Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
what's the difference between racism and offensive speech?  and who decides?  certainly not the Muslims.
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 04:41:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's the difference between racism and offensive speech?

Incitement to violence, discrimination and/or other crimes.

and who decides?  certainly not the Muslims.

Of course religious groups don't get to define what's racism and what's not. Giving that power to the clergy would be point-blank insanity. Imagine giving Herr Ratzinger the power to outlaw unflattering speech. I doubt you'd want to live in the resulting society.

And that really is the crux of it: If you want "the Muslims" (who, contrary to your simplistic suggestion, do not agree on where the line between offencive and discriminatory is, nor on what speech is offencive in the first place) to be given the prerogative to decide what speech is discriminatory (and thus illegal) and what speech is not, then you have to give the same power to Hizb-ut-Tahrir, to the Catholic Church, to the Church of Mormon, to the Southern Baptists, to the Seventh-day Adventists and a whole host of other seriously unpleasant organisations.

Even leaving aside the fact that such a doctrine is self-contradictory (since many of the above-mentioned organisations find the very existence of other organisations on the list discriminatory), I singularly fail to see why it is desirable to put the judgement of what speech is acceptable into the hands of the most doctrinaire reactionaries on the planet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 08:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm, I see a few inconsistencies between your pronouncements and actual life.

a lot of clergy have been involved in the anti-discrimination movement, if you allow me to call this so, over the years, not the least of which is Gandhi, MLK, and others

religious groups such as Jews, Mennonites, and others have also participated in Canada and the USA to increase the laws' protection of their members and to raise consciousness about the effects of discrimination on all members of society

I don't see why Muslims should be any different

the Catholic Church has also made many statements and taken many actions to affect political events in many countries, some to the  benefit of the people, others not so much so

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 08:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a lot of clergy have been involved in the anti-discrimination movement,

Which does not change the fact that vesting the power to condemn speech in the hands of the clergy would include vesting such power in people like Ratzinger. If Martin Luther King gets the right to ban offencive speech, then so does Ratzinger and Osama bin Laden.

religious groups such as Jews, Mennonites, and others have also participated in Canada and the USA to increase the laws' protection of their members and to raise consciousness about the effects of discrimination on all members of society

I don't see why Muslims should be any different

They aren't. If Jews lobby for laws prohibiting blasphemy against Yahwe, they should be laughed off the stage. If Muslims lobby for laws prohibiting blasphemy against Mohammed, they too should be laughed off the stage. That's entirely consistent.

the Catholic Church has also made many statements and taken many actions to affect political events in many countries, some to the  benefit of the people, others not so much so

Your point being? Since when do two wrongs make a right?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not saying that Muslims should try to ban any talk about Mohammed but talk about whether Muslims are trying to take over the world, are evil, etc which is what these articles were about.  

And Oussama Bin Laden seems to have plenty of freedom of speech as does the Pope.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who died and made these particular Muslims prophets? I.e., who's to say that all, or even most, Canadian Muslims agree with them?

Supposing that a group of Jews were to attempt to ban The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, would you show the same degree of sympathy?

And of course madmen have freedom of speech. That is a red herring. The question is whether they should be permitted to police other people's speech.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, absolutely.  I think that that particular book is banned and should be if it isn't.  It is hate literature plain and simple.

and as for Holocaust revisionists, I think Holocaust deniers should face bans on their freedom of speech.  To say that the Holocaust never happened is clearly hate speech.  However, to try to investigate if Hitler gave the direct order to unleash the "Final Solution" can be considered valid historical research.

The reason that I mention that is that, from what I have read, that is one of the points raised in the criminal investigation and conviction of David Irving in Austria.  He was also prosecuted for talking about points which are historically unresolved.

On the other hand, he is also known to be a hate-mongerer on other issues related to Jews.  Although he should not be imprisoned for this (unless he advocates and incites violence against a minority), his freedom of speech should also be curtailed.

As should Mark Steyn and Ezran Levant's, two of the commenters in the BBC story.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:07:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, absolutely.  I think that that particular book is banned and should be if it isn't.  It is hate literature plain and simple.

It is also, however, a historical document. Properly contextualised - that is, annotated and given a foreword that explains its origins, it provides a valuable insight into a part of European history. Banning it may prevent it from being used as propaganda, but it will also airbrush it from our historical consciousness.

and as for Holocaust revisionists, I think Holocaust deniers should face bans on their freedom of speech.  To say that the Holocaust never happened is clearly hate speech.

Why?

I can see that a case can be made that Germany and Austria might want to ban Nazi parties and the associated expression and paraphernalia. Certainly, such measures were necessary sixty years ago. And while, personally, I think that the justification wears increasingly thin as the years go by, I am not sufficiently conversant with the state of German de-nazification to conclusively state that such laws are obsolescent.

But that is Germany and Austria. Those countries have a very specific historical reason to take heavy-handed legal measures against anti-semitism. It is not clear that the same is true for other countries, nor is it clear that there are similarly powerful justifications for indulging in the same kind of heavy-handed measures aimed against islamophobia.

On the other hand, he is also known to be a hate-mongerer on other issues related to Jews.  Although he should not be imprisoned for this (unless he advocates and incites violence against a minority), his freedom of speech should also be curtailed.

So, how do you propose to curtail someone's freedom of speech if you're not willing to imprison him? Impose fines? They'd have to be pretty hefty to shut him up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the same way that yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre causes a stampede, hate speech causes hate towards certain identifiable groups which can then develop into violence

every country should be careful of this for the sake of social harmony and protection of its citizens

in France and other countries, there has been the recall of magazines and books which have been deemed offensive.  this turns out to be quite costly to the publisher and one or two incidents would be useful deterrents.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a much longer causal chain between "hate speech" and the damage that it causes (i.e. the actual crimes committed) than between yelling fire and the stampede it causes. This makes establishing a causal relationship between hate speech and violence a decidedly dodgy issue.

Or, shorter version: I don't buy your causal chain. You're engaging in a slippery slope fallacy.

And on the subject of "social harmony and the protection of its citizens," one might just as easily argue that a syndicalist agitator promoting strikes and blockades as means to achieve higher wages is disrupting the "social harmony" and that citizens need to be "protected" from him.

Lastly, I notice that you keep conflating offencive speech with hate speech. Do you think that the two are the same? If so, who determines what is offencive?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 11:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's an easy one - if it is directed at a group of people identifiable by their ethnic origin, skin colour, religious affiliation, age, sex, sexual preference, or handicap.

so union busters would only be using hate speech if they were trying to bust up a union of Santa's elves.  ;-)

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 12:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Union busters are targeting people based on their political affiliation. Are you saying that political affiliation should not be a protected category? If so, expect labour unions to file for church status.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 01:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Herd Immunity .. Filling the Gaps

by Oui - Jul 24
26 comments

LQD - Long Term Covid: The Brain

by ATinNM - Jul 13
29 comments

Say No to Racism

by Oui - Jul 12
26 comments

England surrenders to Covid

by IdiotSavant - Jul 9
27 comments

Occasional Series