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> The founding fathers enumerated rights like "free speech" because those were novel (not entirely new, but fairly novel) notions at the time.

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 [1], 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.

[1] For what it's worth, the actual speech given by Brandenburg is basically the same sort of speech you'll find in these manifestos.




The English Bill of rights is not what you think it is.

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.


Wow, that's a rude and (more importantly) factually incorrect remark. Is HN becoming Reddit?

    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.
Sure. That's why I qualified my statement: "not entirely new" and "fairly novel" rather than "entirely novel" because I'm aware that the U.S. Constitution is not the first time these notions have appeared in law. It was specifically an attempt to head off a pedantic reply such as yours.

    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 [1], which holds that it is
    constitutionally-protected free speech to advocate violent 
    overthrow of the government
You're simply incorrect. The justices' opinions in this case specifically agreed with this particular instance of prohibited speech, even referring to it directly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio#Concurrenc...

    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. 
More to the point, please understand: this ruling specifically addressed inflammatory (no pun presumably intended) 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.


> Sure. That's why I qualified my statement: "not entirely new" and "fairly novel" rather than "entirely novel" because I'm aware that the U.S. Constitution is not the first time these notions have appeared in law. It was specifically an attempt to head off a pedantic reply such as yours.

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.


In this reply I corrected your misunderstandings of a number of things: my post, history, etc.

As they say, I can explain it to you but I can't comprehend it for you. You're on your own now.




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