The myth of the free speech crisis Watch

AngeryPenguin
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How overblown fears of censorship have normalised hate speech and silenced minorities.

A 2017 Amnesty report analysed tweets sent to 177 female British MPs. Despite making up only 11% of female MPs, female MPs of colour recieved almost 50% of all abuse.

The vast majority of this abuse goes unpunished. And yet it is somehow conventional wisdom that free speech is under assault, that university campuses have succumbed to an epidemic of no-platforming, that social media mobs are ready to raise their pitchforks at the most innocent slip of the tongue or joke, and that Enlightenment values that protected the right to free expression and individual liberty are under threat. The cause of this, it is claimed, is a liberal totalitarianism that is attributable (somehow) simultaneously to intolerance and thin skin. The impulse is allegedly at once both fascist in its brutal inclinations to silence the individual, and protective of the weak, easily wounded and coddled.

This is the myth of the free speech crisis. It is an extension of the political-correctness myth, but is a recent mutation more specifically linked to efforts or impulses to normalise hate speech or shut down legitimate responses to it. The purpose of the myth is not to secure freedom of speech – that is, the right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint or legal penalty. The purpose is to secure the licence to speak with impunity; not freedom of expression, but rather freedom from the consequences of that expression.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-speech-crisis
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Greywolftwo
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Were tweets from female MPs only analysed because I saw a report on BBC news which also had tweets from male MPs
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AngeryPenguin
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(Original post by Greywolftwo)
Were tweets from female MPs only analysed because I saw a report on BBC news which also had tweets from male MPs
This report?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...ntage-twitter/

That's different. The abuse in their case isn't necessarily about race.
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Greywolftwo
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(Original post by AngeryPenguin)
This report?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...ntage-twitter/

That's different. The abuse in their case isn't necessarily about race.
I know l, I was just highlighting that
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limetang
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None of this is evidence that free speech isn’t under attack. You’ve drawn a blatantly false equivalence between that because abusive speech exists then that means free speech can’t be under attack.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by AngeryPenguin)
The vast majority of this abuse goes unpunished.
Presumably because it is not worthy of punishment as it breaks no laws. If I call you a donkey I may be abusing you, criticising you, being rude, or even being offensive - but I am not breaking the law. So there are only free speech issues if you seek to silence me.

Or is the IdentityFlock now seeking to punish people merely for using language it does not like?

If you seek to no-platform me because I disagree with you then there is a clear free speech issue. If you seek to inhibit my views by labelling me a racist, say, when I am criticising a religion then you are seeking to control my freedom expression, and that is unacceptable.

If you seek to control my language, by telling me I cannot use a particular word, say, then that is another clear freedom of speech issue - and it is this that is labelled political correctness, and which all sane people resist.
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Justvisited
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Lol at that article being a Guardian "Long Read", i.e. the writer was allowed to write over 4,000 words for publication in an article on which no comments were allowed! So the very structure of its online publication amounts to a refutation of its surficial claim.

No one can claim that free speech isn't under attack, and that in a big way, at a time when Amazon (think of the influence) has banned hosting of books by ex-gays describing how they left that lifestyle. While Mayor of London, Johnson did the same with London buses if you remember - just lol at anyone calling him a "homophobe" when he's more like a homofascist. If you demand the freedom to start buggering, your hypocrisy is blatant when you attack the freedom to stop buggering.

Significantly that long article linked by the OP never mentions the gay movement at all.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by limetang)
None of this is evidence that free speech isn’t under attack. You’ve drawn a blatantly false equivalence between that because abusive speech exists then that means free speech can’t be under attack.
Free speech isn't under attack what is under attack is the idea that you can be vile towards someone without recourse? Do we really want to live in a society like the US where people travel to the funerals of dead gay servicemen to hold up placards that say things like "God hates ****"?
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limetang
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Free speech isn't under attack what is under attack is the idea that you can be vile towards someone without recourse? Do we really want to live in a society like the US where people travel to the funerals of dead gay servicemen to hold up placards that say things like "God hates ****"?
Free speech MUST entail the right upset and offend people. If you wish to address or discuss any idea worth discussing you're going to be risking offence and upset. I mean how can you actually have anything resembling a meaningful discussion surrounding (let's say for example) trans issues if you can't hurt or offend trans people.

Now with protest in the example of the WBC you gave. I want to live in a society where people have the right to peaceful protest without fear of legal recourse. If that means people I don't like, expressing views I disagree with and dislike get to do that to then so be it.

There is a real and sustained attack on "offensive speech" being legally permissible. Just because the attack often seems to be against speech that you and I probably don't like doesn't mean it's not an attack on free speech.

Also NONE of what you've said actually argues against the point I was making. What the OP was saying was categorically NOT evidence that free speech isn't under attack.
Last edited by limetang; 2 weeks ago
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TCA2b
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^PRSOM
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ByEeek
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(Original post by limetang)
Free speech MUST entail the right upset and offend people. If you wish to address or discuss any idea worth discussing you're going to be risking offence and upset. I mean how can you actually have anything resembling a meaningful discussion surrounding (let's say for example) trans issues if you can't hurt or offend trans people.

Now with protest in the example of the WBC you gave. I want to live in a society where people have the right to peaceful protest without fear of legal recourse. If that means people I don't like, expressing views I disagree with and dislike get to do that to then so be it.

There is a real and sustained attack on "offensive speech" being legally permissible. Just because the attack often seems to be against speech that you and I probably don't like doesn't mean it's not an attack on free speech.

Also NONE of what you've said actually argues against the point I was making. What the OP was saying was categorically NOT evidence that free speech isn't under attack.
Fine. Go and live in the US. Personally I want to live in a civilised world where people respect each other. I don't want to live in a society where people who victimise others and send death threats can do so because they are hiding behind free speech.

You seem to cofuse inciting hatred with criticising the government which is also illegal in some countries.

So like I say, if you wish to be vile towards others just necause you can, feel free to emigrate to the US.
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limetang
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Fine. Go and live in the US. Personally I want to live in a civilised world where people respect each other. I don't want to live in a society where people who victimise others and send death threats can do so because they are hiding behind free speech.

You seem to cofuse inciting hatred with criticising the government which is also illegal in some countries.

So like I say, if you wish to be vile towards others just necause you can, feel free to emigrate to the US.
Happily. It's a first world country with high degrees of individual liberty, a very high standard of living and spectacular natural beauty.

Ah, conflating death threats and incitement to commit crime with offensive speech. Nice try. I never defended those things, they're a completely separate issue to the attack on offensive speech that is real and is a problem. Also you are aware that there is no first amendment protection to death threats and more broadly incitement to commit a crime. That's illegal in the United States as well (which for some bizarre reason you're trying to portray as some hell hole being torn apart principally because of its fierce protections of free speech).
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ByEeek
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(Original post by limetang)
Happily. It's a first world country with high degrees of individual liberty, a very high standard of living and spectacular natural beauty.

Ah, conflating death threats and incitement to commit crime with offensive speech. Nice try. I never defended those things, they're a completely separate issue to the attack on offensive speech that is real and is a problem. Also you are aware that there is no first amendment protection to death threats and more broadly incitement to commit a crime. That's illegal in the United States as well (which for some bizarre reason you're trying to portray as some hell hole being torn apart principally because of its fierce protections of free speech).
Just be nice! Xx

That's all. There is no need to insult. It just isn't required. Just be nice.
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Justvisited
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Just be nice! Xx

That's all. There is no need to insult. It just isn't required. Just be nice.
Lol if you think Guardian types abide by that rule - they're liberally insulting to all kinds of groups
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limetang
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Just be nice! Xx

That's all. There is no need to insult. It just isn't required. Just be nice.
I mean two points:

1) There are all sorts of situations where to actually say anything meaningful you're going to wind up not being nice and you're going to wind up insulting people. How exactly would you propose I make the point that I think (for example) that Boris Johnson is a dangerous sociopath who will do anything for power at the expense of everyone else. How exactly do you make that criticism (a type of criticism which is necessary for the functioning of a free society) without insulting Boris Johnson, or by being nice to Boris Johnson?

2) There's the liberty aspect. If I wish to insult someone I shouldn't be put in handcuffs for doing so. I don't wish to live in a society that would throw me in a cell for being mean.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by limetang)
I mean two points:

1) There are all sorts of situations where to actually say anything meaningful you're going to wind up not being nice and you're going to wind up insulting people. How exactly would you propose I make the point that I think (for example) that Boris Johnson is a dangerous sociopath who will do anything for power at the expense of everyone else. How exactly do you make that criticism (a type of criticism which is necessary for the functioning of a free society) without insulting Boris Johnson, or by being nice to Boris Johnson?

2) There's the liberty aspect. If I wish to insult someone I shouldn't be put in handcuffs for doing so. I don't wish to live in a society that would throw me in a cell for being mean.
I don't think anyone would have any issue with what you have said. Worse has been said respectfully in the Houses of Parliament. The issue I have with the free speech are those who seek to intimidate and marginalise minorities with hateful language whilst stating those being vilified should grow a thicker skin.
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limetang
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(Original post by ByEeek)
I don't think anyone would have any issue with what you have said. Worse has been said respectfully in the Houses of Parliament. The issue I have with the free speech are those who seek to intimidate and marginalise minorities with hateful language whilst stating those being vilified should grow a thicker skin.
What counts as intimidating and marginalising minorities? I've already said that incitement to crime is and should be illegal, intimidation and threats are already rightly illegal (they fall under assault).

I mean you mentioned the westborough baptist church earlier and they're quite a good example to look at here. They're peaceful, the only violence at their pickets has been that which is directed towards them. They don't directly incite violence as far as I can tell. They have vile views on homosexuality for sure, but they largely seem to be a model for peaceful demonstration of (admittedly vile) views.

The only reason to ban or criminalise the actions of the westborough baptist church would be the content of their speech, not whether their speech actually amounted to incitement, assault etc. And this to me has to be a complete no go area for the law. We need the freedom to question orthodox viewpoints, even if that means that certain groups of people feel gotten at.

The question of transgender rights and what we do about that seems to me to be a big one where we need more free speech not less, even if that means that trans people feel as though any questioning or criticism "marginalises" them. The question of trans rights certainly doesn't have easy answers and there's certainly a lot surrounding the ideology of trans rights that should be questioned. You can't have these kinds of discussions you can't do this type of criticism without trans people feeling "marginalised". But what's the alternative, for society to roll over and just wholesale take on whatever the current ideology is? Seems rather oppressive don't you think?
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ByEeek
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(Original post by limetang)
The question of transgender rights and what we do about that seems to me to be a big one where we need more free speech not less, even if that means that trans people feel as though any questioning or criticism "marginalises" them. The question of trans rights certainly doesn't have easy answers and there's certainly a lot surrounding the ideology of trans rights that should be questioned. You can't have these kinds of discussions you can't do this type of criticism without trans people feeling "marginalised". But what's the alternative, for society to roll over and just wholesale take on whatever the current ideology is? Seems rather oppressive don't you think?
Why? Your sexuality or gender identity isn't questioned. What gives you the right to question something that is private and personal to others?

And please don't mention the pathetic toilet argument.

Just be nice. Is that really so hard to understand?
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looloo2134
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(Original post by ByEeek)
I don't think anyone would have any issue with what you have said. Worse has been said respectfully in the Houses of Parliament. The issue I have with the free speech are those who seek to intimidate and marginalise minorities with hateful language whilst stating those being vilified should grow a thicker skin.
Everybody would count as a minority now day men/women/children etc your must likely be a minority your self I am minority as a disabled woman. I don't care it people criticize me I do care if people use bad language in public online because it rube and the police should arrested such people.

I do hate that words such as retard are used all the time in public and online.
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Good bloke
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So, we now actually have people demanding arrest for rudeness. So much for a commitment to free speech in this censorious, pious, puritanical world.
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