What are your thoughts on the New Zealand government censoring the possession and distribution of the Christchurch shooter's manifesto?
Personally, free speech to me means that while platforms like Facebook and YouTube are not required to host it, if they so choose to host it they should be able to do so. Speech should not be restricted because it is offensive or because it is viewed as immoral. This applies doubly so to political speech, which terrorism is the most extreme form.
We don't have first amendment style free speech in New Zealand. We don't have a constitution, and our Bill of Rights doesn't guarantee free speech. Thankfully.
This is one of those topics where you have to approach it from the mindset of the country implementing it, not your own mindset. Do I care about a right to free speech? To some extent, I guess. But also not particularly. This would probably align with the vast majority of people's opinions here, too. It certainly wouldn't even be in the top ten list of issues that people would self-identify with in this country—I can confidently say that.
We operate very closely to a model of democratic socialism. Here, your right to speak freely about offensive & immoral topics like the deaths of 50 innocent people is outweighed by the rights of the victims families to seek closure & move on. Just like the rights of gun owners to own offensive weapons is outweighed by the public good to keep people safe.
As I said in the last thread on this topic:
That's all there is to it. New Zealanders have shown we'd rather have this content removed than support some people's rights to discuss heinous topics.
If you don't like it? Cool. Don't move here. Just like most Americans will think we're crazy for not having free speech, most New Zealanders will turn their nose up at U.S. free speech laws, gun laws, healthcare, and about a million other things the U.S. does poorly. We have a different social identity, and that's okay.
At the risk of making nothing more than a "Noise" comment... What @emdash said.
As an Aussie living in a country with similar laws regarding free speech, it always puzzles me how much Americans: a) are married to this idea that anything should be allowed to be said, including hurtful and hateful things; b) assume that the rest of the world thinks the same way they do. Here in Australia, we have laws against certain types of hate speech, and most of us are happy with things that way.
On topic for this particular discussion...
One reason the (alleged) shooter (allegedly)
shotkilled 50 people was to publicise and promote his manifesto. We should therefore do everything we can to suppress it, so that he doesn't achieve that one thing, at least. Even if we can't bring those 50 people back, we can at least make sure their deaths don't get used to promote hatred.
EDIT: Changed "shot" to "killed".
Thanks for sharing this view, as I have never read an explanation this concise and eye opening. Your post has helped me understand New Zealand and European countries better.
I believe one of the fundamental differences between The United States and New Zealand is one of individuality vs the common good. One can see this in health care, firearms, free speech, etc. Culturally, America promotes rugged independent individuals and attempts to allow the individual to be as free as possible without causing significant harm to others.
Personally, I prefer individualism over collectivism and would agree with you that if one does not like the culture of a country they should not move there. I would love to visit New Zealand, yet I would be unhappy if I were to live there permanently.
I prefer the idea of ensursing speech is protected, whether it is unpopular, offensive, or potentially harmful to the society. The reason why I see this as important is because the distinction between acceptable speech and forbidden speech can change dependant upon the will of the majority. I would rather tolerate abhorrent speech to ensure dissenting unpopular speech always remains protected.
no offense but, this is something you can literally only say--and a lot of the time, benefit from--if you're in the majority group. it does not jive if you are a minority which gets targeted by this speech (because you get fucked over by the principle), and it won't jive 99% of the time you're a minority targeting someone else with this speech (because the majority can tell you to go fuck yourself and enforce rules on you they'd never enforce on themselves, as is so, so often the case). allowing adolf hitler to command people to kill all the jews no matter how much power he has to execute that is simply not something that needs to happen to let ben shapiro say there are only two genders to some college campus bourgeois liberal, and just about every country which actually preserves free speech shows you can do this quite well without also empowering people to legally command others to kill people or whatever.
I don't follow.
Let me rephrase my read of alyaza as follows: Oppression can't be stopped by censorship laws. The idea that free speech helps the minority is flawed, because when oppressive shit is being said, the majority is usually behind that, thus the rules would already be selectively ignored in their favor. Similarly, minorities can't use it in their own favour because the rules will be interpreted more stringently, if at all. Moreover, the minority isn't guaranteed a right to be heard or anything, so newspapers and TV networks (usually in the hand of the majority) might still censor their speech.
In that vein, if you censor some speech, like speech that incites violence ("kill the jews"), that doesn't mean that the freedom of expression of ordinary citizen is impacted. I don't care about not being able to raise my arm in a nazi salute, Ben Shapiro shouldn't care about not being allowed to say "kill the jews" - he can still rage about college liberals, and african americans can still complain about police violence.
IMO: That all changes of course once that censorship is no longer tied to a criminal act of some description. And if criminal laws take an extremist political stance, you have bigger fish to fry than free speech.
If you live in a democratic society though, by definition, the people that define what gets censored legally are also the majority. Even if minorities can't use free speech in their own favor (an extremely contentious position to take, see the abolitionist, women's sufferage, and civil rights movements), at least with free speech they're allowed to express their opinions. If censorship laws were put in place, who exactly do you think would be deciding their details? It certainly wouldn't be the minority.
I see your argument. Now, it's not wrong, it's just that (according to e.g. NZ or german notion) absolute free speech isn't the solution either. The problem, as I mentioned, is that speech of the majority spreads more etc, in general. So free speech can't be the law that brings balance. Think slavery for example. 70 years of free speech that african americans couldn't use it for.
What e.g. germany for example has is a much stronger focus on constitutional protections for people. Think protected classes, civil rights act; race, religion, gender, the whole shebang. This makes discriminatory criminal laws unconstitutional, thus keeping the censorship non-discriminatory, ideally. Interestingly, the civil rights act marks the spot of when systematic oppression of african americans in the US ended much better than does freedom of speech. (I'm trying to separate systematic, overt oppression ("no blacks") from institutional, covert-ish biases like with police violence, hope that's working. Sorry, second language.)
If course, either of these models of freedom is completely worthless without a society willing to uphold them. If supreme court judges are willing to overlook either principle, then it isn't worth the paper it's printed on. I admit though that the german model relies more on judges and society at large to be impartial while using common sense, while the US model relies on them just applying a given rule like a machine without being partial - all because the question of "what is censorship" is so much simpler than "what is discriminatory".
I'm a minority targeted by much of this speech. I still agree that people should legally be able to say whatever they'd like without consequences punishment by the government. I think the government has a responsibility to educate its people on why this sort of speech is factually and morally wrong, but they don't have any right to tell people what they can and cannot say. The idea of living in a society where the government makes all decisions based on a utilitarian decision of what's best for the most people without any other nuance is frankly frightening to me, and dehumanizes people into machines to keep society going, rather than looking at them as individuals with certain inalienable rights.
this would be great if it did anything. but the government educating people on the factual inaccuracy or flaws of such speech is never going to stop people from going out and saying it or going out and acting on it, and i don't think anybody has ever been stopped from committing horrible atrocities or advocating for horrible atrocities by a government trying to educate them on why it's bad. almost invariably, people who subscribe to beliefs of this sort do it out of anxiety, not out of any logical claim they've staked themselves to, and you can't explain logically why something is bad to someone when the whole reason they subscribe to it has no basis in logic in the first place.
moreover, why can't the government at that point just police the speech to begin with instead of having to do some weird cattycorner bullshit of educating them not to do it but still having to entertain people who don't care and then do so anyways? what you're saying sounds like a half measure more than anything, and in this case it'd be a basically useless one because it's middle ground that doesn't stop people from falling into rhetoric of that sort and also doesn't allow the government the power to police people who then might act on it.
well, you live in a world where most societies do that specifically on the topic of free speech, and it works pretty well and hasn't descended into this weird idea you have going on where it "dehumanizes people into machines", so...
i really don't see how this even follows from my point, either. we don't live in a world where governments set that as a universal policy, and restricting freedom of speech hardly infringes on people's inalienable rights, considering that in most of the world unabridged freedom of speech isn't a right in any way, shape, or form.
That's a pretty simplistic point of view. Freedom of Speech in the US has protected minorities -- whether religious, political, gender/sexuality, or racial/ethnic minorities. Especially in a democracy, where the dominant cultural groups can write the laws to try to oppress minorities, constitutional protections really do matter. There are laws against being affiliated with communist organizations and such that have never been meaningfully enforced because they probably would lose. Alabama literally tried to ban the NAACP in the 50s, and was shot down. South Carolina was forced by SCOTUS to allow peaceful political protest in the 60s. The rationale of the ruling of Citizens United also protects Colin Kaepernick from a hypothetical law forcing him to stand during the pledge of allegiance. And US Freedom of Speech is not limitless, there are restrictions!
American Freedom of Speech is certainly not perfect, but I am really not convinced that its a source of problems in this country. It's not as if Europe isn't filled with bigots too.
I mean this in the most constructive way possible - why is it that you decline to use capitals in any of your comments? Is it a stylistic choice, or do you just not consider them useful? Because in my own experience it makes your writing a little hard to read.
it's stylistic, and it's also never going to change.
Don't sugarcoat it it's incredibly annoying and makes me wanna skip the comment all together.
That seems a little dramatic. Its not like you cant read and understand their comments just fine without capitalization.
That doesn't really change my original stance.
Ironically, this is the exact worldview of a free speech advocate. If the victims' families don't want to see these words online, then they shouldn't be online -- would be the argument.
Are there any instances in NZ history of what we would call "tyranny of the majority"? The whole point of protected free speech and other early rights are that they protect the minority in the case that, as you say, the majority would rather have something. Trump and Brexit are 2 good modern examples on the global stage. We elected Trump, but our free speech allows us to continue to criticize him, and support his opponent in the upcoming election. If, god forbid, a Trump was elected in New Zealand, are you confident in the governmental infrastructure to prevent that person from silencing their opponents?
Look at Article 13 even. We don't really know what they effects of that really are yet. But people are worried about it because it infringes on their free speech. Maybe they don't put it in those terms, but that's what it seems like to me.
I am happy to agree that different countries have different social identities, and that's a good thing. But while American healthcare is objectively bad, and we objectively have more gun deaths than elsewhere, freedom of speech is not something I recommend throwing away as poor American idea.
Yes I am. I don't have inherent distrust my government.
We're not throwing it away. We never had it to begin with. And yet, most of us don't see that as a bad thing.
If your government wants to silence you, all the free speech & guns in the world isn't going to stand up against your military. If the government wanted to take those rights away from you, they totally can and will anytime, as the U.S. Japanese Internment camps in WWII shows us.
So until then, guns & free speech are doing more harm than good—and that's the New Zealand identity. Balance over principles.
As a Canadian, I feel similarly. We do have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees the freedom of expression, but a portion of the Charter also stipulates that the Charter itself is not absolute and may be subject to limitations. So we can make laws against hate speech and so on that supercede the Charter, provided they are "reasonable" limitations (as decided by our Supreme Court should the laws be challenged by a citizen).
Frankly, I think that free speech absolutism is much worse for diversity of opinion than moderation is. I find in places where there is no accountability for speech, then discourse comes to be dominated by those who are most willing to be threatening, gross, violent, demeaning, villifying, etc. It becomes an environment that is hostile to the people themselves, not just their "unpopular opinions", so of course the people being subject to this unchecked aggression will either leave or shut up.
If you don't already know about it, what you're describing is pretty much exactly the "paradox of tolerance".
most of the people who buy the shit the shooter talked about aren't about to be deconverted (and the people who read it and agree with it are not about to be dissuaded) because you can 'refute' the points contained within. often, people turn to things like white supremacy or fascism not because they agree with white supremacy or fascism per se, but because they're anxious about the future or currently disaffected by the system and see it as the only way to ensure they aren't left behind. logical appeals don't really work on people who are operating largely on an emotional reaction to their current state of being.
How so? Because it was in keeping with the pre-existing censorship laws we’ve had in place for many years?
No you can’t. Those with legitimate use cases such as university researchers and reporters may apply for an exception to view the content. It is not “directly purchasable”, nor is the government “profiting” off it. Any requests from regular citizens would be flatly denied.
That's just a request, no one is forced to comply, but it makes sense for sites that New Zealanders frequently access. NZ$102.20, by the way. Which is about US$70. And yes, that's a processing fee. Wait until you see the cost of our passports.
Why would I pay for it, as a researcher, if I can just search for it and read it to my heart's content freely online?
Because otherwise you’re liable to be criminally prosecuted and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Not only that, but most universities and entities of knowledge won’t recognise your research if the basis of your work is not acquired through legal means.
Holy crap that's ridiculous. But yeah I can see that point. Definitely different mentalities needed to swallow that pill. I don't think even the most liberal, collectivist of Americans would be cool with this. But hey, you like it so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Don’t worry, the inverse applies too. We think your healthcare laws, environmental conscience, consumer protection laws, education system, and military complex are ridiculous. It works both ways.
I am an American and think its a perfectly reasonable position.
I'm going to need to see a firsthand source about this (i.e. the exact page where one goes to make this purchase) before I believe it.
Ah, that's just a processing fee. I was asking because I work for another Commonwealth government and I figured it was something like this.
This isn't a source of profit for the government, this is a labour fee for a service. It's the same as the Freedom of Information fees. It's not that they're profiting from selling the document, they're paying for someone's time to register the request, process it, catalogue it, and deliver it.
If anything, this is the product of the chargeback economy that so many Commonwealth public services make us of, which is generally more harmful internally than externally.
If I were interested in it, I would find the original. I'm sure somebody has it archived in some .onion site that can't really be blocked easily anyway.
Not playing devils advocate, I would be interested in that notated version.
so the status quo, then? facebook and youtube weren't exactly coerced into removing the manifesto and video from circulation--they did so of their own volition. facebook and youtube removing that content has very little to do with the new zealand government's decision to criminalize possession of the manifesto--which is also not some sort of outrageous and unprecedented thing, for the record, censorship of books and other works has happened in literally every western country and will continue to happen forever--and equally little to do with ISPs taking action to block websites which hosted the manifesto or the video.
speaking as someone who has interacted with many people holding this stance: i have yet to meet someone who believes this in all circumstances without caveats or hangups (because frankly, free speech absolutism is a pretty ridiculous notion), and i do suspect you are not going to be the first. absolute freedom of speech is not a right anywhere for a reason: it is objectively a terrible idea. there are some forms of speech which simply cannot be allowed to exist if you seek the best interest of your citizens, and this can range from relatively benign things like falsely causing mass panics (and yes, before you ask i am aware that that is not a legally binding precedent and that it's a paraphrase of an opinion long since superseded) to things like not allowing people to express their sincere and likely intent to commit murder or genocide against a group of people. this is why even in america, which most likely has the most comprehensive protections for free speech in the entire world, you still cannot incite imminent lawless actions and be protected by your right to free speech.
I think there's a naive interpretation of "free speech" floating around the web that kinda breaks and crumbles once confronted with just how low the lowest of the low in content can go. A political manifesto built around a killing spree is not "immoral or offensive". It's anti-human. It can't be the basis for any discussion. It maybe has some value for psychological studies or to police profiling, but that's a job for professionals, not internet armchair analysts.
Another thread on this topic if you want to read the previous discussion: https://tildes.net/~news/bo2/christchurch_mosque_shootings_manifesto_deemed_objectionable
Free speech should not be limitless. You should not be allowed to harm others with your speech (such as through knowingly lying about someone to hurt their reputation, i.e., defamation). You should not engage in speech that is likely to harm others (the old yelling 'fire' in a movie theater thing).
I personally don't give a shit about what a little shit who wants to shoot up a bunch of people thinks. Silence him into oblivion and I won't be bothered. Psychologically we know that there are enormous run off effects of mass shootings, from widespread depression and PTSD among survivors to those who, through the way the tragedies get covered, are inspired or compelled to engage in the same sort of murder for their own grand-gesture of self-and-more destruction. Some limitation on free speech may be necessary to mitigate the frequency of these attacks. I'm more than comfortable trusting those decisions to psychological experts who can produce the evidence to back up their prescriptions.
I disagree with it. I'll defend the banning of anything that exists as a result of exploiting something else (see, certain types of pornography, definitely CP), but criminalizing the possession of a document on the sole basis that it is hateful is going way too far.
Part of the issue is New Zealand passed some huge laws as a result of what I assume to be a strong emotional reaction to an extremely tragic event. I'm not even mad about their banning of semiautomatic weapons, they're actually capable of doing serious, immediate damage and I wouldn't mind similar laws in the US. But making that manifesto illegal to possess was, I feel, an overreaction.
So you support the banning of this document then? Because it directly exploits the victims & their families in the name of propogating heinous views that have no need to exist in reasonable public discourse.
I can understand that you may be unfamiliar with many of this country's ideals, but a lot of our laws often operate on the concept of balance—not rights. Just as we banned military-style semi-automatics because the right of the public to feel safe outweighs the rights of gun owners, and just as the rights of consumers to own products which last "reasonable lengths of time" outweighs the rights of companies to make a profit (yes, warranties are effectively meaningless here. If you have a computer, and you reasonably believe it should last for 5 years, then the manufactuer is under an obligation to provide reasonable service for 5 years), the rights of the victims & their families outweighs your right to possess or distribute this document.
Sigh, where is this misinformation being propogated from? New Zealand did not pass any additional laws to make the ownership or distribution of the shooter's manifesto objectionable. We utilised pre-existing laws and a legal framework which has been established and used since 1993 to do so. None of this is reactionary—it's a set of necessary & immediate changes that the public agree with.
I was wrong with my claim about the document being blocked by a new law (total misunderstanding on my part), but I still disagree with making it a criminal offense to hold a document under any circumstance.
The document was written before the shooting. Nobody died in order for it to be written, or even published. The event of the publishing coincided with the shooting, but the document itself didn't exist as a result of somebody else's suffering. These views would exist in this person whether or not they did the shooting.
I think your explanation is great for banning the video, but not the manifesto.
While I don't agree with banning something like this, I also understand why New Zealand would want to keep this away from people trying to read it.
I think it's the best thing they can do. The shooter had a million ways to share his (excuses for) ideas prior to the shooting. What he and other shooters try to get is attention and press from their killing sprees which acts as a sort of marketing tool to spread their world views. It's all about exposure. So to block that as much as we can and thereby discourage potential future shooters is a pretty good idea.
I think how hard they tried to block it gave it even more fame. After all that effort its still not hard to access the video and now a bunch of people found it when they otherwise wouldn't have.
Again I think people tend to overestimate my gal Streisand. Now you have to want to see it and actively look for it yourself instead of it popping up random places. I don't think anybody thinks the manifesto can be effectively hidden from everyone but with this they signal that this bullshit is not OK and if you choose to seek it out anyway that's on you.
From a technical prepective, this kind of censorship doesn't work. Anyone who wants to get this video / document can easily. There's a torrent and more.
The internet is a global thing, so NZ doesn't have much power to censor it. But even if it were a large country like America, it still wouldnt work.
Does it work with 100% efficacy? No. But neither do speed limits. Yet the majority of the population sticks within ±20% of them at nearly all times. So having an extremely oppressive fine and 10 years of prison time potentially hanging over your head is a pretty significant dissuasion for anyone looking to acquire or possess the video & manifesto in New Zealand.
As a number of people who have now appeared in court in New Zealand for exactly this can now attest to.