Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Libya consulate attack

   
By suggesting that the creators of the video have done something wrong, we are in a sense asserting that the Muslims in question (the ones that became violent) are somehow not in full control of their reactions, that some fraction of their moral agency belongs to the people who might incite them.

The specific reason that you cannot yell 'fire' in a crowded theater is that you risk triggering an instinctual panic response that causes people to act irrationally. If we deemed the theater-goers fully responsible for their own actions, we would persecute only the ones who refused to walk towards the exits in an orderly fashion. Various people are suggesting that posting comics of the prophet or making offensive videos is doing the same thing to Muslims: causing a reaction that they cannot control and are therefore not responsible for. I'm not sure I agree. The vast majority of humans panic when they feel threatened in a confined space, so there is a statistical argument to be made for disallowing shouting 'fire' in a crowded venue. The vast majority of Muslims do not become violent when their religion is insulted, so I see no reason to assume that the rioters are not fully culpable for their actions.

I don't believe that it is the instinctual part of the equation that is important in the shouting fire in a theater example. The creation of an imminent danger to the public is more important. This imminent danger might arise out of people's instinctual reactions, but those instincts are not needed to have a reasonable restriction on speech rights, only the creation of imminent danger.

I do not feel that a youtube video is sufficient for this however, including the one cited in this thread. The state also has a legitimate duty to promote peace and order, and thus I believe that it is reasonable to restrict some forms of speech to the appropriate venues, determined by the content of the speech and the likely social reaction to it. However, since the internet is not so much a specific venue, but rather a general distribution media for thoughts and information, no opinions can legitimately be banned from the internet, no matter how heinous or distasteful. The idea behind free speech is to allow people to openly express their opinion and share it with society. There may be times, places, and means of dissemination that are inappropriate, but telling someone that they can't put their idea on the internet is akin to telling them that they can not share their idea and violates the outlined principle of free speech.

Basically, telling someone that they can't say something on the internet is telling someone that they can't say something loudly, not that they can't say something at a certain time and place, which is a clear violation of free speech.

How many first-world countries DON'T have defamation laws?
Because I'm pretty sure that those apply to statements made on the internet, and do essentially carry the message of "you can't make demonstrably untrue statements regarding other individuals or organizations that would be harmful to those entities' reputations."

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Originally Posted by Tedronai View Post
How many first-world countries DON'T have defamation laws?
Because I'm pretty sure that those apply to statements made on the internet, and do essentially carry the message of "you can't make demonstrably untrue statements regarding other individuals or organizations that would be harmful to those entities' reputations."
How many first-world countries don't have laws protecting parody?
Besides, you can't even pretend the non-Muslem talk about banning or punishing the film/it's makers is because the film is injurious to the reputation of a man who died hundreds of years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
How many first-world countries don't have laws protecting parody?
Besides, you can't even pretend the non-Muslem talk about banning or punishing the film/it's makers is because the film is injurious to the reputation of a man who died hundreds of years ago.
My referencing of defamation laws was meant solely as a rebuttal of canjwolf's claim of total, unqualified protection of all speech on the internet. It was meant only to demonstrate that there are cases where speech on the internet is not sacrosanct.

The restrictions against libel are an example where the government tells people that they may not express a certain type of speech. This is in opposition to unrestricted free speech.

Edit: That said, one could harass people using the internet by, say, posting their heinous comments about the prophet on a muslim religious website or obscene pornography on an elementary school homework site. In a case like that I would support people being punished for their harassment as noted above. It is possible to create an imminent danger situation using the internet as a medium (video chat telling your girlfriend to kill herself or something like that), but just putting something that someone might get mad at on a widely traveled part of the internet is not.

Putting distasteful videos on youtube which do not violate youtube's policies are not generally a case of harassment and one should not be punished because the viewpoint that they choose to share with the world could fall into the hands of people who will use it for violent political ends. If you don't thrust your viewpoint into the faces of people who you believe will be emotionally harmed (even weakly, such as to the point where they would like to hit you because of what you said) by it, then it should not be considered harassment. Putting these videos on your own channel should not be punished for harassment, no matter who checks it out.

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Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Actually, while the US cannot restrict free speach, they can restrict the *export* of speach. There are currently no laws to do so, but that would be an effective tool in restraining the international damage that can be done by loose cannons.
How exactly do you do that? It wasn't even possible in the newspaper era, and it's certainly not possible now. Besides, I don't think we should necessarily assume that the folks who were scouring the internet for things insulting to Islam were necessarily operating from outside the U.S. Most of the Muslims I know in the U.S. have a very different view of Americans and Christianity (and the implications of our traditions of freedom of speech) than did the mob that assaulted our embassy in Egypt, but there are always a few folks who don't adapt, for whatever reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by canjowolf View Post
I was thinking repercussions along the lines of restraining orders and possibly fines and jail time for people who refuse to stop harassing others. If someone went to church and disturbed the proceedings with the $1 off slogan then I feel that it would fall under this category. The law exists to promote good order, not to be an end unto its self. That is why we have judges to interpret it, and why the punishment for similar crimes can vary so that the punishment fits the crime. If the people in the church care more about the economic slogan than the religious one then it would be the one deserving of greater punishment. If the whole congregation of IT guys came and demanded the arrest of the person who entered their symposium and caused verbal havoc then they should receive a similarly stiff punishment as a black guy going to a KKK meeting and calling out "Where all the white women at?" in an instigatory manner. The internet is a different beast though. You are not forced to go watch a youtube video and if you do choose to do so then you can set the volume.
Not following you here.

Churches are not public spaces in the same way that the internet is a public space. If someone is causing a disruption in a church, then he's going to get escorted off the premises when it gets to the point where he is violating the hospitality of the church community, by the police if necessary.

I don't know too many black guys who would be foolish enough to disrupt a Klan meeting in the way you suggest.

But none of the cases you cite is a very good analogy to this situation.

Really, does anybody go to youtube looking for anything constructive or tastefull? it seems to me the fact it is on Youtube to begin with shows there is something wrong with it...

The answer to the question is , "Yes, people really do go to youtube looking for things that are constructive and tasteful."

Thanks for asking.





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