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[liberationtech] Muslims do not feel safe any more

Thomas Delrue thomas at
Wed Jul 6 07:07:21 PDT 2016

On 07/05/2016 10:45 PM, Cristina [efecto99] wrote:
>>> I support the right of the left and right wing to discuss their ideas, but
>>> when it comes to bismerching and dehumanizing a group in society - whether
>>> it's men "it's the patriachy" or "all Muslims" for evil, allowing it hurts
>>> the quality of life.
>> I'm willing to believe the first part of your claim ("I support the
>> right of the left and right wing to discuss their ideas"),
>> unfortunately, it is followed with a 'but' and what follows seems to
>> create a discrepancy with the initial claim.
>> Anyone has the right to free speech, but no-one has the right to force
>> you to listen.
> It seems Thomas you are from a country that privilege free speech over
> any other human right. 

Have you also considered the possibility that I may be from a country
that has experienced complete & total surveillance and that it could be
this experience which informs my opinions on free speech and the
surveillance used to enforce said speech and thought?

> To know what are we talking about when we claim
> about freedom of speech there is a document from NU that explain that
> human right (notice than HR are not ideal ideas descending from Heaven:
> they are agreements made after abuses from a part of the humanity
> against other people, in fact US didn't ratify most of the HR agreements).*

You're moving the goal posts. We were talking about whether or not
social and other media should (auto-)censor an undefined set of ideas &
opinions, regardless of merit or lack thereof, and that it should start
with what the original author doesn't like.
Dragging in ratification of agreements by certain countries (with an
accusing finger pointed at one particular one) is trying to move the
goal posts and is misdirecting the discussion.

Human rights are indeed not 'descended from heaven' and I don't claim
they are. However, just like 'brush your teeth twice a day' isn't
divinely inspired either, it's still an good idea.

Instead, free speech, being the right that we are talking about in this
case, is something that we've thought about; and we have figured out,
based on our current understanding of human nature, society and its
dynamics, that having & protecting it would be a good idea because a
whole other slew of Bad Things(tm) would happen otherwise:
self-censorship and though suppression are just a measly start of what
not only could happen but already has happened and is happening in
practice (e.g.
- note: mass surveillance, implemented by for instance social media in
the suggestion of the original poster, would be required for the
censorship that was advocated for in the original post).

If you restrict free speech, you set the rules and get to frame the
discussion, you get to determine what is and isn't an allowed argument.
Thus, you are the victor by default. The terms Show Trial and Kangaroo
Court come to my mind spontaneously.
Limiting free speech isn't about protecting against harm or
discrimination, it is about protecting against you losing, whether you
are an individual, a group of individuals or a state.
*That* is what the reigning in of free speech is about!

> Free speech cannot be allowed if it contain racial, religious, gender or
> any other similar discrimination, because could become an apology for
> xenophobia, etc.
> There is a thin line between freedom of speech and apology of
> violence/crimes/etc. and not always is simple to identify where one ends
> and the other starts, then sorry, but is not as simply as "you have the
> right of don't listen to it".

I so very, very, VERY much and fundamentally disagree with you! And
isn't it nice that we are allowed to disagree and have the conversation?

I never hear individuals arguing for the position of
free-speech-but-not-too-much-of-it consider the possibility of being on
the receiving end of the stick; they always argue from the position that
assumes that they are on the deciding end of the stick, that they know
what is best in order to determine what should or shouldn't be allowed,
and I find that very telling. Sure, I am 'begging the question', if you

Enforcement of what is and isn't acceptable to be expressed is done by
humans and groups of humans. They all have their own agenda and going by
a good amount of recorded history, that agenda is usually not very
favourable to the out-group. Both you and I are someone else's out-group.

Really, think of free speech this way: free speech enables idiots (your
own definition thereof) to self-identify.
By allowing anyone to say whatever they want and as loudly as they want,
at least I can decide for my own which ones I do and do not want to
interact with and if so, how much I want to engage with them. On top of
that, by having free speech, I can decide to say the exact opposite of
what the 'reciprocal idiot' is saying in order to counter it.

I am also willing to listen to opinions that are entirely contradictory
to my world view. Not because they are right or wrong but because they
give me a glimpse of how others view the world and provide me an
opportunity to communicate with them about things that we may or may not
agree on. This opens up the opportunity for me to learn new things,
change my mind, and on a very rare occasion, change someone else's mind.
If being offended occasionally is a side effect of that, I'll happily
take that with it, I'm a responsible adult and can deal with being
offended from time to time. I'll surely do a little bit of sulking and
then move on.

If you think that by censoring opinions and taking away what you call
'harmful speech' you will eradicate xenophobia, violence, etc..., I have
a bridge to sell you (sturdy bridge, very cheap!). All you will
accomplish instead is to make it harder for /you/ to find them, you'll
filter them from /your/ world, but not from reality.
Those already pre-disposed to these opinions will still find these
'harmful opinions' and get sucked deeper and deeper into them without a
reasonable way out that is not criminalized or doesn't require
'intensive re-education'.
I would rather have these ideas be in the open so we can argue about
them instead of having these opinions and ideas go underground where
they grow & fester without anyone noticing until it is too late.

Free speech is scary, and it should be. It should be scary to those in
power and it should be scary to you too because it is supposed to be
that way!
One may hear things one doesn't like & feels offended by and/or it may
upend an entire world view; that means that you, or I, were wrong in
earlier held opinions! And it's never nice to learn you were wrong
before or be offended, but so what? So what?!

I, for one, like being offended occasionally, because it tells me that
there are others out there, who aren't like me and don't act, look or
think like me. I may even learn something from them...maybe...

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