Freedom from comment and criticism?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Explorer, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    We keep using the word punish, but really I'll I'm trying to get at is that we shouldn't be able to legally punish them, but we as a society should reject people who are bad and wrong. We already do this naturally sometimes. That's why even though the KKK is allowed to have a clan rally out in the cornfield, I'm pretty sure the media has pretty much only negative things to say about them.
     
  2. asher

    asher So Did We

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    Coordinated shaming can, actually, be an effective tool for social progress, when you get enough people who are willing to call people out on their actually horrible beliefs and practices.

    It's still all legal First Amendment speech :shrug:
     
  3. TheFranMan

    TheFranMan SS.org Regular

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    You have the right to be a total jerk to your family and friends. You have the right to call your girlfriend insulting names and break her down emotionally. You have the right to fly a Nazi flag on your property. You have the right to ruin somebody's day for absolutely no reason.

    You're still a total douchenozzle if you do any of those, and calling somebody out for being a douche isn't the same as punishment. Just because someone has the right to do something doesn't mean that actually doing it is socially acceptable.
     
  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    By the sound of it, we have different interpretations of the word "right". I don't see people as having the right to act maliciously.

    And I keep using the word punish, because that's what it is. Calling someone out on something is one thing, but to publicly shame someone for having an opinion is a punishment- you're trying to make a correction.

    The problem I have with the suggestion of shaming and pushing away people who are "wrong" is that to do so you have to take a position of authority over what is considered right or wrong, and there's nobody who can do that in any kind of objective way.

    "You're allowed to have that opinion" and "if you have that opinion I will actively try to correct you or reject you from society" contradict each other.
     
  5. TheFranMan

    TheFranMan SS.org Regular

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    Yes, I think the difference lies in our definition of a "right." I speak in the legal sense, where having the "right" to do something means it is "legally permissible" to do something. Legal rights shed no judgment upon the social, moral, or ethical acceptability of the given action (though often morally, socially, or ethically unacceptable actions are considered illegal).

    So with that being said, when I say that one has the right to do those actions in my prior message, I mean they're legally entitled to do so. And that's what I assume most people mean when they say that others have the right to express their opinion but that they should be chastised for it.

    I may disagree with the hateful things that the Westboro Baptist Church says and does, and I have no problem with others calling them out for being hateful and deserving of criticism, but I will stand for their right to say what they say no matter how much I disagree with it.
     
  6. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Bologna!!! How can that be contradictory if it's exactly how this country already functions?
     
  7. Vrollin

    Vrollin SS.org Regular

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    Just as people are entitled to their opinions, positive and negative, they are also allowed not to like things, whether that is an object, an animal, a person, gender, race or sexuality people, believe it or not, do not have to blanket love everything! Where it comes into play is how you discuss your own beliefs, with who, and the style in which you are discussing them.
    You dont have to like something, but you don't have to berate the issue and preach to others. It's the difference between being considerate with your beliefs and opinions vs being a .......
     
  8. Basti

    Basti not much space to wr

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    1. Noticing isn't judging.
    2. I'm fully aware of the socially constructed guidelines for normality, doesn't mean I agree with them. Yes, I have grown up in a certain society but I have since been able to critically analyze its every detail. It's inevitably been ingrained in me but I don't blindly accept any of it, I question everything, myself included, constantly.

    So yes, I know what's considered weird but I don't see why that should be weird while something else is not. Yes, I notice people's ethnicity and I do associate these with the prejudices that people have constantly attached to them, and I have to fight it. It's sad, because you miss out on someone's individuality when the world tries to tell you exactly who they are at first glance. People miss out on their own individuality by conforming to the personality traits that their exterior somehow dictate. No two people are alike, nor do they belong in the same intersection of infinite possible subgroups. That's all the assumptions one can make
     
  9. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    I think he simply means that you're implicitly saying they don't have the right to their opinion as your behavior is going to actively try and change them or get rid of them. If they truly had the right to their bigoted thoughts then nothing would happen at all. I'm personally okay with bigots being shunned, but I understand what he's saying as well.


    Not really what you were talking about, but association is the only way we make things work smoothly in society. We sometimes take it too far, but it also makes the day-to-day easier to digest. We know someone wearing an id badge likely works at that location, someone wearing a police uniform is an officer, etc. and it's assuming that what we see is true that tends to make our day go much more smoothly. We just tend to take this way too far and start doing it to things that don't actually call for it like skin color or gender and things of that nature.
     
  10. asher

    asher So Did We

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    It's also not just berating and not, but whether your beliefs negatively impact others when acted upon.
     
  11. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    I think it's interesting to see an argument being made, in defense of not "publicly shunning" or whatever of someone with heinous beliefs, that one shouldn't do that.

    I'm interested in hearing from those arguing against such shunning... and what should be done if someone *is* arguing for such shunning.

    The reason it's an interesting question is that one of the obvious groups who would be publicly shamed are those who have spent decades denigrating, shaming, shunning and isolating others: the conservative right performing those actions with regards to the LGBT community.

    Since you can't take away their right to express such bigotry, why are the bigoted to be protected in a way their targets are not?

    And, if you prevent criticism, shunning, whatever... how does that square with freedom of speech and freedom of association (including not being forced to associate with someone in private life)?

    ----

    I have to admit, I thought this was a clear-cut path: No one has a right to be free of criticism or comment. That's why I was so shocked that my friends who were ready to comment on and criticize others suddenly engaged in special pleading as to why they were immune to the same.

    I'm sincerely interested in how that proposed right to be free of criticism and/or comment works in tandem with freedom of speech and association. How do those proponents reconcile them?
     
  12. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    Too lazy to quote all the relevant posts but:

    Does the US, or whatever relevant jurisdiction, not have verbal assault laws? Assaulting someone with words is illegal where I live. You absolutely do *NOT* have the right to verbally abuse and emotionally break down your girlfriend. Although, most times nothing every comes of someone doing it, it is not a right.

    If the US does not have such laws, it has sunken even farther in my viewpoint, which is saying something.


    I feel there is a pretty large difference between attacking ideas and attacking people. I feel it is completely okay to go after any idea you want (religion, bigotry, science, whatever, have at it. If you can't defend your point you will be destroyed) but attacking people is pretty ....ing lame. *shrug*
     
  13. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    I'm not aware of any such laws in the US. Here, this typically falls under the "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" philosophy. Phrased differently, if you're offended, people expect you to man up and stop acting like a pussy.

    This type of behavior could be used in court to establish character, however, which may influence sentencing in a trial for something else. But it wouldn't be a crime in and of itself.


    Agreed. All the leadership and management training I've had teaches to address the behavior/idea rather than the individual, and even go out of your way to make it clear that you're not addressing the individual.
     
  14. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    I agree with this 99%. I'll try to elaborate on that remaining 1%, but I'll admit upfront that I don't really know where to draw the line on the idea.

    I think that when it comes to 'attacking the individual', people that work in some kind of public role - particularly politicians - should be fair game. My interpretation of 'freedom of speech' is largely based on the idea of being allowed to criticise those who wield public power without fear of repercussion. Much of the reason I interpret freedom of speech this way is because that's how we do it in Australia: we don't actually have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, only freedom of political speech as defined by a few rulings our supreme court made in 1992, 1994, and 1997. Speech in the media is largely protected, though one of our major media companies was recently sued by the federal treasurer for defamation, who won $200,000 (though it's possible that a collective $2 million was spent to win that money, so there's little incentive to sue for defamation). Importantly, these cases tend to exist between public officials and various people who work in the media; those that have the ability to publicly influence others can be held accountable legally and socially.

    So, here's where I step into murky waters. I think that working as a substitute teacher makes me a legitimate target for pretty much any kind of criticism. I work in a public institution, performing a public service, and I'm capable of influencing the lives of others (in theory, if I'm not influencing others I'm not doing my job). If I couldn't defend myself against baseless criticism then I'd probably have fallen apart within a week of starting the job, and if I can't defend myself against valid criticisms, it's a sign that I need to make a change. To do my job correctly, I need to be able to take criticism and react positively to it.

    I'm sure many, many teachers disagree with me. We're just doing a job, and we're limited to working within the boundaries of a system, so criticism should be aimed at the system, not the individuals that work within it. Hell, how do I even define 'public role' or 'public power'? Are politicians, police officers, judges, social workers, doctors, and librarians all equally public and powerful? Obviously not. Should we be allowed (enabled? encouraged?) to criticise the individual instead of the idea when they're exercising their rights in a way that disrespects others? I'll just leave Donald Trump's name here as an answer to that last question. Again, I don't know where to draw the line.

    I generally agree that attacking ideas is quite different and usually preferable to attacking people. I agree 100% that it's okay to attack ideas, and in fact, I wish we as a society spent more time trying to pick ideas apart. I can't fully agree that attacking individuals is lame, because not only should powerful people be open to (and capable of facing) criticism, but many ideas are so strongly tied to individuals that it's hard to separate the two (scientology / L Ron, for example).
     
  15. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    Too drunk to respond now. Will try later.
     
  16. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    I'm almost disappointed we didn't get 'drunk response' first, and then 'sober response' later :lol:

    I'd suggest starting a thread titled "Drunk P&CE", but I'm pretty sure the 'Off Topic' subforum already fulfils that role.

    :cheers:
     
  17. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    Heh, I've definitely done the drunk posting before, doesn't normally work out too well for me. We shall see how brutal hangover posting goes.

    I think this is very much of where does one draw the line.

    When it comes to public people or people in power, I feel that criticising the job they may be doing is fine, but bringing issues of personal life into it is wrong. And it happens a lot.

    Like, what in the flying .... did Clinton getting blowjobs have to do with how he ran the country?

    I think that I likely should have said something along the lines of, "...generally attacking people is lame."
     
  18. asher

    asher So Did We

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    Though, if you'll recall, pretty much nobody in the polled public gave two ....s about it. It was pretty much 100% Republicans doing their damndest to get a scalp.
     
  19. estabon37

    estabon37 Melodica Attack!

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    Agreed, though all kinds of media expectedly and 'understandably' milked the event for all it was worth. I say understandably because you can't expect platforms such as The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, late night talk shows, or any given stand-up comedian to ignore an event like the President having an affair. Nor a Governor sending lewd pictures via Twitter. Nor a teacher having sex with a student. Obviously that last one is a big, nasty, disturbing event. SNL parodied the hell out of it. Whether or not the result was funny is up to personal interpretation (in other words, where we personally 'draw the line').

    This is, as Daniel Dennett describes it, 'turning the knobs' on a scenario. Break it down into its individual elements, and alter each element slightly to see if you can find which are critical and which are not. It's possible, and in some places common, for teachers to be around 22-23 years of age. It's also possible, and in some places common, for people aged 16-22 to hook up. We've might all have met people that technically committed statutory rape, but nobody called them out on it because it happened as part of a relationship that was genuinely loving, caring, and 100% consensual. Would we be more likely to try to shut that relationship down if one of the people involved was a teacher? We probably would, because it's a role that heavily involves a duty of care, regardless of whether the teacher ever directly taught their partner.

    We could probably bounce around variations of the scenario until we drove one another nuts, but I don't think we have to. Much of what I've mentioned in this post references how we might treat or interact with someone in a public role engaging in behaviour that many would consider inappropriate. The thread topic is whether or not people can be considered entitled to protection from comments. I think in many, many scenarios, comments are essentially unavoidable. What makes more sense to me is trying to manage or influence the comments, not to rule them out.

    So, I guess where I stand on 'regular citizens' receiving comments from relative strangers is influenced by my thoughts on public officials receiving comments from relative strangers. As much of a drag as it can be, random people will approach us throughout our lives and speak their minds. When I've dyed my hair ridiculously bright red, I've had strangers try to start shit with me (usually be calling me a faggot). When I wear nail polish, I've had strangers comment on it (occasionally by calling me a faggot). When I played in a cover band that played small-town pubs, the locals would approach me to compliment / insult our song selection (or in a couple of cases, yell in my face that "musicians are faggots"; is anybody sensing a pattern here?). In some ways it might have been easier for me to feel horribly insulted in all cases, and allow it to prevent me from putting myself 'out there'. In other ways, it might have been 'easy' for me to actually get into a physical fight over it, using the excuse that the commenter started it. My choice, and preference, has been to try and turn these encounters into positive, funny, or interesting conversations. The few people that genuinely wanted a fight walked away because I clearly wasn't biting. Most people wound up having positive, funny, interesting conversations with me, and walked away telling me I was all right, even if I was the gayest straight guy they've ever met. Apparently, these people don't get out much.

    TL;DR - Unless you're being verbally harassed, comments from people are just a part of life. Pregnant women may have a strong case for a general shift in etiquette away from random strangers providing unwanted comments / 'advice' / beer belly jokes, but I think the rest of us can suck it up. Public officials maybe moreso than the rest.
     
  20. Ibanezsam4

    Ibanezsam4 SS.org Regular

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    We do. It's called harassment. It's not severely punishable, but in most cases if you can prove its occurring and have evidence the culprit can be picked up by police and have a restraining order issued.
     

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