Author Topic: Terrorized Americans  (Read 22717 times)

Pete at Home

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #50 on: January 05, 2016, 11:45:35 PM »
?? Why else would I support those measures in a discussion about dealing with gun violence ??  Your reach on this one far exceeds your grasp.  But if you think I come up short on this, why is this the main idea on the lips of every Republican candidate to deal with this problem?

Why else other than what?   How else are you going to misconstrue my complaint about your false accusation that gun control opponents want to "do nothing" about gun violence?  If you recognize that mental health and/or the 7+ other suggestions I made would reduce gun violence then why make that absurd false accusation against me and others here? 

Gaoics79

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2016, 08:49:40 AM »
Quote
I think the legal definition includes an "attack" rather than just an expression of a feeling.  If the right of free speech is a sweeping guarantee, aren't libel laws in conflict with it?

AI it should be noted that defamation (including libel and slander) belongs in the civil sphere. It is not "illegal" to defame someone. You do not go to jail for libel or slander. If you defame someone and they suffer injury as a result, whether economic or otherwise, they can sue you in civil court for their damages, which is quite a different thing.

A few points of distinction between traditional defamation law and hate speech laws as they typically exist: truth is always a defence in a defamation case whereas not necessarily so with hate speech. Indeed a Canadian court recently rejected truth as an absolute defence to hate speech laws. Defamation applies to individuals who must sue and prove their individual damages in court (where the remedy is money) whereas with hate speech laws, while they can be prosecuted at the instigation of individuals (such as in human rights tribunals) the laws are plainly designed to apply broadly, and the purpose is to suppress unsavory speech rather than to compensate an individual for his loss.

To put this succinctly, defamation is to compensate individuals for damages caused by lies told about them (in writing or otherwise) whereas hate speech laws simply exist to suppress speech, regardless of its truth and regardless of the damage it has caused. Indeed, if the speech meets the definition prescribed, it is considered harmful by definition.

The last point about hate speech is that it is not an "attack" or a call to violence. Standing in front of a crowd and calling for death to someone (or a group) is already covered by existing criminal laws dealing with incitement, as would be burninv a cross on someone's lawn.  Similarly, hate propaganda laws in Canada and other jurisdictions already cover things like calling for genocide. It is false to say that this is what hate speech laws protect against. Section 13 of the Canada Human Rights Code (now repealed) defined it as any material "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" based on prohibited grounds such as race or religion. Again I note that truth is not a defence. For instance, from the Whatcott case head notes:

"Truthful statements can be presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech, and not all truthful statements must be free from restriction."

I leave it to you and others to parse the significance of that latter statement by Canada's highest court.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 08:53:19 AM by jasonr »

AI Wessex

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2016, 08:47:02 PM »
I yield on Jason's explanation of hate speech, but beg to quibble that hate speech when coupled with imminent threats is still prohibited.  That's the "attack" I was thinking of, but my argument was too broadly stated.

Fenring

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2016, 11:29:50 PM »
I yield on Jason's explanation of hate speech, but beg to quibble that hate speech when coupled with imminent threats is still prohibited.  That's the "attack" I was thinking of, but my argument was too broadly stated.

Heck, even under Patriot Act and PAII with any sign of imminent threat they can whisk you away for questioning; it doesn't even have to involve speech laws at all. There are many ways to deal with people who make threatening speech or who incite to violence without having to suppress express of distasteful opinions. If you're talking about federal laws then Homeland already has licence to detain people on the conditions you mention.

Gaoics79

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2016, 01:22:17 PM »
AI I think it's important that people understand what "hate speech" is in this debate as there is alot of misrepresentation going on. That you were prepared to just shut down a conversation when someone suggested they did not believe in hate speech laws indicates that you were mistaken about what it is. (or are otherwise far more extreme than I imagined)

To use a pertinent example, some people think that unchecked Muslim immigration is dangerous, for a variety of reasons, such as terrorism, cultural incompatibility, etc. You may certainly think that some of the people expressing those views are bigots. That is your opinion, which you are entitled to. However, if you believe that expressing this opinion should be made illegal and subject to prosecution, then we are going to have a problem. Note that expressing such a view (that unchecked Muslim immigration is dangerous), even if supported by undisputed facts and real stats, easily meets the test set out by the Supreme Court of Canada and the basic definition I mentioned (likely to expose a group to contempt or hatred). There is virtually no way one could talk about certain issues meaningfully without the risk of exposing certain groups to contempt or hatred. This is why the provision of Canada's HRC was repealed - it was being used by Muslim groups to shut down pundits, columnists and others they considered Islamophobic not because they said anything untrue, called for anyone's death or harmed any specific person, but merely because the *opinion* (regardless of its soundness or merit) could conceivably expose a vaguely defined group of people to hatred or contempt by *others*.

This is a dangerous road to travel. I don't feel hesitant to say that such law, if enforced, is pretty well the end of meaningful free speech.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 01:25:12 PM by jasonr »

AI Wessex

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2016, 08:00:24 PM »
 Jason, I was mistaken in thinking there was a legal defintion.  That's all.  People should be free to hate away or  bigotize if it moves them, just make sure your fist doesn't reach my (or someone else's) chin.

AI Wessex

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #56 on: January 08, 2016, 07:45:49 AM »
You might think this line of discussion is a dead horse, but I just saw it twitch.  Here's a bit of a news report about an assault in my town that exemplifies what I have been saying:
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Ann Arbor police officers asked witnesses if the group beating the 28-year-old had yelled anything racial during the assault, but the witnesses said they had not, according to the report.

Racially charged language is necessary for a state charge of ethnic intimidation.
Seriati may think the notion of "ethnic intimidation" hate speech is an assault on the right of free expression, but Michigan (and I assume some other states) has a law against saying certain kinds of things about a person's race or ethnicity while doing certain things (like beating them up). It's a separate charge that carries its own penalties:
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(1) A person is guilty of ethnic intimidation if that person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, does any of the following:

(a) Causes physical contact with another person.

(b) Damages, destroys, or defaces any real or personal property of another person.

(c) Threatens, by word or act, to do an act described in subdivision (a) or (b), if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act described in subdivision (a) or (b) will occur.

(2) Ethnic intimidation is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

D.W.

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2016, 09:28:47 AM »
Wouldn't you agree AI that is the correct way to handle it under the law?
I much prefer that to the law labeling someone as a racist because they happened to get in a fight with someone of a race other than their own...

AI Wessex

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2016, 10:37:24 AM »
Yes, I think the law makes sense.  I point it out because it *is* a matter of law that speech is connected to actions.

Gaoics79

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2016, 11:16:13 AM »
Al what you describe belongs more in the category of hate crime, something very different from speech, although speech could be a necessary component (or perhaps just an indicator) to establish the mens rea of the offence. Note I don't agree with hate crime laws either. But they are better than hate speech laws.

Fenring

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2016, 11:46:12 AM »
Yes, I think the law makes sense.  I point it out because it *is* a matter of law that speech is connected to actions.

What you quoted above *is not* about hate speech laws. Those are *hate crime* laws, which means committing something that's already a crime and tagging onto it a "hate" motive. In other words, not all motives are created equal, and one involving hate against protected or minority groups is treated more severely. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue we've been discussing, which is whether certain kinds of speech can or should be be defined as crimes on the basis that they are hateful. jasonr has stated that in Canada, for instance, there has been precedent to suggest speech on certain topics was, in fact, criminal, although if I understand him correctly that part of the law was repealed. I don't know what the laws are in each state for this so maybe someone knowledgeable on the subject could say.

Note that this digression about hate speech began when Seriati was pointing out that in his opinion liberals are no longer the defenders of civil rights, and he mentioned encroaching on free speech as one of his examples. Here were a couple of replies to his claim:

How can hate speech laws be framed as anything other than restrictions on free speech? One would have to argue that 100% unrestricted free speech is a good unto itself, of course, in order to argue that this is a problem. Since I doubt many people think it should be permitted to shout "fire" in a theatre this point seems to be entirely specious. Al, Seriati's point isn't that by championing hate speech laws the left is evil, he just means that they aren't championing civil liberties. He never specified that there cannot be a case where something should be ruled as being more important than civil liberties; that was your hidden insertion.
Hate speech is speech, just not a reflection of any civil right.  If you disagree, then you would agree that all laws are infringements on free speech if they punish you for harassing people in public because they are black or burning down their churches (a form of extreme speech), or for publishing lies about businesses (your own or others) to advance your own commercial prospects.  The examples of trampling on your "civil rights" get even more idiotic, but we're all leftist if we support any of them. 

and:

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Hate speech is nothing more or less than the disfavored and unpopular speech the first amendment entitles us to make, so that it can be held up to scrutiny and condemnation in the light of day.  Repression of it is fundamentally against civil rights.
You're outright making things up here. Hate Speech is speech that amounts to terroristic threats against people based on classes that the public has an active interest in protecting from discrimination. It's not disfavored speech- it's categorial of incitement to violence or other oppressive acts that deny people liberties that the government has a positive duty to ensure and protect- in this case the positive right to freedom to act on equal terms as a private citizen unencumbered by discrimination based in any of the protected identity categories.

Al, here you were saying that not all speech is protected as a civil right, and that hate speech is (or should be) counted among those types of speech that are not protected. But in this case, also, you began to conflate hate speech with hate crimes, and indeed the rabbit hole down which this leads is where some people distinctly want it to go - that some kinds of otherwise non-criminal speech should nevertheless count as hate crimes. It is *this* aspect of the topic where the left encroaches on civil liberties or at the very least doesn't champion them.

In Pyrtolin's quote he's saying that hate speech - i.e. saying things negative or injurious about someone else on the basis of race, regardless of veracity - is a "terroristic threat" and therefore criminal (or at least he thinks it should be; he's not clear on this point). He also conflates speech that could be insulting or harmful to others with criminality, where in his view the speech itself is terroristic purely on account of it saying something hateful about a person or group. This statement, too, conflates speech with an actual crime (e.g. making a direct death treat or burning a church), thus at least implying that speech on certain topics should be banned just in case they may have a negative impact or injurious effect on someone. I'm not saying he's right or wrong, but he certainly is not a champion of civil rights in this sense, even though I know he feels he's protected the civil rights of the aggrieved. That's always the case with authoritarian laws, though, isn't it? It's always to "protect" someone that people lose rights. In a police state, for example, the state will invariably say the zero tolerance policy towards crime is to protect the victims of crime and make the streets safe to walk. As far as it goes these statements tend to be true in a way, even though the vehicle through which they're achieved involves eliminating civil rights.

Al, the bottom line is that crimes are already crimes, and if "hate" gets tacked onto the charge to make a crime a "hate crime" then that's essentially just a matter of sentencing and not to do with whether something that wasn't a crime before is one now. 'Hate speech,' on the other hand, is about turning certain kinds of speech from being protected into being criminal. We know that not every liberal has the same view on this topic, but it would be unrealistic to argue that liberals as a whole champion civil rights in the realm of speech when many of them certainly would like to see hate speech laws on the books.
 
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 11:49:51 AM by Fenring »

Seriati

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #61 on: January 08, 2016, 05:46:03 PM »
Well to be absolutely fair here, I do have a problem with hate crime legislation as well, or at least to the extent it adds a penalty to an existing crime.  That's a violation of the equal protection under the laws principal in that it treats some people as more equal than others.  Honestly, I don't see a good reason that beating a random person to a pulp because you're a crazy jerk, should result in a lighter sentence than because you're a racist jerk.  On the other hand, I agree that where you're engaged in racist intimidation there should be a steep consequence.  It doesn't have to be steeper than consequences for other intimidation but it should be prosecuted every time.  But reasonable minds can disagree on hate crime legislation, you can always avoid the consequences of it by not engaging in the underlying illegal behavior.

Hate speech legislation is of a different character as it attempts to suppress otherwise legal behavior.

Pete at Home

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #62 on: January 09, 2016, 03:04:07 PM »
Of course freedom of speech conflicts with hate speech , defamation, and sedition laws.  That's why in this age, Americans who want to sue for defamation, will, when possible, go forum shopping to England where there is no first Amendment.

Pete at Home

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #63 on: January 09, 2016, 03:41:43 PM »
Amusing story of how racial hate prosecution was attempted in Kurdistan, where a British celeb pointed out the visual resemblance of local sausage to "horse penis"
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-35220941

DJQuag

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #64 on: January 09, 2016, 04:39:53 PM »
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/u.s.-street-preacher-arrested-in-london-for-using-homophobic-language

This is where hate speech laws lead.

Thankfully, Parliament amended the law after a few dozen incidents l ike this one.

Pete at Home

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Re: Terrorized Americans
« Reply #65 on: January 09, 2016, 05:24:25 PM »
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/u.s.-street-preacher-arrested-in-london-for-using-homophobic-language

This is where hate speech laws lead.

Thankfully, Parliament amended the law after a few dozen incidents l ike this one.

Fascinating. Thank you for the link.
Good story. In the USA there are laws on the books that would have let him sue police for violation of human rights.  Glad to have Mr Bean on the side of free speech in the face of social justice tyrannanny