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Guys, what is your opinion on free speech? Should It have any limit? If it should, why and which limits?
As a voluntarist/libertarian, I'm a radical pro free speech, and my case for this is the fact that offense or honor are always subject to culture, individual considerations, personality or anything but objective factors. A just law should be 100% objective, because that's the only way individuals are really treated equally under the law. Subjective laws are always biased, and thus unjust in its nature. But feel free to disagree with me in the comments below, I'm glad to debate over this topic πŸ™‚.

Cecilia 4 Aug 16
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Justice Benjamin Cardozo of the U.S. Supreme Court put it well when he stated that freedom of speech β€œis the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.” It’s a constitutional guarantee under the 1st and 14th Amendment intertwined with all our other rights under the U.S. Constitution giving people the right to speak and do things with limited legal restrictions placed on them from the state or federal government, so why would we want to limit it any more than it already is (i.e. obscenity, child porn, speech that incites crime&hellipπŸ˜‰? I believe we really have to be careful what rights (no matter which one it is) we allow the government to limit, and it should never be done as a knee jerk reaction to current events, because as they say: β€œonce you give it up you can never get it back.”

dman424 Level 5 Aug 17, 2020

I agree with you about the government. We shouldnt put the trust of securing fundamental human rights at the hands of people with the monopoly on force. We should put the government to the same standarts we put any institution made of humans. They are corrupt, greedy and respond to incentives as we all do. They have no incentive to have us prosperous and to respect principles of freedom. We should all remember that.

2

ah this is tricky. i think if it DID have limits, (unless you were inciting literal violence on someone) then it would eventually backfire on everyone.

Yeah, I agree
No one is safe under censorship

2

None. Once you classify a type of speech that can be limited then you have a pile on until the definition is stretched far enough to silence everyone.

3

Free speech does have limits. Libel (written), slander, incitement to violence, incitement to riot, conspiracy to commit a crime, fraud (both written and spoken), defamation of character (both written and spoken), perjury...
I might have missed a couple.

Neither libel nor slander are subjective - A lie is a lie, and many people depend upon their reputations. Harming another by lying about them is more than just hurt feelings.

Incitement to violence or riot - not subjective, not about individual considerations...

Conspiracy to commit a crime. I suppose that doesn't matter too much if the crime is never carried out.

Committing fraud is not subjective. Again, a lie is a lie. Lying to get someone's money or property is an objective offence, not personality or whatever.

Defamation - see libel and slander.

Perjury is lying under oath or to police...

This is kind of dumb. There's no debate to be had here.

Tycho Level 7 Aug 16, 2020

Oh, Sorry, It was supposed to be "100%" objective, I corrected
I agree with you that DIRECT threats to violence should be legally considered to judge someone because when a person threats other, she or he is objectively dangerous.
Fraud is not a verbal expression. Breaking a contract is an objective action, but offending someone for example is not.

I probably would agree with you too If you said falsely accusing someone of a crime is not a valid expression of free speech and have to be punished in some way
And It is not valid because is an expression that takes to resources being alocated wrongly and a person spending money and energy to defend himself or herself from a possible punishment.

Police are allowed to lie to you so until they restrain them we should not be restrained.

Libel and slander is a civil issue and you must show damage.

Fire in a crowded theater is a "test" that has also been used to restrain speech against the government so I'm also up in the air on that one.

@Cecilia Got the correction, and corrected my response.

Fraud can be verbal. And free speech doesn't only mean something spoken. It covers letters, notes, music (not just lyrics), cartoons, artistic expression and other "symbolic speech" such as burning a flag, etc.

"I probably would agree with you too If you said falsely accusing someone of a crime is not a valid expression of free speech and have to be punished in some way
And It is not valid because is an expression that takes to resources being alocated wrongly and a person spending money and energy to defend himself or herself from a possible punishment."

I guess you're referring to perjury here...? And yes it's completely valid. People perjure themselves for a number of reasons - to exonerate themselves or another from a particular crime, to falsely accuse another of a crime, or to avoid implications for another crime or "embarrassment" etc. Not a lot to do with "the allocation of resources."

And I forgot to list obscenity, child-pornography for example.

@ThomasinaPaine I'm not sure what you first statement meant. Are you saying that as long as cops can lie to civilians, that it's okay to lie to cops? Like false accusations, bearing false witness, or filing false reports?

Yes, libel and slander are civil issues, yet not legal non-the-less. It's simply not legal to damage another's reputation. Although there's no jail time involved, the injured party has a legal right to sue for damages.

@Tycho It has to do with allocation of resources because if you make a false accusation you lead to the use of means (resources) to investigate and solve the crime in the accusation. And this is measureble, objective, material.

@Tycho and of course I agree with you on the child pornography one because children having sex is an objective crime.

@Cecilia Perjury means more than false accusation. You set up a bit of a strawman argument there since I never mentioned false accusation until my response to ThomasinaPaine.

Maybe you should explain what you mean by "objective" as opposed to "subjective" laws in regard to free speech. You said "offense or honor are always subject to culture, individual considerations, personality or anything but objective factors,"
Yet so far you haven't shown how any of the limitations on free speech I mentioned are "subjective." So how exactly are you "radically pro free-speech" when you seem to agree that all the limitations I mentioned are objective or do objective harm?

@Tycho Yes, that is what I am saying. Government agents are held to the same standards as we are--if they are allowed to lie to obtain confessions then we should not be penalized for lying to avoid arrest.

@Tycho when I say about objectivity i'm meaning something that is directly destructive of property rights or body damage. Incitement to violence or riot can be a subjective standart for example. How do you measure how much damage to people or properties a person inciting violence caused once It was not this person herself or himself who did the rioting or violence?
That's my point with objective vs subjective.

@ThomasinaPaine So false accusations and falsifying police reports are okay because the cops can lie to us? I suppose you might change you tune if someone falsely implicates you in a crime. Perhaps several people. "Yes officer, we all saw Thomasina do it!" Then you have to spend time and money to clear you name... And even if you do, there may always be lingering doubts, especially if that crime is never solved.

Police do sometimes lie (I'm excluding anything like falsifying evidence) to get a confession. They may tell the suspect they have stacks of clear evidence against them, so it's best to fess up now and maybe the court will go easy. I'm not sure that justifies lying to police or worse, implicating someone else.

Or, maybe a detective pretends to be a criminal (lies) in order to infiltrate a group - Something like the movie Reservoir Dogs. Does that justify lying to police?

@Cecilia "How do you measure how much damage to people or properties...?". Damage to property or people can be objectively measured. The person calling for violence may not have engaged in the violence and won't be held singly responsible for any damages.

Explain what you mean by "subjective laws" in regard to free speech.

@Tycho I Just gave you an example. Giving a penalty to someone who incited a riot is subjective because this person didn't do the damage to property or people in question. Then the crime is subjectively determined, because you will have a personal consideration of how damaging this person inciting riot was in the situation. You can't measure the effects of words in the minds of the ones supposedly influenced by this person who was inciting violence/riot.

@Cecilia Umm. Okay so the effects of words on protestors, rioters, looters, and assailants can't be measured...? I think psychologists would disagree. The degree of the effect of inciting words might be disputed, but can you argue words have no effect? There's been a lot of studies on mob and crowd behavior showing how easily a mobs can be influenced. Everything from street mobs to political rallies (think Hitler's Triumph of the Will or other speeches). Also, the incitement doesn't need to be immediate, but could be continued propaganda. Just because something can't be fully and accurately measured doesn't mean it's effects are not objective. Nor does "personal consideration" of incitement mean zero culpability for that person's incitement of a crime.

It's clear people can be influenced by words, especially in emotionally charged groups.

@Cecilia It seems you're claiming that because we can't determine exactly how responsible a person is in inciting violence or panic, they bare no responsibility at all.

@Tycho I literally never said words have no effect on people's behaviour. My point is that the degree to which a criminal action is caused by external influence is not objective. And the principle of that being a crime (to have influenced/inspired others to be criminals) opens the door to criminalizing any opinion or thought, because people can be influenced in negative ways by any speech.

@Cecilia But "external influence" as opposed to internal is objective - internal influence alone is subjective.

But, regardless of that, what you're saying is certain laws (which you call "subjective" ) may be a slippery slope toward oppression. Okay - I'll agree. We need to be extremely careful with laws governing our free speech. But I still hold that certain limitations, like those I listed, are completely reasonable.

I really can't think of too many cases where our government has censored speech or the press, or indicted anyone for speaking their minds... Most censorship today seems to come from the high tech social media industries, not the state.

Well, at least so far.

@Tycho I agree, most censorship today come from the big social media companies. But big corporations are always connected to the state in some way.

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