Ezra Levant Fights Human Rights Complaint

117 posts / 0 new
Last post
Indiana Jones
Ezra Levant Fights Human Rights Complaint

 

Indiana Jones

I know that there was previously some good discussion about the human rights complaint against Maclean's for publishing an excerpt of Mark Steyn's book.

Getting less attention but no more egregious is teh case of Ezra Levant who has been dragged before a human rights commission in Albberta for publishing the infamous Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammed in his magazine the Western Standard.

Now, I personally wouldn't have published these cartoons. Not because I'm not committed to free speech and not because I believe in giving anyone who may be offended a veto over my speech but because they just weren;t very good and were simply intellectually lazy, gratuitous cheap shots. Still, I'll fight like hell to defend Ezra Levant's or anyone else's right to say whatever the hell they want.

I strongly recommend going to [url=http://www.ezralevant.com]www.ezralevant.com[/url] or simply going to youtube and searching his name. He's posted great videos of his appearance before the commission and really tears the commission a new one. I absolutely loved it. I certainly don't agree with him on much but on this, all I can say is Go Ezra!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


Still, I'll fight like hell to defend Ezra Levant's or anyone else's right to say whatever the hell they want.

What about a poem that allegedly gives instructions on how to conduct a beheading? Would you fight like hell for that person's right?

I am wondering what the folks in the other thread think about this case. Certainly the cartoons were offensive to many. Should Levant be "excoriated and isolated" as Petsy put it. Should everyone "of influence with" Levant and his publication "ought to distance themselves from this idiocy [of publishing the cartoons]"?

Erik Redburn

Very good questions though. I wonder how long before we get any explanations for this apparent double-standard...?

Indiana Jones

quote:


Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
[b]
What about a poem that allegedly gives instructions on how to conduct a beheading? Would you fight like hell for that person's right?
[/b]

Yeah, I would. I think the person who published that poem is a scumbag but they have the right to be a scumbag, unless you can show beyond any doubt that it's calling for violence (and I haven't followed it enough to make that call).

I'm offended by the poem and I'm offended by the Danish cartoons but I don't believe that I have any sort of "human right" to never be offended.

remind remind's picture

How about it being perhaps forever and a day wait? [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

And sheesh, I was avoiding reading the beheading thread until I was forced because of references here to it. Thanks [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

But I did notice something, the same person started both threads. In one thread he appears to be all for condemning curtialment of free speech while in the other he wants free speech curtailed.

Seems a bit inconsistent.

Indiana Jones

Actually, remind, I'm the one who started THIS threat and I haven't even posted in the beheading thread, nor have I followed it. No inconsistency from me. Or were you referring to someone else?

pogge

quote:


Originally posted by Indiana Jones:
[b]Getting less attention but no more egregious is teh case of Ezra Levant who has been dragged before a human rights commission in Albberta[/b]

Dragged? I'm pretty sure he walked in under his own steam. In fact, his attendance wasn't required. This is only a preliminary investigation and he could have responded by mail. But of course that would have denied him the opportunity to film the proceedings and continue his quest to turn himself into a martyr for freedom of speech.

I'm betting the whole thing will be dropped without going any further. And I'd bet Levant will be disappointed though he'd never admit it.

Erik Redburn

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]How about it being perhaps forever and a day wait? [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]
[/b]

Maybe we should start an unofficial babble pool to bet when, if ever, or resident Zionists would clarify the big difference between "hate" put out by Islamic militants and that put out by pro-Western ones. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Indiana Jones:
[b]Actually, remind, I'm the one who started THIS threat and I haven't even posted in the beheading thread, nor have I followed it. No inconsistency from me. Or were you referring to someone else?[/b]

Oh shit the other thread was johnpauljones. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] Oops sorry,

The Canadian Ce...

When re-printing the cartoons the asshole Ezra Levant was just looking to because a big issue... Looks like he got it and now is complaining. The guy IS an asshole I watch him at a debate in Toronto, he was asshole to the audience members and offending. Arrogant asshole.

*Pardon the language, usually I not swear but this guy I really do not appreciate.

aka Mycroft

Reviewing his career I find that Levant is becoming an increasingly more fringe figure. He's been quite lost, I think, since his tantrum when he initially refused to give up his nomination in Calgary West in favour of Harper - a tactless showdown that left him completely marginalized within Tory circles. He may think he's acting on "principle" but really I think he's just desperate for the ego-gratification that public attention gets him, even if it means he gets consigned to the wingnut brigade.

Indiana Jones

I don't disagree. But this is Canada and you have a constitutional right to be an asshole.

This is why I loved watching his video so much. They asked what his intent was in publishing the cartoons and he basically said that it didn't matter what his intent was. He said that they could ascribe to him whatever nefarious intent they so chose and he would still have the right to do it. He told them that for all intents and purposes, they could assume that he did just because he could and it wouldn't matter. He has every right to publish those cartoons for whatever damn well reason he chooses and nobody has the right to stop him.

The Canadian Ce...

quote:


Originally posted by Indiana Jones:
[b]I don't disagree. But this is Canada and you have a constitutional right to be an asshole.

This is why I loved watching his video so much. They asked what his intent was in publishing the cartoons and he basically said that it didn't matter what his intent was. He said that they could ascribe to him whatever nefarious intent they so chose and he would still have the right to do it. He told them that for all intents and purposes, they could assume that he did just because he could and it wouldn't matter. He has every right to publish those cartoons for whatever damn well reason he chooses and nobody has the right to stop him.[/b]


You are wrong. In Canada there is not some unlimited free speech like United States have. They are limited and Levant wants to cause trouble and get attention.

Ibelongtonoone

arresting someone for saying or printing ideas whether you agree or disagree with them is the real crime. It seems all it takes is offending one person in some way through incorrect thoughts or expressions to be charged by this court.

Here's part of an essay by Lewis Lapham from Harpers Magazine on the cartoon controversy

I'd been told so often about the awfulness of the Danish cartoons (more destructive than roadside bombs, as terrible as the sinking of oil tankers) that I looked them up on the Internet. Not surprisingly, I didn't find them offensive. My bias and judgement having been formed in the secular realm of thought -- i.e., the one that we presumably value and wish to preserve, also the one that defends the Muslim minority in India against persecutions by the Hindu majority -- I thought the cartoons mildly amusing at best, in no way vicious or grotesque, well within the perimeter of what both Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin would have seen as fair use of ridicule in the service of political argument. [...] If I'm wary of religious belief in any and all of its ardent emissions, it's because I remember, as did the authors of the American Constitution, the vast numbers of people crucified -- also burned, tortured, beheaded, drawn, quartered, imprisoned, and enslaved -- on one or another of its ceremonial altars (Protestant, Muslim, Catholic, Aztec) over the course of the last 2000 years. Nor do I know why I must respect somebody merely for the fact of his or her belief, as if the attachment to a belief, in and of itself and without regard either to its substance or its object, somehow bestows a state of grace. I don't quarrel with anybody's right to believe, but passion isn't a synonym for truth. Must I respect a woman who believes that oysters sing? Or the man who believes that his mother was married to a koala bear? If it's the intensity of the emotion that I'm being asked to praise, presumably with adjectives like those affixed to expensive wines and precious jewels, then how can I fail to admire the richness of Adolf Hitler's feeling (authentic, fervent, deeply felt) for Polish Jews? [...] The transference of value from the object to the subject -- from the author's book to the author's pain -- lends itself to the language of political and commercial advertising. The customer is always right, and where is the percentage in telling the suckers with the money or the votes that their poetry doesn't scan, that their disease is incurable, their god made of wind and sand? The market buys what it wishes to believe -- about the interest-free loan or the cure for arthritis, about the democracy coming soon to Iraq and the way in which as Americans we honor one another's totem poles; nine times in ten the promise is false, the miracle at the point of sale dependent not on the worth of the product but on the telling of a sympathetic and condescending lie. Show respect for the customer's feelings, pretend to an interest in astrology, inquire after the health of the canary. [...]

The whole essay is not available on-line as far as I know but it's worth a read.

Btw - I cam't stand Ezra Levant.

pogge

quote:


Originally posted by Ibelongtonoone:
[b]arresting someone for saying or printing ideas whether you agree or disagree with them is the real crime. It seems all it takes is offending one person in some way through incorrect thoughts or expressions to be charged by this court.[/b]

No. Levant is the subject of a complaint but he has [i]not[/i] been charged with a crime. The human rights commission is not a criminal court. All that's happening at the moment is a preliminary investigation and based on this, the commission will decide whether or not to proceed. Even if they do and uphold the complaint, Levant won't see jail time for this. Not gonna happen. At [i]most[/i] there would be some kind of settlement involving money. But I seriously doubt that even that will happen.

Ibelongtonoone

I also arugued in the beheading thread against the lack of free speech in the UK. No one anywhere should ever be arrested for writing something. Anyone disagree?

Ibelongtonoone

Who cares what the punishment might or might not be, the point is as official court of the government is hearing this. We already have laws in criminal court to take care of things like slander, defamation of character and similar crimes.

pogge

quote:


Originally posted by Ibelongtonoone:
[b]the point is as official court of the government is hearing this.[/b]

You're completely ignoring what I wrote. The human rights commission isn't a court. Levant hasn't been charged with a crime. Discussing the specifics of his case has nothing to do with the hate speech laws on Canada's books even if that's where you're trying to go with this. Not much point in discussing issues with someone who only speaks and doesn't listen.

Ibelongtonoone

I read what you wrote. What the hell is the point of this court then - it is a court right? please explain it's purpose to me. Honestly I'm not being sarcastic

Indiana Jones

quote:


Originally posted by pogge:
[b]
Even if they do and uphold the complaint, Levant won't see jail time for this. Not gonna happen. At [i]most[/i] there would be some kind of settlement involving money. But I seriously doubt that even that will happen.[/b]

No, what they can do is actually FORCE him to apologize. What the hell is that? How can you force someone to say something they don't mean? And he obviously wouldn't mean it. And what is so special about THIS that it can force an apology. Legally, you can't even force Paul Bernardo to apologize for rape and murder but Ezra can be forced to apologize for re-printing cartoons?

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Indiana Jones:
[b]I think the person who published that poem is a scumbag but they have the right to be a scumbag, unless you can show beyond any doubt that it's calling for violence (and I haven't followed it enough to make that call).[/b]

You never commented in that thread. You say you haven't following the issue much. Yet you call her a "scumbag", and you leave open the possibility that she may be calling for "violence".

She is a nobody. She's not a "poet", she's not a "personality" - nada.

You don't call Ezra Levant a scumbag. You say, "all I can say is Go Ezra!" You don't mention that Ezra Levant is a raving Islamophobe and right-wing fanatic, very much a public persona.

Your view is very clear. Thanks for making it so.

ohara

I watched the video of the AHRC interview Levant posted on youtube. He is arrogant and pompous. He is doing this simply because he is arrogant and pompous and never met a camera he didn't fawn over. His "free speech" banter neglects the fact that he does not have an unfettered right of free speech here and that (much to Ezra's chagrin im sure) has been upheld by our Supreme Court.

Some of his statments in the interview are racist. Frankly I think the whole thing from the publication of the cartoons to his latest confrontation with AHRC is a PR stunt.

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzVJTHIvqw8]Ezra on youtube[/url]

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


Yeah, I would. I think the person who published that poem is a scumbag but they have the right to be a scumbag, unless you can show beyond any doubt that it's calling for violence (and I haven't followed it enough to make that call).

I'm offended by the poem and I'm offended by the Danish cartoons but I don't believe that I have any sort of "human right" to never be offended.


I'm sincerely glad to hear that.

quote:

You don't call Ezra Levant a scumbag.

That's an entirely fair observation. Why don't you call Ezra a scumbag?

pogge

quote:


Originally posted by Ibelongtonoone:
[b]it is a court right?[/b]

No.

quote:

[b] please explain it's purpose to me. [/b]

This comes with a cautionary note that a wiki can be a good place to begin your research but isn't necessarily a good place to end it. I say that as a wiki administrator though not at Wikipedia. This is from the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Human_Rights_Commission]Wikipedia article[/url] on the Ontario Human Rights Commission (because they don't seem to have one on Alberta's):

quote:

The commission's mandate under the code includes: investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment; making efforts to settle complaints between parties; preventing discrimination through public education and public policy; and looking into situations where discriminatory behaviour exists.
...
Mediation was introduced in 1997. All individuals who file complaints are offered mediation services before a complaint is investigated. Approximately 65%-70% of complaints in which mediation was attempted were successfully settled.

I've read elsewhere that the Ontario commission will occasionally initiate a complaint itself but usually, a private citizen has to file a complaint before a preliminary investigation takes place. After the prelim, the commission decides whether the complaint has merit and, if so, looks at the possibilities for a mutually acceptable settlement.

pogge

quote:


Originally posted by Indiana Jones:
[b]No, what they can do is actually FORCE him to apologize.[/b]

Oh noes! He might have to say he's sorry! What a travesty of justice that would be!

I'm sceptical of any abridgement of free speech short of incitement to violence or the classic example of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. But let's have a little perspective please. And I'll repeat: the investigation is only at the preliminary stage and hasn't even gotten to the point where there's talk of any kind of settlement.

ETA: You won't see me say this very often but scroll up a few posts. What ohara said.

[ 13 January 2008: Message edited by: pogge ]

pogge

Doppelpost.

[ 13 January 2008: Message edited by: pogge ]

pogge

Obviously it's time for me to take a break.

[ 13 January 2008: Message edited by: pogge ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Indiana Jones:
[b] He has every right to publish those cartoons for whatever damn well reason he chooses and nobody has the right to stop him.[/b]

Ezra Levant is a fanatical anti-Muslim provocateur (among other disgusting traits) who gratuitously published cartoons offensive to almost all Muslims - and with no redeeming motives or aims to his act.

You defend his rights, with gusto.

But when the colleagues of Rachel Corey photographed illegal Israeli settlers on the Jewish Sabbath as part of their work of solidarity with the Palestinian people, you did not enthusiastically shout, "Go ISM!!!" No. [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=5&t=002436#00... said:[/url]

quote:

What I meant about ISM making matters worse is that tehy deliberately seek out opportunities to harass people and provoke them into anger, which is not taken out on them but on average Palestinians. For example, getting in sttlers' faces when they are trying to work, purposefully videotaping and photographing them on the Sabbath, when orthodox jews are not allowed to be photographed or videotapes. It was gratuitous.

Obviously, they have legitimate grievances with the settlers, but harrassing them is not going to change that. NAd when they're back to the comfortable lives, the Palestinians are still gonna be there and have to deal with it.


Reminds me of a famous poem I just wrote:

[i]Different strokes
For different folks
On the opposite side
Of the Mid-East divide.[/i]

aka Mycroft

quote:


Originally posted by ohara:
[b]I watched the video of the AHRC interview Levant posted on youtube. He is arrogant and pompous. He is doing this simply because he is arrogant and pompous and never met a camera he didn't fawn over. His "free speech" banter neglects the fact that he does not have an unfettered right of free speech here and that (much to Ezra's chagrin im sure) has been upheld by our Supreme Court.

Some of his statments in the interview are racist. Frankly I think the whole thing from the publication of the cartoons to his latest confrontation with AHRC is a PR stunt.

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzVJTHIvqw8]Ezra on youtube[/url][/b]


Back when he was a law student Levant invited Doug Christie to speak on campus. If nothing else, the guy knows how to get attention.

aka Mycroft

quote:


Originally posted by Indiana Jones:
[b]I don't disagree. But this is Canada and you have a constitutional right to be an asshole. [/b]

You don't, however, have a constitutional right to engage in hate speech or to promote hatred of an identifiable group.

[ 13 January 2008: Message edited by: aka Mycroft ]

Indiana Jones

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]

You never commented in that thread. You say you haven't following the issue much. Yet you call her a "scumbag", and you leave open the possibility that she may be calling for "violence".

You don't call Ezra Levant a scumbag. You say, "all I can say is Go Ezra!" You don't mention that Ezra Levant is a raving Islamophobe and right-wing fanatic, very much a public persona.

Your view is very clear. Thanks for making it so.[/b]


Do you really think a graphic poem about beheading is the same thing as re-printing immature and juvenile cartoons?

If you see what i've said in this thread, I've referred to Ezra as an "asshole" and agreed with those who called him a publicity-seeker in search of attention.

I did say "Go Ezra" because while i don't agree with his publication of the cartoons, I sure as hell loved his comments to the HRC.

Indiana Jones

quote:


Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
[b]
That's an entirely fair observation. Why don't you call Ezra a scumbag?[/b]

Well, I DID call him an "asshole".

I actually wouldn't go so far as to call him a scumbag. I think he's just immature and juvenile and needs attention.

I don't know him well at all but his cousin is a good friend of mine so I've met Ezra at his cousin's wedding and a couple other events and while he can be arrogant and a bit much to take, I think he's pretty harmless.

Indiana Jones

unionist,
yes, i did defend Ezra's rights to publish these cartoons with gusto. I also said that I disagreed with his DECISION to publish them. I agree that it was gratuitous and immature and stupid. But being immature and stupid should not have to be justified to the state. I condemned teh ISM for some of their tactics but I never suggested that they didn't have the RIGHT to do it. Of course tehy do. Should they? I would say no. And I would say that Ezra shouldn't have either.

I don't think taste ought to be decided and enforced by the state. I'm not a fan of Hustler magazine, for example but will concede that tehy have the right to publish it.

There's a big difference between supporting the RIGHT to do something and supporting the DECISION to do it. I have every RIGHT to gamble all of my money away or drink myself into a stupor every night. I simply choose not to do so. And I have every right to publish juvenile, offensive cartoons even though I, personally, would not.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


I actually wouldn't go so far as to call him a scumbag. I think he's just immature and juvenile and needs attention.

So you think promoting intolerance and hate through cartoons is less offensive than through poetry? That's interesting. Is that because you can relate more to Judeao-Christian intolerance and hate than Islamic intolerance and hate, or is there another reason why one offensive art form is less offensive than another?

johnpauljones

quote:


Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
[b]
So you think promoting intolerance and hate through cartoons is less offensive than through poetry? [/b]

As the person who started the thread on the poem I think that they are both equally offensive.

the delivery mechanism is not relevant. IMHO it does not matter if it is a poem or cartoon.

Indiana Jones

quote:


Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
[b]
So you think promoting intolerance and hate through cartoons is less offensive than through poetry? That's interesting. Is that because you can relate more to Judeao-Christian intolerance and hate than Islamic intolerance and hate, or is there another reason why one offensive art form is less offensive than another?[/b]

Frustrated Mess, it wasn't teh "form" (cartoon vs. poem) but the content. I think silly, immature cartoons are less offensive than a poem that graphically describes cutting off someone's head, yes. Note, however, that this is jsut my personal opinion and doesn't really matter. Whichever offends ME more or less should have no bearing on the degree to which each are protected by law.

I'm also not so sure that Ezra published the cartoons in order to "promote intolerance and hate." I think he did it a) cause he craves attention personally, b) he wanted publicity for his magazine and c) he wanted to show solidarity with journalists whose lives had been threatened by thugs for something they put in a newspaper.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


I think silly, immature cartoons are less offensive than a poem that graphically describes cutting off someone's head, yes.

What does a bomb in a Prophets turban represent if not blowing innocent people to bits? That, in a nes magazine nationally read is just an immature cartoon?

quote:

I think he did it a) cause he craves attention personally, b) he wanted publicity for his magazine and c) he wanted to show solidarity with journalists whose lives had been threatened by thugs for something they put in a newspaper.

Solidarity with journalists threatened by thugs? The Poet was arrested and convicted for material she read. Why doesn't he demonstrate solidarity with her and against the thugs of the state, far more powerful than your average thug, by reprinting her poetry or even the materials used to convict her?

I think we both know the answer to that.

The question is why you would regard all those who were offended by the cartoon as thugs, and those who reproduced them for the purpose of causing offense heroes but not regard our poet as a hero.

If she were white and Canadian and advocating nuking Iran when she was arrested, would she be a free speech hero to you?

quote:

the delivery mechanism is not relevant. IMHO it does not matter if it is a poem or cartoon.

Thank you. I like a nice consistent argument.

[ 14 January 2008: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]

Noise

Indiana, I think you've proven yourself good at taking your values and judging others by them. Your 'Disagree with what you are saying, but will die defending your right to say it' position is admirable, however you're only able to apply it to your values and not someone elses.

quote:

Frustrated Mess, it wasn't teh "form" (cartoon vs. poem) but the content. I think silly, immature cartoons are less offensive than a poem that graphically describes cutting off someone's head, yes.

As you've got quote as saying in another thread:

quote:

For example, getting in sttlers' faces when they are trying to work, purposefully videotaping and photographing them on the Sabbath, when orthodox jews are not allowed to be photographed or videotapes. It was gratuitous.

Silly cartoons, but taking your picture on the wrong day isn't silly? [url=http://www.lyrics007.com/Offspring%20Lyrics/Beheaded%20Lyrics.html] Offspring 'Behead' lyrics[/url] if you want to see decapitation in Western prose. As long as it's your value system (Judeao-Christian) you're able to see it right away, but when it's someone else value system under attack, you're quick to point out how silly it is.

Are you unable to see the value another culture puts on something, or do you just think your values are superior to theirs?

Indiana Jones

Let's be reasonable, here, Frustrated Mess: you know very well the difference between the poem about beheading and the bomb in the turban. The bomb in the turban is not saying that it's GOOD to blow people up. It was MOCKING instead of praising people who kill people - though, I'd be teh first to admit that it did so poorly and in a stupid manner.

And please do not put words in my mouth. Nowhere did I say that "anyone offended" by the cartoons was a thug. I used the word "thug" specifically for those people who reacted violently and threatened people's lives for publishing a damn cartoon.

As to why Ezra doesn't also show solidarity with this woman in London by publishing HER poem...um, why don't you ask Ezra? I don't speak for him. I do know that he can decide for himself what HE chooses to publish on HIS website or in HIS magazine.

Maybe the reason he published the cartoons and won't (presumably) publish the poem is that he's jsut an asshole who wants to provoke people. So what? Does being an asshole mean forfeiting your claim to free speech? That's the point he made at the hearing. His "defence" is that he shouldn't ahve to provide a defence.

Indiana Jones

quote:


Originally posted by Noise:
[b]Indiana, I think you've proven yourself good at taking your values and judging others by them. Your 'Disagree with what you are saying, but will die defending your right to say it' position is admirable, however you're only able to apply it to your values and not someone elses.
Are you unable to see the value another culture puts on something, or do you just think your values are superior to theirs?[/b]

Did I ever say that the ISM shoudln't ahve the RIGHT to photograph settlers on the Sabbath? No. I said I thought it was stupid and provocative. I think Ezra publishing these cartoons was stupid and provocative. But i don't deny his right to do so. Or teh rights of teh ISM to harass israeli settelrs. Or the right of a British Muslim to publish a poem on a website.

I honestly don't think I'm being selective in my application of the principle of free speech. If you disagree, i'd appreciate it if you would point out where.

What I've said is that it doesn't matter what MY values or what I find offensive. My personal tastes and preferences are not the standard for whether something should be allowed. And neither are yours. And neitehr are those of the people who took Ezra to an HRC.

Ibelongtonoone

typical - call for free speech in a foreign country when a person is unjustly censored or arrested for post a poem online. (because that person is believed to be an enemy of yr enemy)

But when someone is brought before a tribunal in this country for reprinting cartoons, it's -Silence the hatemongering bastard - the word hypocrtite couldn't fit any better.

The fact that Ezra is a rightwing Islamophobe doesn't matter a damn bit, just like the girl in England might be a Bin Laden Supporter - so what. You either belive in free speech or you dont.

As far as the oh so terrible cartoons -

Here's part of an essay by Lewis Lapham from Harpers Magazine on the cartoon controversy

I'd been told so often about the awfulness of the Danish cartoons (more destructive than roadside bombs, as terrible as the sinking of oil tankers) that I looked them up on the Internet. Not surprisingly, I didn't find them offensive. My bias and judgement having been formed in the secular realm of thought -- i.e., the one that we presumably value and wish to preserve, also the one that defends the Muslim minority in India against persecutions by the Hindu majority -- I thought the cartoons mildly amusing at best, in no way vicious or grotesque, well within the perimeter of what both Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin would have seen as fair use of ridicule in the service of political argument. [...] If I'm wary of religious belief in any and all of its ardent emissions, it's because I remember, as did the authors of the American Constitution, the vast numbers of people crucified -- also burned, tortured, beheaded, drawn, quartered, imprisoned, and enslaved -- on one or another of its ceremonial altars (Protestant, Muslim, Catholic, Aztec) over the course of the last 2000 years. Nor do I know why I must respect somebody merely for the fact of his or her belief, as if the attachment to a belief, in and of itself and without regard either to its substance or its object, somehow bestows a state of grace. I don't quarrel with anybody's right to believe, but passion isn't a synonym for truth. Must I respect a woman who believes that oysters sing? Or the man who believes that his mother was married to a koala bear? If it's the intensity of the emotion that I'm being asked to praise, presumably with adjectives like those affixed to expensive wines and precious jewels, then how can I fail to admire the richness of Adolf Hitler's feeling (authentic, fervent, deeply felt) for Polish Jews? [...] The transference of value from the object to the subject -- from the author's book to the author's pain -- lends itself to the language of political and commercial advertising. The customer is always right, and where is the percentage in telling the suckers with the money or the votes that their poetry doesn't scan, that their disease is incurable, their god made of wind and sand? The market buys what it wishes to believe -- about the interest-free loan or the cure for arthritis, about the democracy coming soon to Iraq and the way in which as Americans we honor one another's totem poles; nine times in ten the promise is false, the miracle at the point of sale dependent not on the worth of the product but on the telling of a sympathetic and condescending lie. Show respect for the customer's feelings, pretend to an interest in astrology, inquire after the health of the canary. [...]

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


Let's be reasonable, here, Frustrated Mess: you know very well the difference between the poem about beheading and the bomb in the turban.

Actually, I don't. Both are art. Both are intended to provide two distinct messages: one of comraderie and derision for the benefit of supporters, and one of intolerance and hate directed at the targets. I don't see any substantial difference other than the medium employed.

adam stratton

If I disagree with something, I do not condone it by defending it, being said or done. Period.

Free speech is not an absolute, unfettered right as some would think or wish it to be.

Ibelongtonoone

and that is Fascism no matter how much some people would like to think it isn't

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

So every nation on earth is fascist?

Noise

As I said, I agree with you on your principal that you are taking here. It's just unfortunate your application of it is very dependant on solely your values:

quote:

you know very well the difference between the poem about beheading and the bomb in the turban.

The difference is one you find more offensive than the other.

Ibelongtonoone:

quote:

typical - call for free speech in a foreign country when a person is unjustly censored or arrested for post a poem online. (because that person is believed to be an enemy of yr enemy)
But when someone is brought before a tribunal in this country for reprinting cartoons, it's -Silence the hatemongering bastard - the word hypocrtite couldn't fit any better.


Where do you see any of that sentiment in this thread? Building your own strawmen to fight?

Proaxiom

quote:


Originally posted by Ibelongtonoone:
[b]I also arugued in the beheading thread against the lack of free speech in the UK. No one anywhere should ever be arrested for writing something. Anyone disagree?[/b]

I think everyone disagrees.

Writing with serious intent "Hey everyone, let's all get some guns and violently overthrow the government," is, and should be, considered criminal.

So here's a question, which I haven't seen anyone make a direct attempt at yet: What are the exceptions to free speech when it comes to publication of literature?

I know of these:
- Incitement to hate
- Incitement to violence

The first one is controversial in nature. The second one not so much. It's hard to nail down exactly what either one of those things is.

So for the beheading poem, it might be incitement to violence. If it is, it should be prohibited. I'm not sure that it is, though.

For the Danish cartoons, this might be incitement to hate. Again, I don't know whether it is or not. Unless somebody can give a credible definition of what incitement to hate is, then I don't know how to argue it one way or the other.

But prohibition against hate speech is controversial, any way you slice it. There are a lot of people who think it shouldn't be banned, because whereas violence is something that does direct harm to people, hate causes indirect harm. If as a principle you feel speech that indirectly harms people should be banned, then you have cause to vastly expand the sphere of prohibited speech.

Religion indirectly harms people, so maybe we should ban sermons and... oh wait, wrong thread for happy daydreaming.

Anyway, I'd like to see ideas for litmus tests for what speech constitutes incitement.

Proaxiom

quote:


Originally posted by adam stratton:
[b]If I disagree with something, I do not condone it by defending it, being said or done. Period.[/b]

I hope you don't really mean that.

It may or may not have been Voltaire who said "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Without that attitude, rights don't really exist.

Indiana Jones

quote:


Originally posted by adam stratton:
[b]If I disagree with something, I do not condone it by defending it, being said or done. Period.

Free speech is not an absolute, unfettered right as some would think or wish it to be.[/b]


First, I'm not condoning what Ezra DID. I'm condoning his RIGHT to do it. Big difference. If I don't call for the ban of Hustler magazine and for its publishers to be thrown in jail, one should not infer from that that I support the CONTENT of hustler magazine. And if I personally don't like a magazine, a book, a CD, TV show, restaurant or anything else and choose not to avail myself of it, that doesn't mean I think that it should be banned either.

And, of course, free speech is not an absolute unfettered right. there are all sorts of laws curtailing my speech that I support. I can't call you up and threaten to kill you. I can't publish untrue information about you. I can't violate copyright. But publishing a cartoon - an expression of opinion and satire - I do not beleive falls under the category of speech that the state has any legitimate business in restricting.

Ibelongtonoone

FM - how can you argue one way in the beheading thread and then completely reverse your position in this one?

Am I reading correctly, you seem a very principled person - do you see a difference between the two situations?

Pages

Topic locked