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  1. #1
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    Danish Cartoonist nearly assassinated by Islamist

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8437433.stm

    It hardly needs be said that Freedom of speech is the freedom from which all others spring. It is the most precious legacy of the west. And the most fragile, as it is constantly under attack by those who want to control speech for their own political/ideological reasons.

    If you want some Free Speech philosophy: John Stewart Mill is generally regarded as the classic thinker on the topic.

    If you think Mr. Westergaard deserves to be killed for creating his cartoons, please post your reasons below. I would be interested in hearing your argument.

    (If you just don't care whether he lives or dies, or don't care about free speech issues, please don't bother responding.)

    Thanks,
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  4. #2
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    So, he makes a cartoon showing Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, and the people offended by it react violently. Shows the type of thinking the attackers have.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    If you think Mr. Westergaard deserves to be killed for creating his cartoons, please post your reasons below. I would be interested in hearing your argument.
    ...What? Did you seriously type that? Why? I'd be scared if someone from here actually responded to that.
    Last edited by Psychotime; January 2nd, 2010 at 12:26 AM.

  5. #3
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    I think its more likely that our own governments will take our freedoms away then these religious zealots.

    That being said..

    The cure to this issue is not bombs or bullets but education. I recently saw a video on HBO where they interviewed the sole surviving terrorist from the Mumbai attack. He was an uneducated man and his accomplices also were uneducated, they were manipulated by some religious fanatics and trained to kill in the name of god. That same situation is echoed throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The only weapon the west has that can stop this madness is not bombs from a plane or bullets from a gun, but knowledge and information given to the masses.

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  7. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krato View Post
    I think its more likely that our own governments will take our freedoms away then these religious zealots.

    That being said..

    The cure to this issue is not bombs or bullets but education. I recently saw a video on HBO where they interviewed the sole surviving terrorist from the Mumbai attack. He was an uneducated man and his accomplices also were uneducated, they were manipulated by some religious fanatics and trained to kill in the name of god. That same situation is echoed throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The only weapon the west has that can stop this madness is not bombs from a plane or bullets from a gun, but knowledge and information given to the masses.
    /thread

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  9. #5
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    Originally Posted by Bill:
    "We need them [Guns] because we are all in State Militias. Otherwise all these kids who get accidently shot in the head, all the people killed by wackos going on shooting sprees, all of that would be for nothing. As it is, those people got killed as a byproduct of our need for State Militias. Of course we need the State Militias in case the British invade. So you can see how it all makes sense."

    Originally Posted by Kev:
    "When you characterize an argument as a cartoon, its easy to seem smart and well informed by comparison. Drop the cartoon version and give it a re-think, and go for the actual philosophical arguments this time, rather than the facile talking points you're being exposed to at the moment. History tends to repeat itself but in new ways, and being aware of history is a good idea."

    ...

    You seem to be in favor of free speach so long as the speaker agrees with you. If they don't you seem to dismiss the speaker via the assumption that that speaker is an uninformed lemming. Wether you are for or against cartoons is hard to tell at this point.

  10. #6
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    Live. For sure.

    I tend to agree with the notion that freedom of speech is one of our most precious legacies here in the west, and something that is taken for granted and not as well defended by the average person as it ought to be.

    I printed out a news article this morning to take to my class for discussion stating that authorities here in China have arrested somewhere along the lines of 6,000 people for simply accessing pornographic websites, after the beginning of the Chinese crackdown on porn accessibility here in China. I had a discussion (that thankfully didn't turn into an argument) with my girlfriend about this nonsense about a Brit being executed here in China for smuggling drugs. She was born and raised in Beijing, and her opinion seems to largely reflect that of most of my other Chinese friends, that being that he deserved to be executed. Yes it's the law here and everything, but to even TALK about it in a criticizing tone here can easily bring swift and heavy punishment. She suggested that us westerners are just upset because China is gaining some power on the world stage. Hell yes I'm uncomfortable! I like China overall, and nearly all my friends are Chinese including as stated before my girlfriend, but the idea of a China that has the economic, military, and political power to influence the laws of other countries is terrifying! With no regard for human rights, and a long history of authoritarian rule, and a populace that sees all of it as being the right way to go I fear for my personal freedoms and believe quite honestly that if this mindset were to take hold in the west that back home we'd start seeing more of these kinds of things happening. Not just being carried out by ideological extremists, but possibly more and more by our own governments under pressure from the new authoritarian power(s) that very easily could be calling the shots in the near future.

    Should this guy die for simply authoring a comic critical of an ideology?

    Fuck no.
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  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krato View Post
    I think its more likely that our own governments will take our freedoms away then these religious zealots.

    That being said..

    The cure to this issue is not bombs or bullets but education. I recently saw a video on HBO where they interviewed the sole surviving terrorist from the Mumbai attack. He was an uneducated man and his accomplices also were uneducated, they were manipulated by some religious fanatics and trained to kill in the name of god. That same situation is echoed throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The only weapon the west has that can stop this madness is not bombs from a plane or bullets from a gun, but knowledge and information given to the masses.
    That's a wise and noble statement. However, as good as it sounds, it's not the way to solve these problems because then we run into deep-rooted cultural and philosohphical values. People here harbor huge resentment of the west because no matter how benign (or malign as the case sometimes is) western intent to educate and encourage development, the average person sees it as a front on their cultural identity.

    Education in what? And by whose standards?

    These are the questions given to me by my students, girlfriend, and friends when I said the same thing with regard to a variety of topics. Followed then by extremely nationalistic responses essentially boiling down to: Fuck you western pigs and your high-and-mighty ideas of "enlightenment".

    Cultural barriers are a bitch.
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  14. #8
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    IMHO.

    Freedom of speech, is misleading, and mostly used in the wrong way by most people that do not understand.

    Freedom of speech, does not mean freedom from the inherent responsibility that comes with that freedom.

    You are not free to say and do as you like, without understanding the possible consequences of said speech.

    You speak it, you own it, you also own the possible ramifications of your stance.

    If you walk up to a person and scream into their face, FUCK YOU! and that person turns around a hits you, you have to take the reaction of said person as a result as you practicing your freedom.

    There is no such thing of freedom of responsibility from the speech you just made.
    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director

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  16. #9
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    While I certainly think that solving a situation with violence is unjustified...

    I'm fairly certain that many people could identify with reacting negatively in a situation in which a loved one is portrayed in a slanderous manner. If someone drew a cartoon of your girlfriend, little sister, etc as a prostitute, and made it public...you most likely wouldn't be too happy about it, and I'm fairly certain that people in western countries do in fact kill each other (both purposefully and unintentionally), over such slights. When people have stopped killing each other for petty reasons altogether, then we can maybe act like we've got the superior set of morals. Religion is for some people a very deep and personal thing...to dismiss a person's relationship with religion as "less important" than a trespass against family or loved ones is a dangerous assumption to make.

    I think we sometimes take the degree in which we are indoctrinated to abstain from violence, and act with temperance for granted in Western culture. We know if we slug some guy for screaming in our face, we'll probably go to jail for assult. Yet, there is plenty of "justified" violence on our TV screens every night...but is it really "just"? In other parts of the world...violence in every day life is very real. It is human nature to compare ourselves against our brethren. Violence breeds violence, until the strong stand up, say enough!, and lead by example.
    Last edited by Aphotic Phoenix; January 2nd, 2010 at 01:11 AM.

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  18. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    IMHO.
    cut

    If you walk up to a person and scream into their face, FUCK YOU! and that person turns around a hits you, you have to take the reaction of said person as a result as you practicing your freedom.

    There is no such thing of freedom of responsibility from the speech you just made.
    Freedom of speech protects you from the reprocussions of your speech from the GOVERNMENT. The government does not have the right to detain you or otherwise make you suffer legal consequences for what you say.

    If you go up to joe blow and scream fuck you in his face, and he slugs you that has nothing to do with freedom of speech.
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  20. #11
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    But see, that isn't correct either.

    No matter WHO is spoken to or what organization (government) you speak out against, there is NO guarantee of no repercussions.

    A government employee speaks out against the government's handling of in international issue. Within that government their are individuals who feel that you are wrong and they take issue with you in a subtle way, preventing you from going any further in the grading system.

    You, as an individual protest at a rally against a government nuclear facility, and go on a list of possible radicals to keep watch on. A anti-government list you may call it.

    The US did it in the 60's, they do it still today.

    Legal, is called the patriot act in the USA.

    Action does not always mean overt.
    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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  22. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulverture View Post
    That's a wise and noble statement. However, as good as it sounds, it's not the way to solve these problems because then we run into deep-rooted cultural and philosohphical values. People here harbor huge resentment of the west because no matter how benign (or malign as the case sometimes is) western intent to educate and encourage development, the average person sees it as a front on their cultural identity.

    Education in what? And by whose standards?

    These are the questions given to me by my students, girlfriend, and friends when I said the same thing with regard to a variety of topics. Followed then by extremely nationalistic responses essentially boiling down to: Fuck you western pigs and your high-and-mighty ideas of "enlightenment".

    Cultural barriers are a bitch.
    Very good point, But we still need to try. If we (the U.S) were to spend 700 billion dollars on educating people at home and abroad we would be much better then off then where were are now.. which is being stuck knee deep in endless wars. If they dont want our form of education then we must go by there's, fund their schools and make sure the money doesn't go to things like "your part in the jihad 101". Would the people of these countries be more willing to enter a brand new school built by the outsiders or and upgraded school that has been in there town for decades?

  23. #13
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    Probably the school that has been there for decades. It's been around longer and people are familiar with it. We're back to the old cultural barriers where people say "This place was built by outsiders who don't know who we are or what we are all about". Cultural resentment among countries is deep-seeded and no amount of money can solve the problem.

    Using my current settings as my primary example again, I remember some of my friends recalling their first experiences with mcdonalds when it first appeared here in Beijing and other cities.

    I remember one person in particular telling me about how after eating a cheeseburger for the first time she literally vomited right there in the store, because she had never been exposed to western cheese before and apparently her body didn't like it. I have been told similar things by other people for other foods. Now years later many of these people steer entirely clear of western fast food in favor for what is known and familiar. Many more people refuse to even try it for the first time, just because it's foreign and unfamiliar. This is just for food. Now imagine their reactions to institutions of indoctrination built and possibly managed by outsiders. I say managed by because if you put up the building and let the locals run it, then they might not be teaching what you wanted them to teach to begin with.

    Even if you did successfuly pull this off, then freedom of speech is still not being exercised here because you're basically telling people that their thoughts are wrong and they can't express them. Instead express this list of approved thoughts.
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  25. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    You seem to be in favor of free speach so long as the speaker agrees with you. If they don't you seem to dismiss the speaker via the assumption that that speaker is an uninformed lemming. Wether you are for or against cartoons is hard to tell at this point.
    ???

    I don't know where you're coming from, Bill. Let's stick to the issue.

    The simplicity is this: Either you believe in free speech, even speech you find offensive, even speech that angers people who are dangerous and of whom you are afraid.

    Or, you allow might to make right. That violent behavior should be allowed to silence speech by killing or threatening to kill the dissenter (and by extension, any follow-on dissenters). And that it is not the role of society to protect or defend anyone who dissents from the dogma of those willing to use intimidation to silence their critics.

    Some years ago there was a crackdown on the Mafia in Italy. As a countermeasure, the mafia exploded a bomb outside the Uffizi that destroyed many paintings including a Rubens. The implicit threat was, if you keep after us, we'll destroy your artistic heritage.

    I see this as an analog to the Danish Cartoon situation.

    At some point one must make a decision as to what you really believe. Not what you say to keep chit-chat civil. But what you really believe and are willing to take moral responsibility for.

    I believe disrespecting religion/ideology is one of the most fundamental free speech rights imaginable. Because religion/ideology are the foundations of facism and must be kept out of power at all costs or else risk a decent into tyranny.

    This is what I believe. And I don't consider it an idle question.

    kev
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  26. #15
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    I dunno. I don't think he should be killed, but that was kind of a dick move.

    I mean, Catholics would be pretty pissed if an Islamic fella' took a shit on the Pope.

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