Debate and Discussion

Free Speech?
Caleb at 11:01PM, Feb. 12, 2006
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Speaking from a minority represented Australian perspective here, do we need free speech?

I mean OBVIOUSLY yes, but it's so muhc more complex than that.

See, down here in Oz we have no constitutional right to it at all. There are no free speech laws, nothing that says we can't be arrested instantaneously for speaking out, in fact, quite the opposite.
AND YET THIS HAS NEVER REALLY BEEN A MAJOR ISSUE.

It's like an unspoken convention, the media stays reasonable, publications stay censored but not overbearingly so at all. We still have free discussion, free everything else, but just in case you get some nutcase preaching killing all *insert ethnic or religious background here* you'd be gone in an instant, without so much as a constitutional blink.

People in the US seem to make such a big deal about the 1st through 5th amendments when really ALL of those seem to have caused you nothing but pain and trouble.
Is that the case? Is my view just warped?

Do you need to be protected by law if the country is sensible?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
ozoneocean at 1:58AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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Caleb
See, down here in Oz we have no constitutional right to it at all. There are no free speech laws, nothing that says we can't be arrested instantaneously for speaking out, in fact, quite the opposite.
AND YET THIS HAS NEVER REALLY BEEN A MAJOR ISSUE.
That's a massive simplification. There are little laws and things in place, lots of precedents, and various little things in each state… You're right about there not being any major laws about it, and we don't even have a constitution.

As you say though, it only works when people are sensible. We're a tiny little country and we don't tolerate stupid wackos. Mad racialists and insane politicians quickly find themselves ridiculed and sidelined. But if we were a bigger country like the USA I don't think that would work at all. Many more people = way more crazy people. We only have a population of 20 million, the US has over 200. That means if 5 percent of the population are nutters then the US has to deal with 10 million of them! For us it's only 100,000. They really need the protections in place.

I mean, you can make do without laws against murder and child prostitution if everybody’s cool about not doing it…
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
Aurora Moon at 5:11AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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It's just like Ozoneocean said.

the more people there are in an area, the more bound you are likely to find a crazy person amogst them who are very likely to commit crimes.

we really need laws in place conidsering all the pedophiles, fundies and so on in different areas of the USA.

in a perfect world, even the people with mental illness would be reasonable about not doing certain things because they'd understand that such things are wrong.

but sadly, a lot of people with uncontrolled mental illnesses doesn't seem to understand that those things are wrong, or at least find a way to jusfity it as being right.

like a pedophile's line of thinking is: “Yes, I know it's wrong but don't you see? It shouldn't be wrong! because I LOVE Those children, and they love me back!” or even just this: “Yeah, but it's those children's fault! they put themselves out there like that for me and they didn't even resist me, so that means that they WANT IT! they like it! I'm not to blame.”

Then there are of course the people who do things merely for the thrill. like Shoplifters who are addicted to the thrill of doing it and not getting caught, which is why they often get caught. because they do it so often.

so yeah, we do need laws in place. or else all hell would break loose.
the same applies to speech, because otherwise you'd have certain states which is in what we americans call the “Bible belt”, where the majority of fundies are, arrresting people right and left for saying things against certain religions or something.
or even for speaking of things that was not of thier religion, or against thier religion, like a sex ed teacher teaching kids about safe sex.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:09AM
mykill at 8:58AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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Frredom of speech exists to protect the culture from a ‘worse case scenario’.

In history there have been people converted to religion at gunpoint, coerced to join the Nazis and agree with everything suggested by the Nazis, and countless examples of totlitarian regimes controlling the media and allowing no dissenting voice….

In the here and now, there is much consensus - but consensus isn't always to be trusted. Consensus would prohibit the manifestation of women's rights, the freeing of the slaves and emerging gay rights.

When a limit is placed on speech it represents a consensus that is acceptable at the time. Nazis, for example - who really likes them anyway? Do any of believe really, that hate speech should be protected?

Nazis and folks involved with hate given free speech remain marginalized and officially treating them or their ideas without fear, keeps them marginalized.

There's a bigger question, do you trust people to think critically and make good decisions? That idea is the foundation of democracy. If you withdraw trust, you withdraw the principle on which democracy lay.

Censorship establishes that citizens are children incapable of making good decisions, and it suggests fear and instability on the part of the government or insititution implementing cenrsorship.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
ozoneocean at 9:21AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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Well women got the vote in Australia 20years before they did in the US. That's interesting. :-D
Censorship in Australia, all in all, is pretty much the same as it is in the US. There are some different attitudes on depictions in pornography, but that varies from state to state. People have trouble with porn everywhere even the Netherlands. Humans will never grow up.

Even with the rights “enshrined” they’re still open to abuse Mykill. Germany had laws against killing their own citizens, but that didn’t prevent them from justifying it anyway. If a climate arises in the US that’s bent a particular way, nice laws and happy rules could find themselves bulldozed. It happens all the time. There’s already prison camps filled with mostly harmless prisoners of war who undergo torture daily, the kind of thing the US always hated Vietnam for doing.

Democracy is a shared dream. It’s not real. The trick is to keep people believing in it. It’s good to believe! But don’t ever imagine that it works because of good design, it works because we want it to.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
Ian Jay at 9:57AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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ozoneocean
Democracy is a shared dream. It’s not real. The trick is to keep people believing in it. It’s good to believe! But don’t ever imagine that it works because of good design, it works because we want it to.

Wow. That's really insightful. I'm going to have to remember that. I'm also maybe going to have to move to Australia.

~IJ

PS: This is my 200th post! WOO HOOOOOO!!! (This would be a much sweeter victory if there wasn't a buttload of homework I had to do right now. On a snow day. Lame.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:56PM
Aurora Moon at 9:58AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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ozoneocean
Well women got the vote in Australia 20years before they did in the US. That's interesting. :-D
Censorship in Australia, all in all, is pretty much the same as it is in the US. There are some different attitudes on depictions in pornography, but that varies from state to state. People have trouble with porn everywhere even the Netherlands. Humans will never grow up.

Even with the rights “enshrined” they’re still open to abuse Mykill. Germany had laws against killing their own citizens, but that didn't’t prevent them from justifying it anyway. If a climate arises in the US that’s bent a particular way, nice laws and happy rules could find themselves bulldozed. It happens all the time. There’s already prison camps filled with mostly harmless prisoners of war who undergo torture daily, the kind of thing the US always hated Vietnam for doing.

Democracy is a shared dream. It’s not real. The trick is to keep people believing in it. It’s good to believe! But don’t ever imagine that it works because of good design, it works because we want it to.

Yeah. you all have seen the reactions to Janet Jackson's little wardrobe malfunction. from the reactions, you would think that Janet Jackson just performed oral sex on stage or something like that, instead of having an accident in which her co-singer accidental ripped a part of her bra off.

Jesus it wasn't even intentional, and it was just one exposed nipple. so imagine how they would react to a picture of a naked woman, when the picture is intended to be artistic nudity, not porn.
yet they'll most likely call it porn.

And even now there's a certain group who's looking to censor things on TV, etc. even things that's only aired at nighttime after children have gone to bed.

which I think, of course, is pretty much rubbish.

in certain areas, such as the bible belt, censorship and such is already bending the laws.
a friend of mine on-line, lives in the areas around the bible belt and the stores, even the video stores won't carry certain things that most people in the area consider to be offensive or against their religion (which is usually Christianity/catholic). or it's the sort of thing that deeply Conservative people wouldn't like or isn't very comfortable with.
so my friend can't get anime, manga, certain music, certain clothes, sex toys and so on forth. She usually has to go to a different state for her shopping needs.

around the bible belt there's people who's already bending the free speech laws to suit their sensibilities. in their sex education classes, the teachers can't ever discuss safe sex. instead they have to talk about abstinence only. If a teacher is caught talking about safe sex, there's the chance that he/she could get fired for it.
which is something my friend doesn't agree with and have been fighting with the state about, so that her children could get a full sex education on how to do safe sex should they think that abstinence isn't for them.

That's just one example of the laws of free speech being bent.

Here, in my state at least I can get my sex toys locally in an public store without having to go to some seedy store far away from home.
and most of all, we have a gothic/non-mainstream store here (and not just hot topic nethier), which is an store which surely would never be able to open up in an bible belt town without being accused of an store trying to turn youths into satanists or something like that.

it's something I'm thankful for.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:09AM
Black_Kitty at 10:16AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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Caleb
It's like an unspoken convention, the media stays reasonable, publications stay censored but not overbearingly so at all. We still have free discussion, free everything else, but just in case you get some nutcase preaching killing all *insert ethnic or religious background here* you'd be gone in an instant, without so much as a constitutional blink.

Quite possibly, because it IS a Constitutional convention. I'm not sure if I'm getting the political terms right (and I need to get back to my own schoolwork so I'm not digging into my old political science notes) but a Constitutional convention is something that isn't written in a constitution of any sort but is still enforceable (I would argue legally even but I'm not sure.)

I'm not saying that Australia works that way since I'm not familar with Australia's laws and political system but there are many things in Canada that isn't written down anywhere but we do it anyway. But if I am correct, then formal freedom of speech in Australia does exist even if it isn't codified or written down anywhere on a piece of paper.

.: Black Kitty :.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
Caleb at 5:15AM, Feb. 16, 2006
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Whoa, I realize that was a total over-simplification of the issue here, yes.

There are… well, certainly cases of precedent, and yes, agreed, there would be formal freedom of speech in place, but It's more that… it's not something that's ever made mention. It just seems to me that the notion of freedom of speech is taken so seriously as an “enshrined right” in America, and whilst it probably exists, I haven't noticed it to any near that extent here.
Everywhere, i agree, is pretty much similar though. There is no real shaking differences in the Western world anymore over this particular issue, but it's just becoming more of a thing I think with whatever “terrorist fear age” we're living in. It's undeniable that the fear levels in the world shot up around 1962 and they haven't really come back down since.
Being able to say what we want about the policies we like or dislike is really being pushed around, and legislation is being passed and tabled, here at least, most likely in the USA/Britain as well, that seriosuly compromizes our safe little notions of free speech.

I'm just not sure any more. I want to be able tio know that I'll have Ben Franklin's beloved free press to work with in the future, but I also think that should come from common sense, as I see it more in Australia (I agree, it's the smaller population thing, also younger nation) not from a “right” to say what we want. We're wasting our rights as world powers.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
doubleY at 9:54AM, Feb. 16, 2006
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mykill
Freedom of speech exists to protect the culture from a ‘worse case scenario’.

Over at Malaysia and Singapore, we have our own violent history with the Malays and Chinese massacring each other at every opportunity. So to put a stop to the nonsense, the ruling chaps decided to just stomp down on anybody who so much as make a peep about race or religion.

Last week, with the Prophet Muhammad caricature controversy and all, a muslim coffeeshop owner over at our area put up a sign saying Danish citizens are not welcome at his cafe.

The police came around shortly to have a chat with him.

The sign came down the next day.

The cafe supervisor told the TMCNet News: “Basically we did it to express our freedom of speech because the cartoons touched on Islam and our beloved Prophet Muhammad.”

http://www.littlespeck.com/content/security/CTrendsSecurity-060210.htm

mykill
Censorship establishes that citizens are children incapable of making good decisions, and it suggests fear and instability on the part of the government or insititution implementing cenrsorship…. There's a bigger question, do you trust people to think critically and make good decisions?

If everybody were the responsible good decision makers they are supposed to be, there wouldn't be so much bloodshed throughout history. Maybe we should only let proven responsible and commited people vote… like Robert A. Heinlein's Starship troopers… hahahaha

Daniel Jolley summed up the book very well in his amazon review:

“He argues that man has no natural moral instinct; morality is acquired by the individual and is an elaboration of the instinct to survive. If an individual is not taught the lessons of living in society, he will not learn that the basis of all morality is duty. In this way he criticizes the democracies of the late twentieth century and explains their ultimate failure. The promotion of the idea that certain natural rights are necessarily due each person caused young people to neglect their duties–by concentrating on the rights they think are due them. Liberty and freedom must be earned and paid for, and democracies failed because they did not understand this basic tenet.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:13PM
spaz201 at 2:23PM, Feb. 24, 2006
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Everything works as long as theres no wackos.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM

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