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"(1) Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing, and pictures and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship."

...but then...

"(2) These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honor."

So it sounds like their constitution is pretty standard on this point: You have an absolute, indelible right to freedom of speech (unless we decide it's bad speech).




You have an absolute, indelible right to freedom of speech, except where it collides with other absolute, indelible rights. That's not exactly surprising, isn't it?


That's not what it says. It says they can pass unspecified local laws to limit your speech. For example, they can make it illegal to talk to a police officer in the wrong tone. Heck, they can make it illegal to talk to your plants in the wrong tone.


The fundamental rights in the german constitution are interpreted in their broadest possible sense. All laws that restrict any of the fundamental rights can trace their root back to one of the other fundamental rights. They can't make it illegal to talk to your plants in the wrong tone.

Fundamentally speaking, this whole conflict is a conflict of two fundamental rights in the German constitution: Freedom of Speech (or Arts) and Human Dignity. The relevant laws can be traced back to those two rights.


They pass a law saying it is a violation of human dignity to talk to your plants in the wrong tone.


Since the plant is not a human, no, they can't. The rights are attached to humans - which is actually better than the US constitution which speaks for US citizens only AFAIK.


>You have an absolute, indelible right to freedom of speech (unless we decide it's bad speech).

Which is functionally identical to 'you don't have freedom of speech and can only say what we allow'.


The first articles of the german constitution are an exercise in weasel-wording: "Human dignity", "moral law", "may only be restricted by a law"...


The German constitution needs to be interpreted as a document of its time. It places "human dignity" (which is purposefully left open to a potentially changing interpretation) above all other rights which are derived from it.

The constitutional court interprets all basic rights as broad, and all restrictions which are allowed need be as small as possible while still keeping the intent of the constitution. Interpreting the constitution is not an easy task and takes a lot of practice.


>It places "human dignity" (which is purposefully left open to a potentially changing interpretation) above all other rights which are derived from it.

Which is why marital rape was legal until 1997 /s

>The constitutional court interprets all basic rights as broad, and all restrictions which are allowed need be as small as possible while still keeping the intent of the constitution.

Not really. Otherwise marijuana would be legal, the paragraph making incest illegal would have been abolished in 2008, the paragraph criminalizing gay sex would never have existed etc.

P.S: What's with the seemingly random "You're submitting too fast. Please slow down. Thanks" message?


I don't want to comment on the specific examples. Most of the cited laws don't fit my personal view of justice.

Obviously there have been and still are some interpretations which are outlandish. But this is what you get as soon as you start dealing with humans. Overall, I firmly believe that the constitution even with its flaws is a powerful document protecting the people.


Cognitive dissonance always gets better with practice, regarding law and any other religion


Where is the weasel wording? That fundamental rights may be restricted by laws, for example the right of freedom may be restricted for people convicted of a crime? If those weasel words were not in those articles, there'd be no prison sentence in germany, that's hardly useful.




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