1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Twitter & French Government Crackdown on Freedom of Speech and Privacy

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by JJ_Maxx, Jul 13, 2013.

    Twitter gives France data in anti-Semitic posts

    This is just sad. Everyone in America should pray that our government never looks to France for guidance on free speech issues.

    Thank God for the first amendment.

    However, I feel that America is leaning toward throwing the label of 'hate speech' on opposing viewpoints as well.

    Evelyn Hall's famous quote is in play here:

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    Damn straight.
     
  2. Pludovick
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    Pludovick Member

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    I'm not going to pretend that I know exactly where the line should be drawn between 'free speech' and 'hate speech,' but I certainly wouldn't call it 'just sad' that a country is using their long-standing discrimination laws to protect minority groups from what seems to be (according to the article you posted) pretty blatant and damaging prejudice.

    Here in France, free speech is defined slightly differently from over in America. Le Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen defines liberty as 'the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights.' Obviously, spreading damaging racist and anti-Semitic messages across the internet clearly infringes this definition of 'liberty,' and as such is classified as a crime.

    I'm not going to come out and say that either the American or French approaches to free speech are better than the other. I will say, however, that I feel far more comfortable living in a country where a small caveat in the national notion of 'free speech' means that oft-persecuted minorities are protected by law from the oppression they would face otherwise.
     
  3. 7thMidget
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    In the article:

    The whole thing with the Romani can be seen as contradictory... Not much better with the homosexuals, either.

    Anyway, chasing down those Twitter users does seem to be taking it too far, especially knowing how widespread racist/homophobic/anti-religious/etc comments are on the Internet. I'd risk saying they're pretty much inconsequential, per se. At the same time, if they want to chase everyone who speaks their mind a bit too visibly, I'm kind of glad they actually started with folks who do deserve it :rolleyes:
     
  4. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I'm sorry but I don't feel that opinion equals oppression. It appears you do though.

    I'm not condoning threats or violence, but anything that is someone's opinion doesn't oppress anyone. Then it just turns into the 'hecklers veto' where everyone can claim offense and then use the government to silence people. The men who founded America knew this and sought to protect us from this type of oppressive government.

    If I say that I hate people with red hair and I think they should all be deported, how is that oppressing red-haired people? It's my opinion and I have the right to have it.

    In America, everyone has the right be a conservative or democrat, libertarian or socialist, feminist or vegetarian, racist or anti-Semite.

    We allow everyone to be who they want to be and congregate with like-minded individuals. And everyone has the freedom to avoid or distance themselves from people they deem offensive. It works both ways.
     
  5. 7thMidget
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    7thMidget Member

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    But wait, JJ_Maxx, there are opinions and opinions. We don't actually want to give a lot of room for racists, neo-nazis, etc, just because they're allowed, in theory, to think whatever they want about stuff. Where I agree with you is in the over-involvement of the government. Twitter policy itself should forbid this type of tweets, and they should be the ones targeting them in the first place and making sure they don't stay in broad daylight for long. That first line of "defense" is the one that isn't working as it should.
     
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  6. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    That attitude is where the problems sneak in. You are putting one persons views above another persons and that's discrimination. You are deciding whose speech gets banned and whose does not.

    Is someone forcing Jewish people to read anti-semitic tweets? There are tons of anti-Christian tweets and nobody forces me to view them but even if I did view them it wouldn't bother me because I understand that there are people of all different viewpoints and opinions in the Internet.

    and last I checked, Twitter is a voluntary service, which means you are free to abstain from usage if conflicting viewpoints offend you.
     
  7. 7thMidget
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    7thMidget Member

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    Ok, you prefer to relativize opinions. I identify with that and usually do it myself, but I won't do it in every situation. I'll never say that atheists are more correct than Christians or vice-versa; at most, I'll look for the person who better justifies whatever position they have. When it comes to discrimination, are there actually any valid arguments for it that should keep us from fighting it? Because science has already showed that, biologically, we are all pretty much identical, despite our different looks, and that's a truth (as in, not yet disproved), not an opinion. Still, it's obvious that there will always be people who hate blacks or jews or christians or gays and I won't jump all over them just for saying "I don't like [X]". There are a lot of people I don't like for no special reason :) However, it's different when they're spreading around messages like "I want all [X] dead" or something, and actually mean it. That's what I'm completely against.
     
  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Yes, I think we're in agreement on that. I don't believe threats or violence should be a protected right.

    The problem occurs when there is no threat or violence and the 'hate speech' label is broadly applied to unpopular viewpoints. This can lead to very bad things.

    As an example, if a pastor of a church preaches that homosexuality is a sin and that God allows sinners to spend forever in fire and torment, there are people that would call that 'hate speech.' But again, it's their belief and they are not forcing it on anyone. Everyone is free to abstain or ignore.
     
  9. Pludovick
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    I don't recall saying this- anyone is entitled to an opinion. When that opinion is manifested in a way that causes harm to others, I would say that equals oppression. To use the example in the article you posted, I would consider calling someone a 'dirty Jew' oppressive as it perpetuates awful stereotypes that have led to Jews being persecuted for centuries.

    This seems to be a 'slippery slope' argument, and one that implies that the government are incapable of striking a reasonable balance between 'hate speech' and 'free speech.' That may be your opinion, but living in France I see absolutely no evidence of that being the case.

    Yes, you have the right to have it... if you can back it up. There's a reason that political parties that many would consider racist (Le Front National in France, the BNP in the UK) attempt to engage in reasonable debate to justify their opinions on certain groups of people. Engaging in debate means that they try and present the reasoning behind their opinions and attempt to justify politically why they hold these potentially damaging opinions. On the flip-side, it gives other people the opportunity to defend the persecuted and reveal the near-baseless views of these groups to be as shallow as they are.

    But if you're looking to engage in hate speech without backing it up, no, you're not entitled to your opinion. If there were as many people saying that they thought red-haired people should be deported as there are people engaging in casual anti-Semitism, of course red-haired people are going to feel oppressed. If you don't attempt to justify your potentially damaging opinions, you're just wantonly spreading hate without giving the persecuted party an argument to dispute and defend themselves against.

    If you're wanting to announce a genuinely sincere, well-reasoned opinion that may infringe on the civil freedoms of other people or groups, then feel free... as long as you are able to attempt to justify it politically. Baseless hate speech is a crime here, and long may it stay that way.
     
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  10. 7thMidget
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    Absolutely. And a government's opinion on what constitutes hate speech or not should always be looked at with great care. In this case, considering that the tweets even included images of the Holocaust, I think the attitude of the French isn't as shocking as it could be. I still think it's too much. It makes me think about I don't know how many teenagers (and adults too, why not?) who talk a bit too much and have strong opinions about everything before they can even begin to rationalize them. It can't possibly be reasonable to hunt them down for what they say online and ruin their good years forever. Unfortunately, it already happens, even with comments that are only meant as jokes (somebody had already shared this news in another topic):
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/03/teen-jailed-facebook-comment-justin-carter-suicide-watch_n_3542770.html
     
  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Ah I see. So I can have an opinion, but only if its the right opinion. (According to you, of course.)

    Crazy.
     
  12. Pludovick
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    Pludovick Member

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    Um... did I ever say that? If you actually read what I'd said, I said that if you want to manifest an opinion in a way that may affect the liberties of others, then you'll need to be able to attempt to justify it politically to avoid it becoming baseless hate speech.
     
  13. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Speech by itself doesn't infringe on anyone's liberties, regardless of how you twist it.

    If I say to someone, 'I hate Chinese people.' You're saying I can't hold that opinion because I can't prove it? It's an opinion, and by definition is unprovable. It's how I feel. Your saying that I am oppressing Chinese people?
     
  14. jmhoffer
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    Calling someone a 'dirty Jew' is not oppressive. It is insulting, sure, but so is calling someone a 'nigger' and black people do it to each other all the time.

    It should be noted that if you think it is okay for people of the same race to call each other racist terminology but it isn't okay for people of a different race to do that, or if you think minorities are allowed to use racist terminology, you're a racist.

    Suppressing hate only does one thing; it makes the hatred worse. Europe's laws against hate speech saw a corresponding rise in racism. When people are oppressed, their views become more radical. When their views aren't oppressed, they can be debated in the public forum and destroyed.

    From my point of view, especially as a Jew, the public suppression of speech has made my life more dangerous. Instead of people being able to say things in public, they harbour resentment and that resentment builds into violence.

    This all being said, Twitter is a private company. If they want to have rules against hate speech, that's up to them.
     
  15. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Exactly.

    Twitter wishes to remain open to all viewpoints, but was bullied into violating user privacy by Jewish organizations and the French government.
     
  16. Pludovick
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    Not prove, justify. If you can't justify your opinion of hate (in this case, against the Chinese) but you externalise it regardless then it's baseless hate speech, if admittedly on an insignificantly small scale that no-one will ever bother to punish. You're perpetuating negative attitudes with no basis, which when done by larger numbers of people is likely to lead to more serious consequences. To return to your earlier example, baseless attitudes towards red-heads are a direct cause of the relentless bullying and suicides of ginger children in schools.

    I've always had a problem with this view. 'Nigger' is insulting when used by people who aren't black because the word 'nigger' has its origins in the time of the slave trade, when it was used by white folk as a slur denoting how the black skin of their slaves made them inferior. Hence why the word 'cracker,' while offensive, isn't anywhere near as bad- it refers to the 'whip-crackers,' which is undoubtedly a very negative image but doesn't present them as being somehow inferior in the same way the word 'nigger' does.

    When two black people use the word 'nigger' between themseles it's not anywhere near as offensive as there's no longer the 'superior/inferior' black/white relationship. I still cringe when I hear it being used at all, but it doesn't mean that people who accept the use of the word amongst black people are racist at all.

    I'd also be curious to see a source for the claim that Europe saw a rise in racism when hate-speech laws were brought in. A spike in reported racist behaviour is logical when a previously legal act is made illegal- I'd love to know if it resulted in an actual spike in racist incidents or just more incidents being reported.
     
  17. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I'm allowed to have a baseless negative attitude if I want. That's my right. I'm allowed to have an opinion that offends others, regardless if it is justified and regardless if it causes others to kill themselves.

    It may be difficult to understand, but you don't have a right not to be offended.
     
  18. jazzabel
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    This is not about 'views and opinions' anymore, not since six million people died as a direct consequence of this kind of hate speech. This is why it can be reasonably concluded that people who still insist on malignant, anti-semitic rhetoric, would be prepared to act on it, like nazis once did. I comment the French government and Twitter for drawing the much needed line. If people thought a bit more about what they are saying, rather than worry about their 'god given right' to verbalise any monstrosity they conjure up in their brains, this world would be a better place.
     
  19. jmhoffer
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    I have a problem with this statement, because you aren't telling the full story. There were numerous organisations that pushed for the release of the files, not just Jewish ones. It is comments like these that also lead to anti-Semitism. Either tell the full story or don't tell it at all. There is no place in the world for yellow journalism.
     
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  20. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    That sums it up. It's not a difficult concept to understand, I can't think why so many people get confused by it.
     
  21. jmhoffer
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    Yes, it does mean that it is racism. You are using race-based arguments to justify it's usage. Racism, jingoism and religious hatred must all be treated as equally wrong or it might as well not be wrong at all. The kind of thinking you use is why the international media is happy to show Israel arresting a child for dropping small boulders on vehicles but barely reports the thousands of Christians being slaughtered in the Muslim world.

    I'm having trouble finding my original source for this. I'll keep looking but I might not be able to find it.
     
  22. jmhoffer
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    This line of reasoning is used to suppress real debate, which is why the laws against hate speech are universally wrong. Hate speech laws are being used to suppress debate about Jihad and Islamic terrorism, issues of real concern. Meanwhile, Islamist preachers radicalise their followers.

    Laws intended to shut down the Nazis were later used by the Nazis to destroy their political opponents. For instance, Germany originally passed weapons laws in an attempt to disarm the Nazis. When the Nazis took power, they used that law to disarm the Jews.

    Any restricting law intended to do good can and will be used by the wrong people to do harm in the future. The whole point of laws like the First Amendment are because some people had the foresight to know that if the most abhorrent hate speech isn't protected, everything is forfeit.
     
  23. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    How many people died during the Crusades? Should we ban and prosecute Christian views? Using Hitler as a catch-all to ban and prosecute speech is wrong. You're saying that the people who don't like Jews also wish to kill them which is not true, and as I said, threats or violence should be prosecuted but someone merely having a certain viewpoint does not automatically make them Hitler. It's silly statements like this that erode our rights in the name of your version of Utopia, where all thought is controlled by the government.

    While there may be smaller organizations, none of them are mentioned in any of the articles I read and the biggest one is the one that sued for 50 million dollars to pressure Twitter.

    See? No bias here, that's what the article says.

    Well said. When you agree to muzzle contentious views, you are opening the door to silencing all views.

    All people have a right to be free. Free to think what they wish and be who they want to be.
     
  24. jmhoffer
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    Not being mentioned by name is more of the yellow journalism that causes racism and anti-Semitism. It is still your obligation, as the person bringing this forward, to state that there are other leftist groups that are doing this, not just Jewish groups.
     
  25. Cydramech
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    I can't help but settle the problem with hate speech very clearly with this one anonymous saying: "It is the fact you feel offended, that quite frankly, offends me."

    So-called "Anti-"/"Racist" messages are just that at the end of the day, opinion, and whether justified or not: all immoral opinions have as much right to exist as any moral opinion. It really is just childish of anyone to even remotely claim someone should be censored for their supposed "offensive" message, if not hypocritical altogether.
     

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