New York Democrats Argue Free Speech is a Privilege That Can be Revoked

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by dime21, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2010

    The politics of most New Yorker is some of the most backwards and screwed up in the nation I think. How arrogant does one have to be, to think they can redefine the inalienable rights of the Constitution? Not to mention the (likely intentional) vague wording: "Leaving improper messages" they can't be serious??
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    Here's an idea, instead of destroying the constitution we could provide everyone the right to turn their computers off when they are cyberbullied.

  3. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003

    Yes, 4 idiots in the state legislature equate to the politics of the almost 19 million who live there. :rolleyes:

    As far as I'm concerned, this is no different than the stupid knee-jerk laws proposed by the other side. Idiocy knows no political party boundaries.
  4. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    Agreed. It's a big stretch.
  5. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Speech that threatens, intimidates, or coerces another to commit violence has never been protected by the First Amendment. It doesn't serve to advance an opinion, only to achieve a criminal result.

    So, if someone is using the internet to coerce someone else to commit violence, then it doesn't fall under free speech.

    Of course as I understand "cyberbullying," it usually involves making disparaging comments, not open declarations that they should do a specific violent act. Obviously these types of comments should be protected, since they are the purest expression of opinion.

    Of course, as rdowns says, who says that 4 state senators with thin skins represent the opinions of most New Yorkers? Such a line of thinking can lead to ask only one question:

    Have you met a New Yorker?
  6. renewed macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2009
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    Unfortunately they are representing New Yorkers. As the saying goes, "contact your local state legislator and tell them how you feel".
  7. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    I haven't read the whole report, and I may not because for some reason IT INSISTS ON YELLING EVERYTHING AT ME and it's distracting, but from the description it sounds as if these legislators simply fail to understand the nuances you're getting at.

    Instead they've failed in a really boring, predictable way: rather than arguing about the potential innate harm of certain speech acts the way an informed person might, they've decided that new technology is the problem, and when a particularly egregious exercise of free speech happens in that medium, they say "surely that shouldn't be protected." From there they become the remorseless logicians wending their way towards bedlam in order to rationalize their foregone conclusion. In well-established modes of expression all the ways that people can be shocking and deplorable are well-understood and accepted, however grudgingly. But every time a new medium brings an unfamiliar offense, we have to educate people all over again.

    Fact is, some acts of bullying might rise to the level of non-protected speech. I have occasionally wondered why we seem to hold that inciting someone to commit murder is actionable, but inciting someone to kill himself is not. We usually don't think of suicide as a crime because the perpetrator is also the victim, but the moral role of the inciter is the same in either case, and the innate harm of the act of incitement should arguably carry similar legal culpability.

    But that isn't the same as suggesting speech is a privilege vetted on a case-by-case basis. These legislators seem insufficiently versed in the subject to identify what's really wrong with the acts to which they are quite appropriately opposed.


    To those who are shocked to see legislators suggesting such a thing, I want you to remember this next time you're complaining about "activist judges," or the nasty old ACLU. The sort of thing happening here is exactly why judges are allowed to overturn laws passed by the people. "The people" don't widely understand the issues, and they popularly elect legislators who also don't really understand the issues, but who feel really important writing lengthy reports about them anyway. You could get the people to vote away their own freedom of speech on the basis of something like this while thinking they're just stopping "cyberbullies." Someone needs to be able to step in and definitively say, "no, sorry, the First Amendment most certainly does not describe a government-granted privilege. Try again." Ignorant legislators pass stupid laws pretty frequently, and courts have to step in and strike those laws down. That isn't "judicial activism" that's their job. When they do that job in this hypothetical case, some idiot is sure to stand up and say, "but The People (writ as large as possible) have spoken! Why does this evil judge love cyberbullies so much?" But it isn't personal like that. They're just fixing a mistake made by an uninformed electorate and their uninformed representatives.
  8. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Oh believe me, I will.
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    This reminds me of this guy...

    The idea of cyberbullying is like the idea of emotional abuse. I think it exists. But criminalizing it is problematic for a wide variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that the border between the "abusers" and the "abused" is frequently neither clear nor uni-directional. I agree with the (leftist to some extent) idea that there are limits to free speech that exist when speech is an action (yelling fire in a crowded theatre, at least some acts of speech that foreseeably lead to inciting violence, etc), but this is ridiculous.

    I say you block them on Facebook. That'll show them, and probably put you in jail. :p

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