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German gets community service for insulting Islam

  1. Feb 23, 2006 #1
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2006 #2
    dictorship???

    Why:

    Seems he was being an arse, to say the least.
     
  4. Feb 23, 2006 #3

    russ_watters

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    Well, that's a long-standing law, so it doesn't support a "collaps[e] into a dictatorship", but I agree that such a law isn't generally compatible with freedom of speech. Freedom of speech most certainly does include the freedom to be an arse, Anttech.

    This is a similar issue to the one on Holocaust denial being a crime, so I won't go into it much, but IMO, I'd let the Germans (and near-by Europeans) slide on free speech when it comes to skeletons from their closet. Perhaps in 75 years when all Holocaust victims and perpetrators and their children are dead, they will reevaluate such laws. Such pendulum-swings in laws as reactions to skeletons-from-the-closet can temporarily help calm things down.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2006
  5. Feb 23, 2006 #4
    Regardless of his views, he was exercising his right to free speech - a right which has now been denied to him. It is censorship, pure and simple - one of the characteristics of a dictatorship.
     
  6. Feb 23, 2006 #5

    russ_watters

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    Just to clarify - I wasn't saying that censorship isn't a component of a dictatorship (it is, but "censorship" can be a vague term, anyway...), just that without a change in a law, there can be no collapse into it.
     
  7. Feb 23, 2006 #6

    arildno

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    Since he is not in any way fomenting hatred towards particular INDIVIDUALS (or calling for violent actions towards them), this should technically have fallen within what should be permissible in a society upholding free speech, IMO.
     
  8. Feb 23, 2006 #7
    Seems you understand the situation, and I aggree with you. :approve:
     
  9. Feb 23, 2006 #8

    russ_watters

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    I should have gone a step further with this:
    Not all censorship is even on the path of/to dictatorship, and this particular law is one such law that is not (which isn't to say that the law should/shouldn't exist - that isn't the only criteria).

    Censorship for a dictatorship exsits for the purpose of control for the sake of control. It exists it prevent people voicing anti-government opinions, which could lead to anti-government movement.

    In this case, the censorship exists to preserve stability in a society upset by a specific tumultuous event in its past. It exists to maximize the rights of the most people it can in the midst of a difficult situation. To repeat one of my favorite "Law and Order" quotes: "[a] Constitution is not a suicide pact." In other words, a constitution does not have to (and should not) protect rights so absolutely that it allows severe negative consequences. If it does that, who is it really helping?

    Other examples of censorship of speech not linked to dictatorship include the typical examples of threatening to kill someone and yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.
    I agree and I want to further clarify that when a country has healed from the tumultuous event that led to the compromise between rights, the compromise should be voided. Whether Germany has reached that point or not, I don't have an opinion on (I'm not German and don't know the current social climate well enough for any opinion, much less an informed one).
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2006
  10. Feb 23, 2006 #9

    russ_watters

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    Sorry - since you didn't elaborate much, I wasn't clear on what your opinion actually was. But I guess we're on the same page then.
     
  11. Feb 23, 2006 #10

    Pengwuino

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    I think this kinda sums it up. These kinds of things are really... they really set off a war inside your gut. For one, you know such things are to be guaranteed by any society that puts such value on freedom of speech. On the other hand... it's like those people who yap on cell phones during movies, who hurl racial epithets (sp???) at passerbyers (is that a word haha), etc etc... you know its their right to do it but it just feels like somethings very wrong with the world when they get away with it.

    The only way this could have been properly delt with was only because he was coincadently a businessman. Boycott his business! But i guess he doesn't have much of a business to be boycotted now.
     
  12. Feb 23, 2006 #11

    Evo

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    This man was not jailed, he got a suspended sentence and community service. You blew this completely out of proportion.
     
  13. Feb 23, 2006 #12

    arildno

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    A fitting community service might be to set him sweep the floors in his neighbourhood mosque..
     
  14. Feb 23, 2006 #13

    Bystander

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    "Freedom of _______ (insert your favorite)" ends at property lines, and other legally long recognized boundaries beyond which charges of infringement of others' rights, use of "fighting words," or disturbing the peace are expected of law enforcement agencies, convictions are expected of courts, and a good old-fashioned "trip behind the barn" to study manners is demanded.
     
  15. Feb 23, 2006 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yes, that's scary stuff. From what I see this all goes way too far. Even the suspended sentence is based on a one year prison sentence. That's absurd.

    But to tell you the truth we found Germany a little scary from the start. It was the only country that we visited in which the authorities seemed a little threatening.

    Btw, I am primarily Finnish and German.
     
  16. Feb 24, 2006 #15
    Freedom of speech, ect, ect...
    We've had quite a few of these sorts of threads lately.
     
  17. Feb 24, 2006 #16

    Art

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    Germany has been struggling to contain a right wing neo-nazi revival ever since their reunification which is why they can sometimes appear to be over-reacting to things which in the normal course of events would be ignored. France and Holland too have also seen a big revival in far right wing parties.
    The fuel appears to be the high level of immigration from Turkey and North Africa at a time of sluggish economic growth and unemployment.
     
  18. Feb 24, 2006 #17

    russ_watters

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    It doesn't say he went into the Mosques - it sounds like he just mailed them samples of his toilet paper.

    I agree with Art :surprised - this is a very specific and unique law with a very specific and unique purpose that is not indicative of German law/freedom as a whole. I've also been to Germany (both pre and post wall-down) and I don't recall getting any impression from law enforcement at all.
     
  19. Feb 24, 2006 #18
    The fear is not that the present administration will use these laws for persecution. But sooner or later, a person will come into power who will not hesistate in applying these laws scrupulously.

    Persecution doesn't just spring into being. It starts slowly.
     
  20. Feb 24, 2006 #19

    Bystander

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  21. Feb 24, 2006 #20

    russ_watters

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    These laws are pretty specific. It is tough to see how they could be used in any way besides their stated purpose.
    But that's it - this isn't the "start" of anything. The law wasn't passed recently, was it? You can't be on a slippery-slope if there isn't any slope. You can't start anything if you aren't doing something new.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2006
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