German Court Tells Facebook It Can't Delete Comments, Even Though German Law Says It Must Delete Comments

from the damned-if-you-do,-damned-if-you-don't dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about Germany's free speech suppressing "hate speech" law, which required that social networks remove "hate speech" within 24 hours or face massive fines up to €50 million. Making it even more ridiculous, the law even provided for personal fines up to €5 million for EMPLOYEES at the social networks who were in charge of taking down ill-defined "hate speech."

This, of course, is a recipe for massive censorship. If you are facing fairly massive fines for failing to take down certain speech, you're very likely going to default towards the "take it down, take it down NOW!" side of things. And, indeed, merely 3 days after the law was on the books, a satirical magazine had its Twitter account blocked (no satire for you!). Just a few days later, the ridiculousness of this law became even more obvious, when Twitter deleted a tweet of Heiko Maas, now Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs (and at the time its Federal Minister of Justice).

Pretty ridiculous, right?

Hold on. It just got more ridiculous. You see, the Higher Regional Court in Munich (the Munich Oberlandesgericht or OLG -- sorta, kinda, not quite like a state appeals court in the US) has now ruled that Facebook cannot delete comments that harm freedom of expression. Facebook had chosen to delete "a controversial statement," by a Bavarian politician (a member of the nationalist AfD party) Heike Themel, saying it violated community standards. But the court determined that Facebook deciding to delete such content was violation of Themel's freedom of expression.

So, uh, good luck to social media platforms in Germany, huh? If they don't remove content reported by users as "hate speech," they (and their employees directly) face massive fines. If they do delete content, they could get hauled into court and told they're violating freedom of expression rights. That seems like a complete no win situation.

Of course, this is just one mid-level regional court in Germany, and another report on this story notes that another regional court (in Heidelberg) just ruled the opposite way, saying that as a private company, Facebook had every right to manage its platforms by its own rules.

While I imagine that this kind of ruling might excite some of the people who have recently been suing platforms in the US over a similar theory (some of whom might already have... let's say... an affinity for historical Germany...), it should actually help demonstrate how absolutely ridiculous these laws are becoming -- both ordering websites to remove content while simultaneously telling them they cannot.

Thankfully, we haven't had the same legal mess play out in the US (and, thankfully, the First Amendment should mostly prevent this from happening), but the larger debate is effectively the same. You have a bunch of people demanding that social media disappear "bad" content, and a bunch of people demanding that social media not disappear content they like. Sometimes, it's the same people. But the end result is literally impossible to deal with.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:45am

    'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

    I can't help but wonder, at what point are they going to realize that it's costing them more to stay in the country then they get from it, and pull the plug?

    You MUST remove certain content, or face an insane penalty.

    If you DO remove certain content, you face a lawsuit because some people think they have a property right to use your platform. Except another court says that you have the right to do so, so you might not be sued, no way to know ahead of time.

    I get that they're not going to pull the plug on an entire country unless they have to, but if things continue to get more nuts in said country when it comes to laws applying to them at some point they'll have to pull out unless they want to start risking massive losses from no-win situations, and the result from that will undoubtedly be of epic proportions.

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    • identicon
      Michael, 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:52am

      Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

      Facebook, Google, and Twitter are actually loving this.

      They can afford to navigate this mess. Nobody else can. Germany has handed them a massive gift - no startups can complete. Sure, Germany may eventually make it impossible, but until that happens, it has really just made it impossible for anyone else.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:31am

        Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

        "Germany has handed them a massive gift - no startups can complete."

        The end result of all regulation.
        It always starts off well meaning, but eventually bad actors get in and abuse it, and no one stops them because the idea of "regulation" has become politicized.

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        • identicon
          I Agree!, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

          The end result of all regulation. It always starts off well meaning, but eventually bad actors get in and abuse it, and no one stops them because the idea of "regulation" has become politicized.

          Exactly. Take for the example, the regulations (i.e. laws) against killing people. They started off as a well meaning attempt to protect the innocent, but now I can't even go and kill the people that obviously need killing. Bah!

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

            "Exactly. Take for the example, the regulations (i.e. laws) against killing people."

            Mwuahahahahaa.... got yer goat did I?

            "They started off as a well meaning attempt to protect the innocent, but now I can't even go and kill the people that obviously need killing. Bah!"

            Interestingly enough, some people do deserve killing, like people trying to harm or kill me. There are some countries that do not allow for me to stand my ground, I would be legally required to RUN and hope I survive.

            So ha ha ha, you dumb fucker!

            Though I do generally agree with "thou shalt not murder" regulations as you put it!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

              "Interestingly enough, some people do deserve killing, like people trying to harm or kill me."

              Oh, only people try to harm you, eh? What an egotistical dip shit you are. I've got news for you, laws are probably the only thing that kept someone from killing an asshole such as yourself a long time ago. You should be thankful for them.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

                "Oh, only people try to harm you, eh? "

                Oh, so I should stick my neck out for a knob like you? Why? You don't like me, in a likely hood you would be the same fucking knob that would try to sue me for saving your life.

                Let me be clear, it is out of your respect for life and that no one would ever kill anyone that I will not kill anyone to protect you. Just myself. Yep... I am an asshole!
                But a correct asshole and that is important!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 6:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

              Completely missed the point again ... I'm not surprised.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 9:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

            "Take for the example, the regulations (i.e. laws) against killing people."

            I think you missed a word; "You". The laws against "you" killing people. Between the death penalty, our militarized police, (government funded) planned parenthood abortion mills, and shitty legislation, the Government is killing people all the time...

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

              1. There's no such thing as an abortion mill.
              2. Planned Parenthood's abortions are not funded by the government.
              3. If you define life as beginning at conception, I want to see pictures of your tampon funerals. What, you're not going to hold funerals for tampons? But you said...

              ...ah, never mind.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 8:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

                It is a abortion mill and the people who it hurts most are Blacks.

                Planned Parenthood is funded by the GOvernment. You want to say that Abortions that they do aren't. That's a load of B.S. If the company can save its resources, MONEY on other things that the U.S. Taxpayer is paying for, they can use that money on Abortions. Money they wouldn't have had if they had to spend that money on the other stuff Taxpayers are paying for. The net effect is YES, WE are paying for it. Your B.S. loophole is just that.

                https://www.heritage.org/marriage-and-family/commentary/new-report-shows-planned-parenthood-rak ed-15-billion-taxpayer-funds

                I define life once there's a heartbeat. At that point, it's a living person. A person that didn't ask to be created in the first place. A person that's innocent of all things. Killing that person at that point is MURDER.

                If you don't want to get knocked up, don't have sex. Get your tubes tied. Use birth control. Birth control is not 100%, and so you take your chances. Take the morning after pill to be safe.

                Some of you crazies are so out there, you have no problem killing the living person so long as it hasn't been born yet. Even if it was born in a few hours or the next day. Kill it. It hasn't been born yet, so it's nothing. That's just sickening.

                A Living thing Rejected Naturally from the body for any number of reasons is natural and normal.

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                • identicon
                  Will B., 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:46am

                  Question for you.

                  If your kidney can save someone else's life, should it be legally required, under penalty of murder charges if you refuse, to donate that kidney?

                  Do we not, as humans, have a right to bodily autonomy?

                  Also, your logic about planned parenthood is suspect at best. For one thing, they would still be getting assistance from the government for other programs whether they are spending their own money on abortions or not, so the idea that government subsidies for other services are really just letting them perform abortions is a non-starter. For another thing, by that logic the government is absolutely on the hook for being party to every single murder committed by an American citizen that has benefitted in any way from, say, welfare, child assistance, subsidized schooling... hell, even any governmental tax break or write off is technically saving the murderer money they can spend on murder implements.

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                  • identicon
                    Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Sep 2018 @ 2:26am

                    Re: Question for you.

                    Also, the government apparently can't decide on when "A Living thing Rejected Naturally from the body for any number of reasons is natural and normal." Women are in jail for having miscarriages.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 3:30pm

        Re: Re: 'Sorry, but we're out. Take it up with the politicians.'

        Fair enough, similar to what happened in Spain everyone get's screwed, but the smaller sites get hit the hardest, so in that sense it is doing them a huge favor and they probably enjoy it to that extent.

        My point was more long term, as even a company like Facebook will feel the pain if they're hit by a fifty million euro(or whatever the fine is in) penalty, and if they face the possibility of multiple fines like that there's only so long that even a company their size can justify staying in that market.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:55am

    This really is starting to sound like a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:05am

    Court confusion is confused

    "...another regional court (in Heidelberg) just ruled the opposite way, saying that as a private company, Facebook had every right to manage its platforms by its own rules."

    Except the private company is not managing by its own rules, they are following government directives. Hmm, it's Germany, not the US, no 1st Amendment with rules like "Congress shall make no law..." But shouldn't the court correctly identify where the damn rules are coming from?

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      identicon
      Fritz Hoff, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:12am

      Re: Court confusion is confused

      manage its platforms

      Except that doesn't necessarily mean CONTROL USER'S SPEECH. You're just taking it as Masnick intends. May not be same at all. Need a full translation. -- And even then, so what? It's not the last decision on the point. Der Volk may state otherwise.

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    identicon
    Fritz Hoff, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:09am

    The old "2 examples prove all":

    satirical magazine had its Twitter account blocked (no satire for you!). Just a few days later, the ridiculousness of this law became even more obvious, when Twitter deleted a tweet of Heiko Maas,

    Any with substance and recent? NO. You just repeat the two trivial examples that were only good for hooking your notions on, and from there take the usual jump to "the sky is falling!" hysteria.

    Facebook had chosen to delete ... the court determined that Facebook deciding to delete such content

    NO COMPLAINT BY USER STARTED THIS. WAS CORPORATION INITIATED. ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

    people who have recently been suing platforms in the US over a similar theory (some of whom might already have... let's say... an affinity for historical Germany...)

    Oh, how, SLY, SNEAKY, and COWARDLY of you, Masnick. -- BUT TO THE CONTRARY, those people are just trying to get their views out! IT'S YOU WHO WANT CORPORATIONS-UBER-ALLES TO CONTROL SPEECH OF "NATURAL" PERSONS! It's YOU who DEFINITELY advocates Nazi-style corporatism.

    So as usual, that's just your projection and displacement.

    Facebook had every right to manage its platforms by its own rules

    It's THAT court which will be overturned. Bet on it. -- Since the German is too dense for me, and you don't give any quotes, I'll bet isn't overly apposite to your key assertion. What you state there is "manage its platform", not CONTROL user's speech. Entirely different again.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:15am

      Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

      those people are just trying to get their views out!

      They can make their own platforms to do so, then. Only Nazis and White nationalists want Nazis and White nationalists on the major social interaction networks. Everyone else wants them gone.

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      • identicon
        Uncle Sam, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

        Not true. I want them somewhere that it's easy to keep an eye on how crazy they're getting. If they're driven off the major networks, it's harder to keep them under surveillance. As long as they're on Facebook/Twitter/Google, I can demand that those platforms monitor them and report suspicious activity. Drive them underground and then I have to do real work.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:50am

          If they're driven off the major networks, it's harder to keep them under surveillance.

          And if they’re kept on for the sole purpose of “surveillance”, they get to keep harassing people and driving them away from a given SIN. Between those two choices, I will always take “no Nazis” over “giving Nazis room”. (Replace “Nazi” with “White supremacist” and my statement still stands.) No social interaction network deserves—or needs—to put up with that scum for the sake of “keeping an eye on them”.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:01pm

            Re:

            Assuming that they don't do it to you first? In which case you will piss and moan just like a little girl and cry about how wrong you just got done?

            Remember when people picked up weapons and killed each other for equality? Well, don't be shocked when it happens again when you decide that words are enough to make people unequal.

            Your attempts to silence them only makes them grow louder because over time people like you eventually piss everyone the fuck off and their ranks will grow over even the mildest of slights.

            You are such a clue-less fucking moron! The proper response to bad speech is better speech.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:16pm

              Assuming that they don't do it to you first? In which case you will piss and moan just like a little girl and cry about how wrong you just got done?

              For about five seconds, yes. Then I’ll move on with my life because social interaction networks—even the big ones—are not nearly as important as you want me to think they are.

              don't be shocked when it happens again when you decide that words are enough to make people unequal

              Why should I give any sympathy beyond a base level of humanity to Nazis and White supremacists? Why should I have to share the same SIN with them when the admins can just as easily boot them for being racist jerks?

              Your attempts to silence them only makes them grow louder because over time people like you eventually piss everyone the fuck off and their ranks will grow over even the mildest of slights.

              If my calling Nazis and White supremacists names and saying they should have to build their own platforms for speech makes them “stronger” or “louder”, so be it. If someone wants my voice silenced, they can either give me a lot of money or kill me—either way, they would have to pay a price.

              You are such a clue-less fucking moron! The proper response to bad speech is better speech.

              Nobody ever said the “bad speech” had to be on the same platform as the “better speech”.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:30pm

                Re:

                "Why should I give any sympathy beyond a base level of humanity to Nazis and White supremacists? Why should I have to share the same SIN with them when the admins can just as easily boot them for being racist jerks?"

                Okay when I read this I had to stop. You are an absolutely clueless moron.

                Allowing people you do not like is not the same as giving them sympathy. The fact that you imply it means that you do not even have enough intellectual capacity OR honesty to discuses anything more important than what your favorite color or food is.

                People LIKE YOU, are the ones that oppress others and then tell them, "this is for your own good". People like you are the rank and file of terrible humans that create slavery, war, and inequality. And every time you do it, you start off with "this group deserves" oppression!

                Your fucking post just said they "deserve oppression" because if they don't get it, then it is the same thing as giving them sympathy.

                Why is the world full of so many morons like you? You don't get anything, you think you know everything, and all of your ideas will only bring about desolation, war, and pestilence!

                "Nobody ever said the “bad speech” had to be on the same platform as the “better speech”."

                I don't think you even understand what that means.


                "If someone wants my voice silenced, they can either give me a lot of money or kill me—either way, they would have to pay a price."

                No more than the price that your children will pay when they come under the gaze of people that think just like you!

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:48pm

                  You seem upset that I dislike Nazis and White supremacists, and that I would prefer they not have a place on any social media platform that they themselves do not own. Why is that?

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                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:51pm

                    Re:

                    Nope, I am with you there, I hate them too, but lets keep those fucking knobs right in plain sight so they can be used as examples of shitty fucking people.

                    Silencing them is a recipe for disaster and makes them right about you!

                    "and that I would prefer they not have a place on any social media platform that they themselves do not own."

                    Yea, I would prefer it too, but the alternative is worse, I don't know how you do not understand this. Keep the fools in the streets talking their trash, it keeps them from hiding in holes and recruiting the disenfranchised while you enjoy a false peace that may erupt in your face on your way to work one day.

                    I don't want that!

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:03pm

                      I don't know how you do not understand this.

                      I understand your opinion. I simply do not share it. Why should the same people who would be victimized by Nazis and White supremacists in the real world have to share an Internet platform with those assholes?

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                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:13pm

                        Re:

                        "Why should the same people who would be victimized by Nazis and White supremacists in the real world have to share an Internet platform with those assholes?"

                        For the same reasons kids that get bullied still have to go to school. The world is just not fair and you need to get a bit thicker skin and stick up for yourself.

                        The best way to defeat racism is to talk to the racists or about racism. You can't hide from it, or silence it. The attempts have never worked, like ever! It breeds more contempt, why would you want that? Do you know what happens to a bully without power when the world starts looking at them but says nothing back? It freaks them the fuck out!

                        Let them burn their hatred on their own words, but don't move against them unless they move against someone.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 4:25pm

                          Re: Re:

                          Sorry bitch. You don’t get a free pass just cause you got picked on at school. Man up and start acting like an adult. And maybe, just maybe the world will start treating you like one.

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            • identicon
              Will B., 9 Sep 2018 @ 12:41pm

              Words

              "Well, don't be shocked when it happens again when you decide that words are enough to make people unequal."

              Words have always been enough to make people unequal.

              Words have power. Words have impact. Words can set free or clap chains on people; actions are spurred on by words, policies set by the strenth of the words supporting them, armies mobilized and wars begun by words.

              Moreover, words can be insidious. They can twist things; words can change views, hide discrimination, highlight anecdotes, spread ideas. Anti-vaxxers base their beliefs on words - words already, demonstrably proven false - and their beloefs spread on the strength of their words in twisting the truth and exciting fear, panic and protectiveness.

              It is no different for white supremacism; de-platforming is an important tool in defeating racist values because their words twist the truth, dredge up emotions, or outright falsify the world to speak to those who are vulnerable to such tactics.

              When these views are marginalized, they may stratify - but if those views aren't mainstream, aren't reaching the vulnerable or the uneducated, then no matter how fervent those views are held, they will die out as those who support them do.

              If you have access to them, they have access to you. Is it worth exposing the young, the gullible, the vulnerable in their multitudes to that sort of indoctrination so yiu can feel more comfortable because you know where the nazis are? Knowing where they are doesn't stop them. It is a call to inaction; nothing more.

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              • identicon
                Christenson, 9 Sep 2018 @ 2:08pm

                Re: Words

                I disagree about restricting access to evil words. Who decides? Was the US Declaration of Independence evil to the brits?

                Then there is the problem that such words are insidious, and tend to infiltrate, as seen in the flagged (and some not flagged) comments here.

                How, without seeing examples and getting practice calling them out are we to avoid subversion?

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                • identicon
                  Will B., 9 Sep 2018 @ 2:50pm

                  Re: Re: Words

                  Well, for starters, by recognizing blatant racist and fascist propaganda and not trying to excuse it with faint protest. Certainly there are edge cases; blatant nazism is not an edge case.

                  Moreover, you seem to be presenting this as an individual approach issue - how do I recognize and call out this sort of insidious language? There are plenty of resources you can use, from the works of ContraPoints on Youtube explaining alt-right dogwhistles, to college courses on critical thinking and debate. The issue here is that you're portraying the average person as engaging critically with everything they see and hear at all times - but that doesn't happen. People consume speech casually, sometimes mindlessly, often uncritically; we've all read things that we found funny, or outrageous, or infuriating, without pausing to follow the entire train of thought or extensive bibliography to make sure we know exactly what we're discussing. And that's those of us who actually enjoy debating these topics; just take a look at outraged responses to The Onion to see how rarely people actually critically engage with, say, facebook quotes or tweets. And surely you've seen the issues with people only reading headlines? These sorts of things are fertile ground for reactionary, bigoted, and fascist views to take root and grow.

                  Finally, presenting this as "restricting access" to evil words is disingenuous. Stormfront and Breitbart still exist. Fox News still exists. You still have access to those words if you seek them out. Plenty of people do, with the explicit intent of recognizing them, understanding them, and defending against them; lots of people speak out against this sort of stuff, often very eloquently. This does not mean that de-platforming this sort of speech is "restricting access" on the people consuming said speech; it's restricting access on the people performing the speech, because that speech has already been determined to be negative and destructive.

                  If you want to get into the meta-discussion about what qualifies as, as you put it, "evil words," you can absolutely seek out this sort of speech and critically evaluate it. If you do so, then you can come back and defend why specific speech should not be de-platformed. This is how this sort of feedback loop happens. Just saying that speech in general should never be socially punished (as opposed to governmentally punished) is a quick path to madness.

                  Also, comparing the U.S. Declaration of Independence to alt-righters on Twitter is absurd on the face of it, you do realize?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:06pm

        Re: Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

        Only (insert group) wants (insert group) on the major social interaction networks. Everyone else wants them gone. Huh?

        What bigoted bullshit.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:18pm

          Did I hurt your feelings by insulting Nazis and White supremacists? If so, I would love to know why you consider my insults of them as an insult aimed at you.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:30pm

            Re:

            Bigots really hate being called bigots. Somehow, they think only other bigots are bad. As long as they aren't a Nazi or white supremacist, their shit don't stink.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:35pm

              Re: Re:

              No, they just hate being called bigots by bigots.

              Tell us, why is your bigotry okay while theirs is not okay?

              Stephen T. Stone obviously supports some supremacists... just happens to hate the nazi supremacists, but he is clearly a supremacist one way or another.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:41pm

                Re: Re: Re:

                No, they just hate being called bigots by bigots. Tell us, why is your bigotry okay while theirs is not okay?

                Which statement, exactly, are you referring to as bigoted? Please explain.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I am not here to help you understands how comprehension works. If you can't figure that out, then just stay there and remain ignorant, I am not inclined to give you a basic English lesson on TD. You should be prepared before you get here!

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:57pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Which statement, exactly, are you referring to as bigoted? Please explain."

                  I'm betting none. Hell, the idiot probably doesn't even know what the word means.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:46pm

                Your logic here defies reason. How does my dislike of White supremacists equal support for other kinds of supremacists?

                And I am too fucked up in too many ways to ever consider myself as naturally and innately superior to anyone else, never mind considering any specific group of people as superior to all others.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:48pm

                  Re:

                  If you hold the value, that a person that allows a supremacist to have liberty as also having sympathy for them, then you are just a closet supremacist yourself.

                  It would not take much, possibly nothing to turn you into an "active" supremacist rather than a passive one.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:01pm

                    Re: Re:

                    Believing that a Nazi/White supremacist deserves the same rights as everyone else is not “sympathising” with them. Thinking they deserve a spot on the same platforms as the people they would victimize if given the opportunity because of “free speech”, even when you know that the law cannot force a platform to host speech, is showing them sympathy.

                    They are free to make their own platforms. They have no right to take over someone else’s.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:07pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      "Believing that a Nazi/White supremacist deserves the same rights as everyone else is not “sympathising” with them."

                      I agree, but you implied differently to me in a different post.

                      "Thinking they deserve a spot on the same platforms as the people they would victimize if given the opportunity because of “free speech”, even when you know that the law cannot force a platform to host speech, is showing them sympathy."

                      Nope, that is not necessarily sympathy either. People can actually choose to allow things they hate in order to prevent something worse. People like to call it a necessary evil though I do not like that term.

                      "They are free to make their own platforms. They have no right to take over someone else’s."

                      Agree on both counts. Perhaps you misunderstand about what I am bitching at you about.

                      Here is my gripe with you. You are implying that anyone not agreeing with you is a sympathizer. You need to cut that shit out, it makes you just as bad as the nazi and why I called you a closet supremacist. I would love to be wrong about that! Am I?

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:20pm

                        People can actually choose to allow things they hate in order to prevent something worse.

                        This is…I mean…Christ, this logic almost gave me an anuerysm.

                        You are implying that anyone not agreeing with you is a sympathizer.

                        I am explicitly saying that anyone who thinks a Nazi/White supremacist deserves a spot on a third-party social media platform for any reason (including “keeping an eye on them” and “the devil you know”) is a sympathiser. What of the people who would have to share the same social media space with, and potentially be harassed or victimized by, those racist dicks—where is the sympathy for them when someone says “keep the Nazis and the Klan on Twitter”?

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                          Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:51pm

                          Re:

                          "This is…I mean…Christ, this logic almost gave me an anuerysm."

                          Not my problem. If you can't figure out a situation like this then you lack life experience. Like a parent that has to watch their kids make a mistake, you can't stop them or you risk creating more of a problem than you will solve.

                          "I am explicitly saying that anyone who thinks a Nazi/White supremacist deserves a spot on a third-party social media platform for any reason (including “keeping an eye on them” and “the devil you know”) is a sympathiser."

                          There goes that "claim" of "deserve" again. I am saying they should be allowed, not deserve, you are trying to shovel words in bad faith. Obviously those platforms can do what they want, because I also hold the value of liberty superior to anyone's butt hurts.

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                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 7:35pm

                            I am saying they should be allowed, not deserve

                            Distinction without a difference. If you believe a White supremacist should be allowed on Twitter, you are in effect saying that said supremacist deserves a spot on Twitter.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 5:44pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I think uou are wrong about that. How the hell did you even come to that conclusion? In fact, i don't believe you at all. You just made that up.

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                    • identicon
                      John Smith, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:46pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      I'm aainst affirmative action. Should that statement be banned as racist?

                      I think many women who cry #metoo slept their way into their jobs. Should that be banned as misogynist?

                      This is where the waters get muddy.

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                        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:53pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I am against affirmative action and you can be people will call you a racist. Which is funny because affirmative action laws are unconstitutional and racist themselves.

                        Any law that "advances" any group over another is by definition inequality.

                        Which is typical of the left... the pursuit of inequality under the guise of "equality".

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                          John Smith, 7 Sep 2018 @ 2:08pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          My favorite is to ask a liberal this:

                          "Do you support affirmative action?'

                          "Of course I do!"

                          "Great! Can you tell me what it is? Where is it written, which government agencies enforce4 it, what does it require, an d of whom?"

                          the difficulty of properly dfawing the lines makes it better not to have those lines in the first place.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 3:24pm

                        I'm a[g]ainst affirmative action. Should that statement be banned as racist?

                        Banned? No. Called racist? Depends on how you phrase your dissent.

                        I think many women who cry #metoo slept their way into their jobs. Should that be banned as misogynist?

                        Banned? No. Called misogynistic? Absolutely.

                        Oh, and FYI: Those are just my personal opinions. I do not speak for the policies of any social interaction network or the administrators and moderators who enforce those policies.

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                          John Smith, 7 Sep 2018 @ 3:43pm

                          Re:

                          The way we define "misogynist" is predicated on the old "sugar and spice and everything nice" notion that allows women to get away with anything.

                          How long before we ban the film "As Good As It Gets" for the line about "When I write a woman, I think of a man, and take away reason and accountability."

                          Men who have b een on the receiving end of women attempting to sleep their way into jobs (many lawyers experience this btw), even speaking from experience, even speaking the truth, are labeled "misogynist." By that definition, they are engaging in "hate speech" and should be moderated.

                          Racial stereotyping, even if accurate, is now verboten, allowing those who engage in stereotypically negative behavior to quash all dissent as "racist." Whether it is or isn't, there is no connection between truth and free speech rights. Only positive sterotypes about groups are allowed.

                          What we wind up with is what has happened thanks to feminism: people say one thing in public and speak their minds in private. Many women are not in agreement with #metoo but are terrified of backlash if they speak out.

                          Miss America got rid of the swimsuit competition because "all women" hate being objectified, yet twenty-two tates drew the line right at the door to the concubine, since it's one thing to cheer on a hashtag, and quite another to eliminate a woman's only real chance to be seen on stage in a bikini by wealthy, powerful men to whom she would normally not have access.

                          Maybe the world is such a sanitized place that bad speech can be dismissed as false, but is that really the case?

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 4:27pm

                            Re: Re:

                            We get it you’re a mysinogist, racist asshole. You don’t need to keep proving it gramps.

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                              John Smith, 7 Sep 2018 @ 5:20pm

                              Re: Re: Re:

                              Your response proves my point that even accurate speech can be censored under modern definitions.

                              Many speak of white men in ways far more derogatory than what I noted above, and are not censored. That I point this out makes me neither racist nor misogynist.

                              To say it is racist to argue that one race is genetically inferior to another doesn't mean the race is or isn't, only that we're not allowed to say this even if it were true. The same is true of depicting women in a negative light, even if the behavior is true. For example, if one says that women like violent men and often deliberately provoke them to profit from victimhood, they can be silence as misogynist, even if what they say is true (not that it is or isn't, but truth no longer matters).

                              If we govern based on what is popular rather than what is tru,e the government will inevitably fail. Feminism had a lot of this play out int he 1970s, only to discover that traditionally-minded women were much greater in number than their political fantasy.

                              I could see the day when, after all power has been stripped from men by feminists, that modern women one day "retcon" stay-at-home mothers are worthless prostitutes, demonizing them for behavior which was perfectly acceptable at the time (the real precedent set by #metoo btw).

                              It is the unpopular speech which neesd the most protection, which is why censorship is so disturbing. The speech is never a greater threat than the censor.

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                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 7:20pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Criticism and mockery of speech is not censorship.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 8:50pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                No you being a racist and mysonagist is what makes you that. Me pointing that out inst evidence of anything other than your lack self awareness. The fact that you go off on a spree when it is pointed out to you is however evidence that there might be a residual bit of self awareness in there somewhere.

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                            • icon
                              OldMugwump (profile), 8 Sep 2018 @ 10:25am

                              Re:You’re a mysinogist, racist asshole

                              A person can be a mysinogist, racist asshole, and correct at the same time.

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                              • icon
                                Toom1275 (profile), 8 Sep 2018 @ 12:22pm

                                Re: Re:You’re a mysinogist, racist asshole

                                Putting aside the dubiousness of your seemingly self-contradictory claim, it's still irrelevant even if true, as at no time has he been the third part.

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                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 4:59pm

                            I define “misogynist” with the same wording as the Oxford English Dictionary: “A person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.” A comment such as, say, “many women who cry #metoo slept their way into their jobs” is misogynistic because it displays prejudice against (and possibly animus for) women. So-called “incels” and Men’s Rights Activists believe that sort of shit.

                            Can women be assholes? Yes. Can women sleep their way to the top? Yes. Can women lie about rape/sexual harassment? Absolutely. But to believe that all (or even most) women are all doing that—and more—is to believe a fiction biased by your own prejudices.

                            I have not called for the banning of any media with a misogynistic character, storyline, or overall philosophy. I would not call for such a thing. To assume I would do so is to put words in my mouth that did not first come from it.

                            As for that “stereotypes” bit: All stereotypes, even ostensibly positive ones, are harmful. (To wit: the stereotype of “financially successful Jews”, used to paint them as greedy and justify anti-Semitism.) Even if some people display behavior and mannerisms that fall in line with a certain stereotype, those people are not that stereotype. They are people. Treat them as such.

                            Oh, and people have been saying one thing in private and another in public since way before the Me Too movement—longer than either of us have been alive, for that matter. Do not blame on a political ideology what can best be explained by human nature.

                            And before I forget, I want to answer this question:

                            Maybe the world is such a sanitized place that bad speech can be dismissed as false, but is that really the case?

                            That I am taking your comment seriously should give you the answer you are looking for.

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                              identicon
                              John Smith, 7 Sep 2018 @ 5:32pm

                              Re:

                              Who made you the arbiter of truth or fiction to the point where one could censor a dissenting opinion as "hate speech?'

                              To attack MRAs is to effectively say men have no rights, jsut because YOU think any injustice they endure is either nonexistent or de minimis? That's a good first step towards political censorship with only the small leap to calling it "hate speech" to justify it.

                              A female can certainly read posts like this and conclude that she is above scrutiny while laughing "all the way to the bank" at those who are all but required to believe she is good. Any sociopathic female can and will exploit this until at some point reality meets the road and it can't be denied.

                              You sound really pussy-whipped. Probably have to spend a lotg of money and time on women to get their attention, and had to lower your standsards considerbaly to do so. Smartmen can just say what they're allwoed to say and see women as they are, acting accordingly. That's ho MGTOW took off. Even feminstis tend to resort to arguments that rely on patriarchy and objectification like the term "incel" which values a man by perception of his sexuqal prowess. Look at Asia Argento as an example of how valid #metoo is.

                              Blacks ain't be dumber than whites...Einetein, Hemingway, Edison, and Jobs all talk like dat. Putting illiterate thugs and corporate prostitutes in poaer won't harm America in the slightest, and anyone who says otherwise deserves to be silenced.




                              `

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                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 7:19pm

                                Re: Re:

                                A female

                                Well shit, I’m talking to a goddamn Ferengi.

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                                • icon
                                  Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 7:39pm

                                  Re: Re: Re:

                                  Pray tell, which rule of acquisition did they fail to comport with?

                                  Even Zek took advice from a female. Of course he did everything he could to both deny and/or distance himself from that error. Then later formed a partnership with Quarks mother. Oh, the horror.

                                  In this case however, he is not a Ferengi, he is however an over opinionated and obsequious lout who has a very hard time actually backing up any claim he makes.

                                  Stop feeding him.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 9:01pm

                                Re: Re:

                                “You sound really pussy-whipped.“

                                See gramps that’s why you’re a mysogynist.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 9:03pm

                                Re: Re:

                                “Putting illiterate thugs...”

                                And that’s why you’re a racist.

                                And it’s also why you will die alone.

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                                  Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 5:51pm

                                  Re: Re: Re:

                                  Thanks ALL in the above thread.

                                  I was going to post a comment or two but I now realize it is pointless.

                                  I now realize regardless what is said or how true it is with supporting references some snowflake libtart will immediately start sling Hate's 57 varieties of ism at me.

                                  Ann Ryan was right. The libtarts possess a very powerful weapon: guilt for standing up for oneself, ignorance of the masses and one hell of a propaganda machine.

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                              • identicon
                                Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:54am

                                Re: Re:

                                Wow. Nobody to cuddle at night, eh?

                                I'm happily married to my lovely husband, who totally owns the remote control when there's sport on the telly.

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                              • identicon
                                Will B., 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:55pm

                                Re: Re:

                                To attack MRAs is to effectively say men have no rights

                                If we accept this logic, we must accept the following corollaries:

                                To attack feminists is to effectively say women have no rights.

                                To attack BLM is to effectively say black people have no rights.

                                I presume you disagree with the first, and given the tenor of your last paragraph there, also the second of these corollaries; however, they are necessary for the logic you use in your statement. If "attacking" (read: criticizing) an organization for any reason proves their claims, then any attack on organizations you do not like must also prove their claims.

                                In a more reasonable world, however, I can say the following: "Mens' rights and mens' issues are indeed important things to examine in today's society, and critical feminist theory actually does highlight how patriarchal norms damage men as well as women. However, the MRA movement does not actually advocate for men's rights or men's issues. It is a reactionary, regressive movement attempting to reinforce the patriarchal status quo by misrepresenting both men's issues and the actual arguments by feminists to undermine social progress, to all appearances for the sole purpose of 'putting women back in their place,' and not only are most of their arguments toxic and often incoherent, but their views and objectives are actually doing more harm to men overall."

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 2:28am

                                Re: Re:

                                And? You ranting isn't going to make anyone change. There's a reason why jokes about women rightly get you kicked out for bad taste, and jokes about men are the height of humor. You know why? It's because you earned it, buster.

                                Straight men and their deluded ideas of deserving pussy are everything that's wrong with the world. Children are a sexually transmitted disease that idiots with dicks put into women. All that is going to change, though. Women are getting paid and getting laid because only a woman could ever understand a woman's needs. Once the Y chromosome completely deteriorates the planet will truly be saved. And who's going to disagree? Men? Ha!

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                          • identicon
                            Will B., 9 Sep 2018 @ 1:06pm

                            Hey, uh...

                            How long before we ban the film "As Good As It Gets" for the line about "When I write a woman, I think of a man, and take away reason and accountability."

                            ...you do realize that the whole point of that line, and how it was presented in the movie, is that the man who said it is a misogynistic asshole, right? And part of his whole arc is getting over that and becoming a better person?

                            Even if we were banning movies for being misogynistic (which we aren't), that movie still wouldn't get banned because context matters.

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                            • identicon
                              Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:55am

                              Re: Hey, uh...

                              Unless the banning was done via automated filters.
                              /Reason

                              This is my real name.
                              /Accountability

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                              • identicon
                                Will B., 10 Sep 2018 @ 9:29am

                                I mean...

                                ...I get where you're coming from, but what, from that quote, would trigger automatic filters? "Reason"? "Accountability"? Or would we simply be banning any movie with the word "Woman" in it?

                                I don't remember the rest of the movie all that well - it's very, very possible, even probable, that the main character says other stuff that would be caught by a theoretical "automatic misogyny filter," but to ban the movie for the specific quote in question, it would have to be a very, very, very, very broad filter...

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                                • identicon
                                  Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Sep 2018 @ 2:28am

                                  Re: I mean...

                                  Context doesn't matter to automated filters. Sorry, I didn't make myself clear there. I'm opposed to political correctness, for the record. It causes more problems than it solves.

                                  I agree with you.

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                                  • identicon
                                    Will B., 12 Sep 2018 @ 1:08pm

                                    Re: Re: I mean...

                                    Hey, Wendy, I don't think we actually agree, because I actually am not against "political correctness." For the most part, I think that term was created to vilify "acting like a decent human being rather than a jerk."

                                    Can you provide examples of the harm you believe political correctness does?

                                    On the other hand, we definitely agree that automated filters are a painfully stupid way to try to moderate jerks.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 5:39pm

                Re: Re: Re:

                words do not mean what you would have us believe they mean.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 4:25pm

              Re: Re:

              The only bigot I see here is you.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        i have no name, 8 Sep 2018 @ 5:47am

        Re: Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

        That is not true. Arrogant people who are much less intelligent than they believe they are want people they disagree with off internet sites. Intelligent people side with free expression. You can find some research into this area. The smarter you are, the more likely you are to strongly support allowing disagreeable or offensive points of view.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:04am

          Re: Re: Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

          So, what you are saying is that the Emperor does not like it when told he is not wearing any clothes?

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Sep 2018 @ 9:38pm

          I can agree with you on the idea that someone has the right to, say, tell me I’m a piece of shit for being queer. Free speech and all that. But why should I tolerate someone doing that—or tolerate any platform that would refuse to punish someone for doing it?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:14pm

      Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

      The law REQUIRES them to delete certain types of content.
      with 50 MILLION euro fines if they don't comply.
      This ruling effectively says that their required to break the law.

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      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:56am

        Re: Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

        Is it possible that they utterly failed to take this law into account when making the ruling? If they had, then surely to goodness they'd have declared it invalid or unconstitutional or something.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 8:23am

          Re: Re: Re: The old "2 examples prove all":

          You would think. How can you have it both ways? The only smart thing a company can do there is pull out. That is if there's any way the public can post on that site, you shouldn't be there. Or you stop allowing all public posts.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:16am

    Time for the lawyerly solution

    The hate speech side says the content must be taken down. The free expression side says the content cannot be deleted. Conclusion: make the content inaccessible to the public ("taken down"), but do not remove it from the server ("not deleted"). That technically satisfies both parties, while making no one happy and causing the most work of any of the approaches considered.

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    • icon
      Beta (profile), 8 Sep 2018 @ 3:46pm

      Re: Time for the lawyerly solution

      That sounds like the kind of perfectly logical solution that lawyers -- and judges -- hate. When you go to court with that one, bring a toothbrush.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re: Time for the lawyerly solution

        The only safe thing to be done is not allowing any public posts. Stop it all. No one can post anything that will get you a fine, and since no one can post, you have no need to delete anything.

        If your a service that needs public posting, leave the country!!! Leave up a simple 1 page, why you left. Conflicting Laws. You lose either way. Can no longer offer services in that country.

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  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:24am

    Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

    He said in an article that the two most terrifying words in English were "means well".

    No, the two most terrifying words are "Do something!", particularly when uttered by politicians.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:31am

      Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

      yes but a politician yelling "Do something!" means well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

        but a politician yelling "Do something!" means well.

        (looks back at SOPA / gun control / FOSTA)

        Since when, exactly?

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

          Since forever, Toom.

          ...a politician yelling "Do something!" means, "Well, I get to grandstand over this and maybe make a name for myself."

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          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

            That part's a given. I was more wondering where any "well-meaning" to anything other than the politician's own career was to be found.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:33am

      Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

      my favorite for legal venues is the ever vaunted "good faith" exception when the constitution does not allow for good faith exceptions.

      If good faith exceptions were legit then it would be just fine for parents of molested children to "good faith" execute a few fuckers!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

        You don't think parents themselves ever molest children?

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          Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

          Yep, and if I was a juror in a case where a mother murdered her husband because she found him molesting the kids I would totally acquit.

          I would call that a good faith killing, wouldn't you?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

            I've got a pedophile detector app on my phone. It's never been proven wrong.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

              That was not to imply that I would take any killers word that they did the right thing. I think every death should be investigated no matter how benign looking. There is nothing wrong with a little follow up.

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              • identicon
                cho, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

                Investigated? By whom? Under what authority?

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:53pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

                  Well don't let the obvious escape you.

                  If you can't figure that one out then I might recommend that you attend school or some form of it, then come back and try again.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                    cho, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:58pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

                    So, you don't know. You're a fucking idiot.

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                      Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:01pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Arthur C. Clarke got it wrong.

                      you wound me sir!

                      Perhaps you don't know what being a juror is, it comes with a whole host of "implications" that you might not be aware of. Which is why I said you should get some "ed you muh cay shun"!

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:02pm

    Demo: Complex enough rules are self-contradictory!

    And of course it's an illustration of why moderation needs to be done at the edges and not at the core of the platform.

    Let's imagine a bit of hate speech: "The leader is a pedophile and must be killed"

    Now, standing alone, that could be a true threat. But then, it shows up in a techdirt comment, where it is ridiculed. Then a few of TD's readers start researching the history of hate speech, want it for an example....

    And you want to trust the Gubm'nt, or even Google or twitter of facebook or perhaps even Techdirt to be able to decide what to do about that hate speech???

    I don't think we should automatically trust any of the above. The best we can do is to make as many small, independent decisionmakers as we can. That is the most democratic way.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:28pm

      I trust platform operators to moderate according to the platform’s own rules—nothing more, nothing less. They have that right. Regulating “hate speech” beyond that is impossible because no one can come up with a specific, narrow definition of hate speech that would not otherwise censor protected speech. If the government were to declare “the N-word” as “prohibited hate speech”, regardless of context or speaker, we would lose a lot of movies and music and books that would otherwise be legal. (Blazing Saddles comes to mind.)

      Internet moderators deserve only as much trust as they prove worthy of having. If they do not want what they consider “hate speech” on their platforms, so be it. But their moderation is not grab-you-by-the-throat control of people’s speech—no matter how much anyone wants to say otherwise. After all, Alex Jones (finally) got kicked from Twitter, and he still has his own personal platform from which he can express his odious views.

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        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:45pm

        Re:

        Yea, I don't think you actually believe any of that based on what you responded in your other posts.

        You clearly consider anyone supporting liberty and equality as synonymous with also having sympathy for those receiving liberty and equality.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:52pm

          You can support a White supremacist’s freedom to speak their racist mind without wanting to be on the same platform as them. Klan members have every right to say what is on their minds, no matter how awful; they have no right to use Twitter to do so.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:54pm

            Re:

            See there, I can completely agree with THAT statement! But the way you responded in others you are not consistent!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              bob, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:42pm

              Re: Re:

              What's really funny is to sit back and watch the two of you argue back and forth throughout the comments. You both are staying consistent at least, despite what you each post about the other.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    UniKyrn (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 12:48pm

    Well, not exactly impossible to deal with, just takes the will to deal with it. "You're insane, we're terminating service to you. You return to sanity, send a Fax to this number asking to be reconnected, after the one year mandatory waiting period."

    See if you get a Fax a year later letting you know that the politicians and judges were the first up against the wall when the revolution came. :)

    [Hitchhikers Guide to Germany, Second Edition, 2020]

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 1:11pm

    ruled that Facebook cannot delete comments that harm freedom of expression. [...] the court determined that Facebook deciding to delete such content was violation of Themel's freedom of expression.

    Those statements are in conflict. The court was saying that the deletion harmed freedom of expression, not that the comment did.

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    Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 7:08pm

    Being crushed by the speeding train of an intolerant society

    I just realized why Rosanne Barr got canned. There is a very particular kind of censorship that the WHOLE COUNTRY enforces, but does not speak about and did not vote for. It’s about monkeys.

    The reason is obvious - I just watched Barack Obama return to the stage to stump for the Democrats yesterday. The similarity to a monkey is unmistakeable. That is why it must not be said. It’s bad, it’s racist, I’m bad, but the fact remains. He bears an uncanny similarity to a monkey.

    What happened to America, the land of the free and the home of the brave? So a man looks like a monkey, and his wife looks like a gorilla. They have nice looking children, very attractive, actually. Why can no one state the obvious visual similarity without having their career destroyed?

    Why so serious? What happened? Can we recover so people can joke about other people again, or has that era slipped under the secret covers of Brutal societal censorship, and dissenters must throw themselves under the rushing train of society, to be utterly destroyed, like the same fashion as Rosanne Barr or Anna Karenina https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d0Dn2pcqq3g

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 7:33pm

      Why can no one state the obvious visual similarity without having their career destroyed?

      Simple: The comparison has a long, storied history of being connected to cruel, dehumanizing racist ideology.

      Can we recover so people can joke about other people again

      You can still joke about people. But if you plan to joke about them because of who they are (e.g., making the Obama/monkey comparison) rather than what they do (e.g., joking about any actions Obama took while President), you should prepare for criticism of your “jokes”.

      Mitch Hedberg was the funniest stand-up comedian in the world while he was alive, and his material was cleaner and less offensive than that of practically all his contemporaries. Humor does not need to punch down or insult others to be funny. Cruelty is only funny to the similarly cruel.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 7:55pm

        Re:

        I don’t know Mitch Hedberg, never heard of him. But I’ve seen George Carlin and Eddie Murphy, they are HILARIOUS, and completely irrevent. Do you remember Eddie’s line about “do you take pussy here?”. Hilarious and irreverent and with some truth, it is so healthy to relax and laugh at ourselves.

        https://www.google.co.th/search?q=eddie+murphy+do+you+take+pussy+here&ie=UTF-8&oe= UTF-8&hl=en-th&client=safari

        Comedy, remember that? People just relaxed and said things that can’t be said and laughed about it, because they were happy.

        Of course, that’s before the “quilt work of diversity” took over the national stage. Where every tiny disenfranchised group were bound together in hatred and intolerance towards everyone who was NOT disenfranchised, implemented nationwide under Obama. That’s what actually happened, and we should put an end to it. Hatred and intolerance should not be promoted by anyone.

        We would be a healthier happier society, as a whole, if people would just relaxed and enjoyed life, and quit condemning each other for known and unknown faults, we all have them. Pointing out my faults does not remove your faults, we are more equal in faults than you think.

        That is, you are not superior because you imagine history in a particular way or with a particular focus. You are not entitled to recompense because what someone like Obama told you. Racism and intolerance in general is unhealthy for you and it is unhealthy for me equally. Let’s both not practice it, that would be good.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 9:48pm

          Re: Re:

          I happen to agree with you about Carlin and Murphy. Murphy was legendary in his prime, and Carlin was one of the sharpest minds in comedy when he hit his stride. That agreement does not mean I like all their material or think it holds up. (Murphy’s Delirious, for example, contains a long tirade of homophobic “jokes” that aged horribly in light of the LGBT civil rights movement.)

          The ultimate question of comedy is this: Who do you want to include? Or perhaps, better said: Who do you not want to include?

          The wording of those two questions comes from W. Kamau Bell in re: discussions about comedy and what someone “can” and “cannot” say on stage. This is not about the First Amendment at all; someone can say whatever they want and not get tossed in jail for it. This is about the nature of response—and, to a similar extent, talking about the nature of a comedian’s aim.

          All comedy has a victim. When a comedian says something they know to be offensive to certain people, they know they are making a decision about who they want to laugh at the joke and who they want to offend. “Who are you trying to include in your story's communication? What kind of audience are you truly looking for?” Those are the artist's questions—and that is where intent and approach to execution matter most.

          (Provocative question: Who would you rather have in your devoted audience, a rapist or a rape victim?)

          Humor is a social act; it is a way we relate to/interact with others. It is a way we construct identity, or who we are in relation to others. We use humor to form groups and find our individual place in and out of these groups. Joking/humor is one tool with which we assimilate or alienate.

          How we use humor is an ethical dilemma: Who do we embrace, who do we shun, and how/why? This also works on ideas. Racist/homophobic/sexist “jokes” are bad because they both alienate others and help assimilate the noxious ideas behind those jokes. A racist joke, for example, sends a message to the intended audience—the in-group—that racism is acceptable. Racist joke-tellers use “I was just joking” as a defense to the out group (and only them). To the in-group, the idea conveyed is accepted/acceptable. If someone accepts that defense, they are willing to enter an in-group where the idea conveyed by that joke is acceptable.

          Humor is complicated and always a matter of interpretation. Some humor—mainly parody and satire—is designed to alienate racism/homophobia/sexism as an idea. But if you can tell that someone is not engaging in complex humor, never accept “I was just joking” as an excuse.

          [Note: Everything after the first paragraph is a rewording of material written by “Film Crit HULK” and Jason P. Steed.]

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            Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:05pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            That sounds rather insane to my ear. Literally insane.

            The basis of your whole argument “all comedy has a victim”. That’s insane.

            When Eddie Murphy joked about pussy, was the pussy the victim? Or were ladies a victim? Or was he in fact saying what we all know: That women control the world, because they own 50% of all the property and 100% of all the pussy. Men need the pussy, maybe they are the victims. Are women the victims or the heroes? Are men the victims or the villains? The real question is, what the fuck are you talking about?

            Comedy is a process of setting up a situation where the viewer can decipher an error. When people say something outrageous, like “do you take pussy here?” They are making a clear societal error, but they are also telling a truth. It is the combination of error and truth that comprises comedy, in all it’s forms. It has nothing to do with victims, except by happenstance. Comedy is the process of delighting in our own internal error correction system, and laughter is our deepest nature, we should express it often as we quickly pass through this world.

            You look crazy to me. You seem obsessed with victimhood, and the defense of someone who likely doesn’t need your defense at all. When you recast Americans as victims in one form or another, you create an imaginary world of blame, hatred and retribution. Not a good idea. Terrible for everyone and a waste of time.

            In America, anyone can be anyone they dream to be. We are all victims to this or that, but more than any other country in the world, we are free to dream and implement our dreams. Is it perfect, no. Is the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, yes. Name a better one: China (forget about it), Russia (kidding, right?) Thailand (well, maybe that’s arguable, if you are an old man).

            Being a victim is waste of time when you live in the greatest country in the world, there are better things to do. LIke build a fabulous life, that’s fun, raise a family of happy children, that’s good too. Life goes by quickly, are you really happy being a victim? Does it feel good? Or does it feel like you peed your pants, that is, everyone can see it (your victimhood) but you’re the only one who feels it (like dark warm piss on your leg in public).

            Better to relax and laugh. Ask Buddha.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Sep 2018 @ 10:29pm

              The real question is, what the fuck are you talking about?

              I can tell a joke about rape, and that joke will send different messages depending on how I tell the joke (execution) and who I want to laugh at it (intent). If I make a rape joke about how rapists feel entitled to women’s bodies, my joke would aim to turn rapists into the butt/“victim”/“target” of the joke and bring everyone else (including rape victims) into the audience for that joke. If I make a rape joke about a man raping a woman, however, my joke would instead aim to bring rapists into my audience and rape victims as the “target”.

              The ethical questions of humor that I pointed out all tie back into that provocative question posed earlier: Who would you rather have in your dedicated audience, a rapist or a rape victim?

              You seem obsessed with victimhood

              No, I know that all comedy turns someone or something into the intended butt/“victim”/“target” of a joke—and that the very person telling a joke can also be the “target”. (Self-depricating humor is a thing, after all. Just look at Louis CK’s material…well, before all the sexual misconduct allegations, that is.)

              Better to relax and laugh.

              Better to laugh at humor than at cruelty.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:16pm

                Re:

                It's Hamilton, Trump cocksucker and braggart about how he has two girlfriends. What did you expect?

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                Anonymous Coward, 7 Sep 2018 @ 11:37pm

                Re:

                Yes, it is better to laugh at lighter subjects than at horrific cruelty. For example, joking about MS-13 members hacking young ladies up with machetes would be in terrible taste, or joking about the young lady bomb victims in Britain at a concert would be a little vile. Horrible acts, hard to make them funny. Same with rape. So what, that was not my point at all.

                Obama is funny looking, that’s just a fact from my view. He looks like he could have a key in the back that someone winds up for him to speak instead of clashing cymbals together like a little monkey. There is some truth to that image that most normal people could laugh at, until the last few years. Now it is a crime, just as pointing out that his wife as an ass like a gorilla. Criminal. Worse than MS-13 murders.

                My point is it’s crazy to try to control people at this level, when they are making harmless visual images that they think are funny about people who voluntarily put themselves in the public eye looking for feedback. The Obamas look like one tall monkey and one fat ass gorilla in lipstick and high heels.

                When a society becomes so intolerant about such modest humor, it is a sign of poor health. In a healthy society, everyone can speak, make their best attempt at humor, and either find an audience, or not. We don’t need “thought police” to tell us what we can and we cannot talk about. We didn’t elect any thought police, and we don’t want them in the government at all.

                Obama is a joke - he can’t hold office again, he’s wasting everybody’s time appearing in public. He’s not president, he’s just an individual citizen that looks like a monkey with all the sincerity of a wind up toy.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 3:07am

                  WhataboutObama

                  Drink!

                  With a chaser of racist brain drool.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 3:08am

                  Re: Re:

                  Hey Hamilton are both of your girlfriends (hands) brown?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Sep 2018 @ 4:45am

                  Yes, we get it, you hate Black people and want so desperately to mock them for their appearance.

                  (Geez, when did we start attracting Stormfront regulars? Was it something Blue said?)

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                    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 6:42am

                    Re:

                    Yes, we get it Stephen T. Stone. You have used this same phrase “Yes, we get it, you hate blah blah blah” over 100 times in the last few months alone. You just fill in the “blah blah blah” with Jews, black people, whatever.

                    This is a “throw away” phrase of the left, with no insight, no meaning, no expression of anything except your use of the word hate.

                    The left loves this word, hate. They accuse others of hating A, hating B, hating anything, they don’t care. Hate is your focus. You are the haters Anyone who doesn’t hate the way you hate you hate.

                    Thank God you don’t have any power to spread your hate anymore through the Government. We’re all sick of it.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:04am

                      Re: Re:

                      Well, I would offer this in defense of Obama. He may well want to see a better society. But from considering his actions, I would say he was in too much of a hurry to get there.

                      He had a lot of executive orders, and never really persuaded congress to enable the legislation he believed in. He did a lot behind the scenes with liberal judges that was really questionable. Nobody voted to confuse our children about which restroom to go to or what sex to identify with. He did that, directly, applying his belief system in a way that most people were not ready for.

                      Maybe his direction is a good direction, maybe it is a bad direction. But whichever the case, he tried to push his agenda too fast, he did not win enough people over to his side. The election of Trump could not be a better testament to his failure.

                      Which is not to say he was wishing for the wrong thing. But in America, you have to sell the voters on the idea first. He failed. Now Trump is selling, we’re all hearing the pitch, and to many, they’re buying it.

                      Maybe Obama was not a racist corrupt criminal who abused the FBI and the DOJ and the IRS in terrible and illegal ways. Maybe he was just impatient. I’ll bet if you could ask him personally, he would now admit that. In fact, I’m dead sure of it.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:20am

                        Re: Re: Re:

                        "He had a lot of executive orders,"
                        - in 8 years ... how many has der grabbinfuhrer signed?
                        - Hint: So far Donald has signed more executive orders than any president in the past 50 years.

                        "never really persuaded congress to enable the legislation he believed in"
                        - Yeah, that Affordable Care Act really did not get any support from the white house ... any more bullshit to spread?

                        "He did a lot behind the scenes with liberal judges that was really questionable."
                        - Like what for example?

                        "Nobody voted to confuse our children about which restroom to go to or what sex to identify with."
                        - It is amazing how some get their panties in a twist over this stuff.

                        "Well, I would offer this in defense of Obama."
                        - That did not look to be a defense at all now did it? Why do people engage in hand waving bullshit claiming one thing while delivering the opposite?

                        "Maybe Obama was not a racist corrupt criminal who abused the FBI and the DOJ and the IRS in terrible and illegal ways"
                        - And more bullshit that has been debunked multiple times by multiple people across the political spectrum and yet here it is again in its wonderful glory.

                        Love the smell of bullshit in the morning.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:26am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I noticed you didn’t mention the election of Trump, and the meaning of that. I mean, the embarrassing defeat of Obama’s agenda with the most preposterous opponent imaginable, in his first ever political race. It could not have been a more clear rejection, that’s hard to ague with. And it may well happen again, we are all praying for it.

                          Hard to dispute his success with real voters, right? Obama and his “agenda” that you say “twisted our panties” got voted out. Out and gone. Goodbye and Godspeed to your next destination, maybe it be far away and remote.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 10:32am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Hmmmm, I responded to the prior post and yet that is somehow deficient in your eyes because I did not mention your pet issue(s) that I am some how supposed to be aware of. Sorry man, I left my clairvoyance device in the attic next to my tin foil hat.

                            So, just what is your post going on about anyways? Maybe you could elucidate?

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:54pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              My post was about Americans being free to act like Americans and not sheep. My original reference was to compare the destruction of Rosanne Barr in American society to the literary destruction of Anna Karinina in Russian society. When a culture cannot accept and integrate non-traditional voices and souls, and instead shun them and punish them, individuals are crushed by intolerant societies. Rosanne was crushed by an intolerant American society for saying something much softer than Obama looking like a monkey and his wife looking like a gorilla in high heels and lipstick. I am just not in favor of that. I think she should be able to say whatever she wants.

                              What is so crazy about this site, and leftist sites in general, is they simultaneously decry societal judgement about some minority groups while mercilously attempting to crush and defame anyone who thinks counter to their positions. Like Anti-Fa - are you kidding? You are the anti-facists that are silencing those opinions you don’t agree with. Wow, is that crazy talk or what?

                              Tolerance is tolerance, not in-tolerance. You tolerate me, I tolerate you, that’s the basis of a healthy society. I tolerate men dressing up as women if they want (who cares as long as they stay away from my children) and you tolerate my view of the Obamas as a tall monkey with a fat ass gorilla mate. We all laugh at each other, I laugh at the silly men, you laugh at the silly associations, we all laugh and get along.

                              That was my point.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 8:34am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          If Obama did things the correct way, through Congress. Not acting like a Dictator. Signing Executive orders, after all, he said he had a Pen and a Phone!!! Trump couldn't just come in later and change it by Executive order.

                          Anything Trump does by Executive Order, the next president in 6 years can change whatever Trump did that didn't go through Congress.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:09am

                      Re: Re:

                      The constant right/left dogma playing in your head adversely affects your brain functioning to the point where you begin arguing against yourself.

                      Quite the quagmire you have created there.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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                        Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:14am

                        Re: Re: Re:

                        Yes you’re probably right that it sounds that way. But not when you consider whichever side of the argument you take, Trump is demonstrably the Winner and Obama is demonstrably the corrupt racist criminal. The only question is what do we do about it?

                        I have an idea: Obama allocutes to his crimes related to the DOJ, the FBI and the IRS, and Trump pardons him. Everybody comes clean, tells the actual truth about the obvious corruption, and Obama gets off. Everybody else that broke the law goes to jail, including Hillary.

                        I think that would be a great outcome, and allow the whole country to move forward and put the past behind us.

                        What do you think?

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2018 @ 7:23am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I think you are full of shit.

                          Are you being paid to lie, is it out of ignorance or are you actually that kind of person?

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Sep 2018 @ 9:04am

                            Forget it, Anon, it’s Hamilton. Every argument he makes is in bad faith; every sentence he writes is insincere; every post we can attribute to him through his writing style is a plague upon humanity. (And I bet he smells bad, too.)

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2018 @ 1:02pm

                      Re: Re:

                      It only hurts because it’s true.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    M zeeshan Nazir, 9 Sep 2018 @ 7:41am

    German law

    Yes, we get it, you hate Black people and want so desperately to mock them for their appearance.

    (Geez, when did we start attracting Stormfront regulars? Was it something Blue said?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Competing Rights (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:20am

    What a xenophobic article showing a massive lack of understanding of European Human Rights Law with editorial comments locked into a USA-centric view of the World. This judgement is a right and proper judgement. There are 2 competing rights under the German Constitution and European Convention of a Human Rights as codified under EU Law. This Court has decided for one right and another Court has decided for the competing right.

    The decision regarding which right has supremacy will first rise to the highest German Court and then be referred for decision by the ECJ.

    In the USA you have similar conflicts between Courts in the Federal Courts System and they are usually resolved by the SCOTUS.

    Germany and the EU acknowledge such competing rights where as the USA, and especially Techdirt, fights for and protects Hate Speech regardless of the harm it causes. But the World now expects that of the USA.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:27am

      the USA, and especially Techdirt, fights for and protects Hate Speech regardless of the harm it causes

      Please define “hate speech” in a way that criminalizes the smallest amount of speech as possible while still protecting the largest amount of speech. What room would be given to self-expression and the ability to correctly, directly quote other people so anyone who uses a racial/sexist/homophobic slur in any context could avoid being charged under a “hate speech” law?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 8:37am

        Re:

        So far, all I see that hate speech is, is something YOU don't like. Anything you don't like is Hate speech. It's not clearly defined. It keeps changing.

        Really, anything these days could be considered hate speech. In fact, I'm sure what I just said is considered hate speech by some.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 9:45am

        Re:

        Given how they both started and ended that comment with insults and strawmen I'm guessing that was nothing more than a troll, so I wouldn't expect a coherent answer if they answer at all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Competing Rights (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:28am

        Re:

        Actually, "hate speech" is very clearly defined under the German Criminal code under Section 130 Articles (1) & (2). It is not an arbitrary or variable definition and is established on the basis of Articles (1) and (2) of the German "Basic Law" which is Germany's constitution. The competing rights arise from Article 5 of Basic Law impinging on the Rights Granted under Article 1 (the overarching right) and Article 2 of Basic Law.

        I would strongly counsel that before making an immediate comment on the Law of other Countries that you first take the opportunity to read and evaluate those Laws. I feel that this article failed to do so and, by that omission, failed its journalistic integrity and responsibility. It fell far below acceptable levels of journalistic professionalism.

        You also need to read the German Constitution in the context of its drafting (by the Allied Powers after World War 2) and the fact that it was drafted in a manner that would, wherever possible, preclude a reoccurrence of the movements that laid waste to much of Europe and allowed the mobilization of a populace to commit the atrocities of the Holocaust and associated Genocides.

        The USA, thankfully, played a huge part in drafting the German Constitution having learned from the difficulties of its own Constitution and the problems encountered in other Countries like the UK, Italy, France and Japan.

        Sadly, those Statesmen, or there approaches, seem to have no relevance nowadays.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:53am

          Funny thing: I read an English translation of the law you asked me to look up. While it does seem strictly worded at first, it contains just enough weasel wording—at least in the translation—to make sure it can apply to a broad swath of speech. For example, Article 1 mentions people who “[incite] hatred against a national, racial, religious group or a group defined by their ethnic origins”. As an American, I could take that to mean a German cannot legally incite hatred against me for being an American, even if the law was not intended to be interpreted that way. (Incidentally, that law does not seem to cover sex/gender identity or sexual orientation.)

          The section of 130 that talks about written material contains no distinction between non-fiction and fiction. Under this rule, any fictional work that features Nazis, racists, etc. could damn well be illegal, as it could technically “promote” Nazism, racism, etc. while still making it look evil. (Again: No coverage for sex/gender identity or sexual orientation.)

          Other sections of the law appear to deal with Holocaust denial and what sounds like the Nazi version of a Westboro Baptist protest (“publicly or in a meeting disturb[ing] the public peace in a manner that violates the dignity of the victims by approving of, glorifying, or justifying National Socialist rule of arbitrary force”). While I am loathe to protect such speech, I would never ask someone to be jailed for it. Speech that does not directly incite violence or defame another person, no matter how odious, should not land the speaker in prison.

          So I will ask again: How would you define “hate speech” in a way that criminalizes a narrow, specific type/amount of speech while still protecting speech in general? I’ll even pose a hypothetical for you. “Queer” is still considered an anti-LGBT slur—“hate speech”—in a sizeable part of the Western world. I, however, identify as queer. What should be done with me if I use what would ostensibly criminal speech in that way?

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          • identicon
            Will B., 10 Sep 2018 @ 5:16pm

            Hey, Stephen

            I would caution you when discussing this to keep in mind the difference between expressing hatred, and inciting hatred. Simply calling someone an LGBT slur is not inciting hatred, just putting your own on display.

            Speech that does not directly incite violence or defame another person, no matter how odious, should not land the speaker in prison.

            The issue I have with this statement is that directly inciting physical violence against another person is not the only way to harm them; not by a long shot. Your definition here - saying that only speech that directly incites violence or defames another - leaves out, for instance:

            Harassment Verbal abuse Implicit threats Explicit threats that are not viewed as "legitimate"

            Among probably many other things that escape my mind right at this moment.

            Defining things like 'hate speech' is, indeed, difficult and subtle and often left up to subjective interpretation. However, your definitions are too narrow, IMO, to be worthwhile in combating it.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:05pm

              I would caution you when discussing this to keep in mind the difference between expressing hatred, and inciting hatred.

              Distinction without a difference, at least to me. The US deems hateful speech, no matter what the general public thinks of it, as legal.

              Simply calling someone an LGBT slur is not inciting hatred, just putting your own on display.

              Yelling a slur at someone in public puts the speaker’s hatred on display and implicitly invites anyone who agrees to join in. Hateful speech is the act; inciting a feeling of hatred is a consequence. Feelings, even those that create situations where violence could happen, have no business being outlawed.

              The issue I have with this statement is that directly inciting physical violence against another person is not the only way to harm them; not by a long shot.

              In the US, incitement to violence is one of the few forms of speech that is left unprotected by the law. Incitement of feelings is different than incitement of action (and illegal action, at that).

              Harassment

              Harassment is more an ongoing action than a form of speech.

              Verbal abuse

              Calling me an idiot should never be illegal.

              Implicit threats Explicit threats that are not viewed as "legitimate"

              Depends on what is being threatened. Violence or other illegal acts? Yes. Legal social consequences such as public shunning? No.

              your definitions are too narrow[ ]to be worthwhile in combating it.

              Which is part of the point. Go too narrow and you miss important distinctions. Go too wide and you pull in a lot of speech that would otherwise be protected. A law that defines and criminalizes hate speech would need precise language to both outlaw “hate speech” and protect all other speech. And as I implicitly pointed out, who defines “hate speech” and how they define it can depend on context. I identify as queer. Other people can call me “queer” if they want. But if someone uses “queer” as an anti-gay insult, you thus have three questions before you:

              • How do we determine whether that word should or should not become “hate speech” in all contexts and instances?

              • How do we determine the exact contexts and instances where the word should be outlawed?

              • How do we punish people for saying those forbidden, illegal words?

              That we are discussing the outlawing of words says a lot about the idea of criminalizing “hate speech”, by the way. None of it is good.

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              • identicon
                Will B., 10 Sep 2018 @ 7:55pm

                Re:

                Yelling a slur at someone in public

                is not what I said. That would, in fact, be incitement to hatred, for the exact reasons you stated. In contrast, someone taking you aside and using a slur at you, or throwing it out in casual conversation, or DMing it to you on twitter, is just them expressing their hatred, not incitement.

                Hateful speech is the act; inciting a feeling of hatred is a consequence. Feelings, even those that create situations where violence could happen, have no business being outlawed.

                The idea that people are suggesting "outlawing feelings" is absolutely a strawman.

                Harassment is more an ongoing action than a form of speech.

                Can you please explain to me why ongoing speech does not qualify as speech to you? Your argument, right now, seems to be that calling you a slur is speech, but calling you a slur over and over isn't.

                Calling me an idiot should never be illegal.

                This... actually infuriates me. You are really going to boil down verbal abuse to "someone called me dumb"? Do you begin to understand how incredibly dismissive and reductive that argument is, and how far it misses the mark?

                How do we determine whether that word should or should not become “hate speech” in all contexts and instances?

                We don't. That's why we have courts, and a trial of your peers - explicitly so that individual situations can be judged on the context of those situations. Our legal system is designed to be a mix of solid laws and the precedent surrounding them, and the flexibility of trial by jury allowing individual cases to be decided against the explicit laws when those laws do not lead to justice.

                How do we determine the exact contexts and instances where the word should be outlawed?

                As above.

                How do we punish people for saying those forbidden, illegal words?

                Well, for starters, this is extremely reductive; you've swapped out hate speech for hate words. Hate speech is context-sensitive.

                That said - fines, community service, restraining orders, et cetera.

                That we are discussing the outlawing of words says a lot about the idea of criminalizing “hate speech”, by the way. None of it is good.

                That you think we're discussing the "outlawing" of "words" says a lot about how you are approaching the discussion, Stephen. You're shifting the entire frame of this discussion, and making it an all-or-nothing proposition; making it so we can't say specific words because they're bad is, obviously, an incredibly stupid idea, but that's not what hate speech legislation should be about.

                Now, I haven't read Germany's rules, and I am of the understanding that it outlaws a lot of Nazi-related paraphernalia, including perhaps the word "Nazi" - but even that is in specific contexts, and excludes, to the best of my knowledge, historical and educational contexts for the words, images and ideas involved - so even there, words are not outlawed, those words used in specific contexts are considered hate speech. It's perfectly reasonable to examine those cases and make a value judgement for whether those laws are acceptable, but misrepresenting them probably isn't a great approach.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Sep 2018 @ 7:06am

                  The idea that people are suggesting "outlawing feelings" is absolutely a strawman.

                  Except the entire point of the German laws I read is to do exactly that. Those laws try to outlaw feelings—hatred and the incitement thereof—towards people of certain groups (e.g., racial groups). That the laws seemingly have no distinction between private speech and public speech speaks to this idea. No one can legislate how people feel; no one should be trying.

                  Can you please explain to me why ongoing speech does not qualify as speech to you?

                  Ongoing speech is still speech, but harassment is an action that does not rely only on speech. Following somebody around is not “speech” per se, but it could damn well be harassment.

                  You are really going to boil down verbal abuse to "someone called me dumb"?

                  Yes, to prove a point: What you think is just an insult could become verbal abuse if you repeat it enough to the target. If someone wants to outlaw verbal abuse, they must define it incredibly narrowly, or else insults—even benign and seemingly harmless insults—would be outlawed.

                  That's why we have courts

                  The Supreme Court of the United States has never clearly and specifically defined what it considers “hate speech”—not even for the purpose of making such speech illegal. Courts can, will, and already do get it wrong. Do not place all of your faith in them.

                  Well, for starters, this is extremely reductive; you've swapped out hate speech for hate words. Hate speech is context-sensitive.

                  Hold onto that thought, I have something coming up that hits on this point.

                  fines, community service, restraining orders, et cetera.

                  If I call myself “queer”—a well-known anti-LGBT slur—after the word has been declared “hate speech”, which one of those punishments should I receive?

                  You're shifting the entire frame of this discussion, and making it an all-or-nothing proposition; making it so we can't say specific words because they're bad is, obviously, an incredibly stupid idea, but that's not what hate speech legislation should be about.

                  Except that is what hate speech legislation would be about. Specific words and phrases, specific symbols, any kind of speech or expression that could be deemed “hate speech”—all of it would be made illegal in any kind of hate speech legislation. And my entire argument gets down to a single question: How do we define “hate speech” in a narrow, specific way such that the speech/expression we want to outlaw does not draw in too much otherwise-protected speech?

                  I bring up the “queer” example for that reason: Lots of people in the LGBT population self-identify with that word, even though it has long been used as a slur against LGBT people. If we say “queer” is hate speech based on that history, and two queer people use the word in the presence of a third person, can the third person have the other two arrested for violation of hate speech laws? They did, after all, use hate speech in the presence of a third party who was uncomfortable with it, and I would want to know if their self-identifying as queer is possibly inciting hatred.

                  Hell, I can give you another hypothetical to further drive home my point. Lots of Black people use the N-word—or a form of it, anyway—as either an insult or a term of endearment. If we say that word is defined as hate speech, and a Black person uses the word as an insult towards another Black person, could the insulted person have the offending party arrested for violating hate speech laws?

                  And in both hypotheticals above, assuming the offending parties can be arrested for violating hate speech laws, how badly should they be punished based on the words used and the contexts in which those words were used?

                  I am of the understanding that it outlaws a lot of Nazi-related paraphernalia, including perhaps the word "Nazi" - but even that is in specific contexts, and excludes, to the best of my knowledge, historical and educational contexts for the words, images and ideas involved - so even there, words are not outlawed, those words used in specific contexts are considered hate speech.

                  I understand that Germany has good reason to want Nazi imagery and symbols out of the public eye. A war waged by your country that was predicated on the ideas of racial superiority and anti-Semitism will do that. My point, however, is that outlawing what we would call “hate speech”—in one context or many—does nothing but ban those things. Banning the anti-gay speech of the Westboro Baptist Church, the hoods worn by the Klan, or the swastika symbols used by Nazis does not ban the underlying hatred that those things represent. You can take a slur out of a bigot’s vocabulary, but you cannot take the bigotry with it.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Will B., 11 Sep 2018 @ 12:14pm

                    Speech != Words

                    Ongoing speech is still speech, but harassment is an action that does not rely only on speech. Following somebody around is not “speech” per se, but it could damn well be harassment.

                    You just dodged the question, there. Once again: how is calling someone a slur once speech, but calling them a slur repeatedly not speech? After all, your whole premise here is that we would have to outlaw words to legislate hate speech, so it follows that we'd have to outlaw words to legislate verbal harassment, because there's no such thing as nuance.

                    Yes, to prove a point: What you think is just an insult could become verbal abuse if you repeat it enough to the target. If someone wants to outlaw verbal abuse, they must define it incredibly narrowly, or else insults—even benign and seemingly harmless insults—would be outlawed.

                    Benign and seemingly harmless insults? That seems like such an odd phrase. Anyways, I don't disagree that it would have to be defined narrowly; I only disagree with how narrowly you are attempting to define it! You seem to believe our legal system can't handle nuance. For the most part, it can, though we mostly hear about the times when it fails to do so, since those are the newsworthy moments.

                    The Supreme Court of the United States has never clearly and specifically defined what it considers “hate speech”—not even for the purpose of making such speech illegal. Courts can, will, and already do get it wrong. Do not place all of your faith in them.

                    The Supreme Court is not the only way precedent is made, courts getting something wrong is part of the process and is useful for defining the boundaries of our laws, you've completely ignored the concept of trial-by-jury in your response here, and the whole point of appeals and higher courts is that we don't place all our faith in one court.

                    If I call myself “queer”—a well-known anti-LGBT slur—after the word has been declared “hate speech”, which one of those punishments should I receive?

                    You're back to "hate speech is words" here.

                    Except that is what hate speech legislation would be about.

                    Nope.

                    Hate speech legislation is not about making words illegal. Hate speech legislation is about making statements, in certain contexts, for certain apparent purposes, illegal. You yourself admit that the US makes exception for words likely to cause imminent violence - and yet you're claiming here that we can't have that level of nuance in our legal system, that we have to outlaw words because we can't look at the context around them and determine whether those words are hateful in that context. Do we, or do we not, have enough nuance to examine a circumstance and determine the intent of the words used?

                    Lots of people in the LGBT population self-identify with that word, even though it has long been used as a slur against LGBT people. If we say “queer” is hate speech based on that history, and two queer people use the word in the presence of a third person, can the third person have the other two arrested for violation of hate speech laws? They did, after all, use hate speech in the presence of a third party who was uncomfortable with it, and I would want to know if their self-identifying as queer is possibly inciting hatred.

                    This is a strawman. For starters, "queer" probably wouldn't qualify as hate words even if we were outlawing words at this point; you're probably aiming more for words like, beg pardon, "fag."

                    Regarding your question: did the third person inform them that he is uncomfortable with that word, and ask them to stop using it? Did they dismiss him and continue using it, deliberately, in his presence, to make him uncomfortable? Does the third person consider that a slur against himself, and if so, did he inform them that he does? In short, was it actually an intentional attempt to harass him?

                    And in both hypotheticals above, assuming the offending parties can be arrested for violating hate speech laws, how badly should they be punished based on the words used and the contexts in which those words were used?

                    Well, for starters, in both those cases, it probably wouldn't be hate speech, as it's too isolated; there could potentially be civil hate-based harassment suits, but no, I doubt they would be arrested. In contrast, there may have been some arrests in Charlottesville for hate speech, for certain things they were screaming in unison in a public demonstration- things like "Black lives splatter," "Gas the k[word], race war now," and the like.

                    Banning the anti-gay speech of the Westboro Baptist Church, the hoods worn by the Klan, or the swastika symbols used by Nazis does not ban the underlying hatred that those things represent. You can take a slur out of a bigot’s vocabulary, but you cannot take the bigotry with it.

                    I find it interesting that you're saying this here, but elsewhere you're defending the removal of nazis from social media to protect their victims from them. You cannot remove the bigotry, no; but you can stifle its spread, prevent its exercise, and protect those vulnerable to it, both victims and potential recruits.

                    [Please note, none of this is to say that I personally support hate speech legislation; I am on the fence about the subject still, and I definitely understand the possible issues with handing that much power to the government to persecute people for speech. Mostly, this is devil's advocacy because I disagree with your particular arguments, not advocacy for legislation directly :p]

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Sep 2018 @ 6:22pm

                      Normally I’d be compelled to reply—and I would love to, believe me, you’ve got some good points and I appreciate the discussion—but for a number of reasons, I’ll have to concede the argument here. 👍

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Competing Rights (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 6:24pm

            As is mentioned in a latter post you need to.....

            I am pleased and grateful that you took the time to review the English version of the Basic Law. A couple of points though that you need to bear in mind when readig Law. Words in the Law, as you rightly point out are very important, and the interpretation of those words are key. The Courts (in the USA and almost all Legal Systems based upon Anglo-American jurisprudence) have a set process of interpreting the meaning of words as a word made have different connotation to different people. The Courts follow firstly precedent (i.e. prior interpretation, then the plain language of the meaning of the word and then the look to supporting analysis starting with Comparative Law Interpretation from other Countries, Academic published papers and submissions etc are used as "persuading" authority.

            You also need to be careful regarding translation from a Local Language to English as that depends upon the skill and qualifications of the person carrying out the translation.

            To give an example. I work in a developing country assisting companies (both Local and International) to be compliant with Local legislation. I recently encountered a Law which places an onerous burden and is almost impossible to comply with in a practical manner. I know the source of the Law (which has a prime language of English). That source was translated into the Local language to form the Law. I then reviewed using a translation of the Local language Law into English. The source Law used the words "Prime Purpose" and the subsequent translation via the Local Language Law into English resulted in the words "Pure Principle". To a Lawyer this is nonsensical. "Prime Purpose" has a legal definition whereas "Pure Principle" (in the Law's context) only has a Theological definition. When asking Local Lawyers of there interpretation I could get no clarity as the Local language does not have a linguist construction capable of supporting the initial Legal philosophy of the source law. I asked 5 and got 5 different answers....

            The penultimate point is that the Western Powers insisted that the Germany Constitution council which drafted the German Basic Law insisted that the Basic Law included some details specific to banning representation of the Nazi's. Unlike Japan, Germany has honored that requirement to acknowledge and educate about the issues associated with the Nazi period so there is some wording in the Basis Law which seems inconsistent with the overarching principles of Article (1). The entire Basic Law needs to read retaining Article 1 as its context.

            But the real point of this is that: Yes, there will be different interpretations and there will be different judgements depending on how the Law is read by the Judge. That is normal as both Landers (States) and Regional Federal Courts in German have, like the USA, the right to different interpretation so long as they are at equal level. It is then the responsibility of the Constitutional Court to resolve those differences. The German Constitutional Court (unlike SCOTUS) can ONLY consider Constitutional issues and is the penultimate Court with the ECJ or ECHR the final arbiters but the ECJ can only consider EU Legislation and the ECHR (whose decisions are non-binding) can only consider issues related to the European Convention on Human Rights.

            Be grateful that you live in a world where Legal reasoning emanating from the Courts is published and form precedent/guidance. I work in a system where no reasons behind Court decisions are published and each case has to be argued as if it is a new case before a Judge or Government official. But you also need to give the Courts time. They have a logical and ordered process which takes time and decisions may take years to eventually be resolved (it is the same in the USA).

            Look at the quality of the Judiciary and that will give you guidance and confidence. Are they legally trained? Are they Politically Appointed? Have any of their prior decisions been tainted by ideological bias? Do they have an obscured loyalty to a particular economic or political agenda? Are they subject to abnormal or extreme political influence? Is the appointment process transparent and free from political motivation?.... To those outside the USA the Judicial Appointments System of the USA is tainted but somehow SCOTUS slowly moves towards bringing the USA's Constitution from a position where it is weak on Human Rights to something that is more compatible with the realities of the 21st Century rather than the 18th Century.

            PS. I am not a qualified Lawyer (i.e. I have no right of audience at Court) but I work in helping organizations change to become legally compliant. So I work on the practical application of Law & how that affects an organization's financial recording and reporting, its organizational structure, its management processes and its corporate governance. I don't get paid

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tajinder singh, 13 Sep 2018 @ 8:02am

    thanxs

    thanxs for giving me knowledge

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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