European Hypocrisy

candid writes:

Incidentally, if the muslims were clever (which I suspect they are not) they would fight back against the forces of European "freedom of the press" and "freedom of speech" by publishing cartoons denying the Holocaust.

("Holocaust denial is currently a crime in Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania and Switzerland.")

I'm proud that Europe is standing up to the Muslims on this free speech issue (except for the French, who surrendered, as usual), but their stance on free speech is rather hypocritical. Given that the Arab belief that Jews are given special treatment is one of the reasons for anti-Semitism, its kinda playing to the bad guys to actually give Jews special treatment, and then get all holier than thou about free speech when Muslims want similar protection from things that piss them off.

"Europe: Free Speech for Bashing Muslims, But Not For Bashing Jews"

This is not a good way to convince Arab moderates that the West is not out to get them. True free speech is about letting anyone bash anyone else.

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Jews and Christians. I mean

Jews and Christians.

I mean it's one thing to make a point of fighting off neo-nazis and quite another to aggressively ban a fashion ad only vaguely paroding a painting that, last time I checked, wasn't core to Christianity.

Let's not forget that real

Let's not forget that real Jews don't allow graven memes OF ANY KIND, and that this is probably where the Muslims got the idea. (Remember Pilate's little problem with his eagles?)

This doesn't solve any problems, but it does make them funnier (and makes for better cartoons).

What if the West really is

What if the West really is out to get them?

Freedom of Speech and

Freedom of Speech and European Hypocrisy
Musilm countries have taken offense as Jyllands-Posten, a major Danish newspaper, published cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammed as fundamentalist. The Danish Prime Minister, Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said he could not tell newspapers what to print - or...

Muslims get their abhorrence

Muslims get their abhorrence for caricatures of the Prophet from the idea that images and icons lead to idolatry, which is anathema to the monotheistic nature of Islam. Your ignorance actually makes you funny. "Standing up" is not the correct term for what the French did. It was more like "generating controversy for personal gain". Incidentally, I bet Jyllands-Posten's readership skyrocketed. And by the way, ridiculing another religion will make Muslims exactly like the people they are resisting, (quite successfully too). Personally, the "controversy" is not worth more of my time than the two minutes it took to write this post.

Muslims get their abhorrence

Muslims get their abhorrence for caricatures of the Prophet from the idea that images and icons lead to idolatry, which is anathema to the monotheistic nature of Islam. Your ignorance actually makes you funny

Yes, I know that. I'm not sure why you think I don't, or what it has to do with the argument. The point is that "You can say anything unless someone is deeply offended by it" is not free speech. And banning speech which offends Jews while reveling in speech which offends Muslims is not exactly the best way to convince the Muslims that the West is not run by a Jewish conspiracy out to get them.

Shazia, Muslims get their

Shazia,

Muslims get their abhorrence for just about everything because they think it will lead to idolatry, disobeying "Allahs will"*, or worse non-belief.

*You can read "Allahs will" as the selfish desires of Muhammed or whatever tin-pot Mullah and street thug speaks for him.

We don't share their abhorrance for idolatry. What do we care if someone wishes to worship a statue. It causes us no harm. Only an intolerant busybody would get worked up about that. We are not going to abandon thousands of years of art just because some desert dwelling, caravan raiding, mass murdering, torturer and pedophile, outlawed idolatry in order to place his word in the mouth of his imaginary Allah.

Therefore we are free to depict Mohammed however we choose. Including as he really was ... see previous paragraph.

-Brian

I don't support the German

I don't support the German policy of restricting Holocaust deniers and Nazis, but it's not done to keep from offending Jews. It's done to try to suppress political trends which are dangerous to the relatively open democracy that Germany now has.

- Josh

Josh - Yes, but I doubt

Josh - Yes, but I doubt that's how Muslims are perceiving it these days.

Patri, I's not hypocrisy on

Patri,

I's not hypocrisy on the part of European. There is a difference between the two and I am surprised you don't see it.

Given the history of Jewish treatment in Europe during WWII it is not surprising for instance that the swastika would get banned. It's the same principle as not allowing the burning of crosses next to the homes of blacks. It's a threat and one that had been acted on in the past, which makes it all too credible.

They outlaw anti-Jewish propaganda for the same reason they outlaw bomb threats.

No Muslim fears that he is in danger when he sees a picture of Muhammed. Nor a picture of piglet for that matter. They want to ban these pictures not because they fear an imposition upon themselves but because motivated by a natural desire to impose themselves on others. They are outraged for the same reasons they blew up those Hindu statues in Afghanistan. Outraged at any glimmer of dessent from their self-delusions.

Arab belief that Jews get special treatment is hardly the reason for their antisemitism. Their Koran and culture is soaked with anti-Jewish dogma. Jews are depicted in the Koran as pigs and swine, monkeys and apes, greedy and evil. Why should a little special treatement by the Europeans, especially the Germans get them in a tiff? Aren't the europeans making up for something they did? When the Muslims move to the U.S. are they going to start hating Native Americans because they might or might not receive special treatment? That's ludicrious.

Brian - you are absolutely

Brian - you are absolutely right that the two cases are different. But as someone who values free speech highly, I don't see the difference as that relevant.

Nor do I think "credible threat" is more than an excuse - its political correctness and a guilty overreaction for feeling like a party to something awful. Its great to soul-search after a disaster and try to figure out what went wrong and how it could have been prevented, but banning a particular emblem or regalia is a useless gesture, not a substantive response.

I'm not a big fan of banning "hate speech", and even less so when its so unevenly applied.

You're right that in terms of our reactions, our sympathies for those who encounter messages they don't want to hear, there are big differences. The Jews are being reminded of something awful that actually happened to them. The Muslims are having a stupid arbitrary rule of their stupid arbitrary religion (to be redundant) violated. On the other hand, perhaps it subjectively feels just as awful to them. How are we to know? Once you start banning speech because someone feels threatened by it, you let the state judge whose feelings matter and whose don't. And I don't trust the state.

Respect for All

Respect for All

"“Almighty Allah says: “Say ye: we believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them: and we bow to Allah (in Islam).” (Al-Baqarah: 136)

“Behold! the angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah giveth Thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.” (Al `Imran: 45)

We believe in all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. We respect and honor all of them without any discrimination. We believe that all Prophets preached the message of tawhid (monotheism) and all of them invited human beings to worship Allah alone and live a righteous life. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was not the only Prophet of God, but he was the last and final Prophet of God. Prophet Muhammad is not the founder of Islam; all Prophets were Muslims* and they followed the way of Islam.

Muslims*=submission to the will of God

I'm reading you comments and

I'm reading you comments and thinkin': are you by any chance aware that Europe is not a country? We share some but not all legislation (for the most part in one way or an other related to trade). Nazi denial or even Nazis are not illegal in Denmark. It's not that long ago that making racist statements has been outlawed in this country. Just yesterday the pathetic Nazi party gathered it's 100 drooling, Neanderthal followers and marched in a Copenhagen suburb - legally.

I don't find it hypocritical that the Danish prime minister will in no circumstances intervene with the free press or in anyway excuse the actions of privately run business.

What I find hypocritical is the citizens of the USA celebrating their constitutional rights by sending the foreign minister to criticize and ridicule those who exercise their rights. Or the combined US media force being so scared of reprisals in the US or elsewhere that noone - not a single gun-loving, crazed up hillbilly - dare to print those cartoons. That is hypocritical to me.

Martin, I am sure everyone

Martin,

I am sure everyone involved is well aware of what you say. Sometimes it's just easier to write when you don't have to mention all the details.
It would just take to long to speak on subjects if we had to do that all the time. This just makes communication easier. When speaking in this way you are not suppose to apply it to every single country on the european continent. You are suppose to know to apply it to the ones that match the statement. Thus, if I say that German behavior during WWII was racist, you are not suppose to infer that the behavior of Jewish Germans, German infants, or German-Americans were. It is meant to apply to Nazis, their supporters, and an unspecified proportion of the German populous.

I am sure that Patri is aware that not every country has the same laws. He is probably aware of some that do and some that don't and the rest he's probably ignorant on. Just like we know that some German's hated Jews during WWII, some didn't and actually sheltered them, and the rest we are not sure about on an individual basis.

You should process my statements the same way. For example when I said,

"Why should a little special treatment by the Europeans, especially the Germans get them in a tiff? Aren’t the Europeans making up for something they did?"

I didn't mean it to apply to every country, or every European. There were many European countries and Europeans that either directly took the wrong side besides the Germans, like Italy, and certain ethic groups in the Balkins, or collaborated with the Germans once invaded, like many French, or feigned netrallity while working with the Germans, like the Swiss, or rooted for the new German political model.

You are aware that anti-semitism is and was more broad based in Europe than just Germany? If I believed someone party to this "conversation" was not aware of these things, I would have been more specific myself. Even so, I don't think they were germain to the my point, which is that anti-semitism is something Europeans need to be sensitive too.

I don't usually call Europeans on their generalities about the U.S. unless they try to make invalid points with these generalities. Like when Europeans mention slavery with regard to the U.S. fully forgetting that it was not legal in the north, and that blacks had risen to high status there. Pointing to slavery and then trying to discredit certain aspects of US culture is invalid, while for others it is valid. It would be invalid for instance in a Socialism vs. Capitalism debate.

I am aware that Patri is wrong in other ways about his claim of Hipocrisy on the part of European hate-speech law, but I am not a expert.
I only pointed out as much as my limited knowledge in this area allowed. I have read several articles that indicate to me that he is way off base here. Some other blogs are on this issue of whether Jews get special treatment. It appears not.

Other than a few laws in a few countries Jews really do not recieve "special treatment" in Europe by any stretch of the imagination. I really don't see how a law preventing someone from denying the holocaust gives a Jew a leg up on everyone else in the first place. Are Jews taking jobs away from Muslims because of this? The European laws I know about are nothing like the affirmitive action stuff we have here in the US. I can see where losing a job to a less qualified Indian might piss someone off and lead to racism, but I can't see where a law preventing one from denying that the Indians were here first would. Again however, I am not "up on" my European legislation, so maybe Patri's correct, and I just don't have the details.

As for your complaints about the U.S. I think they are perfectly valid. Yes, we have a bunch of craven politicians also. Yes, our government is not supportive of freedom of expression regarding Islam. In fact, I get the distinct feeling that the opposite holds, that the political elite, media, and university systems all want to repress telling the truth about Islam.

I think part of the problem is that we deeply believe in religious freedom, and have experienced a transformation of a formerly intolerant religion into a more peaceful one. The problem is that Islam is more a political than a religious system. The same outlook that worked in the past for Christianity isn't going to work for Islam. The reasons are deeper than I care to cover here. In any case, because of our past, we deeply believe that religion, at it's core, is benign. Perhaps a belief Europe doesn't share. This belief is mistaken. It leads many Americans to view people pointing out protesting inherent Islamic intolerance and hatred as xenophobes, or worse racists.

Strange as it might seem the "hillbillies" are a diverse group, as one would expect from any gross overgeneralization, one that has morphed from it's original meaning. Some such as the "Jerry Fallwell type" actually like the idea of heresy laws, and fully understand the sentiment involved in Muslim fatwas against people insulting Islam.

It's not just hillbillies either, I had an argument with my wife grandmother, a Greek Orthodox, about Salman Rushdie, she though he got what he deserved, or at least was threatened with it.

My ancestors on my mothers side although not technically hillbillies because they didn't live in the hills, were of the same stock, "Scots-Irish", southern settlers. I put that in quotes because I don't think there was much Irish about them.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the US media is so worried about reprisals. Our media is not predominantly gun loving hillbilly so it isn't as you inferred. They are most worried about looking like racists, which carries greater odds of reprisals than anything the terrorists could accomplish. Furthermore, their ideology is mostly to the left, and cultural relatism is popular with them. They think it's wrong to belittle other cultures.

[...] 8217;s time to choose

[...] 8217;s time to choose which you believe in. Catallarchy’s Patri Friedman points out the hypocrisy of protecting one set of sensibilities and not [...]

Martin and Ahamed They did

Martin and Ahamed
They did print the cartoons, which seem pretty innocuous.
( http://www.michellemalkin.com/archives/004413.htm )

There is not one thing there that makes fun of Allah. It does make fun of Mohammed. As I understand it, Muslims do not consider Mohammed divine and to do so would be idolatry similar to what the tritheistic/ polytheistic Christians do. No, Mohammed was just a man, so at the maximum making fun of him should elicit moderate anger, similar to making fun of Thomas Aquinas, or Billy Graham.

The real problem is that, at least according to the popular impression, Muslims have a reflexive tendency to go into spasms of murderous outrage at the least provocation.
If this is not true, why do not the real Muslims step forward to correct this impression? (OK , Ahmed is sort of doing that.)

Muslims crave equality with the West, but they forget that the West became powerful by throwing off clerical oppression several hundred years ago during the Enlightenment. That included the right to freedom of speech and the right to print satirical writings and cartoons that may offend the authorities, religious or otherwise.
The stupid, chanting street mobs and suicide bombers that represent the Muslim thought will ultimately gain nothing by their behavior.

Brian said lots of good

Brian said lots of good things, but I just want to take issue with:

Other than a few laws in a few countries Jews really do not recieve "special treatment" in Europe by any stretch of the imagination. I really don't see how a law preventing someone from denying the holocaust gives a Jew a leg up on everyone else in the first place. Are Jews taking jobs away from Muslims because of this? The European laws I know about are nothing like the affirmitive action stuff we have here in the US. I can see where losing a job to a less qualified Indian might piss someone off and lead to racism, but I can't see where a law preventing one from denying that the Indians were here first would. Again however, I am not "up on" my European legislation, so maybe Patri's correct, and I just don't have the details.

You seem to be assuming that "special treatment" means special treatment which helps in the job market or otherwise helps a group to do better in life. That isn't what I mean. What I mean by "special treatment" is "rules that apply to one group but not to another". So a law that bans Holocaust denial, but not denial of other instances of genocide, would be special treatment, regardless of the effect it had on anyone's lives.

Similarly, I take issue with hate speech or hate crime laws in the US that give special penalties to hate speech attacking someone's religion or sexuality. Basically those laws are saying that someone who beats me up because I'm bisexual will be punished worse than someone who beats me up because I have purple hair. I think that's ridiculous.

So regardless of the effect on jobs, I view laws against Holocaust denial, or against Nazi propaganda, but not other historical fascists, as special treatment. And special treatment under the law is the opposite of liberty. Anytime you give special rights to one group, that is the same as taking them away from all the others.

Patri, Fair enough. I agree

Patri,

Fair enough.

I agree with you about hate crime law for the most part, and I actually don't like the fact that denying the Holocaust is considered a crime in and of itself. My standards are probably lower than yours on this. I would have no objection to banning certain types of speech. I don't however believe that the laws as written meet even my less stringent standards. I also have grave doubts about legislators being able to stick to such standards. I think they would naturally want to ban more than can be rationally justified. I also think the standards I have in mind could probably be mostly be handled as civil crimes.

I do not agree with Walter Block on the issue of Slander and Libel. I think if you are knowingly lying about someone you are interfering in their right to free association. This is very similiar to the case where one yells fire (falsely) in a theater. The main objection Block has is that it inteferes in the owners use of his property, and the free association of the customers with the owner, if I remember correctly. I would say the same would apply if the liar claimed the building was unsafe because of termites, too. The immediate threat is not the issue. I think from a libertarian standpoint this is fraud, and so is disallowed.

Lying about an individual can have the same effect. If you are a doctor and I lie about this and claim you didn't actually earn your degree, I harm not only you but your patients, and your ablity to freely associate.

So I have no problem with the banning of this kind of speech.

The same holds for gross generalizations that are false and defamitory. In principle I see no reason why any individual of the offended class could not sue for damages against such a liar.

Of course, none of this applies if the offensive speech is the truth, or is represented as fiction.

For instance, I could sell Mein Kampft as the work of Hitler, but do so with the understanding that the information contained therein is false. If on the other hand, were I selling it, reading it in public, or otherwise spreading the information in Mein Kampft as the truth then I think it is reasonable for some Jew to be able to sue me for defamation.

I think this is compatible with other notions of natural rights, and free speech. I am also sure some libertarians would disagree.

Of course, given the libelous and defamatory content of the Koran, lots of Mullahs would find themselves being sued. This wouldn't apply to Christian priests insofar as they teach the nasty stuff in the old testament as methaphor. Which is pretty much what most of them do already.

I am not so sure that legislators, judges, and lawyers would be able to remain faithful to these distinctions however, and would be afraid that it would just degenerate into outlawing heresy or some such asinine outcome.

After seeing that case in Australia where the priest was sentenced for telling the truth about Islam I am not encourged as to the sanity of lawyers and judges. I might be wrong and it may be that the laws themselves were passed in Austraialia on some different theory than mine. I would tend to think that if you based outlawing speech merely on it offensiveness, or tendency to cause disorder then it would degenerate into the ridiculous. Perhaps my pessimism is misplaced and if these laws were based on the factuality of what was being said then the outcomes might be more sane.

I do understand that what is "factual" is up for debate in many instances, but I think current case law on the issue of slander and libel have resolved many of these issues. Person A shouldn't be able to repeat nasty things about Person B unless there is some reasonable basis in fact to them. If for instance, A said that B was a vile racist, and claimed B said racists things to A personally, but then B could prove that you never met A, then A would have been shown to be lying. This can be the case even if B really where a vile racist. It's not the fact that matters but whether A had a reasonable and credible reason for believing B to be a racist.

I do not think that gross generalizations of the type that racists make meet this standard. When a racist says that "All Jews are greedy" or "Blacks are inferior to whites" he has not reasonable or credible reason for believing so. The whole reason we find gross overgeneralizations offensive is that they are prone to error, and thus are not reasonable methods for ascerning the truth about individuals. The above two statements are lies about individuals because they are equalent to saying "Person A, a Jew, is greedy. Why? Because he is a Jew, and all Jews are greedy", and "Person B, a Black, is inferior. Why? Because he is a black, and all blacks are inferior". Which interferes with those individuals ability to freely associate with others. It can also incite violence against the individual as well.

This would not interfer with anyones ability to say the Judiasm is a false religion, or that Christianity is in their opinion superior, or vice versa. It would however prevent the kind of slander inherent in books like the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion". You could sell such books but just categorize them as what they are, fiction.

I'll give one more concrete example. A woman is raped and killed. A mob forms. An individual lies and says that a black man did it. He doesn't do it on a witness stand, but just as a simple group slander, or libel. I think that every individual black in the vicinity of that woman can justly claim to have been harmed by this lying individual. That is true even if they are not the person who eventually gets lynched. Why? Because not all harm is actualized harm. One can in fact be harmed by being unjustly endangered. Certainly, an angry white mob searching for a unknown black scapegoat puts all black men in the vicinity in danger.

Were the woman truly raped by a black man then that danger would not be attributable to the individual reporting it. What makes is wrong is that it is that it puts the individuals at unneccessary risk above the background noise. In the case where it was a black rapist and murderer can attribute that danger foisted on other blacks to both the murderer and the racism of the crowd. However in the above case most of the responsiblity lies with the individual voicing the lie, especially if he knows the propensity of the mob.

Now if the cartoonists were lying about Islam, and doing so to incite violence, well then I might just side with the Muslims. That isn't the case here as far as I can tell.

I also don't think humiliation or opinion in and of itself is actionable. Someone may express a low opionion of another, and may call him names, but I don't see how that interference is fraudulent. People understand that other people form opinions and learn to weigh them based on past experience. In other words, it's one thing to say "I think he'd go for Paris Hilton" and quite another to say "I know he would screw Paris Hilton" or "He screwed Paris Hilton". The former is opinion and the latter libel. I'm talking about against the guy and not Hilton. :)

I do not agree with Walter

I do not agree with Walter Block on the issue of Slander and Libel. I think if you are knowingly lying about someone you are interfering in their right to free association.

Nonsense. How can I "interfere" with X by lying to Y? Unless you're encouraging Y to attack X in some way your complaint has no merit.

The main objection Block has is that it inteferes in the owners use of his property, and the free association of the customers with the owner, if I remember correctly. I would say the same would apply if the liar claimed the building was unsafe because of termites, too. The immediate threat is not the issue. I think from a libertarian standpoint this is fraud, and so is disallowed.

Libertarians do not consider "lying" as such to be wrong. What they consider to be wrong is theft and aggression. Some instances of lying represent implicit aggression, such as when I say I'll sell you apples but give you rocks instead. This is the main type of "fraud" that concerns libertarians. Since no physical aggression occurs by slandering someone, it is therefore consistent with libertarianism.

This is reminiscent of of your reaction with the intellectual property stuff and racism. Just because people engage in a voluntary type of activity you diagree with, doesn't make it OK to force them not to do it, whether it's racism against blacks, reading books, or lying. If you don't like libertarianism, or are too lazy to figure out its implications, then don't call yourself one.

I’ll give one more concrete example. A woman is raped and killed. A mob forms. An individual lies and says that a black man did it. He doesn’t do it on a witness stand, but just as a simple group slander, or libel. I think that every individual black in the vicinity of that woman can justly claim to have been harmed by this lying individual. That is true even if they are not the person who eventually gets lynched. Why? Because not all harm is actualized harm. One can in fact be harmed by being unjustly endangered. Certainly, an angry white mob searching for a unknown black scapegoat puts all black men in the vicinity in danger.

Don't you ever get tired of these bait-and-switch scenarios? I know I do. Individuals are responsible for their own actions. When mobs kill people, it's their fault, period. It doesn't matter if someone told them that black people or jewish people or whoever are evil and should be killed, as the decision to in fact kill lies with the person doing it. That's why in the real world you have to be careful when contemplating whether or not to prosecute someone for a crime, because one might not have enough facts, or have misleading evidence like a witness who lies. There is a reason why lynch mobs are called "mobs", after all.

Ah, sorry for the error, I

Ah, sorry for the error, I meant "encouraging Y to help you attack X in some way".

An article by Paul Belien

An article by Paul Belien with a comment by Jos Verhulst
"Europe's 'Free Speech' Crocodile Tears"

The only trouble with the Europeans’ defence of freedom of speech is the fundamental hypocrisy of secular Western Europe. That is the opinion of Dyab Abu Jahjah, the Brussels-based leader of the Arab-European League. On his website he writes:

"I do not believe in red lines, and I do not believe that anything should be above the freedom of human expression. I know that most Arabs and Muslims would disagree with me on this point, but this is not what bothers me, what bothers me is that most Europeans don’t realize that they also disagree with me.

"Europeans think that freedom of speech is guaranteed in Europe, and that they are defending it against Islamic pressure. This is a view that is widely propagated and defended by groups from across the political spectrum. Reality, however, presents us Muslims living in Europe with another experience... Muslims and other religious people can not express their disgust [with] homosexuality and clearly state that they believe it’s a sickness and a deviation without being persecuted for being homophobic."

Mr Jahjah certainly has a point here. Not only Muslims are not allowed to voice all their opinions. Only last week the French parliamentarian Christian Vanneste was sentenced in court to a heavy fine because he had stated that “homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity” and that “heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality.” Earlier last month a majority in the European Parliament called for sanctions against Poland and the Baltic states because their governments are said to be “homophobic.” In the Netherlands access to certain jobs in the civil service is effectively denied to anyone religious (be it Christian or Muslim) who refuses to participate in concluding same-sex marriages. And the EU wants to force doctors to perform abortions and euthanasia because, it says, the right to conscientious objection is not “unlimited.”

[...]

Yesterday, a Turkish Muslim wrote us:

"I am Muslim and proud of being muslim. Holly Mohammed is one side; and We never never use any bad word against to Holly Jesus Christ. Because of We accept him as a Holly prophet too. So Please look at the Denmark. They shows that Mohammed married many times. This not true. One thing is true and all the world knows that a man can marry with a man in Denmark, Holland and Norway. They lost their heart and mind."

In their remarks these Muslims (whether they are representative for the majority of Muslims is another matter) are putting their finger on what the American theologian George Weigel calls “Europe’s problem.” Europe is dying because it has lost the cult at the heart of its culture. As a result “a venerable culture is being effaced by a vacuous secularism” (Niall Ferguson) while at the same time the religious vacuum left by the demise, or suicide, of Christianity is being filled by another religion – with religious prohibitions, such as the taboo on depicting Muhammad, that are totally alien to Western civilization.

Americans watch in amazement at what is happening in Europe today, but Western civilization, with its freedom of expression, has long died on the Eastern side of the Atlantic. One of the few freedoms left in Western Europe was the freedom to mock religion. Now that this freedom is under attack from Muslim fanatics we realize that this is not the first barrier that needs defending against totalitarians, but in fact the last remaining one. The other barriers have all been abandoned – without a fight.

In contemporary Germany homeschooling Baptists lose parental authority over their children and are jailed on the basis of a bill introduced by Adolf Hitler in 1938. In the Netherlands Reader’s Digest’s “European of the Year” Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants all religious schools abolished and demands the defunding of a Calvinist party because this party does not put forward women candidates for election. In Finland the government is toying with the idea to no longer issue permits for private schools. In Belgium the country’s largest party was effectively banned by the Supreme Court in November 2004 for publishing texts which, though the court admitted they were not necessarily untrue, were said to have been published with “an intention to contribute to a campaign of hatred.”

The right of parents to educate their own children according to their own beliefs has long disappeared. So has the right to elect the politicians one wants and the right to tell truths when the government has decided that you are telling them with a wrong “intention.” And gone also is the right not to have to participate in actions that are against one’s conscience.

In America people are free to say and think whatever they like, however offensive this may be to others. In Europe this right no longer exists. As Mr Jahjah says:

"People in Europe are not allowed to do...free historical examination of the Second World War and the holocaust and freely express an opinion on it that is different than the dominating dogmatic line. Any attempt to have deviant historical examination of the holocaust will earn you the title of revisionist, anti-Semite and a jail sentence....Yes Arabs and Muslims are uptight when you touch their religious and national symbols, but Europe had made of political correctness and the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion and is even more uptight when you touch that. Europeans might not respect their flags, and they might laugh [at] Jesus and Mary but if you touch their new religious symbols, they will bombard you with indignation and persecute you in the best European inquisition tradition.

"I am for the absolute freedom of speech everywhere, and that’s why I call upon every free sole among Arabs to use the Danish flag as a substitute for toilet paper. To illustrate every wall with graffiti making fun of everything Europe holds as holy: dancing rabbis on the carcasses of Palestinian children, hoax gas-chambers built in Hollywood in 1946 with Steven Spielberg’s approval stamp, and Aids spreading faggots. Let us defend the absolute freedom of speech altogether, wouldn’t that be a noble cause?"

Stefan, Love your big tent

Stefan,

Love your big tent attitude, or should I say intellectually stifling one.


Nonsense. How can I “interfere” with X by lying to Y?


I can tell Y that the sale X was having on used cars was canceled, even though it wasn't, or worse I can tell Y that X donates money to terrorists. This interferes with Xs ability to freely associate with Y.


Libertarians do not consider "lying" as such to be wrong.

Wow, great interpretation of libertarianism! You call that putting effort in to "figuring out its implications". So are you telling us that libertarianism not only allows bearing false witness but also actually sees no wrong in it. You go on further to give me “lessons” about how people who incite to violence are not responsible for their actions just so long as someone else does their bidding. I’ve read lots of libertarian literature and have never seen anyone defending those positions. Did it ever occur to you that both the inciter and the mob are guilty to some extent?


If you don’t like libertarianism, or are too lazy to figure out its implications, then don’t call yourself one.


Are you a member of the LP or something? :)
Here's how I feel about your belief that "'lying' as such isn't wrong". To paraphrase you :

"If you don't like being a moral person, or are to lazy to figure out its implications, then don't call yourself one."

As for my being lazy, I am putting together a list some of the books I've read on libertarianism, economics, political theory, objectivism, philosophy. Mainly because I get so many fundamentalist libertarians and objectivists who assume I'm some sort of neophyte on those topics. I've got 145 books on the list. The list is not exhaustive, does not include tapes, and only includes books I have read cover to cover. Books, which I have partially read like some of Hoppe's, are not on the list. I posted the list unformatted on my blog if you want to take a look. Lassez Faire books has made a lot of money off me.

I am well aware of the limitations of libertarianism and yet I still choose to call myself one. However, with responses like yours I am tempted not to. Libertarianism is not clear nor dogmatic on many of the issues you seem to think are clear-cut. Different brands of libertarianism have different axioms from which they derive their positions. Some say “Do not trespass against others, do all you say you’ll do.” While others contend that the proper axioms are “No initiation of force, or fraud”.

There is plenty of criminal behavior that falls outside the scope of these formulations. As an example you can trick someone into doing something harmful to themselves without initiating force or defrauding them. It’s not fraud because you have made no tangible gain, merely loss on their part. You can trick someone else into harming them also. You can trick others into believing that they shouldn’t associate with that person. There are many ways of criminally harming someone else that don’t seem to be covered by these axioms, as interpreted by many libertarians. When I say criminally, I mean it. They are recongnized by 99% of the rest of the people on the planet as crimes, along with 50% of the libertarians, things like incitement to violence.

BTW, Blocks argument about libel only applies if one thinks of libel as "owning ones reputation". I don't believe someone owns their reputation, so his arguments cannot apply to my reasoning. What libelers do is a form of fraud if done for personal gain. I don't hold by your definition of fraud either, I think the gain can be intangible to count as fraud. People don't lie about others for no reason. I am perfectly aware that people make errors in judgement and I hope we don't have to have that conversation. Holding an opinion in error is not a crime. Knowingly, and that's what a lie requires, telling an untruth about someone that damages their interactions with others is in fact a crime against them. The fact that it is a crime is independent of whether you recognize that fact or not.

I think the assumptions underlying libertarianism need to be modified to make it compatible with rational and reasonable behavior. It needs to be extended where it is weak, and corrected where it is wrong.

I for instance think it is perfectly acceptable to trespass against others property in the case of an emergency. Some dogmatic libertarians would disallow this.

I find it very disheartening that I find many Libertarians who are willing to kick me out of “their” tent at every disagreement. This is especially disturbing when it is over issues are clearly not settled, like intellectual property rights. I can understand the narrowly educated libertarian being upset with some of my deeper insights since it is hard to think in new ways.

I believe it is you who has preset notions of where you don’t want rationality to lead you. I gave you an example of IP that was perfectly compatible with libertarianism, yet you twisted and turned in every imaginable contortion in order to try to show it wasn’t. You were willing to let people violate voluntary contracts and use other peoples property without thier permission. Your justification was ridiculous, you claimed that since you owned everything involved you were free to do with it as you wish. In other words, you assumed exactly what you were setting out to prove, in order to prove what you wanted to believe. It was beyond your comprehension that once you have agreed not to do something with my property, copy it, that you can be held to your agreement. You did this merely by asserting ownership over what you in fact didn’t own. The whole point of my argument was that you did not rightfully gain control of copies of my property, made without my permission.

Somehow you think that you can use my physical property to manufacture items using your raw materials without my permission. Once you have done the deed you think that all my claims against the manufactured items are null and void. This is baloney, since you can’t use my factory to produce items using your raw materials without my permission, and if you do I have ownership rights in those goods that are produced. Similarly using the copies I retain rights in as factors of production for your illegal copies I retain ownership rights in those illegal copies. By retaining property ownership in all copies of my copyrighted materials I am the proper owner. By making copies of those materials you are violating my physical property rights. I have the right of control, in those original materials. I also have ownership rights in any copies made illegally for the reasons stated above, thus recursively I retain ownership in all copies in existence, whether the holder is aware or not.

So in short it is you who is advocating the violation of my physical property rights. There is no need for me to invoke intellectual property rights. This is straight violation of contract or physical property. It’s not my problem if you can’t wrap your mind around this.

There are plenty of people who validly call themselves “libertarians” who believe further that one can own intellectual property, that is that one can own the ideas. I don’t even go this far, I don’t believe you can own ideas directly but only instantiations of ideas. Yet you would dare to tell me to stop calling myself a libertarian. I suggest you start with the other 90% of libertarians out there who haven’t bothered to read a single book on the subject.

Love your big tent attitude,

Love your big tent attitude, or should I say intellectually stifling one.

Thanks, I try to please. :cool:

I can tell Y that the sale X was having on used cars was canceled, even though it wasn’t, or worse I can tell Y that X donates money to terrorists. This interferes with Xs ability to freely associate with Y.

Your flaw here is equating "interference" with "aggression". I guess by "interfere" you mean any action which might reduce the chances of X and Y associating favorably. But this is clearly not equivalent to aggression. For example, I could tell Y I won't be his friend anymore if he associates with X. That clearly would "interfere" with their interaction, but would not be a rights-violation.

Wow, great interpretation of libertarianism! You call that putting effort in to “figuring out its implications".

Yes.

So are you telling us that libertarianism not only allows bearing false witness but also actually sees no wrong in it.

Semantic confusion. Libertarianism is a theory of justice, hence it "allows" X if and only if it "sees no wrong in X".

You go on further to give me “lessons” about how people who incite to violence are not responsible for their actions just so long as someone else does their bidding. I’ve read lots of libertarian literature and have never seen anyone defending those positions.

For a defense of these positions, see Rothbard, "The Ethics of Liberty",Walter Block for discussion of Rothbard's view,

Did it ever occur to you that both the inciter and the mob are guilty to some extent?

Yes, and I have explained why I don't believe the inciter has committed aggression. The set of moral actions is not synonymous with the set of actions which respect rights, so I have no problem with "inciting to riot" being an immoral action which violates no rights. Which part of that statement do you disagree with?

Are you a member of the LP or something?

No, but this is the third time or so I've had to argue with you about something I consider very basic to libertarianism, so you'll forgive me for doubting if you are one or not. If not, drop the label and call yourself something else, or nothing at all. But then again, talk is cheap I guess. :juggle:

I am well aware of the limitations of libertarianism and yet I still choose to call myself one. However, with responses like yours I am tempted not to. Libertarianism is not clear nor dogmatic on many of the issues you seem to think are clear-cut. Different brands of libertarianism have different axioms from which they derive their positions. Some say “Do not trespass against others, do all you say you’ll do.” While others contend that the proper axioms are “No initiation of force, or fraud”.

I've never heard libertarianism as such defined to be "do all you say you'll do". And in any event "no trespass" and "no force or fraud" are equivalent notions. I don't think you can wriggle out of these difficulties by redefinition. :juggle:

There is plenty of criminal behavior that falls outside the scope of these formulations. As an example you can trick someone into doing something harmful to themselves without initiating force or defrauding them. It’s not fraud because you have made no tangible gain, merely loss on their part. You can trick someone else into harming them also. You can trick others into believing that they shouldn’t associate with that person. There are many ways of criminally harming someone else that don’t seem to be covered by these axioms, as interpreted by many libertarians. When I say criminally, I mean it. They are recongnized by 99% of the rest of the people on the planet as crimes, along with 50% of the libertarians, things like incitement to violence.

Well by definition then you're not a libertarian. :wall:

Aside from the argumentum ad populum, I have to disagree with your classification of such actions as criminal. I think the only legitimate use of violence is in self-defense against someone else doing violence, and if someone does commit unjust violence it creates a debt they have to repay. If someone lies, or is a rotten SOB, or does some other thing I don't like, then that doesn't make it moral to kill or rob him. Other people are not your property, no matter how much you want them to be.

In fact, people are harming each other all the time in ways that are completely voluntary. Would you classify those things as criminal as well? Opening a grocery store for the purpose of driving competitors out of business, or trying to be the #1 track star, or merely walking down the street are all activities that in some circumstances can harm people, but don't count as rights violations. How do you propose to decide that some of these methods are criminal and others not? What exactly is it about an activity that justifies violence against the person doing that activity?

I think the assumptions underlying libertarianism need to be modified to make it compatible with rational and reasonable behavior. It needs to be extended where it is weak, and corrected where it is wrong.
I for instance think it is perfectly acceptable to trespass against others property in the case of an emergency. Some dogmatic libertarians would disallow this.

I would be more amenable to "correction" if I had confidence it is actually correction. From what I can tell you prefer that libertarianism put a stamp of disapproval on just any old behavior with a negative externality, and that's not very encouraging.

As for the problem of emergencies, that's a separate topic. However, I will mention that it does have its own difficulties that are not always apparent when people argue about them. For example, you might say that if one is hanging from a flag pole then it's moral to break a nearby window to save yourself from imminent death, and that in these "extreme" circumstances some leeway is allowed. On the other hand, what if you have to kick a baby out of the way in order to get in the window? Suddenly the "comparison of utility" involved in breaking the window seems problematic. A similar objection can be raised with respect to what constitutes an emergency. Starvation is also an imminent danger, especially in a world where a child dies every five seconds from hunger. If an adult African isn't justified in stealing food from the rich to save such a child from starvation, what kind of emergency is?

find it very disheartening that I find many Libertarians who are willing to kick me out of “their” tent at every disagreement. This is especially disturbing when it is over issues are clearly not settled, like intellectual property rights. I can understand the narrowly educated libertarian being upset with some of my deeper insights since it is hard to think in new ways.

I apologize, your Greatness. I will try not to contradict your Eminence in the future.:sweat:

Somehow you think that you can use my physical property to manufacture items using your raw materials without my permission.

Funny, I thought it was you who was doing that. Whatever, I guess. :end:

This is baloney, since you can’t use my factory to produce items using your raw materials without my permission, and if you do I have ownership rights in those goods that are produced.

Beats me how you conclude that. If I own some physical matter, and I transform that physical matter using your tools, it doesn't really change the fact that I own it. Of course it's more problematic if our property becomes joined together in some fashion, like if I steal your steal (ha!) and then use it with some of my own steal to make a sword. But if I steal your hammer and make a sword, it looks pretty clear to me that I own the sword.

Similarly using the copies I retain rights in as factors of production for your illegal copies I retain ownership rights in those illegal copies. By retaining property ownership in all copies of my copyrighted materials I am the proper owner. By making copies of those materials you are violating my physical property rights. I have the right of control, in those original materials. I also have ownership rights in any copies made illegally for the reasons stated above, thus recursively I retain ownership in all copies in existence, whether the holder is aware or not.

Let me put it succinctly: You're wrong. Your argument allows that if a person passes by my window and sees the top-secret, copyrighted plans then it's legitimate for you to use violence to prevent them from giving the information away for free. Contracts only bind the parties to the contract. You keep pretending they can bind third parties, and that violates the point of having contracts in the first place: To protect every person's right to dispose of their physical property.

So in short it is you who is advocating the violation of my physical property rights. There is no need for me to invoke intellectual property rights. This is straight violation of contract or physical property. It’s not my problem if you can’t wrap your mind around this.

It's not my problem either if you think your ideas are compatible with libertarianism. However, they are not.

There are plenty of people who validly call themselves “libertarians” who believe further that one can own intellectual property, that is that one can own the ideas.

I agree, the usage of the term "libertarian" is rather flexible. However, once again redefinition won't save you. Your ideas contradict in an important way what I understand libertarianism to be. Since I think libertarianism is true, your ideas are therefore false. :wall:

I don’t even go this far, I don’t believe you can own ideas directly but only instantiations of ideas. Yet you would dare to tell me to stop calling myself a libertarian.

Yeah I dare an awful lot of things.

I suggest you start with the other 90% of libertarians out there who haven’t bothered to read a single book on the subject.

I don't give a wet slap how many books you've read. I'm interested in what YOU think. In all honesty it's ok if you call yourself a "libertarian", since as I mentioned the term is rather flexible. But if you don't think rights are important, or you think they can be easily superceded whenever your favorite pet issue arises (IP, muslim immigrants, slander), then say so and don't pretend otherwise. :wall:

Stefan, You've now turned

Stefan, You've now turned the issue into one of restitution. I claim to be co-owner of your sword, but what you stole from me was an extremely durable easily obtainable factor of production. Therefore my co-ownership in your sword is miniscule compared to what you put into it. Since obviously I want to sever my relationship with you because it was involuntary I turn a reliable third party to adjudicate. Such a person is going to see that you own the vast majority of the input into the sword and is going to give me restitution in the form of money. Other factors besides the value that has been transferred from my stolen productive good may come into play like court costs, damages caused by the theft, the value of the hammer to me, etc.

Now lets move to the other end of the scale. I am a master artist. I have spent six months sculpting a wax figure. I have taken that wax figure and wish to make a one of a kind seamless bronze cast of it. I prepare a one-piece plaster mold of it, and then melt out the interior wax sculpture in a kiln. The final stage would be for me to pour in the bronze and then break the mold to reveal the statue. However, during the night you steal my plaster mold, and the next day you cast the mold in bronze, and break the mold.

After a long search, I find you when you try to sell the statue. I immediately claim majority ownership of the statue, and bring the issue to a third party for adjudication. Do you really believe that a fair adjudicator is going to give me monetary damages? Not likely. The majority of the value of the item is due to the information imparted to the object by my efforts. I will be awarded the statue and it is you that will get restitution of your raw via getting a lump of bronze, or enough money to buy such a lump. Of course, my addition costs will far outweigh the price of any lump of bronze so you are not likely to get anything. Had you cast the object in say platinum, then maybe you might be owed more than the grief you caused me. That however is a difficult question in and of itself. Maybe I didn't want it cast in platinum.

Here are some other types of productive goods that could be stolen just to give you an idea of the range of possibilities:
1) You steal my diary, scan it into your computer and then give it back.
2) Same as above in 1) but you destroy my diary.
3) You do the above in 2) but immediately tell me about it, plea guilty to my adjudicator.
4) You steal a hard to get part from my expensive machine, shutting down production. You use that part in a machine you had that was missing that part.
5) Same as 3) except I didn't know you stole it and turned the machine on causing damage to my machine.
6) Same as 4) except it was a safety feature and someone dies as a result.

I gave issues 4)-6) so you could see that the value of the item to me could matter in deciding the case, and 1)-2) to show that the information content of the item is of value.

I really dislike what I believe your answer to number 3) would be. You seem to think that you have full ownership of your computer at that point. Assuming that you seem to also think that monetary damages alone would be sufficient redress. Most people would value my diary about as close to $0.01 as you could imagine. You made it easy to catch and prosecute, so those costs are minimal. Does this mean you can walk away scot-free, after paying me a penny?

Libertarianism does not have much to say on such issues. Many libertarians just throw their hands up and claim that a market in judicial services would sort things out. Perhaps that is true, but then they turn around and assume what those results would be, what the final form of "natural law" would take, and use those assumptions to browbeat other libertarians. Just because you assume that the only rational position to come is your conclusion does not mean it is so.

Considering me as co-owner in any goods you produce using my property is a quite rational, flexible, and useful thing to do. Assuming otherwise requires a multitude of differing principles upon which to properly adjudicate the crime. By occams razor I hold that my theory of justice on this is the better of the two. Yours fails to take into account the value of the information content of an object.

I don't have time to address any other issues. One thing though, were you trying to be cute by misspelling steal? The joke was lost on me.

Fantastic and honest post.

Fantastic and honest post. Wrote the same on my blog then found yours!