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 Post subject: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-16 04:42pm
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Blogger says nice things about Canada.

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Whenever I say nice things about Canada, some people get annoyed. After all, they have socialized medicine and are more inclined to regulate certain kinds of speech. But these are anecdotes. If looks for anecdotes on the lack of freedom in the U.S., one becomes buried in them. If I look at actual indices that attempt, however imperfectly, to measure various freedoms, the U.S. and Canada come out pretty much identical on a classical liberal conception of freedom. And Canada comes out ahead on contemporary capabilities conceptions of positve liberty. To my mind, the evidence pretty strongly supports the conclusion that Canada is at least as free as the United States. Why is this a problem for some Americans?

It’s true that the U.S. has in many ways a more libertarian culture and political tradition than does Canada. But then isn’t it all the more interesting to note that, despite America’s unique “land of the free” self-conception, we’re no more free than Canadians? I feel strongly that American culture is more varied, alive, weirder, synthetic, and creative than probably any other. This is in part because of, and not despite, the odd conservative and religions strands in American culture. And it is a culture especially amenable to all sorts of entrepreneurial experiments, which gives American culture a level of innovation and vitality (including countless varieties of religious weirdness) that I think partly explains why it is the world’s dominant exporter of culture. And I think the U.S.’s wealth relative to other countries is actually underestimated. We are astoundingly rich (recession or no recession) and this is a place of crazy opportunity. So I think the U.S. does better in positive liberty terms than it sometimes gets credit for.

But that doesn’t begin to mean that we live up to our reputation for the kind of liberty classical liberals tend to care about. My sense is that some American libertarians have a vague sense that if Canada really was more free, then they should want to move there. But they emphatically don’t want to move to Canada. My diagnosis is that many libertarians prefer to live in a place where it easy to find others who share their individualistic and libertarian values over living in a place where they would actually be more free, but would feel more culturally alienated.


I'm biased to agree with him, but I'm curious what sort of objective indices he's referencing when comparing Canada to the US. Does anybody have any idea what they are? A quick google search isn't really turning up anything useful.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-17 02:50am
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My diagnosis is that many libertarians prefer to live in a place where it easy to find others who share their individualistic and libertarian values over living in a place where they would actually be more free, but would feel more culturally alienated.

Libertarians already have a place free of government intervention in society and the market place where they can practice their rugged individualism. It's called Somalia. Strangely enough, there isn't a rush of them towards there. Delusional Libertarians only appear in extraordinarily rich western countries and they will never leave for any place that actually is Libertarian in nature despite all their whining about being oppressed.

By the way, it's fucking ridiculous to hear these douchebags whine about being oppressed when they live in most free and richest collection of nations (The western world) in all of human history.

As for Canada, I have never really considered it to be "less free" the U.S. Surely in terms of availability of training programs, health care, education, etc. the Canadian system gives its citizens greater opportunities to make more out of their lives? In America you may have a semi-privatized health care system which gives you more "choice", but it isn't an actual option for millions of people. Surely, the "choice" of getting into ruinous debt to pay essential medical bills doesn't really make you more "free"?

When libertarians start pontificating about "freedom", they seem to have a very narrow definition of it. Their style of "freedom" in practice doesn't really seem to offer much.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-17 05:39am
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It's funny that so many Americans need to be told that they're no more free than Canada, considering that America kidnaps and tortures people without due process, and the people who committed these crimes of state terror will go unpunished. A lot of American freedom is double-talk; in Canada we have trial judges who will issue gag orders to protect a victim's privacy or a suspect's right to a fair trial, and American bloggers screech that we censor free speech. In America they are totally against censorship ... unless it relates to "national security", in which case they can censor or redact anything they want, and nobody will ever need to know why (thus begging the question of how we know that it is legitimately a "national security" matter). What's worse? Having judges with the right to censor certain information for clearly stated purposes, or having politicians with the power to censor whatever they want with no stated reason at all, other than a vague "national security" catch-all?

To be honest, I think part of the problem is that America's high-flying freedom rhetoric is so hopelessly unrealistic in terms of national policy (to take one example, many Americans think that freedom of speech is an absolute right with no restrictions whatsoever) that the government has to become accustomed to doublespeak, and the citizens become accustomed to it too. So American freedom rhetoric is always going to be much more grandiose than America's actual civil liberties.

I'm not entirely sure there's a huge cultural divide between US and Canadian social attitudes toward government and freedom, but there IS a huge divide in terms of rhetoric.

Mind you, his latter conclusion (that Americans libertarians don't move to Canada only because they're afraid they won't find like-minded people) seems like a completely unnecessary mechanism. We already know that people are very reluctant to leave their homelands in general, so why do we need more explanation than that?



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-17 07:26pm
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To me this attitude feels like ego-stroking. U.S. citizens are well known for their "America Fuck Yeah, leaders of the free world" attitude. Having a borderline 3rd world country just south is a good way to justify that attitude. Having a 1st world country up north, and one with improvements in certain areas is not, so many of these myopic ego-strokers just go in denial, or even respond with hostility.

I've always thought that the U.S.' one true religion, and major export to the rest of the world, is the "American Way".



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-17 10:36pm
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Darth Wong wrote:
To be honest, I think part of the problem is that America's high-flying freedom rhetoric is so hopelessly unrealistic in terms of national policy (to take one example, many Americans think that freedom of speech is an absolute right with no restrictions whatsoever) that the government has to become accustomed to doublespeak, and the citizens become accustomed to it too.


Could you clarify your own position in regards to free speech, Mike? I hesistate to suggest you think free speech should be restricted in any way unless you actually say so...but this particular part of your post seems to imply so?

I personally think free speech should be a completely unrestricted right.



"Now let us be clear, my friends. The fruits of our science that you receive and the many millions of benefits that justify them, are a gift. Be grateful. Or be silent." -Modified Quote

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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-17 11:30pm
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Singular Intellect wrote:
I personally think free speech should be a completely unrestricted right.

You see, there's a problem. It goes like this: somebody lies, another man dies. It's more serious than you can think it is. But lies are free speech, right, no matter how damaging they might be. Of course, you can subscribe to the Randian position that anyone stupid enough to believe a lie has brought his death or suffering upon himself. But tell me, how much of humanity is actually competent enough to judge? Are they universal knowledge-bots, easily discerning any lie in favour of the truth? Rather far from it, I would believe.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-17 11:46pm
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If you can see the problem with someone deceptively shouting FIRE! in a crowded club or theater, or with slander and libel, or with incitement, then I suspect you can see the problem with absolute freedom of expression.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-17 11:55pm
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Singular Intellect wrote:

Could you clarify your own position in regards to free speech, Mike? I hesistate to suggest you think free speech should be restricted in any way unless you actually say so...but this particular part of your post seems to imply so?

I personally think free speech should be a completely unrestricted right.


God hates the world. Looks like NZ is still a work in progress (I'm dissapointed by that.)

But anyway, if this guy pulled his usual shit in many of the countries around the world (including Canada if I'm not mistaking) he could be charged with a crime. I don't really have a huge problem with this.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-18 01:06am
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Stas Bush wrote:
Singular Intellect wrote:
I personally think free speech should be a completely unrestricted right.

You see, there's a problem. It goes like this: somebody lies, another man dies.

What has lying got to do with free speech? That's a moral issue, not a legal one.

But here's a potential example you might be referring to: Say I ask someone if it's safe to walk out on a frozen lake. They lie and say yes. I walk out onto the ice, fall through, and suffer hypothermia.

Who's fault is it?

I'd strongly argue it's mine; I chose to walk out on the ice. The person who lied to me simply proved themselves a liar/idiot.
Quote:
It's more serious than you can think it is. But lies are free speech, right, no matter how damaging they might be. Of course, you can subscribe to the Randian position that anyone stupid enough to believe a lie has brought his death or suffering upon himself. But tell me, how much of humanity is actually competent enough to judge? Are they universal knowledge-bots, easily discerning any lie in favour of the truth? Rather far from it, I would believe.

See above. What happend to the mentality "mockery of stupid people"?

We need to teach people to think rationally, not gag them out of fear they'll corrupt the guillible and stupid masses with words.
Kanastrous wrote:
If you can see the problem with someone deceptively shouting FIRE! in a crowded club or theater, or with slander and libel, or with incitement, then I suspect you can see the problem with absolute freedom of expression.

No, I don't see a problem with free speech there; I see a problem with the existence of stupid people and those who take hearsay as factual evidence.
Spyder wrote:
God hates the world. Looks like NZ is still a work in progress (I'm dissapointed by that.)

But anyway, if this guy pulled his usual shit in many of the countries around the world (including Canada if I'm not mistaking) he could be charged with a crime. I don't really have a huge problem with this.

I'm sure you wouldn't, until people locked you up for saying something the majority of others or those in power don't agree with.

I on the other hand subscribe to the notion "Even if I hate what you're saying, I'll fight for your right to say it."

If someone uses words in a way that I would question morally or rationally, I will fight them with my own words. Not by undermining the right to free speech.

Anyone who suggests free speech should not be a unrestricted right is basically saying "I'm willing to be locked up/punished if someone doesn't like what I have to say."

To me, that is a very dark path to start walking down.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-18 01:15am
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Singular Intellect wrote:
Anyone who suggests free speech should not be a unrestricted right is basically saying "I'm willing to be locked up/punished if someone doesn't like what I have to say."

To me, that is a very dark path to start walking down.

You don't know what you're talking about. We are already on that path. All doctors and engineers and lawyers, for example, must be very careful with the words they dispense as professional advice, lest they be found guilty of negligence. Anyone who commits fraud or slander must be similarly careful.

Absolutist approaches like yours are stupid and wrong-headed: they elevate moral principles which were originally intended to protect the public welfare into self-fulfilling goals which supersede public welfare and must not be balanced against anything. Absolutist thinking is another term for simple-minded thinking; the feeble mind fears the idea of moral principles which must be balanced against one another, thus requiring judgment and analysis. He prefers absolute rules which are not subject to such considerations, because they require no thought. They require only blind worship.

Let me ask you this: can you explain why we need absolute freedom of speech, without appealing to your own preferences or relying on the premise that it's a self-evident right?



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"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-18 01:21am
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Singular Intellect wrote:
What has lying got to do with free speech? That's a moral issue, not a legal one.


That is not the case


Quote:
But here's a potential example you might be referring to: Say I ask someone if it's safe to walk out on a frozen lake. They lie and say yes. I walk out onto the ice, fall through, and suffer hypothermia.

Who's fault is it?

I'd strongly argue it's mine; I chose to walk out on the ice. The person who lied to me simply proved themselves a liar/idiot.


Here's another example: I ask factory management if it's safe to swim in a lake near their factory. They lie and say yes. I swim in the lake and so do my children. Later on, we get lead poisoning from swimming in the lake.

Whose fault is it?

Or another example: Ben's brother was killed in a hit and run accident. Clem lies and says that I was the driver of the car. So Ben goes to my house and shoots me.

Would Ben have shot me if Clem hadn't lied?

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See above. What happend to the mentality "mockery of stupid people"?


Mockery, yes, not genocide.

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We need to teach people to think rationally, not gag them out of fear they'll corrupt the guillible and stupid masses with words.


Many people are incapable of thinking rationally, because they're brainwashed, insane, stupid, insecure, whatever.

And in the meantime, if they have a loud enough voice, they can incite gullible stupid masses to do harmful things.

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No, I don't see a problem with free speech there; I see a problem with the existence of stupid people and those who take hearsay as factual evidence.


You can't get rid of the stupid people, but you can get rid of the free speech.

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I'm sure you wouldn't, until people locked you up for saying something the majority of others or those in power don't agree with.


There's a difference between "something I disagree with" and telling people to kill homosexuals.

Quote:
I on the other hand subscribe to the notion "Even if I hate what you're saying, I'll fight for your right to say it."

If someone uses words in a way that I would question morally or rationally, I will fight them with my own words. Not by undermining the right to free speech.

Anyone who suggests free speech should not be a unrestricted right is basically saying "I'm willing to be locked up/punished if someone doesn't like what I have to say."

To me, that is a very dark path to start walking down.


That's a very black and white argument there. Your "right" to anything is only worth anything as long as you do not use it to cause harm. That's why people have a right to walk down the street, but if they take advantage of that right to mug someone, then that right is taken away from them. Does someone who supports the imprisonment of violent criminals saying "I'm willing to be locked up/punished if someone doesn't like what I do"? Or are they just saying that those who harm society should be prevented from doing so?



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-18 01:26am
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Singular Intellect wrote:
What has lying got to do with free speech? That's a moral issue, not a legal one. But here's a potential example you might be referring to: Say I ask someone if it's safe to walk out on a frozen lake. They lie and say yes. I walk out onto the ice, fall through, and suffer hypothermia. Who's fault is it? I'd strongly argue it's mine; I chose to walk out on the ice. The person who lied to me simply proved themselves a liar/idiot.

Oh yeah - that's an easy case, because you understand the implications of falling through ice easily. But what if someone sells you bunk medicine, and you're not qualified to make a judgement, or just plain stupid? Is stupidity a valid cause for letting the person die due to the lies of another? That's some seriously fucked up logic there.

Do you think the tobacco industry has problems with killing people due to their stupidity, and if so, are we infringing on the rights of tobacco companies by denying them advertisement on TV, radio and most mass media in existence?
Singular Intellect wrote:
See above. What happend to the mentality "mockery of stupid people"?

What the hell happened to your moral compass? "If you're not knowledgeable enough, it's perfectly viable to lie and cause death of people"?
Singular Intellect wrote:
We need to teach people to think rationally, not gag them out of fear they'll corrupt the guillible and stupid masses with words.

The average person cannot be taught to be rational and knowledgeable about everything. The amount of knowledge a human can accumulate is limited, and that knowledge is more often specialized than universal. Do we want to live in a place where only erudites in all areas of human life are safe?
Singular Intellect wrote:
No, I don't see a problem with free speech there; I see a problem with the existence of stupid people and those who take hearsay as factual evidence.

So the person who causes the deaths of others due to panic by shouting FIRE is not at fault. Thanks. You're a moron.
Singular Intellect wrote:
I on the other hand subscribe to the notion "Even if I hate what you're saying, I'll fight for your right to say it."

"Even if what you say makes Bob die, I'll fight for your right". That's more like your logic.
Singular Intellect wrote:
If someone uses words in a way that I would question morally or rationally, I will fight them with my own words. Not by undermining the right to free speech.

There's a problem - people listen to who is popular, not to who is right. There is no "middle ground" - there's a correct statement and a wrong one, and a popular liar has more chances to be heard than you. A massive fraudster can cause the deaths of millions, but you - a oh-so-logical nobody - wouldn't even manage to make a dent in the public opinion.

But hey, let's just absolve ourselves of responsibility! Let's pretend hate speech does not cause any negative consequences! Let's pretend indocrination does not exist, or that indocrination is "free speech"!
Singular Intellect wrote:
Anyone who suggests free speech should not be a unrestricted right is basically saying "I'm willing to be locked up/punished if someone doesn't like what I have to say." To me, that is a very dark path to start walking down.

Defending things like fraud, lie and indocrination by those who are popular is just cementing the damage. There is no just world where the correct and logical ideas automatically get heard. There is a world where liars easily manipulate the public opinion. But hey, let's not distract you from your dreamworld.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-18 05:44am
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Singular Intellect wrote:
Spyder wrote:
God hates the world. Looks like NZ is still a work in progress (I'm dissapointed by that.)

But anyway, if this guy pulled his usual shit in many of the countries around the world (including Canada if I'm not mistaking) he could be charged with a crime. I don't really have a huge problem with this.

I'm sure you wouldn't, until people locked you up for saying something the majority of others or those in power don't agree with.


Most countries with hate speech laws recognise the difference between inciting hatred and opinion.

Quote:
I on the other hand subscribe to the notion "Even if I hate what you're saying, I'll fight for your right to say it."

If someone uses words in a way that I would question morally or rationally, I will fight them with my own words. Not by undermining the right to free speech.


That's nice. So when picketers show up at a funeral while you grieve for a fallen relative you're just going to dry your tears and have a debate with them? When you're about to be trampled by rioters you're going to yell as loud as you can "Look people, this is obviously wrong, let me explain why that man over there is incorrect..."

"I respect your right to tell people they should cut off my head and stick it on a pike but I must insist against this course of action."

Quote:
Anyone who suggests free speech should not be a unrestricted right is basically saying "I'm willing to be locked up/punished if someone doesn't like what I have to say."

To me, that is a very dark path to start walking down.


...and this happens in Canada?



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-18 08:55am
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Singular Intellect wrote:
We need to teach people to think rationally, not gag them out of fear they'll corrupt the guillible and stupid masses with words.

There's an unstated claim within what you're saying: that everyone has access to all the information they need to make a rational decision all the time and, further, that they possess the capability to act upon that information all the time. You then make the leap from that to say that it's okay to harm them when they don't.

From that I can conclude that you're a worthless, morally repugnant shitbag.



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 Post subject: Re: [Op/Ed] Canadian Freedom PostPosted: 2009-02-18 01:57pm
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He is not the only person like that. There are many other people whose only real concern is about their ability to do whatever they like, because of the importance of personal liberty.

They argued that is not the responsibility of a person who incite or started hate speech to control their anger, but the responsibility of people who was insulted by an hate speech to control themselves.

And the lack of definition means 'I hate you' counts as a hate speech as well.



People debate against me, to help me.

Still having a huge problem with reflex posting. Got to think twice before posting a reply and creating a thread :banghead:

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