Free Speech. Where do YOU draw the line?

haydayhaydayApril 16, 2014

Principal: L.I. High School Students Suspended Indefinitely For Displaying Confederate Flag

Yes, I understand the symbolism behind the Confederate flag. Yes, I don't think you should be allowed to yell "Fire!!!"

"The students haven't explained why they did it. St. Anthony's is a private Catholic school and isn't bound by the First Amendment right to free speech." Yes, I understand that, too.

We don't really need to rehash any of that.

I'd like to suggest that we only allow kind, sweet words on this forum.

Where do YOU draw the line?

I dislike some speech. Speech that I'll tolerate, because I love freedom a lot more.

Where do YOU draw the line?

Hay

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patriciae_gw(07)

Hate speech is dangerous. It leads to genocide-we have multiple examples of this in history so I don't think it is sensible for a society of any kind to tolerate it. I find it very encouraging that the incident has caused so much heated debate. It might mean we are improving as a culture. When it comes to the Confederate flag it would be interesting as to why this boy would do what he did. Done in ignorance or as a symbol of the idea of states rights is one thing but not to give up that symbol when it is explained to you that states rights to keep people enslaved is another evil meaning is something else.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:25PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

My son grew up adoring the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard sporting their Confederate flags. To younger boys, the Dukes were naughty boys who broke the rules and were made heroes for doing it--something every young boy wishes were true when Mom or teacher or whoever repeatedly say NO to him.

I wonder how many ex-Hazzard watchers still harbor that young boy who would like to rebel against all the stupid rules (as he views it) that society creates. As an adult these kinds of guys embrace "states rights" as an adult justification for the young kid just wanting to do whatever he wanted to do without restraints.

In other words, to a certain group out there, I don't think the Confederate Flag is truly political--it's personal--finally they can say, don't step on me (macho, macho, huff, huff).

Just an idea.

By the way, my son has long understood that he would be permanently disowned if he ever brought a Confederate flag into this house or attached it to any vehicle associated with this family.

Kate

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:40PM
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demifloyd(8)

"I dislike some speech. Speech that I'll tolerate, because I love freedom a lot more."

*

I agree, Hay.

I agree that the school should probably have rules not to bring such items on campus, but that could include other items that may offend different groups.

What people do in their homes, display on their vehicles, or do in public where no one is put in danger, is their business and part of freedom of speech in my view.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:50PM
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dragonflydee

Well,
I suppose you could start with broad blanket sneering...very
Few people react favourably to that...but that is usually not
So serious...just makes whoever does it look like a jerk...

I get very nervous abt censorship...

The bullying going on in schools,and online,that has led to
The suicides of even some very young children...
I am just out to "get" the bullies...

But I have no idea exactly what to do that will make them not
Just keep on doing whatever they please...after all they are
Usually just kids and teenagers...

Network media owners already censor; we know the groups who
Would love to control the Internet are just itching to make the grab,
We see the results of book-burnings...

I am not ready to "muzzle" free speech, but I sure feel like it sometimes
When it is exploited and used to harm and threaten...

DD

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:02PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Unfortunately the confederate flag doesn't exist in a vacuum where it can mean what ever you want it to mean. Like the swastika which once was a perfectly innocuous symbol that meant it is good, the confederate flag is now associated with the 750,000 people who died in that war of rebellion in support of slavery. While it is easiest to just let it all hang out, a civil society ought to be able to manage limits without curbing healthy dialogue. As I said, hate speech is dangerous and people die in droves when it is not curbed. Synagogues and Mosques in America need guards.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:56PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Oh, I agree 100%, patriciae. My point was that I suspect that a certain number of those who wave Confederate flags have no historical consciousness and so get really irritated when those of us who do try to point out the horrendous implications of that flag to society in general--because they do not share that general awareness.

I guess what is so puzzling is how resistant some of them are to expanding their consciousness after the wider historical meanings are explained to them.

As to the broader question of suppression of free speech, if it is a close call, I will tend to lean towards allowing it--even if I hate it. But there are some things I wish someone would come up with a good reason to suppress that speech that would trump the right to free speech.

As we all know (I assume), not all speech is "free" speech--calling "fire" in a public theatre and thereby causing a dangerous panic--is not "free speech." So the question does become which speech is free and which is not.

I'm not smart enough to answer that one.

Kate

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:55PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

A really great school should be able to allow all speech and turn it into learning experiences. That's what I'd like to see.

As the ACLU says, “Our motto is more speech, not censorship or punishment,” “Helping children understand the impact of this patently offensive expressive activity.” (I'm sure those 18-year-olds with the flags were, in fact, busy studying the impact.)

Most schools very much have to deal with their own realities, though, so I read the link for the context of this situation: "Tensions are so high among students at St. Anthony’s that the principal said he has security concerns once the suspension is over. He’s made the decision that the students involved aren’t coming back at all."

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:10PM
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labrea_gw

I support most/all speech unless it is inciting people to violence or is used against children to shame or injure them.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:21PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I think the days are long gone when the "Stars and Bars" was someting indicative of Southern pride and heritage.

So what if it was the official national flag of the Confederacy? Now it's the co-opted symbol of some white prider waving it outside the White House fence. The message and its intent were pretty clear - and though offensive one is free to do it.

With few exceptions, like yelling fire in a theater, etc. I don't want free speech curtailed - but it's just too bad there are those who don't have good sense and decency boundaries when it comes to symbols. That's life in these times.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:22PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Where do YOU draw the line?

What kind of line; charcoal, india ink, 2H pencil?

Where is this line; my home, public, e-mails?

Who am I drawing this line for; myself, family, others?

I'll try to tackle the difficult situations that Patricia addresses. There's a fine line between freedom of expression and hate speech which seeks to incite that emotion in others. I don't know where it is exactly, and everyone may experience it a bit differently.

I heard some taped conversations of Glenn Miller this morning, and his was pure hate speech. However, his ideas were so extreme and vile, and he so eager to have an audience with his thinly disguised braggadocio, that I thought his ranting seemed more symptomatic of mental illness than capable of persuading anyone to his cause. Yet when these same thoughts are expressed on a white supremacist web site, there already is an accepting, like-minded audience. Mark Potok of the SPLC maintains that the site Miller frequented, vnn.com (I think - I'm not going to check it) and Stormfront, are common denominators in a number of more recent hate crimes. So where does free speech become a case for law enforcement? Vague threats? Planning violence? Are these site the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater?

I'm bothered by the fact that law-abiding mosques are subject to clandestine surveillance and informers, but white nationalists / supremacists appear to be exempt from the same level of scrutiny. Could a U.S. Muslim have the liberty of the same type of speech as used by white supremacists without having to account for his/her words and intentions? I doubt it. Law enforcement was infiltrating Christian and non-sectarian pacifist and peace groups in the 2000s for merely daring to speak out against the Iraq war.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:32PM
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david52 Zone 6

We had one of those 17 year old 'Dukes of Hazzard" fans around here who painted his pickup truck with the Confederate Flag, which got his truck banned from the high school parking lot, which led to umpty letters to the editor about freedom of speech and so on. There was more to this than meets the eye - some of the students were seriously pushing the boundaries harassing a rumored gay teacher, and the administration decided it was time to put a stop to the nonsense.

Before he drove his truck off to college, he repainted it with the Stars and Stripes of this Great Land of Ours.

I think the Westboro Baptist Church crosses the line. I think the people running Radio Mille Colline in Rwanda crossed the line. I think some of the current radio hosts on talk radio, when they deliberately and knowingly promulgate false information potentially or actually leading to violence cross the line.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:57PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

Indeed!

Here's an interesting bit of reading.

Here is a link that might be useful: PBS transcript

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:15PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Hate speech is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater-or for today GUN! It is intended to incite and that is why Canada has much more stringent laws about it. We are not an uneducated people so we know that people are killed daily for being different and we only have to look to our own history here on Hot Topics to see the intolerance towards certain groups. Since we have to know that hate speech leads to deaths then why do we have so much trouble and conscience about saying 'you cant say that' Parsing out what is dangerous and what is not is hard work. Are we too lazy to do that work?

By the by-that flag was never the official flag of the confederacy for what ever that means. We have sanitized and Bowdlerized our history to the point that people actually defend the Confederacy and what it stood for. Because over 750,000 people died you would think we would be able to put the Confederacy in its proper context-it is nothing to be proud of.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:31PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

When those who claim "heritage",failed to stand against it's use as a hate symbol ,..right then and there I believe they lost the right to use "heritage" as an excuse to keep it in their state flag in any perceivable way.

That's what I think anyway..

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:12PM
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october17(5chgo)

I draw the line at funerals. Don't care what anyone thinks about my line.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 6:23AM
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ohiomom

If "free speech" really existed you would not have people banned from this forum for their "words".

Just saying ....

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 7:44AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I think the days are long gone when the "Stars and Bars" was someting indicative of Southern pride and heritage.

Duluth, I wish this were true. To that white prider waving the flag outside the White House, it still represents those ideas. As it does to other southerners less radical. Isn't it still commonly seen at certain college football teams? (I never watch football so can't name names--but there are still periodic reports of certain teams/schools refusing to give up the Confederate flag as an emblem. Or am I thinking of pro teams?) And they insist it has nothing to do with slavery or white pride. It simply asserts and celebrates a uniquely southern identity and heritage.

Personally, I think that is a lot of bull, but there are still a number of flag supporters defending the Confederate flag in our culture.

Kate

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:02AM
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rob333

I don't draw the line. I think in my head, sure you CAN say that but SHOULD you?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:34AM
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chase_gw

Guess I don't know what you mean by "draw the line".

Legally or personally?

I think it should be illegal to harass, threaten, slander, intimidate, misrepresent (as in business) or incite violence towards any group or individual.

I also think that private organizations and corporations should have the right to limit some speech for their members and employees.

On a personal level I am hugely offended by hateful, arrogant or demeaning words that are directed towards, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation , economic status and the like....but I do recognize that people have the right to be nasty....and I have the right to call them on it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:01AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Occasionally I see a Confederate flag atop a flag pole around here (I'm near Richmond afterall) along with a TP flag, not my choice of flags but if idiots want to do that it's their right to express their idiocy or whatever. Both flags belong in museums.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:11AM
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pls8xx

All that is needed is adherence to the law both protecting free speech and the lawful restrictions to same. Some of the comments here make me wonder how well the general public understands when, where, and what is protected.

The right to free speech (and expression) is not absolute.

Commercial speech is subject to regulation.

Speech that promotes or endorses a criminal act is not protected.

The right to free speech does not give immunity from other laws such as slander or indecency.

The right to free speech may not be infringed by any content based regulation (commercial speech exception noted).

Government has always had the authority to make a non-content based restriction of free speech at a particular place and/or time where the state has a legitimate interest in doing so.

Most public properties are traditionally used for free speech and the default for public property is a protection of speech and expression subject to non-content restriction of place and time.

Private property traditionally used for free speech often has the same speech protection of a public place.

Many schools are places that have traditionally promoted free speech. For these schools any restrictions based on the content of speech or expression are a violation of individual rights. For the incident that started this thread, the school may find itself on the loosing end of a lawsuit.

Fifty years ago I attended a high school that made a point of teaching the importance of free speech. But the school made full use of the right to suspend free speech at the campus boundary. The restriction was not content based as all freedom of speech and expression was prohibited; no lettering, logos, or photos of any product, person, concept, social, religious, or political meaning allowed on clothing. Wear a shirt to school that had "Nike" on it and you would be wearing a sports pull-over covering the shirt.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 9:25AM
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adoptedbyhounds

"If "free speech" really existed you would not have people banned from this forum for their "words".
Just saying ...."

You are confusing a right with a privilege.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:20AM
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ohiomom

So "free speech" is a privilege and not a right ... ok

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:32AM
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asleep_in_the_garden

I'm no lawyer but perhaps someone might define slander and defamation of character?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:35AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

pls8xx, thank you for a really nice, well-reasoned post.

I think that you've captured the complicated balancing of free speech between competing interests -- your rights, the rights of others, and the potential harm that can flow from abuse of free speech.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:36AM
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duluthinbloomz4

A bit of correction on what I posted on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 15:22 - the most familiar and best known Confederate flag is a "battle flag" carried by Confederate troops in the field.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:47AM
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pls8xx

Thank you Nancy but the balance is not mine, but that which has been derived by the courts over many decades.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:57AM
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david52 Zone 6

Instead of a Confederate flag, what about the Nazi symbol? A hangman's noose hung outside the dorm where black students live?

Any of these symbols means something completely different to different people. The Navajo gave up using the Nazi symbol in their weaving and art when they realized the wider connotation.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:08AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

pls8xx comments are reality behind "free speech" in this country. There is very little left than cannot be restricted in interests of local or national "security" for example. Remember the infamous "free speech zones" isolating protesters from public venues?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:12AM
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october17(5chgo)

It's ok to burn the American flag.

But don't you wave that Conferate one.

Sheesh.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:13AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

but the balance is not mine

Ah, but you chose to give a balanced presentation . . .

Take my compliment, please! ;0)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:14AM
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pls8xx

marshallz10 .....
"pls8xx comments are reality behind "free speech" in this country. There is very little left than cannot be restricted in interests of local or national "security" for example. Remember the infamous "free speech zones" isolating protesters from public venues?"

I would not say Marshall is wrong, but a bit backwards in view. Certainly there have been areas designated as "free speech zones" in an attempt to encourage one place be used rather than a more problematic area. Still, the court decisions I have seen favor free speech as the default for all public venues, placing the burden on government to show any restriction to be a constitutionally valid use of authority. To prevail, government must show:

1. That the restriction is uniform against all speech and not based on content.

2. That the restriction serves a valid and substantial government interest.

Keep in mind, a right to free speech does not negate other law, such as impeding traffic. While you have the right to one you may be arrested for the other.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:13PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Having been escorted, more than once, to the so-called "free speech zone," let me assure you they are not what you think they are.

The police set up a roped off area far out of sight and sound of the main political event (speaker or whatever). Then the police "escort" you there--which means you HAVE to go to those semi-hidden spots or you HAVE to be escorted to your vehicle (often parked many blocks away). In either case, you are kept under observation by the police until your car drives off (in the direction of out of town) or you must stay in the roped off area ("crime scene" tape all around it) and UNDER GUARD until the entire event is over.

It is true that in that crime scene circle, guarded by police, you may say whatever you want--but there is no one around to hear you since the police have made sure that you do not have anyone there to hear you.

Free Speech Zones--yeah, sure!

Kate

p.s. If you are wondering--I was protesting the Bush presidents speaking in the next town over the border about 30 miles away--at a local college. "Keep your laws off my body."

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:27PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Our rights of free speech are-again-protection from Governmental restrictions on that speech. Public schools are governmental institutions. The school in this OP is private so they can limit free expression on their property just like Gardenweb can limit our free expression here because it is not a public venue.
The Supremes have decided that I can burn an American flag as a free speech statement. I can also wave that stupid Confederate flag about unless my point is a short cut symbol for killing all the N****ers and Jews and so forth which for Hate groups it is. For some reason we are very timid about calling out hate groups. When you have some one argue that setting fire to a cross in front of a uppity black's home is free speech you need to rethink your parameters.

I know that the use of so called free speech zones is excused on the basis of security. It is in most cases an infringement in my opinion.

Oddly enough, I don't know if people remember but people wearing liberal messaged t-shirts would be booted out of Republican political rally's, this is legal because the rallys aren't public.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:59PM
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woodnymph2_gw

I'm totally against anything that promotes hate crimes and hate speech. Having said that, I'm a realist. I think, living in the South, we are always going to have these confed. flag wavers with us; they are just going underground. I moved here from VA and I can't begin to tell you how many LARGE confed. flags I observed hanging in windows in rural village homes out in the country. You can legislate all you wish but you are not going to stop these folk from cult behavior in their own homes, no matter how ignorant they are of American history. Now I live in SC, where we have Confederate re-enactors up the yinyang. Oh yeah, they claim they are keeping history alive....

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 1:17PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Woodnymph-being southern myself I know where you are coming from. It is of course not against the law to hang that flag in your windows or stick it on your car. I would so like people to think through what they are saying when they insist on using that symbol. I was in the 4th grade when I realized what a terrible idea the Civil war was and how lucky we all were that the south lost. I was in school in Montgomery Alabama and George Wallace Jr was sitting right next to me in the next row over. We were studying Alabama history. I decided then that if the south had managed to separate themselves they would have started killing each other next.
Reenactments are one of my least favorite things. Most of the people are into the gear. They never even think through what they are saying. They don't think about the dead and mangled reality.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 2:13PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Who gets to determine exactly what "hate speech" is?
Mark Potok?
Personally, I feel all those "humorous" TV commercials we've been subjected to over many years, where the Black person, who has bought the "right" product or service, looks in eye-rolling disgust at the White person (usually male) who has bought the "wrong" product or service, and is now suffering the "humorous" pratfall consequence of his stupid choice, is rather hateful toward White people.
Think about it. You've seen dozens, if not scores, of commercials which follow this script.
One thing you've never seen: a reversal of these roles.
Why is that?
I know. If you'll look into it a little, you'll know too.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 3:36PM
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elvis

"One thing you've never seen: a reversal of these roles.
Why is that?
I know. If you'll look into it a little, you'll know too."

I know exactly what you mean, Brute, and am mildly offended by the not-so-subtle "message." To be clear, I am not offended because I am white; I am offended that the commercials are dumbed down for people of color.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:02PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Sorry, but the dumbing down aspect in TV ads has the air of equal opportunity.

I sense what brute might be getting at - like he's holding a handful of race cards he wants to play after his hiatus (for whatever reason) from HT. Amirite?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:28PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Brute-I would love an example of the sort of ad you just described because I don't recall such ads. Perhaps I am just not as aware of skin color in ads as you are. Oh, how about the insurance company ad where the black man wants to juggle the chain saws? I just realized that is an ad with a foolish black man. Progressive insurance with Flo. Its been on the air for a long time.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:50PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Patriciae... Oh, my poor typing fingers! Okay, I'll try to offer some extremely abbreviated examples. By the way, that foolish chainsaw Black guy was just happy he got Progressive Insurance.
Recent examples: That ebonics-speaking Smokey Bear (who then turns into a Black neighbor) chewing out the White neighbor for leaving his leaf-burning unattended.
The White guy, whose face is tiled-out because he's embarrassed that he bought the "ugliest car on the cul-de-sac" and his Black neighbor wisely bought a Toyota.
The "gazillion dollar" ING Investment spot where the White hedge-trimming neighbor looks like a fool because his Black neighbor invested with ING.
The State Farm Insurance commercial where a goofy White guy rear-ends a righteous Black man out in the desert. The Black sings the jingo and his insurance agent suddenly appears, assuring him that he's covered. Then the squirrely White guy tries the same singing trick, substituting "Blah, blah, blah" for State Farm, and his mother magically appears.
Ooops! My neighbor (White) just showed up and wants me to go fishing with him. I'll add more commercials later if these weren't enough for you.
In the meantime, I'll provide a link with HUNDREDS of examples to keep you entertained while I'm gone.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t649698/

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:50PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I'm not opening a Stormfront site.

Think brute is just miffed Madison Ave. finally got the message that the US isn't only populated with white folk who have investment portfolios, nice cars, cereals that don't clog up arteries... It upsets his world order and Stormfront is needed to bolster the confirmation bias.

Most ads are dumb and insult one's intelligence regardless of the ethnicity of the actors - kinda like parking your car halfway onto the ferry as it pulls away.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:20PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I have seen the desert one--but didn't pay much attention. I usually go do other things or surf the channels when ads are on--so I haven't seen any of the others.

Wouldn't you know it--Brute linked to Stormfront. I took a quick 10 second peek. Very first message was of the let's-all-complain-about-ads-putting-down-whites type. Then I quickly skedaddled out of there--before I caught some morally infectious disease.

Brute--I recommend you quit watching so much TV. Not good for you--for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with skin color.

Kate

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:23PM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Yeah, even the poor Aflac Duck is looked down upon as being silly by the black guy rolling his eyes. The duck just happens to be white, nyuk.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:40AM
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elvis

•Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 9:40

"Yeah, even the poor Aflac Duck is looked down upon as being silly by the black guy rolling his eyes. The duck just happens to be white, nyuk."

Now THAT was funny. Good morning, Vgkg ;-D

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:53AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

I try Elvis, Good morning to you too. It is a good one here to get the summer crops started, time for tilling etc while the soil is right.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:08AM
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dragonflydee

As For Potok...

He used to editor for Morris Dees and maybe still does...
They used to mail their magazine to my husband at his office.

This has been so long ago I can't remember details,and
Do not want to give out misinformation but I think...just think
Maybe,now...back in the 60's somebody tried to blow up Dee's
Office in Mississippi.

If my memory is correct things like that can make people
Paranoid...

DD

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:16AM
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elvis

"It is a good one here to get the summer crops started, time for tilling etc while the soil is right."

Gnash gnash. We've got at least 18", at LEAST, on the ground. The storm gave us a fresh 15" on top of what we still had, and even with melting yesterday, it's deep. No good for snowshoeing to tap the trees, either. Too honeycombed. Fortunately, we till in the fall, so when I can see the ground, I'll put in the peas ;-)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:22AM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Brute, does Stormfront present you with the senarios of white guys making white guys look dimwitted? There are plenty enough of those-how can those dastardly white guys make their own race look stupid? Anyway I gave you an example of what you ask for and you just blew it off.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:11PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Patriciae... I'm assuming the example I "blew off" was the Progressive Insurance "chainsaw" commercial, right?
Okay then, let's go into it a little deeper. The commercials I object to are the ones where the Black always is portrayed as righteous and wise, who casts disparaging looks at a stupid White guy.
The "chainsaw" Black is feeling happy and overconfident because he purchased the "right" product, and feels he's now ready to juggle chainsaws.
Silly? I suppose so, but it still doesn't meet my criteria for an interracial "putdown" commercial of the type I've been describing here.
That type always features a Black directing a head-shaking, eye-rolling "What an idiot!" look at a White stooge. This has been going on for decades, with hundreds of examples, and I believe there has been an anti-white agenda being pushed by the media all along.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:42PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Addressing brute here... What are you going to do - what will you be spouting - when the predicted demographic shift completes itself in 2050 ( it's going to be much sooner, methinks) due to immigration, a combination of more deaths and fewer births among whites and high number of minority births? Texas, New Mexico, and California are already majority-minority states.

Guess there will always be a few riders on the storm(front) who just can't see and accept people as people.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:14PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Elvis, I am confused as to why you are posting about gardening on a free speech op. Do you think that is adding to our understanding of that particular topic? I am just wondering because your posts can be obscure to me.

Brute-So we have a black stupid guy. I would think that you would be over the moon about that. You are hard to please.

But for your information I am sure the people who put together ads aren't addressing your problem with race but instead are trying to make ads that will appeal to a broader audience. Were you happier when all ads only had smart and stupid white people? Back in the day the only blacks I remember were Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. Are you offended by the deceased Mr Goldman insurance ad because there are no whites at all-unless you consider the gold fish. Maybe the agent in the office is white I don't recall. Still this has nothing to do with free speech and I cant fault Elvis if I also go wandering in the wilderness. Sorry Elvis.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:36PM
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elvis

"Elvis, I am confused as to why you are posting about gardening on a free speech op. Do you think that is adding to our understanding of that particular topic? I am just wondering because your posts can be obscure to me."

Responding to vgkg.

"Still this has nothing to do with free speech and I cant fault Elvis if I also go wandering in the wilderness. Sorry Elvis."

True. I appreciate that. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 9:03PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Elvis-Brutes point is that he thinks that a limit on free speech ought to include the sorts of ads that he objects to because he thinks they are hate speech so in a round about way he is on topic and my comment on his comment is on topic. You on the other hand perplex me in that you seem to be a Clarence Thomas sort of person. You never seem to speak for yourself but chime in to support someone else's point of view or say nothing to the point at all. I just wondered why?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:23PM
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elvis

"You never seem to speak for yourself but chime in to tsupport someone else's point of view or say nothing to the point at all. I just wondered why?"

One good rule of thumb in a discussion is to avoid words like "never" and "always." I welcome the criticism for its value to me, thanks.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:41PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Whoa! Hold the phone!
Patriciae, just for the record, I do not favor limits restricting ANYBODY'S free speech, no matter what they say.
What I try to do is point out the rampant hypocrisy I find almost everyday in the mainstream media.
If someone wants to declare that White people are blue-eyed devils who are responsible for everything that ails the non-white world, that's fine with me. If someone wants to "deny the Holocaust", that also fine with me. I think I'm grown-up enough to make up my own mind on controversial issues after hearing all the arguments.
I'm for absolute free speech, no matter what the content of that speech, with the possible exception of personal slander and libel.
I try to win hearts and minds with the facts as I see them. People are free to take it or leave it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 5:46AM
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frank_il

"I try to win hearts and minds with the facts as I see them. People are free to take it or leave it."

I assume you are a member of Stormfront since you seem to enjoy using them as a source. What is your moniker over there so I can look up some of your heart and mind winning arguments?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:26AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Given the many decades that the visual media (movies, TV, ads) has demeaned or ignored people of color (thereby implying white superiority), I am pleased that it has finally discovered people of color and is willing to present them occasionally in a positive light, even at the expense at times of white egos that are so used to lording it over others that they can't take a few media pokes at their own minor flaws and social foibles.

Kate

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:34AM
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patriciae_gw(07)

So Brute, you would limit speech that would hurt my pocket book but not speech that would incite some one to kill me. Interesting standards.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:44PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Huh?
Are we still on the same page?
What on earth are you talking about?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:53PM
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frank_il

If you are talking to me I was just curious about what your handle on Stormfront is.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:59PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

No Frank, I was confused about Patriciae's last post.
By the way, your previous request got my "spidey senses" all atingle.
My internet survival instincts tell me to turn down your request. Sorry, but us longtime WN's have a lot of very active and creative enemies who follow us everywhere, doing their utmost to disrupt our lives. The least amount of trackable info I post, the better.
Sorry.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:37PM
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frank_il

At least you are honest. I can't imagine myself following random people who I disagree with around the internet disrupting their lives (I am not really a techy guy or terribly ambitious for that matter), but who knows.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:36PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

"I'm for absolute free speech, no matter what the content of that speech, with the possible exception of personal slander and libel.

Brute, it is obvious then that you haven't realized what you said. You specifically except slander and libel-speech that causes defamation that leads to injury to that person's reputation usually only provable by financial loss to the person being defamed about but you make no exception for hate speech-speech that identifies specific 'races' of people and calls for the injuring, excluding and even killing of those people. I think of that as a curious standard.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:26PM
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chase_gw

I draw the line at being accused of being a closet conservative........ that is way over the line.. : )

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:58PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Chase, isn't that libel or slander (I never can remember which it is)--in which case they accuser(s) is/are not covered under the First Amendment--right?

Kate

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:09PM
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cait1

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.

I'm not a child who needs to draw lines when it comes to free speech.

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

"Typically, African-American students across the country are involved in speaking out against the display of the Confederate Flag, but at one South Carolina university, a young Black man sees the flag as a positive symbol and is speaking out in support of his own right to hang it proudly.

"When I look at this flag, I don't see racism. I see respect, Southern pride," 19-year-old Byron Thomas, an African-American student at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, told the Associated Press. "This flag was seen as a communication symbol" during the Civil War....

I've been getting a lot of support from people. My generation is interested in freedom of speech," Thomas said."

But this forum is rife with controlled speech advocates. The most amusing limitation of free speech, to me anyway, is 'news source' commentary. I wish those of you who decry open source to start a thread on the news sources permitted on this forum. Um, oh yeah, posters on this forum don't actually 'own' this website so no one can make that kind of demand, though I would be curious to know what is considered by some to be 'honest' news sources. That would be a hilarious thread. I avoid all MSM and cable news shows because their scripted and controlled.

I really don't care what anyone says. When the personal attacks start on this forum I know those throwing them have lost the argument so in my eyes the receiver of such comments is vindicated. I don't approve of those kinds of comments, to me it's an exhibit of puerile behaviour that adults should have outgrown, but then I know who the children are and can skip reading their comments in the future. It's a great time saver.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:03AM
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chase_gw

I think it's libel because it is written not spoken but when written on a forum as a comment I guess it could be considered slander...so you're right . ....even though I know you're left.

The accuser has no right to say I'm right , well I mean of course I'm right about him/her having no right to say I'm right as in right, right. That's wrong.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:01AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

I am a complete First Amendmendist. I do not believe you can draw a line in the sand allowing any speech to be outlawed no matter how hateful without then spending the rest of time allowing various groups to push for more and more speech that should be outlawed.

Yes, a lot of the words mentioned here are hateful and I hate them too. But once some words are pronounced hateful, its just a matter of whose words at that moment are not popular and can be deemed hateful and outlawed.

My personal response to speech I find hateful (and I know I've said it on HT before) is to point at the clowns in public and laugh at them. I wish more people would react that way rather than giving them the dignity of getting into arguments with them. Like when the Westboro Baptist Church shows up to protest, everyone pointing at the clowns and laughing would make much better TV than giving them serious consideration. Ridicule is usually the one thing such pompous idiots can't take because deep down many of the followers know they are doing wrong and hate when people recognize that and show them up.

Now actions...those have to have immediate consequences.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:47AM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Kimka-the word is mightier than the sword. You deny the power of words to move people to action. While the Nazi's are almost a cliché these days they are a perfect example of what happens when a kind of speech is free. An organized campaign of lies against Jews that reinforced peoples previous cultural beliefs about Jews made it possible to round them up and kill them all. People really believed they were stopping a menace-because they had been coached on the evil menace of Jews. We have recently been seeing this same sort of slander used against Middle Eastern people who are presumed to be evil Muslims. On this basis it is a good thing to attack Muslim people in the middle east. In Iraq alone tens of thousands of people are dead. We haven't bothered to count how many of them have died because who cares? They are evil.

By the by-slander and libel are the same-it is only the mode of expression that is different as in spoken or written.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 1:30PM
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pnbrown

I don't follow the use of Nazi Germany as an example of where free speech leads.

It is the dead opposite - speech was anything but free in that time and place. Numerous Germans were killed, jailed, or banished for attempting to exercise free speech. So a case could be made that limiting speech leads to that sort of government gaining power.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 4:00PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Pn, you know that speech is never free. We have limits on what we can say already imposed by our own Supreme court. We have laws on libel and slander, though fairly weak compared to other countries. In a world where you can say what ever you please including it is time to kill the president because xyz will happen if we don't(and we know it is illegal to say that) things happen because of what people say. Speech is not benign. Names can and do hurt. Not only could the Nazi government say such evil things about Jews and other 'undesirables' but regular citizens could amplify that at will. 12 million people died. Just because you weren't free also to say Nazi's were evil doesn't take away from the power of those words and what they engendered. Speech is a powerful thing and you don't just get to say what you please and not have serious consequences for your society.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 6:26PM
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pnbrown

Free speech means living under a government where citizens can speak things that other people don't like. Your argument appears to be that because there was a Nazi Germany governments should ban free speech.

That seems nonsensical to me.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:32PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Using an example closer to our times than Patricia's: Recently I've heard a few interviews regarding the Rwandan genocide and the part that hate radio played in the slaughter. I no longer will underestimate the power of broadcasting hate speech and incitements to murder.

The impact of hate media in Rwanda: The United Nations tribunal in Arusha has convicted three former media executives of being key figures in the media campaign to incite ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.

Hate radio: It's a powerful medium. All you need is a transistor radio and a few batteries. "The graves are not yet full." ~Slogan broadcast on RTLM radio during the genocide.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:00PM
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pnbrown

I think there is a great deal more to the Rwanda events than such a simplistic explanation as "hate" radio. Foreign money interests are all over it, according to some.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 7:51AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I think there is a great deal more

pn, yes, of course. But hate radio was integral in spreading the mayhem and murder.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 9:41AM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Thanks Nancy-I actually considered the Rwandan massacres as an example but USians are not as aware of the details-you have provided that. Thank you.

I know that it goes against the American ethos to curb speech but most countries manage very well without the completely free wheeling open invitation to say what ever you please when ever you please. We are even confused into thinking our speech is free when ever and don't have a clear understanding of what our rights really are. Like Pn we cant see the downside of not parsing that freedom with responsibility. We do it quick and dirty like we seem to do everything including invading a country based on overweening free speech. Too bad for those Iraqis

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 1:32PM
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pnbrown

Now free speech is responsible for Imperialism? You are way off track.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:02PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Given the very serious danger to representative democracy posed by modern sophisticated manipulation techniques, coupled with eagerly gullible partisanism, I would support SOME very careful limits on political speech.

They perhaps could be limited to important provable lies and large patterns of provable gross deception that is in effect a giant lie.

Consequence would be requiring the guilty party to apologize to the region, state and/or nation for the lie through its media, state the lie and explain exactly why it was untrue.

This would still allow plenty of room for various techniques of tricky deception, which can do a great deal with partial lies and partial truths. As long as they avoid the large pattern of deception. Thus, political groups could express worry that healthcare reform COULD lead to death panels but not state that they were already part of the evil plot.

How we would handle large black money-funded lies? The post office boxes they operate out of can't be humiliated and the "organization" names can just be changed to new ones. They would probably continue and just develop a hit-and-run style so that so many new lies were promulgated on top of old apologies people just tuned out. Discouraging people from voting by turning them off is an old technique.

It would work if the benefiting party or candidates were required to explain the lies to the media, without apologizing for them, of course. :)

Wishful thinking, huh?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:12PM
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steve2416

I don't draw a line, but I wish people would consider the place and potential audience before they speak.
Last year at our annual Apple Festival, my grandchildren were disappointed when their parents tired of the walking so I volunteered to walk them through the rest of it - lots of little craft booths and vendors still to see. There was a self styled preacher in his parsons outfit thumping on his Bible to emphasize his points which seemed to consist of: abortion, fornication, sodomy, etc. would lead to the ever-burning lake of Hell-fire and brimstone. Crowded Main St. with traffic except for foot cordoned off, kids in strollers, many children the ages of my GC (three @ 12 y.o.), and others wanting to see and experience all the goodies and wares being offered, and one guy standing in the middle screaming with neck veins distended about the Hell awaiting.
I know he had every right to do it and there was LE everywhere, but it made me very uncomfortable. I could have led them away, but they would have known that we missed things because of my discomfort.
We finished the tour, but I did walk by him and tell him that kids didn't need to hear the words he was spouting, and then walked back to the parents with me dreading that one of them would ask me for definitions of his words. Fortunately, that didn't happen.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:51PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I'm not familiar with this site - "Outside the Beltway", but the article dated April 15, 1014, does give the back story to a case the Supremes will hear (or have just recently heard).

FTA: "...challenging an Ohio law, on the books since the 1970s, that forbids candidates, issue groups or anyone else from knowingly or recklessly making false statements about someone on the ballot - " whether the untruths are intended to help elect or defeat the candidate. Fifteen other states similarly criminalize “false” political statements, briefs in the case say, but this is the first constitutional challenge against one of those laws that’s made it to the Supreme Court."

Here is a link that might be useful: Driehaus lawsuits

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:55PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

So Steve, you tiptoed your grandkids around the brimstone and hellfire preacher. What do you think your grandkids' reaction would have been if you had pointed at him and laughed at the clown with your grandkids instead of showing them you feared him and his speech. Sometimes being polite lets hate speech flourish.

Would Hitler have achieved so much power if a majority of the Austrian and then German people had stood up and laughed at what Hitler was spouting in the very beginning? The real problems were rooted in that a significant number of Austrians and Germans welcomed what Hitler was saying, that their economic problems were someone else's fault, that it was ok to hate those someones and to take what belonged to them for themselves. And an even larger number of the rest of the country was willing to put their heads down and do nothing because it wasn't them that were being picked on so why take a chance by speaking up.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:15PM
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steve2416

kimka, you made a point, but did you miss where I said that we went past him and saw everything. On our way back, I did speak to him in a clear voice (not strident, like his) about the inappropriateness of his words in that venue. I showed no fear, but pointing and laughing at him and expecting them to join me might have embarrassed them and put more question marks in their heads.
As I said, I wouldn't have cared if he was preaching to adults who cared to listen, but it was the age level that was being exposed to this garbage that bothered me.
Twelve y.o.'s don't need to be used to make a political/social statement either. We were there for fun. My brief statement to the offender told them I had principles without spoiling the frivolity.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:50PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Pn-how are the ideals of imperialism spread if not by free speech? It is not something we drink. Do you think that people just wake up one day and all together say-let's invade a country and kill 10's of thousands of people. They are fed the idea that they have a right to do this and it is a good thing to do. If only the Bush government was pushing this idea I doubt it would fly but all sorts of pundits and commentators and just folk were saying Iraq needed to be invaded. Free speech. No one has been held responsible for what we did to those people. People might now be saying-what were we thinking, but the people are still dead because so many people said it was the right thing to do.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:08PM
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pnbrown

I don't know how to respond, except to say that you don't seem to understand what is meant by the phrase "free speech".

Imperialism, fascism, dictatorships, these are effects of elite control. Free speech is a feature of lessened elite control.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:57PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Steve, I often agree with you, but in this case I feel witnessing this preacher would be a good experience for most children, especially 12-year-olds. (Goodness--how old would you want them to be?) Not ESPECIALLY this preacher, but all types of people, so they can grow up knowing there is not only one narrow way to be. It's up to the parents to help them understand and keep it in perspective.

I never hid anything like that from my children but did explain that the guy in the lobby was probably insane and shouting at demons only he could see.

I let them go to any church they were invited to by friends, including without comment to a fundamentalist Baptists sect, several times, that I knew would grab the chance to save my children from the lake of fire awaiting the rest of their family. Yes, devious of me, but by then they were able to decide on their own what they thought of that--in large part because of their relative sophistication. The need to evaluate new ideas was not new to them.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:22PM
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steve2416

rosie, they witnessed everything! Their parents take them to church. I don't go to church. They heard what he had to say - no one could have missed it! There were thousands there, and they were greeted by many of their friends.
I said what I had to say to the "parson" but I deliberately did not embarrass them. It was a day for fun with Grandpa shelling out for the treats they wanted.
The twin granddaughters go to a Methodist Church and the grandson goes to a Baptist Church as their parents want. I want their parents to be on the hook to explain what "fornication", "sodomy" and "abortion" are about.
A grandparent has to know about the boundaries and that saying the wrong thing can get them in trouble with their kids.
I feel like I did right by telling this loathsome creature that I disapproved of his dialogue with all the children of all ages around, but stopped short of saying too much.
It worked because I am still allowed to show up at their basketball, softball and baseball games where I can spoil them some more. My grandson beats me at Racquetball twice a week.
I think they are growing up into well rounded individuals and I'm very proud.
I still think the "parson" was spewing hate speech rather than Christian love.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 6:21PM
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elvis

"And an even larger number of the rest of the country was willing to put their heads down and do nothing because it wasn't them that were being picked on so why take a chance by speaking up."

Is that the only reason they didn't speak up, or did they "put their heads down and do nothing" because they feared the consequences of speaking freely against the hate speech?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:56PM
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pnbrown

"The real problems were rooted in that a significant number of Austrians and Germans welcomed what Hitler was saying,"

That is exactly right. Similarly, the elites that rule north america get away with foreign aggression in various places around the globe because the average north american welcomes the "spread of democracy", at least, and many even think it is just fine to send drones into villages because, very frankly, there is a strong element of xenophobia among most populations, ours no exception.

When the shoe is on the other foot that is going to suck. When our people are considered by some far-away population to be no more consequent than animals, yeah, they're getting droned, they must deserve it, right?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:16AM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Pn- I think you are confusing Free Speech with good speech. If Free Speech means you can say anything you want that speech can be just as toxic as you like. Unfortunately when people speak their minds all sorts of ugly stuff can come out. In the aftermath of 9/11 too many people in this country were hot to go kill themselves some Arabs. Maybe the elite as you call them decided who we were going to attack but too many Americans were really vocal about doing it. I know because I argued with some of them.
I maintain that the idea that free speech leads to freedom for everyone is naïve.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:24PM
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pnbrown

You have it backwards - free speech is a result of freedom. Fortunately, we aren't going to take away that hard-won right just because a lot of people are narrow-minded, bigoted, xenophobic and just plain not very sharp. Not much can be done about that.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:31PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

If you support the right of everyone to speak their mind(not what free speech in the constitution means but it is what people believe) then you must take responsibility for what happens when they do.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 5:48PM
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pnbrown

Free speech is where the government cannot squelch disagreement - pretty much that simple I believe. So the opposite of your Nazi example, as I said.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:03PM
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elvis

•Posted by pnbrown z6.5 MA (My Page) on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 18:03

"Free speech is where the government cannot squelch disagreement - pretty much that simple I believe. So the opposite of your Nazi example, as I said."

I agree with Brown. This piece from Vanderbilt University's First Amendment Center is a concise summary of some of the debate over what "freedom of speech" means:

"About the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
��" The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
•First Amendment timeline

The First Amendment was written because at America’s inception, citizens demanded a guarantee of their basic freedoms.

Our blueprint for personal freedom and the hallmark of an open society, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.

Without the First Amendment, religious minorities could be persecuted, the government might well establish a national religion, protesters could be silenced, the press could not criticize government, and citizens could not mobilize for social change.

When the U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, it did not contain the essential freedoms now outlined in the Bill of Rights, because many of the Framers viewed their inclusion as unnecessary. However, after vigorous debate, the Bill of Rights was adopted. The first freedoms guaranteed in this historic document were articulated in the 45 words written by James Madison that we have come to know as the First Amendment.

The Bill of Rights ��" the first 10 amendments to the Constitution ��" went into effect on Dec. 15, 1791, when the state of Virginia ratified it, giving the bill the majority of ratifying states required to protect citizens from the power of the federal government.

The First Amendment ensures that “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,” as Justice Robert Jackson wrote in the 1943 case West Virginia v. Barnette.

And as Justice William Brennan wrote in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan in 1964, the First Amendment provides that “debate on public issues … [should be] … uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.”

However, Americans vigorously dispute the application of the First Amendment.

Most people believe in the right to free speech, but debate whether it should cover flag-burning, hard-core rap and heavy-metal lyrics, tobacco advertising, hate speech, pornography, nude dancing, solicitation and various forms of symbolic speech. Many would agree to limiting some forms of free expression, as seen in the First Amendment Center’s State of the First Amendment survey reports.

Most people, at some level, recognize the necessity of religious liberty and toleration, but some balk when a religious tenet of a minority religion conflicts with a generally applicable law or with their own religious faith. Many Americans see the need to separate the state from the church to some extent, but decry the banning of school-sponsored prayer from public schools and the removal of the Ten Commandments from public buildings.

Further, courts wrestle daily with First Amendment controversies and constitutional clashes, as evidenced by the free-press vs. fair-trial debate and the dilemma of First Amendment liberty principles vs. the equality values of the 14th Amendment.

Such difficulties are the price of freedom of speech and religion in a tolerant, open society."

I'm particularly fond of this part: “debate on public issues … [should be] … uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.”

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:25PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

I always hold that a quick and easy litmus test of free speech is when the local policy of "well its ok to open a public meeting with a prayer because we let any denomination lead the prayer or let any denomination have a holiday decoration at the court house" comes up for the local Satanist group or Pastafarian group requesting space or a place on the roster.

If they are welcomed with no fuss, then you are on your way to free speech. That carries through right up to the Opening of Congress and the National Pagent of Peace on the National Mall both of which only seem to recognize Christians and Jews.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:05AM
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elvis

Define "public meeting," please Kimka.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:17AM
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chase_gw

"'m particularly fond of this part: “debate on public issues … [should be] … uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.”

Define " public issue" please Elvis

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:20AM
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elvis

One thing at a time, Chase. I really want to consider Kimka's statement, but I need to make sure I know what it is. If I comply with your request, your interruption will simply snowball, and I'd prefer not.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:02PM
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chase_gw

OK it think i get it........you need to wait for Kimka to define what she means by "public" meeting before you can define what you mean by your reference to "public issues" .......at least I think I get it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:11PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Chase, no multi-tasking on Saturday.

I think Kimka gave a definition by her use of the adjective "public" and then ending with two specific examples. I'm not sure what else needs to be defined.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:20PM
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jodik_gw

Part and parcel of having such freedoms is accepting that a minority will abuse them. But we can't allow a few bad apples to spoil the whole bunch.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:35PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Pn-how do you think the Nazi's came to power in the first place? They did not sneak in by the back door as people would like to believe. They spoke their minds and too many people agreed-not always with what they said but more often with their goals. The devil is in the details which they shared freely. This is not some German issue. We have the same sort of mind set.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:52PM
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elvis

"I think Kimka gave a definition by her use of the adjective "public" and then ending with two specific examples."

That's fine, but it's not what I think.

C'mon, Saturdays are nothing but multi-tasking. I have a day job. Off to the thrift shop to buy my spring wardrobe.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:58PM
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pnbrown

What isn't some German issue? I'm not sure what you are talking about, at all. Germany in the 1930's did not have a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the freedom of speech. So the Nazi party couldn't have exploited freedom of speech, as such, to gain power. OTOH, once they did gain power, they abridged severely the ability of anyone to express opinion against them. (often by shooting those people).

Can you understand that, or not? Can you not see that Nazis are not an example of free speech run amok?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 1:10PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Sorry Elvis, I was off line for awhile. I'm talking about everything from the local school board meeting. zoning board meeting, PTA meeting for a public school, State Senate session,Federal Congressional Session where they open the session with a prayer but control who speaks it.

When I was a reporter in a city in Virginia, it was a common thing for the local Planning Commission to schedule a hearing and then that night put the matter over and then repeat until finally six or seven meetings later (three or four four months later), the opposition would have a night when they just couldn't make it. That's the night the issue would make it to the docket for people to speak on it. Some kind of free speech huh?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:57AM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

For Steve, sorry for the delay in noticing your response. Sounds like you did good, and I would probably have done just the same.

I only meant that all types of people and messages will be part of our grandchildren's world now and forever. I really appreciate encountering them when I'm along so I can explain what they are seeing and shape how they view it, in the process, importantly, avoiding any wrong notions they might quietly take.

(BTW, in my experience most 12-year-olds these days are very familiar with words like sodomy, and I'd guess yours might have held any observations of this schmuck to avoid disturbing you. :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:00AM
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elvis

Thanks, Kimka. Okay, so you're talking about public policy-type meetings as opposed to any gathering of people at which all are welcome to attend. That's what I was looking for.

IMO if it's a meeting for discussion of public policy, i.e., zoning issues, street cleaning, school curriculum, etc., no prayer/benediction/what have you of any sort is appropriate as part of the program, whether it's an opener or a closer or something in between.

OTOH, if an attendee is permitted to speak (Robert's Rules), and they burst into a religious song, oh well.

If the meeting is open to the public but is not a meeting concerned with public policy, i.e., the parish of St. Theresa's annual summer bazaar in the public park opens with a prayer or blessing of the pets, I don't see a problem with that.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:20AM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Pn-the Nazi's had to come to power before they curtailed the speech of the German people. You don't have to have a constitutional amendment in order for a society to recognize a certain level of free speech. Nazi's came to power being very open about what they believed. They used their ability to speak their mind and when they gained power then they decided what everyone else could and couldn't say.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:02PM
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pnbrown

Never mind. You can win, if that makes you happy.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:10PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Patriciae, FWIW, remember, the Nazis never told the people they would be setting up death camps for genocide of millions (those came much later) or that they would be beating and/or rounding up, imprisoning, and executing all people, including all Christian ministers and priests, who objected.

Hitler didn't explain that he would be redefining Christianity to reflect his own notions and that he expected local ministers and congregations to fall in line or else.

The Nazis didn't explain that all citizens would learn to live in fear and obedience, or else, including even sacrificing their mentally and physically defective relatives to the death camps in the cause of improving the race.

Those are just many things those who put their faith in the wrong leader didn't know. To the great sorrow and suffering, of most who survived, they believed the Nazi 3-part promise to strengthen national security, support traditional family values, and uphold Christian religion.

Although an ardent First Amendment supporter, I do suspect that a formal limit to political free speech, in which the worst, most brazen lies and patterns of lies would not be allowed, might have made an important difference in the choice the majority made in that first, critical national election.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:37PM
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pnbrown

"Free speech", as we think of it, is about government control, not about whether the free speakers are being despicable, or lying.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:55PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Huh?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 6:52PM
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elvis

""Free speech", as we think of it, is about government control, not about whether the free speakers are being despicable, or lying."

Yes. Brown, might as well move on, it's no use. IMO.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 7:17PM
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pnbrown

I guess so Elvis. I don't know how the simple wording of the First Amendment can lead to such divergent translations.

I guess the answer is that some of us are talking about the rights conferred by that Amendment and others are talking about some vague philosophical idea.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:10AM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Okay, I get it. Sure, due to mainly conservative influence and conservative SCOTUS decisions the First Amendment has devolved to serving the needs of, not government, but business on a priority basis.

That said, it's very far from ALL the First Amendment is, even the free speech clause, which is what lead to my "huh"?

I'll add that, IMO, citizens who accept the current corrupt applications that legalize bribery of politicians and insulate corporations from accountability for crimes, whether they support it passively, cynically, or ideologically, are THE problem. Not politicians, not amoral business, but bad citizens.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:21AM
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demifloyd(8)

Posted by pnbrown z6.5 MA (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 7:10

I guess so Elvis. I don't know how the simple wording of the First Amendment can lead to such divergent translations.

I guess the answer is that some of us are talking about the rights conferred by that Amendment and others are talking about some vague philosophical idea.

*

Yes, absolutely that is correct.

The fact that others bandy about phrases such as "free speech" when applied to speech they do not like or want to hear and suggest it should be limited or banned, is chilling.

The First Amendment has been challenged and the US Supreme Court has ruled on what constitutes free speech, which is the controlling law until such time that another case is presented and the controlling authority is changed.

Until that happens, it's nothing but opinions about what some don't like others having the right to say.

Sounds familiar--in other countries with nasty histories.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:34AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Demifloyd, that is exactly why I am a strict freedom of speech is an all or nothing deal, that all speech must be allowed no matter how much you may dislike it or find it offensive or there is not freedom of speech. Once you draw any line, no matter how sensible and reasonable, it all becomes just quibbling about where the line is today about how much speech is outlawed--more today, less tomorrow, almost all the day after.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:18AM
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pnbrown

Rosie, not sure what ALL you are referring to. Aren't we talking about where Congress cannot abridge the freedom of speech? Other Freedoms are mentioned in the first amendment, but this thread is about the free speech part.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:23AM
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demifloyd(8)

Posted by kimka z6B (jkkaplan@erols.com) on
Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 11:18

Demifloyd, that is exactly why I am a strict freedom of speech is an all or nothing deal, that all speech must be allowed no matter how much you may dislike it or find it offensive or there is not freedom of speech. Once you draw any line, no matter how sensible and reasonable, it all becomes just quibbling about where the line is today about how much speech is outlawed--more today, less tomorrow, almost all the day after.

*

EXACTLY, Kimka.

Although I will admit I don't care what other people think at all, and as to what they say as long as it does not constitute slander, it's their right.

Surely nothing to get all upset about.

That's called tolerance.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:05PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I for one am glad there are some restrictions on freedom of speech. There is the endangering the public with false speech--as in yelling fire in a crowded theatre when there is no fire; or the truth in advertising rule---can't sell non-nutritious babyfood advertised as highly nutritious; slander and/or libel; treasonous speech urging others to overthrow the government; and what else?

Hate speech is included in some jurisdictions. I can never quite make up my mind on it--it definitely needs to be more than speech someone dislikes--it somehow goes to racial hatred as motivation--but how one measures or determines that is the puzzle.

I wonder how many of you would really accept eliminating all the restrictions of free speech listed above?

Kate

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:42PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I wonder how many of you would really accept eliminating all the restrictions of free speech listed above?

The tabloids would be in hog heaven.

I have the right not to be defamed nor slandered, so there are already limits to free speech.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:15PM
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pnbrown

The restrictions are very well-established, and get regularly tested for Constitutionality in court even still, I believe. I have no problem with the restrictions. An intent to cause harm as a direct result of speech or expression clearly does not qualify as protected, as in intentionally causing a stampede or riot, etc. All that is old hat.

So exhorting people, via radio broadcast for example, to physically harm other people would never qualify as protected speech. So that example from Rwanda would here result in the arrest of the broadcaster. Bigotry on the radio is protected speech, but it doesn't protect the speaker from getting fired, or from the employer from being sued, etc.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 6:05PM
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david52 Zone 6

The tabloids would be in hog heaven

World Net Daily headline: BAT BOY IS CHELSEA CLINTONS BABY DADDY

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:05PM
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elvis

•Posted by david52 z5CO (My Page) on Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 19:05

"The tabloids would be in hog heaven
World Net Daily headline: BAT BOY IS CHELSEA CLINTONS BABY DADDY"

Aw. Are you saying that isn't true? Got a link?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:50PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

pn-broadcast radio is so very last century. What to do about people saying kill all the (fill in blank) on the internet?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 3:54PM
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pnbrown

It isn't any different. Just another media of speech.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 6:19PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Did ya hear about the guy arrested for quoting Winston Churchill?...

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.vdare.com/posts/britain-quoting-winston-churchill-about-islam-is-now-an-arrestable-offense

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:16AM
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chase_gw

"Reportedly a woman came out of the Guildhall and asked Mr Weston if he had the authorisation to make this speech. When he answered that he didn’t, she told him “It’s disgusting!” and then called the police."

In GB one must have a permit to "preach" in a public place. he was arrested for not having the required permit, not for quoting Churchill..

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:35AM
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duluthinbloomz4

"Did ya hear" that VDARE has been criticized as being white nationalist, radical right, and a hate group. Still is criticized for same, and another link I choose not to open.

Guess brute couldn't find anything interesting on Stormfront.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:55AM
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jodik_gw

I think the line already drawn in the sand is at a good place, when talking about freedom of speech... we have to be very careful about moving it in either direction lest we create more problems or end up with less freedom.

Freedoms are wonderful and I think we pretty much cherish the freedoms we have... but they come with certain prices, with slippery slopes... and we have to be very careful...

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 12:33PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Gee, you'd think that for such a minor offense like speaking in public without a permit, the cop would merely tell him to beat it, or at most, write him a summons.
They sure play rough over there, don't they?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 3:07PM
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jodik_gw

Certain offenses are an automatic arrest... perhaps it would be prudent to find out what the particular laws are locally.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 3:15PM
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chase_gw

Delivering your message on a soapbox is a long standing British tradition. It is amazing to see the numbers doing this especially in locations such as Speakers Corner in Hyde Park....but you are required to get a permit .

This bozo didn't have a permit and I'm willing to bet he probably mouthed off to the Police when asked if he had appropriate authorization. If he had not resisted ,or been argumentative, I'm sure they would just tell him to move on. I've seen it myself.

The real point is that it's absolute bull that he was arrested for quoting Churchill. It's that type of distortion of facts to suit an agenda that makes me ill.........worse part is there are thousands and thousand willing to believe it and spread it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:14PM
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