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Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World Is Limiting Free Speech 1160

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say dept.
concealment writes "In the face of the violence that frequently results from anti-religious expression, some world leaders seem to be losing their patience with free speech. After a video called 'Innocence of Muslims' appeared on YouTube and sparked violent protests in several Muslim nations last month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that 'when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others' values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.' It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, 'Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.'"
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Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World Is Limiting Free Speech

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  • by rubycodez (864176) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:18AM (#41657357)

    but speech that triggers violent behaviour in religious whackjobs must be curtailed!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alphatel (1450715)
      It is your own fault that you have suffered this jihad. Your must be destroyed. It is too bad I cannot learn that killing in the name of God is ultimately killing in the name of Ignorance. But that is because all your oil money doesn't trickle down to me.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:43AM (#41657715)

      So now we have people who are labeling individualism with hate. Orwellianism is happening right now; as we speak.

    • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:56AM (#41657871)

      There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.

      • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:05AM (#41658025) Journal

        "I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another and I know there are people in the world that do not love their fellow human beings and I hate people like that." - Tom Lehrer

    • by MitchDev (2526834) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:28AM (#41658385)
      Bingo, were that I had mod points currently. How about we don't tolerate morons that kill over words rather than seeking to to curtail the basic human right of freedom of speech and expression?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:20AM (#41657383)

    Trading our liberties for other imagined benefits will not end well. You cannot crack the door for this beast.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:33AM (#41657577)

      Appeasement didn't work with the Nazis, why would it work with Islamofascist scum?

      -- Ethanol-fueled

    • by mapkinase (958129) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:39AM (#41657665) Homepage Journal

      crack the door ?
      crack the door ??
      crack the door ???

      David Irving. Dozens of Muslim political prisoners (Tarek Mehanna, most recent - exclusively free speech).

      On 11 November 2005, the Austrian police in the southern state of Styria, acting under the 1989 warrant, arrested Irving. Irving pleaded guilty to the charge of "trivialising, grossly playing down and denying the Holocaust" and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in accordance with the law prohibiting National Socialist activities (officially Verbotsgesetz, "Prohibition Statute").

      The door has been cracked open long time ago, it's just this time they are coming for you, Martin.

      • by JazzHarper (745403) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:52AM (#41657815) Journal

        European governments have never embraced the concept of absolute Freedom of Speech. It is a peculiarly (U.S.) American idea, which never caught on, elsewhere. Not even in Canada, as a matter of fact.

        • by starfishsystems (834319) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:21PM (#41659175) Homepage
          Indeed, there's an oddly fundamentalist note to setting up any political principle as an absolute.

          It's a peculiar quality that the United States has of having, on one hand, an abundance of sacred absolutes (right to bear arms, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion; all wonderful things), but on the other hand living within a highly-militarized police state. I wonder if all this talk of sacred absolutes hasn't proven useful as a kind of smoke screen to let politicians and big business set themselves up with judicial and extrajudicial powers that quite effectively bypass these same absolutes.

          There's nothing quite like the love of rhetoric for derailing reasonable discussion. Political absolutes make ideal fuel for rhetoric. It's much easier to reach for an absolute than it is to reflectively ask, "Oh, what is it about this particular situation that is problematic, and what shall we do about it?" If, in fact, we must learn to navigate through various shades of grey, then let's admit that and get on with the work. In Canada, for example, we have laws that restrict hate speech. They were written in response to a particular situation. They do not address absolutes. They're probably flawed, and we'll discover those flaws as we encounter edge cases. It's all a bit grey, but does that mean that Canada is thereby at risk of becoming a police state? Hardly. The main movement in Canada toward bigger prisons, harsher jail sentences, and less funding of science by government is coming from - guess who? - the fundamentalists.
          • by JazzHarper (745403) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:08PM (#41659873) Journal

            No one has ever before mistaken the framers of the US Constitution for fundamentalists. They considered these liberties to be the natural rights of man, not dependent upon any religious belief, and, yes, they considered those rights to be absolute. Fundamentalists, on the other hand, despise the philosophical naturalism from which the rights of man are derived; they consider such irreligious philosophy "secular humanism". Fundamentalists would gladly discard the Rights of Man in favor of the Law of God.

      • by Cow Jones (615566) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:46PM (#41660385)

        As an Austrian; thank you for bringing this up. People from other countries are often confused or concerned about this law, so I'd like to clear a few things up. The situation is very similar in Germany, but since I'm an Austrian, and you specifically mentioned the Irving trial, I'll concentrate on that.

        The Verbotsgesetz is indeed an intentional limitation on free speech. As far as I know, this is the only major difference to what is considered free speech in the US, although we may be a bit stricter concerning incitement of popular hatred against ethnic groups. Both the Verbotsgesetz and the right to free speech are part of the Austrian constitution. To understand why we have this law, and why such an obvious limitation on what we can say or publish is tolerated by the people, you need to take a look at when and why the law was instated.

        The first version became law on May 8, 1945 - the very day that WWII ended in Europe with the capitulation of the Wehrmacht. Its main and largest part deals with the process of "denazification," which was an acute necessity in order to resume normal life after the war. It was also mandated by the allied forces, who continued to occupy Austria for the next ten years. This part is now dead law, because the denazification is as complete as it's ever going to be, and also because there was an amnesty for former members of the NSDAP in 1957.

        The second part of the law forbids the reformation of the NSDAP and certain organizations associated with it (like the SS, SA, etc). It also - and here's where the interesting part comes in - made national-socialist activities illegal. This includes any action which "denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity".

        I'm sure you will understand why such a law was considered necessary immediately after the war. So why didn't we repeal it later? The main reason for that was to send a strong public signal that this era is once and for all over. During the time of the Third Reich, there was a significant brain drain in Germany and Austria. Many of the most important scientific minds, as well as writers, artists, lawyers, doctors, etc, were Jewish and were forced to emigrate. It was of great importance to prove to those people that it was safe to return.

        Which leaves the question: how long should this law, as a special case due to historic necessity, remain in force? This point is actually debated regularly, but unfortunately the only people who are publicly advocating to repeal it are from the extreme right. They're not at all concerned about freedom of speech in general, they just want to avoid fines and prison terms after their typical antisemitic tirades. As a result, they are consistently voted down. As for me.. as long as there are Holocaust survivors living in this country, I wouldn't want the law repealed. At some point in the future, it would probably be best to put it behind us and let the normal laws handle these cases.

        By the way, this Innocence of Muslims video (idiotic as it is) would not have violated any Austrian law. There's no need to be afraid about speaking your mind in Austria, as long as you don't publicly deny or condone the Nazi war crimes. Irving knew that perfectly well. He knowingly violated the Verbotsgesetz multiple times, and as a result he had to spend 13 months in prison. It was a stupid thing to do, and it appears he has learned his lesson.

        CJ

    • Why so anonymous? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stevegee58 (1179505) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:41AM (#41657683) Journal
      I never thought I'd say the US was a beacon for anything without feeling embarrassed. But if protecting free speech, even hateful, intolerant, vitriolic speech, is all the US stands for then I'm damn proud to be American.
      F.U. to the cowardly countries who can't stand to hear opposing opinions that might upset someone.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:41AM (#41657691) Journal

      This needs to become a hot button item. Everyone needs to ask about it and it should be a polarizing issue like abortion and gay rights seems to be. This is far more important than either of those in shear number of people affected. If a politician votes to limit any of the freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights he does not get my vote. Period.

      • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:54AM (#41658789)

        it should be a polarizing issue

        I find this attitude to be unsettling. The fact that abortion and 'gay rights' happen to be polarizing issues is one of the problems with the American political system. Of course, if the U.S. had more than two parties with clout then this effect probably wouldn't be so damaging. I find it very troubling that an anti-abortion Catholic who believes in a more liberal form of distributive justice would vote Republican because somehow they prioritize the abortion issue above economic issues. Likewise, it angers me to see a homosexual who believes in a more libertarian form of distributive justice vote Democrat because he prioritizes gay marriage over economic issues.

        Very rare is there an issue important enough to prioritize over the fundamental economic policies of a candidate. This appeal to morality is usually done by those who have a shaky, at best, understanding of ethics. Distributive justice is an moral issue. It trumps almost any other issue including free speech, which changes from generation to generation depending on how certain judges decide to interpret the U.S. Constitution, but is never wholly endangered. The freedom of speech in the U.S. was enacted by a bunch of cutthroat politicians who libeled one another in publications (often under pseudonyms), slandered one another on the floor of congress, and in general sought to defame one another through lies and rumors. Is it any wonder that the democratic countries that came about after the U.S. were hesitant to have such a broad protection of speech and that none of them do?

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:43AM (#41657717) Journal

      Trading our liberties for other imagined benefits will not end well. You cannot crack the door for this beast.

      Well, being a reader of Slashdot, we're all familiar with that quote. I think more appropriate here is Franklin's "Apology for Printers" [jprof.com] that contains many apt gems concerning this news including:

      8. That if all Printers were determin'd not to print any thing till they were sure it would offend no body, there would be very little printed.

      The first and foremost fear I have is a destruction or suppression of culture. I'm not saying "Innocence of Muslims" is a good film. Of course, I'm not saying "Manos Hands of Fate", "The Room" or "Birdemic" are spectacular films either -- but I own licensed copies of them. I also own several editions of James Joyce's "Ulysses", a book which was banned in many countries when it was written. I will tell you right now that we would be missing major cultural artifacts if those in power had succeeded at eradicating "Ulysses" and its author. Yes, I'm afraid of corrupt politicians, populations that cannot access knowledge, etc. But those are effects that UN officials won't immediately see. Effects that can be immediately felt are people who collect poorly scripted, acted and funded films will no longer have access to "Innocence of Muslims." No one's saying it's a good film -- then again what defines a "good film" is so subjective I wouldn't know a blockbuster if it hit me in the face.

      Authors from Franklin to Bradbury knew this and everyone today should know this: you must resist 'trimming' (by anyone's definition of the word) culture to protect it and keep it intact lest every bit of it be an option on the chopping block for whatever fanatic that has the press as a mouthpiece each day.

      • by Geeky (90998) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:52AM (#41657821)

        I also own several editions of James Joyce's "Ulysses", a book which was banned in many countries when it was written. I will tell you right now that we would be missing major cultural artifacts if those in power had succeeded at eradicating "Ulysses" and its author.

        Apparently it was banned for obscenity. I applaud the vivid imagination of those who realised it was obscene - I read it, then read about the obscenity, and just thought "He was doing *what* on the beach??? Did not get that". Obviously I'm uncultured.

        If, on the other hand, it had been banned for being pseudo intellectual literary codswallop, I'd have understood completely.

    • by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:22AM (#41658289)

      Seriously.

      U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that 'when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others' values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.' It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, 'Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.'"

      These people obviously just didn't think their statements through very well.

      Here's the problem with "cracking the door": who decides what constitutes "provocation or humiliation of some another's values and beliefs"? No matter who makes that decision, it is a problem, because the decision will be based on that person's or body's ideals. For example, that crazy Florida pastor's hateful speech against gay rights would be certainly be censored by Ki-moon and Gillard as an attack on the values and beliefs of gay people. But censoring this guy is equivalent to an attack on the values and beliefs of the crazy pastor.

      No one has the right to not be offended. We'd all end up in jail for "provoking or humiliating someone's values and beliefs" simply be not tiptoeing very carefully in everything we say and do. And even then, many people will even get offended by the tiptoers, because people are idiots.

    • by Blue Stone (582566) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:33AM (#41658495) Homepage Journal

      Tyranny cannot be appeased.

      The answer to speech you do not like is more speech, not violence.

  • by na1led (1030470) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:22AM (#41657397)
    It's okay for these people to burn our Flag, and pictures of our president, and chant Death to America.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:22AM (#41657403)

    The religious are stupid, and worthy of ridicule. A desire to protect them from words is a desire to suppress opposition to stupidity. Any politician who does so should rightly be called out for allowing religion to dictate his/her political views... great fun when your representatives share your own religious outlook; not so fun when you're the one being oppressed. Try to keep that last bit in mind.

  • Free speech (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:24AM (#41657421) Journal

    Freedom of Speech should NEVER be joined with smashing people up / killing them because they got "offended" by a comment. This is the trouble with politicians, because they are attacking Free Speech by linking the two.

    Cracking down on Free Speech also helps politicians cover up the crimes by them and the bankers that bankroll them.

    • Re:Free speech (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ImprovOmega (744717) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:55AM (#41658809)
      More to the point, any law outlawing religious blasphemy will be inherently self-contradictory. It is blasphemous for a Christian for someone to call Mohammed a prophet of God, and it is blasphemous for a Muslim to claim that he is not. Either way you are giving offense to 1.5 billion plus people just from that one statement. So...yeah, blasphemy laws will never work in a heterogeneous society. Basically what the Muslims want is blasphemy laws protecting Islam, and then abolishing all other world religions. This will never fly in the United States. At least not in my lifetime.
  • Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:24AM (#41657423)

    This is somewhat ironic considering how often these religious fundamentalists promote hate, discrimination and violence against anyone who does not subscribe to their beliefs.

    • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:48AM (#41657767)

      Honestly, this more than anything is what pisses me off about religious preachers.

      Archbishop Sentamu in the UK was mouthing of about gay people a few months ago saying how they didn't deserve the same rights as others and generally being horrible about them.

      Of course, in response to this public outburst, he then got e-mails saying that it was like saying that because he was black, he didn't deserve equal rights etc. either. So what does he do? He runs straight to the police and claims discrimination.

      Honestly, there's no helping these people, they're quick to discriminate against and preach hate against certain other minorities, but if someone dares to point out the hypocrisy of that to them they're first to cry discrimination themselves.

      The scary thing is, this guy is now in line to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury - arguably the most influential religious role in the UK.

    • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by berashith (222128) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:57AM (#41657897)

      interestingly, they are only talking about not tolerating hatred of religion, and never mention hatred from religion. When all the fundies from all the religions stop hating everyone else, I may attempt to see their point of view better. As long as the goal is to only protect themselves, at the expense of EVERYONE else, then F em.

  • by KingTank (631646) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:24AM (#41657427)
    Seems to me that freedom of speech is pretty useless if you can't use it to express your beliefs, or denounce someone else's beliefs.
  • Fuck'em. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:25AM (#41657433)
    Muzzling fascists can go fuck themselves.
  • by roidzrus (2739093) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:25AM (#41657439)
    Religious hate speech can be a two way street; I've heard some not-so-nice things said by them about Jews and Christians.
  • Oh, My! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubwvj (1045960) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:26AM (#41657455)

    'Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.'

    Oh, and why does religion warrant such protection? If we're going to protect religion from hatred then everything should be protected from hatred. And that is a very slippery slope down the road to Hell paved with such good intentions.

    If you don't like the movie, don't watch it. That is how freedom of expression works. People who can't tolerate that should be thrown in jail for their intolerance of intolerance. :) (e.g., it is the actions that matter. Sticks and stones and all that.)

  • What hatred? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:26AM (#41657459) Journal

    I have no hatred of Islam, or any other religion. I have disdain for many and fervent disagreement with several. Am I not allowed to voice my opinion?

    Does Ban Ki-Moon's opinion extend to the hatred expressed and acted upon by followers of a religion who assault and murder those to leave that faith? (Apostasy)

    What about the fatwa and decree of death against Salman Rushdie for his publication of The Satanic Verses? Is the call to murder what Ban Ki-Moon is referring to?

    No religion is in isolation from the beliefs and practices of those who claim to be adherents. I have several friends who are Muslims, but who aren't violent extremists. They bear no resemblance to the medieval barbarians making the news in South Asia and the Middle East.

    Can I simply direct my scorn and derision at the backward practices of those who are attempting to spread their beliefs with violence and sustain them with oppression?

    It isn't the religion I have issues with or hatred for, it is the actions of the religious.

  • by java_dev (894898) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:27AM (#41657481)

    Why is the party making a statement (or video) always the one being accused of intolerance, while the recipient who can't tolerate what is being said not accused of the very same thing? I don't get it...

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:27AM (#41657485)

    Apparently the world's wealthy have had enough of the free speech experiment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:28AM (#41657487)

    It was just a video. Maybe muslims should just grow up.

    Sticks and Stones, people...

  • by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:28AM (#41657489)

    Seriously... People have been mocking religion for thousands of years, you don't see the Jews or Christians rioting and killing people every time someone pokes fun at God or Jesus. I'm not counting the middle ages here either.. just the last 200 or so years..

    This is absolutely ridiculous.. I think every time some country or the people of that country chant death to America, or insult our culture, we should go on a rampage and wreck their embassies, burn down neighborhoods where that particular demographic happens to call home......

    Lets see how they like it.

  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:29AM (#41657515)

    This whole concept is stupid. What they're essentially saying is that free speech can only be practiced as long as it doesn't offend anyone.

    When in the hell did THAT type of speech ever need protection in the first place? The entire point of having a law in place protecting free speech is to make sure that people CAN say the things that are controversial. If we're just slapping each other on the ass saying how great everyone else is then any laws protecting it are redundant.

  • Fact check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BillCable (1464383) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:30AM (#41657529)
    I thought the whole "YouTube video sparked violent protests" thing had been thoroughly debunked. Nobody had seen the video in question. The "protests" were actually coordinated terrorist attacks to coincide with 9-11. Forgive me if I'm wrong there.
  • Slippery slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:31AM (#41657543)

    By all accounts, Innocence of Muslims is worthless tripe. But we cannot permit even this sort of stuff to be censored, because we know it will not stop there. The same groups of people who were rioting over Nakoula's amateurish film were also up in arms about Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, a serious work of literature. And more recently, British broadcaster Channel 4 cancelled a planned public viewing of Tom Holland's Islam: The Untold Story because of "security fears". Holland's work was a serious contribution to the study of Islamic history, and Holland is actually quite respectful of Islam, which he considers a moral advance over the polytheism that preceded it. But since he questioned the canonical story of Muhammad and the official history of Islam's origin (just as Christian scholars have been doing with the Bible and church history for centuries), far too many Muslims simply couldn't abide that.

    We cannot, must not, allow the precedent that if you yell loud enough and threaten enough violence that you can silence your opponents.

  • by andyring (100627) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:40AM (#41657679) Homepage

    That video WAS NOT the trigger for anything in the Middle East. The video was on YouTube since June or July. What happened was, plain and simple, a TERRORIST ATTACK by Al Qaeda, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. It has nothing to do with free speech, despite the White House trying to portray it as such, and which they finally, grudgingly admitted.

  • by spikenerd (642677) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:56AM (#41657867)
    People who are confident in their position do not fear criticism. I interpret all the lashback as an announcement that they are terrified of discovering that they have been wrong all along.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:08AM (#41658077) Journal

    Freedom of speech is not tested by statements that you agree with, freedom of speech is tested by defending those things that make your blood boil.

    Really, watch "The people vs Larry Flint", if you believe in free speech you got to defend a rather obnoxious pervert.

    A judgement for what counts as free speech should NEVER include, doesn't offend anyone. If it doesn't offend anyone there isn't even a point to free speech, I can go to North Korea and say ANYTHING at all by that standard, can say ANYTHING I WANT in worsed dictatorshop in the world, as long as I don't upset anyone.

    Free speech only has value when I am allowed to say things that someone somewhere finds upsetting. The only reason after all to limit free speech is because someone is offended.

    Test case:

    I, a non-american visit the US and want to test how the US treats Free Speech for foreigners, can I test that by saying on say ground zero:

    Wow, what an amazing building, really show how the US spirit cannot be destroyed by those who hate freedom.

    It is speech and I am free to say it, but it is not free speech.

    If it doesn't offend anyone, it does not need free speech protection. If it does offend, it does.

    Beware any politician who seeks to limit free speech for the sake of convenience. They need watching, preferably through a snipers scope.

  • by StormReaver (59959) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:29AM (#41658391)

    Blatant stupidity should be mocked if the stupid want to impose their nonsensical beliefs on the rest of us.

    Middle East violence isn't caused by speech. It's caused by stupid religious people (redundant, I know) wanting to kill anyone who isn't stupid. Then they want to imprison or kill anyone who points out how absurd their fantasies are.

    Why on Earth should that be tolerated? We should be striving to eliminate idiocy from the Free world, not encouraging it, and mocking it is a perfectly valid means of exposing it.

    Baghdad was the center of scientific progress over a 300-year period, until religion took over. Then a once-great civilization was destroyed, and ignorance and superstition flourished. That is the worse possible outcome, yet some people want to do that very same thing to the rest of the world.

    Religion/Stupidity should be ridiculed. There is no place for it in a civilization.

  • by flibbidyfloo (451053) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:06PM (#41658957)

    We all know of the dividing line for free speech where you maybe don't allow people to yell "fire" in a crowded theater because it causes panic and someone might get hurt.

    Well, if people weren't stupid, they wouldn't panic, and this situation wouldn't arise, right? You could yell "fire" in every crowded theater in the country and people would simply stand up and file out in an orderly fashion and then get annoyed that their movie was interrupted.

    But that's not how people work, even in a highly civilized and educated country, so we use the law to help accommodate the ignorant behavior people are prone to.

    No one seems willing to admit that maybe there's a corollary here. We know full well that some ignorant people will do bad things when you yell "Allah rapes babies in the name of Muhammad" and put it all over the internet. Does that mean people shouldn't be allowed to do so?

    I don't know. It's a slippery slope. But maybe even free speech purists like myself need to look at the fact that we don't live in a perfect world where everyone can be expected to behave rationally, and we need to make adjustments for that fact.

  • by Max_W (812974) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:54PM (#41661393)
    On the October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg the paper with 85 theses http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther [wikipedia.org]

    Just one paper.

    It started the Reformation and the most destructive war in Europe, the Thirty Years' War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years'_War [wikipedia.org]

    Up to 75% of the population of Germany was killed in this war. Immeasurable suffering and desolation. Armies were annihilated. All because of one piece of paper written by a countryside monk.
  • Nonsense. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Monday October 15, 2012 @03:19PM (#41661721) Homepage Journal
    Religion in and by itself, in whatever form it may rear its head, is contemptible and to be overcome as a relic from the Bronze Age.. I say with Richard Dawkins: "No, I am not going to respect other people's religion. I may and will respect other people - but religion, no way".

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