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No, I'm not denying that people were offended.

I'm stating that "people being offended" is not a valid basis for prosecution in a court of law, due to the reducto ad absurdum of such a trial being extremely offensive to some subset of the population. And therefore, under the "offending people is illegal" standard, the trial itself is grounds for prosecution of the prosecutor.

Unless, of course, only religious people are entitled to take offensive speech to court. Which is, of course, what you are consistently arguing, even if you dress it up in morphing ad hoc definitions that let you pretend that you're not arguing against equal protection.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 06:53:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm not denying that people were offended

But you are denying (or shrugging off) that people other than members of clerical hierarchies and Putin were offended. You don't want to admit that the actions you find fine offend ordinary people whom progressives would like to have as allies.

I'm stating that "people being offended" is not a valid basis for prosecution in a court of law, due to the reducto ad absurdum of such a trial being extremely offensive to some subset of the population.

There are much larger subsets of the Russian population who would handle the PR affair in the same way the Lebanese population handled the cartoon affair. If you manage to prevent lawsuits that doesn't mean that the offended people are prevented from all agency... Is that what you want?

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 07:12:20 AM EST
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But you are denying (or shrugging off) that people other than members of clerical hierarchies and Putin were offended. You don't want to admit that the actions you find fine offend ordinary people whom progressives would like to have as allies.

I'm offended by Pussy Riot being put on trial for exercising their inalienable right to free speech.

But somehow the offense I take is less important than the offense you take. I wonder why.

The only equitable way to deal with people being offended at people being offended is to not make "being offended" a valid legal basis for prosecution.

There are much larger subsets of the Russian population who would handle the PR affair in the same way the Lebanese population handled the cartoon affair.

Let's try that again, in a slightly different context: There are much larger subsets of the RussianDixie population who would handle the PR affaircivil rights movement in the same way the Lebanese population handled the cartoon affair.

The proper response to that is and was sending the federal police to impose some overlong delayed civilization on that substantial part of the population.

If you manage to prevent lawsuits that doesn't mean that the offended people are prevented from all agency... Is that what you want?

I want offended people to not resort to violence to express their offense, whether in person or by proxy through the police.

And I want offended people who are not willing to refrain from resorting to violence to express their offense locked up in a psychiatric institution next to Anders Breivik.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 07:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm offended by Pussy Riot being put on trial for exercising their inalienable right to free speech.

Fortunately there is no such thing as that right in Europe. We don't want the incitement of hatred here. Take your barbarian free speech back to the US where it belongs.

Hell. You are really shocking me. I am European.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 07:57:56 AM EST
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The criminalization of incitement of hatred is not generally taken to mean inciting hatred against yourself. That is normally held to be its own punishment.

I am also more than a little disturbed by your apparent refusal to totally, unambiguously and unequivocally condemn any and all risk of violence that might have arisen against Pussy Riot if they had not been put through a formal witch trial.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 08:16:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's the most important rationale behind this sort of legislation: to maintain peaceful relations in society. It's not only the injury of hate speech or the danger that this develops into physical violence. It's the reaction too that is prevented by putting a lid on all this.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to maintain peaceful relations in society

So we have to allow people prone to violent reactions to dictate the law so they don't react violently?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:23:15 AM EST
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If driven far enough we all are prone to violent reactions.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:46:52 AM EST
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That's what harassment laws are for.

In none of the cases under discussion did the "offenders" accost or pursue the "offended" with the intent to cause them distress.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:49:07 AM EST
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If driven far enough we all are prone to violent reactions.

But reacting violently to a YouTube video would be considered grounds for psychiatric evaluation if the contents of the video were not blasphemous.

I'm just saying it should also be if the contents of the video are blasphemous.

Unless it's a part of a wide-spread, long-term campaign of harassment. Which Pussy Riot is not, except in the deluded fantasies of conspiracy merchants.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blasphemy isn't the issue. It is really ridiculous that you deny that in a church the church can dictate which behaviour is allowed and which is not.

Mind, there are cases where a line must be drawn. Where it is difficult to decide which behaviour to criminalise and which not. This doesn't apply here, because the performance was in a church.

by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that you have repeatedly refused to specify precisely what happened inside the church which merits such outrage. Because the actual outrage with which you sympathize is directed at a video on YouTube which could just as easily have been clipped together from stock footage, without Pussy Riot ever setting foot inside the church in question, or indeed within eight time zones of said church. The events in the church are wholly incidental to the moralistic thuggery.

The standard you repeatedly appeal to - consistently with the outrage being about the YouTube video rather than anything that happened in the church - is "offends religious sentiments." Blasphemy offends the religious sentiments of many people. Therefore, criminalization of blasphemy is a subset of the standard you propose.

You further propose that any building that a religious group uses for its occasional get-togethers should be subject to religious law at all other time, no matter its wider historical, aesthetic, cultural or architectural significance. That is a monopolization of cultural heritage which I frankly also find objectionable.

Mind, there are cases where a line must be drawn. Where it is difficult to decide which behaviour to criminalise and which not.

I'm not necessarily asking you to draw the line. I'm asking you to commit to an objective standard which can be applied by a disinterested, and therefore necessarily secular, observer.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not necessarily asking you to draw the line. I'm asking you to commit to an objective standard which can be applied by a disinterested, and therefore necessarily secular, observer.

Because we're assuming that if it comes to that, the judge presiding over a court case should be described as disinterested (and, therefore, secular).

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 10:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the point of having courts is to have cases reviewed by a disinterested arbiter.

There is a name for the sort of society where there are different kinds of courts for different religious or ethnic groups, and you cannot appeal to a universal standard of jurisprudence. We call such a society "apartheid."

There is also a name for societies which raise the prejudices of a single religious group to the level of universal standard of jurisprudence. We call such a society "theocracy."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:12:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Increasingly, there are suggestions of incorporating religious law into European personal law. There was something about that in Britain some years ago
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, sparked a stormy debate when he appeared to suggest that some aspects of Sharia law should be adopted in the UK.
Brilliant gambit, where an Anglican Archbishop uses "tolerance of cultural differences" and Sharia to get Anglican law back into British personal law.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:28:01 PM EST
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There's nothing in principle wrong with the model of allowing religious people to resolve their differences using religious arbiters rather than real courts. Provided that using the religious arbiter requires informed consent from all parties to the case, and that the case can be appealed to a real court.

Then again, some elements of Sharia are already in European legal codes. Because Sharia contains a bunch of commonsense rules that every society needs, and which, therefore, the Sharia contains alongside all the bonkers stuff.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 12:43:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK has Christian, Jewish, and Islamic religious courts and they work without too many problems, on the whole. As Jake mentions they are voluntary, both parties must agree to have their matter resolved there. There was absolutely nothing remarkable in Williams' remarks.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 01:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's remarkable if he wants to insinuate the more recondite forms of religious law into the law that the real courts use.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 02:14:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends. Quite possible that Sharia has something to make contract law clearer. Pretty sure that it doesn't for family law. This is a debate that societies have to go through without excluding their Muslim minorities.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 03:11:40 PM EST
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But equally without deferring to them simply on the ground that they happen to not have done the whole "five centuries of telling the church to sit down and shut the fuck up" thing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 03:24:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought secularism in public life (as opposed to private life) was the solution Europe had found to wars of religion.

Apparently I was mistaken, and the European solution to wars of religion is self-censorship and closeting of minority beliefs.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:26:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's the most important rationale behind this sort of legislation: to maintain peaceful relations in society. It's not only the injury of hate speech or the danger that this develops into physical violence. It's the reaction too that is prevented by putting a lid on all this.

Fun fact: That is, in so many words, the rationale behind banning Gay Pride in many Eastern European cities.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 09:31:33 AM EST
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Hardly, even if that is claimed.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 03:13:00 PM EST
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Is that a true Scotsman I see there? I think that's a true Scotsman. But he puts sugar on his porridge. So apparently he isn't a true Scotsman.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 03:23:17 PM EST
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It's about keeping reproduction and sexuality under control. People aren't meant to reflect that sex and sexuality are more ambiguous than they thought.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 03:50:45 PM EST
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You know that and I know that, but how're you gonna prove that in a court of law? Judges aren't telepaths. They can't tell fake outrage from real outrage.

Besides, the security risk is very real - pride parades all over eastern Europe have been attacked with broken bottles and worse. So if "religious fanatics might use violence to silence Pussy Riot" is a good enough reason to silence Pussy Riot, then "religious fanatics have demonstrated that they will use violence to silence pride parades" must be an even better reason to ban the latter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 04:15:27 PM EST
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The security risk is very real, but the outrage isn't. There is nothing spontaneous about it either.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 04:39:55 PM EST
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And how do you propose that a court of law tell the difference between sincere and fake outrage? Since you're proposing to make sincere outrage the standard for prohibition, you really need a clear, simple, straightforward, honest answer to that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 04:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't propose at all that a court of law decides that. For the legislator the prevention of violence is the rationale to become active and make laws so that people can have the insult to what they hold dear (and the humiliation that causes) punished by law.
by Katrin on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 04:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So every religious taboo which it is illegal to break should be on a blacklist?

That'll be a joy for parliament to write.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2012 at 04:57:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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