Liberty and Justice

Below is a quote from a blog that I recently came across. To many believers, the first part of the sentence (wars and rumors of war) will be familiar as it’s from the bible (Matthew 24:6). But it’s the second part of the comment that disturbed me.

There will be wars and rumors of wars until the end, because of evil people who hate liberty and justice for all.

Are there really EVIL people who hate liberty and justice for all?

In modern politics, liberty is defined as the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. 

While justice branches out into several definitions, the one that seems to fit is that it’s a form of fairness; that is, each person is to have an equal right.

I can’t imagine that anyone would hate either definition, but it seems this writer disagrees. And even more to his point … those that do (?) are EVIL!

What do you think?

40 thoughts on “Liberty and Justice

  1. It’s really all about economic liberty and the unfettered right to pollute my breathing space without my consent (for money earned fair and square), of course. Really that is the Christian fight for liberty. Oppose that and you are evil.

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  2. Authoritarian personalities in general hate liberty. Theocrats who believe that the civil law should enforce the taboo system of their own religion because people simply have no right to behave in ways that displease God. Supporters of military conscription or compulsory national service who see individuals as mere utensils of the State, whose lives have no meaning except to serve others. “Libertarians” whose ideology is contrived to allow the 1% to dominate the rest of us because there must be nothing to constrain the power of private wealth, and who feel genuinely outraged when people vote for such constraints to free themselves from that domination.

    Deep down such people are all alike. They really do, on a deep level, hate freedom. They can’t endure the thought of everyone being able to just do what they want. They’re monsters.

    Hating justice is a somewhat different issue because different people define justice differently, and presumably nobody hates that which he himself considers justice. Criminals and those who coddle them, of course, do hate justice. Religionists who are always yammering about mercy and forgiveness — meaning that the guilty (such as clerical abusers) escape their just punishment — could be said to hate justice.

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  3. Really, war tends to be to be about power and land (getting more power and land, keeping power and land, or preventing the loss of power and land). At least, that’s what it seems like to me.

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  4. Evil is one person’s idea of what they hate having someone else do to them, but yet that becomes good if they are doing that same thing to someone else. Evil and good are relative, and therefore do not exist as such. There are no absolutes, in my opinion

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    • The problem with “evil” is those engaged in it believe they are doing good.
      Look at the people who physically torture others. Evil, Right?
      But then look at this being done in locales such as Gitmo, or Abu Gharb (Iraqi prison) or other “black” sites they think they are serving the “greater” good no matter how vile their actions mat be. Anyway their victims “deserve” it since they will not just “Obey”.
      Hence Liberty and Justice are dependent upon the perspective and belief systems of those who, generally, have the greater force of arms.
      On the other hand when these same actions are done by others to US troops ( i.e. waterboarding US prisoner WW II) it is evil even though those who committed those actions were, in their mind, serving the “greater” good.
      That is the reason I can never accept the excuse of “oh they meant well” as a justification.
      I blame fantasical beliefs in mythological “magic man in the sky” for a lot of this.
      Once you allow the corruption of sanity and reason that is what cults are ( religion is only a cult that has scammed more people for a longer time for greater wealth and power) that corruption, like rot, spreads and weakens the ability to resist further corruption.
      Just as the flu weakens ones immune system and makes one more vulnerable to further diseases, such as pnuemonia, so does “belief’ in fantasical dogma weakens ones humanity and decency and exposes one to the further conspiracies requiring nothing but “faith”. Qanon anyone?

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      • The “ruling classes” usually define what is good or evil (harmful) for a political state. In many European-based states, like America and Canada, the ruling classes are capitalists. Most capitalists don’t care who they harm in order to get to the top, and then stay there. The lower classes see this, and so emulate theose above them.
        Religions are capitalistic organizations that sell esoteric products (god, heaven, paradise, nirvana). They don’t care that their “products” harm people, as long as they get to tell those people what to do and how to live.
        Unless the people wake up to the prisons they are born into, they will never be free. Right now they have no idea.

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  5. “In modern politics, liberty is defined as the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.”

    Of course, but what does that mean in practice?

    If the “way of life” is a life of crime, then the authorities within the society will strive to restrict it. Should they not? The capitalist “way fo life” is to make profit, but how much freedom and liberties do they need to do this? If they are in the position to and do exploit other members of the society to achieve maximum profit, should the society not impose restrictions on them? The rights and liberties of one may only go as far as to not to step on the rights and liberties of a nother. Who gets to define what is criminal and what is exploitation?

    A person may have (and many do even though they do not realize it) fascist values, ideals and even political views. There is no way of restricting what views a person has, or what they think, but many societies have made it criminal to hold a particular view, with the most severe punishments if one does. In a fascist culture a person may be held accountable for views they do not even hold, but it is the expression of political views, that tells the rest of us what people think. Should not a society have the right to impose restrictions on the expression of false and harmfull political views, like racism? Who gets to decide what is actually harmfull and to whom?

    “There will be wars and rumors of wars” as there have always been (so that is must be the best or the weakest prophesy ever – because it is true, but it did not require much brainpower to make that predicition). Human cultures are predominantly warlike in many of their aspects, as a goat herder from the Near-East and even living during the iron age could have easily noticed, but most of the time we humans do not engage in war, if we can awoid it. We are capable of coming to the rational realization, that war is not a good thing for the majority of us, even though there are few capitalists, demagogues and populist politicians who profit from wars. If democracy is the answer to the questions of what we consider criminal, exploitation, or merely spreading of harmfull ideals, then it should be the answer to wars. It is not, as long as people take their moral ques from ancient tomes, that they do not even understand, rather than from scientific facts and their natural ability for empathy.

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    • The devil is in the details. “Restrictions on one’s…..behavior” — many forms of behavior (mostly violent ones) need to be restricted, otherwise society would disintegrate. In other cases, restrictions vary arbitrarily. Homosexual behavior used to be forbidden by law almost everywhere, because of a religious taboo; now it isn’t, in most of the West. Such restrictions were not judged “oppressive” by most people 50 years ago, but today they would be. In other cases, things are still prohibited because the taboos have not yet been seriously challenged and so the restrictions are still not “oppressive”, but people 50 years in the future will likely take a different view. Who gets to decide which restrictions are “oppressive” and which are reasonable? Which decade in the endless evolution of morality gets to be judged definitively correct?

      Should not a society have the right to impose restrictions on the expression of false and harmfull political views, like racism? Who gets to decide what is actually harmfull and to whom?

      Once governments are given the power to ban viewpoints or the expression of them (thoughtcrime), this problem surfaces and becomes completely intractable. Many democracies in Europe have laws against “hate speech”, which in practice are used mainly to harass people who tell the truth about Islam. When blasphemy laws existed, they were based on the same idea — that opinions contrary to the dominant religion were so evil that they had to be punished.

      In practice, the only solution to this problem is the philosophy of the First Amendment — the protection of freedom of speech must be content-neutral. After all, it’s speech which the majority or the powerful find offensive or shocking that is the reason free expression is necessary. Inoffensive speech needs no such protection, since no one would try to ban it.

      In most cases there is no absolute objective standard of how much liberty, and what kind, are appropriate, and what kind of restrictions are “oppressive”. (I assume most of Nan’s readers are too smart to take the view that “the particular configuration of values held in my time, place, social class, and ideology are the final correct morality which mankind has always been working towards”.) Different views must contend, and morality will evolve as majorities become persuaded. That happened with slavery and homosexuality and it will happen with other things in the future. In the meantime, it’s a good thing there are separate countries. It’s difficult enough reaching a consensus in one culture, never mind hundreds.

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      • I mostly agree with you Infidel753, as I usually do. Punishing thought crimes is simply wrong. It is wrong because we can determine what sort of harm comes to the society and the individual from such legal action. We have plenty of bad to worse examples of such societies. It should not be too difficult to determine right and wrong action and inaction, good and bad legistlation, from the historical or possible reprecussions.

        “Many democracies in Europe have laws against “hate speech”, which in practice are used mainly to harass people who tell the truth about Islam.” I have not run into such a problem. Most of the hate speech against Islam I am aware of has not been the truth at all, but instead visceral attacks and downright lies set against Muslim minorities and their freedom. Populist attempts to create fear, hatred and division between people with Christian and Muslim backrounds. There are some Muslims who engage in the same and I personally think they too need to be stopped before speech turns into violence.

        Here in Europe we have terrifying examples about the power of hate speech. I guess, that is why many European countries have laws against it. The Nazies and Fascists gained political power by hate speech. They told lies about Jews, Gays, Communists and Socialists and gained enough momentum to have the critical mass to reach positions of power, where they could take over democratic nations. It was possible because far too many people were satisfied by the lies that fit into their preassumptions and because they were too poorly educated to tell the difference between a lie and the truth.

        I think, that if hate speech is interpreted simply as something that is merely insulting to someone, there is a serious mistake. It has been spread as a view common enough to try to water it down as a dangerous means of causing actual harm for the soceity in general. Hate speech is not about telling unfortunate or unfavourable truths that upset some sensitive individuals, but mostly about serious lies, manipulative half-truths and calls to action, or even violence against some group of people, most often a minority with very little political power. Such manipulation often comes from people, who do not even care about the “cause” but to whom both the intended audience, as much as the victims of their fearmongering, are mere pawns for their own thirst for power. Look at Trump. He does not hate the immigrants – he is married to one – but he is skilled in riding the ignorant preassumptions of his voters, that he by lying, or telling half truths turns into fear of the immigrant.

        I expect we can agree, that a civilized society protects the all the members of said society, but sets apart to especially protect the weakest parties of that society, who are more voulnerable to abuse and attacks. A civilized society is built on education. The less equipped people are to recognize the truth are, the more likely they are to fall prey to lies and demagougery. Especially since the lack of the ability to recognize a lie creates a fearfull mindset, that is often secured by denialism and social taboos. A democracy is only as wise, fair and functional as the level of education of the voters have.

        To me, freedom of speech also requires some level of responsibility over what has been said and were the consequenses of what was said. That is what the laws about hate speech are at least supposed to be. Because any words may have consequenses like shots fired.

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        • If shots are fired, punish the firing of shots. Not the speaking of words. The person who fires the shots is responsible for his behavior, not the words he claims provoked him. No government can be trusted with the power to decide which opinions can and cannot be expressed. The persecution of people like Geert Wilders and Oriana Fallaci for expressing opinions about Islam has nothing to do with preventing fascism. It is fascism.

          If some people say evil things — and that’s inevitable — the appropriate response is for others to speak out in response and refute them. Banning opinions is the tactic of those who can’t win an argument. Only lies, not truth, need to resort to it.

          It’s precisely people like Trump who want to carve out exceptions in the First Amendment so that certain opinions can be forbidden. Free expression is part of a free society’s arsenal against such authoritarianism. All tyrants start off by restricting the free press and free expression, and it’s the advocacy of such restrictions that reveals the tyrant.

          It’s Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten that need those protections a civilized society can offer, and it’s those who try to suppress them that are the enemy, the fascist.

          As a blogger I don’t accept that anyone has any right to limit what views I can express. No matter who they are, no matter what their reasons are.

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          • That is a beautifull sentiment, and I too am against all sorts of “McCarthyism”. However, there are historical reasons why many European countries do hold laws against hate speech. You see Hitler and Mussolini (for example) never shot anybody, nor did they ever sign any death sentences. They simply used the prejudice, fear and hatred others had by feeding those by their manipulative speech to reach power and then abused it. They manipulated ordinary people to do the most horrible things. Do they not bear any responsibility for what happened? Many people responded to their lies with truth, but it was simply not enough.

            Charlie Hebdo was never suspected of having broken any laws or having spread hate speech or charged for having done so. They have risen against and in response to lies and inapropriate things people have said again and again. I agree, that is the correct way to meet it, but I fear sometimes that is not enough.

            Geert Wilders is a manipulative politician who propably genuinely fears Islam, who was never condemned, even though charges were pressed. One of the hallmarks of a civil society is to charge people who have been suspected for having committed crimes and then clear their names, if no crime has been committed. Would you call that persecution? By whom? There are no powerfull Islamists, nor even Muslims in the politics or among the justice system officials of the Netherlands. There is no conspiracy against him manipulated by some extremist Muslim groups, that achieved this. Are there? He chose to push the limits of what is considered civil and legal, but did not brake them according to the justice system of his country. He has not been persecuted.

            The problem is not Islam. Islam is just as bad as any religion that has political power. In Myanmar Buddhists, the most peace-like religion imaginable, are justifying violence against Muslims. Islam is not the reason why Muslims there are persecuted, the reasons are Buddhism, nationalism, tribal moralism and populism. The real problem is authoritarianism set in almost all religions. When any religion has gain as much political momentum as Islam has gained in for example Saudi-Arabia or Iran the religious (by the divine authority) start to abuse human rights. It has now passed some time when similar abuse of theocratic power happened in Europe by the Christian churches, but we remember it.

            We should strive for ever more secular societies, where we deem causing harm as criminal and do not let any religion have the right to smuggle their gods to decide what is righ, or wrong.

            Governments are by the people and for the people. That is why we the people do provide them with the monopoly of violence to oversee, that no wrong is done. Not by bullets or by words. We do want to protect our civil societies and democracies from fearmongering demagogues and violence they are all too eager to spread, even if they never engage in it personally.

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            • Geert Wilders is a manipulative politician who propably genuinely fears Islam, who was never condemned, even though charges were pressed….. Would you call that persecution?

              Yes. Charging somebody with a crime for expressing an opinion is not only utter raving totalitarian madness, it also has a chilling effect and is intimidating to the person being charged. What happened to Fallaci was even worse — she was afraid to return to her home country even while dying.

              Wilders was similarly wrong to call for banning of the Qur’an, which would also have been a violation of free expression. But he should not have been prosecuted for expressing that opinion.

              By whom?

              By the state, which is almost always the only entity powerful enough to commit real persecution.

              Rautakyy, please don’t mistake my meaning. I generally find a great deal of value in your comments. But this specific issue is one which to me, as a blogger, is of existential importance, and on which I simply cannot compromise, not even a millimeter. I would not feel safe if I were living in a country where the state can harass or prosecute people for opinions as it did Wilders or Fallaci.

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            • I do not expect you to compromise Infidel -753. I am genuinely interrested in your view and even curious wether it is a view I should adopt. I have changed my mind about a plethora of things along my life. I have great respect for your uncompromising principle of an ideal. This is a good discussion and I am happy that we have managed to stay on the topic of liberty.

              Your idealist approach is profound, but I am wondering about the practical solutions and the ultimate reprecussions in a non-ideal world. If people understood how morals is all about the possible reprecussions of our actions and inaction, we would not need laws nor restrictions set upon us by anyone. I hope we the humanity will someday reach such a situation and perhaps you are right. I mean in the sense, that the population of the world never grows into adulthood, if they are restricted and not given the responsibility, that comes with freedom of choises.

              However, I live in a country that has restrictions against certain types of public speech, such as slander against the origin of any other individual. These laws are not too hard to follow, if one has the ability for common courtesy. One can quite easily critizise the Qur’An, but if one makes the claim, that all Muslims are terrorists because their holy book expect them to be, one has already crossed several lines of decensy, lies and slander. Not only that, but one has played into the game of the radical Islamists, who like our own neo-nazies would not want anything more, than for their more peacefull Muslim brothers to feel unwelcome, slandered and even persecuted by the non-Muslim population of the country. The Islamists – after all – are nothing other than extreme conservative right-wingers of their own culture, who share the ideals of division between western and their own culture, with our own right-wing extremists. (That and some very misogynist values.) The unifying thing about right-wing politics across the globe is conservatism and especially that they see human value as not equal, but as a commodity set into different levels. The mechanism they set humans on different levels of value differ, from nationalism to skin colour, and other forms of tribal moralism, to the value of their possessions, bank accounts, or even wether one comes from the right religion. These seem to share the notion, that value of a human being is different according to their origin. They are not uncommon thoughts, but the damage they cause is obvious to anyone willing to take a look.

              Unfortunately even here not all people understand for example why racism is wrong, wich is the sole reason that makes them racists in the first place, they have a tendency to bring forth their opinions in the form of all sorts of racist slander, insinuation, half truths and downright lies and propaganda from nazies (some of wich they have heard from each other and repeat these because they genuinely believe in the nonsense, no matter what anybody else tells them) and the new social media outlets have suddenly provided such individuals a possibility to spread their message to ever wider audiences. Some of these people have been charged, condemned and fined to stop the harm their propaganda may cause further down the road. Some of their organizations have even been banned, when their modus operandi has crossed the law, or even turned into violence. But the violence is always a result of beliefs, attitudeds and values the purpetrators have and often enough those are the direct result of racist slander. Many of them have presented themselves as the real victims, even when they knowingly have broken the law and must be aware of the way their hatemongering affects the society. Some of them even want such discord, because they think they have something to gain from it. Are they evil, wrong, or simply stupid?

              I guess it is the job of the radical, who sees a wrong in the society to occasionally brake the law, to bring the attention of the general public to their cause. Then it remains for the rest of us to evaluate weather their cause was just and vote accordingly in the next election.

              I am a blogger too, though not very committed in my writing. The sole reason I use a pseudonym is not because I was affraid, that the government of my country would come to persecute me for my opinions, but because I am affraid, that if my present, or future employer might recognize me and learn my political views, they would be in a position to punish me severly, if they disagreed. I do not know, if I would go as far as to call it persecution, but it would have the potential to affect me a lot more than a judical case about my opinions ever could. Hypothetically I could be charged by our ancient law about slander against god. That law has not been used to form a case in decades, because it is in contradiction with our current constitution, but there it is and has not yet been revoked, because religion still has a strangle hold on the most conservative constituancy.

              I am not affraid of my elected government now, that it mostly represents the same general political views as I do, but I also felt completely safe with my opinions and public expression of them even when we had the previous government, that represented the exact opposite of my political opinions and values. There are laws set in place to limit the power of how much the government can persecute me or any other individual. I might feel quite unsafe living in a country where the government did not controll who gets to buy guns, so that any looney might simply buy one, or several without any check up of who they are. I might feel even less safe in a country where there are laws about national security, that seem to over-rule all other laws.

              As is the custom in my country, I have, as a conscripted soldier, solemnly sworn to uphold the status of our elected government even by military force if necessary (be that the government I voted for or not). We have the universal conscription, but the law provides any conscript the right to refuse military service. I have several friends who have refused and I have the utmost respect for their pacifist ideals, because the world needs idealists, even though I do not share their optimism of what might follow if everyone in our country would follow their example. In essence, I have given up a certain amount of my freedom and time for the benefit of the government as I see it represents our society and the way we preserve our liberty to live our individual lives according to our way of life.

              The governments of democratic nations have, and have been provided the power by us the voters, to set various restrictions on human behaviour and liberties. Most of such restrictions are necessary and some are just to keep some form of common decency in place. To me the freedom of speech represents itself not much different from laws about dresscode. It would be wrong for a government to order what people are supposed to wear in their everyday lives and stop their freedom of expression of self by that – yet it makes perfect sense, that the government and laws are set in place for any random citizen not to be eligable to wear the uniform of a policeman. Even our employers have the right to demand we wear certain types of clothes depending on our jobs, but the job of the government is to oversee, that our employers do not demand too much, indecent, or hamfull things from us. The laws about how people should not present themselves naked are not so much an issue of necessity, as as they are about common courtesy and decency. At this point in my view the same applies much to freedom of speech.

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            • Humans cannot exist without rules, but the goal of a free society should be to keep those rules to the minimum necessary. Also, we were talking about laws banning opinions, not defamation. Banning the expression of opinion crosses a hard line which must never be crossed. It is not a defense against tyranny, it is itself a form of tyranny. Passing such laws due to fear of fascism is falling into the same trap as the people in the 1930s who supported the fascists due to fear of Bolshevism.

              The Islamists – after all – are nothing other than extreme conservative right-wingers of their own culture

              Certainly true, and a point I’ve made many times. They do not speak for the whole Middle East any more than Christian fundamentalists speak for the whole of the US.

              “Racism is wrong” is a widely-held opinion, just as “homosexuality is wrong” and “criticizing Christianity is wrong” were once widely-held opinions. If the laws had successfully criminalized dissent from those opinions, we would never have grown beyond them. Neither you nor I nor any government is entitled to decide that the current decade in the ever-evolving history of human opinion is definitively correct and final and that dissent from it is forbidden. If a widely-held opinion is true, then it can withstand challenge and emerge victorious from debate; if it is false, it won’t. If challenge and debate are foreclosed by law, we won’t be able to sort out which are false and which are true. And no, nobody is qualified to declare such cases settled at any point — we’re talking about opinions, not matters of fact which can be settled by evidence — and even the latter are not dealt with by censorship. We do definitively know that the Earth is round, but we don’t ban people from saying it is flat.

              I think we have pretty much exhausted the subject. I have a post about it as well if you are interested.

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  6. It appears to me that the right wing in the US is now thoroughly incapable of sound, logical thought. They have had, what, 20 or 30 years of increasingly insane right wing media, and they have now collectively lost their minds.

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    • The Encyclopedia of American Loons is a frightening review of how nutty American politics has become. There was actually a loon profiled there this week who claims that “the liberal pedophiles” have secret camps ON MARS where they take kidnapped victims to serve their masters. He has been on national Television.

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      • Mars? Really? Altough, that is not so far fetched, if you compare it to the mainstream politics of how between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon they could not agree wether the entire climate change was merely a clever ruse by either China or the EU to harm US trade. Nobody speaks about it anymore, but they seemed quite sure and open about their respective views merely a couple of years ago.

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        • We have this one dude called Halla-Aho who has the intelligence of an adult (barely), but the morals of a 3 years old. For now he is in political opposition, but he is very clever at manipulating and lying to the most ignorant part of our society, by fearmongering, tribal moralism and blaming our very small Islamic minority and immigrants for just about everything, that he finds wrong in our society. You recognize the type. In the 1930’s it would have been the Jews, now it is the Muslims. He is also a nihilist whose take on the climate change is that, since nothing can be done anymore we should not even try to. Somehow this fits well for his followers many of whom do not even accept that the climate change is for real and even if it is, they refuse to take any responsibility for it, because small Finland does not cause much pollution. Exept that it does, per capita.

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            • It seems there are a lot of voters in any democratic nation who are appealed by people who have the intelligence, or at least a representation of an intelligence of a 9 year olds. Enough to vote them into power. Ever wonder why that is?

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  7. I believe it was Shakespeare who wrote, “Evil is as evil does.” By that standard of the evil that men do, it seems to me that there is a relative aspect to it, with (for example) Hitler being almost, if not totally, evil.

    Although there’s probably not much point in rating the degree of evil in evildoers throughout history, the question of where does Trump stand on the evil scale would obviously bring very subjective answers, leading to questions about the objectivity of those making judgments.

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  8. Along the lines of Infidel’s comments above which I agree with and would echo regarding not censoring of speech, media/press, and all counter-views no matter how many—though forms of extreme indecency and hate are exceptions—I can only add this quote of which I hold fondly in my quote-bank:

    “My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”
    Adlai Stevenson

    That said, there are always TWO other components to democratic Freedom of Speech/Press that far too often the general public AND propagandists forget (or deny?).

    #1 — I wholeheartedly believe that a Speaker/Publisher/Transmitter has the privileged, honored civil responsibility—not to mention care for self-integrity—for authenticated, sourced, logically supported position/posture he or she are publicly promoting.

    #2 — I wholeheartedly believe that any audience, from the individual up to the whole, always have the privileged, honor responsibility—not to mention protection-care for integrity—for authenticating, sourcing, determining the logical support the spoken, published, or transmitted position/posture of the content being publicly promoted! In a free democracy (as we’re struggling to maintain in the U.S.!) always, always, ALWAYS look the gift horses in the mouth! Modern propaganda and sales-marketing tactics can be highly sophisticated today. They’d make even history’s Masters of it, ala Joseph Goebbels, Roger Ailes, et al, green with envy!

    Bottom-line? People, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! DO THE LEG-WORK! There are scam artists and deceiving Authoritarians everywhere, around every corner looking for gullible, naive dunces. And those people that don’t care to do any of these civil responsibilities themselves are 9.5 times out of 10 exactly the Frauds and Authoritarian scam-artists we are unveiling here. 🙂

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    • I like the Adlai Stevenson quote, but the late great Democratic Presidential nominee would no doubt find it ironic how absolutely and abusively Donald Trump takes advantage of being “safe” by virtue(?) of his blatantly autocratic Presidential power abetted by the protection of a GOP majority in the Senate.

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    • Good quote from Stevenson. To cite one which somewhat overlaps, Voltaire once said, “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” Violent thugs or mobs thereof can be a serious threat to free speech (see Charlie Hebdo and the Danish cartoon incident), but a government with censorship laws is the most dangerous enemy of all.

      So it’s not always a question of “EVIL people who hate liberty”. A lot of the problem is well-meaning people who don’t exactly hate liberty of expression but simply value it less than the protection of some sacred cow (the sanctity of a religion in the case of blasphemy laws, or the conviction that certain ideas or people must be immune from criticism in the case of hate-speech laws), and don’t realize how dangerous it is to infringe it for such reasons. Nevertheless, the practical effect is not much different from that of people who do hate liberty. It can even be worse. Here’s another favorite quote of mine:

      “Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.” — Adam Smith

      Professor, you strike me as being better attuned than most people to how that applies to this issue.

      By the way, the 12:16 PM comment above in response to Rautakyy is by me. I just happened to be in a place where I couldn’t log in to WordPress to comment normally. (No, it was not one of the secret liberal Mars colonies — the internet connections there are state-of-the-art.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Regarding your excellent Adam Smith quote—an 18th-century economist that Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman are fond of too, like me; all 3 of these economists actually—it does certainly demarcate moral vs immoral, ethical vs unethical, principled vs uncouth when an audience or mob are easily riled, easily pushed to Machiavellian behavior as a GROUP due to unchecked peer-assimilation! Basic human nature, the worst types, are never too deep to tease out… of ANY human being. And shockingly, at least for a decently educated man as myself, that scary de-evolved Mob-Herd mentality that’s easily persuaded by emotional hype and blatant rhetoric, that’s the tipping point. It doesn’t matter if you or your “group” are virtuous OR corrupt no longer matters! 😮 Reason, sanity, degrees of objectivity or equatibility are out the window! Gone! Won’t return until the barbaric, ape frenzy stops!

        In soccer/football and TEAM sports this is a CANCER! Prima Donnas and/or individual Megalomaniacs on any athletic team cannot and should not be tolerated!!! NEVER!!! Yet unbelievably and undemocratically (un-American?) our voting citizens of this nation obviously believe that ONE MAN (Woman) is suppose to run this country on all levels, however he or she sees fit, NOT by our Constitution, 3 Branched Government, and its originally designed checks-n-balances!!! This current sociopolitical atmosphere the last 2-4 decades here utterly baffles me! I am now embarrassed to admit to any non-Americans that I’m American, much less a proud American. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Btw Infidel, I’m currently watching the 2-part series by PBS Frontline America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump, and I am just shocked, nauseated to the hilt how many times words, phrases, rhetoric, and blatant incitement of UN-AMERICAN values, Constitutional laws and concepts are grossly distorted or ignored, all for the sake of one person, winning at all costs (the means justifies the end) for self and party, and apathetically at the expense of UNITY or at least a stable sense of teamwork!!! That requires dignified, respectful comprise, from ALL sides. Talk, words, hyped-rhetoric can be spun, turned a plethora of different ways all the time! So what. Grow your vocabulary if inciting bothers you and makes you blow-up! Learn the art of outstanding debate, in stoic ways. 🙂

        You can’t win a Super Bowl, a World Cup Championship, a World Series, etc, by ONE PERSON or one party!!!! DUH!!! Oh, and btw Repubs, none of those aforementioned sports championships can be fairly won WITHOUT referees, umpires, and governing body to thwart cheating! Every single player, team, and franchise owner wants or will cheat! Period!

        Okay Nan, I think I’m finished with my rant. 😉 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  9. In an earlier comment, Rautakyy wrote: … too many people were satisfied by the lies that fit into their preassumptions and because they were too poorly educated to tell the difference between a lie and the truth.

    This truly seems to be the situation in the U.S. Our brain-deficient leader continues to “stretch the truth” (I’m being nice) and his followers (who never bother to “do the homework” as PT suggested) take it as gospel and spread it far and wide. And if you happen to disagree? OMG! You immediately become the target for insults, badmouthing, and … well, you know the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Holy smokes. I need to find time to read all these long comments. It is critical to dehumanize or demonize (make evil) the opposing view. The truth matters little.
    Hate is a thought crime. But we can categorize crimes as hate crimes by pointing to motivation.
    Dang! Now I have “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics playing in my head.
    Ironically, I suspect that the same person who wrote that comment is the one who would limit both liberty (or freedom) and justice (thou shalt call no witnesses nor review any documents).

    Liked by 2 people

  11. If you point out to someone that they have been taught to obey the law before they obey their conscience and they continue with that way of thinking, they are evil.
    “Laws are maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, but because they are laws. It is the mystical foundation of their authority; they have none other.” ~ Michel de Montaigne
    “When law and morality contradict each other the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his sense of morality or losing his respect of the law.” — Frederic Bastiat
    “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.” ~ Albert Einstein

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  12. Without knowing the source and therefore, the context of the quote… perhaps there is simply missing punctuation? Place a common after justice in the above expression, thus conferring evil status on those who deny good things, for all.

    Would not a hate for inequality fit better than a hate for liberty and justice? Occam’s razor, no?

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    • Hello Jeff! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I hope you’ll check in again.

      The source of the comment was a blog dedicated to Christian beliefs. Your comma suggestion is interesting — as is the slight modification of wording. In any event, there’s no denying there are individuals who are simply not content unless we all live according to their standards.

      Like

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