Free speech zones?

  • #1
0rthodontist
Science Advisor
1,230
0
(is there already a thread on this?)

I was doing some reading about public spaces re the thread about prayer, and stumbled on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zones#_note-sfgate

which linked to this:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/01/04/INGPQ40MB81.DTL

I am surprised I was not aware of this. Free speech zones sound completely antithetical to the point of free speech, and also free press: that latter article claimed that reporters were prohibited from entering the "free speech zones" to report on the "free speech."

Can this be real?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Skyhunter
(is there already a thread on this?)

I was doing some reading about public spaces re the thread about prayer, and stumbled on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zones#_note-sfgate

which linked to this:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/01/04/INGPQ40MB81.DTL

I am surprised I was not aware of this. Free speech zones sound completely antithetical to the point of free speech, and also free press: that latter article claimed that reporters were prohibited from entering the "free speech zones" to report on the "free speech."

Can this be real?

Welcome to Neo-America.

Your papers please.
 
  • #3
Evo
Mentor
23,539
3,173
Free speech is allowed, but within defined areas, those areas have been greatly restricted around the President. I don't know how I feel about the Presidential restrictions, but since a lot of people are just plain nuts, I guess I will lean towards agreeing on a space limit. If you want to hear people prattling on about their pet peeves, you absolutely can. If you don't, you don't have to. That's what makes it just for all. :approve:
 
  • #4
0rthodontist
Science Advisor
1,230
0
Why not make a national free speech zone inside a desert in Utah, reserved for all views that disagree with governmental policy? No press access, of course. But if you want to hear a few dissenting views, all you have to do is go to Utah, so it's perfectly fair. I'm sure that's what the framers of the Constitution really meant.

The true meaning of free speech is the ability to say what you want, where you want to, so long as you are in a place that reasonable people would call public, or in a place that you own yourself. We do not have any inherent right not to hear things we don't want to.
 
  • #5
Evo
Mentor
23,539
3,173
Why not make a national free speech zone inside a desert in Utah, reserved for all views that disagree with governmental policy? No press access, of course. But if you want to hear a few dissenting views, all you have to do is go to Utah, so it's perfectly fair. I'm sure that's what the framers of the Constitution really meant.

The true meaning of free speech is the ability to say what you want, where you want to, so long as you are in a place that reasonable people would call public, or in a place that you own yourself. We do not have any inherent right not to hear things we don't want to.
You really are young and naive. :biggrin: Those boundaries can change. And I, for one, do not think that if I go to a Macy's Thanksgiving day Parade that the KKK or a group of skinheads, or right wing religious fanatics can ruin my day by spewing their personal opinions.
 
  • #6
0rthodontist
Science Advisor
1,230
0
Though this is just a small point, not all skinheads are racist. There are also SHARP skinheads (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice).

Second, you seem genuinely opposed to free speech. You appear to have no problem with people saying what they want, so long as they do it in private. If this is ad hominem, then please tell me and I sincerely apologize, but this is what it seems you are saying. Am I wrong about this?
 
  • #7
Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
14,950
19
False dichotomy. There's a (large) middle area between "able to speak anywhere I darn well please" and "able to speak only in private".

And, of course, the right to free speech is not something to be upheld at all costs.

(and don't make the mistake of thinking the right to free speech is the right to make other people listen to you)
 
Last edited:
  • #8
0rthodontist
Science Advisor
1,230
0
I would argue it's not quite a false dichotomy because I'm not saying it's either/or, just that Evo's statements have lead me to believe she only would like free speech to happen in private. It is certainly possible that there are public circumstances where Evo would not wish a peacable neo-nazi demonstration to be banned. (Not that I would like to see such a demonstration either, but I wouldn't want to remove their right to have one) But I would like to know what those circumstances are.
 
  • #9
0rthodontist
Science Advisor
1,230
0
And, of course, the right to free speech is not something to be upheld at all costs.
We're talking about forcing a few elderly people with anti-war signs to move a quarter mile away from a Bush gathering. What would the costs have been if those people were permitted to stay? They might have gotten a bit of media attention. That's it. The only danger is that they might have managed to communicate their views.

(and don't make the mistake of thinking the right to free speech is the right to make other people listen to you)
I believe the right to free speech is the right to try to make other people listen to you, within reasonable legal bounds. If you are prohibited from even attempting to get listeners, you are not speaking freely in any meaningful way.
 
  • #10
Evo
Mentor
23,539
3,173
Though this is just a small point, not all skinheads are racist. There are also SHARP skinheads (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice).
How can you be a skinhead and not be racist? That's like a KKK member saying he's not racist. Either you are, or you aren't.

Second, you seem genuinely opposed to free speech.
You had better stop making things up, this is a warning. Next warning will be points.

I said nothing of the kind, I said there are limits to where free speech is allowed. I agree that there should be limits so people are not imposed upon.
 
  • #11
Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
14,950
19
within reasonable legal bounds.
And you consider crashing an event organized by your opposition "reasonable legal bounds"?
 
  • #12
0rthodontist
Science Advisor
1,230
0
How can you be a skinhead and not be racist? That's like a KKK member saying he's not racist. Either you are, or you aren't.
You could have Googled it first.
http://www.skinheadnation.co.uk/sharpskinheads.htm [Broken]
You had better stop making things up, this is a warning. Next warning will be points.
I'm sorry to hear that, and I'm sorry to have offended you.
I said nothing of the kind, I said there are limits to where free speech is allowed. I agree that there should be limits so people are not imposed upon.
Under what circumstances would you feel a public neo-nazi demonstration is permissible?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #13
0rthodontist
Science Advisor
1,230
0
And you consider crashing an event organized by your opposition "reasonable legal bounds"?
So long as the event takes place on public property, yes, I would.
 
  • #14
Evo
Mentor
23,539
3,173
You could have Googled it first.
http://www.skinheadnation.co.uk/sharpskinheads.htm [Broken]
I'm saying you aren't a skinhead if you aren't racist, that's what a skinhead is. Either you are or you aren't. This is BS. Yeah, the KKK has an offshoot that approves of inter-racial marriage.

Under what circumstances would you feel a public neo-nazi demonstration is permissible?
Under the law. As I have been saying.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #15
DaveC426913
Gold Member
20,072
3,362
You could have Googled it first.
http://www.skinheadnation.co.uk/sharpskinheads.htm [Broken]

So, they claim to be card-carrying skinheads - not because they subscribe to any skinhead philosophy, but because they like the music...

Got it.

They'll get along great with all the devout Roman Catholics who don't believe in God - but just like the unleavened bread they use in the Eucharist.

:biggrin:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #16
loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
1,782
5
I am surprised I was not aware of this.

I'm surprised, too. The Democratic National Convention has been doing this for almost twenty years. I remember back when they held it in LA, the protesters were relegated to Pershing Square, a mile away from the Staples Center where the convention was actually taking place.
 
  • #17
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
19,945
3,468
I believe the right to free speech is the right to try to make other people listen to you,
Um, no. There is no right to try and make other people listen to you. That is an infringement upon others.

The original intent was to allow one to publicly express one's ideas or thoughts without punishment (arbitrarily or capriciously). Expressing one's ideas publicly is not the same as trying to 'make' others listent to one.

Similarly, freedom of the press was intended to allow one to publish in print one's ideas or opinions without punishment (arbitrarily or capriciously). Freedom of speech and press have evolved in entirely different ways.

Now, there are provisions against slander and libel. There are provisions to prosecute those who verbally or in writing advocate the disruption of social order or overthrow of government. Inciting people to riot is illegal. Inciting people to overthrow by illegal means is illegal.

If one wishes to publicly express one's opinions, one is certainly 'free' to rent an appropriate venue, e.g. an auditorium or pavilion, to which one may invite the public to hear one's views. Similarly, one may write pamplets and distribute, but not forcefully, the literature to the public. One may publish one's opinions in a newspaper or other print media at the discretion of the owners/publishers of the media.

Freedom of speech/press does not imply free of expense.
 
  • #18
devil-fire
from the first wiki link "Reporters are often barred by local officials from displaying these protesters on camera or speaking to them within the zone". this sounds like protesters in the zones designated for lawfull protests are often prevented from being viewed.

from what iv read in this artical it sounds like only people supportive of bush (in this case) are permited to express their opinions. basicly, the policy is "you are allowed to say or express anything to want here, this is a free country:smile: unless it is not pro-bush. in that case you have to leave or be arrested:frown:.

now if the safty of the president was in question here, i mean if there was a tip that someone in the croud was going to try to shoot at the president, then they would move the barriers back and not just move the non-pro bush people back (what kind of assasin would attract attention to themselves by being holding the only anti-bush poster in a probush rally)


a person holding a "i dont want war no more" poster at a bush rally is Not the same as a bunch of KKK voicing their opinions on what black people are most usefull for over a megaphone at a thanks giving parade. it would be more like someone holding a poster of "i dont want to treat terkys inhumainly" at a thanks giving parada.


to me this sounds like a clear cut tool for suppressing dissidents. if these protesters are yelling, making threats, being biligerent or acting violently, then they should be removed from the area for doing that. if they are showing their lack of support for a cause then that should be permited, even if it bothers the people around them that they are not like minded.

in addition to that, i think expressing opposition to government policy should always be permited. dispite it being unpopular and disturbing to those who are supportive of those government policys
 
  • #19
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
19,945
3,468
"Reporters are often barred by local officials from displaying these protesters on camera or speaking to them within the zone".
If this is true, then this is a form of suppression of dissent, which in the case of Bush and his Republican supporters is no surprise.
 
  • #20
russ_watters
Mentor
21,071
7,806
from what iv read in this artical it sounds like only people supportive of bush (in this case) are permited to express their opinions. basicly, the policy is "you are allowed to say or express anything to want here, this is a free country:smile: unless it is not pro-bush. in that case you have to leave or be arrested:frown:.
Evo already covered this: it is (in this case) a Republican sponsored event. They have a right to not have it disrupted. Like loseyourname said, the Democrats have the same right and do the same thing.
to me this sounds like a clear cut tool for suppressing dissidents. if these protesters are yelling, making threats, being biligerent or acting violently, then they should be removed from the area for doing that. if they are showing their lack of support for a cause then that should be permited, even if it bothers the people around them that they are not like minded.
That's just not realistic/reasonable. Besides the 'its my party and my right to not have it disrupted' thing, it is the nature/goal of protesting to be disruptive and it would be irresponsible to wait until after an event is disrupted to do something about it. Police have a responsibility to be proactive.
 
Last edited:
  • #21
Skyhunter
looks like orthodontist was relegated to the free speech zone. :rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #22
Hurkyl
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
14,950
19
in addition to that, i think expressing opposition to government policy should always be permited. dispite it being unpopular and disturbing to those who are supportive of those government policys
I'll stick to the America where I have legal recourse to remove the person who decides he wants to oppose government policy in my bedroom, thank you very much.
 
  • #23
Kurdt
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,826
6
This reminds me of an excellent program by British comedian Stewart Lee about free speech rights which he explored expertly as he does with everything. The program can be found on youtube and is called Don't get me started. I'm sure you can find it for yourselves.
 
  • #24
devil-fire
I'll stick to the America where I have legal recourse to remove the person who decides he wants to oppose government policy in my bedroom, thank you very much.

your bedroom isn't a public place though, so i agree that people shouldn't have a right to not be required to leave when asked.

That's just not realistic/reasonable. Besides the 'its my party and my right to not have it disrupted' thing, it is the nature/goal of protesting to be disruptive and it would be irresponsible to wait until after an event is disrupted to do something about it. Police have a responsibility to be proactive.

i don't think holding a sign or wearing a T-shirt that says "i love peace" or "war kills people" is disruptive. like i said, if these protesters are being disruptive for harassing people, then they should be removed from the area for harassment. if these protesters are yelling "down with bush! hes a nazi and he hates black people! you guys are supporting the anti-christ and are going to burn in hell for your sins!" then they could be considered as harassing people of course. i guess im trying to illustrate the difference between protesting/expressing opposition to something and being disruptive/dangerous
 
  • #25
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,082
20
I'll stick to the America where I have legal recourse to remove the person who decides he wants to oppose government policy in my bedroom, thank you very much.
When did city streets become your bedroom? You know you can be arrested for treating them that way!

In my opinion, the hundreds of Bill Neel type of arrests that have happened in recent years (and subsequently dismissed by the courts) are indicative of a trend towards suppression of free speech.

Furthermore, how does anyone here support the restricting of access of the press to these free speech zones?
 

Related Threads on Free speech zones?

  • Last Post
2
Replies
34
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
Z
  • Last Post
5
Replies
103
Views
13K
  • Last Post
9
Replies
207
Views
16K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
4K
Replies
77
Views
7K
Replies
13
Views
2K
M
Replies
24
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
2K
Replies
126
Views
13K
Top