T Nation

Is Europe Abandoning Free Speech?

To the extent they had it, anyway…

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2243805,00.html

‘Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Minister, who was in Madrid to attend the Alliance of Civilisations, an international forum aimed at reducing tensions between the Islamic world and the West.

This sounds like the lede to a “Not” joke, per Borat.

If there is a general right to not be offended, there is no longer any freedom of expression in any meaningful sense.

Pot. Kettle. Black (pun intended).

[quote]lixy wrote:
Pot. Kettle. Black (pun intended).[/quote]

Really now? Please expound.

The U.S. certainly has. I’m currently appealing a finding of guilty for the charge of Disorderly Conduct 5503.3, for saying “fuck you” to a cop.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:

The U.S. certainly has. I’m currently appealing a finding of guilty for the charge of Disorderly Conduct 5503.3, for saying “fuck you” to a cop.[/quote]

Assuming you are serious:

  1. Penalties for speaking to a cop that way are not a new phenomenon and are certainly not evidence of the US “going that way”.

  2. Are you appealing on First Amendment grounds?

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

To the extent they had it, anyway…

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2243805,00.html

‘Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen, the Foreign Minister, who was in Madrid to attend the Alliance of Civilisations, an international forum aimed at reducing tensions between the Islamic world and the West.

This sounds like the lede to a “Not” joke, per Borat.

If there is a general right to not be offended, there is no longer any freedom of expression in any meaningful sense.[/quote]

This is a frightening statement, but not all that surprising, coming from the EU.

Interestingly, the articles refers to the political party making the video as “extremists” when they are trying to demonstrate via the video that the Koran promotes “intolerance”. I have no truck with the political party, but I find it a curious choice of journalistic phrasing to suggest that those trying to combat “intolerance” are the “extremists” - it would seem the opposite, especially from a cultural establishment that worships multiculturalism and relativism.

This article reminds me of the mercurial Pim Fortuyn - a flamboyantly gay politician who wanted to “conserve” the Netherlands’ hyper-liberal culture and public policy - who as labelled an “extremist” and a “far-right winger” for daring to say he wanted to restrict immigration to protect his extremely permissive and tolerant culture.

He was, of course, murdered by a radical leftist.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

If there is a general right to not be offended, there is no longer any freedom of expression in any meaningful sense.

This is a frightening statement, but not all that surprising, coming from the EU.

Interestingly, the articles refers to the political party making the video as “extremists” when they are trying to demonstrate via the video that the Koran promotes “intolerance”. I have no truck with the political party, but I find it a curious choice of journalistic phrasing to suggest that those trying to combat “intolerance” are the “extremists” - it would seem the opposite, especially from a cultural establishment that worships multiculturalism and relativism.

This article reminds me of the mercurial Pim Fortuyn - a flamboyantly gay politician who wanted to “conserve” the Netherlands’ hyper-liberal culture and public policy - who as labelled an “extremist” and a “far-right winger” for daring to say he wanted to restrict immigration to protect his extremely permissive and tolerant culture.

He was, of course, murdered by a radical leftist.[/quote]

I think what we once new as the ‘left’ and ‘right’ since the regan/thatcher days at a grass roots level in the UK (and maybe US too) is disappearing. much more emphasis is being put on authoritarian / anti authoritarian opinion as there is to an extent interventionist / non-interventionist. i am hoping it is signs of a libertarian movement which, in our current climate, would be very healthy for politics.

I don’t get the argument BB - under freedom of speech the film was produced and the only person wanting books banned was Geert Wilders himself. No one is talking of banning the film, or has attempted it.

Not even Hirsi Ali (normally always good for heating up a discussion on Islam) is calling for people to take back public ground by starting a dialogue in opposition to this populist stunt.

I really don’t see an issue here for free speech - just good examples so far. What’s the point - the comment about ‘no right to offend’? I think that may have been made under free speech.

Makkun

[quote]makkun wrote:
I don’t get the argument BB - under freedom of speech the film was produced and the only person wanting books banned was Geert Wilders himself. No one is talking of banning the film, or has attempted it.

Not even Hirsi Ali (normally always good for heating up a discussion on Islam) is calling for people to take back public ground by starting a dialogue in opposition to this populist stunt.

I really don’t see an issue here for free speech - just good examples so far. What’s the point - the comment about ‘no right to offend’? I think that may have been made under free speech.

Makkun[/quote]

Makkun,

The comment would have been individual free speech, assuming it was made by a citizen advocating a policy change. However, when made by a foreign minister as a government functionary, in a manner that sounds like a statement of what policy is, rather than advocating for a change, it’s highly troubling.

Secondarily, it’s very troubling that Europe seems to want to give radicals a heckler’s veto on speech - i.e., if they threaten violence and disruption, there will be ex ante suppression of the “objectionable” speech by the government.

Maybe they’re trying to live up to the UN?

“In a resolution titled “combating defamation of religion” tabled under the Commission’s agenda item on racism and racial discrimination and adopted by a roll-call vote of 32 in favor and 14 against, with 7 abstentions, the Commission expressed deep concern at negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some regions; expressed deep concern that Islam was frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism; and noted with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001”
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/HRCN1032.doc.htm

[quote]lixy wrote:

[/quote]

That does not mean anything because only Americans have the right to define reality.

Maybe Chushin is glad though, that Austria is not the authoritarian society he believes it to be and ranks solid 32 places higher than the US ?

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
SkyzykS wrote:

The U.S. certainly has. I’m currently appealing a finding of guilty for the charge of Disorderly Conduct 5503.3, for saying “fuck you” to a cop.

Assuming you are serious:

  1. Penalties for speaking to a cop that way are not a new phenomenon and are certainly not evidence of the US “going that way”.

  2. Are you appealing on First Amendment grounds?[/quote]

He should be.

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
The U.S. certainly has. I’m currently appealing a finding of guilty for the charge of Disorderly Conduct 5503.3, for saying “fuck you” to a cop.
[/quote]

Why did you say it? What happened?

‘Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen

Uh, that is precisely what the freedom of expression means. To express things others may not like. Shit she sounds like Hillary.

[quote]pat36 wrote:
‘Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen

Uh, that is precisely what the freedom of expression means. To express things others may not like. Shit she sounds like Hillary.[/quote]

I’ve been censored on this board for using the N word.

[quote]lixy wrote:
pat36 wrote:
‘Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen

Uh, that is precisely what the freedom of expression means. To express things others may not like. Shit she sounds like Hillary.

I’ve been censored on this board for using the N word.[/quote]

No you haven´t, because Biotest is not a government.

Even in America, I think there are restrictions on ‘offensive’ speech. But the legal definition of offensive is much different and significantly narrower than a commonsense definition of offensive. It is not simply speech that is highly emotionally charged and very likely to offend a particular group or individual.

[quote]orion wrote:
lixy wrote:
pat36 wrote:
‘Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen

Uh, that is precisely what the freedom of expression means. To express things others may not like. Shit she sounds like Hillary.

I’ve been censored on this board for using the N word.

No you haven´t, because Biotest is not a government.

[/quote]

Well, sure. It’s still censorship. There’s just nothing illegal about it. And anyone posting on these forums agrees to abide by Biotest’s rules.

[quote]orion wrote:
lixy wrote:
pat36 wrote:
‘Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to offend,’ said Maxime Verhagen

Uh, that is precisely what the freedom of expression means. To express things others may not like. Shit she sounds like Hillary.

I’ve been censored on this board for using the N word.

No you haven´t, because Biotest is not a government. [/quote]

Are you under the impression that censorship is the domain of government?

Censorship implies a censor, be it a corporation, a school, a newspaper, a church, etc. The term is in no way limited to government.