Today the Chinese Government has banned access from Wikipedia in China (again), denying nearly 20% of the world's population an impartial and accurate source of knowledge and ensuring that only government-approved Chinese wikis are available, which provide the government's version of history.
Wikipedia has now joined Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and other difficult-to-monitor websites on the government's black list. Wikipedia will probably get unblocked once the government has made it's point (whatever that is) but it's hard to believe that in 2015 one adult can tell another adult what they can and can't look at on the Internet and this second adult will accept what they're told but this is the way it is (I suspect the main reason Wikipedia was blocked is that people in China were using it to read about the pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong and other places).
What are people's ideas on Free Speech? Do you think there should be some control/censorship on what people can look at or should anything be allowed? In China's case an argument is made for Censorship as there are so many people (1.3 billion) that if any riots did occur they would be on a horrifically enormous scale (think Baltimore or London Riots x10) or is this simply a case of a corrupt government of short-sighted materialists trying to maintain a situation that sees 3-5% of the population control well over 90% of the country's wealth?
What do other people think?
No, that's not true. Censorship is a huge issue because it prevents the tech-unsavvy from accessing important information. It's more important for the tech-unsavvy to be educated, because there are more of them.
But most of the hackers will pass around the info about how to get past it, and many smuggle files (usually on CDs or viruses) that have unblocking software for free or very low prices. So in the end all this will do is make the government angry, since people who don't want to see those sites won't even if they're unblocked and people who do can get unblocking software somehow. Though the middle ground will be affected, because they're too scared to talk to hackers and yet they aren't completely brainwashed...
Chinese entertainment actually does quite a lot to distract the Chinese people. MMO games are widely embraced by the Chinese and they have hundreds of TV channels (which are extremely patriotic and I believe to be very biased). However, in a country which has risen up to power because of and continues to thrive on globalisation, it's hard to believe that censorship will continue for long. I have heard though, that it is relatively easy to access such sites through proxies.
This isnt exactly a case of free speech but rather limiting access to information, but;
Free Speech is something all humans should be allowed to do, unless it causes harm to others. As in, I have no problem with people being allowed to be anti a specific group, but once it gets into "lets attack all the blacks/jews/chinese/mexicans/whites/cops/etc etc" it goes too far. You can say how all Jews are money loving demons with tiny horns on their heads, but once you say "and therefore we should beat them up" it is a problem and should be illegal. (Note that this does not mean people should be treated nicely even though they say stuff like that. Part of thereason its not illegal is because it's also not illegal to excommunicate problematic/offensive people.) (this doesnt apply to websites since if you allowed people to talk shit online, you cant exactly excommunicate them, except by deleting posts and banning).
Probably. Not sure if I'm willing to make a case for emotional harm. Its certainly an issue, since the question as to whether causing someone to kill themselves is akin to murder/manslaughter, but the issue is that the level of sensitivity is variable, that wheb someone says "gays are gonna burn in hell," is certainly gonna make gays feel terrible and may cause suicide, but ruling that you cant say it would impugn on freedom of speech (since that means the government can regulate what you say, even if its not associtated with a physical action).
So definitely illegal for physical violence, and probably not for emotional harm. Complex topic.
I don't think there is a case to be made for legislating against emotional harm. In fact, I can't think of any case where I'd want any speech causing purely emotional harm to be made illegal, regardless of the damage it may cause. Even beyond the slippery slope argument, sometimes incredible emotional harm is a byproduct of very productive speech. For instance, imagine a man who feels sexual urges towards children. It may be incredibly painful for that man to be educated on the potential effects of his desires on the wellbeing of children.
Certainly. And I think I'm against it being illegal to do so. But I feel that there is certainly a case for bringing up legal charges against people who caused definable mental trauma to another, though pergaps not a very strong one.
Yeah, I believe that free speech should be defended by the government except in the case of threats or attempts to incite violence (esp. on a large scale).
I'm kinda surprised you specifically said "adult" in the example of the second paragraph. Any reason why the young people have to be left out? I mean, is free speech only for adults? The way you mentioned that, it seems like you want free speech for all adults, but they young people are allowed to be censored or misled.
I specified adults because of the Utiliterianism view that a minimum age of 16-18 is traditionally considered to be the age where you can voice an opinion with a respectable degree of independent thought; for example a 4 year old could say "black people are bad" if that is all they have ever been taught but once an individual reaches later teen years they are generally considered to have acquired a degree of education, experience and mental ability to form their own independent opinions, obviously you would not put a teenager in a governmental position because their level of experience would be typically lower than those they are governing.
I think teenagers should be given an impartial and bias-free chance to explore every possible avenue of life but to a degree censorship of a kind has to be practiced with under 16's (obviously it'd be inappropriate to teach things like what men and ladies do when they like each other very much to infants) so that is why I didn't mention young people specifically, history and culture has shown that it is better to wait until someone has reached a certain level of learning (generally qualified with age limits) before offering them such important mediums as the Vote or ability to run for political office.
Eh, I'm not a fan of the federal government generally making something legal or illegal for the entire country. Communities or even States can decide how far they want to go. Imo people should be able to legally say what they want, but they can't sue if they get beat up after they start yelling, "Y'all niggas gotta die" in Asbury Park or Harlem. That's on them, dude. Law-wise that gets tricky though, especially if the violence gets serious; so I dunno what my policy would be besides it being to individual state legislatures.
I don't see an issue with federal legislation of the serious crimes. Where is the harm in forcing all states to consider murder a crime, for instance.
Cuz 'serious crime' is subjective haha.
On the flip-side though, should a state have the right to enact an unconstitutional law? If not, then you're not completely against federal legislation of laws.
And if I answer yes?
He's going to say the words.
Then we have fundamentally different political opinions. I don't think there is any justification for allowing a state to enact unconstitutional legislature.
Never had a doubt about that haha. Why not though?
Dunno. I feel like we need a a general union of the States for national defense/security including foreign relations, but I think that letting one government based on the majority decide things and force things on people who disagree with that as unjust. Even though States have the same problem (I live in NJ and disagree with tons of policies here) at least you have a bigger chance of swaying opinions than you have with convincing the other half of a nation, plus moving by-state is easier than by country.
I see the argument that: "you can always move states" used to support the state's right to legislate all of their own laws, a lot. I think it's an invalid argument for two reasons:
1. First and foremost, it's not reasonable. A young person with no attachments may have the luxury of moving elsewhere should he or she please, but an elderly person (incapable of travel) or a pregnant person, or a person with young children, or a disabled person, or a currently imprisoned person may not have that luxury. So long as the states laws are applying to these people, this argument is not valid.
2. Unconstitutional laws enacted by the state may compromise the ability of the populace to leave the state. Consider, for instance, a re-implementation of slavery.
Preventing states from enacting unconstitutional law avoids these problems.
@1. Dunno, depends just how settled you are. My family (of 6 total) has moved plenty of times, and we weren't always wealthy or even close to it. I admit that the incapacitated old man is screwed, but I don't think moving is as hard over a period of months or years as you make it unless you have a bunch of kids or your legs were blown off. Those are pretty extreme cases that don't apply to most.
@2. Re-implementing slavery is kinda weird and vague. What do you mean by that? Suddenly being black/yellow/white is illegal? Or just allowing you to buy slaves from foreign areas? Please elaborate on that, because depending on the answer you could just 'move' if you think the vote taking place will sway in a favor of something opposed to you.
Tables turned: what if the Federal government said that slavery (however you define it) was suddenly legal? No winning there, right?:
They'd have to modify the Constitution... which is very, very hard.
Dude that was just an example. The feds should have nothing to do with slavery, marriage or healthcare. Leave it to smaller governments so we're not stuck with something just because it became a sudden fad to support.
A more recent example would be to legalize Marijuana nation-wide. I'd probably vote for it in my state, but forcing it on everyone else is ridiculous.
Edit: Plus, it's been done before. Prohibition was overturned within a couple years if I remember correctly. Just needs to have sudden public support and bam.
The federal government should have everything to do with enforcing the constitution of the U.S. Considering that Slavery is directly mentioned in the constitution, they should absolutely have everything to do with enforcing it. No one is arguing that all laws should be federal, but it's almost equally insane to argue that no laws should be federal.
With the laws as they are? I agree, but what I'm suggesting is overhauling the country's system completely so there isn't much place for that note.
The system is unlikely to be overhauled, most likely people will just leave it altogether. The Internet makes it easy to give your loyalty to a group that opposes the one controlling the territory you live on, and it wouldn't be that hard to just do what you think is moral and ignore the rest of the law. Just make sure your 'transgressions' are online, since physical activities are easier for governments to track.
@1. Your own situation is interesting, but not relevant. I'm not making the argument that all families with small children would be unable to relocate. I'm making the argument that there is a significant portion of the American population that would be unable to easily relocate. For instance, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html approximately 20% of the population reports a disability and 10% report a serious disability. If even half of those with a serious disability would have difficulty moving, that's 5% of your population right there. Your argument for states rights to complete legislative freedom hinges on the idea that people can easily relocate if they don't like it, but at least 1 in 20 people can't. That's too large of a proportion for you to make that argument.
@2. Here's a simpler example: a state could pass a law where black people are unable to leave the state.
Tables turned: I'm not arguing that the federal government should be able to implement non-constitutional laws either. I'm simply making the case that you should be okay with the federal government regulating the States through the constitution. This is a form of federal law creation, and thus by proxy, you aren't totally against the federal government instituting laws for states.
1. Following the link, most of those disabilities don't actually diabilititate you moving, especially with technology as it is. So you take the more serious cases (outright blindness, wheel-chair bound, Alzheimers) and then you have to subtract the ones with family/friends who can help out. It's a worthless statistic without that information.
2. For a State to pass a law like that there's assumably be going to be enough warning that leaving before it being enacted is doable. Gonna have to be okay with #1 to even consider this.
TT: Yeah, but the feds eventually decide what's Constitutional or not. With enough support they could ban alcohol for the entire country, and that sucks, man. I'll admit that I'm not totally against federal law (considering that national security is bound to come into that), but there's an inherent flaw in allowing it that I don't know how to fix.
1. Okay, I think you're missing the point here, unless your argument is that the number of people in society who would be unable to relocate hundreds of miles is actually not a significant portion of the population. I think that intuitively, this number is not insignificant. Having family that could help you move is not akin to being able to move. Consider that if your family is not willing to move on their own, then you are SOL, since presumably, if you needed them to help you move, you will probably need them after the move.
1b. What about prison inmates? They cannot relocate, even if a law is going to be passed that modifies sentences already given.
2. Maybe with the current process, but the kind of change that you're talking about could easily dramatically shift the ways that laws are enacted in States. You can't make the assumption that laws wouldn't be passed very quickly going forward.
TT: The supreme court decides what is currently constitutional. The federal government could theoretically amend the constitution, but not with overwhelming support from the general populace and the representatives of the states. We live in a democracy... if the federal government does something you don't like, then vote against them. If the majority supports it, then it's okay that it's law, unless it breaks constitutional law. Now, you could make the argument that we don't really live in a democracy because of oligarchs/two-party-system and I think that's legitimate, but in that case, the solution isn't to remove federal power, it's to reduce corruption and take money out of politics.
1. Well, yeah, that's essentially what I'm saying. It's a smaller amount than it seems once you subtract minor disabilities and people who can get by despite it.
1b. I'll concede on that haha.
2. I figure something smaller than it is now would make it much more personal for citizens, and I'm not sure why you would think otherwise, but I could be wrong.
TT: Actually, the US is a Republic. And voting does little when you're up against so much which makes it very undemocratic. I figure giving much more power to the States (and thus making all Country-governments smaller) gives them a) less money and b) a lot easier to manage corruption wise. Smaller things are easier to manage, after all.
I think I'm on JJJ's side on this, history has shown if you give 50 independent states the power to make their own laws it can lead to a situation where there are some very unjust situations (ahem slavery) eventually making federal intervention a moral neccesity (having said that I do think states have the rights to secede if they do it peacefully but good luck trying that now, even Scotland realised it would be far stronger as part of the UK than as an independent country).
I think the current situation in America is very good where the states have a great deal of power while the Federal Government effectively has the final say but there are still some issues like Gun Control and National Health Care (why is America so mistrustful of National Healthcare? Instead of Health Insurance it just means paying a little more in taxes so on average it's probably cheaper for people anyway) that need to be resolved. If you want to be part of a small and not strong country (the Republic of Rhode Island would be hilariously insignificant) that is your preference I guess but bigger, richer countries have the potential to provide more good things for their citizens.
No, the federal government does not recognize the right of a state to secede.
Considering that only 25% of Americans actually believe that States should have the right to secede, it's sort of a non-issue.
Since when does a quarter of respondents supporting something suggest that it is a non-issue? Also, the article doesn't really get into a state by state analysis, so it's impossible to tell if this 25% is spread evenly across the U.S. or concentrated in a few small states or, perhaps, a single state.
The right to secede isn't a God-given right. Secession would dramatically impact the union as a whole, and neighboring states in particular. Unless there is a very dramatic push for secession, the federal government recognizing the right to secede is not an important issue.
Sorry, I meant the theoretically morally justifiable right rather than the legal right :)
Slavery was on its way out during the precivil war era, where the northern states already decided to ban it (as a state issue ha ha), and the south was quickly realizinh that paying people minimum wage was cheaper then keeping them fed, ha ha.
Tans point is that with a really large country, each person matters very little, and that this way states could do whatever they want. So california can ban guns completely if tey wanted to, while texas could do what they want. Making it a federal issue doesnt let people actually decide, and cant actually focus on each area itself (places with high crime should have different laws then a low crime area, etc. not to mention that universal healthcare would in no way work in the giant country of the US, but if you split it by states ut may work better (though Im not sure. Tho Obamacare is fuckinh up the country bad already, so cant be much worse, ha ha)
That's probably because separating your expenses makes you think that they are smaller, even when you're actually paying more. Taxes are given in one payment a month, so you see "100 dollars extra in taxes?!?!?!?!?!?!?! We have got to get rid of National Healthcare!"
If everyone in the world studied advanced psychology (as opposed to the normal psychology that we all learn from social interaction), the world would probably be a much better place.
You're putting an awful lot of trust in the state. Kind of a naive view, IMHO.
Right back 'atcha buddy.
I'm fairly certain that no state would voluntarily choose not to recognize murder as a crime. However, if a state did and it did not cause problems outside of that state, the federal government would have no reason to intervene.
If the state's murder rate went up considerably, people would likely move, and if this exodus caused inter-state chaos, then yes, the government would have every reason to intervene.
That, and "serious crime" is open to all sorts of interpretations.
"If the state's murder rate went up considerably, people would likely move, and if this exodus caused inter-state chaos, then yes, the government would have every reason to intervene."
This comes up every time, but just because most people could move away if a State implemented a law that they didn't like, does not mean it's okay to allow states to govern themselves completely. For one thing, a decent subset of the population would be completely unable to move. For another, the states could implement laws which limited the movement of its citizens.
Oh China has unblocked Wikipedia following a massive public outcry including intervention from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales who said in the past that "Wikipedia will not tolerate 5 seconds of censorship."
According to Wikipedia "All versions of Wikipedia is completely blocked in China again in December 2015, due to technological changes to the site's encryption, which means the government cannot see which specific pages an individual is viewing. And which means Beijing is no longer able to filter out certain pages (such as Ai Weiwei or Tiananmen Square) as it did in past years)."
But, anything you say, ever, can come back to hurt you. What would be the point of speech were that not true?
I guess I shouldn't be arguing definitions. I just don't see why freedom of speech can't exist to an extent, and was questioning the point of this theoretical "ultimate" free speech.
But it does? I just cannot fathom how, or why, with more than one opinion to express, in any sort of world, freedom of speech would include freedom from harm.
I get what you're saying now, and no; you aren't missing my point. You say it isn't freedom of speech if you risk getting hurt, and while I understand, I don't share that opinion; and unless you've anything to add or question, well, then our opinions on the matter'll probably just continue to differ, which is totally fine by me. I'm just glad to be clear.
Oh, no. I'm not afraid of my views changing. That happens all the time. Ah, but looking back, I guess I did express myself more poorly than I'd thought...
To me, freedom of speech is a lack of censorship; one can go and say whatever one wants without their words being silenced, and everyone's able to voice their own opinion. So, yes. It ends up that, while purely ideally, it should; realistically, not everything's always covered. Now, dissent should be allowed; I feel like it is in places, though depending on how it's done, it's curbed to protect other freedoms, which is why stuff like libel is frowned upon.
Honestly, I see no way to guarantee protection of someone's freedom of speech and protection from harm. Those two things, I feel, conflict; and the same goes for other freedoms. They all infringe upon one another, so why treat them as black and white? Even in total anarchy, true, universal freedom is nigh impossible. It's not as though, in this world, there is no way for someone to be oppositional.
And Wikipedia is back to being banned again until pressure forces the Government to un-ban it again... don't the Chinese Government realize how badly this trying to do something stupid and constantly failing makes them look? :)
It's pretty sad.
It's worse living in China and going up against a wall of thinking very different from my Western background, here people are essentially conditioned to quietly do their work and not cause trouble by expressing an opinion different from the norm :) My Chinese friends are all exceptionally intelligent people but the bigger the group they find themselves in during social situations the quieter and less opinionated they get... it's an odd experience. It seems insane to have censorship of media in 2015 when for Westerners who haven't had this sort of thing for hundreds of years...
So since you're over there, how much control does the Chinese government manage to maintain over its population anyway?
The way everyone usually hears it, it always sounds like there are soldiers on every corner and cameras monitoring everything and recorded into some big monolithic machine with multiple screens watched by several overseers.
I have to think that as impressive as the Chinese government is in their..."maintenance of social order" the sheer size of the country and population would still make it a near impossible task.
Then again keeping most people ignorant and scaring the more informed ones, is always a great tactic.
I'm in a sort of ranty mood cause Wikipedia which I was using for research for historical fiction stories has been blocked but the control the government exerts is mostly through TV, newspapers, cinema (the government has very strict guidelines on what films can be made about) and the book publishing industry. Soldiers are non-existent and police are rare, I think China's thousands of years of history has conditioned people into "knowing their place" (direct quote from one of my friends when I said teachers should criticize their bosses for deliberately selling curriculums with awful English to the parents solely to make money for themselves rather than help students learn).
Right now in China the focus is on Hong Kong which is pushing for democratic elections rather than the government in Beijing choosing someone to govern them, along with the long-running troubles in Tibet and other places this is giving Beijing headaches and has lead to Wikipedia's latest set of bans. China has a vivid memory of their Civil War from the 40's and 50's so the government tends to criticize Japan at every chance it gets as a way of getting people to look outwards at a foreign foe (which to be honest hasn't been a viable foe for 70 years now) rather than inwards.
The Great Firewall is very real and throughout the Internet there are tens of thousands of people who's sole job is to post comments that give a positive image of China and get into forum debates about China just to say good things, mostly they are easy to spot because their English is not very good. Keeping their population ignorant is something the government are finding increasingly difficult but it's necessary for those with all the money to keep getting more money without being overthrown...
There is a popular saying in China "the only thing you can trust is profit" because the majority of the population have been poor for so long that extravagant displays of wealth and an obsession with financial gain are a major obsession with anyone with a reasonably decent income.
Censorship is bad but the idea of a violent revolution in China such as has happened in Syria or Lybia would be horrific beyond belief because of the sheer size of the population so it's a difficult situation, peaceful transition to democracy is eventually inevitable but I think the government members will try to squeeze as much money as it can for as long as it can while granting human rights very slowly to prevent violence but I have a feeling that once the dominoes start to fall they will tumble very quickly in the next 10 or 20 years and there is always the danger that China might look for a foreign war to turn tension away from home though I think this is unlikely.
Basically I don't want to get too political because this is a writing site and I'm leaving China in February anyway but the situation is messed up and recognized as such by anyone with a reasonable level of intelligence but who fear the consequences of even peaceful protest. Right now China is no threat to anyone except itself while Donald Trump's insane ideas about banning Muslims from America (which sounds like when Idi Amin threw Asians out of Uganda or Mugabe threw whites out of Zimbabwe) will hopefully kill his hopes for a nomination.
I'm just going to support your points here by backing it up with some of my own knowledge, and I'll provide some perspective from someone from a Chinese family.
China is unlikely to be looking at foreign conflict because 1) it's got enough going on with HK at the moment 2) its economy is becoming increasingly integrated with foreign economies and 3) China has no particular reasons for conflict (at the moment anyway). It hasn't been in Chinese culture to ever go looking for war, but its spends an appropriate amount of money on defense. For an increasingly strong and rich country, it'd be stupid not to.
As for criticizing Japan, this hate towards the Japanese has been in Chinese society for a while, ever since WW2. The Japanese did really, very very terrible atrocities towards the Chinese people. In some aspects, it was even worse than Nazi treatment of Jews. The Chinese are still bitter and to top it all off, the Japanese have never officially apologised (in comparison, Germany has apologised deeply, the people are sincere in their apologies and they have offered continuous compensation). The Japanese continue to visit and pay their respects to Japanese war generals. (Shinzo Abe is the grandson of Nobusuke Kishi, who served as a senior official in the Manchuko puppet government. Recently he visited and paid respects to his grandfather at a war monument. South Korea and China were furious for obvious reasons). Especially in recent years where the Chinese have been suspicious of the US/Japan over various matters (relations with Russia, the Senkaku Island disputes, Shinzo Abe's recent policies allowing soldiers to be sent overseas for the first time since WW2, etc).
Considering the context of sudden growth in wealth and living standards in China, it's understandable that the Chinese prioritise money over everything else, but this is growing to the point of disillusionment in my opinion and has completely changed Chinese culture. Entertainment does a good job in distracting the population as there is so much choice that it masks the fact that the entertainment itself if censored. News analysis programs present a biased view of events around the world and constantly discuss what China can do to better itself.
As for censorship, I don't believe it will go away anytime soon, but it is inevitable due to the increasing focus on globalisation. The political concerns regarding HK will definitely push anti-censorship back at least 10-15 years.