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Thread: Limits to free speech?

  1. Default Limits to free speech?

    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?
    ---------------------------
    I'm willing to change my position at any time on any issue. I have done so in the past. All you need is a logical, provable case, and I'm all in. The question is, have you got what it takes?
    Oh, and just so you're not confused, I'm an apatheist libertarian.

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." --Noam Chomsky

  2. #2

    Default

    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.
    “Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin -- more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” - Bertrand Russell

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MegadethFan View Post
    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?
    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...
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    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.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    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.
    Why wouldnt they not exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    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.
    I cant see how that would occur with what I proposed.
    ---------------------------
    I'm willing to change my position at any time on any issue. I have done so in the past. All you need is a logical, provable case, and I'm all in. The question is, have you got what it takes?
    Oh, and just so you're not confused, I'm an apatheist libertarian.

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." --Noam Chomsky

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MegadethFan View Post
    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.
    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.
    “Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin -- more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” - Bertrand Russell

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    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.)
    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.'

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    How do we prove that someone is being abusive?
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    When is something deflamatory and when is it just parody?
    When you lie for profit and purposely.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    How is Cartman making fun of Kyle's Jewish heritage different from a normal citizen making fun of someone's Jewish heritage?
    Because Kyle and Cartman are still friends and Kyle just repays the comments by calling him fat ass.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkDaimon View Post
    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.
    What about a kid that gets bullied to the point of killing themself? It happens. I'd prefer to stop that if possible.
    ---------------------------
    I'm willing to change my position at any time on any issue. I have done so in the past. All you need is a logical, provable case, and I'm all in. The question is, have you got what it takes?
    Oh, and just so you're not confused, I'm an apatheist libertarian.

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." --Noam Chomsky

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MegadethFan View Post
    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.


    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.
    Last edited by beenthere; Feb 22 2012 at 07:36 PM.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    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.
    I agreed. I was 4'11" my freshman year of high school. But i didnt let people pick on me.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  9. Default

    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. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MegadethFan View Post
    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?
    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.

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