Mass Murder in Paris, and Censorship...

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Sparrow, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I guess I've been so busy at work I hadn't tuned into the BBC or CNN and caught up on the news in awhile.
    http://nypost.com/2015/01/07/police-say-shots-fired-at-french-satirical-paper/
    I'm planning on a vacation sometime this Spring and was checking out bed & breakfast places to stay while in and around Paris... and found out the dreadful news. Besides the terrorists attacks today, the twelve people massacred at a French satirical newspaper. They were murdered for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, and satirizing Islamic Fanaticism. It appears the newspaper satirizes all religions with equal vigor, Christians, Jews, and Muslims all get their fair share... all I have to say, is if you choose to live in North America or Western Europe, then you play by our rules and follow our laws, which include freedom of speech and expression. In America, those laws tend to be quite a bit more liberal and protected from censorship.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    France has a pretty poor track record with handling issues with Islam though. From their colonization efforts in north Africa to more recent efforts to outlaw hijabs. I don't have a source but I remember hearing about some large anti-Islam parade/protest in Europe. If I find the article I'll edit this post.

    I don't think these terrorist acts are entirely out to spite the notion of "free speech" but for these extremists to bite back at a world that keeps trying to corner them. But fundamentally our cultures do clash, there has to be a better way for them to exist without egging each other on though.

    My main dilemma in all this is kind of axillary to the main issue but representative in the media and public reaction. I think this underlines the ramping abuse of the term "freedom of speech". People are using it to stifle others who disagree with conservative norms and using it ad nauseam just for the sake of it. Any meaning from these cartoons or other edgy western produced media is starting to lose any message and just become the avatar of nationalism and cultural superiority under the facade of being a patriotic ideal.

    I can wax on about the bastardization of freedom of speech but I'll cut it short saying in summary, as much as I hate these comics for knowingly pressing buttons it is a tragedy that 12 people had to die for it and that now their deaths only amount to a growing scheme to demonize Muslims far and wide.
     
  3. PerFolmer

    PerFolmer Citizen of Urth.

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    It sucks bigtime for everyone. (There, a good edit)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  4. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    France, and every imperial power has had a horrible track record throughout history... and btw, so does every Islamic country. On a deeper level this is Islamic Conservatism that can not exist in a progressive democracy, it simply can't. Women have equal rights in our society, as should gay people, and within the confines of their religious beliefs that isn't possible. People poke a stick at these type of muslims, and ridicule them, because they should be ridiculed. It's alright to demonize a demon.
    Publishing a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad isn't an abuse of Freedom of Speech, it's exercising Freedom of Speech.

    "I come from a country without the First Amendment. Because most countries in the world don't have a First Amendment.
    As far as I know (America) is the only one. The current total of countries in the world with First Amendments is one. You have guaranteed freedom of speech. Other countries don't have that. They have Obscene Publications Acts. They have governments who can tell them what can and what cannot be written. Coming from a country without this thing, I know what an amazing, miraculous, cool, brilliant thing it is. And I also know that it is something that can easily be eroded if it is not safeguarded, or patrolled. A nice, easy place for freedom of speech to be eroded is comics, because comics are a natural target whenever an election comes up."
    - Neil Gaiman
     
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  5. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    I don't know. I feel like we've been doing this charade for awhile with only worsening results. We're only provoking them and justifying their preconceptions and thoughts about western culture dominating the globe.

    No idiot needs to be told that killing 12 paper writers is bad, especially in western society. People aren't using their freedom of speech to say anything worthwhile or to contribute, they are just using it to flex their own egos while twisting the fingers of hostile countries and terrorists.

    Sure we can say anything we want, but people are getting dumb enough to really do that when it hasn't been going anywhere. Freedom of speech allows me to criticize media which I find unfavorable, in that I'm thankful I can scrutinize things like the comics. Instead people will jump over each other to wag their fingers and say that I'm going against their freedom to regurgitate the dominating opinion while giving fringe groups more fodder.
     
  6. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    There was a very interesting quote coming from one of the remaining writers at the newspaper; she said that it's been very lonely these last five years, that there are no other publications in France that challenge the status quo, that voice dissent in an outrageous way. Btw, the French Government in recent history has one of the worst track records in Western Europe, of limiting free speech and expression, and encroaching on personal liberties.
    You seem to believe those who exercise freedom of speech must have some higher goal in mind and contribute to something worthwhile. Why is that necessary?
    There is nothing in our constitution that requires that protest and dissent need be productive, or answer to some higher power.
    Do you have any idea to what extent you can voice your opinions in almost all Islamic countries? Most Islamic countries have no freedom of press, speech, expression to compare to Western standards.
    Are Western Nations to enact laws suppressing speech that casts Islam in a poor light?
     
  7. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    I think it depends largely on whether that speech crosses into the category of 'hate speech'
     
  8. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    France has also been great at squelching opinions other than the popular hate. http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/unmournable-bodies

    I'd like to think people want to contribute to the world instead of pretending they are in an egocentric echo chamber that is damaging foreign relations and the safety of minorities within the countries. The prejudice movements like this secretly fuels is massive. People that don't realize a Muslim lives down the street are stocking up on firearms for their patriot race war to fend off the different people from encroaching on their already impenetrable grip on society.

    You're contorting what I say to support all Islamic principles. I just think that there is a middle ground between spiting acid and kowtowing that more people should consider instead of polarizing everything allowing media to demonize every follower of a faith or every person from a region. Read comments on any article about this and there are people calling for death of all Islamic followers. People were also calling to nuke North Korea. When outsiders to our culture see these inflated murderous reactions that only fuels them and their cause.
     
  9. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    That's a great a point, but actually here in America most "hate speech" is protected under our First Amendment, as it should be.
    Here's a quote from a group you probably don't much like, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), it's in response to some universities enacting a zero-tolerance policy toward "hate speech", but that response can be applied broadly to most every threat to the Freedom of Speech in the United States...

    "Many universities, under pressure to respond to the concerns of those who are the objects of hate, have adopted codes or policies prohibiting speech that offends any group based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

    That's the wrong response, well-meaning or not. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Speech codes adopted by government-financed state colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution. And the ACLU believes that all campuses should adhere to First Amendment principles because academic freedom is a bedrock of education in a free society.

    How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied. Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has fought for the free expression of all ideas, popular or unpopular. That's the constitutional mandate."
     
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  10. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    That's all well and fine... but there is no such requirement or attachment to the Freedom of Speech and Expression in this country, that exercising said rights need be productive or "contribute" to a better world.
    Don't you understand how deeply troubling and dangerous those sort of attitudes are, and how they slowly erode personal liberty? Our Bill of Rights are not a warm blanket we cover ourselves with; they are the bedrock of who we are and what America stands for.
     
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  11. Tamago

    Tamago 愛(kanji for love)

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    I was also thinking, the other day, about how quick people are to judge. I remember what a professor of mine said after watching the news from Paris, that he is saddened because of it, and that he feels somehow disappointed and distrustful of human nature, but that it is also extremely unjust to judge a religious group only because some of its believers act so at-least-apparently-barabaric. I don't know much about Muslims and their religion, so I am not one to talk (though I did hear about them not being against oppressing those of a different religion), but I'm not inclined to point a finger to every Muslim and say 'Shame on you!' or 'You aren't human'. The truth is that in every case and every religion this is a wrong thing to do/say, but to expect that most people will understand this is somehow illusive. As it is the case with freedom of speech, the 'judging' will never be 'fair' and 'rightly used' by the masses. I am not trying to be a negativist while saying this, only trying to underline what I think to be a reality nowadays. Whenever something of the sort happens, people are bound to judge and comment unfairly and unkindly. What happened is quite disastrous, and I myself think that no matter what the Muslim doctrine might be, those people acted unkindly and inhumanely.
    I compared freedom of speech with religious behaviour earlier, but now that I think about it, they aren't quite the same thing -of course, when a comparison is made, identity between the two peers is not supposed/included. But, even so, they aren't, perhaps, the same, as religious behaviour may be wrong, while freedom of speech isn't 'wrongly used'. It cannot be, as this generates a contradiction (freedom of speech supposes that one can say whatever one believes, though wrongly it may appear to others). Even so, I believe freedom of speech can be used stupidly and immaturely. However, this is an unavoidable situation, and I believe that freedom of speech is too good a situation to get rid of only because some people express themselves stupidly, incoherently, immaturely, or unjustly.

    _

    After seeing the news from Paris, I was quite shocked, distressed, and baleful. I am sad to see that such things happen even to this day, and I find that the reactions some religious people have (even today, as I said) are extremely unfavourable and 'outdated', if I might use this term without being falsely accused of atheistic arrogance. I've been baptised, and my entire family is Christian (orthodox), but I don't share their beliefs, as I find it quite hard to aggregate to any religion whatsoever. I don't think of myself as an atheist these days, but rather as a person inclined to metaphysical belief, quite carried away from religious belief. From this perspective, I must say I don't agree with many religious practices, or even religions in themselves, but as they are part of certain cultures, and people believe in them, one cannot do anything about them. However, what I find most disastrous and horrid in religion is some religious behaviours that end up creating situations of this sort. I despise it when people who think of themselves as being religious act as inhumanely as this, no matter what their religion is about. It feels as if they are only falsely following a certain doctrine, when they don't have (or have lost) any humanity.
    Anyhow, I know such things can happen in many other cases, not only religious cases: people who read Philosophical books and interpret them wrongly, people who commit suicide after reading a certain book/after watching a certain pellicle and so on and so forth. I can see only one way to conclude this confusing situation, that is to say that people are prone to certain wrong/stupid behaviour. Their 'doctrine'/'belief' might not be wrong in itself, but they interpret it abnormally and end up having erroneous behaviour.
    What's problematic is that we are the ones who have to cope up with it. Not to mention those who have to die because of such behaviour/people. From this point of view, I find those who comment stupidly, though wrong in their judging, to be rather inoffensive, while those who actually commit these acts, no matter their beliefs, should be imprisoned and severely punished.
     
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  12. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    So you think fools should go criticized because it is their freedom to? Freedom of speech includes the freedom to question the speech of other people. It goes both ways. In a sense we've almost had a role "reversal", now you are suggesting that something is entirely unquestionable.

    There are destructive ways of thinking and people shouldn't be complacent with them, the people in the world should be working to understand each other not to celebrate our cultures to spite the possibility of a better world.

    I don't think religion is inherently problematic Ramona, for quite awhile it was the cornerstone of every culture. Sure there has been bloodshed under it and some religious principles produce an external locus of control for some people but the fallacy that the religion is the problem. There are outliers preforming terrorist actions.

    I still contend there is a blatant misuse of the freedom of speech, when people start using "the freedom of speech" as a right to go unquestioned or to trick others that hate speech should be tolerated without criticism. Double points if it is a majority trying to stifle a minority.
     
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  13. Tamago

    Tamago 愛(kanji for love)

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    I don't know what to say about 'freedom of speech' being misused... As I see it, that's the 'problem' with freedom of speech: that you have to assume the fact that sometimes it might be 'misused', how we might put it. Freedom of speech implies the fact that some would say foolish things and perhaps act according to them. I can't see what we can do about that; if we make 'rules' for freedom of speech, then I don't believe it would be freedom of speech anymore. As any other things, it has advantages and disadvantages, but I'd dare say I'll much prefer freedom of speech instead of not being able to speak up my beliefs because of some sort of censorship.
    This 'misuse' we are talking about will eventually happen, whatever the case. Of course people in the world should be working to understand each other not to celebrate our cultures to spite the possibility of a better world, as you put it, but let's face the facts... that's not going to happen soon enough, and I believe that freedom of speech is hardly to be accused of being the cause of people not being 'aware' of the fact.

    And, what is more, 'the celebrating of one's culture' isn't the same as terrorist attacks against the other, only because he/she doesn't share our own set of values/religion/culture. The celebration of one's culture is more like accepting the tradition, understanding it, cherishing it, and perhaps acting accordingly to some 'prescribed' behaviour and such; and inside culture there obviously is religion. But from this to saying that 'instead of celebrating our cultures, we should understand each other and etc' is a long way. I believe we can understand each other despite our culture -that is and perhaps must be important -I'm not a person of tradition, but I cherish my culture, even though I'm not religious, for instance, and I don't agree with everything my culture has to offer; I do respect other countries' cultures, even though I do not agree with them. What is wrong is to try to impose your own set of values in a country that has a different set of values -isn't that what Muslims tried to do?
    It's certainly a pity to 'destroy' the idea of a nation's culture, and I don't think this is where the problem lays. We have problems understanding each other because of culture, well, it might be, but we are still not a 'united planet' and we are far from it, if we will ever become one. In this point what makes us be so unsympathetic with one another is religion (this is the case with the attack in Paris, not freedom of speech -those who attacked didn't understand their position, they had no rights whatsoever to do what they did, from so many points of view).

    I'd agree that it's hard for us to understand each other because we have different cultures (that's because some cultures are rather narrow minded and aren't so opened to other cultures; there are, however, many other cultures who embrace a type of change, and desire to understand people from other countries, despite the differences, and without necessarily assuming their values for themselves). But one can't ask that everyone should cast away their culture and unite in a... what will be a new culture. We are way too different at this point -it might take hundreds of years to become more united, to talk a single language, to have a single religion, culture, and whatnot. We can talk about it now, but I think it's not productive talking (some might say it's not desirable either, some would say that won't make us better people, that won't make us understand each other more than we do now). We can't do anything about that, as there are still people who believe culture is important, who stick to their beliefs, who are not ready to toss away their nationality and such. I am of such folk, for instance, though I am not so bond to my own culture, I admire many other cultures, and I believe it's a pity to throw this away only because there are horrible, foolish people who commit such acts -and it is my belief that no matter the system, no matter the culture, no matter the environment, there will always be such people.
     
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  14. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    There are already rules for free speech that are underlying and part of culture. Just that in cases like this tragedy you either have to side with the people protecting propaganda under a nation entering a nationalistic shift or immediately be considered be a terrorist proponent. One side is allowed to do the judging because they hold the false liberal priority of free speech allowing them to be unquestionable.

    I don't support cultural superiority or the movement to a universal culture/languages and I disagree with the negative outlook you have on the future of human relations. People can change where things are going, but they have to question and criticize the systems as they are and not let lynch mobs take over the world stage because they are the most popular.
     
  15. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how you surmised those things from my previous posts. My position is simple, that Freedom of Speech need not be productive, coherent, or have any of those lofty attributes.

    And I strongly disagree that religion was/is the cornerstone of civilization. It's language; more specifically from c.3500-3000 BCE and onwards the written word that has been the cornerstone of cultures. Through a common language a society creates all the things we associate with culture.
     
  16. PerFolmer

    PerFolmer Citizen of Urth.

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    Here in Sweden we have a law that is called "Hets mot folkgrupp" which limits free speech. It's a kinda 24/7 anti-bully law. Very flexible I might add. After the attacks in France a controversial individual here in Sweden by the name of Björn Söder (representative of Sverigedemokraterna, a political party) posted on facebook "Islam shows its true face". Now, I don't agree with that statement even though I theoretically could given my stance on religion, but that's beside the point. Another political individual by the name of Veronica Palm belonging to Socialdemokraterna denounced that by charging a complaint with that law against him, I think more have followed suit. What the result will be of this I don't yet know but while I think that of course one have to take responsibility for ones opinions, punishing you with such a flimsy law is very silly to me. Especially since the politicians here tweeted "je suis charlie" after the attacks, Veronica included.
     
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  17. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    After reading a little about the limits of free speech here in the States the line that cannot be crossed is that the speech cannot represent a 'clear and present danger' so I don't think what the French company did would count as hate speech if it were here. Interesting flip side of the coin, thanks PerFolmer.
     
  18. PerFolmer

    PerFolmer Citizen of Urth.

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    Thank you, Dreamscaper!
    No, I don't think that it would be hate speech either. They couldn't open shop in Sweden though. (from what I can gather):)
    We don't want their kind around here... bork bork.
     
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  19. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    Excellent post PerFolmer, it's a great example of a key difference between free speech in most parts of Europe/Scandinavia as it compares to the USA. Dreamscaper is correct, unless a person or group knowingly or with reckless intent, or the reasonable expectation of that free speech results in violence, usually a riot... then all else is protected under the First Amendment. Our First Amendment is exquisitely plain and simple actually...

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    What Veronica Palm and others did in Sweden wouldn't at all fly in America. They would have absolutely no legal recourse here. Certainly there are other limitations of free speech; slander laws, personal attacks that threaten violence, etc... besides that, it's very freewheeling here, just about any and everything goes.
    One example where we differ mightily, is that in many European countries there are laws against Holocaust Denial and expressing those beliefs, also laws forbidding the display of Nazi symbols. Even these type of outrageous things are allowed under our First Amendment. Go ahead and Google "American Nazi Party", it's in the open and well within our laws.
    I think in this instance I can speak for Dreamscaper, in that no matter how much he and I despise White Supremacists and find their beliefs ugly and abhorrent, we would also fight vigorously to maintain their right to express their crap.

    I think when you truly cherish something as important as Free Speech, you must embrace it even when it offends you.
     
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  20. PerFolmer

    PerFolmer Citizen of Urth.

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    Good ending words there, Sparrow. I can only agree.