How free do you want your Free Speak?

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jewish_scientist
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How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby jewish_scientist » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:56 am UTC

I just want to be clear, so I am going to define what I think the definition of Free Speak is.

Free Speak: The policy that all forms of communication are legal.

In a society that protects Free Speak protests, the media, and political criticism are protected. On the other hand, slander, abuse, and tabloids would have equal protection. What restrictions, if any, do you think should be placed on Free Speak?
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:29 am UTC

The traditional limit on free speech is shouting "Fire!" in a crowded building, when there is no fire. Protections against slander and libel exist because that speech causes actual harm. And that protection is based on the content being false. If a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob, and you cry libel, but the paper has proof that you raped a dog, you lose.
Most of the protection of free speech is for protection from the government if you complain about or criticize that government, so that calls to impeach the president don't get you jailed for treason. However, if your speech causes actual harm to the subject of that speech, you should have to deal with some consequence for causing that harm.
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BattleMoose
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:25 am UTC

From the South African constitution:

Freedom of expression

16 1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes:
a. freedom of the press and other media;
b. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
c. freedom of artistic creativity; and
d. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.

2) The right in subsection (1) does not extend to:
a. propaganda for war;
b. incitement of imminent violence; or
c. advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

I think they got it pretty spot on. (Should have included sexuality in 16.2.c but there it is)

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:29 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:From the South African constitution:

2) The right in subsection (1) does not extend to:
a. propaganda for war;
b. incitement of imminent violence; or
c. advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.



I think this highlights one problem quite nicely

propaganda is a loaded subjective term and should never be contained in law imo. Practically any speech can fall into this definition even if true.

I can think of numerous scenarios that incitement to imminent violence is not only necessary but a moral action (hell surely South Africa is incapable of declaring war on an aggressor with this law? or is it as I suspect that group X (politicians) have an exemption and can do what they like, just not the plebs :)

Advocacy of hatred is a loaded subjective term and also never be contained in law either - its thought crime territory (also why these groups and not the myriad of others, short people, the disabled, red heads, war veterans, the poor, people who believe in alens etc etc)

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby speising » Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:01 am UTC

leady wrote:surely South Africa is incapable of declaring war on an aggressor with this law?

would that be a bad thing? (note "declare war on an aggressor" is loaded speech already. if there is a real aggressor, he'll declare war on you.)

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:02 am UTC

Yes, yes it would be

note the law is incitement to violence - I just added a "good violence" scenario. As written the law is complete pacificism for the populace, but I guarantee (but I'm too lazy to check) that there is a get out clause for the politicians and their minion. I'm sure I've seen SA police for example, shoot miners under orders...

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby speising » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:48 am UTC

leady wrote:Yes, yes it would be

note the law is incitement to violence - I just added a "good violence" scenario. As written the law is complete pacificism for the populace, but I guarantee (but I'm too lazy to check) that there is a get out clause for the politicians and their minion. I'm sure I've seen SA police for example, shoot miners under orders...

i don't contest your point about the inequality; but you didn't provide a "good violence" scenario. just a piece of propaganda speak. Hitler didn't invade poland either. he "pro-actively defended" himself.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:32 pm UTC

Yeah yeah - you get the point, no need to go into a discussion about the honesty of various politicians over the definition of aggression over the years.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:51 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I just want to be clear, so I am going to define what I think the definition of Free Speak is.

Free Speak: The policy that all forms of communication are legal.

In a society that protects Free Speak protests, the media, and political criticism are protected. On the other hand, slander, abuse, and tabloids would have equal protection. What restrictions, if any, do you think should be placed on Free Speak?


Fairly free. However, fraud needs to be cracked down on. Any sort of intentional deception for tangible gain is....ehhh. It's absolutely fine for people to be wrong, but it's a lot less ok for people to victimize others.

This gets increasingly awkward as you get into politics and religion, naturally.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:45 pm UTC

leady wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:From the South African constitution:

2) The right in subsection (1) does not extend to:
a. propaganda for war;
b. incitement of imminent violence; or
c. advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.



I think this highlights one problem quite nicely

propaganda is a loaded subjective term and should never be contained in law imo. Practically any speech can fall into this definition even if true.

I can think of numerous scenarios that incitement to imminent violence is not only necessary but a moral action (hell surely South Africa is incapable of declaring war on an aggressor with this law? or is it as I suspect that group X (politicians) have an exemption and can do what they like, just not the plebs :)

Advocacy of hatred is a loaded subjective term and also never be contained in law either - its thought crime territory (also why these groups and not the myriad of others, short people, the disabled, red heads, war veterans, the poor, people who believe in alens etc etc)


Well it is contained in law and it is working quite nicely, for twenty years now. I for one think its a damn good thing that people cannot express hatred for minority groups. Protection of minorities is a critical part of any proper democracy. And I get that there will be grey areas, but that's why there is a constitutional court, which has done such things that include, ordering the government to implement same sex marriage.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:52 pm UTC

The only reason they can take such a political decision is because the super majority of the public is supportive (or at least apathetic to anti position). The reason you take that as proof it works is that it ultimately supports your political beliefs. In more conservative society (australia as per your example) they can clamp down on protests, one assumes because the local people are fed up of hippies clogging up the place, regardless of the unwritten constitution of the British system (which the Aussies use). Apparently you consider that wrong. Both however are the broad views of their societies

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:03 pm UTC

leady wrote:The only reason they can take such a political decision is because the super majority of the public is supportive (or at least apathetic to anti position).


There is no evidence to support this assertion. You are making a conclusion without evidence. No polls were taken. No referendum. The religious lot made a lot of noise.


The reason you take that as proof it works is that it ultimately supports your political beliefs. In more conservative society (australia as per your example) they can clamp down on protests, one assumes because the local people are fed up of hippies clogging up the place, regardless of the unwritten constitution of the British system (which the Aussies use). Apparently you consider that wrong. Both however are the broad views of their societies.


There is no evidence to support this assertion. You are again making a conclusion without evidence. In fact with massive protests recently here in Australia at the moment, I suspect the exact opposite is true.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:33 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Protections against slander and libel exist because that speech causes actual harm.


One of the interesting side effects of this is that it can make makes it a much bigger crime when the victim is wealthy and disadvantages the poor vs the rich.

Imagine 2 people slander/libel each other.

The first, Joe, is unemployed with little income.
The second is Jane, she's a high powered buisnesswoman pulling in 6 figures.

They both publicly slander/libel each other calling the other a dog fucker.

Joe's case against Jane comes before the court and they declare that since Joe had no income before he hasn't been financially harmed by the accusation and she isn't punished.

Janes case against Joe comes before the court and they declare that Joes accusation could have been the reason she got a smaller bonus than expected and she gets Joes house and car.

In some european countries constitutional rights to privacy trump constitutional free-speech rights whether what is said is true or not.

PAstrychef wrote:And that protection is based on the content being false. If a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob, and you cry libel, but the paper has proof that you raped a dog, you lose.


Truth is not an absolute defense in all cases.

In some places if a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob and you really are they can still get in trouble if it's considered that they published it out of malice.

In some places, even if what you say is absolutely true you can still get in trouble if it's decided that your intent is to incite hatred of a particular group.
So you might shout: "Child brides and FGM are common in [minority] culture! this is evil and must be stopped!" and in theory the court can say "Yes that is true but that's also an attempt to incite hatred against that group".

the the South African constitution sounds nice but if something is abhorrent enough people will find a way around the constitution to ban it. The only problem with that is that once there's an exception it's easier to push the gap wider. I see that a lot of attempts have been made over the years based on some very general language about protecting children in another section of the constitution to censor things generally on the basis that a they're "inappropriate" for children and children might potentially see them. No prizes for guessing what some people thing is inappropriate.
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:21 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
There is no evidence to support this assertion. You are making a conclusion without evidence. No polls were taken. No referendum. The religious lot made a lot of noise.

There is no evidence to support this assertion. You are again making a conclusion without evidence. In fact with massive protests recently here in Australia at the moment, I suspect the exact opposite is true.


Aren't we both? You're asserting a written constitution generates political decisions, I'm saying that like in the UK it makes no difference in practice. Same outcomes, same evidence, different perspectives. I see constitutions like christians see the bible, a text to selectively grab parts that support your perspective - not as something thats objective.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Brace » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:02 pm UTC

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Last edited by Brace on Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:39 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:06 pm UTC

Brace wrote:I think freedom of speech should only be unlimited in the context of people's private lives. If you hold a professional post then there should be a limited code of conduct. Not necessarily centered around speech, but an academic's right to speech should be closely tied to their willingness to engage in dialog. Dogmatism and insularity should result in sanctions or termination in severe cases.

leady wrote:I see constitutions like christians see the bible, a text to selectively grab parts that support your perspective - not as something thats objective.


You've just effectively summarized why you're contemptible. Thanks.


to be fair, that's not far from the truth.

In american politics you'll see people coming up with various "interpretations" of the constitution to support their preexisting beliefs just like any given holy text. Even fairly clear sections will be "interpreted" to match what your party says, blue or red.

There are countries that lack a single document but still have rights that are enshrined in ancient law spread over many documents.

these limits on the people in professional posts: do you mean they should be enforced by the state/law or by the employers?

If you mean the government: that sounds nice until you get a party of homeopaths in power who uses that rule to de-gown professors who refuse to "engage in dialog" and "dogmatically" insist that water doesn't have a memory.
If you mean the private institution: that's pretty much already the case, subject to the whims of the local institution.
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:09 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:And that protection is based on the content being false. If a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob, and you cry libel, but the paper has proof that you raped a dog, you lose.


Truth is not an absolute defense in all cases.

In some places if a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob and you really are they can still get in trouble if it's considered that they published it out of malice.

In some places, even if what you say is absolutely true you can still get in trouble if it's decided that your intent is to incite hatred of a particular group.
So you might shout: "Child brides and FGM are common in [minority] culture! this is evil and must be stopped!" and in theory the court can say "Yes that is true but that's also an attempt to incite hatred against that group".


I kind of hate this. You said the truth, but you said it while thinking the wrong thing?

It's fine to yell fire in a crowded theater if there actually is a dangerous fire....truth should trump all, IMO. If you speak the truth, but happen to not be a sufficiently nice person...whatever. Freedom of speech is not just for nice people who take the popular viewpoint. What makes freedom of speach relevant is that it applies to those who are unpopular, maybe not nice, and who may not want the same things as us.

leady wrote: I see constitutions like christians see the bible, a text to selectively grab parts that support your perspective - not as something thats objective.


In practice, this happens a lot...but I do not think it should be desired, and should be minimized. The supreme court is very hesitant to decide something on constitutional grounds currently, and will seek to avoid controversy in settling a question, not to use an issue for activism(well, mostly). This, while sometimes not very exciting or interesting, is often a very good thing. Minimizing partisanship, politicking, etc in the judicial system is to be encouraged. We already have too much of that.

After all, who here really likes that we can reasonably accurately refer to "conservative" and "liberal" judges based on who appointed them? Does society benefit from such a split?

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:14 pm UTC

leady wrote:The only reason they can take such a political decision is because the super majority of the public is supportive (or at least apathetic to anti position). The reason you take that as proof it works is that it ultimately supports your political beliefs. In more conservative society (australia as per your example) they can clamp down on protests, one assumes because the local people are fed up of hippies clogging up the place, regardless of the unwritten constitution of the British system (which the Aussies use). Apparently you consider that wrong. Both however are the broad views of their societies


In Canada, same-sex marriage was first legalized through the courts despite majority opposition to the idea.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Brace » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:17 pm UTC

This post had objectionable content.
Last edited by Brace on Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:39 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:32 pm UTC

I should point out that I don't get to pick and choose anything because I'm not a politician nor a lawyer and I don't live in a country with a constitution.

I am generally contemptible though

LaserGuy wrote:In Canada, same-sex marriage was first legalized through the courts despite majority opposition to the idea.


understood and accepted, but its a binary choice survey. A betting man would suggest if such a question had a weighting (totally agree through to totally disagree) it would warp strongly towards agree - the people who agree, agree far more strongly than the nominal nay sayers (I'd suggest with no proof) - bar the religious conservatives naturally. Politicians work these things out this cynically

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby jewish_scientist » Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:And that protection is based on the content being false. If a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob, and you cry libel, but the paper has proof that you raped a dog, you lose.


Truth is not an absolute defense in all cases.

In some places if a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob and you really are they can still get in trouble if it's considered that they published it out of malice.

In some places, even if what you say is absolutely true you can still get in trouble if it's decided that your intent is to incite hatred of a particular group.
So you might shout: "Child brides and FGM are common in [minority] culture! this is evil and must be stopped!" and in theory the court can say "Yes that is true but that's also an attempt to incite hatred against that group".


I kind of hate this. You said the truth, but you said it while thinking the wrong thing?

It's fine to yell fire in a crowded theater if there actually is a dangerous fire....truth should trump all, IMO. If you speak the truth, but happen to not be a sufficiently nice person...whatever. Freedom of speech is not just for nice people who take the popular viewpoint. What makes freedom of speach relevant is that it applies to those who are unpopular, maybe not nice, and who may not want the same things as us.


I disagree with your idea that someone cannot be punished for speaking the truth. Imagine a newspaper printed a story that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. A week later, Mr. XXX publicly admits to being an alcoholic. There is undeniable proof that the newspaper did not know that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. Mr. XXX sues the newspaper. Did the newspaper commit libel or exercise its free speech? If you say that it is free speech, then a tabloid could run any story it wants and claim that proof for the story will come out later. For this reason, I believe that most people would agree that the newspaper committed libel.

I conclude that whether a statement is considered free speech or not is unaffected by it veracity. (Note: If a person intended to cause a little harm, but actually caused a large amount of damage, then he is punished for the damage done, not the damage intended.)
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:55 pm UTC

If there was any objective way of measuring "damage" caused by truth then you'd have the start of an argument, as it is you have a bit of a authoritarian wet dream narrative going :)

Guessing right with a news story isn't libel, guessing wrong is :) Intentions don't matter to the truth, they do to the consequences of falsehoods

All IMO as this is an opinion topic

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:52 am UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I disagree with your idea that someone cannot be punished for speaking the truth. Imagine a newspaper printed a story that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. A week later, Mr. XXX publicly admits to being an alcoholic. There is undeniable proof that the newspaper did not know that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. Mr. XXX sues the newspaper. Did the newspaper commit libel or exercise its free speech? If you say that it is free speech, then a tabloid could run any story it wants and claim that proof for the story will come out later. For this reason, I believe that most people would agree that the newspaper committed libel.


it all depends when the court case is.

If you're being tried for murder you don't get to say "you can't convict me! in 20 years time there could be a test that could prove me innocent"
Ditto, for you "proof for the story will come out later". it would be laughed out of court. They'd be told "if there's proof, give it to the court now, otherwise we're siding with mr xxx"

So if they go to court the day after publishing, they're out of luck and mr xxx wins.
If they go to court the day after he's broken down and said it's true they get to use that in court and say "you want proof? here's your proof".
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:04 am UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:Free Speak: The policy that all forms of communication are legal.


I have a quandary about this definition. Forms of communication and content of the communication are two entirely separate things.

Under your definition North Korea could, say, legalize any form of communication whatsoever--facebook, twitter, smoke signal, interpretive dance, spelling it out with bullet holes in a concrete slab-- but restrict the content of those communications to their current heavily-censored 'propaganda' status and still fall under this definition of "free speak".

However, a lot of people here appear to be discussing content.


So which is being discussed here? The form of communication or the content thereof?

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:18 am UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:And that protection is based on the content being false. If a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob, and you cry libel, but the paper has proof that you raped a dog, you lose.


Truth is not an absolute defense in all cases.

In some places if a newspaper class you a dog-raping whackjob and you really are they can still get in trouble if it's considered that they published it out of malice.

In some places, even if what you say is absolutely true you can still get in trouble if it's decided that your intent is to incite hatred of a particular group.
So you might shout: "Child brides and FGM are common in [minority] culture! this is evil and must be stopped!" and in theory the court can say "Yes that is true but that's also an attempt to incite hatred against that group".


I kind of hate this. You said the truth, but you said it while thinking the wrong thing?

It's fine to yell fire in a crowded theater if there actually is a dangerous fire....truth should trump all, IMO. If you speak the truth, but happen to not be a sufficiently nice person...whatever. Freedom of speech is not just for nice people who take the popular viewpoint. What makes freedom of speach relevant is that it applies to those who are unpopular, maybe not nice, and who may not want the same things as us.


I disagree with your idea that someone cannot be punished for speaking the truth. Imagine a newspaper printed a story that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. A week later, Mr. XXX publicly admits to being an alcoholic. There is undeniable proof that the newspaper did not know that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. Mr. XXX sues the newspaper. Did the newspaper commit libel or exercise its free speech? If you say that it is free speech, then a tabloid could run any story it wants and claim that proof for the story will come out later. For this reason, I believe that most people would agree that the newspaper committed libel.

I conclude that whether a statement is considered free speech or not is unaffected by it veracity. (Note: If a person intended to cause a little harm, but actually caused a large amount of damage, then he is punished for the damage done, not the damage intended.)


Truth is a positive defense. You must demonstrate it, not merely claim it.

Wildly guessing and hoping the truth turns up in time for court is...one strategy, I suppose, but not a very good one. I imagine anyone who relies on that frequently will be disappointed.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby jewish_scientist » Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:10 pm UTC

All IMO as this is an opinion topic[/quote]Djehutynakht, you are right. This is my new definition of Free Speech.

Free Speech: The policy that the content of a communication is unrestricted and all forms of communication are legal.

HungryHobo wrote:
jewish_scientist wrote:I disagree with your idea that someone cannot be punished for speaking the truth. Imagine a newspaper printed a story that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. A week later, Mr. XXX publicly admits to being an alcoholic. There is undeniable proof that the newspaper did not know that Mr. XXX was an alcoholic. Mr. XXX sues the newspaper. Did the newspaper commit libel or exercise its free speech? If you say that it is free speech, then a tabloid could run any story it wants and claim that proof for the story will come out later. For this reason, I believe that most people would agree that the newspaper committed libel.


it all depends when the court case is.

If you're being tried for murder you don't get to say "you can't convict me! in 20 years time there could be a test that could prove me innocent"
Ditto, for you "proof for the story will come out later". it would be laughed out of court. They'd be told "if there's proof, give it to the court now, otherwise we're siding with mr xxx"

So if they go to court the day after publishing, they're out of luck and mr xxx wins.
If they go to court the day after he's broken down and said it's true they get to use that in court and say "you want proof? here's your proof".


I do not believe that you said about the murderer is comparable to what I said about libel. In your case, a crime has been committed and the court is trying to decide who killed Mr.Whatever. If the defendant wins, then the crime goes unsolved. In my case, the court knows that the newspaper printed the story, but they are trying to decide if it is a crime was committed. If the newspaper wins, a crime did not happen.

leady wrote:If there was any objective way of measuring "damage" caused by truth then you'd have the start of an argument...


There must be a way to measure damage. If there was not, then how could a court ever give momentary compensation for bodily or emotional harm.

Intentions don't matter to the truth, they do to the consequences of falsehoods


I think that you misunderstood me. Intentions do not affect the truth. Intentions do affect guilt or innocence of a defendant. In my libel case the newspaper intended to lie, cause harm and commit libel. They actually told the truth and caused harm, but did they libeled? I hold that because they intended to lie they are guilty. The fact that they unwittingly told the truth is irrelevant.


P.S. As I was writing this, I realized that the newspaper's lawyer could claim that they did not harm Mr. XXX because although he is suffering, he would have suffered much more as a alcoholic. I don't think that a jury would buy that, but it would still be an interesting argument.
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby hppavilion1 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:13 am UTC

As free as mathematically possible, minus anything that can cause actual significantly harmful effects.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Djehutynakht » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:21 am UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:Free Speech: The policy that the content of a communication is unrestricted and all forms of communication are legal.


I'd say yes (mostly) to the first one (at least regarding ideas) and sensible limits regarding the second one.

Because while you may be thinking "all forms of communication" as "telephone, internet, twitter, messenger hawk", technically, anything can be a form of communication.

Blowing up buildings can be a form of communication, if you want. Murdering people can be a form of communication ("okay, one body means 'yes', two means 'no'").

But as a general rule, yes, with the sensible limitations.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Sizik » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:54 pm UTC

Hacking into a bank's computer system and telling it to transfer all of the money to your account is also a form of communication.
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:07 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:Hacking into a bank's computer system and telling it to transfer all of the money to your account is also a form of communication.


Certainly. As is screaming in someone's face. However, when we speak of free speach, we are usually discussing prior restraint. It would be generally inadvisable to significantly limit a society's internet access because you fear their use of it. That would be fairly un-free.

However, reasonable consequences to actions can be expected even with free speech. Using speech to defraud or steal doesn't make defrauding or stealing ok. Shouting in someone's face is still rude, and you can expect responses that reflect that.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Djehutynakht » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:38 am UTC

True. Freedom of Speech usually refers to the communication of ideas. Speech as a whole entity is used by humans for a wide variety of non-speech related activity (like trade).

Freedom of speech allows, in essence, freedom of mind to be communicated from person to person, which is good.

Of course, there are limits.

Let's take an example:

"I think X should be killed" - A valid thought, no matter how abhorrent. Not necessarily communicating an idea here, but an opinion, persay. You're not necessarily taking an action here, but simply holding a viewpoint.

"I sometimes fantasize about killing X" - Also a valid thought. Now, this might warrant the government watching you (moreso) because you're expressing tendency, or disposition towards a possible action which is harmful. Nonetheless, you haven't indicated intent to actually do this action. It's something you think about, and you're simply expressing that. Should be allowed. Whether it should be monitored may be up for debate.

"Hey guys, there's a meeting at 8 at Starbucks where we'll be planning to kill X" - Now, I'm not quite sure they should be able to prohibit you from saying this, per say (you could be joking, no?), but they definitely have cause to bust into that Starbucks and round you up if it seems you're carrying out this action, as a crime.


A more classic example is yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. You're not expressing an idea; you're undertaking a dangerous action.

Now... I suppose one area where this becomes murky is what if you say something (in action form) that isn't really true? What if I thought there really was a fire, even if it was just the Popcorn machine at the theater smoking a bit too much. Should I still be in trouble? I thought I was telling the truth.


Essentially:

Ideas and the transmission of them from one person to another, through sensible means of communication, such as vocal speech, should be used.

The use of forms of communications, including vocal speech, to carry out an action otherwise illegal, is itself able to be prohibited.


In the end I think it comes down to the difference between action and idea.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby ucim » Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:28 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:In the end I think it comes down to the difference between action and idea.

This.

Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater (for the lulz) is an action disguised as speech.

Publicly burning the flag (assuming you own it) is speech disguised as action.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:39 am UTC

Lets be honest, if you stood up in a crowded theatre and yelled "fire", people would just look about a bit for coroborating evidence before dismissing you as nuts.

one of the reasons I'm generally wary of the "some speach has consequences and hence needs controlling" perspective

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby elasto » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:24 am UTC

leady wrote:Lets be honest, if you stood up in a crowded theatre and yelled "fire", people would just look about a bit for coroborating evidence before dismissing you as nuts.

one of the reasons I'm generally wary of the "some speach has consequences and hence needs controlling" perspective


Shouting "fire!" is a bit old fashioned to be sure. These days to start a panic you'd shout something about a brown person and a bomb.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:44 pm UTC

Even that isn't likely to generate panic without such a person to scapegoat. I think its very difficult for a stranger using to speech alone to cause overt damaging effects.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Brace » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:06 pm UTC

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Last edited by Brace on Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:38 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:32 pm UTC

leady wrote:Lets be honest, if you stood up in a crowded theatre and yelled "fire", people would just look about a bit for coroborating evidence before dismissing you as nuts.

one of the reasons I'm generally wary of the "some speach has consequences and hence needs controlling" perspective


It is indeed a dated example. However, the principle behind it remains. Using lies to cause harm to others isn't really ok. SWATting is a good modern example. Yes, the police willingness to bust in with guns based on anonymous tips is...too high. However, trying to make that happen is still a jerk move. There's no other purpose to the speech. It's pretty clearly an attempt to cause harm.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby leady » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:04 pm UTC

don't get me wrong, its not like I'd argue its impossible to do harm, just a lot more difficult than the general examples put forward as scenarios to restrict speech imply. The fire example is really to show the collective damage of speech - which I always find murky.

One thing you have flagged though is that its much much easier to harm a specific individual through "speech"

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby Derek » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:41 pm UTC

I like to point out that the "shouting fire in a theater" example was originally used to defend restrictions on anti-war speech (in World War I). The point being that it is incredibly easy for exceptions like that to be twisted into shutting down legitimate speech.

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Re: How free do you want your Free Speak?

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:02 pm UTC

Exactly, I mean if anything implying that our glorious leader shouldn't be preemptively defending us from threats to our safety is much worse than shouting fire. Shouting fire could, at worst, lead to a few people getting trampled. Spreading panic, discord and discontent could lead to us all being killed by the terrorists.
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