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View Poll Results: Should free speech be limited or eradicated?
No. Like it or not, free speech is a basic right. 30 75.00%
Yes, it should be limited to some degree or standard. 8 20.00%
Yes, it should be completely eradicated. We should be told what we can and can't say. 2 5.00%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 09-04-2002, 05:19 PM   #1
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Free Speech

A recent poll said that many Americans now believe that the First Amendment goes "too far", and that speech should be limited for the sake of national security.

What are your thoughts?

Should the 1st Amendment be repealed or amended?
Should it be illegal to say things that aren't nice about America? The President? The Government?
Is free speech a basic human right?
Should it be limited?
If so, what kind of speech should be outlawed?

I say free speech, like free thought, is a basic human right. To limit speech is to assume omniscience. In other words, for a government to say I can't say something like, "Israel should pull out of Palestine," is saying that the government knows everything about the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, and it can make an ultimate moral judgment on it, a judgment to which all Americans must adhere.

Furthermore, if the government prevents me from saying something like, "I hate Mexicans and women," it is disallowing my own personal preferences in people. While it may be wrong to hate Mexicans and women, it is still as much my right as it is to hate Osama bin Laden or whipped cream. (Incidentally, I don't hate Mexicans, women, or whipped cream.)
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Old 09-04-2002, 05:29 PM   #2
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I went with the first one (unlimited free speech) although I'm a bit undecided about the topic of slander.
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Old 09-04-2002, 05:36 PM   #3
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I don't think restricting freedom of speech is exactly a good thing. However, I also find it hard to understand those who seem to believe the right to free speech is *the* most important right in the world - almost as though it's more important than the right to life. I've heard people criticise African countries for restricting freedom of expression, while happily ignoring the fact that the majority of people in that country won't have access to clean water or food supplies. Given the choice of provding people with safe drinking water or providing them with free speech, which do you think is most important?

Also, sometimes I think it's necessary to restrict freedom of speech, for instance in the case of racist organisations. In the UK the leading racist party is the BNP and whenever the BNP speak there is a corresponding rise in racist attacks. In that case I think people are entirely justified in refusing to allow the BNP to speak at an event or rally. I don't think it's a positive thing that it's sometimes necessary to restrict freedom of speech, but I think it's sometimes necessary to protect people. Then again - who decides what people need to be protected against? What if someone in power decided people should be protected against people who expressed ANTI-racist views? I don't know the answer to that one - it's a difficult question.
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Old 09-04-2002, 05:47 PM   #4
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Freedom has its limitations, as does free speech. I have the freedom to walk into a store but I don't have the freedom to steal anything. I think too many people forget about the limitations on freedom. While in the US, a person does have a right to free speech, also take into consideration that this freedom is misunderstood, taken out of context, and abused. It also closely draws the line with freedom of expression, which is also widely abused. While free speech ought to be a right, it really is more a priveledge that should be upheld by certain limitations.

"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. "



I have a right to swear, but I can't walk into my son's daycare center shouting obscenities.

One has the right to say, in a public place, that they don't like George W. Bush, but they don't reserve the right to talk about plotting his death.

A journalist essentially has the right to be biased, but doesn't reserve his right to make false claims on an individual.

Neo Nazis have the right to rant and rave til the cows come home, but they can't propogate violence ie: "let's finish Hitler's job by killing off any non-whites by doing a.) b.) and c.)"

Freedom of speech is much more than a "basic human right." It is a responsibility that sadly, a lot of people cannot be trusted with. So for now it is a privelidge that's upholded (or should be upholded) out of general respect for other people. There are rules, guildelines, and regulations that go along with any freedom. For instance this forum is a great example of free speech, but if you toe the line and write offensively, spam this place with pics of porn, or make slanderous statements about certain individuals, and there will be a price to pay.
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Old 09-04-2002, 07:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
I don't think restricting freedom of speech is exactly a good thing. However, I also find it hard to understand those who seem to believe the right to free speech is *the* most important right in the world - almost as though it's more important than the right to life. I've heard people criticise African countries for restricting freedom of expression, while happily ignoring the fact that the majority of people in that country won't have access to clean water or food supplies. Given the choice of provding people with safe drinking water or providing them with free speech, which do you think is most important?

i think the people who seek to get free speech in african countries where the people are starving are looking for a more long-term solution to the problems there. where if they get the right to speak out against their government without fear of punishment they can help themselves...sure they will get aid from other countries, but they can help themselves the best. not that i necessarily agree with said logic, but i think that's what they're saying.



free speech IS important. and i believe there needs to be some, albeit very VERY few, regulations on it. i.e no plotting hate crimes, slander, and the like.

it's delicate and i doubt will ever be resolved.
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Old 09-04-2002, 08:59 PM   #6
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Re: Free Speech

Quote:
Originally posted by Not George Lucas
A recent poll said that many Americans now believe that the First Amendment goes "too far", and that speech should be limited for the sake of national security.
When a government limits free speech for national security reasons, it's because they don't have real reasons

Quote:

Furthermore, if the government prevents me from saying something like, "I hate Mexicans and women," it is disallowing my own personal preferences in people. While it may be wrong to hate Mexicans and women, it is still as much my right as it is to hate Osama bin Laden or whipped cream. (Incidentally, I don't hate Mexicans, women, or whipped cream.)

Can you hate someone else other than mexicans?

or you have a problem with me?


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Old 09-04-2002, 09:52 PM   #7
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1. Anybody remember the WTO protest riots in Seattle two years ago? There do need to be bounds on the volume at which the right to free speech can be exercised.

2. Another example of how some people have corrupted the right to free speech can be found at

http://www.adbusters.org/creativeres...allery/street/

These folks seem to think it's okay to vandalize private property to get their messages across.
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Old 09-05-2002, 03:36 AM   #8
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I dont think as a whole, America has as much free speech as it thinks it does. It should, but it just doesn't.


I believe in free speech.
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Old 09-06-2002, 12:05 AM   #9
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Originally posted by speedracer
2. Another example of how some people have corrupted the right to free speech can be found at

http://www.adbusters.org/creativeres...allery/street/

These folks seem to think it's okay to vandalize private property to get their messages across.
But speedracer, don't you think that advertisements invade OUR private space to a considerable degree? "What controls your eyes controls your mind" and all that.
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Old 09-06-2002, 12:57 AM   #10
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Originally posted by famous rungi


But speedracer, don't you think that advertisements invade OUR private space to a considerable degree? "What controls your eyes controls your mind" and all that.
adbusters doesn't think so, as long as the billboards carry messages they approve of.

And of course, instead of ponying up the cash to put up their own messages, they prefer to vandalize other folks' billboards, traffic signs, etc.

Actually, the thing that infuriated me the most was when they slapped stickers carrying their environmentalist messages on SUVs. I dislike SUVs as much as anyone else, but crap like this is not just wrong, it's cowardly.

The first time I stumbled upon this page, I sent an email to one of the guys at adbusters.org. His reply? "America was founded on civil disobedience." But stuff like this is more akin to, say, the Boston Tea Party than to any demonstration Martin Luther King ever led. (Which sort of proves his point, but not the way he intended!)
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Old 09-06-2002, 02:18 AM   #11
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I feel I should present the other side's views here.

1. If I'm not mistaken, Adbusters themselves don't do the streetjamming. They are known more for parodying advertisements and these get published in their magazine. It is various other orgs and individuals that do streetjamming.

2. That said, it is true that The Billboard Liberation Front alters advertisements that belong to other companies. And yes, this is illegal. I just want to add that the alterations they do are not irreversible-- they use double-sided tape or something that is easily removed. Furthermore, they acknowledge that, inevitably, innocent workers who are not responsible for the original ads would be sent to clean up the BLF's 'mess'; so they leave 6-pack beers for these workers who have to do the job.

3. Pooling money to put up their own anti-ads would defeat the purpose. Why? Because the idea is that ads taint our environment. To put up more ads that are against ads would only litter the visual environment more. By placing anti-ads over the existing ads, people are trying to 'erase these monstrosities', so to speak, from the environment. Actually, erasing monstrosities is too harsh a phrase--I'll use 'improve the environment' instead.

4. Why do culturejammers feel so strongly about such ads? I can understand this. Living in the city, my mind is filled with media detritus, things that forge redundant neuron connections in my brain. If something is repeated enough to you, you believe it; that's why I quoted "What controls your eyes, controls your mind". I actually feel bad when I see yet another ad thrown in my face, even worse when it is a dumb ad.
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Old 09-06-2002, 05:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer
1. Anybody remember the WTO protest riots in Seattle two years ago? There do need to be bounds on the volume at which the right to free speech can be exercised.

2. Another example of how some people have corrupted the right to free speech can be found at

http://www.adbusters.org/creativeres...allery/street/

These folks seem to think it's okay to vandalize private property to get their messages across.
Those bounds already exist. And no one corrupted the right of free speech. Vandalism is not a verbal aggression.
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Old 09-06-2002, 09:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by famous rungi

1. If I'm not mistaken, Adbusters themselves don't do the streetjamming. They are known more for parodying advertisements and these get published in their magazine. It is various other orgs and individuals that do streetjamming.
Well, adbusters (the loose association of people who have banded together to fight advertising) does do this stuff, and adbusters (the website) certainly endorses it.

Quote:

2. That said, it is true that The Billboard Liberation Front alters advertisements that belong to other companies. And yes, this is illegal. I just want to add that the alterations they do are not irreversible-- they use double-sided tape or something that is easily removed. Furthermore, they acknowledge that, inevitably, innocent workers who are not responsible for the original ads would be sent to clean up the BLF's 'mess'; so they leave 6-pack beers for these workers who have to do the job.
How generous of them.

Quote:

3. Pooling money to put up their own anti-ads would defeat the purpose. Why? Because the idea is that ads taint our environment. To put up more ads that are against ads would only litter the visual environment more. By placing anti-ads over the existing ads, people are trying to 'erase these monstrosities', so to speak, from the environment. Actually, erasing monstrosities is too harsh a phrase--I'll use 'improve the environment' instead.
If they want to do something legal, they should put up their own ads.

If they want to do something heroic, they should let the police know that they plan to deface such-and-such a billboard or advertisement at such-and-such a time and alert the media so that they can be held accountable for their actions (for better or worse).

But no, they choose a course of action that is illegal *and* cowardly, and that's what pisses me off.


Quote:

4. Why do culturejammers feel so strongly about such ads? I can understand this. Living in the city, my mind is filled with media detritus, things that forge redundant neuron connections in my brain. If something is repeated enough to you, you believe it; that's why I quoted "What controls your eyes, controls your mind". I actually feel bad when I see yet another ad thrown in my face, even worse when it is a dumb ad.
I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a hotbed of progressive thought, and I see culturejamming ads all over the place as well--on traffic signs, lampposts, everywhere. It's pretty sad.
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Old 09-06-2002, 09:07 AM   #14
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars


Those bounds already exist. And no one corrupted the right of free speech. Vandalism is not a verbal aggression.
But by vandalizing ads, they deny some else's right of free expression.
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Old 09-06-2002, 09:53 AM   #15
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Originally posted by speedracer


But by vandalizing ads, they deny some else's right of free expression.
Ads are not an "expression", dear. It is marketing propaganda.

I did some researching on the Billboard Liberation Front today and this is stated in their manifesto: You can switch off/smash/shoot/hack or in other ways avoid Television, Computers and Radio. You are not compelled to buy magazines or subscribe to newspapers. You can sic your rotweiler on door to door salesman. Of all the types of media used to disseminate the Ad there is only one which is entirely inescapable to all but the bedridden shut-in or the Thoreauian misanthrope. We speak, of course of the Billboard. Along with its lesser cousins, advertising posters and "bullet" outdoor graphics, the Billboard is ubiquitous and inescapable to anyone who moves through our world. Everyone knows the Billboard; the Billboard is in everyones mind.

This passage expresses exactly why ads these days are so wrong.

In the classic film Brazil, the protagonists are driving their truck across what seems to be a beautiful canyon. Only thing is, they can't see the lovely view, only us viewers with the eagle's eye view can. Instead, what they see are billboards lined up next to each other on the left and right, fully blocking out the scenery for the protagonists. An artistic exaggeration, definitely; but rings so true for today's world.
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