French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:28 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:So is there any particular reason that free speech should be curtailed here, or is "better than America neener neener neener" what passes for an argument with you?


Would it be fatuous to say "Such is life"* passes for a good argument with me?

To address the underlying point you're trying to make my main objection isn't that america has very liberal free speach laws, more power to them for trying such a broad approach; but that Americans are so insistent that their way is the one true way and seem to struggle with the concept of other countries doing it differently to them, or that such approaches might represent a valid approach with a basis in reason...
If the fifth republic sees fit to restrict how you can treat it's national flag within it's borders, who are you... an outsider, a foreigner to question that?


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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Gelsamel » Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:01 am UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:or that such approaches might represent a valid approach with a basis in reason...

Then couldn't you simply answer TGB's question? Presumably the restriction represents a valid approach with a basis in reason, right?

If the fifth republic sees fit to restrict how you can treat it's national flag within it's borders, who are you... an outsider, a foreigner to question that?

If The Fifth Republic sees fit to execute all black people do I have a right to question that? Certainly you wouldn't agree that they should be immune to outside criticism in a situation like that. So then where is the line afterwhich how their legislation oppresses their citizens is something us foreigners shouldn't comment on? Can we say anything against The Fifth Republic oppressing muslims?
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Bright Shadows » Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:17 am UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
Eowiel wrote:It seems that in Europe people agree more to the fact that freedom of speech may cost something


My point exactly... If you really need the freedom to insult a country full of people? There's is a price for that... Want to call people names based on their religion? price for that too... Want to set fire to cars and sieze a suburb of paris? There's Cars Remplis de Singes just waiting for you.

No action can ever be without consequence, and Americans seem to (in the main) veer sharply away from speech where the consequence of such actions would be *horror of horrors* having to justify it as protected speech in court. Meanwhile people in nations with supposedly limited speech say pretty much what the fuck they like, and then accept the consequences (be that humiliation in the press, or being brought up on charges, or a fatwa etc...)


The problem with this train of thought is that the consequences do not fit the crime. If this guy was calling for violent revolution? If he caused a panic? I could see an argument for punishing him then, maybe.

What he has done is expressed dissatisfaction with the French government in a clear and pointed way, and the cost to the state is absolutely nothing. The cost to the public is absolute zero. If it were anything but nothing, it would be so small, so minute, as to be less than that of what he paid for the flag he desecrated, and so his sentence would be fulfilled by the act itself.

Your idea of speech having a cost is fine. It's even a good idea. Even with that idea, the fine is excessive, because it is not zero euros.
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby General_Norris » Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:51 am UTC

Bright Shadows wrote:What he has done is expressed dissatisfaction with the French government in a clear and pointed way,

No, he didn't. The Frech flag doesn't represent only a goverment. It represents every citizen, institutions of France and the basic ideals of it.

The cost to the public is absolute zero.

How come? They were told that they deserve to be used as toilet paper and that their ideals, police and army deserve the same treatment. And those who fought against the axis to save France from it's rule? They also deserve to be shitted on according to our little friend here.

Let's imagine that instead of the French flag it were the LGTB flag. Would you approve or that? Or is insulting the gay wrong but insulting an entire nation right?

Your idea of speech having a cost is fine.

It's not speech having a cost, it's "insulting everyone in this country" having a cost in the same way that slander has a cost.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby T-Form » Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:14 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:No, he didn't. The Frech flag doesn't represent only a goverment. It represents every citizen, institutions of France and the basic ideals of it.

That's not a reasonable interpretation. If the flag represents every citizen, then it must be wrong to use it without the consent of every citizen; any other use would be misrepresenting some of the citizens. So national flags should thus be removed from government buildings, war memorials, anywhere they would be displayed, on the objection of any citizen. Furthermore, the institutions and ideals of a nation should certainly not be above criticism.

Let's imagine that instead of the French flag it were the LGTB flag. Would you approve or that? Or is insulting the gay wrong but insulting an entire nation right?

I wouldn't approve of it, no. In fact, I'd probably be rather more displeased than if they insulted/burned/whatevered the NZ flag. But that's not the point - it shouldn't require anyone's approval. At worst, insulting a flag is just another way of being a dick, it's about even with a verbal insult.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Bright Shadows » Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:52 am UTC

General_Norris wrote:It's not speech having a cost, it's "insulting everyone in this country" having a cost in the same way that slander has a cost.


He was charged under a law which demands that a symbol be respected.

Respect for a symbol falls to personal opinion on what the symbol means and why that meaning is or is not worth respect. The law doesn't change that. It just denies that there are valid reasons to not have much respect for the symbol, and adds force to convince people, rather than logic. Effectively, the government has decided its chosen symbol is untouchable, and for the sole apparent reason that they REALLY LIKE that one.

If you can't see why the government being able to make something holy is a bad thing, something subjective that means more than one thing to more than one person, that would be the source of our disagreement, and I won't argue the point further. We would clearly share axiomatic differences at that point.

If you don't see why I'm saying the government is making the French flag holy, reread the article's first line. Insulting the flag is the crime that carries a potential jail penalty and a fine of up to a month's wages for the average French citizen. This example is just a more extreme version of the speech the law appears to limit.

In sum, the law's cost is for something that shouldn't have a goddamn cost. Because symbols are not absolute, and even things humans consider absolute often aren't.

General_Norris wrote:
Bright Shadows wrote:The cost to the public is absolute zero.

[Opinion on what the French flag means, and that such has all been disrespected]

Let's imagine that instead of the French flag it were the LGTB flag. Would you approve or that? Or is insulting the gay wrong but insulting an entire nation right?

There is no widespread discrimination against the French that I am aware of, you can stop being French, and unless I am missing something, people generally don't commit suicide because they are so ashamed to be French. That comparison is very poorly constructed. The only analogous part is that your country of citizenship is part of your identity.

However, and it may just be me here, in light of the above, that people are not committing suicide in large amounts due to the shame of being French, or even receiving counseling over the matter, it seems we are still at a tolerable medium between criticism / showboating and mental anguish here.
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby General_Norris » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:29 am UTC

That's not a reasonable interpretation. If the flag represents every citizen, then it must be wrong to use it without the consent of every citizen; any other use would be misrepresenting some of the citizens

Then we should ban the use of the LGTB flag unless every gay person on the Earth approves it use.

I wouldn't approve of it, no. In fact, I'd probably be rather more displeased than if they insulted/burned/whatevered the NZ flag. But that's not the point - it shouldn't require anyone's approval.

Well, if you think that insulting people is fine then you can't complain when someone bullies you. Or when I claim that "negroes are inferior beings" or that women are less inteligent than men.


Bright Shadows wrote:Respect for a symbol falls to personal opinion on what the symbol means and why that meaning is or is not worth respect.

Then are you fine with people wiping their asses with the LGTB flag? Because it falls to personal opinion, doesn't it?

There is no widespread discrimination against the French that I am aware of, you can stop being French, and unless I am missing something, people generally don't commit suicide because they are so ashamed to be French.

So, it's okey to insult people as long as they are not discriminated? Please. Also that you can stop being French is irrelevant, you can also change your race and never have romantic relationships. I don't think that mocking people because they happen to be born in a country is right, that you can change it is irrelevant.


I'm repeating myself, this is not hard to understand:
1) Insulting 52 millions of people is not fine
2) Wiping your ass with the French flag insults every French person in the same way that wiping your ass with the LGTB flag insults every LGTB person.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:10 am UTC

People should be able to wipe their ass with what ever flag they want, regardless of what flag it is. It isn't suddenly an act that should be legislated against when it's an LGBT flag, why would you think it would be?
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby T-Form » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:04 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:Then we should ban the use of the LGTB flag unless every gay person on the Earth approves it use.

Or perhaps we could consider the possibility that the various flags don't actually represent every citizen or every queer person!

Well, if you think that insulting people is fine then you can't complain when someone bullies you. Or when I claim that "negroes are inferior beings" or that women are less inteligent than men.

Of course I can. Just because it's not illegal to be a dick doesn't mean no one can complain about it; I can always just tell you to fuck off if you actually made either of those comments, or tell others that you're a jerk because you said X, or make a formal complaint and/or bring legal action if you're saying this from a position of relative power (teacher/lecturer, boss, bureaucrat, etc). Furthermore, bullying is generally directed at an individual (although it may ostensibly be motivated by one belonging to a group) and often takes the form of continual harassment, which is not the same sort of thing as a one-off or non-personal insult. So yeah, there's plenty of space between "illegal" and "must be silently endured", and that's where the flag-insulting stuff should be.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Aetius » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:37 pm UTC

I don't agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to be punished as I see fit for saying it.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Xeio » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:42 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:Well, if you think that insulting people is fine then you can't complain when someone bullies you. Or when I claim that "negroes are inferior beings" or that women are less inteligent than men.
Defending someone's right to say something isn't the same as defending what they're saying.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby netcrusher88 » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:54 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:Several places in the US have laws against swearing in a public place, and most have prohibitions on "fighting words", insults so dire that they're deemed to goad another person into a fight, and thus both are punishable if used and could offer a defence to someone you insult with them if they then attack you depending on circumstances.

Laws against swearing in public are not constitutional or realistically prosecutable (and it's very likely they're decades old and most people have forgotten they exist), and the other phrase you're looking for is "inciting a riot". Sedition, too, but it's damn hard to prosecute someone for sedition.

And Norris: we have this phrase: "I may not like what you have to say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it". Unless, of course, it causes harm. I agree with the position it's ludicrous to claim desecrating a flag (or whatever verb you want to use) causes material harm. And yes, insulting a country as a form of protest is fine.
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby thehorsewhowasthursday » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

I can't imagine all anti-France speech is illegal, only desecration of it's flag, right? So presumably I can say, "Fuck France, the French, and everything they stand for!" and be acting entirely within the law. But Flag desecration, an act that could be making a statement about any number of things (from "Fuck France" to "I don't agree with certain policies" to "I was all out of TP, man!"), is somehow different. It seems weird to me. :/

Am I misunderstanding French law, can you actually be charged with just insulting France?

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby achan1058 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:49 am UTC

You know, from this thread, I wouldn't be surprised that in sometime in the future, insulting "America's freedom of speech" be made a crime in the US.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby netcrusher88 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:35 am UTC

Yeah no.

Side comment: is anyone else really bugged by the way people idolize flags? I tend to agree with Penn on this one. I don't question it has a lot of meaning, but... eh. The fact that it's just a bit of cloth and countries and peoples are so much more than just a bit of line art is so much more meaningful. And given the opportunity I would totally perform an illusion of burning the flag in the White House. What a statement.
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Mahonnant » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:35 am UTC

A little perspective on this issue from France :
- The decree in question was passed in july 2010, which may tell you (if you know a little about french politics) that it is in fact highly controversial, passing it during the holidays bypasses the public debate (insert obligatory jokes about French being either on strike or on vacation). A lot of people in France deem Sarkozy's sanctuarisation of the French flag and anthem quite ridiculous, but then again a lot of people on left wing are in fact uncomfortable with the whole idea of patriotism.
- There may be cause to challenge the constitutionnality of that decree with regards to Article XI, the conseil constitutionnel just has not got around to it
- The US have come to a hair's breadth of modifying their own constitution in order to do exactly the same thing, we have a lot more in common with the US than we like to admit and vice-versa...

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:26 pm UTC

The idea that a political demonstration is "speech" is a pretty US-centric idea. Even so, many in the US disagree with the idea that one's actions should be considered protected speech if they can be construed as making a political statement. So it wouldn't be that odd for France to protect its citizens' right to say "Fuck La France" and simultaneously prosecute someone for shitting in his hand and throwing it at the flag.
General_Norris wrote:1) Insulting 52 millions of people is not fine
Why not? Here, I'll do you one better: "Fuck Indonesians!" Was that so bad? Should I be jailed for that?

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby emceng » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:13 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
Eowiel wrote:It seems that in Europe people agree more to the fact that freedom of speech may cost something


My point exactly... If you really need the freedom to insult a country full of people? There's is a price for that... Want to call people names based on their religion? price for that too... Want to set fire to cars and sieze a suburb of paris? There's Cars Remplis de Singes just waiting for you.

No action can ever be without consequence, and Americans seem to (in the main) veer sharply away from speech where the consequence of such actions would be *horror of horrors* having to justify it as protected speech in court. Meanwhile people in nations with supposedly limited speech say pretty much what the fuck they like, and then accept the consequences (be that humiliation in the press, or being brought up on charges, or a fatwa etc...or getting their ass sued off for libel)



Added that little bit for our UK friends. The libel laws in the UK are horrible, and put a damper on free speech and even scientific research.

At what point do you want consequences for speech? Should an insult immediately bring reaction? What is different from a country bringing charges against a citizen for insults, versus punching someone in a bar for an insult? The first is obviously far worse - but they both are retaliatory gestures without purpose.
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:44 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:The idea that a political demonstration is "speech" is a pretty US-centric idea. Even so, many in the US disagree with the idea that one's actions should be considered protected speech if they can be construed as making a political statement.

That's exactly what the Supreme Court says in United States v. O'Brien:
Supreme Court of the United States wrote:This Court has held that when "speech" and "nonspeech" elements are combined in the same course of conduct, a sufficiently important governmental interest in regulating the nonspeech element can justify incidental limitations on First Amendment freedoms.

But even under this standard, what is it about desecrating a flag that incites government action outside of its expressive elements?
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:46 pm UTC

But even under this standard, what is it about desecrating a flag that incites government action outside of its expressive elements?


That allows for things like banning a mass flag burning because it involves lighting massive amounts of fires in the middle of a city; or stopping someone from trying to light a flag in the middle of a crow.d
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Dauric » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:54 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
But even under this standard, what is it about desecrating a flag that incites government action outside of its expressive elements?


That allows for things like banning a mass flag burning because it involves lighting massive amounts of fires in the middle of a city; or stopping someone from trying to light a flag in the middle of a crow.d


But that's covered under any number of other laws from reckless endangerment to arson. Why should burning a flag in those circumstances be any different than burning massed rolls of toilet paper or firewood?
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:58 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
But even under this standard, what is it about desecrating a flag that incites government action outside of its expressive elements?


That allows for things like banning a mass flag burning because it involves lighting massive amounts of fires in the middle of a city; or stopping someone from trying to light a flag in the middle of a crow.d


But that's covered under any number of other laws from reckless endangerment to arson. Why should burning a flag in those circumstances be any different than burning massed rolls of toilet paper or firewood?


It just means you can't use but I was burning a flag as a defense against arson.
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Dauric » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:14 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Dauric wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
But even under this standard, what is it about desecrating a flag that incites government action outside of its expressive elements?


That allows for things like banning a mass flag burning because it involves lighting massive amounts of fires in the middle of a city; or stopping someone from trying to light a flag in the middle of a crow.d


But that's covered under any number of other laws from reckless endangerment to arson. Why should burning a flag in those circumstances be any different than burning massed rolls of toilet paper or firewood?


It just means you can't use but I was burning a flag as a defense against arson.


...Again, free speech isn't a defense against arson in the first place, at least not a viable one that any judge worth his robes won't throw out (not that that stops cheap-ass crackpot lawyers from trying to push it forward, but still.)
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:26 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Dauric wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
Dauric wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
But even under this standard, what is it about desecrating a flag that incites government action outside of its expressive elements?


That allows for things like banning a mass flag burning because it involves lighting massive amounts of fires in the middle of a city; or stopping someone from trying to light a flag in the middle of a crow.d


But that's covered under any number of other laws from reckless endangerment to arson. Why should burning a flag in those circumstances be any different than burning massed rolls of toilet paper or firewood?


It just means you can't use but I was burning a flag as a defense against arson.


...Again, free speech isn't a defense against arson in the first place, at least not a viable one that any judge worth his robes won't throw out (not that that stops cheap-ass crackpot lawyers from trying to push it forward, but still.)


I agree, I'm just saying that's what the court cases clarified.
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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby General_Norris » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:08 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
General_Norris wrote:1) Insulting 52 millions of people is not fine
Why not? Here, I'll do you one better: "Fuck Indonesians!" Was that so bad? Should I be jailed for that?

Well, if you think it's fine to insult then we will agree to disagree. You also endorse sexism and racism that way.

Now, nobody is being jailed for this, he is being fined. Perhaps it's too much money or too little or social work is a better idea, I'm not capacited to say how big should the fine be because I do not know how harsh other legal punishments are and they must be consistent.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby bittyx » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:50 am UTC

General_Norris wrote:Well, if you think it's fine to insult then we will agree to disagree. You also endorse sexism and racism that way.


He doesn't think it's "fine", he just thinks it shouldn't be illegal, so this is kind of a strawman. You see, you can protect the legality of something even though you don't agree with it. I don't think calling people "nigger" or "bitch" should be illegal, even though it's a pretty shitty thing to do - if I hear someone using such language I'll usually tell them not to (a lot of people do this out of ignorance, rather than actual malice), but if I feel they're actually being jerks, I'll just stop interacting with them (permanently if I have to). It's not the governments job to save anyone from being insulted, only to preserve their basic freedoms. This kind of protection of national symbols doesn't really have a rational purpose - it's just a way of artificially establishing respect. -1 karma for France.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby General_Norris » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:58 am UTC

bittyx wrote:He doesn't think it's "fine"

Then why is he disagreeing with a single line that says that insulting people is not fine? :roll:

It's just what he said, no more, no less. I mean, if he so think it's not fine he wouldn't have added an insult to Indonesians.

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Re: French Flag Insulter Fined Fortuitously

Postby Bright Shadows » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:51 pm UTC

I would like to point out that he is being jailed for this if the judge decides to not eliminate his sentence after probation.
Saidi was sentenced by a court in Nice. It also gave him a four-month suspended prison sentence and ordered him to attend citizenship classes.
So you can go to jail.

Also:
General_Norris wrote:
bittyx wrote:He doesn't think it's "fine"

Then why is he disagreeing with a single line that says that insulting people is not fine? :roll:

It's just what he said, no more, no less. I mean, if he so think it's not fine he wouldn't have added an insult to Indonesians.

Heisenberg wrote:
General_Norris wrote:1) Insulting 52 millions of people is not fine
Why not? Here, I'll do you one better: "Fuck Indonesians!" Was that so bad? Should I be jailed for that?

Bold is relevant.
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