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Freedom of speech and hate speech, especially in common law

Discussion in 'Political Debates' started by Sirona, Jun 23, 2022.

  1. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    I confess, I have a dirty secret. Sometimes I watch Catholic TV. At the moment there seems to be some kind of "world family meeting" in Catholistan. I zapped into an interview program with an English-speaking guest who claimed that the law of free speech was so fuzzy that it was impossible to tell where the line was between what was "allowed" and what was not.

    Well, at least for German law, that's not true. German law is haunted by the ghosts of Nazism, and so, simply put, anything that resembles or could resemble Nazi methods is impermissible. There is also a quote from Immanuel Kant that says that man exists for his own sake and must not be a means to an end. In fact, German law is under the supreme commandment of protecting human dignity, and so it is actually obvious, at least to me, that statements that deny dignity to others are inadmissible.

    I have attended an introductory course in common law, and so it is clear to me that the principle of human dignity is not as explicitly enshrined in all legal systems as it is in the German one. In my subjective view, common law places more emphasis on the egoistic "freedom" of the individual (to express themselves) than on a supreme common value. But frankly, I don't remember much about it except that you can't falsely shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

    I might have argued that conscience or "Christianity" might give one a sense of compassion, but from what I've overheard in the media and (especially) from Christian denominations brought in from overseas, the "definitions" of "what is Christian" in Europe and the U.S. don't seem to be exactly congruent either.

    So enlighten me, where exactly is the line between "allowed" and "forbidden" in free speech especially in common law systems? :shrug:
     
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  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    I've heard of German law regarding people insulting
    each other, ie, being able to sue & win for it. It sounds
    so bad that they buy lawsuit insurance. Ugh.
    A country of snowflakes?
     
  3. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    Insult is a misdemeanor. Provided someone can come up with enough evidence/witnesses, you can be fined or imprisoned for up to one year for calling someone an idiot.
     
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  4. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    I'd be serving several lifetimes if I were German.

    BTW, I'll be traveling to that snowflakie country
    next month. I'll limit my discussions to technische
    matters. I'll warn my traveling companions too.
     
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  5. Viker

    Viker Spirit in Black

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    Oh man. I would likely end up on Germany's Most Wanted. One more country I may want to avoid.
     
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  6. Viker

    Viker Spirit in Black

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    I know little to nothing about German common law. In the US things that are or can be proven to be slander, libel or threatening are not protected. Basically, everything else goes. It must seem like total anarchy to some outsiders.
     
  7. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Veteran Member

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    The UK situation:

    "Expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person's colour, race, disability, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, gender reassignment, or sexual orientation is forbidden. Any communication which is threatening or abusive, and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone is forbidden. The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both."

    - Hate speech laws in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

    Helps to keep the racists and fascists using dog whistle tactics.
     
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  8. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Veteran Member

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    Maybe you should engage the services of an interpreter?
     
  9. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    Many involved are bilingual.
    I can already say & understand some nasty things auf Deutsch.
    The issue is illegality of insults.
     
    #9 Revoltingest, Jun 23, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
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  10. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    This map shows the several juridical traditions in Europe.
    Civil law countries have distinct kinds of juridical schools, but they basically all rely on written codes, written laws that dictate in advance what is not lawful, what is forbidden. The Napoleonic tradition, basically states that all that is not explicitly forbidden by the penal law, is allowed.

    Common law countries, au contraire, have a juridical tradition that gives the judge a very big discretional power. So the judge can punish a person, on the basis of the jurisprudence (binding precedents and principles of law) and not only on what the law explicitly states.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Veteran Member

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    Sorry - that's what I meant: able to translate between freedom loving American and Wokism. ;)
     
  12. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    I go with the premise there isn't forbidden speech in a free society.

    I do however have the opinion there are forbidden actions though, and to me, that's where the lines lay.
     
  13. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    That is very different in Italy.
    In Italy (Napoleonic legal system), hate speech can be configured only when a specific, determined person is addressed. Or a specific, determined group of people.
    More specifically, hate speech laws state that a person cannot be punished, unless they specifically use their speech to harm a person or a particular group of people. So the psychological element is absolutely essential.
    To give you an example: one can harshly criticize and diss a religious group (the Vatican, for instance), because this speech is meant to make criticism and not to harm people.

    I can also use France (Napoleonic Tradition) as an example. The Charlie Hebdo controversy would have had a totally different outcome in the UK. Because in UK the government would have probably forbidden Charlie Hebdo from publishing those cartoons.
    Whereas the French State allows Charlie Hebdo to draw those cartoons.
     
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  14. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    I'll depend upon circumspection & the
    professionalism of all parties involved.
     
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  15. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Here you could be saying no matter what... and would still be free...;)
    we are pretty anarchical, when it comes to speech.
     
  16. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Veteran Member

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    Is the Vatican a "religious group"? Slagging off the Vatican is fine in the UK, threatening someone because they are a Catholic...not so much.
     
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  17. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Indeed. Threatening is not allowed here either.
    But ...what about the Charlie Hebdo question?
     
    #17 Estro Felino, Jun 23, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2022
  18. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    Good.
     
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  19. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Veteran Member

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    I know of the incident obviously, but I didn't see the cartoons. If you did I guess you can just refer to my quote and link above and decide?
     
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  20. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    If I am not wrong, the mayor of London said that Britain would have not allowed such a thing.
     
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