T Nation

April 25 Strong Words


If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. -- Noam Chomsky

As much as dislike him he is right with this one.

Check out this thread for extreme examples.



Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS)?

Isn't the term "Islamic Thinker" an oxymoron?


The idea behind that quote comes from older, wiser, and (IMO) less controversial people, for example, Voltaire's fairely famous quote:

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I don't want to get into a whole philosophical debate here, but I would wager that most people don't believe in freedom of speech. They only want to be surrounded by things that make them comfortable.


Why don't you guys keep your opinions to yourselves. No one wants to hear them.


(just kidding)


Interesting, I have a few quick thoughts, they may contradict each other, but here they are.

  1. Freedom of speech never helped me when i was 17 and charged with uttering a death threat. Very very far from a real threat, but the charge stuck.

  2. I would like to think that i support freedom of speech and that it is poeples behaviour or action that society may or may not tolerate.
    Heres the contradiction, if their behaviours or action is their speech, and dangerous, condecending and hatefull rhetoric, then, do i support it...???

ahhh, fahhk, i dunno, i'm no expert on this type of thing, but good post.

What are the laws on "freedom of speech". Literally defined. Anyone know?


Lol I took a government class for fun last semester and we went over this.

"I will kill you" Threat with direct linked action. Not protected.

"We should kill all those who oppose us." No direct or implied action. Protected

The difference here is whether there is implied action or not. Technically if you and a friend are joking around, and you say "I'm gonna kill that guy, he's a loser" you technically could be charged because there is implied action.

If someone knows better please answer. I am a personal trainer who takes classes for fun, definitely not a lawyer.


I don't know what the laws are exactly but it has been summed up that you cannot yell fire in a crowded theatre.


Kind of like "Christian Thinker," right?

Thank you for once again sharing your ignorance with us. Keep up the good work.


I agree with the sentiment, but a guy who supported the Viet Cong and whitewashed the Khmer Rouge and Bosnian genocides is not the person who should be expressing it. Recycle the Voltaire quote if you have to.


According to Findlaw: Originally the Court took a ''two-tier'' approach to content- oriented regulation of expression. Under the ''definitional balancing'' of this approach, some forms of expression are protected by the First Amendment and certain categories of expression are not entitled to protection. This doctrine traces to Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 69 in which the Court opined that ''certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech . . . are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth'' that government may prevent those utterances and punish those uttering them without raising any constitutional problems. If speech fell within the Chaplinsky categories, it was unprotected, regardless of its effect; if it did not, it was covered by the First Amendment and it was protected unless the restraint was justified by some test relating to harm, such as clear and present danger or a balancing of presumptively protected expression against a governmental interest which must be compelling.


The actual text is as follows: 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.

There are countless documents and opinions that consider the various aspects of that one single sentence. It's incredible to read some of the information out there.

Where is the Boston Barrister when you need him?



Hence my dislike for him. And yes the sentiment is not original.

Another reason to dislike him because TC posted his stolen quote just to agitate another thread.


That's basically it in a nutshell.

I looked over at the other thread. Interesting how everyone says those people needed to be tortured, killed, and what not. Here's a tip: the crazies who are out marching, protesting, and shouting hateful things that make your blood boil are not the ones you need to worry about. It's the quiet ones who work diligently in their basements building bombs from fertilizer and gasoline that you need to worry about. Jeffrey Dahmer, Mcveigh, and the two kids who shot up Columbine, were all really quiet types who were able to hide their evil plans from authorities. Ever notice what people say when they find out that one of their neighbors was a serial killer? "Oh, he was always so quiet. Never bothered anyone."


Speaking of the quiet ones, I went to high school with Sean Sellers. He mostly kept to himself and a few friends. He was a quiet one. I remember when he was executed.