Free Speech Or Censorship

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Free Speech Or Censorship

Postby edy420 on January 4th, 2021, 12:13 am 

You can't have your cake and eat it too. But many would like freedom of speech, while censoring hate speech. The irony.

I don't understand the censorship arguent at all, so thought I'd discuss it here.

My point of view is that all speech is important. If it's wrong, then correct speech should be used to counter it.
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Re: Free Speech Or Censorship

Postby Scott Mayers on January 4th, 2021, 4:18 am 

edy420 » January 3rd, 2021, 11:13 pm wrote:You can't have your cake and eat it too. But many would like freedom of speech, while censoring hate speech. The irony.

I don't understand the censorship arguent at all, so thought I'd discuss it here.

My point of view is that all speech is important. If it's wrong, then correct speech should be used to counter it.

I agree to this to a large extent. However, given Trump's recent behavior, I had finally put my foot down and agreed to how the major media outlets opted to 'censor' him out based on his Machivellian belief in denying the obvious to a point that he is threatening the meaning of sincere speech. The reason for this is that his OWN belief is to CENSOR out the facts to which his power of position threatens the integrity of those who opt NOT to censor him. The more media attention he receives, the MORE fans he sustains because his BASE either literally believes him or they take another Machivellian belief: win at all costs, regardless of the truth.

He was still not completely 'censored' while still censured for his behavior ABOUT why he was being censored and others could still find him on the internet somewhere. I DO take issue with the search engines in my country (Canada) that literally attempted to censor ANY links through the search engines by the laws here that permit us to impose upon those media though. I could not initially find the Trump speech but at least know what it was about in context to how he has been consistently behaving, though.
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Re: Free Speech Or Censorship

Postby charon on January 4th, 2021, 4:44 am 

edy420 » January 4th, 2021, 5:13 am wrote:You can't have your cake and eat it too. But many would like freedom of speech, while censoring hate speech. The irony.

I don't understand the censorship argument at all, so thought I'd discuss it here.

My point of view is that all speech is important. If it's wrong, then correct speech should be used to counter it.


There was a great to-do in the UK where universities were banning certain speakers from speaking. The argument was that, as you say, the audience ought to be able to trash any nonsense or dangerous speakers.

The universities said that those peddling dangerous ideas should not be given a platform. If they'd be arrested on the street for promoting hate speech or inflammatory ideas then to admit them to speak in universities would be absurd if not illegal.

Personally, I think it depends who it is and what it is. Each case on its merit.
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Re: Free Speech Or Censorship

Postby Serpent on January 4th, 2021, 10:03 am 

It's a lot easier and less expensive to refrain from printing or broadcasting actionable content than to defend it in court. (See Covington brat case https://www.washingtonpost.com/)
And, of course, it's impossible to undo the damage to a reputation, or unkill a witness or unbankrupt a ruined business or unwreck a career in public service or unincite a lynch-mob.
Thing is: like all other social activity, speech can be dangerous when abused. Like all dangerous materials, it needs to be regulated for the protection of society.
You can be free and alone or live in a society and accepts limits to your freedom.
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Re: Free Speech Or Censorship

Postby TheVat on January 4th, 2021, 12:01 pm 

The standard here is that speech that limits someone else's freedom, like speech fomenting violence or putting someone in jeopardy such that they cannot go about their normal lives, or speech to incite sedition, is not protected under a First Amendment free speech umbrella. You can stand on a corner and make a speech about fire being good for the forest, but you can't falsely shout "fire" in a crowded movie theater. Hate speech, due to its potential for harm to the target, is proscribed in keeping with that standard. I think a common sense case can be made that simply venting about a group you dislike, if it doesn't foment violence or terrorize people, isn't prosecutable.
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Re: Free Speech Or Censorship

Postby Serpent on January 4th, 2021, 1:02 pm 

As to what's on the statute books, every judiciary is constantly changing what is legal: the limits of freedom are always tested, contested, debated and negotiated.
As to the limits that any particular news outlet, podium, pulpit or discussion forum places on its participants and contributors, that's a matter of institutional policy. Such policies can be challenged in court, or reconsidered by the executive, or denounced by spokespeople for another point of view - and changed where change is indicated.
In personal communications, we each have some sense of how much freedom is necessary and what's acceptable and unacceptable to say to another person. Problems arise when we don't share a single, comprehensible set of principles - or etiquette.
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Re: Free Speech Or Censorship

Postby Scott Mayers on January 4th, 2021, 7:32 pm 

Serpent » January 4th, 2021, 12:02 pm wrote:As to what's on the statute books, every judiciary is constantly changing what is legal: the limits of freedom are always tested, contested, debated and negotiated.
As to the limits that any particular news outlet, podium, pulpit or discussion forum places on its participants and contributors, that's a matter of institutional policy. Such policies can be challenged in court, or reconsidered by the executive, or denounced by spokespeople for another point of view - and changed where change is indicated.
In personal communications, we each have some sense of how much freedom is necessary and what's acceptable and unacceptable to say to another person. Problems arise when we don't share a single, comprehensible set of principles - or etiquette.

Other than my point above, I think "hate speech" is harder to interpret and lends itself to MORE abuse by those who CAN censor. As such, I completely disagree with censorship where the censors are themselves secret and protected (like how one has a right to see their accuser in court).

Censorship is also an excuse to abuse when political ideals are involved. With the point I made about Trump, he WAS censored but not PRIOR to a lengthy extent of giving him charity. Also, people CAN still discover what was censored so that they can judge for themselves.

In contrast, I've experienced censorship by my country's public CBC here in Canada. The censorship wasn't due to ANY abuse but due specifically to the value of the effectiveness I had in communicating some things. The site had already a secure means to assure those who have signed in are Canadian, given it is a specific commenting section FOR our the public.

What is interesting is HOW they censored me. They permitted me to initial comment but where some would comment in response, I would be censored in a way that acted like a kind of edit that gave the impression that those who posted in response had 'closed' the issue. There are also other forms of censor involved too.

Because I was familiar with the site's commenting, I was surprised one day when on the news (CBC), they announced that they were going to block commenting altogether on the supposed claim that the comments were 'racist' to our Aboriginal people. I was shocked given I had seen commenting on such issues but never saw 'hate' to the extent they were claiming. Furthermore, they claimed, falsely, that they had stated that people would comment anonymously when they had already STOPPED anonymity.

I also noticed that the PRIVATE site owner was granted the power to censor. All of this raised suspicion to me and there was NO way for us to confirm nor deny any such abuses had occurred. This kind of behavior is extremely DANGEROUS for the public and from then on I can no longer support our 'public' broadcasting service.

The point is, there ARE ways regarding 'hate speech' laws that are used NOT to stop abuses or to discover those responsible. The function was purely political. I'm strongly 'liberal' but completely disapprove ot the authoritarian means of having a SPECIAL class of censors able to prevent or alter the meanings of people's appearance in ways that can effectively harm the reputations of some or to completely prevent them from being heard.

As such, any 'hate' forms of censorship is itself BEGGING and threatens DEMOCRACY.

Another point: I've argued before that sites that permit censor are sufficiently suspect for merely practicing it because if they have the capacity TO censor, any accountability to WHOM may be posting goes out the window. For instance, IF a terrorist or some abuser of lessor concern were to speak on such sites, any information for legal purposes SHOULD be tossed out given the fact that those sites CAN alter the content of its members. If they are granted 'superior' faith in their sincerity, this biases such sites to arbitrary capacity to ABUSE themselves. "Hate" is a strong charge and the public has to be the ones to be able to judge for themselves what one says or not.

As for Trump, the ONLY reason I agree to the kind of censorship against him was due to the fact that HE was acting in a way that proved he intrinsically believed in censorship in principle. For such hypocrisy, I think they deserve a little taste of their own medicine. The media had been relatively fair in how they at least let him be heard fair.

Any other means of censor to me otherwise makes those sites dangerous. This goes for some of the science sites that I've discovered. I commented on some where I've signed up and commented immediately to this concern and it pissed off those authoritarians of these sites. I find it extremely counter to the philosophical virtue of science to even permit censorship and encourage others to boycott them all.
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