Free speech or regulated speech: which is better to deal with social ills?

In contrast to the most recent proposal by the anti-discrimination commission, a more straightforward and efficient way to tackle discrimination is by using free speech and the power of choice.

The general public are overwhelmingly offended by any racial abuse and are forthright in castigating the perpetrator. Despite the view of the Muslim woman and the journalist, this clip shows how free speech and free choice are much better at treating social ills than regulating speech.

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41 comments ↓

#1 LDU on 04.07.08 at 10:12 pm

“The general public are overwhelmingly offended by any racial abuse and are forthright in castigating the perpetrator”

Overwhelmingly? Lol. I don’t think so.

#2 Shadower on 04.07.08 at 11:13 pm

The video itself would disagree with that statement, considering 6 sided with the racist and 22 remained silent whilst 13 spoke up.

This is personally the best post I have seen so far on this forum. It was moving to see such passion, especially from the father of the soldier and the two girls who stood their ground.

God bless em.

#3 Baybers on 04.08.08 at 10:18 am

If we are being pedantic, I should point out that this is a blog and not a forum, but I see that the Muslim forum sport of playing “gotcha”, still applies.

From my experience its very unusual in Australia to see anyone take exception to racial abuse. I have seen aborigines being abused and not once seen bystanders intervene, so from my perspective 13 out of 41 is indeed overwhelming.

Most people in this country feel its either none of their business or not their place to speak up, but Americans it seems cannot walk past an injustice. Its very revealing about national character.

#4 G-man on 04.08.08 at 11:38 am

You must inhabit different parts of the country to me Baybers. I’ve only rarely seen Australians being openly and aggressively racist, apart from many Indigenous people who are frequently and violently racist against “white C__ts”. However you are right that many people just look away in embarrassment or fear of being drawn into conflict. Australia is the most successful multi-racial society on the planet so far, though that doesn’t mean we couldn’t do more to fight xenophobia.

#5 John Greenfield on 04.08.08 at 2:45 pm

There is a very small and overly vocal minority who spend 24/7 trying to whip up “racist panic.” These people, like that Tom Calma bloke and many white Luvvie academics – make their living by trying to convince the rest of us there is some dangerous epidemic of ‘racism’ engulfing Australia. Of course, the exact opposite is the case, which largely explains why people of all ‘races’ and ethnicities from across the globe flee their own dumps to escape here.

And it is time that the rest of us spoke back to the racists (like Calma) and the Luvvies and told them that it is not ‘racist’ to reject political ideological projects that wrap themselves up as ‘religion.’

Of course all people should be free to worship privately, but when this worship extends into the public sphere they no longer have the ‘right’ to be tolerated. That is, their views must be subject to the same process of engagement, opposition, and denunciation (if necessary) as any other political ideology.

It is a travesty of liberal democracy that the state pays a fortune to the likes Calma to stoke racial tensions. To make matters worse he does it by privileging the political/moral/legal authority of the UN over our own parliament!

HREOC is an anachronism of a bygone era and should be closed.

#6 T cell on 04.08.08 at 3:29 pm

“And it is time that the rest of us spoke back to the racists (like Calma) and the Luvvies and told them that it is not ‘racist’ to reject political ideological projects that wrap themselves up as ‘religion.”

such as?

#7 JDsg on 04.08.08 at 6:01 pm

Of course all people should be free to worship privately, but when this worship extends into the public sphere they no longer have the ‘right’ to be tolerated. That is, their views must be subject to the same process of engagement, opposition, and denunciation (if necessary) as any other political ideology.

No Christmas or Good Friday holidays for you! Take down that menorah and Christmas nativity scene – keep them indoors inside your home or else! Who do you think you are? Don’t you know that worship done in the public sphere has no right to be tolerated?

#8 Irfan Yusuf on 04.08.08 at 6:40 pm

Er, in what sense is a woman with a cloth on her head representing a political ideological project wrapped up as religion? It’s just a piece of cloth. It isn’t a flag. It isn’t even one of those hand-written signs you hold up at the cricket.

#9 Amir on 04.08.08 at 8:14 pm

Of course all people should be free to worship privately, but when this worship extends into the public sphere they no longer have the ‘right’ to be tolerated.

No, tolerance is actually a good thing, whether in private or in public. It’s important that we tolerate each other’s views and beliefs. However, it’s not necessary that we agree with each other or like each other’s beliefs.

People’s right to swing their arm should end just where your nose begins. If they want to “extent their worship” into the “public space” and it’s not harming you or preventing you from accessing that public space, then they should have every right to do so.

#10 Amal on 04.08.08 at 8:53 pm

Most people in this country feel its either none of their business or not their place to speak up, but Americans it seems cannot walk past an injustice. Its very revealing about national character.

So true, Baybers.

Thank you so much for posting this. I was particularly moved by the father of the soldier. Just amazing.

#11 John Greenfield on 04.09.08 at 9:01 am

See cookie-cutter race baiter in post #8. Trolling the blogosphere looking for opportrunities to dump tendentious comment about chicks cavorting about with ‘cloth on head.’

Amir

‘Tolerance’ is actually overrated. And very telling that you reflexively associate ‘not tolertaing’ with violence.

#12 Eudaemonion on 04.10.08 at 12:41 pm

‘Reflexively association not tolertaing [sic] with violence’.

The ‘violent Muslim’ shtick strikes again, eh John.

You’ve probably been living under a rock and haven’t come across the nose and fist analogy quite yet. You know, the one about where you freedom ends when you infringe on the rights of others. You’re woeful ignorance can be forgiven, in light of your tragic circumstances.

#13 Andy on 04.12.08 at 10:51 pm

Here is some free speech you people need to consider:
http://ummahpulse.com/index.ph.....p;Itemid=1

#14 Amir on 04.13.08 at 12:03 am

What’s that meant to mean, Andy?

#15 Eudaemonion on 04.13.08 at 12:49 am

Correction: ‘Reflexively associate not tolertaing [sic] with violence’.

#16 Adny on 04.14.08 at 8:08 am

OK, Amir, now that I have your attention. First, you have misread the video. It does not prove, as you seem claim, that the “general public are overwhelmingly offended”. Watch the video, this time without your bias, and you will see that the majority of people (22) “said and did nothing”.

Second, I think your bias is rooted in your “sudden-sellout-switch” opposition to legislation that would have protected Muslims from discrimination. Your “sellout” was so useful to non-Muslims that they quoted you in the UK Lords. You must feel very proud of yourself. Anyway the point here is that you are misrepresenting both the video and the needs of Muslims with your defeatist approach! Give it a rest !

#17 MSA on 04.14.08 at 10:20 am

Andy or adny, you appear to be so angry that you have misspelled your own name.

thats very embarrassing.

#18 Baybers on 04.14.08 at 11:02 am

Adny,

If you look beneath the title of this post you will realise that I and not Amir wrote it.

Therefore we all look forward to seeing your apology to him.

to address your points directly

1. One does not misread a video, as it has no words, but if you think my conclusions were wrong you are perfectly welcome to say so, as you have.

2. One cannot misrepresent a video by showing it. The video has been posted here, so people can view it and make up there own minds. I have posted my conclusions in comment number 3 which obviously you have not read.

3. Not every muslim feels that they need an anti-vilification law to protect them. Some of us feel that we have the ability and the courage to defends Muslims and Islam by ourselves. We also feel that an anti-discrimination act maybe counterproductive.

Amir is free to make his views known, as are you. They will each be judged on their respective merits.

#19 Adny on 04.14.08 at 6:42 pm

Baybers, being stubbornly pedantic yourself will not do you any favors, especially after you have sought refuge in accusing others of being pedant (post number 3).

1. The word “misread” in English does not have ONLY one meaning. Go back to the dictionary and you will see that it also means “to misinterpret”.

2. You say “One cannot misrepresent a video by showing it” but that is not the full extent of what you did here! You attempted to distort the conclusions by attaching your bias views to the video. You posted the video together with your claim that the “general public are overwhelmingly offended”.

2. I did read your post (number 3) and it is very clear that you trying to save face with little success. Your initial comment clearly related to the video, now you are trying to say that it was related to your own experience. If that was the case why did you not give some examples of your own experience instead of attaching them to the video. I am sure everyone reading this sees through your lame excuses.

3. I addressed my post to Amir because (a) it seems that he is the originator in recent times of this nonsensical argument of “Muslims don’t need laws to protect them” from the torrent of media attacks we are now facing and (b) he appears to be the only one doing all the thinking for the rest of you on this site. When you write, everything seems to be policed by his thoughts.

#20 Aussiemuslim on 04.14.08 at 7:44 pm

fwiw, Amir’s opposition to the anti-vill laws was vindicated in Australia. We had the Jews use them to get our bookshop to take tape
and books off the shelf and some sheiks were threatened too.

#21 Eudaemonion on 04.14.08 at 8:08 pm

Adny, if you were doing any thinking for yourself, you wouldn’t have such a child-like trust in the bureaucrats and politicians of Spring St. You wouldn’t have the temerity to accuse others of not thinking either, but we wont wait for that particular miracle to come to pass.

#22 Amir on 04.14.08 at 9:44 pm

*yawn*

#23 Adny on 04.14.08 at 9:57 pm

Where are you Amir? You asked Andy what is meant by his post. Is that just pretense or are you really not sure what he is talking about? Well let me spell it out for you. Your name and arguments were used in the Lords by Baroness Cox (11 Oct 2005) to crush the bill that would have protected Muslims from the BNP’s venom in the UK. As a direct result of your “sellout” the BNP is now free to unleash all its hatred for Islam and Muslims in public . The courts are unable to prosecute them for their vile rhetoric. Before they use to do it only in private, now they are attacking Muslims, thanks to you, with impunity on the BBC and elsewhere, and they are gaining support day by day in Britain in alliance with the supporters of Israel.

AussieMuslim, your vindication “anecdote” is pathetic. If the Jews are using the law, why should that mean we must not use the law to stop vilification of Muslims? Misuse of the law is not the issue. The discussion is about having or not having the law. Or is this another instance of “thinking only with Amir’s brain”? Perhaps you should rename the website amirlabe.com!

#24 Adny on 04.14.08 at 10:24 pm

Amir, is that *yawn* to say “I am so much more intelligent than all you malleable folks out there? Perhaps you may have a point but only as far as your own circle of friends are concerned. I really think it would make things much clearer if you renamed the website to AMIRLOBE.COM, it’ll do away with all the confusion!

#25 Eudaemonion on 04.15.08 at 1:46 pm

Look ‘Adny’, have you considered the idea that any act of British Parliament restricting the Free Speech of the BNP would only serve to provide the BNP with vindication, and further ammunition. Were the Bill to be put through, you would the BNP successfully arguing the line about the slow ‘Izlamisation of British Society’, using the recently passed bill as evidence. Suddenly, the BNP has a red button issue with which it can club British Muslims, and Muslims in general, where as it had nothing substantial before! What would your response be in that particular situation, ‘Adny’?

In many instances, bans on speech, any kind of speech, have been shown to give that speech undue credence and greater exposure, essentially giving it a boost. The Holocaust Revisionists would be a good example of ths. A more pertinent example for Australian Muslims would be Catch the Fire Ministries debacle.

Prosecuted under the Anti-Villification Laws, this merry band of fundamentalists were given a boost, with the Pastor neatly equating the laws with the imposition of ‘Shariah Law’ here in Australia. It was a PR coup for Catch the Fire Ministries.

Now, left alone, Pastor Danny made an embarassment of himself with the divinely inspired prediction of a Howard win in our most recent Parliamentary elections. All idealogues in the vein of Pastor Danny require a reaction from their opposition to provide substance to their argument, which on its own, has very little. A case in point of this approach was the Cartoons debacle, and the subsequent murder of Theo van Gogh, which provided great substance to the caricatures.

Now ‘Adny’, you can give up your silly fetish for daddy Government protecting you from the bad bad words of the BNP crowd.

Lastly, I think you mean Amirlabe, not Amirlobe. Just thought I’d point that out to the party accusing others of confusion.

#26 JDsg on 04.15.08 at 1:57 pm

@ Eudaemonion: “A case in point of this approach was the Cartoons debacle, and the subsequent murder of Theo van Gogh, which provided great substance to the caricatures.”

Er, it was the other way around, actually. Van Gogh died in November 2004, and the cartoons were originally published in September 2005.

#27 Nigel Baker on 04.15.08 at 2:05 pm

“Adny”, as much as I like Amir’s writing and some of his ideas, I doubt very much that he is quite as influential and powerful as you think. He’s not some kind of Evil Genius able to influence the decisions of politicians on the other side of the world as well as “malleable Muslims” at home.

#28 Eudaemonion on 04.15.08 at 8:34 pm

It seems I’ve confused the cartoons debacle with van Gogh’s Submission debacle. My mistake.

#29 Randall on 04.15.08 at 10:20 pm

If Adny’s precious hate speech legislation was introduced in the UK, all the Muslims who were pinged in that Channel 4 doco on “hate in the mosques” would have been charged with criminal offenses.

#30 Nigel Baker on 04.16.08 at 9:32 am

The Ummahpulse article that “Adny” posted says,

It may come as a surprise to many who read this to learn that, in recent times, some Muslim commentators and bloggers in the West have begun to advocate a policy of silence on the atrocities of the Israeli state against Muslims in Palestine.

What Muslim bloggers have actually advocated that? They don’t mention any names and I’ve never heard of any so I assume they are lying.a

#31 Baybers on 04.16.08 at 11:05 am

There are some points that are worth making so that there is no confusion

1. in 2006 the UK DID introduced an anti-vilification law: the religious and race hatrad act of 2006.

2. There is already a european anti-religious discrimination law and human rights law that enshrines the concept of religious freedom in the UK.

3. The Muslim community in The UK did not want an anti-discrimination law as “adny/andy/sarah K asserts, they wanted an anti-vilification law, which is what they got.

4. Quote:

“Before they use to do it only in private, now they are attacking Muslims, thanks to you, with impunity on the BBC and elsewhere, and they are gaining support day by day in Britain in alliance with the supporters of Israel”

This is not true, there is a religious hate law the fact that Adny still feels “attacked” just shows how toothless these laws are for their stated purpose and therefore why in my opinion they are not worth having at all.

Its best when debating a point, not to be both wrong in fact and rude simultaneously.

#32 Abdul Rahman on 04.16.08 at 2:29 pm

It fills me with delight to see Muslims addressing each other in this way.

#33 SSK on 04.16.08 at 8:28 pm

Dear Baybers #31,

Assalamu alaikum

I am sorry but I don’t agree with you for the following reasons:

1. The Race and Religious Hatred Act 2006 was rendered “toothless” by amendments made in the House of the Lords on the 25th of October 2005. The Lords placed the burden of proof of “intent to stir up religious hatred” on the prosecutors of this law. The Government attempted to overturn these changes, but lost the House of Commons votes on 31st January 2006.

2. The Muslim community in UK were disappointed about the result of that vote. The MBC and other representative organisations had spent a lot of time and effort lobbying politicians to support the original Bill. Apart from Ghayasuddin Siddiqui and his one man Muslim Parliament, all the major Muslim organisations in the UK supported the original Bill.

3. Before 2006, the BBC had to send undercover reporters to film the BNP’s anti-Islam attacks against Muslims. Following the new bill the BNP were emboldened to do it in public because they were from then on able to argue that their “intention was political activism and not to “stir up religious hatred”. thanks to the Lords amendments.

As Muslims who like to think of ourselves as intelligent and sophisticated, it is vital that we get the balance right between understanding our weaknesses and that of recognising the strengths of those who oppose us.

The argument is simple: The playing field is not level. When one or two groups are protected by the law and they use that as cover from which to attack a group that is not protected by the law, the law must to be changed.

Is this not what equality and rule of law is all about?

#34 SSK on 04.16.08 at 9:00 pm

PS to my previous post:

MCB Press Release
25 October 2005

“The Muslim Council of Britain has called on the House of Lords to reject the amendments proposed on 25th October by those opposed to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. Their effect is to deny British Muslims the same level of legal protection that is given to some racial and religious groups including Jews and Sikhs under existing racial incitement laws.The MCB believes that some opponents of the Bill have been engaged in a campaign to misrepresent its purpose and have misleadingly claimed that it will prevent criticism or ridicule of religion. This is demonstrably untrue as will be clear to anyone who has read the actual wording of the Bill.MCB Secretary General Iqbal Sacranie noted, “the opponents of the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill have yet to provide a credible answer as to why we can trust our judicial system to be able to make a distinction between criticism of the Jewish and Sikh religions and incitement to hatred against Jews and Sikhs, while not being able to do the same in the case of other faith groups, including Muslims,” added Sir Iqbal. Existing incitement laws in England and Wales and Northern Ireland have proved that it is possible to give protection to people without infringing on the right to free speech and the right to criticize religious beliefs.

http://www.mcb.org.uk/article_.....cement-510

#35 Randall on 04.16.08 at 9:19 pm

Where are you Adny?

#36 Baybers on 04.16.08 at 10:14 pm

Listen very carefully

SSK, Adney, Andy, Sara K,

someone needs to make a clear apology to Amir, before there is any discussion on any topic with you.

Otherwise you are perfectly welcome to leave.

#37 Eudaemonion on 04.17.08 at 2:25 pm

I seemed to have missed something with SSK’s first post. I was under the impression that our legal systems had the Presumption of Innocence at its core? How can the burden of proof be placed on anyone other than the prosecution?

#38 Shadower on 04.17.08 at 5:26 pm

So is SSK saying that the burden of proof should be on the person being accused?

#39 DD on 04.18.08 at 1:01 am

That’s exactly what he’s saying.

Shameful really. You would think Muslims of all people would value the importance of the presumption of innocence. Allahumusta3an.

#40 Ishbiliya on 04.19.08 at 12:34 am

In response to SSK, I’d just like to mention firstly, MBC is an Arabic satellite channel, I think you meant the MCB (you got it right in your cut and paste response, # 34, well done). More importantly, the MCB is (was) not the be all and end all of British Muslims by any means, so a disappointed MCB does not equal a disappointed Muslim community. And even if “all the major Muslim organisations in the UK supported the original Bill” as you claim, it’s true what they say, it’s better to be right by yourself than wrong with everyone else.

Anyways, the worst thing you can do to your enemy is ignore them, once you give them attention through calls for retaliation and desired/subsequent censorship; you feed their cause, add weight to their views and double their fan-base. We all know that controversy sells, and we’ve seen Muslims fall into this trap too many times. Eudaemonion has mentioned a few examples, and it’s only now through the outcome of these incidents, that Muslims are seeing the wisdom behind this stance. And for Amir’s foresight, as a British Muslim myself, I thank him.

#41 Club Troppo » Missing Link Daily on 07.22.08 at 3:48 am

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