For example, I don't think my freedom of speech should trump Cloudflare's or Voxility's right to freedom of association. They should generally be able to decide who to do business with. However, that freedom also isn't absolute; it was used for decades as part of race and gender discrimination, which impinges upon other people's freedoms. Thus the US theory of protected classes. 
Or to pick another example, employers should generally be able to hire who they want. But that has been used for religious discrimination, so we protect those people. However, that also isn't absolute; if for religious reasons I won't handle pig products, I'm not entitled to a job at a pork BBQ restaurant. To get reasonable outcomes, we need to welcome nuance and compromise.
I encourage everybody to be suspicious of anybody who thinks there's a single clear answer in situations like this. Fundamentalist positions are both appealing and dangerous.
Right, but those only produce a conflict in a very specific case and your right to free speech should be defended by your government/peers regardless of where you do the caching for your blog (or whatever).
I have a huge issue with this modern relativist approach, because it leads to the situation where - instead of acknowledging that there are in fact absolute rights - we constantly debate where _the line_ is.
I think the boldest example of why this is bad is the right to live. In my view, this is an absolute right. "But what if it's a mass murderer?" - "But what if they are terminally ill and are suffering?" - "But what if they are so heavily handicapped that... ?" Adding _ifs_ and _buts_ to a right that should be absolute leads down a very dark path, because _the line_ will be a constant subject of discussion.
I think we would do ourselves a favor to just outright declare some rights to be absolute (as we did before and seem to have forgotten).
Let's go with the "right to live". Consider questions such as:
- Who has that right? You, or your body? If you don't want to live, should you be forced to? What if you're suffering so badly it's debilitating, and this state won't improve until you eventually die? Is living in a state of endless torture better than not living?
- How do you trade lives for lives? Imagine you have a crazy shooter killing people left and right. There's no fast way to get to them except a drone strike, and each minute you hesitate, they kill another person. Do you pull the trigger and save innocent victims, or do you wait for the armoured police to arrive and safely incapacitate the shooter, honoring their right to live at the expense of many other people? What if it's you facing the shooter alone, and they intend to kill you? Will you shoot first, or give your life for their right to live?
- What if probabilities get involved? The shooter is cornered, and a police sniper has his head in their sights. You can either take the shooter down now, or have a team of officers incapacitate them. The latter has a X% of chance ending in a police officer dying. At X=100%, you're trading life for life. At what X do you decide to have the sniper take the shot? What if there's a risk of more than one police deaths involved? At what threshold in the probability density function is it worth to take that risk?
- What if money gets involved? The most complicated variant, an extension of trading lives with probabilities. You have me sitting in front of a button, pressing which will immediately wreck the economy of a small country. You can't get to me, but see my head through the scope of your sniper rifle. I'm about to press that button. Will you pull the trigger? And before you say, "obviously no!", keep in mind that wrecking the economy of a country is bound to result in many, many deaths.
"Absolute rights" are good as heuristics. But like all heuristics, they hit corner cases. These corner cases need to be thought about explicitly.
You're assuming that moral propositions are heuristics or a utilitarian optimization problem, and not moral facts that are simply true or not true. This is still a contentious debate, and not the only possibilities either.
In this case, the answers to your questions depends entirely on what the moral facts are. For example, it may be morally impermissible to take a life under any circumstances, which answers many of your questions quite clearly.
I get that this doesn't have the thrilling clarity of some sort of moral fundamentalism. But that's my point. When two groups with different absolute moral beliefs conflict, our options are negotiation or murder. People like the El Paso killer clearly favor the latter. To me that's a sign that however much people hold absolute moral beliefs (and I hope it's relatively little), they should talk about it in utilitarian, relative terms.
See the Categorical Imperative, and also a Proof of the Objectivity of Morals: https://www.reddit.com/r/philosophy/comments/3etl9b/a_proof_...
There are very good reasons why most philosophers are moral realists.
You are your body, they are the same thing unless you can stop being in your body this is a moot point.
> If you don't want to live, should you be forced to?
Rights are freedoms in order to have the right to do something you must also have the right to not do it, or it's not a right.
> How do you trade lives for lives?
Well you don't thats the point. If you don't respect some one else's rights then there is no reason for them to respect yours.
> Do you pull the trigger and save innocent victims
The whole good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns is a myth according to FBI statistics.
The point saintPirelli made is that people focus too much on hypotheticals (what if we can stop shooters by shooting them) rather than accepting the right and focusing on the reality(how do we prevent shooters from killing people), your argument demonstrates this.
Thats why a terrorist/psychotic killer/.. can get shot.
And it is not a myth, that there are daily people trying to shoot other people on this world. And some of them get stopped by a bullet.
The problem is, that usually both sides claim to only react, but that is a different story.
When there is someone mass killing "innocents" and the fastest way to stop it, is a bullet, then what would you propose instead?
Yes thats the argument I was making.
>When there is someone mass killing "innocents" and the fastest way to stop it, is a bullet, then what would you propose instead?
In my comment I propose preventative measures rather than reactionary measures. I do this because reactionary measures are a reaction and measured by the thing they are reacting too. Rights are not reactionary they are fundamental and you cant base a fundamental right on a reaction, thats the point.
So again, what do you do? Respect the perpetrator's right to life and let him keep ending other lives? Or respect the victims' right to life and end the perpetrator's?
I personally dislike the idea of whittling away a Constitutional right through piecemeal laws rather than an amendment to the Constitution. It a disingenuous workaround, like a poll-tax/literacy test erodes a specific class' right to vote without actually changing their Constitutional right.
It's just much easier to sneak in legislation like the Hughes Amendment and hope a favorable Supreme Court and political climate allows it to stand.
No, you're not. You're the runtime state of the software that's running in your brain. Your body is just a peripheral, and can very well work against your will. More importantly, your body doesn't think.
I phrased it this way because in the case when someone wants to die, but the society won't let them, it's technically not them that have the right to live but their body (and the body can't voice its opinion).
> Well you don't thats the point.
Real world sometimes doesn't give you that option. Situations happen in which a choice between who lives and who dies needs to be made.
> The point saintPirelli made is that people focus too much on hypotheticals (what if we can stop shooters by shooting them) rather than accepting the right and focusing on the reality(how do we prevent shooters from killing people), your argument demonstrates this.
If you keep avoiding a problem, you'll be unprepared when you're suddenly forced to confront it head-on.
That is not independent of the state of the underlying neural network, it seems no more reasonable to dissociate the two than it does to conflate them.
The point still stands: your mind and your body can be seen as separate things, and from this point of view you're your mind, not your body.
Unless you can stop being in your body this is a moot point.
> If you keep avoiding a problem, you'll be unprepared when you're suddenly forced to confront it head-on.
I argued for preventative measures not reactionary measures.
You keep talking about reactionary things but rights are not reactionary thats the point you are missing.
My point is that any principle is going to hit edge cases when applied in real life, and so "instead of acknowledging that there are in fact absolute rights - we constantly debate where _the line_ is" is actually the right thing to do, because principles are not absolute rights, and edge cases in fact need to be solved.
It sounds as though what you want is the The Constitution / Bill of Right. A basic set of simply worded principles that influence the definition of law, but aren't themselves "the law".
There are absolute rights, and debating where the line falls is pointless. But when applying it to the real world, you need flexibility (i.e. debate where the line falls).
Anyway, isn't that basically what we already have, with free speech? It's legally protected in even extreme cases where it arguably causes more damage than value, but per event it tends to go through courts (or there is enough court precedence to make that wasted effort).
Court precedence applying flexibility to an absolute intent/right is the debating of the line. Isn't it?
Most edge cases, in fact, can just be managed—they don't need to be solved.
With people, I would argue that not solving edge cases and just managing them when they arise should be the norm. People are messy, and our system should have enough slack in it to act humanely in the vast majority of cases. We really don't need hard and fast rules to cover everything, just "normal" things.
I would argue that relativism is in fact the fundamental construct, and that societies only arise in the unstable balances between extremes.
That's not to say that fundamental rights cannot be instrumental in strengthening society, but since they arise from within society, they will need to be updated as society inevitably changes in time.
Then you pretty much agree with any practice that is currently-bad-but-wasn't-in-the-past? After all, it was relatively ok at the time, and can be again.
Minorities, women and children beware!
This is an assumption, and not on supported by debates in ethics. Once you start questioning everything, you'll see that some moral propositions appear to be unassailable, in that, no argument can simultaneously question the truth of the proposition without also descending into logical incoherency. The categorical imperative would be one such approach, although not the only one.
There are good reasons why most philosophers are moral realists.
Could you clarify what exactly you're arguing here? This part is not entirely clear to me.
Are handicapped people worthy of killing? What about long-term unemployed? What about the opressors - like rich people? Homosexuals? There have literally been people arguing and executing all of these appalling thoughts in the last century and I would argue beneath it all lies a deadly relativism that says "Of course there is a universal right to live, well, unless you are a ... of course."
EDIT: I guess my point is that people have a right to live, not a duty to do so.
If you are asking me, if I think there is such a thing as a "just war": I don't know. I have read Saint Augustine on this topic and am not convinced. I have not personally reached a conclusion on this matter.
The logic of "absolute" rights requires an over-simplification that doesn't reflect how rights work in practice.
We have all sorts of restrictions on the right of free speech. I can't libel someone, I can't make a product and say it's the product of another company, I can't open a random burger place and call it Wendy's. These are all restrictions on my speech and (as far as I've ever seen) even the most ardent free speech activist isn't saying abolish trademarks.
Here you concede "those are all good questions that need to be carefully considered".
...so we're right back to debating where the line is.
I'm not seeing a coherent argument here.
It's very easy to take a particular right (e.g., speech,
property) and defend it absolutely. But rights are
inherently social, and must be balanced against other
Doesn't that sound like a good societal trade off? Your paramount right to privacy can't be defended absolutely at the cost of people's basic access to quality healthcare.
Now can it?
Anyhow, I think the right to privacy is also not absolute. If I'm in public and someone takes a photo, I can't stop that. I also can't force people not to look at me when I'm out in public, or stop them from saying they saw me on the street. Their rights to go about their business in public and their right to free speech are not trumped by my right to privacy.
Medical privacy is different, of course, but that's just another example of my point. In narrow circumstances, certain people (e.g., doctors, hospital staff) can be punished for violating your privacy about certain topics. But there are plenty of exceptions to that. The first hit on my search for "HIPPA exceptions" lists at least 10 reasonable exceptions, including public health and law enforcement: https://www.healthcarecompliancepros.com/blog/exceptions-to-...
In case it isn't clear, I think this is a fine example of balancing societal trade-offs.
Data protection is a huge latent cost in the dispensation of healthcare that goes unnoticed in discussions. And HIPAA can get expensive for the providers.
If you are a small covered entity, HIPAA should cost:
Risk Analysis and Management Plan ~$2,000
Remediation ~ $1,000 - $8,000
Training and policy development ~ $1,000-2,000
Total: $4,000 - $12,000
If you are a medium/large covered entity, HIPAA should cost:
Onsite audit ~ $40,000+
Risk Analysis and Management Plan ~ $20,000+
Vulnerability scans ~ $800
Penetration testing ~ $5,000+
Remediation ~ Varies based on where entity stands in compliance
Training and policy development ~ $5,000+
Total: $50,000+, depending on the entity’s current environment
No, the founding fathers specifically said that freedom of speech is a God given right and not something which the government gives to a person, instead the government simply recognizes that right. They specifically said freedom of speech is a "Natural" right.
Right to clean water is not a right, right to education is not a natural right in their terms. Right to speech, right to self defense are natural rights.
- they can be wrong
- there most likely is no god
The absolutist nature of these discussions and the near deification of a bunch of well-meaning but ultimately fallible humans has me puzzled. There is no way that the people that wrote up the constitutions of the various still functioning (to greater or lesser extent) democracies had the foresight to deal with 100's of years of technological progress.
That said, I think rooting rights in somebody's mythological figures isn't a good idea. And "natural" in this case isn't much more meaningful. It's fine rhetoric, but it's not a very strong conceptual model.
Equally, you have every right to set up a website to say whatever you want. That doesn't mean the people who provide the infrastructure behind that website have to continue to host your platform, it doesn't mean other peoples internet providers have to allow access to your website, and it doesn't mean search providers have to list your website in their results.
Freedom of speech worked really well when the largest audience you could get was the people in your local tavern, but it doesn't scale to a global internet without some adjustment. Just like your other example of the right to self defence - the idea of taking arms against a tyrannical government made perfect sense when everybody had muskets, but it doesn't really scale when the tyrannical government has drones and nukes.
Freedom of speech worked really well when the largest
audience you could get was the people in your local tavern
- You were never allowed to "say whatever you like" in the name of committing fraud
- You were never allowed to "say whatever you like" in terms of threats; I don't know any society that would tolerate a person standing outside his neighbor's home and screaming death threats
I make this somewhat pedantic point because the idea of "free speech with limits" is not some kind of modern idea that represents a watering-down of the lofty ideals upon which modern nations were founded, which is why many people seem to object to it. There were always necessary limits to free speech; the right to free speech has never trumped other peoples' rights not to be threatened, killed, defrauded, etc.
Such societies did and do exist, but usually they are good examples of why we limit hate speech. Nazi Germany and the US South during the KKK’s peak are a couple easy ones to reference. Both of those are examples of societies without free speech that still allowed speech that most societies do not.
Except for enticing violence, fraud or etc.
In Europe, you can get in jail if you say hateful or discriminatory things. We want to keep our society more decent (although cracks are forming).
The freedom of speech indeed doesn't mean that others must facilitate you or listen to you.
We should designate a copy of archive.org as critical infrastructure.
What many folks (often, seemingly willingly) fail to understand is that those rights were never intended to be parsed in a naive, simplistic way that supersedes the rights of others.
The most obvious example would be speech that causes others to be killed: you have a right to free speech, but other people also have a right not to be killed.
That's why you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater and cause a stampede that kills people, etc.
There are many other examples of free speech that infringe on others' rights.
Call free speech a "natural" right if you wish, whatever that means to you, but only a fool would think that either the Founding Fathers or basic human decency and sense dictate that free speech is meant to exist in some sort of vacuum independent from any and all other rights.
Uh, your history classes have really failed you. These rights weren't novel, they were explicitly enshrined in the English Bill of Rights in 1689. Some of the other rights (particularly debtors' rights) date back to the Magna Carta in 1215.
> That's why you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater and cause a stampede that kills people, etc.
For the record, you're citing a 1919 US Supreme Court case that has been overturned. The current standard for free speech in the US is Brandenburg v Ohio , which holds that it is constitutionally-protected free speech to advocate violent overthrow of the government. Only speech that amounts to incitement of "imminent lawless action" is prohibited. Note, of course, that the freedom of speech only applies to the government's ability to restrict speech for its content (which, in the US, is extremely limited); the ability of private parties to choose whether or not to provide a platform for speech is considered freedom of association and does not rely at all on any of these decisions.
 For what it's worth, the actual speech given by Brandenburg is basically the same sort of speech you'll find in these manifestos.
It wasn't about giving freedom to the people, but shifting power from the monarchy to parliment.
The freedom of speech enshrined in the English bill of rights also isn't remotely comparable to the USA idea. It was about parlimentary priviledge - the ability for MPs to have freedom of speech while within parliment. It was about the freedom of parliment to debate and vote without interference from the monarchy. (Parliment can and does impose its own limits on freedom of speech within the chamber and MPs have been literally removed from the chamber for things they've said).
The UK has never had freedom of speech. We even had an official censor (Lord Chamberlain's Office) until 1968. Blasphemy was illegal until 2008, and wasn't just a legacy law which had been forgotten, but there were convictions for it right the way through to the 1990s at least.
Uh, your history classes have really failed you. These rights
weren't novel, they were explicitly enshrined in the English
Bill of Rights in 1689. Some of the other rights (particularly
debtors' rights) date back to the Magna Carta in 1215.
For the record, you're citing a 1919 US Supreme Court case
that has been overturned. The current standard for free speech
in the US is Brandenburg v Ohio , which holds that it is
constitutionally-protected free speech to advocate violent
overthrow of the government
Finally, Douglas dealt with the classic example of a man
"falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic".
In order to explain why someone could be legitimately prosecuted
for this, Douglas called it an example in which "speech is
brigaded with action". In the view of Douglas and Black, this
was probably the only sort of case in which a person could be
prosecuted for speech.
This was not a comprehensive ruling on speech in general. It was an influential ruling on speech specifically meant to rouse others to action.
There are innumerable other types of speech this ruling did not address. Libel, threats, etc.
Forget about folks' educations failing them; your misconceptions could have been avoided with a simple Wikipedia visit. On the bright side, this experience reminded me to make my annual donation to Wikipedia. Obviously it's a sorely-needed resource.
I have no idea what you're trying to argue anymore here, because you seem to be both arguing that the concept of free speech was a radical invention of the American Revolution and that the fact that it predates the American Revolution is "pedantic."
(If you really want to be pedantic, the modern concept of expansive First Amendment rights is actually novel, but dates to the mid-20th century, when SCOTUS started interpreting these rights very expansively and setting up series of very stringent tests. I rather assume that the founding fathers would have been horrified at the depths that Brandenburg v Ohio went to protect offensive speech; it's certainly more radical than is the case in most countries even today).
> You're simply incorrect.
The statement "shouting fire in a crowded theater" is a reference to Schenck, where the justices used that as the example of why advocating against the draft was not constitutionally-protected speech, motivating the "clear and present danger" test that was explicitly overturned by Brandenburg's "imminent lawless action" test.
In other words, Brandenburg v Ohio was quite explicitly saying that the bar for what speech is considered so dangerous as to lose its constitutional protection should not be set at a level that is merely upsetting to people but rather at the level where it is at the literal cusp of violence.
> There are innumerable other types of speech this ruling did not address. Libel, threats, etc.
Of course not. But for the kind of speech that is in question, namely these white supremacist manifestos, it is exactly the case that rules.
As they say, I can explain it to you but I can't comprehend it for you. You're on your own now.
Any argument otherwise should be met with harsh skepticism because you could be actively trying to oppress us again or accidentally enable some future people in power to be able to.
Any argument otherwise should be met with harsh
skepticism because you could be actively trying to
oppress us again or accidentally enable some future
people in power to be able to
Russia's social media operations utilized (and is surely still aiming to utilize) our relatively permissive climate of free speech to sow discord within America and deepen our divisions.
So, there you go - there's "people in power" using free speech to weaken/oppress us.
So you should be able to criticize the king/ president but does it mean you should say anything that pops in to your mind? Defending racist and other hate speech with the first amendment is a banalisation of the first amendment.
It's just that many of my fellow Americans choose to interpret our constitution in a simplistic, childish, and frankly incorrect way.
Our constitutional rights (including free speech) were never meant to be interpreted in a vacuum, irrespective of all other rights.
Our courts have certainly never interpreted things that way. Our courts have always weighed each individual, constitutionally-mandated right against other rights.