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

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!

  • 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 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.

  • by alphatel ( 1450715 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:22AM (#41657407)
    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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Insulting! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:25AM (#41657441) Homepage

    Every religious speech is an insult to my religion; Not-believing-in-imaginary-friends ...ism.
    I guess the only way to stop religious speech is by being violent.

  • 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.

  • Balance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Punko ( 784684 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:26AM (#41657467)
    In anything like this, it is about balance. Dealing in absolutes is of no benefit. The basic human right to freedom of expression is not unlimited; it is not absolute. Society must place limits. However, those limits must err on the side of offending the most easily offended, as opposed to not offending anyone.

    It is no different than the burden of proof in that we must err on the side of finding "not guilty" a few guilty people in order to ensure we do not find any innocent person guilty.

    I cannot and will not support unrestricted freedom of expression, for it is the nature of mankind to abuse that freedom beyond what rational people would consider acceptable to the detriment of our society.

    Does that assume that we need to set limits? Yes. Well who decides those limits? Sadly, with democracies, that would mean the majority of voters. But on the positive side, most civilized countries have legal systems to balance the desires of the elected officials to prevent the tyranny of the majority (or the tyranny of popular thought).
  • 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.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:34AM (#41657581)

    Yeah, those stupid religious people developed these crazy ideas like human rights and liberty. They even started a country that used those concepts and grounded all of those concepts in a God so that it was outside of the reach of government. I think they use some silly word like "inalienable," or such, to describe the connection.

    Yeah, those stupid religious people...

  • 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.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:40AM (#41657671)

    Case-in-point: you cannot even accept the established history of your own country, let alone accept that the motivations driving beliefs 250 years ago might be just slightly different than they are today. Religious people today are decidedly more stupid than religious people of centuries past -- especially when comparing leaders of men to your average trailer-trash. Further, your founding fathers were, by-and-large, not religious -- you go ahead and find one mention of "God" in the US Constitution... I'll wait.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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.

  • by alphatel ( 1450715 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:48AM (#41657771)
    Yes, quite OK to shoot a little girl in the head for asking for an education [yahoo.com] but really bad if you allow someone to post an opinion that someone else might find offensive.
  • by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:51AM (#41657791)

    The Westboro Baptist Church has been pushing the envelope of how offensive one can possibly be and nothing has happened to them. They are to offending dangerous people what Felix Baumgartner is to skydiving. Maybe you're imagining moral equivalency where none exists in order to make yourself feel superior to those around you?

  • 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 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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:59AM (#41657923)

    There's a difference between banning speech you don't like, and trying to talk people out of it.
    The correct response to hateful, bad, wrong speech is good speech.
    Let's just preserve everyone's freedom to say it!

  • by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 ) <brock&brocktice,com> on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:04AM (#41658011) Homepage
    Agreed. In fact it's quite important to note that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences if your speech pisses people off. It just means the government can't stop you from speaking just because they don't like what you're saying. That said, the government has been actively (IMHO) violating the first amendment for a while now, the most stark example being the emergence of "Free Speech Zones" when George W. Bush would travel.
  • by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 ) <brock&brocktice,com> on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:07AM (#41658065) Homepage
    Actually, I doubt that. They are not an extreme version of what the people controlling this country believe. They're a bunch of psychopaths that try to provoke a response so they can sue. I put them more in line with Anne Coulter and whatshisface on Fox that had his show finally shut down because he took it too far. I doubt they believe 1/3 of what they say, they're just in it for money and power.
  • 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 default luser ( 529332 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:09AM (#41658097) Journal

    If this means that we can bomb the shit out of anyone who burns an American (or European) Flag, then I say let's do it.

    I disagree.

    If the West turned this into eye-for-an-eye justice, then we too would be turning this into a Holy War. No room for compromise and no forgiveness = unending bloodshed and hate.

    Usually (but NOT always) Western nations base foreign policy decisions on rational thought and keep religion out of it. The last time we didn't, Bush got us on the crazy train into Iraq for almost a decade (and we're still *there*, just in smaller numbers). Foreign policy is the LAST place you want to use religious justice as your reasoning.

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:18AM (#41658217) Homepage Journal

    It never caught up in US either until Colt retired as a peacemaker.

    American culture remains largely a culture of cowboys: decency of speech is based on the threat of violence if you spoke offensively. That's why Texans are still very polite.

    I like this part of the culture. I wish liberals understand that if they have retain the right to insult me, I am retaining the right to respond in a manner suitable for a man.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:22AM (#41658281) Homepage

    Of course the problem here is that your right not to be offended might prevent meaningful discourse. If you try to ban what is basically just blasphemy, then you eventually eliminate any meaningful discussion of religious doctrine.

    If you can't be a jackass then you can't be a blasphemer and you can't have any freedom of religion.

    The right to be offensive is also the right to be something other than a Puritan.

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


    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 Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:23AM (#41658311) Homepage

    If you think that using a gun makes you a man, you're a very small man indeed.

  • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:25AM (#41658351)

    the right to bear arms doesn't include the right to shoot anyone who pisses you off.

  • by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:26AM (#41658357) Homepage

    The ancient creed of the "pro-lifer" : "Life is sacred, from conception until natural birth. Then fuck 'em."

  • by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 ) <brock&brocktice,com> on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:26AM (#41658359) Homepage
    I understand, and IANAL. I just feel like the Free Speech Zone thing violates the spirit of the First Amendment, even if the courts have decided that doesn't violate the letter of the law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:27AM (#41658365)

    To quote Robert A. Heinlein "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life"

  • 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 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.

  • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:29AM (#41658405) Journal

    Marriage has a specific societal purpose

    And what is that?

    Where are you going to draw they line?

    Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. Very simple. If you can't see the difference between two gay people getting married and murder, then you are simply broken in the head.

    anyway blah blah blah

    Basically what you're saying is that gay people should not have visitation rights to their life partner in hospital, exepmtion from inheritance tax for their life partner and etc.

    Why? What possible purpose could this serve except to appease bigots?

  • Re:Balance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:32AM (#41658477)
    Then you're as much a problem as they are.

    The classic "FIRE" in a croweded theater situation, its not illegal to do. You can yell fire all you want and nobody will arrest you for your speech. They will arrest you for inciting a panic and getting people hurt however.

    The difference is by yelling fire, you're trying to get people to panic, to fear for their lives. Making a low-budget insult-film isn't going to make anyone (save the actors maybe) fear for their actual lives. Getting upset and shooting random people over it, is the fault of the idot getting upset, not the moron who made the bad film.

    Another example, I'm perfectly allowed to walk up to you, and threaten to slit your throat and gut you infront of your family. From a freedom of speech perspective, that's legal. I did however, threaten your life, and that's illegal, but as nothing to do with speech. Likewise, I can stand infront of an audiance and state that I feel all Demopublicans should be exiled to Cuba and have all their posessions captured by US Customs and spent to pay off our national debt. That's perfectly legal. It's still a threat, but its not a life-ending threat and its not very specific.

    Anyone who spends a little time even thinking about it should be able to see the difference. If you're having trouble telling the difference, the problem isn't how the law is worded, its you. For whatever reason, people seem to find it hard to accept that they're the problem, so its easier to just try to get the law changed to match their insane world views.
  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:33AM (#41658493) Homepage Journal

    I like this part of the culture. I wish liberals understand that if they have retain the right to insult me, I am retaining the right to respond in a manner suitable for a man.

    You are an immature fool. Your "creedo" is fundamental to the very problem that is causing adherents of a certain offshoot of islam to believe they have the right to retaliate to insults, real or percieved, with terminal, capital, effort. You, like they, are children, and developmentally stunted. It takes a man, or woman, of real character, to shrug off insults. Calling you an idiot makes you feel bad for a minute. Responding with terminal violence changes the entire landscape forever. Only an immature fool believes that they should change other people's lives to protect their own petty feelings. Censorship is a foolish, culturally immature feel-good band-aid on what is a much deeper psychological problem. You tell people who you disagree with to shut up and you feel good for a second but you're simply compensating for a much deeper psychological wound you're not willing to deal with. With Islam, its that plus power and control. Its much easier to control a populace by quieting dissent, so you make alternative opinions anti-religious. This is cultural 101, I'm frankly shocked that so many "modern" people are completely unaware of their own complicity in turning the clutural clock back to the middle ages.

    Free speech is based on the threat of violence indeed. You know NOTHING about modern American culture. Nothing.

  • 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 MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:34AM (#41658501) Journal

    If you're are so pathetically thin-skinned that someone taunting you leads you to take out your gun to defend your "honor", then you have no honor. You're a cowardly worthless piece of freedom-hating shit.

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:34AM (#41658503) Homepage Journal

    Yes it does. That's what arms are for: for protection what is dear to you.

    If you decided that the life is the only thing worth protecting, that's you. There things that are dear to me more than life, so I am protecting them by violence.

    I do not care what you think of my rights. My rights are guaranteed by my resolution to use them no matter what is the threat from your government.

  • by SomePoorSchmuck ( 183775 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:36AM (#41658537) Homepage

    I agree with OP's principle but am still willing to make some special allowance for Germany. If any circumstance can be called justifying to say that some things shall not be discussed, it's probably theirs.

    If any circumstances can be called justifying to say that some things shall not be discussed, then all censorship can be justified eventually; it's just a matter of organizing a sufficient majority of voters/protesters/terrorists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:39AM (#41658581)

    If you're prepared to shoot someone over a perceived insult, you are too irresponsible to own a gun. And I say that as a gun-owning, conservative, free-speech advocate.

    Anyone who owns and carries a firearm has a responsibility to demonstrate iron-clad self-discipline and sound judgment. Shooting people over insults? Not sound judgement.

  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:42AM (#41658629)
    No, thinking you have the right to commit violence on another person over words you don't like makes you an idiot, and a savage...
  • by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:47AM (#41658707)

    Right, violent jihad, mudslinging politics, same exact thing. Nailed it.

  • 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 Razgorov Prikazka ( 1699498 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:54AM (#41658797)
    That is already happening! Didn't you hear of the 14 year old girl who got shot in the face because she was intolerant to the nice people of the Taliban. The Taliban, those nice people who only try to spread the religion of tolerance and respect? That shall teach her a lesson! Huh?

    Weird kind of mind-set those people have... Shooting a 14 year old girl from point-blank, no problems... Making a film...mmmmnot so cool.
    Pffff.. medieval hatebeards.
  • 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.
  • by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:02PM (#41658907)

    Would you feel the same way if the courts applied 'money is speech' to being able to make contributions to the pirate bay or wikileaks?

  • by morari ( 1080535 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:04PM (#41658941) Journal

    “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”

    -- Robert E. Howard

  • 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 JOrgePeixoto ( 853808 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:14PM (#41659067) Journal

    That said, the government has been actively (IMHO) violating the first amendment for a while now, the most stark example being the emergence of "Free Speech Zones" when George W. Bush would travel.

    Not judging the specific "Free Speech Zones" you speak about, but in general I think the government can regulate, within limits, the manner, place and time of speech.

    Otherwise I could go to your street at 3 AM and express my political views with a megaphone.
    Or I could put an outdoor in front of a public playground, featuring a woman having sex with a goat.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:16PM (#41659081)

    And that's limited to Muslim extremism in what way exactly? How are they even more laughable and pitiful than the dimwits that seriously claim the world's some 6,000 years old and that Adam and Eve frolicked amongst dinosaurs under the watchful eye of a bearded guy on a fluffy cloud who first of all created the universe in less than a week?

    You really think the virgin thing is supposed to cause a bigger giggle fit in me than that bull?

    Religious extremism is a disease. In all its forms. Don't get me wrong, if you want to live in a makebelieve world, by all means, be free to do it. Just keep it away from impressionable children and most of all out of laws that may affect me. I prefer education and legal system to be rooted in reality.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:19PM (#41659127)

    > they STILL somehow believe that "goodness" can only come from religion. That's nonsense.

    Have you ever considered, though, that for some people that is the truth though? That maybe these are people whose only motivation for good comes from religion and therefore cannot understand those who don't need religion to be decent?

    People who need religion to be decent are not decent. You are not a moral person if the reason that you behave that way is because you fear the repercussions if you don't.

  • 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 cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:26PM (#41659265) Homepage Journal

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

    So..from this quote, I take it to mean that we're no longer tolerating these whack job muslims? I mean...talk about intolerant haters...

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by green1 ( 322787 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:33PM (#41659411)

    If the only reason for you to do good deeds are because of a fear of God/the devil, or a need to please God/the church. Then you are not a good person.
    A good person does good deeds for the sake of doing good, or to improve society as a whole.

    People doing good things in God's name are being dishonest and selfish. People doing good without religion are truly good people.

    As for what "chrisitan ideals" are... if you'd ever read the bible you'd know how full of hate and immorality those "ideals" really are. picking and choosing only the "good" from a book espousing the common beliefs of people thousands of years ago does not give you the moral high ground to claim that nobody else could come up with those same "good" things without secretly believing the same thing. Worse yet, when they leave out all the bad parts of the morality listed in the bible you still take credit for it as if it stemmed from a religious text that is far more immoral than what the later group follows. Cristians do not have an eternal patent on morality, there is much prior art, and anyone looking at a truly moral culture would see that it is a completely different work than that found in any cristian literature.

    My morality has no basis whatsoever in any religion. My moral code is derived 100% from what form of society I want to live in with the theory that I should act the way I want all people to act. I believe it is immoral to murder, cheat, steal, rape, discriminate in any way, etc. I volunteer hundreds of hours a year to various non-profit and charitable organizations. I don't drink/smoke/swear. and yet my lack of religion causes people to claim that I must be a bad person because I could not possibly have morals. This coming from someone who judges a person soley by what imaginary creature they worship?

  • by Coolhand2120 ( 1001761 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @12:37PM (#41659473)

    Hint: Shooting someone is an offensive action.

    If that someone else has shot first, or is even waving a gun threateningly at you, then it is a defensive action.

    You can't seriously be that stupid. If someone breaks into your house and is threatening you with a gun, and you shoot him, that's a gun protecting you. And there's a million other examples of a gun protecting you.

    Unless you happen to be able to hit the bullet the aggressor fires at you

    Or what if you happen to shoot the asshole that's shooting at you stopping the bullets from coming out of his gun. You logic is so bad it makes me wonder how you even dress yourself in the morning.

  • 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 Chas ( 5144 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:24PM (#41660061) Homepage Journal

    No, thinking you have the right to commit violence on another person over words you don't like makes you an idiot, and a savage...

    I don't know. Some guy with a knife saying "I'm going to gut you, then rape your wife and daughter."?

    I wouldn't like those words.

    And yeah, I'd do violence unto someone saying those things to me.

    It's REALLY easy to lay out a generalization.

    Where most people get into trouble is in dealing with the specifics.

    This is one of the reason blanket "zero tolerance" type policies are so damned stupid.

    Basically things like this relieve people of the obligation to be both involved and proactive. Then they can scoot by on minimal effort being reflexive and reactionary with all sorts of travesties taking place.

    Case in point.

    Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger, current Pope) was a member of the Hitler Youth.

    This makes him evil right?


    Membership in the Hitler Youth, in 1941, was compulsory. It was required by German law.
    Little Joe had exactly ZERO say in it. He wasn't an enthusiastic member, and by all accounts, never attended meetings.

    He was later conscripted, right out of seminary, as a child soldier by the German Army. And did he fight for them?
    Nope. When the allies drew near his station, he took the opportunity to desert.

    But nowadays, we live in the world of the sound byte and the thought-free "fact".
    It's just easier for assorted mental defectives to regurgitate simple bullet points to support their idiocies, without having to actually think their way through various exceptions.
    Never mind that SPECIFIC information can result in a complete change of context.

  • by jd.schmidt ( 919212 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:34PM (#41660189)

    That is already happening! Didn't you hear of the 14 year old girl who got shot in the face because she was intolerant to the nice people of the Taliban. The Taliban, those nice people who only try to spread the religion of tolerance and respect? That shall teach her a lesson! Huh?

    Weird kind of mind-set those people have... Shooting a 14 year old girl from point-blank, no problems... Making a film...mmmmnot so cool.
    Pffff.. medieval hatebeards.

    Uh huh.... So the way Pakistanis showed they were OK with this was by arresting those who did it and publicly protesting the attack and praying for the girl’s health. The basic problem you, and most Westerners have is that you don’t understand that the Taliban represents the views of Pakistanis the way Terry Jones and skinheads represent the views of the U.S.

    Make no mistake, the Pakistanis and worldwide Muslims have a different world view than you. But your views of them are easily and narrow minded and bigoted as their views of you

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @01:52PM (#41660463) Homepage

    The quote of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, âoeOur tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.â appears to be interpreted in an arse about fashion. Religious hatred is the hatred expressed by religions and their believers, hatred of religions is expressed by those disgusted with the behaviour of the members of religions. One is all about direct physical violence, intimidation, threats of violence and laws against free speech, the other is about the freedom to express yourself without inciting violence against religions.

    Those who can not separate their own identity from that of their religion are quite simply trying to purposefully create the environment for hate and violence. If you religion is at fault expect the religion to be criticised, picked apart and mocked for it's delusional beliefs. There is a real legal difference between âoeCombating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Beliefâ and criticising someone's religion in what ever manner you choose to criticise it in. Egyptâ(TM)s U.N. ambassador showed himself as truly ignorant when he confused insulting religion with insulting people.

    If you choose to view yourself as your religion then that is your problem, you are not entitled to enforce your religious viewpoint through the threats of violence upon others.

  • by fritsd ( 924429 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:18PM (#41660803) Journal
    I found your comment quite insulting.

    (...) one of the first acts of worship will be to sacrifice over 95% of the world's population so that we can have a sustainable number of people on the planet.

    We *SHALL* have a sustainable number of people on the planet. Whether you love or hate that "new world order", is immaterial.

    I don't think you have thought through what that word "sustainable" in that sentence actually meant, before you wrote it. Maybe in your vocabulary it is a cuss-word.

    Here's an odd factoid I read a while ago: before the industrial revolution, the population in rural France was more or less constant, for a few hundred years (excluding things like wars etc.). Now *that* is a "sustainable" population, implying also that the country was farmed in a more or less sustainable way.

    Now I ask you, to use your common sense, nothing fancy or scientific beyond secondary school science, to imagine the factors that kept the population constant rather than exponentially growing. (Everybody can visualize for themselves the factor that caused exponential population growth in "la douce France"!). But what kept the population constant?

    Famine. Despair (no point having kids if you can't feed 'em). Emigration (to the cities). Disease.

    You'd better adapt to reality, because reality isn't going to adapt to fulfil your needs. Our blue marble planet is not a closed system, but the only incoming resource of any significance, is sunlight. Study some basic thermodynamics if you think I'm preaching "the religion of sustainability" here.

    I think our generation will live to see the decline of the religion of "economic growth" when the "Peak Oil" downslope starts to become steeper. As the conservative US economist Herbert Stein [wikipedia.org] said, "if something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

  • by Sentrion ( 964745 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:23PM (#41660873)

    Clearly the OP was using satire. And in satire he makes a good point. Personally, I think the guy who made and released the movie was a punk, but that's about as far as I will go. I will not demand that our government prosecute him for offending the sensitivities of others. But regarding such sensitivities, we in this country, and in the West, have grown used to "taking it on the chin" so to speak. Even if you burn our flag, put shoes on it, and call for your god to curse us all, we either find it amusing and laugh, change the channel, or maybe return the insult, but we have learned to control our anger and reserve violence only when it becomes a practical necessity to protect our life and property. In the Western world, in response to such anger or hatred, you will find more empathy and more people willing to take action to try to understand the hostility and to try to address the underlying causes in an effort to create a more peaceful and harmonious world to live in. You will also find racists and violent idiots, but it doesn't take much study to see that in the West most of the people shun and directly oppose the extremists.

    Outside the West (in which I would also include peaceful developed nations like Japan, South Korea, and a few other countries) such widespread tolerance is not the norm (nor was it in the West in the not-too-distant past). In some regions there is an uneasy co-existence, while in others society is fully aligned with the dominant worldview (religious in the Middle East and Central Asia; political in Myanmar and North Korea). In these rigid societies, dissent is not permitted, disertion from the dominant worldview or conversion to another is punished, and minorities holding a different worldview are barely tolerated, and usually only if they are indigineous to the area before the worldview was established or if they came to visit or settle in the area after the worldview was established. Such minorities will face significant discrimination, occassional bigotry and abuse, and in some cases violent pogroms or expulsion from citizens and/or their government.

    Given that unfavorable speech is going to be received with violence in the less tolerant parts of the world, care should be taken to insulate the free speech of the West from such a violent audience. This should be the responsibility of the regimes that control and perpetuate the intolerant worldview. Western nations should also implement an "intolerance test" to be administered to all immigrants. The test could be a multimedia presentation showing words, images, and actions that are permitted in the free society, and after each segment the test subject should answer a multiple choice test with questions like "what would be your response if this insult was directed toward you" or "how would you feel if someone committed this act in your place of worship on its holiest day". Answers could be limited to responses such as:
    a. I would join in
    b. It wouldn't bother me
    c. It would affect me personally. I might even cry.
    d. I would shout "How dare you! Leave this place at once! May the feet of swine desecrate the graves of your ancestors!"
    e. I would spare their lives but I would kill their pets and burn their homes.
    f. I would grab the nearest blunt object and throw it at them.

    The order of the possible answers should be random so that the violent response is not always "e." or "f." Most questions should have more than one violent response as an option, and at least one question needs to be answered "none of the above" with all the other responses being violent in nature. One question should be a user generated (typed, not handwritten) response to let them answer how they would prefer to respond to the most obscene and blasphemous mockery of the most sacred belief that they hold to. This response would have to be evaluated by a well-trained test administrator.

    On their way out from the test there would be one final challenge. There would be objects (paper weights, works of art, etc.)

  • by TheMiddleRoad ( 1153113 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:58PM (#41661451)

    Well, there are some crazy Christians, but not nearly as many, and the truly crazy ones are few and far between.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/no-one-murdered-because-of-this-image,29553/ [theonion.com]

  • Nonsense. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) 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".
  • by garaged ( 579941 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @11:24PM (#41665721) Homepage

    Forbiding personal beliefs is not freedom at all

  • by mrex ( 25183 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @02:05PM (#41671695)

    >Remember the Christian Whackjobs who blew themselves to bits in the middle of a marketplace?

    I'll see your acts of terrorism and raise you using child soldiers to do it. Say hello to Uganda's Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army.

    >What about the widespread rioting when the state helped finance a picture of their God in a jar of urine?

    Oooh, did I mention that it's the same Uganda where legislators have repeatedly proposed making homosexuality a capital offense? Three guesses what religion those legislators follow!

    >How about when the mormons beheaded their prisoner on film and published it?

    Replace "beheaded" with a lynch mob raiding his home and shooting him to death, and you have a description of what *other Christians* did to the founder of Mormonism himself, Joseph Smith.

VMS must die!