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Freedom of Speech.

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  #1  
Old 07-09-2014, 09:56 PM
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Default Freedom of Speech.


Hi Kiddies and co-caféteers!

Before you read on, a cautionary note lest any of us court the disapproval of our valiant mods who strive tirelessly to make the café a conflict free zone: the following isn't a subject for discussion, because that is against the rules. Instead think of it as a springboard for light-hearted chatter, witty banter, pithy badinage. Light-hearted, family-friendly, conflict free fun?

Ready? Here we go.

Freedom of speech has always been a cornerstone of free societies. The withdrawal of it has always been the mark of totalitarianism. Russia under Stalin and others, Nazi Germany, McCarthy-era America to name just a few regimes who have bullied, imprisoned, tortured or killed...

writers and poets.

We all think we enjoy freedom of expression, and for the most part we do: you can write and publish an article telling us why Obama is the worst president in history and, no matter how much he hates it, you do so with impugnity.

Imagine writing the same article about Stalin, in the USSR, or Germany under the Nazis.

But we aren't just talking about articles. Writers of fiction, even poets, have been imprisoned or killed for writing the 'wrong' kind of story, the poem with the 'wrong' message. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spent nearly 20 years behind bars for daring to criticise Stalin.

He was not the only one. Do some research and you will find long lists of writers and poets who 'disappeared', some never to return. Lists of writers who ended up in concentration camps in Germany and Poland.

Things were never quite so bad in America, but under McCarthy's anti-communist pogrom, a writer could expect to be rendered unemployable if there was even a suspicion that he harbour communist ideals, but many were imprisoned (often, it turned out later, illegally).

So there you go. As a writer, you should remember that many before you have suffered bullying, prison, torture and death so that you can write what you want to write. You are part of a long tradition. Not everyone is a dissident, not everyone is an activist, but we should spare a thought for our brothers who risked everything just by putting one word in front of another.

Words are just words, but they can move mountains, convey ideas, bring down regimes. Only regimes who feel obliged to control every aspect of their citizens lives fear the power of words.

Anyway, please don't discuss. That's against the rules. what we really want is the freedom to play word games.

Who wants to start?

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Old 07-09-2014, 10:42 PM
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well said! compared to various totalitarian socialist and fascist regimes, the u.s., u.k. and various other "western" nations have a better track record at freedom of expression-- though as you point out, far from unblemished.

as for the u.s., i would also include such things as the 19th and 20th century's institutional racism/segregation, as well as the fbi's hounding of outspoken dissidents/activists such as m.l.k., especially under j. edgar hoover. and i also think we should be more cognizant of various suppressions of freedom that have occurred on foreign soil due to various covert paramilitary operations, such as what happened in Chile, 1973.

again, acknowledging these various shortcomings/ questionable actions doesn't make one a "hater of america," nor does it negate the considerable accomplishments of u.s. and "western" society on the world stage; it is simply a more complete perspective.

anyway, yeah, as much freedom as we can stand is generally a good thing, considering everything that's gone on before now, and considering the alternative.

Last edited by rockman; 07-09-2014 at 11:16 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:53 AM
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OK, moving on to innocuous word games!

Let's play Mikey's Magical Thesaurus!

How many synonyms can you think of for the word...

CENSORSHIP
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:54 AM
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I wrote an extensive and brilliant essay and lost it to the ether. Just as well, I suppose. Don't type while drunk.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
OK, moving on to innocuous word games!

Let's play Mikey's Magical Thesaurus!

How many synonyms can you think of for the word...

CENSORSHIP
Shitty computers.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Franklin View Post
I wrote an extensive and brilliant essay and lost it to the ether. Just as well, I suppose. Don't type while drunk.
I don't think this is the place for extensive and brilliant essays, Franklin, much as I would have enjoyed reading. There is no place here for anything serious any more.

Post a picture of a kitten instead.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:59 AM
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I don't think any are needed, Mike. That one word says it all.

Let's see how long this stays up: The people running this show are a bunch of (censored censored).

Later: Not long at all.

Last edited by JustcallmeEd; 07-10-2014 at 06:53 AM..
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by JustcallmeEd View Post
I don't think any are needed, Mike. That one word says it all.

Let's see how long this stays up: The people running this show are a bunch of fucked up pussies.
Please don't mention my name, Ed. I make my own bed of nettles. I must confess that learning long ago not to give a shit what others think I should be relieves a lot of pressure. Still, I do like to get along--with logic.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
We all think we enjoy freedom of expression, and for the most part we do
That's true -- but the problem is that there is too much noise and little chance that it will make any difference.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:30 AM
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Freedom of speech is all well and good, but this is an internet forum ... and I'm not listening to you speak, I'm reading what you've written. Surely that's different, no?

Originally Posted by JustcallmeEd View Post
The people running this show are a bunch of fucked up pussies.
I know, right. But then again, some of the people playing the game are contentious arseholes. How's that for freedom of speech?
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
That's true -- but the problem is that there is too much noise and little chance that it will make any difference.
Whether it makes a difference or not is secondary to the right to make the noise, surely?
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
Freedom of speech is all well and good, but this is an internet forum ... and I'm not listening to you speak, I'm reading what you've written. Surely that's different, no?
No. Call it freedom of expression if you prefer, the result is the same.

Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
I know, right. But then again, some of the people playing the game are contentious arseholes. How's that for freedom of speech?
Are you referring to anyone in particular? I'll be miffed if it's not me.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:15 AM
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Oh ... go on then. I hate to disappoint people.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:15 AM
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Freedom of speech doesn't include freedom to write on someone else's wall.
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English is a strange language. It can be understood through tough thorough thought though.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:18 AM
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Good job this isn't facebook then!
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Non Serviam View Post
Freedom of speech doesn't include freedom to write on someone else's wall.
I don't think I am. I'm participating in a forum within the rules.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
Good job this isn't facebook then!
If it was, you'd have significantly more difficulty removing content you judged contentious.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:34 AM
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Have I deleted any of your from here Mr. C? Have I.

I see your game, and I've decided to play.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
Whether it makes a difference or not is secondary to the right to make the noise, surely?
I wasn't ranking them by order of importance. I was just saying that where I live anyway, most articles, books, speeches or whatever that are critical of the government will only be embraced by people who are already like-minded -- preaching to the choir in other words -- and it will be along party lines. Anyone else who has something to say will be ignored or labeled a crackpot.

Ralph Nader is a good example -- yes, he managed to get enough votes to screw things up for the democrats in 2000 -- but that was more about protest votes. Otherwise, he has a very good bead on what exactly is wrong with government in the U.S. -- especially the influence of corporations -- but both parties have successfully painted him as some kind of nut. I've mentioned him when people are talking politics -- people roll their eyes and they don't know anything about him. He's a very good writer, his messages are clear, forceful and can be backed up with facts -- but even someone of his stature simply can't break through. He tried to hand the "occupy" movement a coherent message on a silver platter -- which they desperately needed -- and he was ignored. There's really no way to be critical of the system and make an appreciable difference -- especially when you are competing against so much noise. So yeah, we have freedom of speech -- but so what??

Last edited by JoeMatt; 07-10-2014 at 06:01 AM..
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:19 AM
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Non Serviam Freedom of speech doesn't include freedom to write on someone else's wall.
Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
I don't think I am. I'm participating in a forum within the rules.
Perhaps not. Or perhaps operating withing the letter but not the spirit of the rules.

http://forums.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=53254


The Writers’ Cafe Order of Business We would like to remind the membership that the Cafe is not a substitute for the Intellectual Table. The Cafe is a light hearted area for relaxing. We would like to keep it that way. Now that does mean that light hearted discussion, general chatting and so on are allowed, as before. And more specific discussions can also go on as long as all members are civil with each other.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:38 AM
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Absolutely. I'm being civil to one and all, and my chat is light-hearted. The letter of the rules is good enough for me, unless anyone plans changing them again.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Mohican View Post
And more specific discussions can also go on as long as all members are civil with each other.
Ah, missed that bit first time.

I rename that the 'give me an inch and I'll take a mile' clause, if I may. Within the letter of the rules, of course.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Non Serviam View Post
Freedom of speech doesn't include freedom to write on someone else's wall.
I think the only 'writing on someone else's wall' that has been going on has been Admin re-writing my words.

If you are going to be censoring, folks, at least have the balls to say so. Replace my words with 'censored' instead of your stupid claptrap.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
Have I deleted any of your from here Mr. C? Have I.

I see your game, and I've decided to play.
I apologise - I should have said one.

Game? What game?
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:09 AM
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Admin don't re-write your words. But thank you for editing your post, Ed.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mike c View Post
ok, moving on to innocuous word games!

Let's play mikey's magical thesaurus!

How many synonyms can you think of for the word...

censorship
sin ?!
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
I was just saying that where I live anyway, most articles, books, speeches or whatever that are critical of the government will only be embraced by people who are already like-minded
Which is pretty much how the IT worked. Birds of a feather, etc.

There's really no way to be critical of the system and make an appreciable difference -- especially when you are competing against so much noise. So yeah, we have freedom of speech -- but so what??[/QUOTE]

Maybe, maybe not. if the above is true, why was communism treated like an infectious disease by McCarthy? Why did Animal Farm face a ban by the British government due to not wanting to upset our friend (as he was regarded then) Stalin? Why was Solzhenitsyn locked up for 20 years for criticising the government - in personal letters?

I'm sure you've read 1984 and remember the principles of Newspeak; you control the proles by controlling how they think, and you control how they think by controlling their language.

That, Joe, is the 'so what'.

Would you prefer the alternative? Would you prefer a society where to speak your mind carried the risk of being banned? Sorry, I meant imprisoned. Or tortured, or killed.

We have precious few freedoms left and authorities are happy to keep chipping away at them, knowing the meek majority will say "well ok, if you say its bad, you guys know better and all" and let them take another freedom from you. You only have to look at Homeland Security to see the truth in that, or the general response to the removal of the IT for that matter.

freedoms have to be exercised or they either whither and die, or gat taken away, and if people try to take them away we should be manning the metaphorical barricades and saying NO.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:20 AM
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Just in case the above was considered a bit heavy...


**Image of cute kitty removed due to copyright infringement**

naughty boy, Mike, naughty boy.
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Last edited by Mike C; 07-10-2014 at 07:48 AM..
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:34 AM
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awwwwww...
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
Admin don't re-write your words. But thank you for editing your post, Ed.
Okay. Mods, then. Are you going to play that stupid f**king game where you are all of a same mind when it comes to making a decision (to close the IT and apparently 'clean up' the language on the boards) but then act independently to enforce it?

When you make a decision as a unit, actions taken in support of that decision are made as a unit, regardless of who makes them,

So yes, RedLorry - you rewrote my words.
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