The Right to Cause Offence



  • Since today is the 17th Anniversary of 9/11, I updated my book "The War on Error," as I do every year.

    Boris Johnson MP got some flak recently for an article in the Spectator comparing the burka to a letter-box, so I added a section on The Right to Cause Offence. I can see why some Muslims might be offended, but people should have the right to write such things. If someone approached a woman wearing a burka in the street and said: “You look like a letter-box,” that would be intentionally offensive, and could be called hate speech.

    I am not an absolutist when it comes to free speech. I think everyone should restrain their speech at least to be truthful, respectful, and free from hate or incitement to violence.

    I have no problem with bad language if it is used in the proper context, and is not done just to be abusive or to seek attention. Context is everything. If curse words are censored from Comedy like this (for example), it is unnecessary, but on a public forum like this there is no justification for using bad language (except in joke threads in the lounge).



  • Nowadays, well-expressed and balanced views get censored, while many much more offensive videos remain.

    The loony, liberal, left are destroying western values of tolerance and free speech by removing fair criticism while condoning abusive speech.

    How long before Satire gets censored?


  • Moderator

    Oh, yes, these ugly Rights who cause offence. Let us defend them.



  • @gwen-dragon Do you find Pat Condell to be an ugly Right?


  • Moderator

    @pesala Why do you ask?



  • @gwen-dragon Because the link that I posted were his well-expressed and balanced views that got censored by YouTube. He had a popular channel for some time.

    Take a look at the last link I posted where he attacks the ugly religious right for their intolerance of gays.


  • Moderator

    @pesala I do not think he is bad.
    If his videos get removed he violates the Terms of Use and his private contract with monopolist Google.

    YT is a company which never guaranteed free speech. It has commercial goals. That is the real problem.
    The users brought themselves into this situation of less freedom and dependance.
    The users did not want a free tube solution and that is what they get, control by y company on what they upload.

    My concern is not censoring on so called "free" upload platforms but more and more addicts using them without any rights and power to restrict what these companies do.

    Freedom is the right to choose, that is what these users gave away by using YT.


  • Moderator

    @pesala said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    find Pat Condell

    I like his video.



  • @gwen-dragon The ugly right won't like him much, apart from the Neo Nazis who will like his anti-immigrant stance.

    My point is that criticism that is truthful (or at least sincere), not hateful, not abusive, even if it is disliked by others, should not be censored.

    The Buddha was always truthful, but sometimes said things that were displeasing to others, for the benefit of many.

    The high caste Brahmins during the Buddha's time were hypocrites like many clergy nowadays who live in luxury and abuse their power. The Buddha compared them to dogs in the Soṇa Sutta. No doubt, they found his truthful description of their behaviour highly offensive.


  • Ambassador

    The problem is that you have to differentiate in freely expressing your opinion and a different one from insulting or disqualifying others gratuitously and without foundation, concepts that are often confused, sometimes even intentionally.
    Freedom of expression may imply that others feel offended, but this must always be tolerated if it corresponds to the truth and objective facts
    Direct insults, however, have nothing to do with freedom of expression and disqualify the insultor from the entrance, insults are always synonymous with lack of arguments.
    Google and YT evidently censor contents, sometimes justifiably and others for pure commercial interests, which naturally is rejectable.
    But I also participated in G + and of course the censorship that may be there is based largely on the reports of the users themselves, nothing to do with for example Facebook, with a strong censorship that borders on ridicule, where even a photo of the Little Mermaid of Kobenhavn was eliminated, for being a nude


  • Moderator

    @pesala said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    My point is that criticism that is truthful (or at least sincere), not hateful, not abusive, even if it is disliked by others, should not be censored.

    Yes. I agree censorship is bad. Censorship in a culture is a way to oppress opinions and keep people away to get information.

    But who really makes the rules for what you and me call: truthful, hateful, abusive content/behavior/and so on?

    Europe and America (what most people like to call "the western countries") does not had/have such culture of freedom. Freedom was a philosophical idea of some few privileged bourgeois (mostly white) men (nowadays may be called Autocracy or Oligarchy). The others had to work in slavery, were killed by christian fanatics, died from hunger, pregnancy, accidents at work illness or in wars and so on.

    The Internet is such new idea and technology, that's why people should use it and influence what is should be.
    But i fear, most are not interested what freedom in this new media means, they like to get all cheap, easy and cosy.
    I would like to shout on people: "You have to fight and work hard for Freedom. It is not cheap. And it is not given by [some ugly company here…] to you!"



  • @gwen-dragon said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    Yes. I agree censorship is bad. Censorship in a culture is a way to oppress opinions and keep people away to get information.
    But who really makes the rules for what you and me call: truthful, hateful, abusive content/behavior/and so on?

    In my opinion, censorship is necessary. It is not bad to censor abuse, slander, or useless off-topic rubbish. My objection was only to censoring critical comment just because some find it offensive.

    The difficult part is deciding on what is truthful, hateful, and so on, as it often depends on the writer's intent.

    Comments like F*** this are easily edited to tone down the language without changing the essential meaning of a comment.



  • @pesala said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    as it often depends on the writer's intent.

    That is the vital part!!
    With exceptions for blatant hostility, It is very often not possible for the reader to judge correctly.



  • @tbgbe said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    It is very often not possible for the reader to judge correctly.

    I very rarely find it impossible. The hostility in the linked post is very obvious. There are many other such examples that have never been deleted or edited. Search for any word that dictionaries mark as offensive, and you will find more such threads, but only a few that are not offensive in spite of the language.

    If I am doubtful I will flag a post and ask for a second opinion.



  • @pesala I did say

    With exceptions for blatant hostility

    Also, hostility can be obvious even without any particular words being used.


  • Ambassador

    Whether a censorship is or is not indicated is often a very thin limit. Remaining with the example of YT. It is perfectly legitimate to censor porn movies on this channel, as well as videos with criminal content or that incite racism and other violent content. But of course it is not legitimate to censor videos with well-founded content and they can only be uncomfortable to a government or a corporate.
    I can say that the electricity companies are shameless thieves, it is not lawful and reprehensible to say that blacks are an inferior race or tutorials like making a bomb
    Better example than YT is Facebook, which is known for censorship on many occasions with hilarious puritanism, such as deleting the photo of David de Miguelangel for being a nude or other similar cases.
    Also a good example like the case of a woman in Spain which post a joke about the attack Carrero Blanco (right hand of dictator Franco) on Twitter and she faced a jail sentence for this, just like a rapper for insulting the King in one of his songs, while journalists and even politicians from the extreme right put death threats against members of a leftist party on Twitter and that nothing happened to them.
    This is perhaps an example of a censorship that should not exist,



  • @tbgbe said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    Also, hostility can be obvious even without any particular words being used.

    • The use of certain words makes it obvious that there is hostility as the same thing could have been said without shouting and f-words. Long before I was a moderator, I reported that post, but no action was taken.
    • Hostility is often rightly assumed without any use of f-words that would indicate obvious hostility. I reported this post, it received five downvotes, but again no action was taken. The post clearly violates the forum rule to be courteous.
    • Hostility is often assumed where there is none. Two people upvoted my post. A first time poster had a rant about it and someone else agreed that his rant was justified. People often have an agenda or hold a grudge, so they find offence where there is none, and where none was intended.


  • Freedom is an illusion in USA, you have the right to shut up and get abused by the government and companies there. Lots of people criticise Russia for being a dictatorship, but I felt more free in Russia than I ever felt in the USA.

    USA sure fool people who are easily manipulated with their propaganda. The bottom of line is, there's no such thing as freedom of speech in the USA.

    As for 9/11, the USA caused that by themselves. Is what happens when you invade foreign country under the pretext of being there to "help", but end up murdering civilians while trying to steal resources.

    How offensive is this, although it is the raw true? Are we going to censor history?



  • @kobi said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    How offensive is this, although it is the raw true? Are we going to censor history?

    I don't find it offensive, and would defend your right to say it, but I think it is a long way from the truth if you're blaming 9/11 on the USA invasion of Iraq.

    I long since forgot why the Russians invaded Iraq Afghanistan. It is hard to distinguish the truth from the main stream media news.

    As for freedom, I don't think a channel like The Ring of Fire would stay online for 14 years if it was a Russian opposition news channel.

    Freedom always has limits. Anyone in Russia would be able to express homophobic views that might not be acceptable elsewhere. The illusion of freedom applies just as long as one sides with the majority; if one holds a view that is not acceptable to mainstream views, one is likely to get criticised, censored, beaten up, or imprisoned like Pussy Riot, for example, in Russia, or Tommy Robinson in the UK.

    Nevertheless, it is true what you say about freedom being illusory in the USA. Some views get suppressed, while others that are really quite obnoxious are deemed acceptable.


  • Moderator

    @pesala said in The Right to Cause Offence:

    The illusion of freedom applies just as long as one sides with the majority; if one holds a view that is not acceptable to mainstream views, one is likely to get criticised, censored, beaten up, or imprisoned like Pussy Riot, for example, in Russia, or Tommy Robinson in the UK.

    Even scientists and experts - who speak facts not morals - can fall victim to censorship or legal attacks.

    It is a sad state of affairs.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to Vivaldi Forum was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.