1357: "Free Speech"

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1357: "Free Speech"

Postby cbhl » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:11 am UTC

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Title text: I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:17 am UTC

But if you're a former CIA employee reading NSA documents out loud, the government could very well arrest you.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby BytEfLUSh » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:27 am UTC

YES! This is the exact type of person that goes to atheist pages and posts some religious mambo-jumbo there. Thank you!


Edit: I like starting WW3 whenever I can. I know that. I'm an addict. :D
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Corollary

Postby groszdani » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:34 am UTC

Corollary: You have the right to boycott someone for saying something, but that doesn't mean you are not an asshole for doing so either.

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Re: Corollary

Postby BytEfLUSh » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:41 am UTC

groszdani wrote:Corollary: You have the right to boycott someone for saying something, but that doesn't mean you are not an asshole for doing so either.

In most cases, it doesn't mean you are. Those that get rightfully ignored just want to make it look that way.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:42 am UTC

So, was this comic about the Mozilla thing? Or was that just one of the reasons?

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby BytEfLUSh » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:47 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So, was this comic about the Mozilla thing? Or was that just one of the reasons?

Oooh, didn't make the link... For everyone interested: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/northwest ... sequences/

Yep, I think there's a link.


http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014 ... crisy.html




Edit: Well, I predict that this is going to be a worse shitstorm than I have imagined.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Stargazer71 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:24 am UTC

And what about getting fired from your job** for things you say and do in your private life? Funny how that one is not mentioned.

(**reading people's minds in advance: Fine. Being forced to resign under pressure...as though that is different.)

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby madaco » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:27 am UTC

I think there are some exceptions to the title text.

E.g.

If you say something, and someone responds "You should be arrested/killed for saying that", and you respond with something about freedom of speech, as a retort to their statement, I think that would be relatively valid.

However, I suppose that that isn't really defending what was said so much as one's right to say it,
Which I suppose isn't so much an exception to the title text so much as a clarification of the same.

Which isn't quite the same.

I suppose if the position is something that is related to freedom of speech then citing freedom of speech would be valid.

E.g. "It would be constitutional to make it law that all that profess enjoyment of duck jam are to be executed."

"No it would not be constitutional, because it would go against the amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech."

In this case the position being defended would be that "It would not be constitutional.".

Also stating something is not necessarily saying that that is the most compelling thing you could say about the thing I don't think.

Yay pedanticism, or something like it.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby interfix » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:31 am UTC

it's just that the people listening think you're an asshole

The people listening may like you just fine. But those who don't may be loitering outside with their scimitars and AK47s and (possibly secret) police force.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Ditocoaf » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:39 am UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:And what about getting fired from your job for things you say and do in your private life? Funny how that one is not mentioned.

The government didn't kick you out of your job, your boss did, or the board of directors of that company did. Therefore it isn't a matter of "rights", it's a matter of things you do causing other individuals to no longer want to associate with you, and them having the ability to do so.

(1) People have a right not to support a product if they dislike a person managing it. People have a right to talk about why they are not buying that product. People have a right to encourage other people to not buy that product by telling them why they dislike the person managing it.

(2) Your bosses have a right to fire you if they think that you are causing the company to lose money. Even if the things you do that cause the company to lose money are things you do outside of work hours.

(3) When you are an executive at a highly visible company, the things you do with your private life might have an effect on the success of the company. The board of directors is within its rights (and usually smart) to employ an executive who does not damage the company's image in such a way. If you want to make controversial political speech, you should either (a:) not work as an executive, instead finding a job where your personal opinions aren't highly visible, or (b:) try to work as an executive for a board of directors who are willing to keep you employed even if you damage the company with your political speech.

At no point during this process is anyone's right to free speech being violated. The government isn't stopping anyone from promoting a cause. But the things you say might cause people to not want to spend money on you. That's caused consequences.

If the government tried to make it illegal to fire someone or boycott someone, that would be actively harming free speech.
Last edited by Ditocoaf on Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:44 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby firesoul31 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:43 am UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:And what about getting fired from your job** for things you say and do in your private life? Funny how that one is not mentioned.

(**reading people's minds in advance: Fine. Being forced to resign under pressure...as though that is different.)


Firstly, there is a thread in N&A for discussion of this.

Secondly, a brief summary of one counterargument: A CEO's job is to be the face of a company, or the moral, economic, and philosophical leader. Holding certain views may impair his ability to perform his job.

(Ninja'd - yeah, that)
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby BytEfLUSh » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:46 am UTC

madaco wrote:If you say something, and someone responds "You should be arrested/killed for saying that", and you respond with something about freedom of speech, as a retort to their statement, I think that would be relatively valid.


Well, I'm a rare kind of person that can imagine a worst-case scenario, so let's have it (HP = Hypothetical person; HM = Hypothetical me):

HM: So what if that seven year-old girl got raped? She had it coming dressing up like that at a playground!
HP: You should be arrested/killed for saying that.
HM: You are violating my freedom of speech!


In that case, no, "hypothetical person" wasn't violating "hypothetical me"'s freedom of speech. HM was (obviously) inciting heavy felony which is not protected by 1st A. Of course it's not what you meant, but the law has to have some strict rules. "Inspiring" a crime should bear heavy consequences.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Stargazer71 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:47 am UTC

firesoul31 wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:And what about getting fired from your job** for things you say and do in your private life? Funny how that one is not mentioned.

(**reading people's minds in advance: Fine. Being forced to resign under pressure...as though that is different.)


Firstly, there is a thread in N&A for discussion of this.

Secondly, a brief summary of one counterargument: A CEO's job is to be the face of a company, or the moral, economic, and philosophical leader. Holding certain views may impair his ability to perform his job.

(Ninja'd - yeah, that)


So in your opinion, only someone who publicly professes liberal views should be allowed to run a company? If that is "tolerance," then count me out.

I won't respond any further--I don't want to start an endless argument. All I will say is that this is a particularly arrogant comic that grossly oversimplifies a very large social issue.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Ditocoaf » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:54 am UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:So in your opinion, only someone who publicly professes liberal views should be allowed to run a company? If that is "tolerance," then count me out.

What do you mean by "allowed"? The government isn't making any rules that say "you must have X views to run a company".

The board of directors who hires an executive is "allowed" to fire them again. The public is "allowed" to not support a business that they feel is run by a jerk.

(Situation A:) If you say something, and a lot of the public disagrees with you, and that hurts your business, and that gets you fired... then that isn't a matter of what you're "allowed" to do, it's just a matter of consequences.

(Situation B:) If you say something, and there's a law against saying that, and the government forces your bosses to fire you... then that is a matter of what you're "allowed" to do, and the right to Free Speech has been destroyed.
Last edited by Ditocoaf on Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:57 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby madaco » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:55 am UTC

BytEfLUSh wrote:
madaco wrote:If you say something, and someone responds "You should be arrested/killed for saying that", and you respond with something about freedom of speech, as a retort to their statement, I think that would be relatively valid.


Well, I'm a rare kind of person that can imagine a worst-case scenario, so let's have it (HP = Hypothetical person; HM = Hypothetical me):

HM: So what if that seven year-old girl got raped? She had it coming dressing up like that at a playground!
HP: You should be arrested/killed for saying that.
HM: You are violating my freedom of speech!


In that case, no, "hypothetical person" wasn't violating "hypothetical me"'s freedom of speech. HM was (obviously) inciting heavy felony which is not protected by 1st A. Of course it's not what you meant, but the law has to have some strict rules. "Inspiring" a crime should bear heavy consequences.


Ah, no, that is not quite what I meant.

I meant if "HM" were to say, "No, I should not be, as that would violate my freedom of speech.", it would be a potentially valid point.

Not if they were to claim that their freedom of speech was currently being violated.

I intended to make my meaning clear from my first post, but I apparently failed.

EDIT:
perhaps I should have said "could be" instead of "would be".
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:06 am UTC

Saying "you should be arrested for that"is as much your right of free speech as saying the thing that would prompt others into the phrase "you should be arrested for that". The thing about free speech is that you have the right to say such extreme things. You even have the right to say that you want to kill the first amendment. In turn, everyone else has the right to call you a moron because of it.

In he Netherlands, we have a politician who's using the free speech thing to the limit. During last local elections, he got his audience to chant "less, less, less" on his question "doe you want more or less foreigners here?" Implying that those foreigners all cause problems in our country. About 5000 (or even more) people have filed charges against him and the judge will eventually have to decide whether this is using the freedom of speech (which the politician claims, as he immediately takes on the role of the victim), or the spread of hate.

Anyway, the effect in political terms is now that every other political party refuses to work with him. There was one which was willing to give it a try, but that's over now too. The party became the biggest in both of the local regions they were in and in both cases all the other parties said "no, well just figure it out by ourselves, have fun being in the opposition for 4 years, where we'll probably ignore you because we think of you as nothing but a hate party now."

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby blob » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:06 am UTC

Firing someone for their beliefs is tricky though. Is a staunch Christian allowed to fire any employee who says they support gay marriage or abortion?
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby ctrl » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:09 am UTC

So i've just dropped in to point interesting coincidence. Today russian state prosecutor demanded to jail Boris Stomakhin for 10,5 years for the series of articles where Boris called for regime change and break Russian Federation into bunch of smaller countries. Also note, that he already served 5 years for similiar "crime".

So i guess russian authorities aren't that good with doors, huh?

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby madaco » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:12 am UTC

Plasma_Wolf wrote:Saying "you should be arrested for that"is as much your right of free speech as saying the thing that would prompt others into the phrase "you should be arrested for that". The thing about free speech is that you have the right to say such extreme things. You even have the right to say that you want to kill the first amendment. In turn, everyone else has the right to call you a moron because of it.

[snip]



In case I seemed to be expressing something contrary to this, I am noting that it was not my intent to express something that is contrary to this (as far as I know).

I'm just saying that freedom of speech could be a reasonable reason to give for claiming that one should not be arrested for saying something.

Sorry if you were responding to someone else and I tried to make it about what I said instead, when I shouldn't have.

If I did but should have then thats ok I guess.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby thomasemmanuel » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:13 am UTC

blob wrote:Firing someone for their beliefs is tricky though. Is a staunch Christian allowed to fire any employee who says they support gay marriage or abortion?


Yes, he/she is.

The point of free speech is that the government cannot stop you from expressing yourself.

If the government stops the Christian employer from firing the employee, that is a violation of the employer's right to free speech, because then the employer is not entitled to fire the employee in order to express his/her contrary view (against gay marriage or abortion or whatever floats his/her boat). [This assumes the employer is not breaking the contract by doing so]

Likewise, a liberal employer is also entitled to fire his employee for speaking against gay marriage/abortion, for the same reason.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Wildcard » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:22 am UTC

Quote spoilered for length:
Spoiler:
Ditocoaf wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:And what about getting fired from your job for things you say and do in your private life? Funny how that one is not mentioned.

The government didn't kick you out of your job, your boss did, or the board of directors of that company did. Therefore it isn't a matter of "rights", it's a matter of things you do causing other individuals to no longer want to associate with you, and them having the ability to do so.

(1) People have a right not to support a product if they dislike a person managing it. People have a right to talk about why they are not buying that product. People have a right to encourage other people to not buy that product by telling them why they dislike the person managing it.

(2) Your bosses have a right to fire you if they think that you are causing the company to lose money. Even if the things you do that cause the company to lose money are things you do outside of work hours.

(3) When you are an executive at a highly visible company, the things you do with your private life might have an effect on the success of the company. The board of directors is within its rights (and usually smart) to employ an executive who does not damage the company's image in such a way. If you want to make controversial political speech, you should either (a:) not work as an executive, instead finding a job where your personal opinions aren't highly visible, or (b:) try to work as an executive for a board of directors who are willing to keep you employed even if you damage the company with your political speech.

At no point during this process is anyone's right to free speech being violated. The government isn't stopping anyone from promoting a cause. But the things you say might cause people to not want to spend money on you. That's caused consequences.

If the government tried to make it illegal to fire someone or boycott someone, that would be actively harming free speech.


I just want to point out, Ditocoaf, that your entire argument can be used precisely as written to justify FIRING SOMEONE FOR BEING A HOMOSEXUAL. If I am in charge of a company and I fire one of my top executives because he "comes out" and admits broadly that he is gay, I can say:

(1) People have a right not to support a product if they dislike a person managing it. People have a right to talk about why they are not buying that product. People have a right to encourage other people to not buy that product by telling them why they dislike the person managing it. ("Oh, don't buy that, the manager is gay.")

(2) Your bosses have a right to fire you if they think that you are causing the company to lose money. Even if the things you do that cause the company to lose money are things you do outside of work hours. ("Just because the gay person isn't having sex with other guys during business hours, doesn't mean we can't fire him for it.")

(3) When you are an executive at a highly visible company, the things you do with your private life might have an effect on the success of the company. The board of directors is within its rights (and usually smart) to employ an executive who does not damage the company's image in such a way. If you want to make controversial political speech, you should either (a:) not work as an executive, instead finding a job where your personal opinions aren't highly visible, or (b:) try to work as an executive for a board of directors who are willing to keep you employed even if you damage the company with your political speech. ("You're telling everyone in the newspaper and media that you're gay and giving a political speech about gay rights. Therefore, you are fired!")

At no point during this process is anyone's right to free speech being violated. The government isn't stopping anyone from promoting a cause. But the things you say might cause people to not want to spend money on you. That's caused consequences. ("If you tell people you're gay and they no longer want to buy your art, hire you for a job or otherwise spend money on you, it's NOT a violation of your right to free speech. It's called a consequence.")

...Just wanted to point that out. The door swings both ways. And your points are cogent, correct, and beautifully written...but they apply exactly as well to firing someone for being gay, as for firing someone for being a homophobe. :) Funny, huh?
Last edited by Wildcard on Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:28 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Corollary

Postby peregrine_crow » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:27 am UTC

groszdani wrote:Corollary: You have the right to boycott someone for saying something, but that doesn't mean you are not an asshole for doing so either.


This is kind of my view on the subject as well. The right to free speech is a very minimal condition, but in order to have fruitful discussions it still isn't a good idea to shut people up until you are definitely sure they don't have anything useful to say and aren't listening to anything you will say (though granted, this is a depressingly common situation). Otherwise you are stifling discussion and encouraging people to hide their true opinion.

As long as someone is (honestly) willing to have a real discussion with you, where both parties are listening to what the other has to say, then by shutting him/her up you are denying both of you the opportunity to learn about both of your positions.


Edit: As for the discussion above, freedom of speech has nothing to do with firing someone for publicly being gay. That is discriminating against people based on sexual preference and we have (or at least should have) other laws to protect against that. You can certainly say that you want to fire something for it (though note the above corollary about being an asshole) but actually firing someone, formally or through psychological pressure, should definitely by illegal.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby firesoul31 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:28 am UTC

blob wrote:Firing someone for their beliefs is tricky though. Is a staunch Christian allowed to fire any employee who says they support gay marriage or abortion?
Stargazer71 wrote:
firesoul31 wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:And what about getting fired from your job** for things you say and do in your private life? Funny how that one is not mentioned.

(**reading people's minds in advance: Fine. Being forced to resign under pressure...as though that is different.)


Firstly, there is a thread in N&A for discussion of this.

Secondly, a brief summary of one counterargument: A CEO's job is to be the face of a company, or the moral, economic, and philosophical leader. Holding certain views may impair his ability to perform his job.

(Ninja'd - yeah, that)


So in your opinion, only someone who publicly professes liberal views should be allowed to run a company? If that is "tolerance," then count me out.

I won't respond any further--I don't want to start an endless argument. All I will say is that this is a particularly arrogant comic that grossly oversimplifies a very large social issue.


Mozilla wrote:Our mission is to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web.

The board of directors believed that Brendan's views, probably (as we still don't know if this is a response to the OKCupid message, despite all probability), were counter to the company's statement. And yes, this is a simplification of a complicated matter. The crux of the matter, though, is that Brendan's job is to, at least in part, serve as the public head of the company; his views are relevant to his ability to perform his job. In my opinion, and probably OKCupid's opinion, opposing same-gender and same-sex marriage is not openness, or equal opportunity. So if a company's purpose was to enforce traditional values and the role of religion in life, I would be fine with the CEO, or other people whose jobs are dependant on public relations, being fired for what they support.

EDIT: Plasma, madaco, you seems to be agreeing at each other.

Randall: "Pleading the first is the weakest defence - it means barely legal
madaco: "Sometimes it's valid, if the argument against you is that it's not legal"
BytEfLUsh: "Yeah, but they aren't actually infringing on your speech"
madaco: "It's still a valid counterpoint to their assertion"
Plasma: "You are allowed to say that someone's speech should be banned, though"
madaco: "Yes, that's true, but it's still a valid counterpoint to their assertion"

EDIT 2: ELECTRIC BOGALOO: Okay, we probably should take this to N&A. It's a bit of a tangent here.

Aaand, another ninja. This is moving fast, isn't it?
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Wildcard » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:36 am UTC

blob wrote:Firing someone for their beliefs is tricky though. Is a staunch Christian allowed to fire any employee who says they support gay marriage or abortion?

It's called a double standard. Like how pro-gay rights people try to vilify and censor the word "faggot" as being offensive and "derogatory toward someone based on their beliefs and preferences", but the same people use the word "homophobe" with all the hate and unpleasant connotation that they object to in the F-A-word.

Stargazer71 wrote:All I will say is that this is a particularly arrogant comic that grossly oversimplifies a very large social issue.

Oh, and by the way, Stargazer: Actually, the comic is just as dually applicable as the wonderful argument I quoted a few posts ago. :) Based on recent news stories and the present societal context, it was probably written with the same intent as that argument (i.e. pro-liberal). But if you reread it, it would apply exactly as well to firing an atheist for publicly spouting off against religion.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby madaco » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:47 am UTC

firesoul31 wrote:
EDIT: Plasma, madaco, you seems to be agreeing at each other.

Randall: "Pleading the first is the weakest defence - it means barely legal
madaco: "Sometimes it's valid, if the argument against you is that it's not legal"
BytEfLUsh: "Yeah, but they aren't actually infringing on your speech"
madaco: "It's still a valid counterpoint to their assertion"
Plasma: "You are allowed to say that someone's speech should be banned, though"
madaco: "Yes, that's true, but it's still a valid counterpoint to their assertion"

EDIT 2: ELECTRIC BOGALOO: Okay, we probably should take this to N&A. It's a bit of a tangent here.

Aaand, another ninja. This is moving fast, isn't it?


I was saying that I did not disagree with a thing that Plasma said. Yes.
I was clarifying because I thought what I had said before might be misinterpreted such that it seemed like Plasma was contesting what I said/ I thought what I said might be (edit:mis-)interpreted as contradicting what plasma said.

I think (part of?) my problem is that I am trying to not accidentally say things I don't actually mean, and as a result end up speaking unclearly.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby NotAllThere » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:51 am UTC

BytEfLUSh wrote:YES! This is the exact type of person that goes to atheist pages and posts some religious mambo-jumbo there. Thank you!
In the interests of symmetry: YES! This is the exact type of person that goes to religious pages and posts some atheist mambo-jumbo there. The world view is irrelevant - some people are just pillocks. :D

As a basic principle, I think old St Pete had it right . To paraphrase- it's great you have freedom. Don't use it for evil.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby firesoul31 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:00 am UTC

madaco:

Don't worry about that; we all will understand what you mean. That's exactly what I was trying to say to Plasma in particular, by the way.

Wildcard:

A key difference between "homophobe" and sexuality-based slurs is that sexuality is not a choice, and your views on other's sexuality are. Similarly, having a particular sexuality is not a restriction of the rights of others, whereas preventing same-sex or -gender marriage is.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby armandoalvarez » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:02 am UTC

I said about xkcd.com/1325 that it was one of my least favorite formats for XKCD: random idiot says something idiotic and then Cueball shuts him down. Even when I agree with Cueball (which I do 95+% of the time and in the case of 1325 and here), it doesn't make it funny or enjoyable.
I think this has beaten that format. It's just Randall talking through a stick figure. His point is obviously and has been made many, many times. He's not being witty. He's not being funny. He's not being enlightening or doing great art through the stick figure medium. The closest thing to something being funny/enlightening is the alt text, and that's him quoting some unremembered source.
Last edited by armandoalvarez on Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:11 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:05 am UTC

Wildcard wrote:It's called a double standard. Like how pro-gay rights people try to vilify and censor the word "faggot" as being offensive and "derogatory toward someone based on their beliefs and preferences", but the same people use the word "homophobe" with all the hate and unpleasant connotation that they object to in the F-A-word.


Why aren't I allowed to call you nigger but you're allowed to call me racist?

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Jave D » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:05 am UTC

I remember trying to have this argument during the lame Duck Dynasty situation. Sadly, there is literally no reasonable argument to be made about the 1st amendment with people who changed their Facebook photos to Phil Robertson to become heroes of free speech just like him.

Wildcard wrote:
blob wrote:Firing someone for their beliefs is tricky though. Is a staunch Christian allowed to fire any employee who says they support gay marriage or abortion?

It's called a double standard. Like how pro-gay rights people try to vilify and censor the word "faggot" as being offensive and "derogatory toward someone based on their beliefs and preferences", but the same people use the word "homophobe" with all the hate and unpleasant connotation that they object to in the F-A-word.


Homophobia refers to discrimination against homosexuals, and "faggot," being a slur against homosexuals, is an example of said discrimination. These two words are not the same at all, you're trying to compare them as if they are equals simply because you claim some people use the term homophobe with "all the hate and unpleasant connotation that they object to in the F-A-word." Which is exactly like saying that since people use the term "anti-Semite" with "all the hate and unpleasant connotation that they object to in the [insert anti-Semitic slur here] word," people who object to epithets against Jews are just as bad as the people who use them. It's a version of the "you liberals don't tolerate my intolerance so you're not so 'tolerant' after all, hypocrites!1!1" argument. The sole point being to draw a false equivalence between bigots who discriminate against people based on sexual preference and those who oppose said discrimination. Hogwash.

Oh, and by the way, Stargazer: Actually, the comic is just as dually applicable as the wonderful argument I quoted a few posts ago. :) Based on recent news stories and the present societal context, it was probably written with the same intent as that argument (i.e. pro-liberal). But if you reread it, it would apply exactly as well to firing an atheist for publicly spouting off against religion.


Sure, if we ignore that the 1st amendment is not exactly the only law regarding legal or illegal reasons to terminate employment. In fact, I would say it's not a law regarding termination of employment by non-public employers whatsoever. The context I've seen it brought up recently more often resembles this:

Bill: X
Jane: Not X!
Bill's Fanclub: WHY DO YOU HATE FREEDOM OF SPEECH. CONSTITUTION! 1st AMENDMENT! FREEEDOM!

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Wildcard » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:26 am UTC

firesoul31 wrote:Wildcard:

A key difference between "homophobe" and sexuality-based slurs is that sexuality is not a choice, and your views on other's sexuality are. Similarly, having a particular sexuality is not a restriction of the rights of others, whereas preventing same-sex or -gender marriage is.

I was waiting for someone to say that. The funny thing is, as far as "free speech" goes, freedom of religion is in there specifically and freedom of sexuality isn't. And while it is true that sexuality is not a choice, how you choose to express it certainly is. On a similar note, if someone walks into an office for a job interview wearing a wifebeater, a backwards baseball cap, a comb stuck in his hair and a pair of shorts down to his knees...can he claim "freedom of expression" and call it "discrimination" if he is not hired?

I don't personally object to gay people in the slightest. I consider it fully one's own choice and one's own business how one wants to have sex. However, there is a corollary: if it's completely your business, it means it's none of mine...and that means you have no right to parade it in front of me and demand that I approve of it.

But there's really a much more important point here:

With Duck Dynasty and Chick Fil A, there was something in common: the two people each simply expressed their opinions that according to their religion, they believe that homosexuality is wrong. They didn't refuse to hire gay people, they didn't refuse to service gay people in the restaurant. They didn't HARM gay people in any way or even STATE that gay people shouldn't be supported, hired, given money or anything else. They just said that they believe homosexuality is a sin. Result: gay rights activists actively working to financially damage those two people because of their religious opinions on the subject of homosexuality. (Firing the Duck Dynasty guy, organizing boycotts of Chick-Fil-A.)

It's the difference between actions and words. Rather a one-sided deal, isn't it?

Oh, and Jave D: a better word to put in there than anti-Semite is "Nazi", which is, modernly, the derogatory word for anti-Semite. But I got your point.

My point is just that "discrimination" in the form of "preferring one thing over another thing" is something that everyone does and always will. Discrimination by attempting to reduce the livelihood, finances or resources of someone because of their BELIEFS (not because of their actions) is wrong.

If someone refused to serve gay people at a restaurant and were fired for it, I would agree. BUT if someone refused to serve CHRISTIAN (anti-gay) people at a restaurant and were fired for that, I would agree ALSO. If someone said they were gay and enjoyed it and were fired as a result, I believe that is wrong. BUT if someone said they DON'T LIKE GAY PEOPLE and were fired as a result, I ALSO believe that is wrong.


I know I might sound anti-gay. But that's just because the current scene is so one-sided. Back in the days of broad social agreement that "gay people are evil" and laws against sodomy, etc., I would have objected strongly to gay people being fired or harassed because of their orientation. I hope I've made all that clear.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Tova » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:29 am UTC

Wildcard wrote:
blob wrote:Firing someone for their beliefs is tricky though. Is a staunch Christian allowed to fire any employee who says they support gay marriage or abortion?

It's called a double standard. Like how pro-gay rights people try to vilify and censor the word "faggot" as being offensive and "derogatory toward someone based on their beliefs and preferences", but the same people use the word "homophobe" with all the hate and unpleasant connotation that they object to in the F-A-word.


Are you trying to say that accusing someone of being derogatory toward someone based on their beliefs and preferences is also in itself being derogatory toward someone based on their beliefs and preferences, and therefore hypocritical?

Calling someone a "faggot" is not expressing a belief or preference, it's just being offensive. Calling someone a homophobe for doing so is not being derogatory towards someone expressing a belief or preference, it's calling someone out for being offensive.

Wildcard wrote:I was waiting for someone to say that.


I'm not surprised you were, and that you seized on it, because it is the wrong objection to your viewpoint.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Wooloomooloo » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:10 am UTC

Oh, this one is going to come in handy in so many discussions... On the other hand I find myself giving less and less of a flying f##k when people are wrong on the internet - there comes a time when one can't avoid realizing that arguing IS JUST NOT - and never was - a way to change anyone's opinion about anything (for that matter, the same can be said about violence - I'll let you draw your own conclusion on what that effectively means).

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby racemaniac » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:15 am UTC

Wildcard wrote:Quote spoilered for length:
Spoiler:
Ditocoaf wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:And what about getting fired from your job for things you say and do in your private life? Funny how that one is not mentioned.

The government didn't kick you out of your job, your boss did, or the board of directors of that company did. Therefore it isn't a matter of "rights", it's a matter of things you do causing other individuals to no longer want to associate with you, and them having the ability to do so.

(1) People have a right not to support a product if they dislike a person managing it. People have a right to talk about why they are not buying that product. People have a right to encourage other people to not buy that product by telling them why they dislike the person managing it.

(2) Your bosses have a right to fire you if they think that you are causing the company to lose money. Even if the things you do that cause the company to lose money are things you do outside of work hours.

(3) When you are an executive at a highly visible company, the things you do with your private life might have an effect on the success of the company. The board of directors is within its rights (and usually smart) to employ an executive who does not damage the company's image in such a way. If you want to make controversial political speech, you should either (a:) not work as an executive, instead finding a job where your personal opinions aren't highly visible, or (b:) try to work as an executive for a board of directors who are willing to keep you employed even if you damage the company with your political speech.

At no point during this process is anyone's right to free speech being violated. The government isn't stopping anyone from promoting a cause. But the things you say might cause people to not want to spend money on you. That's caused consequences.

If the government tried to make it illegal to fire someone or boycott someone, that would be actively harming free speech.


I just want to point out, Ditocoaf, that your entire argument can be used precisely as written to justify FIRING SOMEONE FOR BEING A HOMOSEXUAL. If I am in charge of a company and I fire one of my top executives because he "comes out" and admits broadly that he is gay, I can say:

(1) People have a right not to support a product if they dislike a person managing it. People have a right to talk about why they are not buying that product. People have a right to encourage other people to not buy that product by telling them why they dislike the person managing it. ("Oh, don't buy that, the manager is gay.")

(2) Your bosses have a right to fire you if they think that you are causing the company to lose money. Even if the things you do that cause the company to lose money are things you do outside of work hours. ("Just because the gay person isn't having sex with other guys during business hours, doesn't mean we can't fire him for it.")

(3) When you are an executive at a highly visible company, the things you do with your private life might have an effect on the success of the company. The board of directors is within its rights (and usually smart) to employ an executive who does not damage the company's image in such a way. If you want to make controversial political speech, you should either (a:) not work as an executive, instead finding a job where your personal opinions aren't highly visible, or (b:) try to work as an executive for a board of directors who are willing to keep you employed even if you damage the company with your political speech. ("You're telling everyone in the newspaper and media that you're gay and giving a political speech about gay rights. Therefore, you are fired!")

At no point during this process is anyone's right to free speech being violated. The government isn't stopping anyone from promoting a cause. But the things you say might cause people to not want to spend money on you. That's caused consequences. ("If you tell people you're gay and they no longer want to buy your art, hire you for a job or otherwise spend money on you, it's NOT a violation of your right to free speech. It's called a consequence.")

...Just wanted to point that out. The door swings both ways. And your points are cogent, correct, and beautifully written...but they apply exactly as well to firing someone for being gay, as for firing someone for being a homophobe. :) Funny, huh?

I get what you're saying, and it's indeed a logical point. But i think you forgot a part: someone started this shit. Someone started hated other human beings for no good reason what so ever. They started hating, spreading hate, and are now acting as if the other party is an aggressor because the hate suddenly backfires on to them.

In which way are the anti gay people not just invaders starting a war, and are the other people not just defending themselves from the invaders? and how utterly ridiculous would it look if a country invades an other country, and then complains that the other country is waging a war against them? (well duhhhh....)

I mean, if the gay haters didn't feel the need to hate other humans for being different than them, and start this entire shit, there would be no anti-anti-gay people either, and everything would be nice and fine.

The situation might seem symmetrical, but I've learned in cases like this to also look at "who started this shit". If both sides are equally responsible for starting the situation, there's a lot to say for your line of reasoning. But if one group of people feel the need to attack other people, they got it coming to them if it comes back to them later on...

So i don't agree that firing someone because they're anti-gay also justifies firing gay people. The gays don't attack anyone, they just mind their own thing and are who they are. The anti gay take offense for someone just being true to themselves, meddle in things that are not their business, try to enforce their view onto others, and can imo also just go f**k themselves :p.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby firechicago » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:18 am UTC

I've seen this argument a lot recently, and I find myself growing increasingly uncomfortable with its pat legalistic nature. If Free Speech is a real and valuable thing in society, then that value has to consist in something more than a legal restriction on government action. It's possible for free speech to be silenced without the government ever being involved, and the fact that the government isn't involved doesn't necessarily make that a good or acceptable thing except in a strictly legal sense.

I say all this as someone who's basically OK with the way the whole Brendan Eich thing went down. I just think that to make the case that the treatment of Brendan Eich was not only legally, but morally acceptable you need to take your analysis beyond "The First Amendment doesn't guarantee Brendan Eich's right to be CEO of Mozilla."

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:18 am UTC

Can anyone give an example of the government punishing a company for firing a person because they promoted treating gays as human beings? If not, then I can't figure out what that particular argument has to do with the discussion.

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:21 am UTC

While it isn't funny, I like this comic.
And now I'm going to exercise my right to ignore all the other posts because I'm fairly sure it's better that way.
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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Ilyak1986 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:27 am UTC

Oh, wanted to chime in on one thing:

While it's perfectly alright to say "I think homosexuality is a sin, I don't want you in my company, you're fired" by freedom of speech, you can actually get sued for wrongful discrimination for firing on the basis of sexual orientation discrimination. Also, 110% agree with this comic.

See, here's the thing:

The constitution was created to constrain the powers of government.

Here's why we have freedom of speech:

You know all those people calling Obama Obummer, a socialist communist fascist, the antichrist, a Kenyan socialist moose-slim/muzzie, and so on and so forth? Or, heck, the entire existence of the Fixed Noise (Fox News) channel?
Try doing that in Russia and lampooning Putin. I DARE you. Just try it. You'll be involved in a mysterious accident faster than you can say "dosvidanya."

Freedom of speech protects your right to say all sorts of crazy-ass crap (see: Westboro Baptist Church).
It does not protect you from a whole bunch of people who get whiff of your loony ass deciding to exercise their right to freedom of speech to say "we should make sure to dig up all the dirt we possibly can on this guy to make sure he never finds a job again."

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Re: 1357: "Free Speech"

Postby Ilyak1986 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:29 am UTC

Oh, one other thing, regarding the freedom of religion (also found in the first amendment):

Am I the only one that thinks it should only apply to the individual, but not to the company said individual may run?

That is, a devout Christian CEO has every right to be pro-life, against birth control, yadda yadda yadda...

But he has no right to impose those religious beliefs on his employees.


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