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German hate speech law tested as Twitter blocks satire account (reuters.com)
139 points by mh-cx 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 261 comments



The problem with hate speech laws are, it means you can't insult everyone equally. If you call someone stupid, they could accuse you of a crime, but you're not calling them stupid because of their race.

And I want people who actually are racist to talk, so I know who I don't want to be friends with. If they're all keeping their racist opinions to themselves, I might waste a bunch of time being their friends. And I can't correct them when they're wrong if they don't expose their opinions.

And what about having an argument? Someone could accuse you of a crime if they misinterpret what you say. That's the real problem here. You can say something with no hateful intent, but people can interpret it with vigorous hate. It's a really stupid law.


> If they're all keeping their racist opinions to themselves, I might waste a bunch of time being their friends

I have several friends who I know hold some less-than-sociable opinions, and they do tend to keep them to themselves.

I don't quite know how to frame what I'm about to say, but I feel it's equally dickish to think that becoming someone's friend is a "waste of time" just because you don't agree with their opinion.


To be fair being racist is more than an opinion, it demonstrates your character. It reveals part of who you are and the framework with which you deal with the world. I agree that it is valuable knowledge in determining who you want to create lasting bonds with.


I'll agree with the latter assertion (framework), but not with the former (character). People tend to default to conformism when they don't know any better.

By that standard the older the man, the worse he is and you'll arrive at the conclusion that nearly everyone flawed character in the olden days when racism was mainstream.

But we need not even go any further than Charles Darwin:

"The variability or diversity of the mental faculties in men of the same race, not to mention the greater differences between the men of distinct races, is so notorious that not a word need here be said."

"Nor is the difference slight in moral disposition between a barbarian, such as the man described by the old navigator Byron, who dashed his child on the rocks for dropping a basket of sea urchins, and a Howard or Clarkson; and in intellect, between a savage who uses hardly any abstract terms, and a Newton or Shakspeare. Differences of this kind between the highest men of the highest races and the lowest savages, are connected by the finest graduations."

http://heretical.com/darwin/darwin4.html

Sources cited at the bottom of that page.


I don't think that not wanting to be friends with someone because they want your kids to die for being Jewish is necessarily a dickish thing.

It's an extreme example, yet an unfortunate practical one today.


Or you could take the route which others have taken, and show them why their ideas are wrong through your actions. There are plenty of examples of extremists being converted through friendship.


> There are plenty of examples of extremists being converted through friendship.

But equally there are plenty of examples of extremists killing people who are trying to show them why their ideas are wrong.


>and show them why their ideas are wrong through your actions.

Why are you assuming these people are rational actors?


They don't need to be rational for it to work. They can both either become more rational over time, or you can influence them in irrational ways. Both often go together hand-in-hand in good diplomacy (e.g. letting the other save face even if they don't "deserve it").


Trudeau? Is that you?


I think there is something to the idea of "safety valve". That is allow some venting in order to prevent full-blown animus.

However, the difficult part is two-fold. One how to define the line of unacceptability (for example, calling for actionable violence against someone) and how to enforce that line and keep it steadfast (unwavering in the face of both antagonists --the ones for more control as well as the absolutists).


The internet is a terrible safety valve to vent at, because it's too easy to pretend what you say doesn't have consequences. One tweet by a dude having a bad day can help normalize stereotyping to 50 people. And there's always that other guy who takes things too far.

I know that people might intend Twitter or blogs to be for friends, but it's mass media nonetheless.


See, philosophically stereotyping doesn't have to be a "bad thing". When I went to school there we "polack" jokes, blond/e jokes, yo mamma jokes, etc. They were not "mean" or meant to denigrate people. They were ways to "break the ice" as it were. But nowadays people are super sensitive, unless it's a majority or almost majority population, or it has power, unless it has power but it's also seen as being singled out by another more powerful player... it's become tragically political.

I know some foreign parents who have a preference for their home country and will tell their kids that <some thing> from their home country is better than <same thing> from neighboring but "rival" country. In a way this is stereotyping --but I'm seeing you say these parents should not talk to their kids about having some favoritism to their home country because this kind of connection building can "stereotype" the people from their (ancestral) neighboring country.


> They were not "mean" or meant to denigrate people.

I don’t know how things were where you lived, but where I grew up, those types of jokes were definitely meant to be mean and hurtful. I speak from experience when I say that the repeated mental abuse from peers taken as a child can have long term effects on one’s psyche.


The old tradition of mammals to kick one in the group - usually the social weakest- to feed him to the wulfs. By now we are the wulfs - and still they kick.


Sure, that kind of stereotyping by parents teaching their children to be bigots is probably harmful overall! Harmful neighbor country rivalries last centuries, probably because of just this kind of reinforcement. Then every now and then you get a Kosovo or a holocaust.


I think those are misattributions. Civil wars break out both among same ethnic groups as well as different ethnic groups.

Wars can then force people to see other stereotypes as characteristics of bad things. Kind of like the caricatures of Nazis and Japanese Imperialists. When Japan went into Nanking, they didn't need some psychological trick to enable them to go on their campaign any more than the US or USSR needed psychological tricks to bomb Dresden or East Berlin.


> I want people who actually are racist to talk, so I know who I don't want to be friends with.

It's more important and wide than "I don't want to be their friends"...

How can you attack ideas if they aren't brought out into the open? How can you convince the racist? Or the people that have those thoughts but don't mention them?

They corner stone of freedom is discussing ideas.

I want the most vile pieces of shit to have their chance to speak... so that I can talk to them. I can talk to those who will listen. I will combat their ideas.

Cowards hide from ideas and words. It takes strength to fight them head on and out in the open.


There is also issues with what is discriminatory/hateful language.

If I point out that the vast majority of criminals are men, that is simple fact. If I suggest it might be because of something related to being male, few would call that hate speech and few would bring up alternatives such as bias in the legal system. Only when I get to the point of saying all males should be treated as criminals will I get significant push back of people saying that I'm wrong.

Now, replace gender with some other demographic, and people become much more hostile to my points, and I am considered to be dancing much closer to the line of hate speech.

What about if I have legitimate criticism? There are many legitimate criticisms of some sects of different religions. If I happen to speak to broadly, say using Christian or Protestant when I'm really talking about Calvinist, should that really count as hate speech? Or should someone ask if I'm really generalizing the larger group and give me a chance to qualify which subsection I'm speaking about?


> I want the most vile pieces of shit to have their chance to speak... so that I can talk to them. I can talk to those who will listen. I will combat their ideas.

While this idea is admirable, fascist/Nazi dialogue has shown again and again that fascists are not interested in "fair" debate. All they want is a larger audience so they can pass on their views -- and look at America. Do you really think that the hundreds of thousands of people debating Richard Spencer[0], Steve Bannon[1] and Milo Yiannopoulos[2] has stopped the spread?

No! In fact, it has enabled them to spread their sources of propaganda further into the world. Now even centrist friends of mine are linking to Breitbart as if it is a valid source of information[3]. Some viruses and infections you can only kill through isolation. Fascism is one of them.

[0]: In case that you have any doubt that Spencer is a Nazi:

  Instead of asking how we can make reparations for slavery, colonialism, and 
  Apartheid or how we can equalize academic scores and incomes, we should
  instead be asking questions like, "Does human civilization actually need the
  Black race?" "Is Black genocide right?" and, if it is, "What would be
  the best and easiest way to dispose of them?" With starting points
  like this, wisdom is sure to flourish, enlightenment to dawn.
  -- Richard Spencer, "Is Black Genocide Right?" (2012)
(https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Richard_Spencer)

[1]: Bannon has voiced support for UKIP and Front National. The former is an close offshoot of Britain First, one of whom murdered a British politician a year or so ago (He had a golden eagle statue and a shrine to Nazi literature). The latter was literally founded by a member of the SS, Pierre Bousquet. FN has also been known to murder French politicians. (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Steve_Bannon)

[2]: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Milo_Yiannopoulos

[3]: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Breitbart.com


> FN has also been known to murder French politicians.

Do you have any sources on that? With all the things the media in France is saying about the FN, I don't think they would have missed something so important.


> https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Front_National

  Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the racist
  murders committed by some members (see Brahim
  Bouarram thrown in the Seine, and Ibrahim Ali,
  shot), the FN continued its progress and even
  managed to gain some towns in 1995, such as
  Toulon and Orange, where, once more, such mayors
  managed to show their crass incompetence[3] and
  got booted in 2001 by the electors.
Source for Brahim Bouarram mentioning FN: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/paris-crowds-gather-m...

  On May 1, 1995, skinheads rallying with the
  far-right National Front (FN) threw Brahim
  Bouarram, a 29-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan
  descent, into the River Seine and disappeared
  into the crowds. [...] At the time of Bouarram's
  death, Jean-Marie Le Pen described the incident
  as "minor". [...] "The FN is an anti-Semitic,
  racist, xenophobic party," said Abdallah, also of
  the ATMF. "The normalisation of the ideas of the
  NF is worrying us. Even more so, it scares us
  that a large proportion of the army, gendarmerie
  and police vote for Marine Le Pen. We are scared
  for our kids who have brown, black and Arab faces
  when they get stopped by the police."

Source for Ibrahim Ali mentioning FN: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Ibrahim_Ali

Root Source for Ibrahim Ali mentioning FN: https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/20/france-shooting-a...

  [Ibrahim Ali] was walking with a group of ten
  other young men in Marseilles' XVth
  arrondissement, when they encountered three
  supporters of Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National
  party, armed with guns, who had been posting
  campaign signs nearby. The latter group opened
  fire on them. Ibrahim Ali was shot in the back.


Thank you for your answer.

That could be constructed as racist hate crime by party "supporters" (not even members), and could have nothing to do with the party itself. On the other hand, since it align with the party's ideology, it can be said that the FN has a part in it.

But I don't see how it shows that the FN has murdered any politicians, which was what I was asking about


> That could be constructed as racist hate crime by party "supporters" (not even members), and could have nothing to do with the party itself. On the other hand, since it align with the party's ideology, it can be said that the FN has a part in it.

If your political party is inspiring murders, the party is at fault for that.


>How can you attack ideas if they aren't brought out into the open?

You attack ideas by suffocating them, not by repeating them. Children learn words by hearing them spoken. Nothing more needs to happen; the brain is quite good at drawing the intended implications out. To promote an idea, you need only put it in people's heads over and over again.

The major problem with hate speech laws is trying to separate propaganda from education or intellectual discussion from dogmatic bigotry. It is trivial to mask one as the other and vice versa. And while an honest and critical person can make a good distinction in narrow contexts, nobody has been able to do it effectively on a cultural scale.


> To promote an idea, you need only put it in people's heads over and over again.

As a voracious consumer of news, I spent hundreds of hours from summer 2015 to November 2016 having my mind exposed to headlines, articles, images, and videos on TV (both on TV news programs and late-night comedy shows), and on news websites (NYT, WaPo, Yahoo, MSN), and on social media (in 'Trending' sidebars of Facebook and Twitter) telling me that Trump is a crazy, racist, misogynistic, fascist maniacal idiot who is totally unqualified to be president, and whom "everyone" hates except for white racists and uneducated rednecks. Well, it didn't convince me, and didn't convince a majority of voters in 30 other states. That being said, I'm very open to consuming just as much anti-Trump and pro-Democrat content as soon as the Democratic primary begins in early 2019, or even before then. Maybe I can be persuaded that time around.


> The problem with hate speech laws are, it means you can't insult everyone equally.

As far as I can tell, that's not true of the German law in question, though if you think it is true of that law (not some abstract hypothetical “hate speech” law straw man), please explain how, citing the relevant provisions of the law and explaining how they produce the unequal results that concern you.


There are lots of quotes in the OP article that side with GP. Without having done research myself I think it’s plausibly true and the article is full of quotes that suggest this is the case. Your tone is hostile and that makes me disinclined to take your view. Overall I would side with GP over you and I’d hope other users who haven’t done research themselves would too. Don’t let your biases inform your opinions!


There are actually several different laws involved here. The newest one is the NetzDG [1] (network enforcement act), that requires all reports of illegal content to be checked within 24 hours. The incentive structure is messed up because there are fines for failure to delete illegal content, but none for unjustified deletion. So the barrier was shifted from "obviously illegal" to "not obviously legal". The quotes in the Reuters article are all about that aspect of the law and of Twitter's enforcement.

The other laws that are involved here have been essentially unchanged for a long time and are not really controversial. They are just a bit more subtle than a random Twitter censor is going to appreciate, because they are intended for consideration by a judge. Under these laws, you can absolutely insult everyone equally, and Volksverhetzung is equally illegal, no matter which group it is directed against.

Edit: [1] The German text of the NetzDG is here: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/netzdg/BJNR335210017.html


>Your tone is hostile and that makes me disinclined to take your view.

>Don’t let your biases inform your opinions!

These are not complimentary positions, they're pretty exclusive of each other. Methinks you just wanted to take the high ground with some generic platitude and misdirect the conversation.


They can’t be exclusive of each other if I successfully hold both at once


Yes they most certainly can and are.


This is not true. Hate speech laws are designed to address speech that promotes violence against identifiable groups of people.

For example, Canada's hate speech law: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-73.html#h-...

Section 318 says that you can't incite genocide. Fair enough right?

Section 319 says that you can't say things that willfully promotes hatred against an identifiable group. (Unless those things happen to be true, or even if you reasonably believed them to be true. Or if it was a private conversation. Or the things you're saying are in the public interest.)

This means it's actually really hard to convict someone of hate speech, at least in Canada. Under section 318, you have to get the governor general's approval to even bring the case.

I can't comment on the German law since I don't know German, but I'd imagine it's similar in nature.


> I can't comment on the German law since I don't know German, but I'd imagine it's similar in nature.

Not at all. This forces Twitter to remove things that could be hate speech within 24 hours or face a fine. If they remove things that are not hate speech for being hate speech they don't get a fine. Of course they'll remove as many things as possible. That's the problem with the new german law.


I have been and still am friends with people who have all sorts of prejudiced views, ranging from those who hate particular ethnic groups and nationalities (including my own), to those who disparage and insult those with different interests of educational backgrounds (such as one friend who is an I.T. guy and who constantly refers to non-I.T. people, even within his own family in shocking misanthropistic terms). Everyone has their own views, and I believe in acceptance. If someone expresses or suggests violent impulses, that is one thing, but to just express hatred is part of humanity. Do you hate anyone? To turn it around, there are plenty of people who hate themselves, but are all of them physically masochistic and/or suicidal?


Is it "fucking USERS, man"?


Is that a movie quote or something?


> I want people who actually are racist to talk, so I know who I don't want to be friends with.

I keep seeing this statement, but all i can think is:

Fuck, i wish i was lucky enough to have so few racists around me to be able to think i can spare the time and mental health for additional ones.

Good for you, be glad you apparently have few to none racists around you, so you don't know what it's like when there's tons of them and they all talk unhindered.

Edit: LMAO, i do wonder what kind of people i managed to upset with this.


Small note here: I was told the above reads like sarcasm, and i'd like to state that the lines above the edit are 100% not sarcastic and meant exactly as stated.


That term 'hate speech' - what does it actually mean?

This seems like another assault on free speech to me and there is a danger in limiting the online Overton Window to a massive bland snooze fest.

The current joy of the internet is being able to read all sorts of perspectives from 'sensible' to radical and I really hope that continues...I worry for all the citizen journalists and investigators who have been so magnificent in the current western 'glasnost' era online...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window


'hate speech' is an oversimplification chosen by the media. The law acually forces large social media companies in germany to remove illegal* content from their site within one week.

Context is that Facebook has been ignoring illegal* content on their site and generally made an ass out of german law enforcement, so they got a law to rein them in.

*illegal: libel, Volksverhetzung (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksverhetzung), supporting illegal organizations (eg. advertising IS beheading videos), calls on people to commit crimes, child porn, porn without consent


Are you saying facebook is ignoring court orders from the German authorities to have content removed?


No, they ignored a law the government made generally without stating penalties. Now the govt was forced to spell out penalties.


According to that wikipedia article, the German law translates Volksverhetzung into English as "incitement to hatred". So no, saying that Germany has banned 'hate speech' is not an oversimplification chosen by the media. You are intentionally conflating politically incorrect opinions about immigration (aka 'hate speech') with child porn and violent threats.


Volksverhetzung is very precisely defined by decades of legal precedent and much narrower than what an English speaker would think of when hearing "hate speech". Just because translations made for the convenience of non-German speakers chose a specific translation doesn't mean that it captures the meaning with all attached connotations well.

Two examples (without saying anything about the validity of the claim): "Recent immigrations are responsible for violent crime including rape. To protect our people we need to reform our immigration policy" – absolutely fine. "Gang-raping immigrants are roaming our streets. We need to wipe them out before it's too late" is not. You are not helping political discourse with the latter either.


If you remove the second sentence in your example of Volksverhetzung, do you think it would still qualify?


No, even with the second sentence it is still borderline. According to regular case law of the Federal Constitutional Court the most charitable interpretation needs to be taken. Without the second sentence this is a factual statement (even though extremely worded, it has happened at least once on New Year's Eve 2016) and transports a political statement. No court would do anything about that.

Twitter has nonetheless removed a very similarly worded tweet by a member of parliament.


> No, even with the second sentence it is still borderline.

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean. In your previous post, you said the two sentences were not fine (i.e. they did qualify as Volksverhetzung). But now I understand you're saying the opposite? Or did you want to say "... even without..."?

> Twitter has nonetheless removed a very similarly worded tweet by a member of parliament.

This is what I was getting at; for anyone else reading, an AfD parliamentarian is under investigation after 100 odd denunciations for a tweet very similar to the first sentence, i.e. she said something like "Gang-raping immigrants are roaming our streets". She did not -- at least as far as I'm aware -- call for any violence towards, instead, she was opposed to official tweets from the police being communicated in Arabic.


I am not comfortable giving a assessment of the second example with both sentences. Rulings might turn out either way depending on context and I'd advise not to publish anything close to that. It starts going into Volksverhetzung territory.

She tweeted something like the second example, first sentence only. There should be no legal problem with that (it was just a pretty extreme wording of "the police shouldn't tweet in Arabic"). Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough.


Free Speech (using capitals for a reason) is a US centric concept whenever it comes up here and you're from SF (according to Twitter).

That just doesn't apply here. This Free Speech never existed in the Germany I grew up in and it's not something that I ever felt needed. The incident here is a mistake, a strange overreaction - maybe even by Twitter? - and hopefully will be corrected promptly.

So while I understand that you might be unfamiliar with the underlying laws in Germany: I wouldn't want to trade them in.

Edit: I fully support the restriction of Free Speech and prosecution of hate speech. I'm not a fan of the new 'delete content online' NetzDG thing


I think you are seeing played out in practice why the US is right and Germany is wrong about this.

An important argument for free speech is that while it does little harm for people to merely say say bad stuff, restricting it does a lot of harm because of snowball effects. If speech act looks just barely be illegal, then it is much easier and safer to just condemn it than to figure out if it really meets the standard.

That is if you dispose of free speech as a principle, then you should expect suppression of even speech you think is tolerable. And if you believe that is pie-in-the-sky theory, then you are seeing evidence to the contrary here.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_10_of_the_European_Con...

'Free Expression' is the equivalent euro terminology as I understand it. I'm a Brit living in the US so I think I understand your German perspective but don't understand you supporting the restriction of Free Speech/Expression...


That link's number 2 seems to apply (and explicitly talks about restrictions)?

The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

For the hate speech law

[√] prescribed by law

[√] in the interests of national security

[√] in the interests of public safety

You can disagree whether the lower two points apply - I'll argue that these are the reasons behind the law in the first place - but the first one is quite clear I think.

Freedom of Expression within boundaries. Restricted Freedom of Expression?


I'd argue free expression has been the difference between the western world and more oppressive regimes speakers corner London and Hamburg in 1966, a bit like pre internet Facebook ranting... https://youtu.be/XGzmRhfef7w


> That term 'hate speech' - what does it actually mean?

Read §1(3).

https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/netzdg/BJNR335210017.html...


§1(3) - " Illegal contents are contents within the meaning of paragraph 1, which constitute the offense of §§ 86, 86a, 89a, 91, 100a, 111, 126, 129 to 129b, 130, 131, 140, 166, 184b in connection with 184d 185 to 187, 201a, 241 or 269 of the Criminal Code and are not justified."


And now you know.


This is exactly the moral dilemma with free speech vs hate speech.

Do you use fascist techniques like criminalizing speech to stop the spread of fascist ideas? Or do you simply hope fascist ideas don't take hold?

The former is a scary slippery slope but Germany doesn't have a great track record with the latter.


> Do you use fascist techniques like criminalizing speech to stop the spread of fascist ideas? Or do you simply hope fascist ideas don't take hold?

If you resort to fascist techniques, then fascist ideas clearly have taken hold.


Fascist techniques won't stop it then, it will only amplify them.

The fascist kind of suppressing (usually disagreements with the establishment or status quo) speech usually ends in violence and revolution.


There is a philosophical argument to be made that absolute tolerance leads to the abolishment of tolerance:

"Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant."

(from Karl Popper, more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance)

I myself do not like the law because it places the responsibility of deletion into the hands of the platforms, which is IMO something that a court of law should decide. If a court is too slow maybe they need to establish a new branch of justice for things like this and actually employ more people.


But does Popper's standard apply to anything in contemporary Germany? Does AfD come even close to "denouncing all argument;". I mean beyond the mere fact that, like all politicians, they like to talk in meaningless ways.

It seems that by the time Popper's argumentkicks in, the offending speech needs to come very close to the "incitement of violence" standard that everyone already agrees is not protected by free speech.

Popper's argument would also have force in brainwashing type situations like the Jonestown cult. But any action taken against such groups can be based in terms of the rights of individual members to hear people other than the preacher, not on the silencing the preacher.


There's no dilema. It's just an excuse for control. Letting Nazis speak will not actually convert modern society into Nazis.


Actually you should look at the flip side of the coin: We - Germans - just decided that letting Nazis not speak their hurtful lies harms nothing of value.


I think the issue -- as some people see it -- is that it is possible to, in effect, suppress a debate about certain contentious issues. There is a rhetorical device by which statements critical of, say, uncontrolled immigration, are linked to extremists and nazis, from which there's only a small hop to hate speech (so ban).


There is nothing contentious to debate about. Additionally, there is no debate if you call for violence against minorities.


> There is nothing contentious to debate about.

The FDP, CSU, AfD and indeed large parts of the CDU want to have a debate about immigration. The CSU represents around half of Bayern, some 6 million people. The FDP, CDU, and AfD together represent 56% of the votes in the last election.

Even prominent voices on the left want a debate: Sigmar Gabriel, who until recently was head of the SPD, wants to have a debate. Sahra Wagenknecht of die Linke also wants to have a debate. Heck, there's even a prominent green politician, Boris Palmer, who wants to have debate.

So: what planet are you living on?

> Additionally, there is no debate if you call for violence against minorities.

On this we agree :)


The planet where 'having a debate about immigration' and calling for 'the trains [to auschwitz]' for immigrants are two different things.

Additionally, the AfD (who are the ones complaining about censorship all the times) don't actually want to have any debate at all, because they kinda have no content. They just play the fear of the masses and want to display themselfes as victims of the majority or whoever.


Trains to Auschwitz?

Weren't they already in concentration camps? https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/01/31/germany-housin...


Actually you should look at the flip side of the coin: We - Germans - just decided that letting Nazis not speak their hurtful lies harms nothing of value.

A majority deciding something doesn't make it just, as you as a fellow German should know best.


Agreed. His implication was that their vote carried some moral relevance. Two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner is not moral justification.


nazism is not a well defined concept, nor is hate, you'll figure it out soon enough


Please don't post glib, baity comments about divisive topics. That's close to the troll line if not over it, and we ban accounts that do it repeatedly. From the site guidelines at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html: "Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive."


Would you hold that same opinion if the thing said were, say, violent american black rap lyrics?


I don't understand your meaning, sorry.

Do you mean would I want to see 'violent american black rap lyrics' banned? Depends on what is said I guess? If theres a song about 'kill all the jews' we've had enough of that shit here 70 years ago.

Generally german courts are very narrow about what is Volksverhetzung. If you run afoul of it you are very far away from any sensible discussion. The law is basically "don't (1)incite violence (2)against Minorities in a way that is (3)able to disturb the public peace". These three things are impossible to do without generally being a dangerous ass. We don't want people like that.


> we've had enough of that shit here 70 years ago.

you had a military dictatorship. it couldn't be opposed or contested by anyone, because you and/or your family would just be killed.

german citizens couldn't stop the killing any more than russians could stop millions from being killed.

that was the fundamental problem. dictators do as they please. criminalizing the speech of random bob under a democratic government isn't doing much of anything, and these laws mean nothing to a dictator.

what actually matters is having a democratic government that is beholden to the citizenry. if anything this speech criminalization is a theater of sorts that makes you less safe.


What you are writing here is a dangerous thing because it relativizes the holocaust.

Military Dictatorships don't suddenly appear out of nothing. My grandparents' generation chose to actively look away because they thought it won't get "that bad". They might have told themselfes they didn't know better - you know, afterwards - but you can't remove 6 million people out of a country of maybe 60 million and no one notices shit.

Well, it did get bad, and then some. We know that now, we can now look back and see how it began. It began with social insecurity and propaganda (populism). We can't fight social insecurity but we can fight propaganda and that is why we have § 130 Volksverhetzung.


> What you are writing here is a dangerous thing because it relativizes the holocaust.

i'm honestly not even sure what this means. could you rephrase?

> Military Dictatorships don't suddenly appear out of nothing.

sure. they usually seize power, though not always. and they tend to follow some kind of instability. after ww1 germany was in terrible shape. blockades during the war contributed to hunderds of thousands of people starving to death. the economy was in the gutter, inflation was out of control - before they got it under control 1 us dollar was equal to 4 trillion german marks. there was violence in the streets between political parties. the reichstag fire. concentration camps started with political opponents. the night of long knives was all about murdering political opponents and even allies who were deemed too influential and thus a risk.

being so absurdly reductive to just say 'hate speech' is primarily or even secondarily responsible for the formation of military dictatorships seems almost insulting. it's theater, an appeasement of sensibilities that leaves people more vulnerable to repeating the past than rational assessment of history.


> They might have told themselfes they didn't know better - you know, afterwards - but you can't remove 6 million people out of a country of maybe 60 million and no one notices shit.

Removal from the general population was an overt policy (and overtly not all that different than what the Western allies did with suspect populations identified by ethnicity.) The actual conditions to which Jews and others were removed, even prior to the implementation of extermination, was not overt.

No one was trying to conceal the removal of disfavored segments from the general population.


> The actual conditions to which Jews and others were removed, even prior to the implementation of extermination, was not overt.

That is not correct. Most Jews in Germany were sent to work camps and used as slave labour for local factories. Check out this response: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/3mnglz/did_t...

Generally Germany knew, or at least had an idea that something was wrong. Everyone who tells you differently is selling you an agenda.


> I don't understand your meaning, sorry.

Meaning if there's american rap song about killing people, do germans ban it? These violent lyrics seem to fall under the law as you described.

Also, are violent american rap songs banned (in practice) in germany? Do germans have this same negative attitude to american "thugs"?


Songs about killing people are generally not banned because of Volksverhetzung. That law is specific about the 3 things I listed in me comment above. (3) is a very strong requirement because it means the song must be theoretically able to disturb the peace in germany, eg. incite riots or something equally drastic. Theres not much that can do that.

Songs about killing minorities might be banned, but then it's still about context. Artists generally have a lot of room and when they write stuff like that theres usually satire in play. Which would propably be okay. I don't know about any artists that got hit with Volksverhetzung.

On the other hand, I'd expect Songs about killing to get hit by youth protection laws which means they can't be played on the radio, can't be advertised and can't be sold to minors.


> is a very strong requirement because it means the song must be theoretically able to disturb the peace in germany, eg. incite riots or something equally drastic.

Many american rap songs do just exactly this, and it's not satirical. Sometimes rap songs do mentioning killing jews specifically although it is relatively rare. Most of the time it talks about killing other black people, which falls under the second part of the law you describe. Do Germans make a big deal about this? I'm not german, I'm just trying to understand the viewpoint.

Also, do germans find american thugs in low regard? One can argue they can be just as dangerous.


> which falls under the second part of the law you describe

To be hit with Volksverhetzung you need to meet all three criteria. If you have musicians that do, they better not play a gig in germany or they might stay here for a while longer. When not talking about Nazism (they have proven 3, so the bar is a little lower) to hit (3) you need to build some movement. Maybe found a local KKK? Generally there needs to be a bit more than just talk.

> Also, do germans find american thugs in low regard? One can argue they can be just as dangerous.

The average german propably doesn't care much about them. Some teenagers propably liked their idealized lifestyle. But they've propably grown out of that by now. I don't know what modern day teenagers like anymore =)

We don't really have gangs and they are propably seen more as a social problem than one for law enforcement. A symptom of the huge inequality / divide in american society.


> Many american rap songs do just exactly this

Which American rap songs, specifically, have incited riots or similarly drastically disturbed the peace, in Germany or elsewhere?


'Many American rap songs' incite riots? this is news to me.


Ghetto culture?


No idea about those violent American rap songs, but violent German songs? Sure. And not just right-winged Nazi shit, extreme leftist content is hit as well and banned (I don't listen to music from either faction but could readily find examples/quotes about music from both ends of the spectrum being banned).


It depends on whom they talk to. Adult informed people will easily ignore their nonsense, while youngsters will very often be attracted by the Nazi/Fascist false sense of strength because in their still young minds aggressiveness equals strength. Fascism is coming back in some parts of Europe and we won't get rid of it by simply asking politely to go away.


Fascism is coming back in some parts of Europe and we won't get rid of it by simply asking politely to go away.

Maybe you could get rid of it by having better ideas?


Ideas like fascism rarely spread because they’re better. They’re simpler which makes them more appealing. Better ideas also tend to be less appealing on the face of things because they’re more complex.


But that doesn't explain its popularity; other ideas are simpler than fascism and don't spread. Fascist leaders gain an audience because they address concerns which their opponents (liberal globalists) won't bring up, for fear of alienating their own support base. Fascism may not be the right solution, but dismissing its supporters as too simple-minded to understand complex ideas doesn't help advance a better alternative.


Unfortunately its not just "youngsters" who lack the critical thinking skills and/or intelligence to be influenced by "nonsense". What these laws are really about are trying to ensure that easily-influenced people are only influenced by government nonsense, rather than nonsense that the government frowns upon. The bottom line is, that to have and maintain a decent society, you need a population that is (to a large degree) informed, aware, and possessing of critical thinking skills. This is true whether you are talking about criminalizing frowned-upon speech or the "fake news" phenomenon that has been popularized here in the United States as of late. The core problem is that those at the pinnacle of our society (the permanent overclass of the ultrawealthy, oligarchs and intelligentsia that control governments and other levers of power) want to have it both ways. They want a largely ignorant, easily-influenced populace that they can control and influence while at the same time having a populace that is immune to ideas that are frowned-upon (by them). Since this isn't possible, their only alternative is to try to silence the "nonsense" that is frowned upon. We see this in Germany via this hate speech laws (which are largely aimed at stifling dissent over their massive influx of North African/Middle East immigrants and the resulting problems), and in the United States via Russiagate (which is an attempt to paint those who oppose the CIA/DC/NATO narrative as traitors or Russian agents [see the treatment of Jill Stein, Ron Paul, or the WaPo's Propornot article as examples]).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-prop...


> because in their still young minds aggressiveness equals strength

Checking in from the US, where that mindset transcends age groups and economic status.

Even comfortable old folks, for example, can be convinced that aggressiveness is required.


It happened 70 years ago. Obama has a good line, something similar to:

If you were in a restaurant in 1930s Vienna surrounded by great art, music and intellectuals you may have been forgiven for thinking that wonderful setting would continue on forever. Unfortunately, a short time later millions we're dying on a continent engulfed in war.

When the stock market is up we think it'll keep going up. When we have peace we can't imagine war. History is not a straight line and destructive ideas can still take hold in the wrong conditions.


This is more than a bit of revisionism, or possibly he just didn't know much about the German/Austrian interwar period.

It's well documented, and covered in most of the histories regarding the rise of Nazism, that a not insignificant part of why the party was able to gain traction was that there was already an environment of political violence and suppression. The SPD, KPD, and Freikorps were fighting in the streets well before the Nazis were relevant (the 20s. The fighting dates back to the end of WW1 and through the Weimar period).

There was similar violence in Austria at the time including a small civil war in the mid 30s, probably not what one would call a great and peacful environment for appreciating art and music.


It would be naive to ascribe Nazi propaganda alone the role of the fire starter in WWII. The problem is that the Nazi propaganda fell on ears that eagerly wanted to believe it, so the Nazi leader was democratically elected before he seized the absolute power.

If Nazi propaganda might have any noticeable success in today's Germany (or US, or wherever), it's not because of some crackpots from stormfront; they are a consequence, not the cause. The cause should be addressed instead, first by assuming its existence. (No, I'm not going to discuss any probable causes here; I'm trying to show the logic, not to make a political case.)


> The problem is that the Nazi propaganda fell on ears that eagerly wanted to believe it, so the Nazi leader was democratically elected before he seized the absolute power.

That's not really accurate; the Nazis got power not by outright winning a democratic election, but because the various other parties were more concerned about each other than the Nazis, and thus more willing to tolerate a Nazi-coalition government than to form a coalition against the Nazis; the Nazis never were elected to power on their own before seizing power; they actually lost a large number of seats in the election preceding their coalition government from the preceding election (after which no government was formed), and even in that preceding election they had only around 1/3 of the seats.

Nazis didn't come to power because a receptive populace gave them a mandate, they came to power becausea large enough minority of the more numerous elected not-Nazis were more afraid of each other than the Nazis.


> more afraid of each other than the Nazis.

That wasn't exactly irrational, the Nazis were not the first or only party in Germany to be engaging in widespread violence. The Communists, for example, were a real and actual threat. Mass street violence and assassinations were common in Weimar Germany even when the Nazis were nobodies.


> That wasn't exactly irrational

Nor did I say that it was (at least, based on information available at the time; it may have been strictly irrational in rational choice terms, where rationality implies optimality based on the actual future consequences and not merely anticipated ones.)


Hitler wasn't elected, he was appointed. Which doesn't take away from your point, but it's really astonishing how such easy to correct falsehoods about such a deeply important subject just linger on and get repeated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_presidential_election,_...

The Nazis lied and cheated and murdered their way to power, make no mistake about it. And that was kind of like an onion, too, in that every layer of the Nazi apparatus deceived lower layers.

Apart from the intrinsic importance of things like poverty and unemployment simply because they hurt people no matter how people to react to it, what turned some people into sociopaths (and why it didn't others) is useful to know to prevent more coming into existence, and to leave the ones who aren't beyond the point of return a way out -- but it's also a destructive red herring when dealing with those who are beyond the point of return. They are eating chalk and holding up people who delivered themselves as hostages unto them, so you can have empathy they can only feign and use; and the question is, at what point does the tragedy of their hostages outweigh the tragedy of who they and their hostages will trample on, forever, if given half a chance.

I know it's cold and kind of heartless, but for many people who turns abuser after having been abused, you will also find those who have been abused even more, but did not turn to abusing others. It's not either person's fault or credit, but I can't cater to the first while ignoring the second. Insofar it's a zero-sum choice (and that's not generally the case, mind you, but it's also not never the case), I made my choice. Sometimes, the wheel that squeaks the loudest shouldn't get the grease, but simply should get replaced by a better or even no wheel.


Hitler lost the direct presidential election, but Hindenburg (his competitor in that election) didn't appoint him as chancellor for no reason; Hitler's NSDAP was the largest party in the Reichstag, and was therefore a natural choice for forming a government. That's roughly the same level of democratic legitimacy as that of any other German chancellor since.

The Nazis also lied and cheated and murdered, but it wasn't necessary for their rise to power; until they went about abolishing democratic institutions altogether, they could have worked entirely with above-the-board means.


> it wasn't necessary for their rise to power [..] they could have

So you may claim, and I disagree. Importantly, "they could have" != "they did".


the cycle continues as follow: politicians ignore the masses pleads, populist start selling untenable dreams, the politician still refuse to aknowledge the existence of the problem of that partcular generation, a reaction shifts the power to populist, populist cannot really realize whatever they sold because the masses have a fractured interpretation of their message, populistvsearch for internal or external enemies to redirect blame and direct the mounting hate, the society fractures, strife follows until the society can reunite under a single ideal or gets repressed, at which point it's either a new longer or shorter cycle

of course we somehow manage to always blame the masses or the populists, but they rarely are the ones initiating the cycle


If you think people could be so easily corrupted by someone's speech on Twitter, then how can you have faith in democracy? I understand keeping young, impressionable minds from bad influence, but what about voting age people?


> It happened 70 years ago.

Nazism and other German nationalist movements were repressed early on by (generally communist) mob violence and later on by the state. That led directly to the rise of brownshirts (to counter the mob) and the radicalization of the Nazis - when people see that their belief system as being oppressed by the law, some of them conclude that when legitimate paths to power are denied, violence is justified.

The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J Evans covers the rise of the Nazis in great detail, and it didn't happen because Nazis were going around with hate speech.

This has been one of the many justifications for free speech for a long time. In general, I think the "but Nazis!" argument against free speech should be viewed with immense suspicion - it basically boils down to a pretty serious antidemocratic sentiment; you can't let people talk, because then they might convince the plebs to vote for Nazis.


It was much more than just speech which caused all that.


These people aren't "nazis" or "fascists". They have beliefs that would have been considered completely normal and moderate in 1940's US. The people that defeated the Nazis would be considered Nazis today. It's obscene how far left the overton window has moved. Opposing immigration is a pretty long way from Nazism.


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Seriously though, how do you oppose immigration without criticizing the people who are immigrating? The comment may have been hyperbolic, sure. But it's completely reasonable to be concerned about immigrants raising the crime rate. Or having objectionable cultural beliefs and changing your country's culture.

Look at it from an outside view. Tibet was taken over by China and they are intentionally flooding it with Chinese immigrants. The goal is to destroy Tibetan culture and eventually assimilate or replace the Tibetan people. Liberals seem pretty upset by this and even consider it literal genocide. If a Tibetan is angry at Chinese immigrants and says something insulting to them, is that hate speech?


Comparing a weak country that has been overrun by a much stronger one with economically dominant western countries that have suffered some integration problems is a false equivalence. Germans do not find themselves in the same predicament as Tibetans, by any stretch of the imagination.


>Comparing a weak country that has been overrun by a much stronger one

What does this matter at all? How does the GDP of Germany change anything? If Germany was poor it would be different?

>Germans do not find themselves in the same predicament as Tibetans, by any stretch of the imagination.

How exactly is that? It looks like exactly the same thing to me. The native population is being completely replaced with immigrants. It's a tragedy.


What does this matter at all? How does the GDP of Germany change anything? If Germany was poor it would be different?

If it were poor and were being coercively restructured by some outside hegemonic power (as many argue Tibet is) then yes of course that would make a difference.

The native population is being completely replaced with immigrants.

Germany's immigrant population is 10-12%, and last time I looked everyone in the German government was German. It's impossible to take your hyperbole seriously.


>If it were poor and were being coercively restructured by some outside hegemonic power

I don't think the outside power is relevant to the argument. The effect is the same whoever does it. To some conservative rural German, the government may very well seem like an outside hegemonic power.

As far as economic success being relevant. Tibet's economy is growing rapidly. Eventually they will be as rich as Germany today. Yet their population will be almost completely replaced and their culture gone. Economic success doesn't make up for it.

>Germany's immigrant population is 10-12%

40% of German under 5's are immigrants (http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/09/21/germany-40-percen...). They have a 2-3 times higher fertility rate than the native population. And the rate of immigration keeps increasing and is already unsustainably high. Germans will be a tiny minority of Germany in just 2 generations.


To some conservative rural German, the government may very well seem like an outside hegemonic power.

I can't help counterfactual perceptions.

40% of German under 5's are immigrants (http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/09/21/germany-40-percen...). They have a 2-3 times higher fertility rate than the native population. And the rate of immigration keeps increasing and is already unsustainably high. Germans will be a tiny minority of Germany in just 2 generations.

Breitbart is one of the poorest sources you could possibly cite and you do your credibility no favors. Some immigrants have higher fertility, but it's a distribution, not a monolith. Also, immigrant fertility tends to revert to the local mean within a couple of generations as fertility is inversely correlated with economic stability, which is why it's lower in the recipient population to start with.

Your idea that Germans will be a tiny minority of Germany's population within 2 generations is laughable. socioeconomic behaviors do not generally follow the exponential trends you imagine, but are often better mapped by a sigmoid function. I strongly suggest you try reading a textbook on demographics instead of getting your analysis from Breitbart.


The source may be biased but does that make them wrong? They are just reporting data from German statistics. Which I would have referenced directly but unfortunately it's in German. I wasn't able to find any data or claims that contradict this though.

>Some immigrants have higher fertility, but it's a distribution, not a monolith.

The distribution is irrelevant. On average they have 3 to 4 kids per coupe and natives have less than 2.

>immigrant fertility tends to revert to the local mean within a couple of generations

By then it will be far too late.

>immigrant fertility tends to revert to the local mean within a couple of generations as fertility is inversely correlated with economic stability

Religious minorities tend to have much higher fertility rates even within first world countries. Look at Mormons or Orthodox jews. Poverty is not sufficient to explain the high Muslim birth rate. And it's high even among the second generation.


Here's the full context of her comments.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/world/europe/germany-twit...

> In a tweet on Sunday, the lawmaker, Beatrix von Storch, questioned the decision by the police in the western city of Cologne to put out a message in Arabic, as part of a multilingual campaign to promote the theme of this year’s New Year’s Eve festivities: “Celebrate — with respect.” The message was also posted in English, French and Persian. The festivities in Cologne, in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, draw thousands every year.

> “What the hell is wrong with this country? Why is the official page of police in NRW tweeting in Arabic,” Ms. von Storch wrote on Dec. 31. “Are they seeking to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men?”

> Her comments were particularly provocative because Cologne was the site of a rampage on New Year’s Eve 2015, in which hundreds of men groped, assaulted, harassed or robbed women. Many of the men were asylum-seekers or other immigrants, and the attacks on women fueled criticism by the Alternative for Germany, which argued that Ms. Merkel should not have opened Germany’s doors to so many foreigners.

> Facebook later removed that post, Ms. von Storch told her followers. She vowed not to be silenced by the new law, but to continue to “call out problems by name.” She went on to insist that the young men who had sexually harassed German women were “not Protestant Swedes, not Catholic Poles, not Orthodox Russians, not Jewish Israelis and not Buddhist Thais. The overwhelming majority of them are young Muslim men for whom women and followers of other faiths are second-class citizens.”

It seems to me that, in context, this is an inflammatory statement, and somewhat a silly one (why does that mean they shouldn't put it out in Arabic?), but given that she was commenting on a situation that did literally involve rapist hordes of men who happened to be Muslim, I have trouble accepting that a country could justifiably declare that speech illegal. It's even more disturbing to me given that she's apparently a prominent politician and the government is looking into charging her for this statement.


the government is looking into charging her for this statement.

Where did you see this? From what I can tell, the government (public prosecutors) only said they received a bunch of complaints. Nowhere did I see they were looking into charging her - nor would that be possible without lifting her immunity.


> Ulf Willuhn, a spokesman for state prosecutors, said on Tuesday that his office had been alerted to Ms. von Storch’s statement by the Cologne police and was also looking into a statement of support for her, made by a leader of the party, Alice Weidel. As news of the investigation spread, private citizens filed dozens more complaints.

> Prosecutors must now decide whether there is sufficient evidence of criminal action to open a formal investigation that could lead to charges, Mr. Willuhn said. But before that step can be taken, Germany’s Parliament would have to lift immunity.

From the article I linked above.


As that excerpt says, they are merely analyzing the statements, which they obviously must do after receiving the complaints. Nowhere does it say they are planning on doing anything beyond that analysis.


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Well, then maybe the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party shouldn't have passed it. Or maybe it's not really the case:

"German atheist runs afoul of country's rarely enforced blasphemy laws after he was fined €500 for driving around with anti-Christian slogans on his car"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/121...


>When the stock market is up we think it'll keep going up. When we have peace we can't imagine war. History is not a straight line and destructive ideas can still take hold in the wrong conditions.

No... But thats pretty bullish of you.


Why on Earth is my comment hidden with +9 points? And the others flagged with +4 and +5? Was anything I said untrue or off topic? This is disgusting HN.


If you were in a restaurant in 1930s Vienna surrounded by great art, music and intellectual

Or 00’s Tripoli with free healthcare and education ...


> Do you use fascist techniques like criminalizing speech

“Criminalizing speech” by itself isn't a particularly fascist technique, since it's been done by movements all over the political spectrum, starting long before fascism. Fascism (in the broad sense) isn't really defined much by technique (you could perhaps credit Naziism or Italian Fascism specifically with some techniques, like the distinct propaganda approach of the Nazis, but even that isn't as distinguishing as the ideological goals of the movement.)


> This is exactly the moral dilemma with free speech vs hate speech

Two societies chose different paths, each--in my opinion--appropriate for their circumstances. In America, we have the First Amendment. In Germany, they have Volksverhetzung [1]. The problem is Twitter, Facebook, et al think shipping information across borders is the same as shipping boxes.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksverhetzung


Criminalizing speech isn't inherently fascist. It's not really new, either. Most liberal democracies have anti-hate-speech laws and they've never lead to anything resembling fascism.

(Besides, banning libel and true threats is also criminalization of speech. That's not fascism, is it?)


> criminalizing speech to stop the spread of fascist ideas

i wonder... is that actually something that works? or does it just mean fascist ideas gain a more polite presentation?


The thing is it does work. Because it forces the rotten core of the ideas to the forefront. It's the difference between having to enumerate all the people the mob think should be dead (which ironically is probably a collection of disjointed sets) vs just waving a flag and gathering all that hate anyone. By criminalizing specific icons of hate, you can rob those who would build a following from using them as a rallying point.


> Because it forces the rotten core of the ideas to the forefront.

it seems to me it would do the opposite. it simply requires that one pursue the same goal in a more polite manner, to avoid being put in prison for one's words. ideas and intents can be rendered in a vast array of ways.

> By criminalizing specific icons of hate, you can rob those who would build a following from using them as a rallying point.

i don't see how. all this means is that people will use allusions, metaphors or otherwise use substitutes for that 'icon', whatever it is. or even just endorse similar policies, concepts or other things. or instead of being against x, they'll be for y. etc.

the real way to "stop" ideas (rather, the way to sway the majority of people) is showing why an idea isn't great and presenting a better idea. with logic and reason.


Bigotry is not a reasonable attitude, and you can't reason someone out of an attitude they didn't reason themselves into in the first place.


This is incorrect. Logic and reason have value, of course, but most people are emotional animals rather than pure rationalists. The trick of political demagoguery is is to activate those emotions and then rhetorically direct them. This is why laws against incitement and suchlike generally require the potential harm to be imminent.

It's one thing for someone to say 'really, I think out_group_X bears liability for certain faults of society,' which is unpleasant to hear but not directly threatening insofar as it's refutable. It's another to be at the locus of a mob with people stating their intention to kill you in the immediate or near future.


> Logic and reason have value, of course, but most people are emotional animals rather than pure rationalists.

there isn't an either/or situation... people are both. and people must obviously be sufficiently rational, a sufficient amount of the time, because civilization exists and society progresses.

you don't get to the moon and back if your species is nothing but bloody barbarians.

> incitement

this discussion seems to veer all over the place. fascism, hate speech, incitement, etc. are all different things, but also have a variety of definitions; often so fuzzily defined that two identical acts could be read differently by two different judges.

'hate speech' (whatever that really means) is largely legal in the US, but incitement that demonstrates imminent harm is not.

even with legal hate speech, the US isn't a genocidal warzone. because that's not how genocide works.


It is an either/or situation. I said people are emotional animals rather than pure rationalists, who would by definition not be subject to irrational impulses. It is not a contrast between pure rationality or irrationality, but pure rationality vs partial rationality.

I'm not sure what point the rest of your comment is seeking to make, other than that you don't like my point of view.


then it seems like word games around a useless dichotomy. if "emotional animals" includes rationality then my point stands. based on how you seem to be stressing the words, i don't know what "pure rationalists" is supposed to mean.

> I'm not sure what point the rest of your comment is seeking to make, other than that you don't like my point of view.

you blithely inserted another concept to the thread, which is what prompted my comment. your point of view isn't clear enough for me to have formed much of an opinion.


No it doesn't. 'Pure rationalists' means people who purely rational and never irrational, and I find it hard to believe you couldn't work that out for yourself.

The vast majority of people are not pure rationalists, and a good many of them (though I don't know exactly what proportion) are easily swayed by emotional stimuli rather than logic and reason alone. If you place all your reliance on logic and reason then you are likely to experience an unpleasant surprise because it's possible for bad actors to shape the behavior of large numbers of people in non-rational ways.

Logic and reason work on you. I'm saying that you are overestimating their persuasive power because of an (apparent) assumption that either they work equally well on everyone else, or that irrational people are generally incompetent. Sadly, neither is true. Think of religious fundamentalists whose core premises may seem irrational to you but who are nevertheless competent to act in the world and impact others, eg through terrorism.


you seemed to say that no people are 'pure rationalists' ("people are emotional animals rather than pure rationalists"). but now you seem to say some people can embody this idea of apparent perfection.

there are extremely few people who exhibit chronic irrational behavior. of those who do, many tend to be institutionalized due to (at least in part) their mental health needs.

being rational doesn't mean you're a cold vulkan logician, and it doesn't mean you're always 'correct' or free of faulty reasoning or other issues. people don't usually get math problems wrong due to irrationality, for example. the average healthy person has their moments, but over time behaves rationally.

i'm not suggesting every single person that exists will be swayed by your reasoning. mostly because to properly sway your most ardent of opponents takes a lot of work, as you usually have to start at a low level, defining terms, identifying assumptions, establish a foundation you can both agree upon, and then build up. (this assumes your reasoning is solid in the first place.)

we can observe the world as a whole: the world is getting better all the time. there is less violence in the world than now than at any point in recorded history (see Pinker; The Better Angels of Our Nature). extreme poverty is much less common than it used to be. there are pockets of conflict, but the world isn't submerged in an eternal sea of chaos.

religious fundamentalists aren't necessarily irrational. many are highly educated and fully functional people, some with phds. if you actually talk to such people, you'll generally find they're operating with different axioms than you are.

to me, i almost feel that you're trying to rationalize grounds for conflict and justify the avoidance of dialogue. if you caricature people you disagree with as emotional animals that simply can't be reasoned with... what does this imply about your options for engaging with them? what does this imply about their options for engaging with you?


The question is whether it doesn't just mean that new icons are created - or old ones repurposed.


fascism != authoritarianism

fascism == authoritarianism && nationalism && racism

Censorship is done by authoritarians of all stripes.


> Or do you simply hope fascist ideas don't take hold?

Free speech exists to protect speech when fascists take hold. It's why no matter who is president of the US, we can spew all the hate we want. Unlike in germany where speech is dependent on who is in charge. If fascists take over and then decide anti-fascist speech is hate speech, then germans are screwed. Whereas in america, if fascists take over, they are screwed because we have free speech in america.

> The former is a scary slippery slope but Germany doesn't have a great track record with the latter.

Germany doesn't have a good track record because they always had "hate speech" laws. Hitler was able to censor everything because the german government always had the the power to censor "hate speech".

Hitler would never had been able to do what he did if the german government didn't have powers to shut down all political parties and censor all "hate speech".

Imagine if we had a culture of censorship in the US and hate speech was banned. Then trump become president and his government decides anything critical of trump is hate speech.


everything becomes hate speech when a third party is involved and it is the third party which has to pay the fine. these companies have little choice but to err on the side of caution.

haters can spread hate with near impunity because someone else is paying the price if they don't act fast enough to remove it


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The short answer: because "be(ing) a dick" is highly subjective.


Apparently every law is highly subjective. We have, to simplify, “Do not murder.” but it’s waived for militaries and law enforcement.

When even the taking of life doesn’t have uniform laws applicable in all cases, why make blanket rulings on speech?


It already is, just some people want want to extend the law to force people to think & behave the way they want them to. American law covers everything necessary for every individual to live a civilized life where they can pursue happiness and meaning as they choose to define it.


Can see that happening right here; some people have been downvoting and flagging this comment thread, even though it doesn’t break any rules as far as I can see.

Why stifle discussion like this? Don’t let HN become like Reddit where the downvote button is basically “I don’t like this.”


I think hate speech is a bit like drink driving. Perfectly harmless itself but can cause follow-on real world problems that do impact people's lives - ie discrimination in hiring/etc.


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Do you find this statement convincing at all?

The fact is that the US is the perfect counterpoint to the, frankly tired, slippery slope arguments made by the far left of the Bay. And I enjoy seeing them try to explain it.


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There is plenty of often strong discussion regarding the police and race in the United States and by US residents on HN. While they may not be raised high enough to satisfy you, to claim that this "does not raise eyebrows" is naive or disingenuous and needlessly inflammatory.


Walking in any major city in Germany you can find young neo-Nazis. I would agree that they are good at clamping down on any symbolism, but the ideas are unfortunately still there.


Germany generally has more members of the far right than than the UK and France, despite having laws against expressing these ideas.


Also these have been shown that they have a solid power block of around 40 % in society, the illusion of some outliers, that can be put back into the box wont take hold once more.

The outrage powering the likes of the AFD is partially due to hundreds robbed of their ability to articulate their opinions while being declared non existent or terrorists by media campaigns. The dschinn is out of the lamp and all of polishing and rubbing wont house him again.

All that remains is housing this political opinions in a party that slowly civilizes them - by taking them serious where they have a base and taking them apart, where science can come to the rescue. Until recently the left had for uncomfortable questions no decent answer except loud screams.

A recent article here on HN, which explained why cultures with entrenched polygamy are prone to more instability. Instead of taking this and running with it, trying to stabilize North africa and taking a teeth from the racists- the usual subjects where found and rallied against.

This sort of laws do not protect civilization, they hide a problem, and prevent its resolution in debate. Not accepting cultures who obviously are erroding democratic societys (like runaway exponential captialism or islam/ extremist christianity) has nothing to do with racism or foreignfear. Its valid critique- and a society should be allowed to demand the removal of commendments/indoctrinations of cultures who have such a history. The stomach can not be allowed to dissolve itself. To clarify, the member of the culture is still part of the society and citizen, in my eyes -unless he explicitly chooses his believe over his citizenship - and a "paradise" on earth exists. Then he/she/it is free to migrate to whatever statefull-dystopia or tax-free-heaven promises ascension.


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This is crap and a lazy claim. In the US, for instance, fascist tactics from democrats appear to originate from neo-liberals (Clinton, Obama) rather than leftists (Warren, Sanders, Stein).

If you squint, you can see that capitalism and regulatory capture have always been core to fascism. Neither are leftist values at all.

If you're obliquely referring to, err, recent "PC" culture, that seems to share a lot more with puritan culture than a form of government.


What about the trend of shutting down or outright physically attacking speakers at collage campuses lately? I'd call that using violence to suppress politically opposing opinions, and it's something that you will exclusively see leftist do against speakers they disagree with. Or concepts such as the Progressive Stack, where people are discriminated against based on race and gender, in other words literally racism. Or any of the other crazy ideas coming out of social justice these days.


Note, i do realize Stein is not a democrat, but leftist she is.


If you're interested in developing that line of thought, I suggest reading Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning which is well researched and deeply insightful.


Thank you for the recommendation! It seems like a much better illustration than I’ve seen before of this direction of argument.


I think this is more an issue with the lack of nuance in a Left-Right political spectrum. The more axis and metrics used to define a political position the easier it tends to be to to compare it to other positions.


That's obviously stupid. But it's day two, and Twitter is likely to get their procedures in order, just like they (and Facebook etc) have previously done when implementing their own content policies.

The law applies only to a narrowly defined class of hate speech. Statements that fall under the definition have always been illegal. People always ran the risk of prosecution when calling for genocide etc.

As such, nobody's freedom of speech is more limited today than it was a week ago. What the law tries to accomplish is similar to the DMCA, i. e. to force companies to take steps to address criminal activity on their platforms when such is reported.

I know there are many who disagree with laws limiting hate speech. But this is not that debate.


> The law applies only to a narrowly defined class of hate speech.

The thing is that (despite the reporting in the English-language media), it's not actually a hate speech law [1]. The problem is that social media companies are being deputized as enforcers of parts of the penal code without proper qualifications, safeguards, or ways to appeal (unlike real courts).

> As such, nobody's freedom of speech is more limited today than it was a week ago.

Yes, it is. Speech cannot only be constrained through legislating what types of speech are legal, but also through creating enforcement mechanisms that encourage platforms to be overzealous in what they don't allow.

[1] The whole terminology does not really make sense in the context of German law. Not to mention that even in the broadest sense, it's inaccurate, as the law also applies to things such as illegal pornography and threats (regardless of motivation).


Twitter should not enforce ridiculous German laws. The tech companies need to call the bluff of countries that demand censorship.


That's such a juvenile reaction...

Germany is considering a stable, open, democratic, peaceful, constructive and successful country. There are any number of rankings/scoring regarding freedom of the press and of expression, resilience to corruption, democracy, economic opportunity etc in which Germany scores better than the US.

These are laws passed by the national parliament, elected to represent its constituents. The law is subject to approval by not only the national courts, but the European Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights.

To somehow consider it a grave injustice when Twitter is now required to act when they are informed of activity considered illegal in that jurisdiction is ridiculous. Because presumably you're doing so out of some understanding of "democracy". Yet you are ignoring quite a bit of the local democracy that lead to this.


> There are any number of rankings/scoring regarding freedom of the press and of expression, resilience to corruption, democracy, economic opportunity etc in which Germany scores better than the US.

One of the reasons people regard these rankings as a total joke is exactly because of incidents like this - Twitter being forced to delete satirical tweets.

More broadly, I think most people would agree that beyond the extremes (say, US vs North Korea), the precise rankings of countries on these metrics are based on questionable methodologies with vague priors and are generated largely by politically motivated organizations.


> One of the reasons people regard these rankings as a total joke is exactly because of incidents like this - Twitter being forced to delete satirical tweets.

I'm sorry but in the extensive travels of tons of people who've been around the world, those rankings are usually right on the money. It is obvious to most people who've been around that Germany or Norway have much greater levels of freedom of expression than Venezuela, as a rather trivial example.


That's what I said - at the extremes, it's obvious that Germany is more free than Venezuela, but when you start comparing first-world countries, or even whether one undeveloped country is worse than another, it gets a lot murkier.


Freedom is a strange thing. It's not really tangible or measurable in an easy way.

I would feel more free in New Zealand than in the USA, even though New Zealand has hate speech laws. However, in New Zealand, the police don't carry guns, I'm not at risk of getting shot because of a blown tail light.

Personally, I don't measure freedom by what tweets Twitter is required to remove.


> Twitter being forced to delete

It is not at all though. The law very clearly spells out that for unclear cases (and the satire tweet definitely falls under that) there are significant exceptions and leeway.


Twitter is strongly incentivized to err on the side of caution (for them) by deleting in unclear cases. If they wrongly believe a tweet is legal, they are punished. If they wrongly believe a tweet is illegal, nothing happens. To pretend a company in this situation is not being legally forced to delete "protected" satire is sophistry. The only rational thing to do in that situation is delete all tweets anyone could possibly claim are illegal if there's the slightest bit of grey area to them. The matter is made worse by time limits: they have to delete NOW, not have staff discussions and legal assessments.

The supporters of the law said exactly what you said, ignoring that reality. The result is in the article.

Additionally, from outside Germany, this looks less like "stopping hate speech" and more like enforcing the "basic consensus" of the CDU cited in the article.


You're incorrect. They have no reason to fear punishment from a wrong call.

For one, the law doesn't require deletion. They just have to make it publically inaccessible pending outcome of inspection. And if they're unsure about the legality they can punt it to another org and won't suffer consequences.

In fact, the law even stipulates that the data must be retained for 10 weeks to allow further action.


> They have no reason to fear punishment from a wrong call.

If they make the wrong call, they face fines. The supreme arbiter of what is lawful and unlawful is not Twitter; it is the German courts, but Twitter is the one responsible for removing unlawful tweets, and Twitter is the one who is fined if they do not remove unlawful tweets promptly. Twitter is not fined if they wrongly remove lawful tweets. Especially (but not only because of) given the volume of tweets and reports, the only rational course of action for Twitter is to delete/block if there's the slightest chance a court somewhere might declare it unlawful.

Here is the full text of the law: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/netzdg/BJNR335210017.html

> For one, the law doesn't require deletion. They just have to make it publically inaccessible pending outcome of inspection.

I think everyone understands that, on the scale of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., that deletion entails precisely that: making content publicly inaccessible, even if the company can hypothetically restore it. Not even on that scale: it's pretty typical to have a "deleted" flag in your database for content for normal web applications.

More to the point, supporters of the law have claimed over and over that it won't affect legitimate content, but here is exactly an example that the opponents of the law were talking about that we're commenting on right now.


> legitimate content

Having seen the tweet in question i'm not sure it is legitimate content.

As for the rest: Eh, can't be arsed to try and argue more.


>That's such a juvenile reaction...

Ban this user for ageism /s


> Germany is considering a stable, open, democratic, peaceful, constructive and successful country.

The German people have always had a strong authoritarian "we know best" streak and it has caused a lot of problems in the past.

Hence why the peoples of other nations are much more concerned by Germany trying to dictate what constitutes free speech on the internet than they are by a few tweets.


Twitter, if it wants to continue operating in Germany without facing lawsuits / prosecution, has to bow to German law.

It would be better if they could just reliably block the account from reaching German users only, while other users would continue reading the tweets. It, of course, is impossible unless Germany implements a country-wide firewall, the way China did.

I don't think it's likely, though. The point of actions like this is not to strictly eliminate any last vestige of hate speech. It is to send a message, so that other would-be-satirists could reconsider starting an account that breaks the law, and that other international companies which deal with UGC knew what to expect, and took preventive measures.


Reddit does geofence some subreddits in at least Germany, returning status code 451


Which they are not forced to do as there is no such law that binds foreign companies that would apply to those subreddits. They preemptively blocked it completely after they received a letter with some questions by a German government agency that was thinking about including a subreddit into an official block list used by (voluntary to use) youth-protection software or Google. Even if it had been included in the list, it would have been accessible from Germany.


So you say thech companies are above the law? What could go wrong…


Certainly not. Germany can block twitter, but I don't think the German people will accept that. Countries that love censorship need to realize that if they want to be part of the global discourse, they need to be part of all of the global discourse.


I'm not sure that calls for genocide are part of the global discourse.


Sorry, here's reality for you. A lot of unpleasant, dangerous, and clearly wrong ideas are present outside your filter bubble. Being aware of them may be also unpleasant and dangerous, but pretending they do not exist, and are not being voiced, is delusional. Choose your poison.


We all know these ideas existed. Nobody's pretending that they don't exist. We can be aware of ideas existing without being advocates of them.


this seems like a red herring or something... are 'calls for genocide' actually a thing worth caring about? is there a legitimate possibility that, say, bob goes on twitter and says 'kill all romanians!' and suddenly there's a genocide of romanians? it's doesn't make sense.

i mean, i get that it's attempting to appeal to one's aversion to a very bad idea, but random bob can't cause a genocide. a strong dictatorship a la hitler or stalin on the other hand... well, that's a much bigger problem than trying to regulate mean words.


are 'calls for genocide' actually a thing worth caring about?

If you're a member of the subject group, then they most certainly are. Instead of constructing silly examples, let me suggest you look into the history of ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia or Hutu-Tutsi animus in Rwanda.


military or organized physical violence is not the same as a random yokel saying dumb things on the internet.

invoking real world violence as a stand-in for which one calibrates their regard for a person's tweets seems more like an emotional appeal rather than a logical dialog.


The internet is a great organizing tool, and you have no way to know whether any given comment is random or coordinated.


seems like a nonsequitur; either way, if a bad guy wants to throw away opsec and publicly document information for a court to use as evidence... well, i guess it's nice that they're making policework much easier.


If you are not sure, I say we err on the side of freedom of speech.


That isn't an argument. People who call for genocide can be charged with a crime. There is no reason to remove the content from public record until there is a conviction, and even then there is an argument to be made to leave the content online as an example of what not to say if you want to stay out of jail.


You can charge them with a crime, but leaving specifically objectionable content up is rather pointless because you're not litigating whether it's specifically prohibited (as calls for genocide are in Germany) but whether liability attaches to the apparent speaker/writer (whose account might have been compromised, for example).

Another reason not to leave it up is because it's frightening to the subjects of such eliminationist discourse, who shouldn't have to put up with being considered acceptable targets for systematic violence.


if the law states that companies are deputized to act as police and enforce the law of the land, then i guess they have to comply.

do the companies engaging in policing actions receive the same protections and considerations as actual police and government officials when it comes to legal issues involved with the act of law enforcement?

i feel it's better that the state should be expected to take responsibility for and enforce it's own laws.


Companies aren't "deputised". They are just required to follow laws. It's nothing new, nor limited to Germany, nor nefarious: US companies are routinely required to cooperate with the government. When they submit tax information, have the foodstuffs they sell inspected for contamination, when they ask for your driver's license before selling you alcohol or when they put a "you must be this tall" cardboard cutout at the roller-coster's entrance.


what i mean is: if a law just says 'people can't say mean words', is every private company expected to thereafter analyze all words that exist on it's platform (be it twitter, or sms text, or gmail, etc) make a determination as to whether those words violate the law, and are then expected to take some action, based on it's assessment that a crime or civil offense has been committed?

that's what i mean by deputized. if the law doesn't say the company is required to take an action, the company should be mostly indifferent to the law's interaction with third parties. further, it's a bit silly for a law to say that a company should make assessments of criminality or civil offenses, especially if they aren't provided the same legal privileges that police receive for doing the same thing.


Hate Speech Isn't Real | Change My Mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0hPd2gMlGw

I found Steven Crowder's arguments here to really challenge my thoughts on what is free speech and what is hate speech. Give that a watch if you have the time.


The problem here is that "hate speech" is an anglosphere term and doesn't have an exact correspondence in German law.

What is commonly called "hate speech" in the English-language media is §130 (1) of the penal code (part of the set of "Volksverhetzung" offenses). It's a poor fit because:

* The law can in principle apply to any identifiable subgroup of the population or any individual as a member of such a subgroup. Subgroups defined by their ethnic characteristics or religious beliefs are listed as examples, but the list is not exhaustive (though of course the group of Bavarian vintage car collectors is unlikely to be a target).

* It's not related to the motives of the speakers. It's about the effects the speech creates, specifically threats against the public peace, such as incitement to and encouragement of violence (unlike in America, incitement of lawless action need not be imminent) or creating an atmosphere through slander where members of a subgroup have reason to not feel safe anymore. If you want an example or why, look up what Julius Streicher was convicted of in Nuremberg and how it contributed to the Holocaust.


The video seems to make the point that there isn't a satisfying legal definition of hate speech (I haven't watched the whole thing).

As a counterpoint, imagine you are a minority (if you are not already a minority), and further imagine that someone uses speech that has, in the past, been used to incite violence; or speech that is similar (dog-whistle) to that which incites violence.


There are already laws against speech that incites violence as well as laws against violence, no?


Inciting violence is already illegal. Additionally, some protected classes are ideas (religion, usually implemented as being a member of a major religion) rather than intrinsic values (which I believe do deserve some degree of protection).

The protection of religion comes from sectarian violence, but this is better covered by other laws, and disliking a particular spiritual belief is no different from disliking any other belief.

You're free to call me a taig and papist, show Sinead O'Connor ripping up a picture of the pope, or exhibit Serrano's 'Piss Christ'. I'm free to laugh, realise that O'Connor was making an incredibly accurate complaint about the church's abuses, and pay for tickets (Serrano's an excellent photographer, I've not seen his sculpture first hand) accordingly.


I have my doubts that any new thoughts on the subject that merit consideration would first appear on Youtube...

Plus, you didn't read the last sentence: "There is debate to be had on hate speech. This is not that debate".


LOL they managed to get reuters.

Banning messages via NetzDG is on message basis, that means single tweets get removed.

Here a whole account got banned which is twitter SOP when accounts violate their TOS.

Because the new NetzDG came into effect this month now every media in germany is confused. Seems like the international ones follow suit.

Also the Titanic account (the satire account) got - wrongly - banned some time before so it propably was some kind of repeat offender thing


I think the article is saying Twitter banned the account at least partly as a consequence of the legislation, because they were worried about being fined.


That does not make sense whatsoever. They should have just hidden the tweet then. They have built technology for that - I have seen some tweets that got banned because of the NetzDG. The law is very controversal and is making waves in germany. This article just chose a terribly example - but then again thats propably iconic for most of the fears about this law.


Twitter's TOS cannot be taken seriously when it comes to abusive speech. They apply their rules arbitrarily.

While I think it's never inappropriate to punch a Nazi (self avowed variety anyway), I'm definitely on the side of letting Nazis have free speech. It's best when the cockroaches are scurrying around in public, rather than hiding in the wood work. And as it turns out, the U.S. has a long history of fascists engaged in crimes, theft and murder, and have plotted the overthrow of the government - same as Germany where these ideas are illegal.

So which method actually inhibits Nazis? Neither. But at least one is cheaper, and at least with one you've got an example that most every one else, not merely just the government, will point to as what not to be. Unless you wanna get punched.


The NetzDG in its current form is a disgrace for the state of law. I think an improvement in this area would be needed, but the NetzDG law is mind-boggingly stupid and inaccurately formulated.


Whether the satirical Twitter account should be shut down or not ... satire's not very effective per Malcolm Gladwell's "Revisionist History" podcast at [0] (automated lossy transcript at [1]) ... targets of the satire often find the satire humorous themselves, and can find enough "truth" in exaggerated viewpoints to reinforce those views rather than call them into question.

[0] http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/10-the-satire-paradox [1] https://blog.simonsays.ai/satire-paradox-with-malcolm-gladwe...


Whether or not speech is effective at achieving its ultimate goal is an entirely irrelevant issue here. "Hate Speech" is extremely ineffective at promoting hate, but here we are.


Hate speech does not refer to spreading hate, really. It's just a misnomer.


I personally wouldn't trust anything that Malcolm Gladwell says on the face of it. He has through out his books used anecdotes as proof, and often cites correlation as causation. He spins a great yarn, but that's all it is.


Ha, great!

^ see what I did there? One will say I support censorship, other will say it was sarcasm, another will stay silent.


Wait but... isn't this journal considered "newsworthy" and thus able to publish whatever they want? There is at least one person out there publishing hate speech in a non-satirical way and getting away with it on an almost daily basis.


Free speech doesn’t mean the right to be on twitter


Is there a social media in Germany that does not censor?


I'm so very glad the USA founders made the first amendment. Other countries are not as lucky as we are.


You do understand that there is no 100% free speech in the US either, right? Or in any other country for that matter.

And that is a _good_ thing.


Heh, I still can't believe they have "outlawed racism". That's like outlawing any other political opinion. How is that possible?


Having an opinion is not, and cannot be outlawed. _Expressing_ these opinions out loud in a public forum, however, is a different matter. Hate speech (with its various definitions) is actually outlawed in many places around the world.


What good is having an opinion if you can't express it or discuss it in an open forum?


Since it makes people fear for their lives.


Racism: can make people fear for their lives.

Multiculturalism: can make people fear for their lives.

People are only allowed to express their fears about one of those issues, and the government decides which of those fears is valid. This is despite the fact that both racism and multiculturalism can make people fear for their lives. That's utterly dystopian.

In general with social media moderating, I'm very much against harassment but I believe people should be able to freely express their beliefs. If you're not following a person who you disagree with, what does it hurt?


I am curious how multiculturalism makes people fear for their life. Do you mean that a certain group of people may lose their lifestyle? Or do you actually mean life-death scenarios? I am trying quite hard, but I cannot think of any situation of multiculturalism that makes somebody fear their own death. Unless, if in fact you are talking about violence and crime from immigrants, you are free to express it.

Furthermore, the principles of racism and multiculturalism are so different, that it’s interesting that you compare them. Almost always racism can be shown to be linked to violence and murder, but multicultralism is a policy that my country, Canada, has successfully modeled. I have never feared for my life. I think it is safe to say that although the implementation of multiculturalism policies may be flawed in some countries, multiculturalism itself doesn’t cause life-death scenarios.


>Or do you actually mean life-death scenarios?

https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-29/race-and-hom...

>Unless, if in fact you are talking about violence and crime from immigrants, you are free to express it.

You can usually express it, but the police in some areas might be afraid to act on it: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11391314/Rother...

>Almost always racism can be shown to be linked to violence and murder

If a nation says "we only want our people in our country" that would lead to violence and murder? How?

>but multicultralism is a policy that my country, Canada, has successfully modeled

Compared to what? Japan isn't multicultural and it has lower violent crime than Canada. I can't find an arrest breakdown by race for Canada, but here's NYC: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C-5s21EXsAUjLzP.jpg

>multiculturalism itself doesn’t cause life-death scenarios

"Not surprisingly, the length of a conflict and its casualty rate is 25 percent higher in areas where an ethnicity is divided by a national border as opposed to areas where ethnicities have a united homeland."

http://freakonomics.com/2011/12/01/the-violent-legacy-of-afr...


Hmm... just downvotes and no replies to a comment with sources. Not exactly a high level of discourse.


You don't have a right to threaten people. Racism had clear threatening implications.


So does communism, or really any other political ideology that implies an upheaval of people's lives, no?


Yeah, you shouldn't be allowed to threaten someone based on their political beliefs either.

Or just don't threaten people period.


Racism is not a political opinion. Political opinions are along the lines of "are my taxes too high" or "do we spend more on parks or on police".

A belief in the inferiority of another race isn't political, it's something else. I don't know what, but discriminatory and bigoted beliefs don't belong in political discussions or any discussions about how we govern ourselves or organize society.


Social science has observed that race has real implications in a society. http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/...

Are you saying that it's beyond the pale to even have a conversation about diversity and immigration policy? Are you assuming that an inflow of people from anywhere in the world is always good or neutral?


First of all muslims aren't really a "race". Debates about race are completely irrelevant, they are criticizing islamic culture and religion. No one would care about someone mocking christian beliefs of culture.

Second you are right. Beliefs about differences between races aren't political. They are scientific. These are scientific question that are completely beyond politics. Your morality or political opinions have no impact on the truth value of scientific claims. Censoring things does not make them untrue.


The whole "islamic culture" thing is just a populist move. In the end they dont care if the refugees are islamic or christian (there are actually a lot of christian people in the arabic speaking region)

Also they are constantly talking about saving the german/north european culture/people. This is more about race and racism than anything else.

Regarding the second part: Its obviously true that there is a scientific base to racial questions but discussions about it are rarely based on scientific research. Most of the time its a political / cultural conflict.


>In the end they dont care if the refugees are islamic or christian (there are actually a lot of christian people in the arabic speaking region)

Yes they do. Even Trump has supported increasing Christian refugees. Although religion is far from the only important factor to Western culture.

>Also they are constantly talking about saving the german/north european culture/people. This is more about race and racism than anything else.

I fail to see how wanting to preserve your race is racism. I like my own people and want to see them continue. It doesn't mean I literally hate and oppose other peoples.

And I really do think you underestimate the cultural aspect of it. If they were brown skinned but otherwise culturally indistinguishable from Europeans, I think far fewer people would care. Labeling your opponents "racists" is just a convenient way of dismissing their concerns.

>Its obviously true that there is a scientific base to racial questions but discussions about it are rarely based on scientific research.

That's more of an issue that average people don't know how to do scientific research or think scientifically. I think they intuitively see things like "hey this group of people seems to do way worse" and "the mainstream oppression narrative doesn't really make sense." Without having the knowledge to dig up the actual statistics and figures to prove that.


>I fail to see how wanting to preserve your race is racism. I like my own people and want to see them continue. It doesn't mean I literally hate and oppose other peoples.

As soon as you value people based on their race ("your people" are worth more than others) you are in racist territory.

>And I really do think you underestimate the cultural aspect of it. If they were brown skinned but otherwise culturally indistinguishable from Europeans, I think far fewer people would care.

In Germany the most racism takes place in regions where nearly no immigrants/refugees live. The people are just afraid and do not try to find out if "they" are that different after all (spoiler alert: they are not)

>Labeling your opponents "racists" is just a convenient way of dismissing their concerns.

This is true and i dont want to dismiss anybodies opinion but if you talk about banning a whole race/religion from entering your country (trump) or refuse to help refugees from certain reasons (german afd in the article) and discredit them at every opportunity you are by definition a racist.


>As soon as you value people based on their race ("your people" are worth more than others) you are in racist territory.

Then 99.99% of humans who have ever lived are "racist". It's an meaningless mindkilling word, stop using it.

The weirdest thing about this is most liberals qualify as "racist" by your definition, when they take the outside view. For instance China taking over Tibet. And flooding it with Chinese immigrants, to outnumber and replace the Tibetan people. Or similar things done by Russians to areas they conquered. Or some aspects of what happened to the native americans. Liberals seem pretty upset by these things and even consider them genocide.

>In Germany the most racism takes place in regions where nearly no immigrants/refugees live.

Because immigrants congregate in cities, and cities tend to be more liberal. Besides don't take what people vote for too seriously. When put to it, even liberal whites show a strong preference for living in white neighborhoods.


Racism does not have to be about "the inferiority of another race". Racism can be "I don't think it's good for the economy that so many people from outside are coming" or "this culture is completely incompatible with ours and I don't want these people here". It's a pretty lax word. By outlawing "racism" you're outlawing discourse.


This is not true; as in, racism has a clear dictionary definition as "Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior."

(Source: Oxford English Dictionary https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/racism)


How is "race" defined?


Volksverhetzung is juristically exhaustively defined and none of your "racism can be" statements fulfill that definition.

Volksverhetzung is not about "inciting hatred", which does not convey the concept. This article also isn't about Volksverhetzung, it's about the NetzDG, a new law.


What you're describing sounds like xenophobia to me, not racism.


Anti-Immigration != Racism

Saying you don't want immigration isn't racist if it applies to more than just immigration from certain racial groups.

However, her tweet was not about that. She called out Muslims as having certain behaviors which is clearly racist.


the left are constantly calling out Christians for certain behaviors, is this racist?


If you try to define all Christians as X, you're probably mistaken.

If it's a negative definition designed to insult then it's probably discrimination.

The whole point of being anti racism, anti religious discrimination etc., is that race and religion are not good qualifiers for making assumptions or decisions.


The parent asked you if disliking Christianity was racist, not if it was religious discrimination. Please answer them.

If, say PEW Research asks a statistically significant portion of people who identify themselves one way, and a large amount of them self declare they have awful views, is reporting this bad because it's 'negative'?


No, it's perfectly fine to have an opinion about an ideology, like: "I don't believe in the Bible/Christianity, etc.". A statement like that only makes a judgement about yourself which is of course your right.

If you dislike something, there's usually a fear underneath that. People who dislike Christianity on a deeper level are probably afraid that if everyone was Christian X would happen. Sometimes that's realistic, sometimes it's not, but expressing your fear is OK and usually helps people understand you better than if you simply say "I don't like X type of people".

When you switch your focus to a group of human beings and say "I don't believe Christians are...", you're judging others. When we judge others we're probably bias in some way because none of us have enough accurate information to uniformly judge the millions of unique people that identify with a race or religion.

Just saying "I" first doesn't mean you can then say whatever you want. If the target of your judgements is a person or group of people, you're probably not being honest with yourself about what you're uncomfortable with and projecting your fears onto a group of people. That's typically what racism is about.

Instead, it's usually more accurate to express your fears about a particular non-human target (like a law, behavior, etc.) and leave people out of it.


Addressing some weird off topic bits:

- Not believing in the bible is different from saying Christianity is harmful.

- I agree it sounds harsh to say one dislikes Scientologists or Muslims or Stuffed crust pizza lovers. However that doesn't address the fact that you implied doing one of these was racist, when none of these are races and all are beliefs.

And responding to the point you made:

> When we judge others we're probably bias in some way because none of us have enough accurate information to uniformly judge the millions of unique people that identify with a race or religion.

Many seperate, independent groups have surveyed significant portions of Muslims across the world and found consistent and disturbing results.

Do we mean every individual person? No, to measure things we need to paint broad brush strokes.

- No sensible adult would think that a group has a hive mind.

- Nearly all would (and should) be concerned if most members of a group wanted to make being gay illegal (amongst other issues).


You're right, discrimination against a religious group is not racism. I don't know the exact word, maybe bigoted?

To follow my own advice: I feel scared when a judgement is made about a group of people because I'm scared of examples in history where races, religions, genders, nationalities or sexual orientations were judged as a group with disturbing consequences. I feel scared when people project their fears onto other groups because I'm scared of how they might act on those fears against innocent people. I'm scared that I can't really know or trust someone who isn't honest with themselves about what they're afraid of. I feel sad when people have to deal with judgements against them based on how they were born or raised because it doesn't seem fair or kind to me. I feel angry when people focus on the behavior of one group when other groups also have that behavior because it feels hypocritical to me to not also stand up to the other groups. I feel sad when people make judgements about a group of people based on what other people have said or reported because I've gained friendships with people who I used to judge but who I've now learned to approach with curiosity. I feel scared when people make judgements about individuals based on polls because I've seen examples of inaccurate polling and how the phrasing of a question can significantly change the results of a poll and I feel scared because I've never been asked to participate in a poll and I wouldn't want to be judged based on assumptions people might have about attributes that I was born or raised with but don't fully define me like my nationality, gender, religion, etc. I feel scared when people assume that people who identify with a group agree with everything that group says or does because I know that's not true for me and I can't recall meeting anyone who always agrees with any other person or leader and I'm scared that they'll judge me not based on my beliefs but on what they assume my beliefs to be. I feel ignored when people paint me with broad brush strokes because I view myself as an individual and I'm scared that if you're ignoring my individuality by putting me in a box that you don't care about me as a person.

I agree that it's faster to make assumptions about people and statistically you might be right about some of those assumptions. But, my fear is that history is not kind when people start judging other races, religions, political affiliations, genders, etc.

So, in the sense that it sounds like you feel scared about safety for gays because of laws or cultural beliefs that being gay is a crime, I would agree with you and I share that same fear for their safety and freedom. And if you choose to promote gay tolerance in the Philippines because you think it's most needed there, great -- that's your personal way of acting on your fear. But that sounds a lot different to me than "An independent survey says that most Muslims have disturbing beliefs." or "Muslims believe in anti-gay policies." I feel more comfortable saying: "Gay equality is important to me and I'm willing to try to protect them against people who make threats against their safety, so I'm going to the Philippines to try to make the biggest impact I can there.".

So, I guess my question to you is if safety for gays is so important to you, why not promote standing up to anyone who discriminates gays and leave the door open to standing up to a non-Muslim anti-gay person as well?

As a US citizen it was unfortunately not that long ago when a group of men brutally murdered a young boy for being gay. And growing up in high school, "gay" or "faggot" was the most vicious insult against another male. For me, I see disturbing bias against gays right here at home, even today. So, unfortunately I see anti-gay behavior as a human problem that spans cultures and religions.


Hey there. I can see that we're going to disagree about this, but thanks for your reply and acknowledging my point re: disliking Islam not being racist. I see your point about history, but to me religion is separate because it's not an intrinsic value, whereas the others are. Re: the Philipines I think the people should give up conservative Catholicism much like people should give up Islam.

But it's cool, I think we have a pretty clear idea of where the other person stands.

Thanks for the polite response and have a lovely evening.


I used to think so too about religion.

But now I've met some people who believe their religion is bigger than them as an individual. Renouncing it is simply not something they believe they have the power or right to do. Other times, they're born into a religious community and renouncing a religion means losing their community, which can feel like dying or worse. In Muslim majority countries, I can imagine there is a powerful force of not wanting to feel ostracized.


Sure, and the threat of losing a community applies to many extreme groups. I don't see how it changes anything or means they're something we don't have to worry about.

The false idea that religion is intrinsic is used to silence and justify violently attacking people that criticise religion, particularly Islam.

But let's agree to stop messaging each other. This is a waste of time - it's a shit ideology and I honestly feel no need to justify disliking it. You feel that Islam being a religion makes it exempt. I get that, I just disagree.

Additionally, someone keeps angrily downvoting anything I write here - even basic stuff like 'Islam isn't a race' - and I fear for the health of my HN account!


Sorry, wasn't me down voting. I actually really appreciated the dialogue.


I dislike stuffed crust pizzas, which are also not a race, but I imagine everdev considers that racist too.


You can hate whatever pizza you want


Wouldn't that be racist against people who like stuffed crust pizza?

(Correcting self as you mentioned later)


Wouldn't that be racist against stuffed crust pizza?

Why one idea and not the other? Are we allowed to dislike Christianity? Scientology? Libertarianism? Socialism? Capitalism? Cutting off dogs tails? If so, what makes Islam non dislikeable?

Are you aware of the many ex Muslims and the harassment they receive? The people who've criticised Islam and been killed for it? Do you think declaring Islam non dislikeable helps this?

Do you know anyone who is an ex black person or ex white person or ex asian? Why not?


When you focus on certain groups you're probably missing the point.

There are Christian parents who have banned their child from returning home when they renounced religion.

And there are many Muslims who accept people after they renounce Islam.

Instead, probably better to say: When people harass someone who doesn't agree with them, I feel afraid for that person's safety. That's not racist and still honors your fear.

To just focus on Muslims doing this shows a bias and lumps many innocent people into a stereotype.


Focusing on ideas is necessary to deal with the problem. By ignoring it, you're missing the point.

You seem to think I'm focusing on people, but: a person who believes in the idea of Islam is a Muslim, is the same way a person who believes in communism is a communist and a person who believes in fascism is a fascist. There is little difference between saying a bad idea is bad versus saying supporters of a bad idea are bad for supporting it.

Surveying Muslims worldwide and asking them if, for example, they think being gay should be illegal, and reporting what they say, is not bias, it is fact.

You're promoting bias by suggesting we ignore those results.

And again, because you haven't responded: Islam isn't a race. If we can be racist aginst Islam, can we be racist against people who like stuffed crust pizza?


It's much better to say "I'm afraid for the safety and lack of equality and freedom for gay people if being gay is illegal." By focusing on Muslims, you're making it personal and ignoring many non-Muslim countries and religions which have anti-gay beliefs.

If the gay equality issue is important to you, why are you focused so narrowly on Muslims? Why not simply focus on your core issue which is equality for gays?

Making it about your fear allows people to hear you and is not arguable. Saying "Muslims are anti-gay" is arguable because you can't accurately survey billions of Muslims worldwide and statistically you'll probably find millions of Muslims who don't agree with every aspect of the religion and some that are gay themselves.

Religion and races are not consistent or homogenous. Lumping people together on those criteria is rarely accurate or productive.

For semantics, the term racism applies to race as you mentioned. If you hate Muslims that I suppose the best way to describe you is bigoted or a religious discriminator.

And as you seem intent on the pizza aspect, pizza isn't a person. While hating a pizza sounds like anger issues, it's certainly not the same connotation or implications of hating a person. If you want to be kinder to your pizza friends, you could say "I prefer the taste of thin crust pizza". If you want to be kinder to your human friends, I would focus on what you want rather than what you think a group of unique people is all acting out in unison.


[flagged]


Or, simply confronting violence against gays includes Islam-related violence against gays. I'm simply not excluding other violence against gays from my outrage.

Rather than saying "Islam is bad", it might be better to say "I don't like X about Islam because Y." If you are more specific and give a reason, it's easier for people to hear you. But yes, taking the person out of it does make it easier for people to hear you as well.

I'm more calling into question the feasibility of accurately surveying billions of Muslims worldwide, especially in authoritarian countries where people might not feel free to be honest, or in war torn countries where access is dangerous or impossible. In any event, do you have a citation for this global survey?

I think you make the world better by calling out the problem exactly as you mentioned.

But I would advocate focusing on the problem. I can't think of any human behavior that is universally contained and ubiquitous within a single race or religion. Even if you take the most sensational elements of Islam like stoning someone to death, very few Muslim countries practice that, so it's not ubiquitous. Or, if you call out something so common world-wide as anti-gay laws or behavior, it seems like you're consciously ignoring the billions of non-Muslims who live in governments or follow religions with active discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Religions are so broad and open to interpretation that it's probably statistically impossible not to find anything you agree with (or disagree with) in a major religion. Instead, it sounds like there are specific human behaviors that don't sit well with you and that's totally understandable.


http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religi... , it's around a thousand Muslims each in 20+ countries.

I wouldn't hesitate to 'Nazism is bad' or 'Communism is bad' or 'Fascism is bad' - and saying 'I don't like X about fascism' doesn't really make the same point.


You can say those things, but if I feel judged I know it's hard for me to really hear the person who's judging me. I guess it depends on your goal. If you want to make people who agree with you feel comfortable, maybe judgements would serve that purpose. But if you want people to change their behavior, I'm not sure I've seen blanket judgements like that have success.


> She called out Muslims as having certain behaviors which is clearly racist.

No. Islam is not a race.


If it's not in your self-interest what's the problem? They're certainly not immigrating for your benefit.


"Racism" is not outlawed, racial injury and hate crimes are.

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