You've just stated a conclusion (in bold) which I reject and which you haven't proved. I am not against free speech. But I don't support absolute free speech because I care about the result. The result is what matters. Very often free speech results in good. That in itself is not an argument as long as there are examples of 'bad' free speech.(Original post by Dandaman1)
My former statement was: "Freedom of speech is a principal that remains necessary regardless of the 'value' of what's said. Even something has no value at all, so what?"
To which you replied: "I'm not discussing the value of random, unspecified examples of free speech..."
We are talking about free speech. You are implying that if it has no 'value' it is not worth protecting, i.e. censoring/banning it is a-OK. Also, you are entirely free to support German speech policies. However, while you are supporting this through your own free speech, the German government is suppressing the free speech of others with whom you disagree. You just happen to agree with this because you dislike Holocaust denial and it suits you. This is where we differ - I don't support Holocaust denial, either, but I would protect people's right to openly deny the Holocaust even though I find their opinions moronic and reprehensible.
And the value doesn't necessary lie in the speech itself; the value lies in people's freedom to have free speech, to speak their minds and express themselves freely without persecution from those in power. The speech is less important than the right to that speech.
I agree that those things aren't the same. But both infringe on free speech. People do not feel free to say certain things here in the UK which are not illegal to say. Law isn't then only way to censor - as you yourself has said. But your defence of free speech without regard for context or result means you're against taboos and political correctness of any kind as well. You can't control taboos.This thread is about political correctness creating censorship (which is indeed what it does). People choosing not to say something because it is merely taboo is not the same as being stopped from saying it by an authority or the threat of legal repercussions.
That assumes people are logical beings. It assumes the availability of knowledge and education and that people will be receptive to it. We don't know that the 'good ideas' will win. But we do know that the ideas that win will be thought of as good. That means that rather than leaving it to chance we, as a society that cares about results, must determine what ideas are good. Note that I'm saying society - not government or dictatorship but each of us as free thinking individuals. This is where societal pressure and political correctness comes from.Ideas with merit, more evidence, etc., eventually supersede those that are lacking. It's a logical progression.
In the following paragraph you essentially compare holocaust deniers to Darwin and 'Adam and Eve deniers'. Horrific when read soberly. You're argument is dependant on entertaining the possibility that they are right even if you yourself don't at all. I would argue that holocaust deniers generally don't believe their own gospel but use their ideas to justify racism and romanticisation of the Nazi regime. They are therefore the same as a person who falsely accuses someone else of raping them. They're lying, they know it and they are causing harm. People should be free from false accusations of rape. The Jewish people and other affected groups should be free from attempts to ignore one of the greatest tragedies in human history. There are many types of freedom.Except I'm not saying we have to entertain the idea that Holocaust deniers might be right. We know they're wrong. What I'm saying is that they should still be allowed to speak their opinions as free human beings, as we should be allowed to mock and deride them where necessary.
I hear this one a lot during this type of debate. Sometimes Galileo is used. It doesn't actually prove your point because what you're saying is simply - 'at one point in history free speech allowed or would allow good and true ideas to be expressed'. I don't and will never disagree with that. This doesn't mean absolute free speech (and we do need to differentiate because in many countries there are things you can't say but those countries have free speech to a great extent) is intrinsically good.However, some ideas we have found offensive in the past (eg. mankind evolving from other species) turn out to have merit. Your 19th century equivalent would likely be making the same argument about Darwin talking offensive nonsense and his speech having no value. The notion that humans were descended from apes and not created by God in the Garden of Eden was far from politically correct at the time. It was seen as an affront to Christian beliefs and values. Imagine if the British government threatened to arrest 'Adam and Eve deniers'. 19th century RayApparently would be just fine with that, it seems.
Also, though this is a pedantic point, political correctness is about protecting disadvantaged groups. The 19th Century Church hardly counts.
I think there's a great chance that, given I'm an atheist who's about to study Darwin's work in great detail at university and who prides himself on being able to change his views in the face of new evidence, my 19th century equivalent would have been in the not inconsiderable group of people who were open-minded and receptive to the new theories that century brought forward.
My position is a very reasonable one - that's why you need to paint it as something oppressive out of the 19th century in order to refute it. The fact is we live in an enlightened age and the ideas that get rejected aren't enlightened - like macroevolution is. They get rejected because they confound common decency and are devoid of reason. Holocaust denial has nothing in common with Darwinism.
Allow me to repeat what I said earlier in this thread as your example makes it much more relevant:
"Freedom of speech began to be thought of as 'intrinsically valuable' at a time when there was mass censorship and widespread ignorance in the most liberal arenas. We don't live in such times anymore. Freedom of speech was defended as being untouchable because to treat it with any less reverence would risk it never becoming a major freedom of the populous. In the modern age we can look intelligently at when, why and how much of it we need."
When tyrants ruled the world with bad ideas the people with the good ideas promoted free speech to bring about enlightenment. Free speech is a tool used to bring about a result. It is an effective tool that can bring good results. That doesn't mean anyone should be allowed to say anything, anywhere.
It's a wonderful saying (it proves nothing of course) that I recall throwing out when I was debating against the abolition of far-right parties. For the record I don't think they should introduce prison sentences for holocaust denial in the UK - but I completely respect and understand why they feel it is needed in Germany. In the UK, societal pressure and 'political correctness' do enough to temper freedom of speech in that regard. Remember it's not just a legal issue and the primary topic here is political correctness censoring thought not actual state censorship.Again, however, the possibility of being right is not the only reason for free speech having value and needing to be protected (all of it - it's a package deal, I'm afriad). All human beings should be free to pursue and share their opinions without being locked up. Do I have to repeat the old saying: "I might not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?
If someone falsely accuses someone of rape then I wouldn't mind seeing them imprisoned though - but that's straying from the point.
Again (in bold) you've stated your conclusion but there's no reasoning behind it. It's a wonderful notion. A fantastically liberal and idealistic notion that free speech is just good because it's good. But outside of religious texts things aren't intrinsically good. They are good because of the results they produce.
Here you do start backing up the conclusion. The 'slippery slope' argument is a good one and one that makes me question my view. I know that if we stop treating civil liberties and human rights as somehow sacred we open ourselves up to justifying all sorts of terrible acts. But the slippery slope goes both ways. Allowing anyone to say anything can take you down a dark and dangerous road too. The beauty of political correctness however is that it isn't me or 'like-minded supporters' who decide what can and can't be said. Society does it unconsciously. Society censors itself. It's not for me to decide what happens or how. I can only express an opinion on whether it's good or not.All free speech may not be equal in your eyes, but it is all equally speech. Picking and choosing what isn't appropriate because you and like-minded supporters of the status quo don't believe it has value takes one down a dark, dangerous, and tricky road.
And don't take the market analogy too literally. A government regulating its economy is not the same as it selectively regulating people's right to speak their minds.
Why isn't it the same? The reason markets are regulated is because though the'd work perfectly on paper in a perfect world, the real world challenges assumptions you need to accept for a free market to work. Those are assumptions usually hinge on the idea that people will make logical, informed decisions and have all that they need to make those decisions. It's exceptionally similar.
What would a Europe without political correctness look like?
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Discrimination is awful no one chooses their skin colour, sex , disability , sexual orientation that's what being a liberal open society is about but when you have extremely bigoted conservative religion being protected given special status because the adherents mostly happen to belong to ethnic minority groups. They also have different expectations of minority groups like if you upset someone or call their most beloved prophet names you have to expect to be bombed , knifed, shot what sort of effed up logic is that? PC today is about covering things up its not justice and it's not true equality.