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Sei'taer
07-01-2010, 08:28 AM
Last night a friend and I had a long and often convoluted (beer was involved) discussion about this story (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/30/tennessee-businesses-face-backlash-banning-conservative-paper-hate-rhetoric/), which led to a talk about free speech. He made several really good points and today, when I am stone cold sober, they are still good points. I have to admit, I agree with him.

So, I ask you, is this hate speech?

Is this article above really trampling on the right to free speech?

Were the writers of the constitution speaking in terms of political speech, or all speech?

And the kicker. Why is it that people are so against banning books, but are ok with banning certain types of speech? Or to say it another way, we would never dream of banning a book like Huckleberry Finn, but if I was to talk the way they talk in that book, I would be shunned for the exact same speech. So it's perfectly fine to write a book that has filthy words and filthy context, because book banning and burning brings up images of Nazi Germany. If I say those same words though, I can be condemened. Why?

Just an oddity that we were both trying to figure out.

DahLliA
07-01-2010, 09:10 AM
my opinion is that people need to be less stuck-up and unsure of their life-choices.

who cares if someone calls your religion evil. say "they're stupid" and move on with your life.

if you're happy with how your life is why the hell care what other people think?

only exception is if someone is deliberatly trying to piss you off. then you either throw some choice words back or punch them in the face. and move on with your life.

I think that free speech should mean completely free speech. if someone wants to spout hateful nonsense just ignore them and move on

Ivhon
07-01-2010, 09:18 AM
Last night a friend and I had a long and often convoluted (beer was involved) discussion about this story (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/06/30/tennessee-businesses-face-backlash-banning-conservative-paper-hate-rhetoric/), which led to a talk about free speech. He made several really good points and today, when I am stone cold sober, they are still good points. I have to admit, I agree with him.

So, I ask you, is this hate speech?

Is this article above really trampling on the right to free speech?

Were the writers of the constitution speaking in terms of political speech, or all speech?

And the kicker. Why is it that people are so against banning books, but are ok with banning certain types of speech? Or to say it another way, we would never dream of banning a book like Huckleberry Finn, but if I was to talk the way they talk in that book, I would be shunned for the exact same speech. So it's perfectly fine to write a book that has filthy words and filthy context, because book banning and burning brings up images of Nazi Germany. If I say those same words though, I can be condemened. Why?

Just an oddity that we were both trying to figure out.

ADHD kept me from reading the whole thing. But from what I read, it seems the suit is doomed. These are private companies, they have the right to ban whatever they want to from their premises. Just as you have the right to not eat KFC if you find the removal of that literature to be offensive.

As for Huck Finn, you are shunned if you use that sort of language. Not incarcerated. The book is shunned in some circles too. My personal opinion is that factors such as fiction/nonfiction also play, as well as the historical context in which the author wrote - dead white males, as socially conscious as they may have been in their day, simply do not have the opportunity to react to postmodern thought.

I suspect Sini might actually agree with me, here. Free Speech is protected from GOVERNMENT restriction. Not private. Private institutions and individuals do not have the right to incarcerate or execute any legal punishment. You can say what you want to me, and I have the right to never speak to you again...you can't sue me for that. Same thing applies to this magazine. You can't sue to force me to distribute a magazine I (or KFC) find objectionable any more than I can legally force you to come in and eat my greasy fried chicken.
The arrangement before the article was written was a mutually beneficial business relationship. Magazine gets readership exposure to KFC customers, KFC gets repeat business from customers who enjoy reading the magazine while they eat their heart attacks. As soon as that business relationship is deemed to be no longer mutually beneficial, either party can cancel the relationship within the bounds of contract (which I am assuming does not exist in this case, otherwise the lawsuit would be framed as a breach of contract instead of free speech).

Goes back to the other thread where the people of this nation have grossly misunderstood what free speech means. It is solely protection from the government. If we protect ALL speech from private or individual repercussion - as this lawsuit would seek to do - we would be in a hell of a pickle.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-01-2010, 09:24 AM
I'm with the Dahlia - as long as no-one is physically harmed or restricted, it's just words and therefore shouldn't be punished.

That said, people really should learn to be (more) tolerant and respect differnt opinions/religions/skin or hair colour at least enough to not verbally trample all over the people with those characteristics. But that's more a question of etiquette than criminal law, IMO.

JSUCamel
07-01-2010, 09:25 AM
So, I ask you, is this hate speech?

Short answer, yes. Long answer, not so much, because it's an individual (and paper) expressing his opinion. It turns into a Bad Thing(tm) when that expression incites violence or threatening behavior toward the hated party (in this case, Muslims). But in short, yes, I would consider it to be hate speech, particularly this line:

I wholeheartedly, unfortunately, must assert that the U.S. must halt all future Muslim immigration, until Muslims acquiesce to living within the legal structures of their host nations rather than striving to restructure nations under an evil, de-humanizing, backward and defiling 12th century ideology, even should this take the next 50 years,

First off, this is just factually incorrect: most Muslims acquiesce to living within the legal structures of their homelands. Second, every group has its extremists -- this guy writing this article I would characterize as an extreme conservative (in terms of ethnic points of view).

Is this article above really trampling on the right to free speech?

The article itself? No, not at all.

Were the writers of the constitution speaking in terms of political speech, or all speech?

When it comes to freedom of speech, I don't think this is a censorship issue or a violation of free speech -- after all, the newspaper is free to distribute its paper elsewhere, just not at Kroger or KFC. As the article points out, censorship tends to come from the government. Instead, this is a business decision to not carry a product they believe is against their moral ethic. Wolfgang Puck no longer serves veal at his restaurants, because he's morally opposed to the process by which veal is made. Is that wrong of him? Should he allow whatever products other people want in his restaurant, or does he, as the owner, have a final say about what goes on the menu?

This would be a censorship (and violation of 1st Amendment rights) if the government had shut down the newspaper. But that's not what happened here. What's happened here is a few businesses (major ones, granted) have decided not to carry this publication any more.

It's not a free speech issue. It's a business decision.


And the kicker. Why is it that people are so against banning books, but are ok with banning certain types of speech? Or to say it another way, we would never dream of banning a book like Huckleberry Finn, but if I was to talk the way they talk in that book, I would be shunned for the exact same speech. So it's perfectly fine to write a book that has filthy words and filthy context, because book banning and burning brings up images of Nazi Germany. If I say those same words though, I can be condemened. Why?

The answer to this is actually much simpler than you would think. A book is literature -- or in broader terms, a book is art. In art, what you say, show or write can be metaphorical, can be developing a setting for a novel, can be describing reality. For instance, in Huck Finn, they use the N-word a lot. This isn't terribly offensive in the context of the novel, because that's how they would have spoken back then. In the 1850s, the N-word wasn't necessarily a derogative term, and it probably didn't carry the same connotation that it carries today.

Art (and literature) generally try to make a point about life -- either by re-creating the circumstances in a more pointed situation, or by highlighting the things that are good/bad about the circumstances.

But to say the N-word out loud in a conversation... that's not art. That's conversation, and while it may be "reality", it's not acceptable speech for polite company.

That's my take on it, anyway.

Basel Gill
07-01-2010, 09:30 AM
Freedom comes with inherent responsibility. I am free to say whatever as long as I accept the responsibility for it and its ensuing consequences.

For instance, I can walk up to a very large, angry looking person and call him a pole smoker if I like, BUT I have to pretty much expect to have my ass whipped if I'm stupid enough to do that.

In the case in the article, I would say that the paper can SAY whatever they like, but that does not mean that private business is obligated to provide a platform for them to speak. If the paper wants to spend its own money and provide its place distribute/read, then so be it.

I do not see many Christian bookstores stocking Penthouse and likewise, I do not see many sex shops stocking Jerry Falwell bios. If someone made a case to do so, I think it would be laughed out of court.

I would speculate that the original intent of the 1st amendment was to to protect political speech primarily, but so many issues touch politics that it is hard to separate what might not be so it has become fairly inclusive, which is fine.

Sometimes it just comes down to common sense. Say what you want, but be prepared to accept the consequences if it is unpopular.

Ivhon
07-01-2010, 09:33 AM
Freedom comes with inherent responsibility. I am free to say whatever as long as I accept the responsibility for it and its ensuing consequences.

For instance, I can walk up to a very large, angry looking person and call him a pole smoker if I like, BUT I have to pretty much expect to have my ass whipped if I'm stupid enough to do that.

In the case in the article, I would say that the paper can SAY whatever they like, but that does not mean that private business is obligated to provide a platform for them to speak. If the paper wants to spend its own money and provide its place distribute/read, then so be it.

I do not see many Christian bookstores stocking Penthouse and likewise, I do not see many sex shops stocking Jerry Falwell bios. If someone made a case to do so, I think it would be laughed out of court.

I would speculate that the original intent of the 1st amendment was to to protect political speech primarily, but so many issues touch politics that it is hard to separate what might not be so it has become fairly inclusive, which is fine.

Sometimes it just comes down to common sense. Say what you want, but be prepared to accept the consequences if it is unpopular.

I made the mistake of reading the comments on the Faux News article. Got through about ten before I had to sick up.

Basel Gill
07-01-2010, 09:49 AM
Yeah I was wondering why Sei didn't post a warning that it was a Fox link, espcially here...haha.

The comments ARE sad because they tend to come from ignorance. It is reminicent of the Japanese camps in WWII and the like.

Sarevok
07-01-2010, 10:13 AM
ADHD kept me from reading the whole thing. But from what I read, it seems the suit is doomed. These are private companies, they have the right to ban whatever they want to from their premises. Just as you have the right to not eat KFC if you find the removal of that literature to be offensive.

I would agree with this. However the newspaper probably has a contract with the distribution company. If the ditributor wants to end distribution before the contract runs out, they should have a good reason and be able to explain themselves if the paper sues them for breach of contract.

Ivhon
07-01-2010, 10:44 AM
I would agree with this. However the newspaper probably has a contract with the distribution company. If the ditributor wants to end distribution before the contract runs out, they should have a good reason and be able to explain themselves if the paper sues them for breach of contract.

I went on to say that it seems to me that a 1st amendment (free speech) lawsuit based on the facts of this case as we see them has zero merit. Therefore, a wise lawyer would want to proceed on anything else if he had it. Breach of Contract would be much easier to demonstrate - it seems - than free speech that just isn't there. The fact that they are not pursuing a breach of contract angle, therefore, suggests that there is no contract at all or that there is absolutely nothing in said contract that prohibits the action taken by KFC/Kroger.

However, Im not a lawyer.

Sinistrum
07-01-2010, 10:50 AM
Ivhon is dead on. This is not a government action and therefore there is no censorship going on here. You have the right to say what ever you want. That doesn't mean you have the right to have people actually listen to you and you certainly don't have the right to force them to. That is precisely what this suit is attempting to do. Pulling the news paper off the shelves is just Kroger and its distributers way of "not listening" to what the paper is saying.

Nazbaque
07-01-2010, 11:31 AM
Freedom is an illusion. Nobody in this world has ever been free and noboby ever will. This can be seen in any conflict. The losing side is robbed of freedom to do whatever it was they wanted to do. If a third party stops the conflict then it is robbing the original two of their freedom to have a conflict.

However, there are degrees in slavery. There is a difference in harming others physically or mentally (I've never been sure which is worse) and simply stopping them from indulging every selfish whim they have.

This is why people should never fight for freedom but fight against oppression.

So in terms of free speech where is the line of oppression?

Well that is a tough one I must admit, but in this single case I'd say that free speech is not the issue. The paper is still allowed to print what they like. If they have some sort of contract with KFC about them selling their paper it would be a breach of contract nothing more. They are free to print what they like and everyone is free to not read it.

Hmmmm.... maybe they should add a bit about freedom to not listen to the fist amendment just to stop this sort of BS.

nameless
07-01-2010, 01:09 PM
First of all, Huck Finn does get censored on a fairly regular basis, as do any number of other books for any number of ridiculous reasons. For example, this award-winning children's book
http://www.amazon.com/Higher-Power-Lucky-Susan-Patron/dp/1416901949
has been removed from hundreds of libraries because irate parents object to their children reading the word "scrotum" even if it's in a completely non-sexual context.

Freedom of speach gives you the right to publish almost anything except outright lies without legal reprisal, but it does not give you the right to have your publication displayed in private businesses that do not wish to display it. The lawsuit being threatened against KFC or the grocery store or whoever is completely groundless.

To quote the paper's owner, "by publishing opinion pieces the Reader is bound to offend someone, and those who don't like it can simply choose not to read it." Why he doesn't realize the same logic extends to those who don't like it choosing not to hand out copies of his paper in their places of business is beyond me, though if I had to guess I'd say it had something to do with an overblown sense of blind entitlement.

Sei'taer
07-01-2010, 03:56 PM
Sorry about posting from Fox. It was the only article I could find that wasn't posted on some weird conspiracy website. Maybe this (http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/tennessee-kroger-kfc-and-others-submit-to-sharia-yank-newspaper-that-discusses-islam/) is more to your liking? I didn't care for it. We were discussing the gist of the article anyway, not who wrote it.

I pretty much agree with everything everyone has said, and so did he. Our point of contention was that a lot of people are freaked out by book banning, but not so much by speech banning.

As an example, (this isn't based on any statistics, and I seriously doubt very many people here would support this) if I was to pass a law in congress banning the use of the N-word with jail time, penalties and fines and blah, there is a large group of people in the US that would applaud such a decision, on both sides of the aisle and of all colors. It's a filthy, nasty word. Most people probably don't say it anyway, so big deal.

If the government then started picking up books, and removing them from circulation for having the banned word in it, there might a a very small group of people that would support that action, and I figure it would be a much smaller size than the group that accepted the banning of speech. It almost seems as if it is ingrained in us to accept books as artistry and ruining it or taking it away is incredibly unpopular. What we were trying to figure out is why that is? In our opinion, it boils down to the Nazi type book burnings that left such a vivid image on our society, even today. We can't understand why a person would ban or burn something as valuable as a book. I even thought that it might go back even farther. Maybe it's been built-in through the generations that books are the way to knowledge and to desecrate them is bad.

Like I said, I think the uproar on this board would be the same in either case, but I think society in general would differ greatly from our group.

JSUCamel
07-01-2010, 05:44 PM
It almost seems as if it is ingrained in us to accept books as artistry and ruining it or taking it away is incredibly unpopular.


Books can be construed as art (i.e. the characters are saying the word, not the author) whereas if you say it, you said it, and you can't say someone else said it.

Sei'taer
07-01-2010, 08:02 PM
Books can be construed as art (i.e. the characters are saying the word, not the author) whereas if you say it, you said it, and you can't say someone else said it.

So as long as I write it down, I'm good? that's what doesn't make sense. Why am I good as long as I write it?

JSUCamel
07-01-2010, 08:32 PM
So as long as I write it down, I'm good? that's what doesn't make sense. Why am I good as long as I write it?

If I wrote you a letter, and called you the N-word, that would be just as offensive as if I said it to your face. There's a difference between writing and literature. One is written dialog, one is art.

Literature (art) gets more leeway in saying those kinds of things. Dialog (written or spoken) does not.

nameless
07-01-2010, 09:31 PM
I think JSU hit it right on the head with the distinction between the author's opinions and the character's opinions. In Huck Finn, for example, the main character/narrator drops N-bombs left and right but there is a brief forward by the author in which he goes out of his way to make it clear his own descriptor of choice was "negro," which was the 19th-century politically correct equivalent of "African-American."

Ivhon
07-01-2010, 10:30 PM
I think JSU hit it right on the head with the distinction between the author's opinions and the character's opinions. In Huck Finn, for example, the main character/narrator drops N-bombs left and right but there is a brief forward by the author in which he goes out of his way to make it clear his own descriptor of choice was "negro," which was the 19th-century politically correct equivalent of "African-American."

Which is the other distinction between books - or any written speech for that matter - and spoken words. Once the words are written they are locked in and there forever. You cannot view written words without taking into consideration the historical and social context in which they were written. So, for example in your analogy, if some Senator managed to get a law passed that forbade the use of the word "fag," in order to ensure parity between the spoken word and the written word as per your quandry, you would have to ban Shakespeare.

It is just different.

Neilbert
07-01-2010, 10:31 PM
If I say those same words though, I can be condemened. Why?

Just an oddity that we were both trying to figure out.

I can't force you to read Huck Finn. I can force you to hear me call you a dirty faggot.

It has to do with a continuum of violence. Reading is innately consensual, but other forms of communication can be violent. In a manner of thinking, murder is just the ultimate form of violent communication, with casual name calling or something similar sitting at the opposite end.

For instance, I can walk up to a very large, angry looking person and call him a pole smoker if I like, BUT I have to pretty much expect to have my ass whipped if I'm stupid enough to do that.

An act of aggression and violence which warrants a violent response. It's a bit eye for eye, but it makes sense.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-02-2010, 04:36 AM
I pretty much agree with everything everyone has said, and so did he. Our point of contention was that a lot of people are freaked out by book banning, but not so much by speech banning.

As an example, (this isn't based on any statistics, and I seriously doubt very many people here would support this) if I was to pass a law in congress banning the use of the N-word with jail time, penalties and fines and blah, there is a large group of people in the US that would applaud such a decision, on both sides of the aisle and of all colors. It's a filthy, nasty word. Most people probably don't say it anyway, so big deal.

If the government then started picking up books, and removing them from circulation for having the banned word in it, there might a a very small group of people that would support that action, and I figure it would be a much smaller size than the group that accepted the banning of speech. It almost seems as if it is ingrained in us to accept books as artistry and ruining it or taking it away is incredibly unpopular. What we were trying to figure out is why that is? In our opinion, it boils down to the Nazi type book burnings that left such a vivid image on our society, even today. We can't understand why a person would ban or burn something as valuable as a book. I even thought that it might go back even farther. Maybe it's been built-in through the generations that books are the way to knowledge and to desecrate them is bad.

Like I said, I think the uproar on this board would be the same in either case, but I think society in general would differ greatly from our group.

simply saying something did or in this case didn't happen is criminally punishable in quite a few countries:
Scholars have pointed out that countries that specifically ban Holocaust denial generally have legal systems that limit speech in other ways, such as banning hate speech. According to D. Guttenplan, this is a split between the "common law countries of the United States, Ireland and many British Commonwealth countries from the civil law countries of continental Europe and Scotland. In civil law countries the law is generally more proscriptive. Also, under the civil law regime, the judge acts more as an inquisitor, gathering and presenting evidence as well as interpreting it".[2] Michael Whine argues that Holocaust denial can inspire violence against Jews; he states, "Jews' experience in the post-World War II era suggests that their rights are best protected in open and tolerant democracies that actively prosecute all forms of racial and religious hatred."[3]

János Kis[4] and TASZ[5], in particular András Schiffer[6] feel the work of Holocaust deniers should be protected by a universal right to free speech. An identical argument was used[7] by the Hungarian Constitutional Court (Alkotmánybíróság) led by László Sólyom when it struck down a law against Holocaust denial in 1992. The argument that laws punishing Holocaust denial are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been rejected by institutions of the Council of Europe (the European Commission of Human Rights,[8] the European Court of Human Rights[9]) and also by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Historians who oppose such laws include Raul Hilberg, Richard J. Evans, and Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Other prominent opponents of the laws are Timothy Garton Ash,[11] Christopher Hitchens, Peter Singer,[12] and Noam Chomsky. An uproar resulted when Serge Thion used one of Chomsky's essays without explicit permission as a foreword to a book of Holocaust denial essays (see Faurisson affair). These laws have also been criticized on the grounds that education is more effective than legislation at combating Holocaust denial and that the laws will make martyrs out of those imprisoned for their violation

******

Holocaust denial is explicitly or implicitly illegal in 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands,Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Switzerland. The European Union's Framework decision on Racism and Xenophobia states that denying or grossly trivialising "crimes of genocide" should be made "punishable in all EU Member States".[154]

Slovakia made denial of fascist crimes in general a crime in late 2001; in May 2005, the term "Holocaust" was explicitly adopted by the penal code and in 2009, it became illegal to deny any act regarded by an international criminal court as genocide, implying Holocaust denial was still a crime, but excluding the term itself.

The Parliament of Hungary declared the denial or trivialization of the Holocaust a crime punishable by up to three years imprisonment on February 23, 2010.[155] The President of the Republic signed the law on March 10, 2010.

Spain decriminalized Holocaust denial in October 2007.[156] Italy rejected a draft Holocaust denial law proposing a prison sentence of up to four years in 2007, the Netherlands rejected a draft law proposing a maximum sentence of one year on denying acts of genocide in general in 2006. However, specifically denying the Holocaust is still a criminal offence since 1995. and before this the United Kingdom twice rejected a Holocaust denial law. Denmark and Sweden also have rejected Holocaust denial legislation.
[10]



what is (to me) particularly disturbing is that saying Holocaust wasn't as severe as generally accepted is also criminally punishable. How this is different from Nazi mind control and book burning, I don't know.

To apply it to your example Sei, it would be like jailing people for using the word "nigger", "negro", "black", "dark" or "ethnic". You know, 'cause they're all the same anyways and besides, no-one cares about the context that the words were used in. :confused:

Like I already said, to me this should really be a question of social etiquette rather than criminal law.

Sinistrum
07-02-2010, 02:16 PM
Yeah its a distinction I don't really get. I figure if something is protected enough to write or publish it should be protected enough to speak. Just to address Sei's example, I'd be up in arms if Congress thought about passing a law banning anything from being said, even the n-word. Banning speech is just the kid gloves version of thought suppression and nobody should have the right to do that to another. There is a reason where really the only speech that is banned anymore is that which is directly soliticing criminal action AND imminently incites it.