Free Speech.

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by enlightenment, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    As I have gotten older, I came to see the value in true free speech, and how absolutely crucial it is to discourage anything or anyone who would set out to stifle that, even if their intentions seemed good.

    It is a very dangerous route to take, if you begin to either make a criminal offence or use other methods to suppress it.

    For a start, if you do that, who is to decide who can say what, and when?

    What happens when other forms of free speech, or opinions that you concur with are removed? Too late to do anything about it then, so, whenever possible, I would defend a person's right to say a thing, and all of that.

    I had cause to have a dialogue recently with an old man of 72, who supports the BNP. He was having a rant about Muslims, a very confused one, it must be said!:D

    As ill informed as his views may have been, he remains entitled to them, and who am I to say that he should not be allowed them?

    No one should be able to tell that man that he is not entitled to make an ass of himself, each time he opened his mouth to me.

    If we ban points of view, however much you may disagree with them, we merely offer those views a sort of false status, higher than it merits - nothing generates clamour quite like 'something' being banned, right?

    You also offer a form of 'romanitc martrydom' to the person or group who are making a statement, by banning them, they can turn around and say that the reason you are doing so, is that you are afraid of truth, and not willing to debate it.

    Perfect example, Slick Nick Griffin (who even blames his lazy eye on Muslims, lol).

    There was this hysterical fear that by him going on QT, the British public, not historically fans of Fascism, would be magically won over by this man.

    Well, maybe on this occasion we should have had a bit more faith in old Joe Public, as Griffin got his air time, he made a total rasper of himself it must be said, and his party did so poorly at the next election that they failed to get even ONE MP. Griffin also suffered heavy loses in his own constituency.
     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    In some circumstances, yes, in some circumstances, no.

    Nick Griffin may not be particularly articulate. But Hitler was inspiring for many. Some ideologies are considered too dangerous for open acceptance. Hence why Germany is so restrictive on issues relating to fascism.

    The USA upholds the principle of Free Speech. If it's cities had been bombed to dust in World War 2 by Nazi bombers, as in Euope, I think Americans would have repealed that principle.
     
  3. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    Britain was bombed to bits in WW2. We have not signed away the rights to free speech that large parts of Europe has.

    Like I say - dangerous route to go down, imo.
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Indeed, we haven't totally abondoned the principle - but we don't take it so far as in the USA.

    In the USA, anyone can say anything they want. It's a protected right.

    In the UK, anyone can say anything they want, so long as they accept being held accountable and responsible for it in law - which means not being allowed to threaten, induce harm, hate, discrimination, or commit slander. For starters.
     
  5. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    These laws are a very gray area though, don't you think?

    I do.

    This will mean more to you (being Scottish), but a few years ago, I was at a Hearts - Celtic game in Glasgow. In the heat of the moment, a Hearts fan called John Hartson a 'Fat Welsh *******'. He was decanted out of the stadium, and may even have gone to court for that. Absurd imo. Made all the more absurd when you hear 60,000 Celtic fans singing songs about the IRA and so on...yet nothing happens to them.
     
  6. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    It has long been a law in America that a person does not have the right to wrongly and mischievously yell Fire! in a crowded theater.

    The US Supreme Court has just ruled that it is not free speech to assist a person in suicide. If we supply a distraught or terminally ill person with lethal pills and tell them the pills will kill them, and the person then takes the pills and commits suicide of his/her own free will, the Supreme Court is saying we are guilty of a crime.

    These are difficult questions to deal with. Hopefully, we can come up with some answers.
     
  7. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nick,

    Interesting that you use that first example, it is almost identical to the one that I used when discussing right wing rhetoric by the likes of Palin, in relation to those shootings in Arizona. (with someone who is a Tea Party type, NOT on here).

    I am not saying I definitely think that rhetoric like that led to those shootings, but there is a case for saying that it doesn't exactly help.

    That said, I am a great supporter of free expression, and if what is being said is inaccurate, fine, counter argue it.

    The alternative is that you use law and jail to silence people. Which, ironically, is akin to Fascist type behaviour, imo...
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Enlightenment,

    It is just as important to consider the idea of karma. If Palin has created some bad karma by what she has done (and I think she has), then she has no one to blame but herself when it comes time to burn off this bad karma.
     
  9. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Not sure if that's still the case, but after the recent Old Firm game behaviour, top-level Scottish Football has become a national embarrassment.
     
  10. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    I am SICK of the secterian bile which blights both of those clubs.

    Imagine working in A&E following a Celtic - Rangers game.

    Were it up to me, I would FORCE those two clubs to merge, because it appears that they are unable to act like civilised human beings, as seperate entities.

    Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of banter at football, but, well, there is a line...
     
  11. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nick,

    Can we rely on Karma(sic) though?

    It's a neat idea, and I wish it were so - however, I have known some utter *******s in life, and they seem to have the luck of the devil, as it were, while other good people I know seem to get nothing but bad fortune.
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Enlightenment,

    I, too, have known some jerks who have had an easy life, and I know some really great people who have suffered a lot in this life. The beauty of karma is, it makes up for all of these injustices. (That's why I like the idea of karma so much.)

    Yes, I think we can rely on karma.
     
  13. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    Hi again, Nick.

    Perhaps you could define for me what you mean by 'karma'. Do you simply mean that if you engage in behaviours that are dubious you will logically have more chance of being brought down by those very behaviours?

    For example, let's say that I chose to big up my income by selling smack to teens (I never would, I am just illustrating a point!). In that instance, the odds of me coming to a sticky end (that relates to my dealing) are high, because I am moving in those circles.

    Is that the sort of thing you mean, or is there more to it than that?

    Steve
     
  14. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Steve,

    Karma is the idea that, if we do a bad thing, a bad thing of equal strength will happen to us in the future. It is not a matter of our chances of having bad things happen to the us increase, it is the idea that bad things will happen to us sooner or later. Karma never forgets.

    If a person were to begin selling drugs to teenagers, according to karma, they might become a teenager in a future life who is forced to become a drug addict. Or this person’s children might end up drug addicts, in a double bad-karma-burn-off of parent and child. Another possibility most people do not consider is that the drug dealer might be forced into one more reincarnation and have to work as a anti-drug police officer who arrests such drug dealers. (I have heard of a true case of a person who committed suicide, and was forced to come back as a doctor and save people who had attempted suicide.)

    Another idea is that bad karma is accumulative. Does it matter if the drug dealer sells drugs to 1,000 or 1,001 teenagers? Yes, it does. In each case, the amount of bad karma the person will need to burn off is adjusted accordingly.
     
  15. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nick,

    It appears that you are tying this in with a sort of reincarnation angle, would that be fair to say?

    In your example, if the once seller of drugs to teens was reincarnated(sic), into a teen addicted to drugs, would the reincarnated person have any recollection of their former life, and, if not (which usually seems to be the case), how can they be learning anything if in fact they have almost no (or nil) recollection?

    Many years ago, a woman I was seeing, she introduced me to a friend who was into all of this.

    I found her pretty offensive, as I had only met her about half an hour, and she was telling that if (for example), a child is abducted, raped, and killed in this life, it likely means that in a previous life, they were the rapist and killer.

    It is much the same model you describe, but no matter how I spin that, in my mind, I cannot help her example leaving a horrible taste in my mouth.

    Wouldn't you agree?

    Steve
     
  16. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Just as a comment - Karma and Reincarnation go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. They work together to explain how all apparent injustice within the worlds of form [physical, emotional, mental] are experienced by the true self as part of our learning process on this planet. It is a universal and a necessary means of self-discovery, as we tread the path that leads ...
    From darkness unto light
    From the unreal to the real
    From death to immortality and
    From ignorance to wisdom
    Sure it may sound harsh to say that babies born with AIDS are experiencing a type of karma. Yet I refuse the notion that our world is so random, meaningless and apparently unjust [note that `apparent' is the key word here] that such things occur, yet FOR NO HIGHER PURPOSE. Nor do I accept the idea of a God of whim and caprice, a jealous and bloodthirsty tyrant.

    The Buddha, it was said, not only knew ALL of his own former incarnations, including those which took place in animal, vegetable and other kingdoms, but he was also able to know the previous and future incarnations of those he met.

    The reason some choose to rely on KARMA is because we believe and understand it to be the very modus operandi of Deity, so to speak. Except, as non-Deists, we would not quite put it that way ... thus we may speak of it as one of the Laws governing the rhythmic ebb & flow of the One Life as it moves into and out of incarnation. This, on the COSMIC scale, is what allows for all lesser lives to come into manifestation, literally within the Cosmic Being ... within whom WE live, and move and have OUR being.

    I just want to stare at folks sometimes, and wonder why this isn't intuitively obvious to them, and why Karma doesn't make their face light up and give them a warm feeling deep down inside, like right squarely centered within their heart. :)

    You think I'm being facetious or sarcastic???

    Free speech most certainly has its consequences, whether we can [fore]see them or not, and whether we recognize them or not. Instant Karma's gonna get you ... and yet, we'd rather attribute things to chance coicidence, because it would mean adjusting our worldview too significantly in several cases where a simpler explanation - KARMA - actually fits quite perfectly.

    Do we need to better understand this teaching, in order to jibe or resonate with what Nick is saying? Perhaps. He explains this more succinctly than I do. Yet still folks would often rather just believe in a random, chaotic and apparently occasionally ordered-by-chance Cosmos.

    Not in my book. I tossed that out long ago.

    Do I then always LIVE my life as a true testament to someone who believes that "what goes around, comes around?" Err, no. I make mistakes, and sometimes I try to pretend I didn't notice this or that, or I pretend that if I duck & run I might not get hit by the ricochet. Deep Purple will set us straight on that one, Sweet Child in Time.

    This isn't the right thread for such in-depth discussion on Karma - except in context - so I would like to share the following quote by a famous American musician [one of our greatest] to help get us back on track:
    “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” ~Bob Dylan
     
  17. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    I see, thanks for that, Andrew.

    I'm afraid that I don't believe in the idea of a 'reincarnation' either.

    I see no real evidence to support the notion, none at all in fact.

    I think such stories/ideas grew in our history, at a time when fairly uneducated people needed answers to things like why their life was so crap, compared to that of someone else, or the big issues like death.

    Where there is a demand there is a supply, so there would have been no shortage of different people, forming all sorts of different answers, to satisfy that need.

    That they were not based on any evidence, nor hold up to scrutiny, was not important originally, because the people of that time did not think to ask for it with the same intesity as an educated person would today.

    For some it fills a psychological need, this idea of a universal system of ultimate fairness, makes all the world and personal injustices seem easier to take.

    And people have been inventing continuation of their life, since we first had an imagination.

    Reincarnation is just another one of them.

    They are all different, one way or the other, yet all united back the fact that there is a total absence of evidence to support the idea.

    To that end, they are of no more value (as being real), than my suggesting that on death, you become a star in the sky.
     
  18. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    ROFL, enlightenment, you're one case where I really do want to be there ...

    ... when you see the light. ;)

    In the meantime, try Ian Stevenson's [?] Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. Because clearly, even though you will meet more people like me - who can remember as many as half a dozen former incarnations ... YOU will not believe in such until you've seen [you're own] for yourself!

    And for the record, I hold a Masters Degree. But as a student of the Ageless Wisdom, I consider this another form of education ... and the wisest among us know that we are ALL lifelong students.

    Also, for the record, the wisest of the ancient Greek philosophers, as well as plenty a modern day individual [again, well educated, some of them thoroughly scientific in their worldviews and outlook] have all believed in reincarnation.

    Perhaps you would benefit by considering the following list of 30 quotes from various individuals, at various time periods, on reincarnation:

    30 Quotes on Reincarnation

    None of these are crackpots; none are uneducated and simply groping in the dark for something to give meaning to their lives. I do not deny that such cases exist, or that we ALL, inherently and on some level do possess a desire to make sense of the world, and account for the injustices we see.

    Yet the cycles of nature attest to the Law of Rebirth, and it is present within every world mythology, including those arising at completely different time periods in the remotest corners of our globe ... where clearly, one culture and their beliefs did not have a physical, direct causal influence upon another.

    The burden of the evidence is upon the intelligent, open-minded individual to ACCEPT, or to at least set aside his prejudices or currently held ideas ... and CONSIDER. When this is refused, when the EVIDENCE is unexamined, when he is more interested in defending a current point of view, regardless as to what he is presented with as evidence to the contrary ...

    ... in such cases, there is nothing left to do - but wait.

    And yessir, YOU may have the last word. It is exactly what the skeptic needs. It is, after all, the closing of the door -- and I have no interest in keeping my foot in it! ;)
    The Epitaph of Young Benjamin Franklin

    The body of
    B. Franklin, Printer
    (Like the Cover of an Old Book
    Its Contents torn Out
    And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding)
    Lies Here, Food for Worms.
    But the Work shall not be Lost;
    For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More
    In a New and More Elegant Edition
    Revised and Corrected
    By the Author.

     
  19. enlightenment

    enlightenment Well-Known Member

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    That one claims to 'remember' previous lives, is neither here nor there.

    A claim is not evidence, indeed, it is often the poorest of all forms of evidence that are offered.

    There are lots of people in this world who make lots of claims.

    Are we to simply accept all of those claims, with equal merit, even in the absence of evidence - I think not.

    The brain is a very complex organ, and the whole area of human recollection an interesting one, however, I would assert that simply because someone claims to have some recollection of 'being someone else', does mean proof make.

    Perhaps many are simply lying?

    Perhaps there are those who really believe it, the same way some believe they are prophets?

    There might be a whole range of reasons why one might want to believe this, or have other people believe it.

    And I stand by what I said before.

    We humans are hard wired to wanting some sense of universal justice, so that in the end, the 'good' is always rewarded, and the 'bad' is always punished. It is almost a childish concept, in some ways, and I mean that purely as an observation, not an attack. This idea of there being some sort of 'cosmic fairness', so that even if a person has a crap life this time out, they might get the chance of a better one, next time, or if someone escaped justice for wrongdoing in this life, next time out, they may regret it.

    There is simply no conclusive evidence for it, and as long as you always begin from that point, it is fine.

    The early people soon learned of the natue of man, and that the nature of man could be cruel, so in part, stories were invented to give man an 'incentive to be good'. Quite a logical and neat thing to do, of that time, I think, and those stories served their purpose, in a lot of cases.

    Naturally, the early people who it was being told to, they were in awe at these stories, and would not have had the capacity to ask 'can you demonstrate this in a controlled environment, and prove it to mainstream science'. They would be much more inclined to accept it.

    Over time, these stories are handed down, often without true questioning, because it is accepted that proper scrutiny has always shown an absence of conclusive evidence, so it is not in the interests of the storyteller to let his new audience know this, if it can be avoided.
     
  20. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Steve,
     
    If a child is raped or murdered, it is NOT proof that the child was a rapist or murderer in a previous life. It was terrible of that lady to say that. I have told the story before of a man who had committed suicide and had been forced to reincarnate as a doctor in order to save suicide victims and thereby burn off the bad karma he had created. Perhaps the lady you talked to would say all doctors are reincarnated suicide victims?
     
    I am sorry to hear that you met some obnoxious lady who started to preach to you and tried to force the idea of reincarnation on you. She had no right to do that to you. She was being very dogmatic as well as pompous. Also, her idea was an oversimplification of the idea of reincarnation and karma: The child was probably not a rapist and killer in a previous life. The lady was also acting like a hate-monger when she said that. Many people use religion as an excuse to be preachy and obnoxious.
     
    It is clear that the ideas of reincarnation and karma do not fit into your own personal belief system. That works for me. I think we can both agree to disagree on this, and we should be able to carry on in a friendly matter while still disagreeing on these ideas.
     

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