse, again common sense......secondly, yes common sense can go out the window sometimes in certain circumstances but ask yourself why it did??...and you will probably reach a good conclusion that might help better inform you in the future regarding peoples reactions.
edit on 19-9-2012 by ISeekTruth101 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:23 PM
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When I see people quoting the Constitution/Bill of Rights and expecting it to be the end all of discussion, it reminds me of those that believe that certain Religious books are the one and only (I don't want to turn this into a discussion of any Religious type). To take something that was written 200 years ago and ignore the upheld laws currently in place does nothing for the arguments. Sure, I wish we would return to the basics of the Constitution/Bill of Rights and have been known to fight against the established laws I feel are against the Constitution/Bill of Rights, but it does not negate the current laws. If they are on the books and upheld by the Supreme Court they are legal and lawful regardless of how happy we are about them. There are exceptions to freedom of speech, examples of such can be found here United States free speech exceptions (yes, it is a link to Wiki but I am sure you can find them in places you find as credible with a simple search).
edit on 19-9-2012 by Agarta because: Added "Bill of Rights" to statements



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:27 PM
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reply to post by ISeekTruth101
 


I'm with you on people being more respectful and understanding. However I think it is important to remember that there is not a person alive who will state that there view point is NOT common sense infact even those with the most extreme view points will procalim that their view point is the common sense viewpoint. The same goes for "responsible" use.

Also we must consider that an important process in the creation of well formed opinions is by being able to have discussions with individuals with differing prospectives. I feel I have become a tolerant and opened minded individual because of the ability to have open and honest discussions from those that were rather intolerant and closed minded (imo).

I am not so sure if I would have developed the same way had I only been left to observe people's subtle display's of disgust for other groups but been impeded from discussing it. Who knows, maybe I would have assumed there to be a good reason for such disgust and lacking the ability to find out would have inherited such prejudices as well.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:34 PM
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reply to post by lonegurkha
 


It should be understood that what you are describing are civil remedies. There must be an accuser that can show damages. I think what some people are advocating is the creation of a bureaucracy that will determine and issue charges without the presence of an accuser or the necessity of declaring and proving damages.

This to me is a very scary philosophy.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:35 PM
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reply to post by ISeekTruth101
 


Then you need to stop with this free speech nonsense. If any words are regulated because some people get their feelings hurt by it, then it is not true free speech. If it's not okay to say those words because people get butt hurt, then hate speech is not okay.

It is completely hypocritical to say that these offensive words can not be said because they hurt people's feelings then say that hate speech that berate and insult people for the color of their skin or their ethniciy somehow is.

All it's really saying that it's okay for some people to be hurt and not okay to hurt other people.

Which is a huge double standard.

Either all offensive speech is regulated or none of it.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 05:41 PM
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Can the truth be hate speech?

If the history is told truthfully and some people perceive it as offensive, is it hate speech?

If you report the news accurately and unfortunately one group does not like it, is that hate speech?

This is a very slippery slope.

I do think that people should be respectful but I also think that history should be accurately reported. I also think that the news should be accurately reported. It shouldn't be scrubbed by the MSM.





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