Bright Line Distinctions

Well, the Eurotrash section of the German Parliament, in league with the social justice warriors at the German Justice Ministry, are proposing that Facebook and other social networking sites be fined FIFTY MEGABUCKS if they don’t remove all so-called “hate speech” from their websites.

And how, you may ask, can either we or the social media mavens recognize this legendary “hate speech” that is worth fifty million dollars?

Well, nobody knows.

Seriously. Nobody can say what “hate speech” is.

Every country in Europe bigger than a football field, which I’m told is most of them, has their own goofy law trying vainly to define what “hate speech” is when it’s at home. And these latest German “Justice” Department wannabe Teutonic totalitarians aren’t saying what “hate speech” is, even when they try to define it.

I have to say that these “hate speech” laws are one of the reasons that many Americans scratch our heads about Europeans. In the US, those kinds of laws are for children. Those are the rules we enforce in kindergarten and grade school, not in a free society. Here, we can say anything we want, short of yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theater.

In the US, for example, there is no right to not be insulted. This is the land of “Suck it up, buttercup!”. People get to speak their minds, and if you don’t like it, you can speak your own mind about what they said … but you can’t call the police on them. It’s not against the law for people to say terrible things, no matter how offensive, hateful, or awful they may be.

In Europe, it’s different. For example, here’s what passes for the German law on the subject, Section 130

130: Incitement to hatred

Section 130 makes it a crime to:

incite hatred against segments of the population or call for violent or arbitrary measures against them in a manner capable of disturbing the peace

to insult, maliciously malign, or defame segments of the population in a manner capable of disturbing the peace

disseminate, publicly make accessible, produce, obtain, supply, stock, offer, announce, commend, undertake to import or export, or facilitate such use by another of written materials that assaults the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning or defaming segments of the population or a previously indicated group

approve of, deny or downplay an act committed under the rule of National Socialism in a manner capable of disturbing the peace

Now, it is comforting to know that it’s a crime to write anything that “assaults the human dignity of others”, I’ll sleep better for that … but just what the hell does it mean?

As far as I’m concerned, the Koran “assaults the human dignity of others” when it says that it is OK to keep women as sexual slaves, but hey, that’s just me.

And some people think that people saying “LGBT” instead of “LGBTQ” assaults their human dignity, but hey, that’s just them.

Heck, some folks claim that having Donald Trump as US President is a huuuuge assault on human dignity.

So … which of these assaults on human dignity does the German law cover?

No way to tell.

And under German law it is a crime to insult “a segment of the population in a manner capable of disturbing the peace?” What on earth does that mean? Note that the crime here is not disturbing the peace. Nor is the crime insulting someone.

The crime is insulting someone in a manner that a nitwit German judge might find to be CAPABLE of inciting a third party to disturb the peace. So if I say “President Erdogan is a big fat Turkish poopy-head”, and some Turkish gentleman gets so upset by my insult that he shoots the Pope by way of revenge for my insult … am I guilty of a German crime?

No way to tell …

For me, passing these kinds of pseudo-laws should be a crime in itself, for a simple reason. They do not have a “bright line distinction” separating the legal from the illegal. A “bright line distinction” means a clear rule dividing one kind of thing from another kind of thing.

nose punch

Here’s an old example  of a bright line distinction between what is and is not the crime of “battery”:

“My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.”

Simple. Understandable. If you punch someone in the nose, you are guilty of the crime of battery.

But where is the bright line in the German law dividing legal speech from illegal speech? There is none. All they have are vague allusions to “insulting the human dignity” and “maligning” people and like. How is anyone to know if they are breaking that pathetic imitation of a real law?

Now, the founders of the US Constitution were canny old birds. They knew that such vague laws making some kinds of speech illegal are an open invitation to governmental overreach and abuse. When the definition of a crime is “an insult that could possibly cause someone to disturb the peace”, it is up to the prosecutor and the judge to decide just what the law means. That means the government gets to prosecute just about anyone they want to … and that inevitably leads to misuse.

And as verification of my claim that these “hate speech” laws will inevitably be abused by those in power, note that the two people the “hate speech” laws have been applied against most recently were prominent political opponents of their current governments, Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. Coincidence? You be the judge …

The founders of the US took the Gordian knot solution to the “hate speech” problem. Rather than trying vainly to define what could and could not be spoken, they simply said that the citizens of the US have the right to say or print anything, from brilliant insight to bovine excrement, that might pass through their skulls.

Me, I’d think that after watching almost 250 years of the obviously successful American experiment of allowing free speech, the folks in Europe would have noticed, and demanded the same of their legal system … like I said, we scratch our heads.

For me, however, there is a deeper reason that it is foolish to restrict speech. Every parent knows that the lure of the forbidden is nearly irresistible. Take the seventy-year banning of the publication of Hitler’s opus “Mein Kampf” in Germany.

I can think of no act that is more guaranteed to ensure that “Mein Kampf” continues to be read than to say that people can’t read it. How is it that the Europeans have not acquired this basic parental knowledge?

As verification of this, I note that in January of this year, for the first time, a legal version of Mein Kampf was published in Germany … and it was an immediate best-seller. Copies flying off of the shelves!

Bizarre, huh? If someone had said in 1945 that the easiest way to keep Hitler’s ideas alive and to make Mein Kampf a best-seller seventy years in the unknown future would be to outlaw it completely, people would have laughed … but that is exactly what happened.

To summarize so far:

European laws against “hate speech” do not have a “bright line distinction” to allow people to know when they are breaking the law.

This leads to such “hate speech” laws being selectively applied to opponents of the current regime, as we’ve seen lately.

Banning ideas merely leads to those ideas becoming more attractive, particularly to the young and impressionable.

Sadly, we currently see people trying to peddle this same line of feel-good booshwa on our college campuses. The riots at the University of California in Berkeley are an attempt to achieve by violence what the Europeans achieve by bogus laws—the silencing of your opponents.

And rather than the college administrators saying “Hey, listen to the ideas of others and if they are wrong, show us how they are wrong”, far too many US colleges these days are taking the European approach. They are trying to protect the delicate ears of their students from any kind of insult or “micro-aggression”. They are all about “safe spaces”, and “hate speech”, and taking down whiteboards because people sometimes write hateful things on them. For example, the following comments are clearly specist, and represent an obvious micro-aggression that will cause anxiety among cat lovers everywhere:

specism

Seriously. Instead of saying “Suck it up, buttercup, erase it and move on!” to some oh-so-offended students who found BAAAD WORDS written on the whiteboard on the outside of their door, Michigan State removed the whiteboards

What’s next? Is Michigan State going to ban paper because people write hateful things on it?

Unfortunately, I suspect that the purveyors of social media, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and the like, will knuckle under to this latest German outrage. They will likely surrender to this latest reincarnation of the endless land grabs of the German self-declared übermenschen. I say this because disgracefully, both Facebook and Twitter have already censored a number of conservative voices, and sadly, there is no freedom of speech on either platform.

So consider this my protest against the European-style caponization of American freedom of speech. The people’s right to say whatever we believe, regardless of the current party in power, regardless of whether someone’s tender feelings get hurt, is such an important freedom that it is the first right mentioned in the US Bill of Rights. Europeans appear to have given up that right without even a whimper. If the forces of political correctness have their say, the US may cut down on freedom of speech as well … but not silently, because I and many others will speak out for my sacred constitutional right to make a total fool of myself in public, regardless of how many people I offend in the process.

Rain again today, just a few showers. We’ve had a week of dry, so it’s nice to hear the water drip off the eaves, and smell the rich loam of the land outside.

Regards to all,

w.

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43 thoughts on “Bright Line Distinctions

  1. Then there is the story of the College in Canada that removed all the scales from the gym because some people said they would be ‘triggered’ by seeing a scale…

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    • That would be Carleton University in Ottawa. Truly moronic behaviour IMHO and I used to lifeguard in that facilities pool in the summer while going through university. Great facility and very good sports medicine clinic but obviously there are a few leftards on the loose.

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  2. I personally think a very good solution would be to bring back the military draft with no exemptions allowed. Then send them to fight their Islamic brothers. Would be one fine teaching moment.

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  3. One of the strongest free speech problems about any subject is on the issue of so called CAGW. Many scientists have protested to MSM groups to stop any sceptics having the chance to express an opinion. Yet the scientists who believe in their so called CAGW will also tell you that we can have no impact on temp, climate or co2 levels for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. I know this is hard to believe but this is what they tell us.
    There was a big scientific team who compiled the joint Royal Society/ NAS report and they state quite clearly that even if humans stopped all co2 emissions today we wouldn’t see any change for thousands of years. Meanwhile there are hundreds of new coal fired power stations to be completed before 2040 in SE Asia , China, India, parts of EU, Japan, Korea, Africa etc.
    So the RS/NAS conclusion is even more of a problem for the con merchants and liars who’ve tried to shut down any honest debate.. And the Obama govt’s own EIA report also tells us that co2 emissions will increase by 34% by 2040. Just a pity that the liars and fra-dsters didn’t read these reports and ditto the gullible groupthinking leftie voters who really believe we can improve our climate by building more idiotic S&W energy. Trust me I’ve talked to some of these people and they are clueless about everything I’ve just stated above. What’s more some become very hostile and you can see the venom in their eyes and some actually resort to screaming because you dare to question their religion and holy books. Like Gore’s AIT and IPCC reports.
    Some also get very upset if you mention Dr Rosling’s ignorance project and how everything today is so much better than it was 50, 100, and 200 years ago. If you mention how so few people die today from extreme weather events ( a drop of 97% since the 1920s) this really infuriates the more extreme among them. Also ditto trying to convince some of them that the earth is now greening at a fast rate also excites them even more.
    I’m not sure how many really believe their silly nonsense but I’m sure a lot of it is political and certainly not any true concern about increased co2 emissions.

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    • ngard, it seems to be working , the fact that you had to change the word fraudsters to fra-dsters is an indication even we somehow are abiding by what is being preached.

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  4. Democrats in Germany were urged in 1932 to read Mein Kampf to see what to fear. Likewise, I urge everybody to read Dr. Goebbels’s works (he was a minister of propaganda in the Third Reich) – it will help you to interpret the Washington Post or the New York Times. To learn you opponent’s strategy does not make you your opponent.

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    • …Likewise, I urge everybody to read Dr. Goebbels’s works (he was a minister of propaganda in the Third Reich) – it will help you to interpret the Washington Post or the New York Times….

      It is also instructive to consider Goering’s famous comments, as related by G. Gilbert, a psychologist tasked with interviewing German prisoners in the cells at Nuremberg. Gilbert had opined that the common people would not be happy with leaders who started wars:

      Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

      Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

      Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And Goring was right, wasn’t he? Just look at “the day that lives in infamy” and “9/11.” In the first, the president knew of and did nothing about the impending attack because it would motivate the people to accept war in Europe – again. And the second, which obviously employed implosions of buildings, allowed the administration to turn the national values inside out and create a police state.

        As for freedom of speech in the US, well, Willis, it does still limp on, but it no longer walks the walk it did when I was a kid. There are so many things that we can’t say anymore because of PC, The Europeans may be well ahead of us in the “hate speech” department, but we are trying hard to become the world leader in that as well.

        About the only “allowable” hate speech in this country is “the (bleep) Russians did it again,” even though we have thousands of Russians living here in the US and they have to put up with the hate speech and its “unintended consequences.” In truth, “hate speech” is something that is not true but insisted to be so. When it actually is the truth, it really isn’t hate speech.

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        • And Goring was right, wasn’t he? Just look at “the day that lives in infamy” and “9/11.” In the first, the president knew of and did nothing about the impending attack because it would motivate the people to accept war in Europe – again. And the second, which obviously employed implosions of buildings, allowed the administration to turn the national values inside out and create a police state.

          Such blatantly false claims would take us far off-topic, but they should not be allowed to pass without dissent. Nonsense, and worse nonsense! And we are not a ‘police state’. Maybe Mr Tom O should travel to Iran or North Korea and see what one is really like.

          /Mr Lynn

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  5. I went to school and the teachers used slate (or false slate) boards, always black with white or yellow chalk. Other colors rarely.
    We called them “blackboards.” Likely, today that would cause a riot.
    Next came green boards — they didn’t work as well but I suppose they were cheaper. These were often called blackboards, too.
    Wiki says: “Whiteboards became commercially available in the early 1960s, but did not become widely used until 40 years later.” That would make it the year 2000.
    I missed out on this important means of communication. Somehow, I missed 8-track tape, too, and I don’t know how that happened — spent too much time studying, maybe.
    I do remember paper and “Scotch” tape, and then along came Post-It-Notes.
    A comment on the Mich-State article wondered if they would remove the doors to the rooms.
    Good point because as far as I know, paper, tape, and sticky notes have not been outlawed.

    Europe, as it was once experienced, is on a fast track to Eve of Destruction
    [ Barry McGuire,1965]

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  6. Thanks, Willis! Great article! Antero, Finland

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  7. Facebook and other social media sites keep claiming they are unable to remove porn or anything that looks like child abuse. If they now say they can manage to remove ‘hate’ speech, then surely they’ve destroyed their argument about removing or stopping the former.

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  8. …What’s next? Is Michigan State going to ban paper because people write hateful things on it?…

    Perhaps they’re going to ban minds because people can think hateful things…

    Oh! Sorry! I see they already have….

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  9. So I suppose the following would be considered hate speech:

    Why are all Irishmen considered to be magicians?

    Because every time they go around a corner they turn into a bar.

    Happy St Pat’s Day to all!

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  10. Thank you Willis. This a drum I’ve been banging since the first hate crime laws were introduced in the US. There is a level of punishment for killing someone, but an enhanced level of punishment if you have the wrong thoughts in your head. It is silly and dangerous to punish people for the thoughts in their heads. Murdering a gay man or a black man should be punished the same whether it was a crime of passion, a crime of convenience or a crime of prejudice.

    We too, as Americans, have veered off over the bright line of demarcation between the known and the unknown. My cynical nature says that it’s not an accident. I truly believe that a vast segment of those in power are desirous of having a lever of criminality over every citizen. That we can be incarcerated at their convenience for things that should be constitutionally protected. The thoughts in our heads should be able to be expressed or acted on at our discretion, but it appears that boat has sailed unless we have courts that come to their senses and begin to reverse this trend of safe space and micro aggressive nonsense.

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    • Paul Hull March 16, 2017 at 5:55 am

      Thank you Willis. This a drum I’ve been banging since the first hate crime laws were introduced in the US. There is a level of punishment for killing someone, but an enhanced level of punishment if you have the wrong thoughts in your head. It is silly and dangerous to punish people for the thoughts in their heads. Murdering a gay man or a black man should be punished the same whether it was a crime of passion, a crime of convenience or a crime of prejudice.

      This issue of “intent”, or what you call “wrong thoughts in your head” is by no means restricted to “hate crimes”, It has been a settled part of the law for centuries.

      So for example, we have:

      Accidental death (involuntary manslaughter)
      Manslaughter 2
      Manslaughter 1
      Murder 2
      Murder 1
      Capital Murder

      The end result of each of these is the same—someone is dead.

      But we distinguish and punish differently, and in my mind rightly so, between a death that is accidental, a death that results from negligence, a death that happens in the passion of the moment, a death that was planned, and a death that involves particularly heinous actions.

      Please note that ALL OF THESE DISTINCTIONS ARE ONLY DIFFERENCES IN INTENT. They all end up the same—dead guy. But involuntary manslaughter is punished much less harshly than murder in the first diegree, PURELY BECAUSE OF THE “THOUGHTS IN YOUR HEAD”.

      Now, you are free to argue that a “hate crime” should not be a category which is separate from the six categories of killing someone listed above. And indeed, you may be right.

      But making that argument based on saying it’s wrong to consider someone’s intention? That goes against centuries of settled and established law.

      Finally, your that we should ignore intent would lead to us treating involuntary manslaughter exactly the same as we treat capital murder … and I doubt greatly whether that is what you started out to accomplish.

      w.

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      • Willis:

        This issue of “intent”, or what you call “wrong thoughts in your head” is by no means restricted to “hate crimes”, It has been a settled part of the law for centuries.

        This is true, and intent is usually ascertained by defining ‘motive’, for which evidence of ‘thoughts’ (written or spoken words, or relevant actions) can be definitive. What has happened is that a separate class of crimes like assault or murder has been invented to cover those committed with motives of ‘hatefulness’ toward certain (but by no means all) groups or categories of people. It could be argued that there is some social benefit; the problem is who gets identified as acceptable victims.

        It might have been nice if ‘hate of witches’ had not been an allowable excuse for killing them. But of course, by the (unfortunate) standards of the day, they were indeed hateful and deserved to die. So today it appears that assassination of white police officers, while certainly murder, is not an ‘hate crime’. Since the very idea of a ‘hate crime’ depends upon categorizing victims, it runs the very real risk of removing the blindfold from Lady Justice.

        Extending the idea of ‘hate crime’ to encompass mere speech of course goes far beyond the guarantees of our Bill of Rights, as you rightly point out in the lead post.

        /Mr Lynn

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      • Sorry Willis, I obviously wasn’t clear in my communication. I wasn’t addressing intent, but rather the motive or emotion behind the intent. Why should there be extra punishment because of, say, a ‘hate crime’ crime murder v. a murder to keep a witness from talking to the police. If it is clear in that in both cases the perp intentionally killed the victim, I would contend that the punishment should be the same. Otherwise we are, indeed, handing out punishment for thought crimes.

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      • Willis, you left one out of your list: “He just needed killin’.” That one’s pretty common down in the Southern part of the U.S.

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  11. “Here, we can say anything we want, short of yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theater.”

    This is a common myth about free speech. You most certainly can yell “FIRE” if there is a fire or if you simply think (incorrectly) there is a fire. And, even if you are not telling the truth, I think it is still constitutionally protected speech, although I cannot remember where I read that. As far as I can tell, the limitations on free speech are better described by any speech “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

    https://www.thefire.org/a-reminder-about-shouting-fire-in-a-crowded-theater/

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    • Thanks, Earl. There is indeed a second exception to the First Amendment. It’s called the “fighting words” exception. It’s only been a successful case a couple of times. It refers to saying something that is well-known to cause some given group to IMMEDIATELY try to pound your head into the ground.

      In general, however, there are no restraints on stating our opinion on things. Good thing, too, because like Bob Dylan said,

      If my thought-dreams could be seen
      They’d pro’bly put my head into a guillotine

      Best to you,

      w.

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  12. I can’t help–given that I grew up between the times of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” and “special snowflake” times, where words are painfully injurious but actual violence can be “safely” ignored–that the creation of hate-speech laws (and other “hate” crimes) and similar stupidities is civilisation selling its enemies the rope by which they will hang us.

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  13. Hi Willis,
    you may have some serious concerns about this issue, but surely you are on the wrong path. Simply: You do not have any insight in our culture und you may have forgotten our history. And you do not know our constitution or our Basic Law..

    We Germans had times when we looked down on others, when we considered us as the Master Race and when we used false claims about others with the aim to overcome them, even to kill them. Or just use the right to oppress others and to exploit them.

    All that begun with fake statements and claims. The “Reichskristallnacht” or progrome night through the Nazis in 1938 was the first big outburst of terror and violence against Jews. Later followed Gipsies, Homosexuals, Jehovas Witnesses, handicapped. artists, and so on.

    When the war and the madness was over, the founders of the new Federal Republic of Germany thought about how to keep away such things. So they started the new constitution with the sentence:

    “(1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.”

    Here you get the the full text in English.
    https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/englisch_gg.html#p0021

    Human dignity is the most important value according to The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.
    Formerly we didn’t care about it and made a mess out of the world. So we have even laws which define what is a statutory offense agains human dignity or not. And dignitiy for us is not only about how somebody talks about others. Even how it is cared for the disabled, the poor, the troublemakers: Human dignity is one of the most important things for us. To care for it is one of our roots.

    We are walking this street now for 70 years, and it is a part of our way of living and our culture.

    So there are some punishable acts in the law, like rabble-rousing, and they are well defined by law and judical practise. And these acts have to be prosecuted. Even if it is used in the internet.

    So no leftist or communist snowflake behavior. It is a time honored judical practise, which has to be adopted to the internet time.

    One other matter: You say: In the US, those kinds of laws are for children. Yes, you are right. Our kids are in danger. To be seduced in one or another direction. From radical Muslims, from Neo-Nazis and fro Ultra-Lefts. do you know how many young boys and girls in Germany were radicalized and went to Syria to fight for the ISIS? Do you know how many of or Citizen with migrant background, living here in the second or third Generation have been killed by Neo-Nazis? How many houses of migrants or foreigners are burnt each week? How many conservatives are threatened and beaten from Ultra-Lefts?

    Most of them have been radicalized through the internet. What our Minister of Justice is doing is also to prevent such things. You will find nearly no person in Germany, which is objecting to that. BTW, Youtube is doing the task nicely and detetes about 90% of the indicated videos. The idea is like that: If somebody sees something which could be against the law, he can indicate it to facebook. Within a reasonable time, facebook has to check it and delete, if applicable.

    Some other issue: Yes, you can fall down at the other side if the horse, too. Yes, one could take advantage and extend this to political incorrect speech. Yes, we we have to be careful. And to say something, if it is going in the wrong direction. We have noticed that.

    Just let you tell me one last thing: We, the German People have decided to break with our bad history, and to do something to prevent it happening again. To protect human dignity is a way to do it, and it’s our way, and we are proud if it. It is a reasonable part of our culture and who are you to lament and complain about it?

    Howgh! The German has spoken.

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    • naturbaumeister, thanks for your comment. Despite your claim that censorship is a viable path, I see you have not responded to my criticism, viz:

      Take the seventy-year banning of the publication of Hitler’s opus “Mein Kampf” in Germany.

      I can think of no act that is more guaranteed to ensure that “Mein Kampf” continues to be read than to say that people can’t read it. How is it that the Europeans have not acquired this basic parental knowledge?

      As verification of this, I note that in January of this year, for the first time, a legal version of Mein Kampf was published in Germany … and it was an immediate best-seller. Copies flying off of the shelves!

      Bizarre, huh? If someone had said in 1945 that the easiest way to keep Hitler’s ideas alive and to make Mein Kampf a best-seller seventy years in the unknown future would be to outlaw it completely, people would have laughed … but that is exactly what happened.

      Nor have you dealt with the fact that the two latest high-visibility persecutions under your bogus European “hate speech” laws were Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen … despite knowing that these “hate speech” laws are being used to squelch political opposition, you ignore that and claim it works just fine. It doesn’t.

      Next, as my name implies I am of German descent, and I am far from clueless about German history. Let me say that you don’t have a damn thing to boast about, including your latest immigrant madness. It appears that letting in people who hate your culture is your method of atoning for your past sins …

      … and you think that that colossal stupidity gives you the high moral ground and lets you lecture the world about how to act? Dude, we don’t want to be like you!

      Sorry, not impressed. YOU seem unaware of German history and particularly unclear about the effects of your current actions. You claim that you are striving for “human dignity” at the same time that you are covering up the Islam-inspired rape of your women in Cologne. And you think we should emulate you???

      Bad news, Mr. Natural. You don’t get to lecture the world about one damn thing. First you need to fix up your own Government’s stupidity and callousness, your ignorance of the dangers of Islam, your coverups of sexual attacks, your stupid censorship laws that keep people from speaking their minds, and your arrogant attitude so well expressed by Ms. Merkel and repeated by you here, that we’re all ignorant of the greatness of Germany. We’re not ignorant of it, we are all too aware that you have no greatness to fall back on. You are cowardly savages who are currently letting both German women and your German belief systems be assaulted, attacked, and killed, and pretending that nothing is happening just to be politically correct.

      No surprise, given your path in WWII … I’m just sickened to see it all happening, Mein Kampf selling like hotcakes, skinheads stronger than ever, Muslims running riot, and all the rest, while you and Angela tell us it’s all just wonderful and lecture us about “human dignity” …

      naturbaumeister, the problem in WWII was not offenses agains “human dignity”. It was that you imprisoned and killed millions of innocent people. Bleating about “human dignity” and stopping people from “hate speech” is not the way to either atone for or to learn from your past crimes against humanity. That’s just more militant German paternalism, trying once again to impose your will on the people rather than allowing them to speak freely. The truth is, Father doesn’t know best, even when it is the Fatherland—the people know best. You should let them speak.

      w.

      Liked by 3 people

      • HI Wiilis,

        You wrote:

        “Take the seventy-year banning of the publication of Hitler’s opus “Mein Kampf” in Germany.

        I can think of no act that is more guaranteed to ensure that “Mein Kampf” continues to be read than to say that people can’t read it. How is it that the Europeans have not acquired this basic parental knowledge?

        As verification of this, I note that in January of this year, for the first time, a legal version of Mein Kampf was published in Germany … and it was an immediate best-seller. Copies flying off of the shelves!

        Bizarre, huh? If someone had said in 1945 that the easiest way to keep Hitler’s ideas alive and to make Mein Kampf a best-seller seventy years in the unknown future would be to outlaw it completely, people would have laughed … but that is exactly what happened.”

        Just some clarification about Mein Kampf:

        It was never prohibited to read or sell Mein Kampf.

        The Free State od Bavaria was leagal sucessor of Hitler and had the rights for this book. So they simply did not use the copyrigt for the print of further copies or editions. In Germany, 70 years after the dead of an Author, the copyright expires.

        So what Bavaria did at the end of it, was to order a judical institute to make a critical edition. It consists about double as much comments as Hitlers Text. What I read in comments about the book, the writings of Hitler are quite boring, but the comments shed an intersting light on the historical events around.

        The book had a first edition of 4000 pcs, the second is 15000. Yes, it was a Bestseller – in the category National Socialism. Wich other book out of this category could have topped it?

        Okay, some thousand German reading customers so far, but after 70 years not availble, this is no big fish.

        To other aspects you mentioned, I will write another comment.

        Like

        • Thanks, Mr. Natural. You claim is mostly but not completely correct. You’ve left out WHY the Bavarians refused to publish it. I find this:

          At the time of his suicide, Hitler’s official place of residence was in Munich, which led to his entire estate, including all rights to Mein Kampf, changing to the ownership of the state of Bavaria. The government of Bavaria, in agreement with the federal government of Germany, refused to allow any copying or printing of the book in Germany. It also opposed copying and printing in other countries, but with less success. As per German copyright law, the entire text entered the public domain on 1 January 2016, 70 years after the author’s death.[41]

          So it was an agreement between the Bavarian state government and the German central government to not allow any copying or printing of the book.

          I also find this:

          [Bavaria] has blocked publication in Germany – although it is available online – but the rights expire next year, allowing anyone to print it.

          Bavaria insists that would be illegal under German law banning the spreading of Nazi ideology.

          So obviously, publication in Germany is blocked, and Bavaria says it’s because of Nazi ideology.Then there is this:

          In 2008, Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, not only recommended lifting the ban, but volunteered the help of his organization in editing and annotating the text, saying that it is time for the book to be made available to all online.[43]

          If there is no ban, then what are they talking about when they say “lifting the ban”?

          I note also that the German judicial system only ruled that it was legal to own the book in 1979 … meaning that for almost thirty-five years it was not legal.

          Where I live, they call this “censorship”. In Germany things may be different.

          But in either case, my point remains. The best way to make sure that an idea stays alive is to ban it. Don’t believe me? Ask the kids … they always go for the forbidden fruit.

          Thanks for the clarification,

          w.

          Like

    • Here you get the the full text in English.
      https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/englisch_gg.html#p0021

      Human dignity is the most important value according to The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

      Thanks for that link. Very interesting. Is there a story of how this was written? Did the US help as it did in Japan?

      It’s hard to make formal statements like this. For example, define ‘human dignity’.

      Article 5
      [Freedom of expression, arts and sciences]

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

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

      The way I read this, the constitution says “no censorship”, then it says it’s okay to pass laws taking away that “right”.

      Like

      • Hi Willis, hi YMMV,

        The difference between Federal Germany and the U.S. is that we Germans are the heirs of a horrible history, and only few of our ancestors have done something to prevent it.

        After World War II we were struggling what to do to prevent that. On the one hand to allow free speech, but on the other hand to prevent false and humiliating messages. Yes, I am aware, that there are dangers to forbid too much, but what is wrong is defined under the law, and measured by judges.

        Remember, Hitlers success started by blaming Jews and other people to be inferior and the Arian race superior, and to re-do the shame of having lost WW II. There were a large number of false claims (also pseudo-scientific), which were repeated again and again, so that at least they were believed.

        The founders of the FRG where mostly people who were silenced under Hitler and tried to do the right thing now.

        The constitution of the Free State of Bavaria, (which I am a proud citizen of) was made before the German Basic Law. It starts like this:

        “Angesichts des Trümmerfeldes, zu dem eine Staats- und Gesellschaftsordnung ohne Gott, ohne Gewissen und ohne Achtung vor der Würde des Menschen die Überlebenden des zweiten Weltkrieges geführt hat, in dem festen Entschluß, den kommenden deutschen Geschlechtern die Segnungen des Friedens, der Menschlichkeit und des Rechtes dauernd zu sichern, gibt sich das Bayerische Volk, eingedenk seiner mehr als tausendjährigen Geschichte, nachstehende demokratische Verfassung.”

        Translated from me with the help of GT:

        “In view of the ruins of a state and social order without God, without conscience, and without respect for the dignity of man, which led to the Second World War, in the firm decision to secure to the coming generations the blessings of peace, humanity and justice, The Bavarian people, following their more than a thousand years of history, give themselves the following democratic constitution.”

        The problem is, how do you handle such a burden? You see, they were kind of overwhelmed, and tried to do their best.

        National Socialism was never hidden for Germans. We had it several times in school, we visit the Concentration Camps, there are Places and National days to commemorate the evils of it.

        And believe me; we cannot stand it when some foolish diehards are telling that there were no camps and Hitler was a good guy. The cruelty that happened there was too big to be silenced or denied.

        I clearly see the dangers of silencing opinions, but there should be ways how to handle evil messages. Repetition of lies will make them to truth.

        The point is this: We have different cultures.

        The Americans see that in Germany are restrictions to free speech, and human dignity has a very high value sometimes even over free speech.

        The Germans see that in the US you can annoy everybody and everyone is allowed to carry a gun, which leads to double number of homicides than in the rest of the world.

        Roughly speaking.

        Our opinions and our values are shaped by our history – the national, the local, and the privat history. The result is culture. And culture controls even our logical thinking – to some degree.

        BTW: This applies even to Muslim people. We have a number of Turkish neighbors, living here for 30-40 years. There is no big difference in our thinking. Their culture has changed in the run of time.

        Like

        • naturbaumeister March 20, 2017 at 1:45 am Edit

          Hi Willis, hi YMMV,

          The difference between Federal Germany and the U.S. is that we Germans are the heirs of a horrible history, and only few of our ancestors have done something to prevent it.

          After World War II we were struggling what to do to prevent that. On the one hand to allow free speech, but on the other hand to prevent false and humiliating messages. Yes, I am aware, that there are dangers to forbid too much, but what is wrong is defined under the law, and measured by judges.

          naturbaumeister, thanks for your reply. However, you seem to be totally unclear on the idea of a “bright line distinction”. Your definition of what is wrong, for example, is “insulting human dignity”. How the hell can I, Willis The Jerk, tell if I’m breaking that law? For example. Is it offending human dignity to say that the Prophet Mohammed was a bloody warlord who kept sexual slaves? I’m sure you could find lots of Muslims who would say that is definitely an insult to human dignity. Or how about a book saying it’s OK to keep sexual slaves, a book which has led to there being thousands of sexual slaves TODAY as we discuss ths?

          Would that book be an insult to human dignity? I’d say definitely yes, but that’s the Koran.

          Here’s the thing, naturbaumeister. Under your law, the Koran is clearly illegal. But you will never enforce your own law on that one. Instead, such laws are used against POLITICAL OPPONENTS OF THE STATE. Wonderful. That’s the beauty of such vague laws. It’s up to the State to decide who to punish, so you can screw over all the opponents you wish. Call us crazy, but here in the US we don’t put up with that crap.

          You also say:

          The founders of the FRG where mostly people who were silenced under Hitler and tried to do the right thing now.

          The irony is strong with this one, Luke … I guess you truly don’t see that responding to Hitler silencing people by silencing people yourselves is freakin’ hilarious. In fact, that sentence is emblematic of your blindness to what you are really doing.

          I clearly see the dangers of silencing opinions, but there should be ways how to handle evil messages. Repetition of lies will make them to truth.

          Maybe that happens in Germany. Here, we trust the citizens to distinguish lies from truth, and it’s worked great for 250 years. Hey, try it, you might like it.

          The point is this: We have different cultures.

          The Americans see that in Germany are restrictions to free speech, and human dignity has a very high value sometimes even over free speech.

          That is absolute hogwash. You can piss on my boots, but you can’t convince me it’s raining.

          You let into your country savages who raped women in Cologne, and you concealed it and lied about it to the world about it. Human dignity has a “high value” for you? Don’t make me laugh. You obviously don’t give a shit about women’s dignity, you’re too concerned with being politically correct. What about the human dignity of the women whose rapes and assaults you covered up?

          As I said above, your blindness is stunning. You appear to truly believe you are the good guys.

          The Germans see that in the US you can annoy everybody and everyone is allowed to carry a gun, which leads to double number of homicides than in the rest of the world.

          You think that free speech is the right to “annoy everybody”? Perhaps you’ve been too busy re-creating the Hitlerian silencing of people to read up on US history. Here’s a primer. The First Amendment to the Constitution says:

          Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petitition the Government for a redress of grievances.

          I don’t see anything in there that says we have the right to “annoy everybody”. Instead, we have freedom of speech because the Founding Fathers had had enough of British tyrants and Hessian mercenaries arresting them and jailing them for objecting to the government’s actions.

          And you are still doing that today, while pretending that you care about human dignity … which wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t also claim to have the moral high ground. You don’t. You’ve given than away by your actions, first in WWII, and now with the Muslim invasion. Islam is the ideology that is far and away the most oppressive of women, and you turn a blind eye to that. You think that you are being compassionate and caring, when in fact you are inviting in one of Hitlers biggest allies. The Muslims loved Hitler, and that is no coincidence.

          You don’t seem to get it. We look at Germany and we see a caponized nation where it is illegal to point out that the German government is letting in savages, or commenting on what the savages do once they arrive … and you think we should be like you? Really?

          My friend, we want to be as unlike that as possible.

          Ah, well, none so blind as those who cannot see …

          My best to you, and please excuse my tone. I know it’s harsh at times, but I fear I have little patience for an apologist for a nation that covers up Muslim rapes and makes it illegal for its citizens to comment on that fact in any but the officially approved manner. Perhaps that BS goes over well with your friends and colleagues, but with me, not so much …

          w.

          Like

  14. Willis, I love this thread of bright line distinction in the law – that is how it should be. Simple, just the facts, no interpretation or opinion, or mind reading. Yes as you stated in your previous post we have degrees of murder/manslaughter, but also as you state, it doesn’t change the fact that someone is dead, and someone is responsible… and sometimes what the judge thinks is a fair punishment doesn’t match what the friends or family of the victim think. So not necessarily fair for everyone.

    These “offend” laws are silly, as the only person who can tell how offended they really are is the person claiming it… Judges are not God, they cannot read the mind of the offended person, not fully understand the motive of the person making the statement, so they should not even try.

    As for Facebook and Twitter… they won’t do it, but I think they should just have the line that “We cannot possibly know what content someone will find offensive, so we are shutting down all access to our services from any European country.” See if the laws change in a hurry when their populace is suddenly cut off from their digital social life.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. South Africa’s ANC majority government is considering introducting a ‘hate speech’ bill, ON TOP of the stuff they already have. The ‘white’ minority is expecting this to be exclusively used against them. For example, under the existing laws, an old lady who tweeted against the ‘monkeys’ making a terrible mess of her beautiful Durban beaches was fined R200000 (about $15000) for generalised ‘hate speech’, while a government employee who tweeted about killing all whites was ‘disciplined internally’ (i.e. told not to be so naughty).
    Yep, freedom of speech – for some!

    Like

  16. Hi Willis
    Another nice article, thank you very much. There’s one thing though. You write

    I have to say that these “hate speech” laws are one of the reasons that many Americans scratch our heads about Europeans.

    From my european (non-EU) perspective this sounds strange. I always had the impression that the term ‘political correctness’ came from the US, back in the nineties. I also had the impression that ‘hate speech’ is some follow up of the PC-culture, also originating in the US.
    I may be wrong, but I think that the german translations of those two terms sound quite strange and are seldom used, may be an supporting factor of my theory.
    Maybe in Germany the terms fell on fertile ground because of their ‘Vergangenheitsbewältigungs’-problem?
    Regards, Lorenz

    Like

    • Thanks, Lorenz. Regarding the question of “hate speech” laws, while we have lots of people trying to impose such ideas on us in the name of “political correctness”, to date we are still protected by the First Amendment. This guarantees us the right to freely speak our minds.

      In Europe, on the contrary, nearly every nation has a “hate speech” law of some kind. These laws prohibit the populace from expressing their opinions on the contentious issues of the day. For example, Geert Wilders was convicted under those laws simply for asking if there should be more or less Moroccans in the Netherlands. That’s what makes Americans scratch our heads and wonder if Holland is a nation, or a kindergarten where the kids need protection from disconcerting or scary words and phrases.

      Now, I don’t know what they call those laws in Germany, but they exist there as well as in most European countries. Here’s a list of bogus “hate speech” laws around the world.

      My best to you,

      w.

      Like

      • Hi Willis, thanks for the list. Thankfully in Switzerland the so called hate speech law is quite soft. A politician couldn’t have been sued here for asking Wilders question.

        What Wilders said doesn’t seem to be hate speech. A reasonable question which a nation should be able to discuss, else democracy is in big trouble.

        Regards, L

        Like

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