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Old June 12, 2008, 10:11 PM   #1
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Hate speech or free speech? Showdown in Canada

The following is about a third of the entire article. Well worth the read.

Hate speech or free speech? What much of West bans is protected in U.S.
By Adam Liptak
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

VANCOUVER, British Columbia: A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article's tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States did not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

Under Canadian law, there is a serious argument that the article contained hate speech and that its publisher, Maclean's magazine, the nation's leading newsweekly, should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their "dignity, feelings and self respect."(emphasis added)

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions in Vancouver last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean's violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up animosity toward Muslims.

As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

"It's hate speech!" yelled one man.

"It's free speech!" yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minority groups and religions - even false, provocative or hateful things - without legal consequence.

The Maclean's article, "The Future Belongs to Islam," was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called "America Alone." The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

"In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one's legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment," Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called "The Exceptional First Amendment."

"But in the United States," Schauer continued, "all such speech remains constitutionally protected."

Canada, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Entire Article
There are some really good points on both sides, but I have to align myself solidly with the free speech crowd. The author of the article sums it up well, "The problem with so-called hate speech laws is that they're not about facts," he said in a telephone interview. "They're about feelings."

I sometimes post on a Christian Apologetics site and have read a lot of things that have bothered me because it goes against my beliefs. I might even go so far as to say my feelings were hurt. But I cannot imagine bringing a lawsuit against the website or the poster because of it.

"America Alone" is not far from the truth. We stand alone against much of the world in the area of free speech, gun rights, search & seizure laws, etc. I am concerned that these "Euro-values" (aka Cali-values) will gain a footing and irreparably change our laws for the worse.

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Old June 12, 2008, 10:26 PM   #2
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Mr Shauer`s statement " all such speechs in the U.S. remains constitutionally protected "is very questionable. Ask the three teenagers that couldn`t attend graduation for bringing Confederate flag to school.
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Old June 12, 2008, 10:42 PM   #3
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In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minority groups and religions - even false, provocative or hateful things - without legal consequence.
Completely untrue.

This is a drive-by hit piece on our 1st Amendment.

Anyone ever heard of such things as slander, libel, inciting to riot, fomenting rebellion, espionage or treason? Those are all consequences of saying things that are out of line. Americans are answerable for what comes out of their mouths, both in civil court and criminal court.

But we have the freedom to stick our feet in our mouths if we so wish without the fear of nannystaters having to "give us" permission to say what's on our minds. Our press is free to explore all facets of our politics without fear of government reprisal or civil suit, as long as the facts check out reasonably.

Sounds like Canada needs to spend more time worrying about Weekly World News and the Enquirer, and less about MacLean's and Ladies' Home Journal.
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Old June 12, 2008, 10:50 PM   #4
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These things are being imposed on most countries that are in transition between freedom and socialism/communism. Our Supreme Court could try to cite these decisions as precident or the congress could enter into an internationational treaty that required these rules and our 1A would be trumped. Frightening times!
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Old June 13, 2008, 01:17 AM   #5
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As the rest of the world succumbs, can America resist forever? The generation coming of age now is so numb as to support a radical Socialist, anti-white, anti-American bit of fluff. Will these public school brainwashees stand tall against a world?
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Old June 13, 2008, 02:50 AM   #6
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"Hate speech" can be realistically defined as "any speech that offends certain groups in society that are deemed worthy of special legal protections."

Laws restricting "hate speech" are intended to enforce a certain political point of view that can be described as cultural Marxism. Rather than pitting the bourgeoisie against the proletariat, cultural Marxism labels traditional Western culture (most specifically, heterosexual whites) as the "oppressor" and all minority groups as the "oppressed" -- righteous victims who always have the moral high ground. And this is how it plays out. How many times do we hear about "hate speech" or "hate crimes" against white people? From the rarity of the coverage such incidents get, you'd think they never happen.

There's a fine article by Bill Lind on this topic called "The Origins Of Political Correctness." Some here might find it interesting:

As for my $0.02, the regulation of political speech of any kind is tyranny in my book. It's your mouth, and you have the innate right to speak your mind frankly and boldly with it.

The idea that it's okay to insult someone because he's too fat, too skinny, too stupid, or too dorky-looking, but that it's NOT okay to offend someone because of his race, is just asinine. Hurt feelings are hurt feelings, and grown-ups shouldn't need to run and hide behind the skirt of the law in order to deal with them.

At the same time, I think there's a deeper agenda behind these "hate" laws. The value of multiculturalism ("diversity is our strength!") has been elevated to a religious dogma in the West; however, a multicultural society has inherent tensions, since members of different ethnic groups tend to stick together and fight for their own interests. Those who insist on forcing multiculturalism down our throats -- i.e., modern leftists -- probably understand this on some level, so they want to rely on the force of government to hold society together. Perhaps the fear is that if people can speak their minds freely about other ethnic groups, then tensions can erupt into something worse.
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Old June 13, 2008, 12:07 PM   #7
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I believe the Macleans Magazine article was a dumb article, but nevertheless it has the right to be stupid, and its free speech - no matter how stupid - should be protected. This case does bring to mind the idea of a Fairness Doctrine. I do believe that minority views deserve protection. For example, in Nazi Germany the regime itself had free speech and used its own free speech to bully and persecute minority views to the point of obliterating them. There needs to be some natural checks and balances.

I dislike the term 'hate speech'; it conveys a certain Orwellian sensibility. The idea that 'hate' is somehow an adjective - that when attached to speech - makes the speech frighteningly chilling. If I stand up with passion and cry out angrily 'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!' - is that too not hate speech? Does it not offend the establishment? Does it not incite people to defy a certain well-established authority?

If LOUD CONTROVERSIAL PASSIONATE SPEECH is not protected and given freedom - then there's no free speech. What value is free speech, if in a time of crisis and controversy, it is censored. What value is free speech, if it something relegated to the realm of idle chit chat. I don't want to shout fire in a crowded theatre, but I do in fact want the right to shout fire.

Hate is a strong ugly emotion, but I have always found the real moral culprit to be found in the passivity and the banality of carrying out evil deeds - not something so much in the passions of those who at least care enough to be angry or outraged. I fear the sheep more than I do the lions. The lions might sometimes fight me and and try kill me, but the sheep will always happily lead me to the slaughterhouse.

One's right to bear arms is likewise very important. That's why it was so prominently placed in the constitution. Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Payne...were all guilty of 'hate speech.' I prefer,however, to strip it of such Orwellian terminology and just call it 'passionate speech.' Think about it: Is there any passionate speech concerning government or social injustice that does not involve some mixed feelings of hate, outrage, love or anger?

I wouldn't blame the Marxist crowd inasmuch the Neo-Liberal/Conservative establishment folks. Eugene Debs went to prison for speaking out aginst WW1 and the McCarthy era basically rooted out and destroyed what could have developed into an authentic American Labour/Socialist Party. You'll not find a Marxist/Socialist News Anchor or Channel in the U.S.A. Such views were basically relentlessly purged during the Cold War era. In fact, I am sad to say that a lot of the social programs that could have been used to address 'class' in America have become entangled in 'race' and 'political correctness.' Marx, himself did not study the American revolution so much because he felt it was tainted by the issues of the planter ruling class and all their attendant problems.

While I don't like the old Black Panther Party, I do respect the fact that even the Black Panthers supported the 2nd Amendment and real Free Speech.
I just wish I could say the same thing about my conservative Congressman, who seems to only care about lots of money, a superficial bourgoise reputation, and getting re-elected over and over and over my expense.

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Old June 13, 2008, 12:20 PM   #8
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So, at what point do gun owners get to play the hate speech card...

Against the antis? I know it ain't gonna happen, but if they can do it, why can't we?

Some people are such hypocrites. I have actually heard individuals state that there can be no "racist" speech or actions against whites by minorities, only by whites against minorities. They actually believe this.

"Hate" speech and hate crimes are the most dangerous double edged sword of all laws, because all it takes is a small change in the definition to turn those "protected" into those being oppressed.

Hate crimes laws are especially onerous, considering that they involve extra punishment due to what the criminal thought when committing the crime, rather than what they did. The idea that it is acceptable to punish people for what they think, in addition to or in stead of what they do is really frightening. This lays the groundwork for punishment/persecution due to religous beliefs, sexual orientation, or even political affiliation. Sure, it doesn't work that way, at first, but once the principle is firmly established, it can be twisted later to suit those in power.

remember that the Nazis were democratically elected into power in Germany, and it was only after they were in power did they change the laws to allow themselves and only themselves power in Germany. The actual ruling group and their aims can vary widely, but the principles remain the same. When it is legal to punish people for unpopular thought and speech, all that prevents dictatorship is removed, and it is only a matter of time until some group gains enough power to enforce their will under law, and at the point of a bayonet or the muzzle of a police weapon when resisted. And time is passing, even as we speak.
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british columbia , canada , first amendment , free speech , hate speech , islam , law , united states

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