Should you be jailed for racism?

March 29th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A UK student who posted a series of racist comments on Twitter following footballer Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest has been jailed for 56 days.

Liam Stacey, 21, caused widespread revulsion by reacting to Muamba’s mid-game collapse by writing: ‘LOL [laughing out loud], **** Muamba. He’s dead!!! #haha.’ He responded to criticism of that message with vile racist tweets. …

Stacey initially claimed his account had been accessed by somebody else, but later pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment. He was sent to prison to “reflect the public outrage” at his comments.

Stacey also faces expulsion from Swansea University. The third-year biology student had hoped to become a forensic scientist. Describing his tweets, prosecutor Louise Barron told the court: “The offence is clearly racially aggravated.

“There was sustained and gratuitous . These were unprovoked comments and persistent abuse. The recipients were disgusted.”

Jailing the student at Swansea Magistrates’ Court, District Judge John Charles said: “Not just the footballer’s family, not just the footballing world, but the whole world were literally praying for Muamba’s life. Your comments aggravated this situation.

“I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence to reflect the public outrage at what you have done.”

Now let’s be very clear. His comments were vile and racist. Some of his actual tweets are here. He absolutely deserves to be vilified in turn, to be kicked out of his university etc. Gloating that someone may die as they have collapsed on live television is awful.

But should someone go to jail just for saying something which is racist and offensive? I am uneasy about that. I think they should be exposed and suffer consequences as most people will shun them for what they said. But I think a prison sentence for a 21 year old who did some racist tweets is not a good thing.

Tags: ,

128 Responses to “Should you be jailed for racism?”

  1. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    It’s interesting, I suppose technically people used to go to jail for offensive language and criminal slander

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. PaulL (5,873 comments) says:

    I agree DPF. I actually think he shouldn’t have been expelled from university either. He’s a tool, and he’s about to learn that. But I don’t think a university should expel someone for being a tool.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. MT_Tinman (2,990 comments) says:

    At 21 the fool should know better but two things concern me;

    How will this fool’s racism affect his performance in his intended career as a forensic scientist?

    Has the judge been sanctioned for his lies?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    But, it sends a message to the tweetverse doesn’t it DPF?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    PaulL
    Truth is they probably employ some already I should think :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    I agree with DPF. The guy is an idiot and has to live with his stupid decisions. But to punish people for racism that doesn’t overtly affect the victim takes us down a odd path.

    If it was someone with actual authority, say an employer, a university entrance official, or an elected official then maybe. But is society so fragile and the self-esteem of black people in England so fragile that it’s offended by fuck-wits on the internet? If our confidence and self-esteem is affected by what some white-trash uni student thinks, then we’ve got deeper problems.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Nookin (3,035 comments) says:

    Perhaps the fact that racist comments so readily provoke violence in the UK was a factor.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    I suggest being expelled from University is the greater punishment, one that will be harder to recover from than the days spent in jail. The actual jail time will be hard for him to serve, but getting into another university, and losing the career he wanted is going to dog him . Having said that, what if you arent at university, and so being absent from your job for 2 months wont stop you getting a new job, if no jail, what message? Thirdly, jail sentences are also about sending messages to people about the standards expected of people who live in a community with each other.

    In Singapore they work on the basis that if one person gets put to death for littering then littering will stop quickly. I’m not actually an advocate of that btw but am making the point about wider messages than just the one being sent to the offender.

    Agree with Nookin.

    It’s less about adult black people having self esteem and more about the raft of teenagers drooling over the social media and doing stupid things as a result of other people doing stupid things

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Give cricket umpires hidden mic’s … we’d be able to throw whole teams in the slammer :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. dime (9,431 comments) says:

    hes 21 years old and ranting on the net. who else hasnt done that?

    for all we know he was pissed and was doing it with a bunch of mates.

    21 year olds are shit heads.

    Dime has done a lot worse!

    Jail is a shocking outcome.

    and what ever happened to free speech?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    I see Richard Dawkins thinks, and is now encouraging, the open mocking of Catholics. While I don’t like this idea, I’m not really offended by it because I know that Dawkins, despite his intellect, is also a hypocrite and a fuck-wit – but more importantly, doesn’t actually affect me. Moreover, if my self-esteem was based on what Dawkins thinks of me, then I’ve got deeper problems.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/richard-dawkins-unreasonable-atheist/255029/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. James Stephenson (2,033 comments) says:

    Perhaps the fact that racist comments so readily provoke violence in the UK was a factor.

    So if actual violence can be proven to have been incited by some then that is the offence with which they should be charged. “Hate speech” is a ridculous non-offence.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    There is no way in hell he should have been jailed – indeed given anything worse than a harsh slap (e.g. temporary suspension from university)
    As people have noted, people RANT on the net. It’s just ranting. And jailing for particular types of hate speech becomes a slippery slope; smart racists will condemn “Israel” when deep down they are hoping for the return of the Holocaust; others will attack “cultures” rather than “races” (happens already and is merely windowdressing.)

    As always, the way to deal with racist/prejudiced SPEECH is debate. If someone attacks someone for being black, that’s a different kettle of fish.

    As an aside, say the Falklands flares up again, would British tweeters be allowed to say nasty things about Argentines? Is Argentine a race or a nationality?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    Someone said “In Singapore they work on the basis that if one person gets put to death for littering then littering will stop quickly.”

    So there are no murders in the USA?
    (I support the death penalty, but the above is ridiculously simplistic and plain wrong)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    Is the Internet an excuse for behaving badly and lacking respect for people? That’s an interesting defence.

    WHY do people need to name call at all, especially when most of you who do it here are not doing it in your workplaces?

    elscorcho, – I was referring to the principle of deterrent, of sending messages via law about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour, I was NOT saying that it deters everyone.

    There’s nothing much more simplistic than the death penalty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero (729) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I’m also openly mocking of Catholics as they still haven’t given up all the Cardinals bishops et al who helped hide the peadophilia problem they’ve had for decades with their clergy.
    It’s too many in too many different geographic places in the world.

    Where are all those people who didn’t bring in the Police at the very onset in each case.
    or just moved them on to another parish?

    Where are the Catholics on mass in each parish demanding the Pope and Bishops do the above?

    Where are the whistleblowers?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Nookin (3,035 comments) says:

    James

    Should the resulting violence be the determining factor when often that is in the lap of the gods. It’s a bit like careless driving. Drivers seem to get credit for the fact that there is no accident when, in fact, such a result is completely fortuitous and no credit whatsover to the careless driver.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    “Is the Internet an excuse for behaving badly and lacking respect for people? That’s an interesting defence. ”
    - Yes.
    It was always a place where people could actually express themselves. If someone wants to do something about racism, go to Stormfront every day and try to convert the people there. That’s what missionaries did, and what anti-racists should do.

    Jailing for racism is merely jailing for ignorance. And it’s maddeningly inconsistent – there is a huge amount of sexism, ageism, and other prejudice out there that goes entirely unpunished.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero (729) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 9:26 am

    But is Dawkins really pursuing our common goal in a reasonable way? At the Reason Rally he encouraged people not just to take issue with religious teachings, but to “ridicule” religious belief and show “contempt” for it. Now, suppose you’re a conservative Christian in Tennessee, and a fellow conservative Christian is trying to convince you of the merits of that anti-evolution bill. You’re on the fence–you’d never really given much thought to whether your child’s religious beliefs would be threatened by the teaching of Darwin. Then you hear Richard Dawkins, probably the most prominent Darwinian in the world, advocating displays of contempt and ridicule for your religion.

    Mightn’t you sense a threat from Darwinism that you hadn’t sensed before? Mightn’t you become, if anything, more fundamentalist (since fundamentalism is, among other things, a reaction against perceived threat)? And is it really reasonable for Dawkins to expect otherwise–to expect that contempt and ridicule will be productive?

    Now imagine you’re a five year old and you’re not quite sure if Santa Claus really exists. If people ridicule a belief in Santa Claus aren’t you more likely to become a firm believer in Santa Claus?

    Or… imagine you’re a leftist and you come to Kiwiblog and you see the likes of EWS et al mocking leftist beliefs. Aren’t you more likely to become even more of a fundamentalist leftist? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    I wonder if the object of the abuse hadn’t been a sportsman being “prayed” for, if that would have changed anything (rhetoric). This is certainly out of proportion tot he other man who avoided jail.

    “Newcastle University law student Joshua Cryer has been sentenced to a two-year community order for sending ‘grossly offensive’ Twitter messages to ex-footballer Stan Collymore.

    Having initially denied sending the tweets, claiming that his account had been hacked, Cryer (pictured) changed his plea and admitted his guilt at a hearing earlier this month.”

    http://www.legalcheek.com/2012/03/racist-tweet-law-student-avoids-jail-but-career-prospects-damaged/ March 21 2012

    In some ways his were worse:

    He denied it was him
    He did it over 7 days

    He got community service and a conviction. I don’t understand how the judge sentencing Stacey (March 27 2012) did get access to this other decision as a guide?

    I don’t accept being drunk as a defence. You know before you begin drinking that if you go too far, drink too much you might do stupid things.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Lance (2,451 comments) says:

    Agree with DPF. Jail a bit harsh but expulsion from University definitely.
    Which brings up another issue. When I worked at the Uni of Auck there was a trick by some students where if they didn’t like some sanction imposed on them by a staff member (e.g abusing computer access so login suspended for a few days) was to make a racism complaint complaint against the said staff member. Even though patently ridiculous there was a shit storm while it was sorted out. Then guess what… it is easier for staff to just let the little shits away with blue murder.

    I think false accusations of racism should carry all the same penalties as racist remarks.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. swan (659 comments) says:

    “the whole world were literally praying for Muamba’s life.”

    Good to see the judge sticking to the facts. FFS.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    I disagree lance they should carry a harsher punishment.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    James Stephenson,


    So if actual violence can be proven to have been incited by some then that is the offence with which they should be charged. “Hate speech” is a ridculous non-offence.

    Incitement has to be more than some unquantifiable potential for a sequence of events to occur which lead to something happening. If it’s incitement then it has to be direct and has to be obvious. Posting on twitter will never count as incitement in my view.

    When we start widening the scope of incitement then we get all sorts of idiots arguing for things to be banned from pornography which supposedly incites rape to video games which supposedly incite violence to climate change denial which supposedly incites environmental catastrophe.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    I disagree with expulsion from University on first offence. There should be a warning, but not expulsion.

    As for the jail sentence, just stupid. As stupid as the student’s drunken abuse. God save us from sanctimonious judges. They’ll be deporting people to the colonies next.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Lance,

    Agree with DPF. Jail a bit harsh but expulsion from University definitely.

    Ok, how about expulsion from university for climate change denial? Either you have a university which engenders an environment of free thinking or you don’t.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    Is the Judge Catholic or a Bolton fan?????

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    merlinnz (45) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Is the Internet an excuse for behaving badly and lacking respect for people? That’s an interesting defence.

    The boy needs no defence. He has a fundamental right to express any opinion he likes. He has a right to be a bigot and he has the right to be offensive. No one has a right to be respected or to be liked or to be prayed for.

    These sorts of anti-hate laws are exactly what gives the political left a bad name and rightly so.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    LOL, F*ck Graeme. He’s dead!!! #haha.

    This simply isn’t racist. Other tweets appear to have been, but he seems to have been charged over this one. Race may have been a motivating factor, but it could similarly be a factor in the statement that “I don’t want Obama to win the election.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    Weihana

    My comment about the Internet was less about it being any kind of legitimate legal defence to any kind of legitimate (or otherwise) legal charge, it was a broader question about why people think the Internet is an excuse to behave badly and call people names and be disrespectful? I accept it is useful (the internet as a social tool) because it helps those who believe that we’re all equal and there are few racists or bigots or whatever out there to realise there are, an in what they consider unlikely places. That’s a useful device in my opinion.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. SalParadise (54 comments) says:

    Graeme,

    I think it is more likely he was charged over comments like “go pick some cotton!”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. James Stephenson (2,033 comments) says:

    @Weihana – I don’t quite get what you’re arguing. With regard to incitement, I’m saying that if someone were to tweet “xyz should be shot” and then someone does indeed shoot xyz, then the tweeter should be in the dock alongside the shooter.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. backster (2,078 comments) says:

    Diversion or a restorative Justice hui might have been more appropriate, still he will have plenty of time and facilities in prison to continue his studies extra murally.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    @Weihana: “These sorts of anti-hate laws are exactly what gives the political left a bad name and rightly so.”

    The underlying offence is s4A of the Public Order Act 1986, passed by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government. It reads:

    “(1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he:
    (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
    (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting
    thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.”

    The Blair Labour Government then raised the sentencing tariff on this offence where it is “racially or religiously aggravated”, under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, s.31(1)(b).

    Point being – the Tories outlawed various forms of expression, while Labour said those forms of expression are to be more heavily punished if they are motivated by racist/anti-religion sentiments. So not sure there are any “free speech heroes” in this picture on either the UK right or left.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    merlinnz,


    why people think the Internet is an excuse to behave badly and call people names and be disrespectful?

    The question presupposes an acceptable standard of behaviour. But what is that standard and who decides? If someone goes on a forum and starts advocating rape, albeit very politely, that will surely bring about name calling and abuse. But so what? He’s advocating a horrible idea.

    The thing with the internet is that your participation is virtually always voluntary. If you don’t like what people are saying then you are free to logoff. It is not always as easy in real life settings and thus standards vary between real life situations and the internet. In real life you can’t reasonably expect others to just vacate a public or shared space if they don’t like what you are saying. On the internet you can because there is an infinite supply of such spaces.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    I think it is more likely he was charged over comments like “go pick some cotton!”.

    The article (and I should know better than to trust news reports of criminal cases) said:

    Jailing the student at Swansea Magistrates’ Court, District Judge John Charles said: “Not just the footballer’s family, not just the footballing world, but the whole world were literally praying for Muamba’s life. Your comments aggravated this situation.

    I will also note that this sort of hyperbole should never be included in a judgment.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Here’s a wacky idea – if you don’t like his tweets, don’t follow him on twitter. Free speech is worth nothing if it only lasts until someone gets offended.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # James Stephenson (799) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 10:14 am

    @Weihana – I don’t quite get what you’re arguing. With regard to incitement, I’m saying that if someone were to tweet “xyz should be shot” and then someone does indeed shoot xyz, then the tweeter should be in the dock alongside the shooter.

    What if a man rapes and murders a child. Someone then tweets that the man “should be shot”. A vigilanty reads the tweet and goes out and shoots the man on his way to court. Should the tweeter be sentenced as well?

    Note that several Kiwiblog comments have included calls to violence in regards to people charged with horrible crimes. The Turangi rapist for one.

    When I think of incitement I think of a guy with a megaphone telling a mob of angry people to be violent or to otherwise create disorder. The thing with this type of scenario is that it is easier to see that the person with the megaphone had an intent that the mob carry out some action and his words were the mechanism by which he would make that happen.

    With regards to tweets I don’t think any reasonable person can expect a particular outcome as the result of their tweet. I should qualify that and never say never, but in general it’s far fetched.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    Weihana

    Fair comment. I am thinking you would consider the Cairns Libel case silly too? I know I do.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    “With regards to tweets I don’t think any reasonable person can expect a particular outcome as the result of their tweet. I should qualify that and never say never, but in general it’s far fetched.”

    Wasn’t Twitter widely used to organise the uprising in Egypt?

    “The question presupposes an acceptable standard of behaviour. But what is that standard and who decides? If someone goes on a forum and starts advocating rape, albeit very politely, that will surely bring about name calling and abuse. But so what? He’s advocating a horrible idea.”

    I was simply pondering on why people who generally don’t name call and so forth in their workplace or whatever find it ok to do so online. I am not saying they should be punished just that everything starts off with the individual. I don’t get it, is what I am saying.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. GConnell (20 comments) says:

    As someone above pointed out, there is a history of violent race attacks in the UK, many resulting in deaths. I grew up in East London, and there were many cases of racially provoked murder whilst I was there. There is legislation in place to stop people inciting racial hatred for that exact reason. Was it warranted in this case? No idea, I can’t be bothered to read the comments as I don’t think the indicent relates in anyway to our landscape here in NZ. However, if the comments came from a Neo-Nazi group, about Jews, we might think more strongly about them. Or to bring it into the NZ context a bit more, if the comments were inciting voilence against Maori, would we feel more like jailing the individual then? I suppose the bottom line is, “Is there a law which makes what he did illegal?” If the legislation exisits, and it’s for a valis reason, then all seems above board to me. I suspect that inciting racial hatred/violence in this case is the crime he was jailed for.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    merlinnz, in any libel case you have to prove real damage. There was no proof of damage from these drunken tweats.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    AG,


    So not sure there are any “free speech heroes” in this picture on either the UK right or left.

    Thanks for the background.

    While I can agree with the notion of outlawing harassment, when you set such a low standard (i.e. insulting language causing “distress”) it becomes ridiculous. There has to be an objective standard for harassment and while I’m not sure I can give a conclusive definition or framework, for me a key part of harassment is the inability to get away from the person giving the offensive speech (e.g. standing outside your house yelling). But if we define harassment as whenever someone’s feelings are hurt then nothing is free.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    GConnell – have there also been a large number of racially motivated heart attacks?

    The simple point is that none of the comments I have seen were inciting violence against anyone. Feel free to quote one that was.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. GConnell (20 comments) says:

    Sucked in. Tried to avoid reading the story, but I’m just too weak to resist! On reflection, and after reading the tweets this young man ‘twoted’ (or whatever), it does all seem rather daft. Society in the UK isn’t quite the same place as it was when these inciting racial hatred laws were put on the books. Perhaps this was a silly usage of the law. Interesting blog on the topic: http://thethirdestate.net/2012/03/the-sheer-madness-of-imprisoning-liam-stacey-for-an-act-of-racial-twitter-trolling/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    marlinnz,


    Wasn’t Twitter widely used to organise the uprising in Egypt?

    Yeah I think there was more to it than just that. :)

    No one could reasonably believe that they could start a revolution JUST by going on twitter. A man with a megaphone controlling an angry mob could reasonably believe that he could make things happen JUST by the sound of his voice.


    I was simply pondering on why people who generally don’t name call and so forth in their workplace or whatever find it ok to do so online. I am not saying they should be punished just that everything starts off with the individual. I don’t get it, is what I am saying.

    Anonymity is a factor I would imagine. Also the inability to see the other person. When we argue online we are more focused on the idea than the person but the person inevitably becomes a caricature in our minds representing the idea we oppose. So when we argue against our political opponents we see the worst in them whereas in real life we see qualities in people which we like which go beyond the politics on which we might disagree.

    Or perhaps the internet is just a place to vent frustration. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    But should someone go to jail just for saying something which is racist and offensive?

    Depends on the social context. As far as I’m concerned, this dickhead was broadcasting to his friends, so it’s a private matter.

    On the other hand, if he were famous and had a lot of strangers following his tweets then he should be made publicly liable for any substantial harm he causes imo.

    Ironically the publicicity surrounding the tweets has caused far more harm to society than this guy ever caused originally.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. southtop (262 comments) says:

    which prison is Hone going to or is being in Parliament counted as community service?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    On the other hand, if he were famous and had a lot of strangers following his tweets then he should be made publicly liable for any substantial harm he causes imo.

    One law for celebrities another law for the rest of us?

    What is an example of how a tweet could cause substantial harm? And how would the tweet be responsible for that harm?

    If a singer tells young people to take drugs is the singer responsible for that? I think that’s nonsense.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    “No one could reasonably believe that they could start a revolution JUST by going on twitter. A man with a megaphone controlling an angry mob could reasonably believe that he could make things happen JUST by the sound of his voice.”

    Isn’t it the same slope just grayer in one example than the other?

    Given the likelihood of being shot for carrying a megaphone to SHOUT for an uprising in Egypt I don’t think the tweeted rallying is as far away from the megaphone as you suppose, especially as twitter and txting IS how younger people today “discuss” issues. They dont DO public meetings.

    I understand that Mr Modi (Chris Cairns case) had 95 followers. It was his tweet being picked up and printed by cricinfo that probably spread it, yet Cricinfo weren’t int he firing line because they retracted. I first knew of the comment when I read Cairns had filed his suit.

    This whole thing is murky and the contradiction between how this tweeter was dealt with and the stan collymore tweeter is frightening

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. merlinnz (53 comments) says:

    Weihana, isn’t the issue the WORDS of the tweet not that it was tweet as the vehicle? Doesn’t someone who writes a tweet have an expectation others will read it? I’m not saying that they have an intent people will act upon it but they surely have an expectationit will be read?

    Being WORDS the issue is are they are as capable, or not, of causing harm as if the words are said out loud. It is not the tweet per se it is what the tweet conveyed/said. The Judge looks doubly foolish because h could have had access tot he sentencing decision by one of his colleagues a week earlier and either didnt or ignored it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    One law for celebrities another law for the rest of us?

    Weihana, no, it’s the same law. When you are broadcasting to strangers it is no longer a private matter. When you become famous the nature of tweeting changes from being a private conversation to being a public broadcast. Same principle applies to blogging or any other social medium as far as I’m concerned.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. 3-coil (1,200 comments) says:

    “But should someone go to jail just for saying something which is racist and offensive?”

    It couldn’t be done here in NZ – there wouldn’t be enough jail space for Harawira and his racist Mana party followers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. JamesP (76 comments) says:

    Also I have to wonder about the fairness of it. Many people say and do more racist things every day for which they receive no sanction. This guy’s life is now seriously screwed up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    It amazes me Facebook allowed the following statement to be made by a Parliamentary group in Egypt (20% of their Parl) about the death of Egypt’s Coptic Pope (Shenouda III) who died on 17 March aged 88 aftre 40 years of public service.

    “We rejoice that he is destroyed. He has perished…May God have His revenge on him in the fire of hell – he and all who walk his path.” “head of the infidels” “pigs.”

    Several other Islamic clerics also released public Cyber insults and Islamic leaders refused to stand for a moment of silence in honour of the Pope in the Parliament.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    No on both counts. He should not have been sent to jail, and he should not have been expelled from the university.

    As to “inciting racial violence”, the vast majority of victims of racial violence are indigenous British people, and the converse, the majority of violent racially motivated attacks are by blacks and Muslims against the British.

    Racism has been defined as anything a white person says that a black person does not like. But blacks can and do say anything they like with no consequences.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    “As to “inciting racial violence”, the vast majority of victims of racial violence are indigenous British people…”

    Absolutely – the Picts have suffered terribly at the hands of the Celts. That’s what you mean, right?

    Actually, poor attempt at humourous response aside, Lee01′s comment may well be the very, very worst one ever written on Kiwiblog. Which, you have to admit, is takes a special effort to achieve.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    merlinnz,


    Weihana, isn’t the issue the WORDS of the tweet not that it was tweet as the vehicle? Doesn’t someone who writes a tweet have an expectation others will read it? I’m not saying that they have an intent people will act upon it but they surely have an expectationit will be read?

    Being WORDS the issue is are they are as capable, or not, of causing harm as if the words are said out loud. It is not the tweet per se it is what the tweet conveyed/said. The Judge looks doubly foolish because h could have had access tot he sentencing decision by one of his colleagues a week earlier and either didnt or ignored it.

    The issue is whether the speaker intends to use words to effect an imminent harmful and unlawful outcome rather than to simply express an idea. In the context of a tweet I struggle to find examples where this holds true. The supposed harmful effects need to be imminent and direct otherwise the causal link is contingent and indirect and depends upon some unquantifiable potential for further action by other parties.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Lee01′s comment may well be the very, very worst one ever written on Kiwiblog”

    Because……..????

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Scott Chris (4,048) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    One law for celebrities another law for the rest of us?

    Weihana, no, it’s the same law. When you are broadcasting to strangers it is no longer a private matter. When you become famous the nature of tweeting changes from being a private conversation to being a public broadcast. Same principle applies to blogging or any other social medium as far as I’m concerned.

    But what’s the relevance? Does free speech exist only in private? My issue is with how people evaluate whether harm has been caused by speech. If a celebrity is a bigot and promotes that on their twitter account then I do not see that the situation is somehow changed because they are more likely to be followed. They have a fundamental right to advocate for their bigotry. Pursuading other people to be bigots is not a crime. Even if pursuading people to be bigots has an increased tendency to motivate such people to criminal behaviour that should not make the speech unlawful. Any claim to incitement must be both direct and imminent showing clear intent on the part of the speaker to incite criminal behaviour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Let me rephrase that. I don’t care if you think it was “the very, very worst” comment on KB. My question is, what did I say that you think is factually wrong?

    Oh, and just to save us some time, I am neither a Liberal nor a cultural Marxist, so I really do not give a rats ass about your definition of “racism”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. Chthoniid (2,028 comments) says:

    If said student was using university IT resources to make those tweets, then the content of them would likely violate any terms-of-service he would have agreed to with the university. That would create grounds for expulsion.

    I struggle to see however, that this is an offense that justifies jail time (irrespective of the feelings towards said posts).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Longknives (4,456 comments) says:

    Lee01- I’m not 100% sure what makes your comment the worst ever written on Kiwiblog either! Perhaps it’s because during a discussion about racial hatred and race attacks you brought up an inconvenient truth?… That in todays strange ‘PC’ world white people can’t be the victims of ‘racially motivated attacks’…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    You may be neither a Liberal nor a cultural Marxist, but you are an idiot. And I am not a person to engage in pointless arguments with idiots. So let’s just happily live in our separate little worlds.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “If said student was using university IT resources to make those tweets”

    Yes, that would be a fair reason for the university to take some form of action, as it would be the univeristies property he used. I suspect howerver that they were motivated by something other than property rights.

    And just to be clear, the comments he made were childish, vulgar and morally reprehensible. Not because they were “racist” but because it is wrong to wish another person dead, and doing so publicly causes pain to that victims family. Well, normally anyway. Tyrants and terrorists may be the exception.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. mara (726 comments) says:

    There was a time when what we found most frightening about states such as those beneath the totalitarian fist of Soviet Russia or which were tin pot dictatorships, run by brutal despots, was that people could be locked away because of what they said. We now seem to be living under such “conditions” again, or at least, hurtling towards that state. WTF!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “And I am not a person to engage in pointless arguments with idiots”

    You made the accusation. Either you can say why it was wrong or you can’t. Running away when challenged to back up your complaint is gutless cowardice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. Dean Papa (743 comments) says:

    seems very harsh I have to say, apparently this is what he twitted,

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    OK, Lee01. Here’s why you were wrong (and why you are an idiot). You claimed: “the vast majority of victims of racial violence are indigenous British people, and the converse, the majority of violent racially motivated attacks are by blacks and Muslims against the British.” Let’s have a wee look at the facts, shall we?

    “Of the cases analysed by IRR [660 cases of racial violence that took place in 2009], nearly 80% of the victims of racial violence were men, and just 20% were women. In terms of the age of victims, almost 90% were over the age of 18. In cases where the ethnicity of the victim was known, just over 45% were Asian, 18% black, 10% white British, 7% Polish, 1.25% Chinese and 1.25% from Traveller communities. 1.8% of the cases examined were anti-Semitic, in 7% of the cases the victims were Muslim. Although information on the victim‟s immigration status is not always known, in 10% the victims were migrant workers, refugees, or asylum seekers. In terms of professions most at risk of being victims of racist violence, the largest group was taxi drivers, followed by take-away and restaurant workers, shopkeepers and police officers.
    Nearly 93% of the perpetrators were white, 3.8% were Asian and 2.8% Black. 85% of the perpetrators were male and 15% are female. 60% of the attacks are perpetrated by children or young adults under 25, many of whom are active in gangs.

    In addition, the IRR research shows that 89 people have lost their lives in violent racist attacks since the murder of Stephen Lawrence in1993. ‟Of these, [...] 46% of all victims were Asian and 26% were Black. The vast majority of perpetrators, 94%, were White British people‟.”

    http://cms.horus.be/files/99935/MediaArchive/Racist%20Violence%20Report%20UK%20-%20online.pdf

    Your move.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    AG,

    I think I know his next move…. “That’s a bullshit study full of lies told by a bunch of liberal marxists” :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. Longknives (4,456 comments) says:

    Guys I think the point is that attacks by groups of blacks on white victims simply aren’t considered ‘racially motivated attacks’…otherwise your stats might tell a rather different story!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Longknives,

    You have evidence of this? How many “attacks by groups of blacks on white victims” are there?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. Longknives (4,456 comments) says:

    Christ have you ever visited planet earth? (Or even Auckland CBD on a Friday night?)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  74. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    “Guys I think the point is that attacks by groups of blacks on white victims simply aren’t considered ‘racially motivated attacks’…”

    And yet, oddly, the stats show that “In cases where the ethnicity of the victim was known … 10% [were] white British … .” So keep on tap dancing, Longknives.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  75. kowtow (7,629 comments) says:

    The guy is obviously an ignorant prat and a racist. But being a rude racist should not be a crime.

    He should not go to gaol nor be expelled from university.

    The whole so called hate crime,human rights,racism, whatever it is legislation thing has run completely out of control.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  76. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    My issue is with how people evaluate whether harm has been caused by speech.

    I can see your point, but I have less faith than you do in society’s ability to self regulate in an already regulated environment. History has shown that if left to proliferate, certain specific cultural behaviours such as overt racism can metastacise to produce substantial harm to society so preemptive measures restricting freedom of speech seem sensible to me.

    They have a fundamental right to advocate for their bigotry.

    I disagree. According to my understanding of the concept of freedom within the context of society, we are free to act as we will provided those actions will not substantially impinge upon the freedom of others.

    Pursuading other people to be bigots is not a crime.

    A crime imo is an action that intentionally produces substantial harm. So again, I disagree. Another point is that if the government doesn’t intervene to prevent open promotion of bigotry, then in the context of Western culture, this could be seen as a relative advocacy of bigotry. Mind you, I don’t think the same principle applies to legalization of narcotics.

    Any claim to incitement must be both direct and imminent showing clear intent on the part of the speaker to incite criminal behaviour.

    I agree. Law should be clear. Might pay to start off by defining what a ‘private conversation’ is. Wait a sec… isn’t that partly what the law commission is currently investigating? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  77. Chthoniid (2,028 comments) says:

    Universities are corporates that have their own set of rules, and students agree to conform to them- and the disciplinary procedures therein. In some areas students are held to a higher standard than would be tolerated in other parts of society. Again, if said student has used university resources to propagate a racist platform, he doesn’t have much of a defense against expulsion.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  78. adze (1,864 comments) says:

    Until about a year ago I had a neighbour who unfortunately had to leave NZ with his partner and return to the UK. Neither of them wanted to return there because in their words, “the UK is a very angry place”. I actually worry about its future even though I’m not from there. There were some terrible things done in the past – I used to know (through work) a UK expat who admitted that in his youth he used to go “Paki bashing”. As appalling as that was, with the increasingly cosmopolitan demographics in that country there’s a real danger of an increasingly frequent events such as the riots that happened about a year ago.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  79. kowtow (7,629 comments) says:

    I reckon any study by an EU funded “anti racist “body is going to be highly dubious.The only conclusions being whites are guilty and must be humiliated,and taxpayers must come up with more money to fund us.

    A bit like any shite from the UN on AGW.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  80. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    I can see your point, but I have less faith than you do in society’s ability to self regulate in an already regulated environment. History has shown that if left to proliferate, certain specific cultural behaviours such as overt racism can metastacise to produce substantial harm to society so preemptive measures restricting freedom of speech seem sensible to me.

    In which case freedom of speech goes completely out the window. Say goodbye to climate change denial which, if allowed to proliferate, will prevent us taking necessary action to curb environmental damage.


    I disagree. According to my understanding of the concept of freedom within the context of society, we are free to act as we will provided those actions will not substantially impinge upon the freedom of others.

    Advocating bigotry does not impinge on anyone else’s rights. No one has a right to be liked or respected.


    A crime imo is an action that intentionally produces substantial harm. So again, I disagree. The other point is that if the government doesn’t intervene to prevent open promotion of bigotry, then in the context of Western culture, this could be seen as a relative advocacy of bigotry.

    Rubbish. The context of western culture is a society which tolerates dissent and disagreements and unpopular points of view.

    A free society allows the advocacy of any idea.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  81. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    AG,

    The flaw in such stats is the defintion of “racially motivated”. Many crimes of black on white violence that are racially motivated or have a racial component are simply not defined as such. Thus the 10% figure for whites cited above is likely far too low. Moreover many violent acts against blacks are defined as racial even when race was not a real motivation.

    The entire legal concept of “racially motivated” is dubious because it can so subjective, and in these hyper-pc times virtually impossible to implement fairly.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  82. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    The context of western culture is a society which tolerates dissent and disagreements and unpopular points of view.

    Within reason.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  83. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Let me give an example. If a gang of black thugs beat up a white youth, but do not overtly make any racist comment, then how can we know if it was racially motivated or not? I believe that a great deal of black on white violence has, at the very least, a racial component, but the very subjectivity of the definition makes it hard to prove legally, and certainly makes the IRR gathering of stats meaningless.

    Here is what we do know. In Britian, the U.S and New Zealand, the vast majority of violence is black on white, or black on black.

    Here are the figures from the U.S.

    68% of all violent crime arrests are of Blacks.
    60% of all Blacks are armed with a weapon at all times.
    Blacks commit 8 times as many assaults as Whites.
    Blacks commit 14 times as many murders as Whites.
    Blacks commit 19 times as many armed robberies as Whites

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  84. iMP (2,245 comments) says:

    People can say whatever they like, I hate laws that circumscribe that.

    But people are also free to sue the hell out of you for being defamatory, racist or inciting violence. Let the market decide.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  85. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Weihana said…
    He has a fundamental right to express any opinion he likes. He has a right to be a bigot and he has the right to be offensive. No one has a right to be respected or to be liked or to be prayed for.

    Where did those rights come from in the first place? Obviously the state/law didn’t think that the guy had any rights at all? Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been jailed. But you’ve insisted in the past (I can pull up some of your comments from those threads) that rights doesn’t exist (objectively). It is only there when the majority in the society have agreed to set the definition of rights subjectively (but not objectively) in a representative democracy? Are you backtracking? Or perhaps, you’ve just forgot that sometimes you argue for and against (at different times) about a topic of discussion here on Kiwiblog without even remembering?

    Racism should be allowed in a free society as long as its members don’t tremble on others (natural/objectively-defined) rights. Making racist comments like saying to someone that Obama is niggar is no more disgusting than telling fat Albert to eat less McDonal hamburgers. Sure, someone’s feeling will be hurt but that doesn’t in itself constitute rights violation. The law should only be there to protect the rights of its citizens.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  86. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Scott Chris (4,050) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    The context of western culture is a society which tolerates dissent and disagreements and unpopular points of view.

    Within reason.

    Within who’s reason? Yours?

    The freedom to express an idea is absolute in my view.

    “Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  87. SGA (812 comments) says:

    @Lee01 – “Here is what we do know. In Britain, the U.S and New Zealand, the vast majority of violence is black on white, or black on black.” – followed by stats on US black offending rates (with no information on the race of the victims).

    No we don’t know that at all! You’ll find that intraracial (black on black, white on white) murders, for example, are much, much more common in the US than interracial murders.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  88. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi,


    Where did those rights come from in the first place?

    But you’ve insisted in the past (I can pull up some of your comments from those threads) that rights doesn’t exist (objectively)

    Objective morality, in my view, represents the realistic means by which a logically consistent set of goals may be realized in reality. Thus morality to me is not absolute it is contingent upon subjective goals. But it is not subjective either since the realistic means to achieve subjective goals depends upon a mind-independent reality. Thus it is the relationship between subjective goals and the absolute facts of reality which constitutes an “objective” fact.

    That is to say that certain things can only be achieved by certain means.

    In this context, freedom of speech is a fundamental right because it is the condition upon which knowledge is built and knowledge is a pre-requisite for achieving anything at all. As JSM says, without complete liberty of opinion a human being can have no rational assurance of being right.

    I hope this clears up my position for you. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  89. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    …freedom within the context of society…

    Just want to add that complete liberty of opinion is just as much in the interests of society as it is in the interests of the individual. In fact it is probably more so in the interests of society. For while a selfish individual may gladly censor opinions which threaten his standing, society relies on freedom of opinion in order to build knowledge upon which their overall prosperity depends. There are countless dictators who have feathered their own nests by stomping on anyone who questioned them, but I know of no society that has grown rich by such means.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  90. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Weihana…

    logically consistent set of goals may be realized in reality.

    So, is it an Axiomatic System or not? If it is not, then you will NEVER reached a consistent set of goals, therefore you have a contradiction? Axiomatic System (AS) has no contradiction at all. Your subjectivity is what lead to contradictions. BTW, we’re talking logic here since you brought up the subject. I noted that the MAY be realized in reality in your statement above is a fuzzy term (multiple-valued-logic) which is inconsistent with an Axiomatic system (AS) because AS is built on binary logic (ie, boolean – either true or false), there is no middle ground there for a MAY BE. So, I think that your argument is still subjective & inconsistent regardless of how beautiful your wordings of your argument here.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  91. EverlastingFire (291 comments) says:

    I don’t see why he should be kicked out of uni. He made the comments over twitter, ffs. But when so many of these ‘educational institutes’ adopt Marxist theory I’m not surprised by this. Regulating speech doesn’t work.

    The UK is fucked. I wonder what the outcome would have been if the student were Muslim applauding the death of a white Christian?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  92. travellerev (149 comments) says:

    I actually agree with this post. Very scary but if they can jail you for being an obnixious racist than what is next.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  93. BlairM (2,287 comments) says:

    If you have to even ask the question, you’ve clearly lost your moral compass. Coming up on Kiwiblog: “Should Jews be gassed? I am uneasy about that…”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  94. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi,

    So, is it an Axiomatic System or not? If it is not, then you will NEVER reached a consistent set of goals, therefore you have a contradiction?

    I haven’t described a system, I described a concept upon which a system of ethics may be constructed. Such a system may or may not be consistent. If it is not then it is invalid.

    If you are asking about my personal code of ethics then I’m sure inconsistencies exist although I try to avoid them. I’m only human which is why freedom of expression is so vital because it is the only condition upon which a fallible person like myself can have any level of confidence that I am right about something.


    I noted that the MAY be realized in reality in your statement above is a fuzzy term

    Poor word choice.


    So, I think that your argument is still subjective & inconsistent regardless of how beautiful your wordings of your argument here.

    But even if a system of ethics is axiomatic does that necessarily make it not subjective? One may identify a set of axioms and logically derive theorems from those axioms, but consistency doesn’t determine that such a system of ethics represents an objective truth.

    The objectivity in the concept I described was that any system of ethics based on the concept depends upon empirical observation of reality to confirm whether an ethical principle achieves the desired outcome.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  95. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    The freedom to express an idea is absolute in my view.

    Fine. But in my view you have a social obligation to adapt to the local cultural conditions. For instance, should it be legal for people to walk naked in the supermarket or have sex on the park bench? Should vagrants be allowed to hang around outside your shop day after day ranting and scaring off your customers? Should I be allowed to yell, “I’ve got a bomb!” to freak people out on the subway?

    Within who’s reason? Yours?

    No. Reason as derived from the premise that the reasonable human understands that the extent of his right to freedom is constrained by the extent of any other human’s right to freedom.

    Certainly there is a margin of tolerance where petty infringements on one another’s rights can be ignored, but there comes a point at which a human’s actions exceed being merely socially unpalatable to become socially toxic.

    And I repeat, history has shown us repeatedly that open and unconstrained advocacy of racial hatred is socially toxic.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  96. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    @Lee01,

    Been away for a while, but I’m back to see more idiocy in play.

    FIrst up, you are now admitting you have absolutely no objective basis for your claims – they all rest on what you happen to believe (viz: “I believe that a great deal of black on white violence has, at the very least, a racial component … .”) But given that you are an idiot, this is a poor basis for any claim about the real world. Further, you deny there is any possibility to gather evidence that would disprove your claims (viz: “The entire legal concept of “racially motivated” is dubious because it can so subjective … .”) So not only are your claims about the world based on no more than the belief of an idiot, but there is no way to show your claims are wrong (or right).

    Please note that this is why I don’t argue with idiots – they can’t be argued with, because they don’t know how to do it.

    Second, not only are you an idiot, but you are a liar to boot. You state “Here are the figures from the U.S.” with respect to crimes committed by racial groups, saying that blacks are responsible for the vast majority of violent crimes. That is a lie: see here http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/table-43

    While we’re looking at the USA, you also should note that “In 2010, law enforcement agencies reported that 3,725 single-bias hate crime offenses were racially motivated. Of these offenses:
    69.8 percent were motivated by anti-black bias.
    18.2 percent stemmed from anti-white bias.”

    So – there you have it. Lee01 … master of the idiotic comment, and happy to throw in lies just to top it off. Congratulations on your position as Kiwiblog’s worst ever contributor.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  97. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Scott…

    For instance, should it be legal for people to walk naked in the supermarket or have sex on the park bench?

    Scott, I think what you’ve raised can be solved easily by asking the question of who owns the super-market? Who owns the park? Who has the responsibilities to his/her own properties? If a super-market owner allows nudity, then good luck to them. They’ll be out of business, a day or perhaps a week after opening. Why would you want a law to ban a supermarket owner if he/she is insane enough to allow people to walk naked in his/her premises? No sane business person will do that and you don’t need a government regulation to regulate such disgusting behavior. The free markets regulate that quite easily. Local parks belong to the council ( people), then I doubt that the majority would want to see people having sex on park benches, therefore local council will prosecute people who would do that because it violates their rules.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  98. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    Fine. But in my view you have a social obligation to adapt to the local cultural conditions. For instance, should it be legal for people to walk naked in the supermarket or have sex on the park bench? Should vagrants be allowed to hang around outside your shop day after day ranting and scaring off your customers? Should I be allowed to yell, “I’ve got a bomb!” to freak people out on the subway?

    None of which is analogous to the present situation.

    And I repeat, history has shown us repeatedly that open and unconstrained advocacy of racial hatred is socially toxic.

    Example and a definition of “socially toxic”?

    I think if we look at significant racial conflicts in history it is ridiculously simplistic to ascribe such conflicts to “too much free speech”. The United States has exceptional standards in regards free speech and I am in no doubt that the freedom of white supremacists to advocate their hatred to their hearts content will have no impact on the future of the country. It will not cause another civil war. It will not bring back slavery. It will not create an apartheid regime. It will do nothing because their ideas are defeated through words, not government guns, and that is exactly how a civil society is supposed to operate.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  99. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi @ 2:16: “Racism should be allowed in a free society as long as its members don’t tremble on others (natural/objectively-defined) rights. … Sure, someone’s feeling will be hurt but that doesn’t in itself constitute rights violation. The law should only be there to protect the rights of its citizens.”

    Falafulu Fisi @ 4:07: “Local parks belong to the council ( people), then I doubt that the majority would want to see people having sex on park benches, therefore local council will prosecute people who would do that because it violates their rules.”

    Scott, don’t engage here. This guy can’t even remember what he argued less than 2 hours ago, so you CANNOT WIN.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  100. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    …should it be legal for people to walk naked in the supermarket or have sex on the park bench?

    Just as an aside, I personally have no problem with people walking naked in public as long as they aren’t lewd and lascivious. But stay away from the fresh produce please. I don’t want those sweaty ballsacks anywhere near my cucumber.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  101. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Andrew said…
    This guy can’t even remember what he argued less than 2 hours ago, so you CANNOT WIN.

    Andy, I remembered what I said. Can you point out of any logical contradiction in my argument here? I would be keen to be pointed out of where I made a contradiction? I argued that racism is not a rights violations (the law should butt out) and a super-market owner who allows nudity in his own private property (there is no rights violations in there either) is pretty consistent argument (logically). The public park (even though I would have like to have sex there on park bench with restriction) is not my own property is it? So it entails logically that the owner (majority of the people with their representatives as city Councillors), won’t let that happen.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  102. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Another point Andrew. I debated with Scott Chris last year here on Kiwiblog that if I burnt my own Koran (my own property which I bought with my own money), then there shouldn’t be any law that prohibits me from doing so, since I’m not violating anyone’s rights one single iota (be it a Muslim or whoever). Scott took the opposite view and said it is something that the law should be banning such practice since it leads to inciting hatred & violence. I may BBQ my own dog to the disgusting of the NZ public, but at the end of the day, I’m not violating anyone’s rights? Why should the law ban me from BBQ’ing my own animal, a dog for instance? It may hurt the feelings of animal lovers that I do that, but the same can be said of eating beef, in which the animal right groups find disgusting. They have been terrorizing certain butcher shops (locally & internationally) for a crime (as they said) of selling meat. My main argument is about rights. There is no rights violation in being a racist.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  103. AG (1,778 comments) says:

    So if the owner of all public places (the Crown, as represented by members of Parliament elected by the populace) decides to prohibit individuals from using racist language in public places, then that is OK. So, the right to engage in racist language in public depends upon the willingness of a majority of people to allow this to happen. So it entails logically that rights are whatever the majority of the population decide rights are. Even though they are “objective” in some shape or form. Unless there is an “objective” right to engage in racist speech, but not to have sex. Or whatever.

    I’ve made my policy on arguing with idiots clear. You qualify, despite your apparently very impressive qualifications in chemistry, etc. So goodbye.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  104. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi,

    “The law should only be there to protect the rights of its citizens”

    I’m not sure this is consistent with:

    “Local parks belong to the council”

    The collective ownership of land would not seem to be based on any individual right. By acknowledging the legitimacy of public parks it would seem to me that one must accept that the state has a role to play beyond the mere upholding of individual rights.

    Unless of course public land is purchased at the market rate, is not compulsorily acquired, and is funded through voluntary contributions from the public. Tui anyone?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  105. mikenmild (10,729 comments) says:

    AG
    That is a very elegant argument – well done indeed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  106. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    Example and a definition of “socially toxic”?

    Inciting racial hatred for the purpose of instilling nationalist pride.

    The United States has exceptional standards in regards free speech

    Oh, well it certainly protects the rights of corporate America – try saying Mickey Mouse publicly without permission. And because the liberal media holds sway at the moment in the United States doesn’t mean that state of affairs is permanent. And because Americans are constitutionally free to make non-obscene racist and sexist comments doesn’t mean they aren’t constrained by other aspects of American law.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  107. tom hunter (4,415 comments) says:

    As an aside to the comments about the different treatments given speech in America vs. Britain, I came across this quote that arose from a slightly different topic:

    Deploring anti-Semitic illiterates in white sheets was rather easy; but countering Hamas cartoons of Jews as apes and pigs in West Bank newspapers was difficult when they were disseminated in the name of free speech at U.C. Berkeley.

    That’s especially interesting in light of various comments on this thread about the use of university resources and the terms of service.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  108. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,


    Inciting racial hatred for the purpose of instilling nationalist pride.

    This is not an example and it does not demonstrate harm.

    You seem to be saying that one shouldn’t be able to advocate racism because it’s harmful. How is it harmful? It’s socially toxic. What does that mean? It means racial hatred has been incited which means, in other words, that a person has been persuaded to become racist. So essentially you’re saying racism is harmful because people might be persuaded to believe such speech. So freedom of speech does not include the freedom to actually persuade other people to believe what you are saying. Interesting. It appears clear that your objection to advocacy of racist speech is based on nothing more than your personal determination that the speech is wrong and therefore you don’t want others to believe it.

    “…the opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true. Those who desire to suppress it, of course deny its truth; but they are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the question for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means of judging. To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility. Its condemnation may be allowed to rest on this common argument, not the worse for being common.

    Unfortunately for the good sense of mankind, the fact of their fallibility is far from carrying the weight in their practical judgment, which is always allowed to it in theory; for while every one well knows himself to be fallible, few think it necessary to take any precautions against their own fallibility, or admit the supposition that any opinion, of which they feel very certain, may be one of the examples of the error to which they acknowledge themselves to be liable…”

    Moreover, hatred is not synonymous with harm. A person can be hated but not harmed. Inciting hatred does not mean one has incited harm. In any case, you have shown no evidence that tolerating racist speech is primarily responsible for racial conflict. But of course you haven’t because any suggestion that slavery, civil war, apartheid, the holocaust, or any major racial conflict, were the result of free speech is laughable and cannot usually be said with a straight face.


    Oh, well it certainly protects the rights of corporate America – try saying Mickey Mouse publicly without permission.

    You just said it. :)

    Not that I don’t acknowledge criticism of intellectual property “rights” in the US, but it hardly concerns political speech. It is primarily an issue of property and public interest. No particular idea is being silenced by such laws as far as I’m aware.


    And because the liberal media holds sway at the moment in the United States doesn’t mean that state of affairs is permanent.

    I’m not sure Fox News can be considered liberal, but regardless, protecting popular speech is hardly the concern and that is the point. It is unpopular speech which we must be vigilant in protecting. If such a time came when liberal speech in America was deemed wildly unpopular I would hope that the principle of free speech remains. That just because it is unpopular it would not be censored via some tenuous theory of “harm” such as you employ with regards to racism.


    And because Americans are constitutionally free to make non-obscene racist and sexist comments doesn’t mean they aren’t constrained by other aspects of American law.

    Don’t get me wrong. The United States is not my ideal picture of free speech protection. But they are relatively very good. While I’m no constitutional scholar, my personal preference is that the miller test be done away with. The notion of suppressing speech on the basis of a subjective assessment of its “literary, artistic, political or scientific value” is fundamentally inconsistent with the concept of free speech which requires that the individual be able to make their own mind up as to the value of an idea.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  109. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    I am uneasy about that.

    I would have thought someone who describes themselves as a classical liberal would be more than “uneasy” about someone being deprived of their liberty for racist comments made on the internet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  110. EverlastingFire (291 comments) says:

    AG – The link you provided doesn’t list Hispanic peoples. Are the FBI calling these people white? If we’re to call ‘white people’ the collective identifying with purely European descent then it would be wrong to call these people ‘white’. Which leads to another issue – there’s no grouping for mixed race either. Also, what about Semitic peoples? How many identify themselves as ‘white’? Seems the FBI is doing it regardless.

    Too bad these figures aren’t more detailed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  111. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    ***Inciting racial hatred for the purpose of instilling nationalist pride.***

    So you would imprison Hone Harawira? What about the Dalai Lama who considers the Tibetans are their own unique race? Accordingly, Tibet shouldn’t be demographically taken over by the Han Chinese.

    Would many people in Israel be imprisoned for their views of their jewish identity relative to others in the region?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  112. Mike Readman (358 comments) says:

    Is it any wonder George Orwell was British? Everything he said is coming true, it’s just taking longer than he predicted.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  113. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    This is not an example and it does not demonstrate harm.

    Blimey Weihana, do I have to spell it out? 1930′s Germany, The Armenian Genocide, The Rwandan Genocide, Srebrenica, Kosovo etc.

    I’m not sure Fox News can be considered liberal

    That’s not the point. If Fox can cater for its market niche, what’s to stop a racist evangelical station with a white supremacist agenda from establishing itself if it comes up with the right programming formula and backed by some loony tune billionaire? Some would claim this has already happened.

    Not that I don’t acknowledge criticism of intellectual property “rights” in the US, but it hardly concerns political speech.

    Again you misconstrue my point. Firstly, I’m talking about speech that is in the public domain, not what is written on by a couple of guys in a chat-room. Secondly I was rebutting your assertion that “The United States has exceptional standards in regards free speech”

    Anyway, we’re not gonna see eye to eye on this one so I suggest we agree to disagree. I see harm and the precursor of further more substantial harm in the public, unsanctioned advocacy of racist ideas. You don’t.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  114. Scott Chris (5,880 comments) says:

    So you would imprison Hone Harawira?

    I certainly think Harawira or anyone else who espouses those kinds of ideas should face some sort of public sanction. I said so at the time.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  115. Bob R (1,336 comments) says:

    ***should face some sort of public sanction.***

    They do – they get ridiculed. I don’t think the state should be restricting what people can say. Once you start limiting types of speech you start moving towards totalitarianism.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  116. EverlastingFire (291 comments) says:

    So Scott Chris, what else do you think we should stop people from saying and how? This is speech, FFS. Is destroying a reputation not enough for you? That has the been the outcome. We live in an age where pretty much anyone can be looked up on the internet, so whether this guy went to jail for this BS or not, he’s lost his clean slate and will likely have a hard time securing employment in the future now.

    Maybe if you ever say something stupid and get thrown in a cell you’ll realise the merits of free speech.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  117. Nostalgia-NZ (4,911 comments) says:

    elf
    7.45

    It wasn’t a speech or some reasoned debate, a chat in the pub, he chose a medium of maximum exposure to celebrate a soccer players near death. That’s not free speech, this man destroyed his own reputation at a moment when he most likely now, realises, he should have contained his venom. He placed himself amongst the peasantry to gloat and drool. He could have recognised that after the fact, when he had cooled down, but he chose not to and that is his life, and his manner of speech, to which he needs to toughen up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  118. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (4,054) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 7:21 pm


    Blimey Weihana, do I have to spell it out?

    Yes please. :)


    1930′s Germany…

    Caused by an excessive amount of free speech? I suppose the Treaty of Versailles and the Great Depression are secondary considerations when ascribing causes to social tension in 1930s Germany.


    If Fox can cater for its market niche, what’s to stop a racist evangelical station with a white supremacist agenda from establishing itself if it comes up with the right programming formula and backed by some loony tune billionaire? Some would claim this has already happened.

    If such a message were appealing to a wide audience then you’ve got bigger problems than trying to censor what people say. If such a message appeals to people it means they are stupid and if it appeals to a lot of people it means a lot of people are stupid and if a lot of people are stupid well then you’re fucked anyway.


    I’m talking about speech that is in the public domain, not what is written on by a couple of guys in a chat-room.

    Anyone can talk about Mickey Mouse in the “public domain”, I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. There is quite a difference between having an opinion about Mickey Mouse and trying to sell a product using that trademark.


    Secondly I was rebutting your assertion that “The United States has exceptional standards in regards free speech”

    That would require a comparison I think. Relatively I think they do well.


    I see harm and the precursor of further more substantial harm in the public, unsanctioned advocacy of racist ideas. You don’t.

    Because there is no evidence that tribal, ethnic, racial and religious conflicts exist because the state is too lenient with the speech it permits. In fact the opposite is true, the conflicts generally exist where one group has control over another group, exerting oppressive control over what the other group can do and how they live (or whether they live at all). Such control breeds resentment and that is exactly what will be achieved by laws which stifle free expression.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  119. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ (713) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    elf
    7.45

    It wasn’t a speech or some reasoned debate, a chat in the pub, he chose a medium of maximum exposure to celebrate a soccer players near death. That’s not free speech…

    I agree it’s not reasoned debate, but since when did the freedom to express an opinion depend on whether the opinion expressed was reasonable?

    I agree the man’s an idiot.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  120. Nostalgia-NZ (4,911 comments) says:

    Weihana

    Explain the merits of his tweets and how it progressed free speech under this banner you extol, when his language was offensive as was his message.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  121. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Time to quote Voltaire. If I can’t say anything “with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress” then I cannot challenge any deeply held beliefs no matter how erroneous or harmful. The law, as usual, is an ass. In trying to legislate away a small problem it creates a large one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  122. Nostalgia-NZ (4,911 comments) says:

    Weihana
    8.37

    ‘I agree it’s not reasoned debate, but since when did the freedom to express an opinion depend on whether the opinion expressed was reasonable?’

    When it goes to a wide audience and has no merit. This man aspired to be a forensic scientist but his only contribution to this point was to gloat over the impending death of a fallen soccer player. He showed he was as estranged from reality as Caesar casting his thumb down on the life of a man held tight in already bloody sand.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  123. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Hate crime laws are thought crime laws…they are immoral and evil….they have no place in a civilised and free society. Speech violates nobody’s rights….only actions can.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  124. transmogrifier (520 comments) says:

    In my opinion:

    - he shouldn’t have to go to jail. In fact, he has committed no crime.
    - it is up to the university to decide what they do to him. If they think it is better for their reputation to expel him, then fair enough (assuming it doesn’t violate any contractual agreement undertaken when he enrolled). In fact, that should be the punishment for all “hate crimes” – private citizens and companies decide to break off connections with such an obvious shithead.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  125. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    In trying to legislate away a small problem it creates a large one.

    Which explains very well the modern perchant for a burgeoning state

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  126. Dazzaman (1,123 comments) says:

    Bad racists are still at the TAB.

    The good ones are at the pub….spending their winnings. ;)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  127. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Nostalgia-NZ (715) Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Weihana

    Explain the merits of his tweets and how it progressed free speech under this banner you extol, when his language was offensive as was his message.

    You completely miss the point. His message doesn’t require merit. Free speech is not limited to speech you think has merit, or which you think is reasonable, or which you think is acceptable. It includes all points of view, including the offensive, the vulgar and the disgusting. No one has the right to censor this man and deny others the freedom to judge the merits of his speech for themselves.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  128. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ,

    ‘I agree it’s not reasoned debate, but since when did the freedom to express an opinion depend on whether the opinion expressed was reasonable?’

    When it goes to a wide audience and has no merit.

    Communism has no merit either. Better ban the advocacy of that. How about we just let the majority ban whatever they disagree with? Would that satisfy you? No wonder the right-wing goes on about the left and their desire to censor and control what is said. You exemplify that very attitude!


    This man aspired to be a forensic scientist but his only contribution to this point was to gloat over the impending death of a fallen soccer player. He showed he was as estranged from reality as Caesar casting his thumb down on the life of a man held tight in already bloody sand.

    So fucking what. Ignore him.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.