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Archive for the ‘Freedom of Speech’ Category

Freedom of Speech vs. Fear, Fanaticism and Fundamentalism

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 29, 2008

Fitna Removal 1
Yesterday was a Day of Victory for Fear, Fanaticism and Fundamentalism, a day when yet another voice of Fear, Fanaticism and Fundamentalism was silenced in the name of Hatred and Prejudice.
Fitna Removal 2
Lives were threatened, Democracy and Free Speech were taken hostage, and Reason Negotiated with Terror, and Lost. The Irony of it all is that one brand of Fundamentalist, Bigot and Phobic was Silenced by another. But what really happened was that, Truth, Democracy and Human Rights on Both Sides were the true Casualties.
Fitna Removal 3
Free Speech is for ALL, hatred or not. Democracy cannot exist where there is no Free Speech. Free Speech cannot exist where there is no Democracy. Free Speech is the only Human Institution that guarantee Democracy. The moment you Silence your enemies is the moment you cease to be a democratic creature. The brilliant thing about Free Speech is that as much as it gives your opponent the right to oppose you and argue for his or her case, it also gives you the right to oppose him and argue for your case. Every time a bigot, hater, fanatic, extremist or fundamentalist of any kind speaks out, Democracy is given a golden opportunity to Reply and Refute. Free Speech guarantees that opposing views, also those which are hateful, can be scrutinized and used as educational material.
Fitna Removal 4
Expose hate. Deflect hate. Oppose hate. Embrace truth. (Knate Stahl)
Don’t just expose that hate with which you disagree – anyone can do that, it’s easy. Expose also that hate with which you agree. The hatred, prejudice and bigotry that rests within your own heart. That is where all hatred comes from.
Don’t just deflect hate from those whom you love, anyone can do that, almost by nature we do that. Deflect also the hate that is aimed at your opponent, from out-side, but also from within yourself. That is where all hatred comes from.
Don’t just oppose hate in general, whether you agree with it or not. We can all talk the talk. Oppose hatred specifically by refusing to be a breeding ground for it. Don’t talk the talk – walk the walk, even if it cost you more than you think can pay.
“whoever kills a person, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he had killed all men. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the lives of all men.” Quran 5:32
Embrace Truth. Truth is never in the extremes. Truth is always in the middle, in the grey area, in that which is not clear-cut, certain and easy to discern. Embrace Truth. Truth is never easy – always simple, but never easy.

Posted in Freedom of Speech | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Welcome to reality

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 9, 2008

(CNN) — Thousands of Afghans packed a sports stadium in the western Afghanistan city Herat Saturday to protest the reprinting of the same Danish cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that sparked rage in the Muslim world two years ago.

Afghan protesters burn a Danish flag

Afghan protesters burn a Danish flag during a demonstration last month in Kabul.

Several newspapers in Denmark reprinted the controversial drawing last month after Danish authorities arrested several people who allegedly were plotting a “terror-related assassination” of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

The protesters shouted slogans in their native Dari language that, translated into English, included “death to enemies of Islam” and “death to Denmark and Holland and the insulters of Islam.” Anti-American slogans were also heard.

“We have gathered here to express our anger against this inhuman act of the Danish paper that insulted our Holy Prophet,” said Faqir Ahmad Herawi, a scholar who helped organize the protest.

I support their right to protest, provided they do so in a civilized manner. In return they actually have a human obligation to accept that FREEDOM of SPEECH and FREEDOM of EXPRESSION is a democratic principle on which any civilized society is based.

Threatening people because they exercise this Freedom is not acceptable. Trying to kill people because they speak their mind is not acceptable.

I don’t try to kill President Ahmadinejad because he denies the Holocaust nor do I attempt to murder Robert Faurisson or Norman Finkelstein because they claim outrageous things about Jews and Israel.

Someone claimed the other day that Moses was on drugs during the Revelation on Sinai, and you don’t see me or anyone else trying to kill or threaten to kill that nut-case.

Religious Satire and Political Satire has always been part of critical thinking and of democracy. Religious and Political Fanatics on the other hand have always tried to silence Satire. Because it always carries a grain of truth – that is the point with Satire.

Welcome to reality

Posted in Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When does Criticism turn into Bashing?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 11, 2007

What is the responsibility of the sender and what is the responsibility of the recipient? Are there any basic rules for this, how are they applied? Is it possible to overreact to criticism? Is pointing out that someone is overreacting equal to blaming the victim? When does criticism turn into bashing?

I have recently had reason to mull these question over. I didn’t find any clear answers, as there are always exceptions to a rule – but I did find some general ideas, that I’d like to share.

What is a generalization?

This is typically when an entire people, faith, political faction or larger concept is implicated in connection to something which only a specific entity within that people, faith, political faction or larger concept is party to. Generalizations are easy to spot because they lack the company of any defining attribute, or limiting adjectives such as ‘some’, and ‘many’ or direct grouping adjectives, like ‘radical’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘leftist’, ‘conservative’ etc. Generalizations is generally overcome by a simple narrowing of the definitions used to describe an entity or phenomena. There is also the creation of new definitions to separate out specific groups or phenomena from a larger related group.

For instance, these days it is necessary to use ‘Radical Islamists’ to separate out those Muslims who have chosen to use violence as a means to further a political agenda, from those Muslims who are Muslims without a violent political agenda. In the same manner it has become necessary to use ‘Radical Far Left’ to define those on the political Left who largely accept and promote violence and embrace antisemitism as part of their agenda as opposed to more traditional liberal Leftist politics.

Are there any basic rules for this, how are they applied?

The general rule is that the more narrow a definition of something is, the less generalizing it is – i.e the more descriptive adjectives you put in front of the main descriptive adjective or noun, the safer you are. In some contexts it is enough to make the distinction once for the audience to understand that when you in all that follows that definition, use only the main adjective or noun, you are referencing that first distinct definition. Most people accept this way of communicating. Switching to another general definition doesn’t work, because that in turn would then implicate that entire entity, even if it takes focus off the previous generalized group.

Some do not however, and will, out of fear, laziness, obnoxiousness, inexperience with debates in general or just pure nastiness, demand that you retype your 21 word definition every time you mention whatever entity it is you are discussing. You can either ignore those complaints and demands, since the majority of the involved will both understand and accept the short-cut of “one definition covers all”, or accommodate the minority for the sake of peace. In the case you chose the second option – be sure to have your 21 word definition handy in an open Note Pad or other text-edit program, to make repetition easy. In the case you choose the first option, be sure to have a thick skin, a sense of humor and an array of sarcastic retorts you can use in the ensuing intellectual battle – because it will be needed.

What is the responsibility of the sender and what is the responsibility of the recipient?

When care has been taken to define and limit the subject of discussion through application of as narrow definitions as possible, those are the general obligations that fall on the sender and the recipient:

The sender has only three responsibilities:

  1. To be as clear as possible about his/her subject/topic of discussion.
  2. To clarify when there is doubt about what s/he is actually saying.
  3. To refrain from personalizing their criticism through use of name or other designators.

The recipient has at least three responsibility:

  1. To assume that the sender is being as clear as s/he can, honest and do not have the intention to be hurtful.
  2. To recognize their own trigger points.
  3. To assume that any sense of hurt is coming from those inner trigger points, rather than from the sender, unless the recipient is being specifically named.

Is it possible to overreact to criticism of things that are close to us?

It is possible to overreact to anything, and criticism is especially easy to overact to, as most of us carry personal baggage that somehow indicate that we are flawed, whether we are aware of such baggage or not. That is why, when we listen to someone, or read what some has said on topics that are close to us, we need to be aware of our trigger points. If we are not aware of our trigger points, chances are that at one point or other we going to lose sight of what is objectively being discussed and drown in our own subjectivity, which a really bad way to go emotionally.

Is it possible to not overreact to criticism of things that are close to us?

Yes. If we keep in mind that the general rule is that if we are not named, the criticism is not personal. It is not about us, just because a discussion is about a Topic we are familiar with or have personal experience of, it has nothing to do with us, until we are specifically named as part of that which is being discussed. Assuming a personal and subjective intent on the part of the sender is a rather narcissistic attitude to take in a discussion, and does neither sender or recipient any favors.

Is pointing out that someone is overreacting equal to blaming the victim?

If the overreaction occurs as a result of general discussion where criticism has not been personalized, pointing out that someone is overreacting can hardly be equaled to blaming the victim, since there is no personal victim. Thus if someone is overreacting in a personalized manner it can be assumed that the person overreacting is more likely responding to his/her inner trigger points, than to what is actually taking place in the discussion.

When does criticism turn into bashing?

As a general rule, bashing takes place when criticism is generalized, prejudiced and expressed inappropriately. I.e through abusive or derogatory terms repeatedly. It also become bashing when it is personalized.


Any discussion is hazardous, because discussion takes place between human beings. As human beings we are all carrying our past experiences with us into ANY discussion we have. It is easy to generalize – it’s quick, takes no time to type or say and most often we all accept and agree on a generalized way of defining matters we discuss. But generalizing also opens up for misunderstandings, misreadings and can in the end make any good, serious discussion rush to hell in a hand basket. So it is better to avoid generalized terms all together, and to be specific about one’s subject matter. Defining the subject matter through, limiting use of adjectives and general pronouns in connection with the subject matter is a good way to avoid generalizations. The narrower a definition is, the better.

Some people will overreact and take criticism personal if the subject matter is close to them in any way. This is due to them not having taken care of their own baggage properly and projecting their trigger points onto the sender in a discussion. One can either chose to accommodate them by re-tracing a discussion and give further clarification or one can simply ignore those reactions. But one does not have any obligation to cater to those by altering the basic definitions, if those definitions are already sufficiently narrow and definitely no obligation to stop discussing the matter altogether. As long as one as clear as possible, willing to clarify, don’t personalize and don’t use inappropriate language about the subject matter, one should be safe discussing also very sensitive matters.

Posted in Freedom of Speech | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Search:cursing bear

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 2, 2007

I have Blog Stats on my Blog. This: ‘search:venezuelan freedom of speech controversyhas the most hits today – 12. People even do searches on ‘search: hitler bear‘ – now who in their right mind would connect Hitler to a Bear?! or suggest ‘search: cursing bear‘?! Unless of course the Bear is cursing Hitler – now that would make perfect sense.

The Blog stats are a very neat little tool – it gives me all sorts of ideas of what to write on – here’s one: silly camp names – All I will have to do is search the Internet for “Silly Camp Names”, and then list them here with some witty comments, right?

How much can a blogger get out of: silly pictures of governments? Well, sure a lot of Bushco pictures, that’s for sure – but who would want Bushco all over their Blog? I sure don’t.

On a more serious note we have: define term collateral damage – now there’s a Topic for you – how to define collateral damage. That is a good Blog Topic, but too heavy for tonight I am afraid. And if you just have to read about collateral damage tonight – there is an Entry here.

I love this one: disabled normies – whoever did a search using those words sure had a knack for contradictions in terms. Sure there are times when I would definitely want to disable normies and keep them that way. I wonder if hysterically laughing at this specific search request would disable the normies?

Posted in Freedom of Speech, Hitler | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Freedom of Speech…

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 16, 2007

Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression are most often considered synonymous with each other. When we use them we most often, if not always, mean “Freedom to Express any Opinion we like in Speech.”But is this synonymization accurate?
Exactly what is covered by those three seemingly identical expressions?

Originally Freedom of Speech was intended to cover the citizen’s right to criticize their Government without fear of reprisals. That is how it is still intended. This can easily be understood by looking at the context Freedom of Speech is covered in Dictionaries. Or by studying the exceptions made in legislation.

In this respect equalizing Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression is correct.

Over time, however, Freedom of Speech has come to cover every man and his dog’s every utterance, whether towards the Government or towards his fellow man. The concept has been vulgarized. This is where Opinion and Speech part ways. Which is evidenced by the additional legislation that has come into being in almost all modern democracies. What would never have been thought of as being socially acceptable within the society where Freedom of Speech originated is now something there has to be legislation against.

“African Americans, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans are inferior to White/Caucasians and deserve to be exterminated…”

“Homosexuals are dirty spreaders of AIDS and should be locked away…”

“Fat People are lazy and stupid…”

“Arabs are terrorists…”

“Jews control the Banks…”

Freedom of Opinion originates in Freedom of Thought – i.e the right to think for yourself, and this should never be limited. I may hold any opinion I like at any time. Also those out-lined above. Those utterances are not covered by Freedom of Speech, because they can all be classified as hate-speech.

So, when people want to limit rights of Speech and Expression to such speech and expression that is not offensive, they are actually protecting the original intent of Freedom of Speech, rather than exercising censorship.

“freedom of speech is integral to tolerance, which some people feel should be a basic value in society. Professor Lee Bollinger is an advocate of this view and argues that “the free speech principle involves a special act of carving out one area of social interaction for extraordinary self-restraint, the purpose of which is to develop and demonstrate a social capacity to control feelings evoked by a host of social encounters.” The free speech principle is left with the concern of nothing less than helping to shape “the intellectual character of the society”.”

Freedom must be tempered by the Responsibility to have Self-Control. That is far from “I wanna say what I wanna say, and I am going to say it NOW!


Posted in Censorship, Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Human Rights | Leave a Comment »

Hugo Chavez – an example of Ethical Progressivism??

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on May 27, 2007

“I actually know many Venezuelan refugees who take my classes here in … they want to flee their homeland because they see it as becoming another Cuba. I love hearing this, as I know Venezuela would be a bigger and better example than Cuba is.”

By the look of it is not only becoming another Cuba, it is becoming another Soviet Union…it seems that all that is missing is a Venezuelan Gulag.

Right now it’s a matter of Freedom of Expression – Chavez has decided to effectively silence the opposition to his 21st Century Socialism by making sure the TV-Station RCTV cannot broadcast. But we all know that “where they burn books, they soon start to burn people”.

The Guardian describe the Venezuelans as “a people who know that change is possible and who, in their everyday lives, are reclaiming noble concepts long emptied of their meaning in the west: “reform”, “popular democracy”, “equity”, “social justice” and, yes, “freedom”.

The Venezuelan people might be noble and all – I am sure they are – but their elected Leader seems more concerned with what is said about him among those that disagree with him, than with honoring the Venezuelan Democracy.

The Venezuelan Penal Code have gotten some rather horrifying and anti-democratic additions since Hugo Chavez was democratically elected by the Venezuelan People:

“Article 147: “Anyone who offends with his words or in writing or in any other way disrespects the President of the Republic or whomever is fulfilling his duties will be punished with prison of 6 to 30 months if the offense is serious and half of that if it is light.” That sanction, the code implies, applies to those who “disrespect” the president or his functionaries in private; “the term will be increased by a third if the offense is made publicly.” – “

“Article 444 says that comments that “expose another person to contempt or public hatred” can bring a prison sentence of one to three years; Article 297a says that someone who “causes public panic or anxiety” with inaccurate reports can receive five years. Prosecutors are authorized to track down allegedly criminal inaccuracies not only in newspapers and electronic media, but also in e-mail and telephone communications.”

So, Hugo Chavez doesn’t want to be disrespected…, well who does? But most of us choose to strive to earn other people’s respect by respecting their rights and freedoms – not so the democratically elected President of Venezuela – he chooses to silence anyone who dares criticize him, by closing them down and threaten them with heavy prison sentences if they do not comply.

Someone argued in response to the fact that 70% of the Venezuelans are opposed to the President’s decision to silence RCTV, that they do so because that will deprive them of their daily soap operas…that might very well be – but that is irrelevant – the fact is that Hugo Chavez is using his democratically elected position to restrict his people’s rights to receive any information they choose and to share any information they choose in public. In all particulars it means that the Venezuelan People does not have Freedom of Speech, which was once instituted to guarantee that people can safely criticize their government without reprisals.

That can in no way be called ethical, and if it is progressive, then G-d protect us from progressivism!

Links and sources:

The Guardian

Washington Post

World Associations of Newspapers

Democracy at risk

Free Press

Human Rights Watch

Reporters Without Borders


Posted in Freedom of Speech, Human Rights | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

How to Make Enemies and Irritate People

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 25, 2007

As much as I enjoy debates in Care2, I have noticed that certain people tend to engage in tactics that cause the debates to degenerate into slugfests instead of allowing them to end on a civil note. Here are some examples of what they do: 1. Lie constantly. It does not matter if what you say has no basis in fact whatsoever. As long as you can make a counter to any statement of fact or logical argument that someone makes, you will appear to be on an equal level with your opponent.
2. Never bother to provide a basis for your assertions by linking to a credible source of information or providing a reference regarding a matter that is not common knowledge. Of course, if you are already doing No. 1, then No. 2 comes naturally.
3. Engage in the practice of what I call “parroting and nitpicking” constantly: Making an exact copy of your opponent’s arguments and answering them point by point exactly instead of stating a new point of your own to move the debate forward. This has two effects: It makes you appear equal to your opponent, no matter how dumb your statements turn out to be, and it encourages your opponent to respond to you in the same way, taking the debate into an endless circle.
4. When you are accused of lying, just call your opponent a liar as well.
5. Engage in frequent sarcastic insults to annoy your opponent.
6. When your opponent complains that your tactics are unfair or dishonorable, accuse him of not really wanting a debate.
7. If you know your opponent has a short temper, wait until his patience has run out and he has gotten angry and then take advantage of the situation to torture your opponent still more!
8. Never admit you are wrong about anything. Always accuse your opponents of not thinking or of being stupid, brainwashed, ignorant, mindless, etc.
9. Use religion as a excuse to justify your extreme position. If your opponent is not of the same religion, use that fact against him.
10. Keep the debate going as long as possible until your opponent gives up in frustration, allowing you to claim “victory” later.

If you use these tactics repeatedly, you may appear very successful in debates. But you will also gain the contempt of most people who have a sense of honor and ethics. And that contempt for you personally may also lead to a rejection of your position as well, even if the position has some truth in it.”

Orignally authored and posted here by Dale Husband

My comment to this Blog:

“May I add: Play Tag, i.e have a couple of friends in the wings who can pick up the relay stick when you have been beaten to a pulp by the opponents, ideally you would have them start the argument all over or bring up irrelevant, off topic points, such as the looks of your opponent, his ideas about dogs, or a complete distortion of his points/arguments.”

Ketutar’s Comment on the same Blog:

“Point 9. should be “ideology” instead of “religion”. Political ideologies are used the exact same way.Also, I’d like to add the “change subject” point. When you have nothing to say, when the opponent has proven your points faulty or lacking, when it’s obvious that your opponent is correct, winning etc. change subject.

Also, use of support – gather your friends around to give you more “credibility”. “Betty here understands exactly what I’m saying, why can’t you?” Friends can also be used to confirm your ideas, and it doesn’t matter if the ideas are relevant or not to the Issue. “Yes, Tim, it IS raining. YOU are absolutely correct!”, or as distraction – have a couple of friends flood the thread with kittens and irrelevant discussions.

If the opponent isn’t distracted, accuse her of being persistent like a pit bull… (Or “Coming back to the main topic in a psychotic manner”)

Balthasar Gracian said that if one cannot get rid of one’s vices, one needs to turn them into virtues – and one strategy is – if you cannot diminish the opponent’s virtues, turn them into vices…”


Posted in Debate, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

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