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Limits to free speech?

Discussion in 'Civil Liberties' started by MegadethFan, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. MegadethFan

    MegadethFan New Member

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    I know I made this same subject into a thread a while back, but I do have a problem plaguing my mind. I think people should be allowed to say what they want, however I think limits are in order. Libertarianism is defined by allowing all acts that are victimless, however some forms of speech can have victims. For example if a group of people surround and verbally abuse you, this can be psychologically harming, as can bullying, or defamation. In this respect I believe defamation and abuse should be restricted, whilst all other forms of speech should be permitted. I realize there can be clashes- for example, if someone wants to say homosexual lifestyles are bad and this psychologically harms someone should it be outlawed? I think libertarians often make their principled application on such issues to clear cut - too black and white. To such a dilemma they would say 'oh the gay person can just not listen, go away or counter the speech of the other person', however the reality all three of these options can often be impractical even impossible in many circumstances. Hence I think elements of the traditional liberal restrictions, such as criticism of others 'in good faith' is a concept that should be endorsed so as to limit speech that truly is intended for abuse.

    The reality is that speech does do harm to others in some circumstances and I think these instances ought to be mitigated by the state. Do you agree?
     
  2. DarkDaimon

    DarkDaimon Well-Known Member

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    The problem I have with limiting speech because it "harms" someone is that injury done by speech does not leave any tell-tale signs like bruising and broken bones so it is hard to tell if someone was actually harmed. This makes it too easy to abuse. What is to stop a politician from saying that the disclosure of his affair "harmed" his family? How can we prove that a corporation wasn't "harmed" by a bad review of their product? What if the KKK said that they were harmed by being called racists? As you see, it becomes a double-edged sword.

    On top of that, such a rule would destroy the stand-up comic industry over night. Shows like South Park, the Simpsons and Family Guy would no longer exist.

    The worse part would be we would become a society of mice, no longer willing to speak out for something we believe in for fear that it might offend someone.
     
  3. danboy9787

    danboy9787 New Member

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    You can sue for slander, but it does have to be extreme cases, and it must have noticeably affected you some way. But that seems to cover what you are saying...
     
  4. MegadethFan

    MegadethFan New Member

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    But the difference with all of these is as I described - the 'in good faith' argument. You mention the pollies affair because it goes to his character as a leader. You criticize the company but it isnt a person so it doesn't matter. You criticize the KKK, but its true, not fake.

    Why wouldnt they not exist?

    I cant see how that would occur with what I proposed.
     
  5. DarkDaimon

    DarkDaimon Well-Known Member

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    What is "in good faith"? How do we define it in a way that it can't be abused? (And don't think people won't try.) How do we prove that someone is being abusive? When is something deflamatory and when is it just parody? How is Cartman making fun of Kyle's Jewish heritage different from a normal citizen making fun of someone's Jewish heritage?

    I have seen too many good laws turned against us by bright, ambitious lawyers and the freedom of speech is such a fundamental right that I think it is careless and short sighted to risk it for some hurt feelings.
     
  6. MegadethFan

    MegadethFan New Member

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    People will try, but the evidence of their intentions lies in their words. If, for example, you wont to show a company is bad, this may be abusive, but as long as it is to stop people being ripped off or to find another company that is better then it should be fine. If it is done through lies however we can say it was not 'in good faith.'

    We monitor what they do. Obviously some instances will be hard to determine, but I think itis worth the restriction. If you are an old lady on a train fort example and some guy comes up to you and just starts swearing at you with an intensity that does serious damage to her, I believe he ought to be punished because he did so causing harm to her for his enjoyment.

    When you lie for profit and purposely.

    Because Kyle and Cartman are still friends and Kyle just repays the comments by calling him fat ass.

    What about a kid that gets bullied to the point of killing themself? It happens. I'd prefer to stop that if possible.
     
  7. beenthere

    beenthere New Member

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    Let's put it in a very simple form, O.K.?

    People have the right to say what they will. That IS their RIGHT.

    The person on the recieving end has the right to shut that persons mouth is he so desires. That's his RIGHT!! That's the way it was for almost 200 years until these whinny cry babies wanted to call people names and not pay for it.


    {{{"""What about a kid that gets bullied to the point of killing themself?"""}}}

    Then it's time for him to grow a pair and stand up for himself!!!

    And before you start, I was 5 ft. 4in. when I started the 9th grade and didn't weight 120 pounds but I didn't back water from anybody.
     
  8. danboy9787

    danboy9787 New Member

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    I agreed. I was 4'11" my freshman year of high school. But i didnt let people pick on me.
     
  9. septimine

    septimine New Member

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    I don't believe in limiting speech. It's been my experience that in any debate, unless someone is offended, you haven't actually gotten to the meat of the issue. That means essentially that by banning any "offensive speech" you essentially stop the debate cold. No one is offended by my choice of ice cream -- we could debate the relative merits of chocolate verses vanilla versus chocolate until midnight and no one will be pissed. However if you get into any debate with real meat -- say abortion -- you cannot get to the meat of the issue without pissing someone off. If you say that the fetus is human, you'll offend pro-choicers, deny this, and (*)(*)(*)(*) off pro-lifers. But that is the meat of the debate -- what is that thing inside the woman? And since the stakes are high, someone will be pissed.

    Now I don't think that it's polite to go around insulting people, but rudeness is not political and needs not be regulated by the government. The actual solution is to simply shun those who make a habit of such things. I don't really like bashers anyway.
     
  10. PatrickT

    PatrickT New Member

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    Megadeathfan: "I think people should be allowed to say what they want, however I think limits are in order." The two are mutually exclusive. You either think people should be free to speak or you think the government should define what you're allowed to say.

    Megadeathfan: "The reality is that speech does do harm to others in some circumstances and I think these instances ought to be mitigated by the state. Do you agree?"

    No I don't agree. We should have speech free from government interference. There was a time when threatening to harm someone was not illegal until you took some positive step to cause harm. That could be buying a gun or traveling to the victim's location but something other than words. Now, making the threat is sufficient. There was a time when American citizens were free to lie to the police. No longer. Presidents can commit perjury but if grandma lies to the police she can go to prison. "Grandma, did you see the thugs beating your neighbor?" "Uh, no." Ding-ding. Jail for grandma.

    I think the nitwits of Occupy Whatever are perfectly free to strut around singing, "Your blood will be our paint." Speech should be free of government control.

    People who want a controlling monster in Washington err in assuming they will always be in control of the monster. In truth, they're never in control. So, when the government makes you giggle with their boot on free speech you can count on sooner or later having to squeal.
     
  11. Hoosier8

    Hoosier8 Well-Known Member

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    People are sure P(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)SIES now days.

    What ever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"?

    The only limit to free speech concerns private property. Other rights are the only thing that can limit speech. That is why you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater if there is no fire. You cannot create calamity on someone else's property for no reason. You cannot step on other rights with free speech. The right to life is one.
     
  12. PatrickT

    PatrickT New Member

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    I disagree. I think you have a perfect right to yell fire in a crowded theater. If a comedian is on stage yelling fire and everyone is laughing what's the problem. If someone attempts to start a riot that's a different matter. If someone wants to recklessly endanger people that's a different matter but uttering the words should not be illegal.

    "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."

    Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech." How tough is that to understand. Even President Obama should be able to understand that.
     
  13. Hoosier8

    Hoosier8 Well-Known Member

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    If you yell fire in my theater (property) and cause a problem, you will be held legally and monetarily responsible.
     
  14. PatrickT

    PatrickT New Member

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    Aha! Give the man a jelly bean. "And cause a problem". That's fine. Holding me responsibile for the problems caused is quite legal and appropriate. But, a law saying I can't speak is not right.
     
  15. gunnar wordon

    gunnar wordon New Member

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    The moment we consider speech "hate" speech, we are opening the door to second-guessing the Constitution. So if the Westboro Baptist Church protests at a military funeral, we can organize a counter-protest. It's that simple. Those same 2nd amendment defenders constantly trample on the 1st and 4th amendments, and constantly compromise their liberties for "security".
     
  16. beenthere

    beenthere New Member

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    With "free speech" (just like every thing else) comes responsibility. Like I have said before, you should be able to say anything your willing to take the responsibility for. You have the right to call a man's wife a "whore", but in my opinion he has the right to put you in the hospital for doing it. That's called taking responsibility for your "Free Speech". Your turn
     
  17. Bowerbird

    Bowerbird Well-Known Member

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    Not so much by the state as by authority yes

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/u...net-speech-cases/story-e6frfro0-1226247284099

    In cases like those above I agree that the students have the right to do that but then the authorities should have the right to give the smart !#@ little !@#!@# a right clip upside the ear for being nasty little twonks
     
  18. Bowerbird

    Bowerbird Well-Known Member

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    Westboro Church - a prime example of someone taking advantage of "free speech" to make an ******** of themselves

    What ever happened to the good old fashioned "rotten tomato" approach??
     
  19. GeneralZod

    GeneralZod New Member

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    Free speech does not even work on this forum.

    Try it for yourself. Say (*)(*)(*)(*)!
     
  20. PatrickT

    PatrickT New Member

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    Free speech does not mean I'm free to say whatever I want. If I call my boss an idiot he is free to fire me. If my wife asks if her butt looks big and I answer, "Whooooeeeee!" I can expect retribution.

    But, not from the government. The Constitution protects me from the government. Not from my boss, my neighbor, or my wife.

    In the state in which I lived there was an affirmative defense for assault called "fighting words". If someone ragged you enough the courts would acquit you of assault for smacking them silly. That is not a violation of free speech.The First Amendment does not protect me from my neighbor. Criminal law does.

    But, I am protected by the Constitution from the government and that's a fact that especially this current government hates. That's why we hear about the "seriously flowed Constirtution." The government hates private property rights, free speech, protection of relgiion, the right to bear arms. I think it's wrong but the government has gotten rid of the prohibition on double jeopardy.

    Free Speech must be protected. Especially speech we don't like. If we're all free to say what the government wants to hear then we're slaves. It reminds me of basic training. "Are we all happy to be marching in the freezing rain?" "Yes Sir!" "I can't hear you." "YES SIR!"
     

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