/ Nobody expects the Greek Inquisition

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Coel Hellier - on 25 Sep 2012
Well we don't, do we? I mean, we expect this sort of thing from Islamic nations, but Greece???? You are invited to sign the petition:

"A bitter blow against freedom of expression in Greece: a 27 year old internet user was arrested and charged with blasphemy because he ran a facebook page that satirised a renowned Greek Orthodox monk."

http://www.change.org/petitions/greek-parliament-free-geron-pastitsios-and-abolish-greek-anti-blasph...

"Here are the relevant laws:

Article 198 - Malicious Blasphemy:

1. One who publicly and maliciously and by any means swears blasphemes God shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years.

2. Except for cases under paragraph 1, one who by blasphemy publicly manifests a lack of respect for the divinity, shall be punished by jailing for not more that six months or by pecuniary penalty of not more than 3,000 euros.

Article 199 - Blasphemy Concerning Religions:

One who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ or any other religion tolerated in Greece shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years."
The Lemming - on 25 Sep 2012
Talius Brute - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Greek people did actually support this law and the Govt that put it through. The guy knew what he was doing and the consequences. That's the way sovereignty works.

Just because we don't want to see it here, doesn't give us the right to pretend that it really matters and that we give a damn about it.

birdie num num - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
They'll be lucky to find 3000 euros anywhere in Greece
Talius Brute - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'll add, for sake of argument ;) , that I'd support the campaign if he was being beaten up / deported to the Americans to have their fun with him etc.
Coel Hellier - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

> Greek people did actually support this law and the Govt that put it through. ... That's the way sovereignty works.

Some of us regard the right to criticise and ridicule to be a fundamental part of a free society that cannot be abrogated by local democratic decisions.
Talius Brute - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Talius Brute)
>
> [...]
>
> Some of us regard the right to criticise and ridicule to be a fundamental part of a free society that cannot be abrogated by local democratic decisions.

Oh.

Even if the set of the democratic decision excludes your own "free" society? In which case you are actually saying:

"Some of us regard the right to criticise and ridicule, which is a fundamental part of our own free society, to be one which we feel necessary to impose (by force? [your choice]) on other societies, regardless of their own local democratic decisions."
birdie num num - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:
Num num feels that Europe tends to force quite a bit of legislation upon the UK regardless of our own local democratic decisions. Greece is part of Europe, it would be wrong to allow them to get away with legislation that is based upon mumbo jumbo. Num Num feels that the monk in question must see himself as akin to his god and therefore should be burned at the stake.
Talius Brute - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to birdie num num:
> (In reply to Talius Brute)
> Num num feels that Europe tends to force quite a bit of legislation upon the UK regardless of our own local democratic decisions. Greece is part of Europe, it would be wrong to allow them to get away with legislation that is based upon mumbo jumbo. Num Num feels that the monk in question must see himself as akin to his god and therefore should be burned at the stake.


My instinct in general is to agree with Num Num, but I can't help feel that in this instance Num Num is taking his Joan D'Arc fixation to an unwarranted extreme.
birdie num num - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:
Num Num apologises for the Joan of Arc thing. On reflection, the blaspheming monk should be roasted on an oversize doner kebab spindle.
Coel Hellier - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

> In which case you are actually saying:
> "Some of us regard the right to criticise and ridicule, which is a fundamental part of our own free
> society, to be one which we feel necessary to impose (by force? [your choice]) on other societies,
> regardless of their own local democratic decisions."

How about if I phrase it:

Some of us regard the right to criticise and ridicule as a part of free speech which is a fundamental part of a free society, and accepted as such in declarations of human rights that are intended to apply to all, and all countries should be encouraged and expected to live up to them, regardless of local democratic decisions.

Afterall, raw democracy on its own is dubious, it would allow 51% of the nation to vote to keep the other 49% as slaves, and needs to be supplemented by recognition of individual rights that cannot be abrogated by local democratic decision.
Neil Pratt - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to birdie num num:
> (In reply to Talius Brute)
> Num Num apologises for the Joan of Arc thing. On reflection, the blaspheming monk should be roasted on an oversize doner kebab spindle.

That'd be more meat than I've ever seen on a doner kebab.
Al Evans on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: Well I think all religions and churches are a load of b****x, there I've said it, thats me not visiting Greece for a whlie then :-)
johncook - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Al Evans: Well said!
off-duty - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I wonder how that sits within Article 10 of the ECHR - right to freedom of expression?
BigBrother - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> I wonder how that sits within Article 10 of the ECHR - right to freedom of expression?

Depends on how the handful of unaccountable judges decide to interpret it.
Bruce Hooker - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

In Germany they voted Hitler in, doesn't mean that this was a good thing. In France and Spain democracy has ruled that bull-fighting is legal, does that mean we lose the right to criticize it?
Coel Hellier - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Speaking of which, the "Golden Dawn" party who made a complaint and insisted that the police arrest this guy have been described as "neo-Nazi" (I don't know enough about Greek politics to know whether this is fair).
Talius Brute - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

If any of the substance of this case actually mattered then I might care about it, but it doesn't - the Greeks have the right to make a law even if we think it is daft, and the guy who broke the law did so deliberately, and isn't - as far as I'm aware - being transported to a death camp or being stabbed by a matador's verdugo.

So as it is, this looks to me like a load of hypocrisy from middle class layabouts who should perhaps focus on changing things which they might be able to - such as our own Government's actions regarding freedom of expression and action, for example.
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Speaking of which, the "Golden Dawn" party who made a complaint ... have been described as "neo-Nazi" (I don't know enough about Greek politics to know whether this is fair).

It's completely fair.

Politically horrible with supporters who have used violence against immigrants, minorities and foreigners.
Bruce Hooker - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The Figaro, a conservative daily newspaper, described them as being neo-nazi. The monk died in 1994 and has now become a bit of a cult figure, as it were.
Talius Brute - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Nice to see Godwin's law is still in force.
The New NickB - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Nice to see Godwin's law is still in force.

That isnt Godwin's Law.
Talius Brute - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If mentioning of Hitler and comparisons to Neo Nazis don't qualify examples of Godwin's Law then they are at least relevant to some of its subordination regulations.
The New NickB - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> If mentioning of Hitler and comparisons to Neo Nazis don't qualify examples of Godwin's Law then they are at least relevant to some of its subordination regulations.

Relevance to the actual subject matter is key here, 'Golden Dawn' have been widely described as Neo Nazis, so it is hardly out of place to reference that in the thread.

The New NickB - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

OK, I have just spotted Bruce's post. That probably does qualify, but the your argument that it doesn't matter and anyone who thinks it does matter is a middle-class hypocrit is pretty pathetic.
Talius Brute - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I stand corrected, Godwin's Law only hovers close to the sidelines.
Talius Brute - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to The New NickB:

That wasn't my argument, that was just a rash comment because such things annoy me.

My argument is more along the lines of this - which puts it better than I could:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-nevradakis/when-both-sides-are-wrong_b_1912498.html
The New NickB - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

The concern in the article seems to be negative stereotyping of Greece, my concern is the arrest of someone for blasphemy.
Talius Brute - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to The New NickB:

I read as concern that the Twitterati are getting uppity about something which is relatively minor in a country which is viewed negatively, when there are countless examples which are far worse on our own doorsteps.
ads.ukclimbing.com
The New NickB - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

That doesn't mean the issue has no substance.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

It's possible to care about more than one issue at a time. The article came across as childish, defensive and full of irrelevances.

Calling Godwin's Law doesn't mean that the comparison, although extreme, doesn't hold water. If a country is enforcing an unjust law, people don't just have to sit back, roll their eyes and say, "Tsk, well that's democracy for you", because, unless people do or say something, nothing changes or gets better.
EeeByGum - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to off-duty:

> I wonder how that sits within Article 10 of the ECHR - right to freedom of expression?

Well we don't have a right to freedom of expression here as has been proved in the courts a number of times in recent years.
Jimbo W on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Some of us regard the right to criticise and ridicule as a part of free speech which is a fundamental part of a free society, and accepted as such in declarations of human rights that are intended to apply to all, and all countries should be encouraged and expected to live up to them, regardless of local democratic decisions.

There are no such things as "rights", they are no more than artificial constructs that, at their best, reflect our responsibility to others in society, and at their worst reflect an inward looking selfish class securing their own prejudices.
MG - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> There are no such things as "rights", they are no more than artificial constructs

So if something is artificial (=man made), it doesn't exist?
off-duty - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to off-duty)
>
> [...]
>
> Well we don't have a right to freedom of expression here as has been proved in the courts a number of times in recent years.

We have a conditional right to free expression. Where we consider that the offence we have been convicted of should be allowed under Art 10 we can try and appeal to Europe.

Any case in particular you are referring to?
MG - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> There are no such things as "rights",

Or alternatively if you think there are no such things as right, I assume you would be quite happy for me to arbitrarily lock you up and take all you belongings as mine.
Jimbo W on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> So if something is artificial (=man made), it doesn't exist?

Not objectively, no. Some human inventions do exist manifestly, such as language, but other such "ideas" clearly do not objectively exist.
Jimbo W on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

Just because they aren't an objective "thing" doesn't mean they cannot affect you. The point is, they are no more than the piss and wind of people, and worse, a derivative that arise from a reciprocal expression of what people are afforded by the good behaviour, responsibility and that other moveable feast, "law".
Coel Hellier - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> There are no such things as "rights", they are no more than artificial constructs ...

Lots of artificial constructs are very valuable; for example the health-care system that you spend your life working in is an "artificial construct", one that most of us value a lot. Ditto the constructs of liberty that accompany democracy in a liberal democracy.
Coel Hellier - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:

> My argument is more along the lines of this - which puts it better than I could:

That article paints this as part of a wider denigration of Greece. The whole point of my thread title is that I do not have such an image of Greece and do not expect this sort of thing from Greece.

(And, by the way, I'm disappointed by the lack of Monty Python quips in this thread.)
Bruce Hooker - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to Talius Brute)
>
> OK, I have just spotted Bruce's post. That probably does qualify, but the your argument that it doesn't matter and anyone who thinks it does matter is a middle-class hypocrit is pretty pathetic.

I thought Godwin's so called law only applied if you suggested another poster was like Hitler, a nazi or something like that, I didn't think we were forbidden from using the theme as an example... sounds a bit fascist if we were!

Is that it done now?
Bruce Hooker - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:
> (In reply to The New NickB)
>
> I read as concern that the Twitterati are getting uppity about something which is relatively minor in a country which is viewed negatively, when there are countless examples which are far worse on our own doorsteps.

So back to the old false argument - no point in bothering about robbers when there are murderers to catch.

MG - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Just because they aren't an objective "thing" doesn't mean they cannot affect you. The point is, they are no more than the piss and wind of people,

Ah, to do with people. Clearly worthless then.


captain paranoia - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> and at their worst reflect an inward looking selfish class securing their own prejudices.

Sorry, are you talking about the Greek Orthodox Church, or those advocating free speech...?
Talius Brute - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Talius Brute)
> [...]
>
> So back to the old false argument - no point in bothering about robbers when there are murderers to catch.

If the robbers are overseas and the murderers are on your doorstep, then yes. Stands to reason, actually.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Lots of artificial constructs are very valuable; for example the health-care system that you spend your life working in is an "artificial construct", one that most of us value a lot. Ditto the constructs of liberty that accompany democracy in a liberal democracy.

Well yes, I don't disagree with any of that, nor was I. However, the problem of "rights" are the way they can be owned. Instead of being a convention for protection of the basic needs of people, especially at times of moral turbidity, such as during war and natural disaster, "rights" distort ethical dimensions in society in which people think not what they should do for individuals / society, but think what individuals / society should be affording them. Neither is there anything intrinsically fundamental about them (which is absolutely not to say that I don't value many of the ideas at the centre of them). As such, I don't agree that people have the right to "free speech" because speech in open society should always be constrained by a moral requirement (that most have in conscience) to empathise with those who might be affected by such "free speech" i.e. there is nothing truly free about it, and neither should there be, because there is no "freedom" that exempts individuals from their moral responsibility to others.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> Ah, to do with people. Clearly worthless then.

What an inane response.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Sorry, are you talking about the Greek Orthodox Church, or those advocating free speech...?

Those advocating total freedoms in the speaking of their own peculiar prejudices.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> there is nothing truly free about [free speech], and neither should there be, because there is no "freedom"
> that exempts individuals from their moral responsibility to others.

Given that the well-being and progress of society depends on us criticising institutions and ideas -- that is the only thing that keeps them functioning in our interests -- our "moral responsibility to others" dictates that we should not shy away from robust criticism, ridicule and "blasphemy". It wasn't the Soviet dissidents who lacked "moral responsibility to others" in speaking out.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Those advocating total freedoms in the speaking of their own peculiar prejudices.

What this guy was doing was revealing the inanity of the many claims of miracles that were being attributed to Elder Paisios, and he was doing that by inventing spurious miracles, submitting them to the church, by whom they were credulously accepted and broadcast, and then ridiculing the believers for their credulity.

That seems to me laudable and morally responsible, though I can see why credulous believers don't like.
Bruce Hooker - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Talius Brute:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> If the robbers are overseas and the murderers are on your doorstep, then yes. Stands to reason, actually.

Little Britain?
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> What an inane response.

No, just a somewhat sarcastic response to your idiotic comments earlier'. Notably "There are no such things as "rights"...", which is obviously simply false, followed by "..they are no more than artificial constructs..." which contradicts your previous phrase and implies that anything artificial is worthless.

Bruce Hooker - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I think that it should also be seen in the context of the present situation in Greece and the controversy concerning the Orthodox church over there at present. Many find the enormous wealth of the church, and its various fiscal privileges to be in something of a contradiction with the austerity they find themselves living under.... not to mention Christ's supposed teaching about rich men, eyes of needles and such like.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> No, just a somewhat sarcastic response to your idiotic comments earlier'. Notably "There are no such things as "rights"...", which is obviously simply false, followed by "..they are no more than artificial constructs..." which contradicts your previous phrase and implies that anything artificial is worthless.

Not a contradiction, no. If you have it that the proofs of the objective existence of such things are so self evident, then I'm sure you would also as easily accept that "God" really exists. Okay, so seeing as you think it is so evidential, provide some evidence and prove that human rights really exist....
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Given that the well-being and progress of society depends on us criticising institutions and ideas -- that is the only thing that keeps them functioning in our interests -- our "moral responsibility to others" dictates that we should not shy away from robust criticism, ridicule and "blasphemy".

Your view of "moral responsibility to others" is only your view, and a pretty unipolar one at that.

> It wasn't the Soviet dissidents who lacked "moral responsibility to others" in speaking out.

There were never so many rights enshrined in a constitution as were the case in Stalin's Russia. Didn't do much good for the real existence of those rights.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> I think that it should also be seen in the context of the present situation in Greece and the controversy concerning the Orthodox church over there at present. Many find the enormous wealth of the church, and its various fiscal privileges to be in something of a contradiction with the austerity they find themselves living under.... not to mention Christ's supposed teaching about rich men, eyes of needles and such like.

Well there is certainly a lesson their for the church to learn from and respond to.
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> Not a contradiction, no.

Read it again. It is

If you have it that the proofs of the objective existence of such things are so self evident,

You are adding "objective" now which changes the meaning of what you say substantially. Of course things such as rights are concepts developed by humans, largely as a result of our evolution. Everyone knows that. This fact doesn't make them any less real or important.
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
provide some evidence and prove that human rights really exist....

For example, the numerous rulings from the EU court of human rights that have very direct and sometime profound effects on people's live; the human rights enshrined in our domestic law that are frequently upheld by the courts.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Your view of "moral responsibility to others" is only your view ...

Ditto.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> Read it again. It is
> If you have it that the proofs of the objective existence of such things are so self evident,
> You are adding "objective" now which changes the meaning of what you say substantially.

Read it again, no its not. Unless you think the widespread endowment of the idea of god amongst the religious is proof of the existence of such a thing. Artificial constructs wasn't some qualification after the fact, it was an intrinsic part of my explanation of why they don't exist, i.e. objectively, a word I used well up the thread, and the reason being that I was challenging the notion that there is something truly fundamental about them, which I think is highly questionable.

> Of course things such as rights are concepts developed by humans, largely as a result of our evolution.
> Everyone knows that. This fact doesn't make them any less real or important.

This would be the evolution of humans that held onto the "right" to slavery. My arse... ..you're going to have to try a lot harder than that, and I'm sure "everyone" wouldn't be so foolish.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Ditto.

Good, at least we've moved on from "fundamental"
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> provide some evidence and prove that human rights really exist....
>
> For example, the numerous rulings from the EU court of human rights that have very direct and sometime profound effects on people's live; the human rights enshrined in our domestic law that are frequently upheld by the courts.

Here's a provocative CIF satire and subsequent debate to help you realise this isn't as straightforward as you might want it:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/oct/20/human-rights-exist
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> provide some evidence and prove that human rights really exist....
>
> For example, the numerous rulings from the EU court of human rights that have very direct and sometime profound effects on people's live; the human rights enshrined in our domestic law that are frequently upheld by the courts.

Or a better one from Will Self:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17866473
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W: Ah, I see now. You have read and half regurgitated for this thread a CiF artificial. Well done. Clearly you are going to carry on denying the existence a set of laws that profoundly affect our society. Fine if it makes you happy. To others it makes you look delusional.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:
> Ah, I see now. You have read and half regurgitated for this thread a CiF artificial. Well done. Clearly you are going to carry on denying the existence a set of laws that profoundly affect our society. Fine if it makes you happy. To others it makes you look delusional.

You really are contemptuous. No, I did a search just now to see if, as I suspect, this is an idea that is thought about alot... ...and it is.
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W: If you and Wilf Self and other would prefer to live in say Somalia for a while, I think you would be convinced of the existence of rights and laws in the UK pretty quickly
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> If you and Wilf Self and other would prefer to live in say Somalia for a while, I think you would be convinced of the existence of rights and laws in the UK pretty quickly

Straw man.

Or this:
http://forums.philosophyforums.com/threads/do-human-rights-exist-42651.html
Or this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_human_rights
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> Clearly you are going to carry on denying the existence a set of laws that profoundly affect our society. Fine if it makes you happy. To others it makes you look delusional.

Another straw man. No, I haven't denied that there is a written law (that other moveable feast) that deals with the notion of rights. I have denied that they are in any way really existent or fundamental, or if you prefer the language of the US, inalienable.
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> Another straw man. No, I haven't denied that there is a written law (that other moveable feast) that deals with the notion of rights. I have denied that they are in any way really existent or fundamental, or if you prefer the language of the US, inalienable.


Well you keep shifting your ground. Above you quite clearly stated they didn't exist, with no qualification. Whether they are inalienable or universal is a completely different question.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> Well you keep shifting your ground. Above you quite clearly stated they didn't exist, with no qualification. Whether they are inalienable or universal is a completely different question.

I set out my stall with:
> There are no such things as "rights", they are no more than artificial constructs that, at their best, reflect our responsibility to others in society, and at their worst reflect an inward looking selfish class securing their own prejudices.
I was clearly denying that they are not a "thing" in their own right. Which is in response to the idea of a right being something "fundamental".
Gordon Stainforth - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

Head v briefly above parapet (not staying):
Well, rights may be human constructs, but so is civilisation, to which they are fundamental.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Good, at least we've moved on from "fundamental"

Concise OED: "fundamental": "of or serving as a foundation or core; of central importance".

Being "fundamental" does not imply it has an objective existence separately from humans. An artificial human construct can still be "fundamental". E.g. "A welfare state is fundamental to decent, modern society".

You are attributing to MG and myself claims we have not made, and then attacking the strawman. We are both well aware that "human rights" are human constructs that have no objective existence beyond human opinion. That doesn't make them less important.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Head v briefly above parapet (not staying):
> Well, rights may be human constructs, but so is civilisation, to which they are fundamental.

Slavery too... ...and thats the point, as moral arbiters they are controvertable, not inelinable, and not fundamental, open to debate, and to the shifting sands of time and the morality within society or differences according to the milieu of the particular society in which they are found. Furthermore, they are a derivative idea that reflect those responsibilities we have for others, and becoming a thing in their own right, they have the potential to lose their moral counterpoint and can become an unwelcome expression of what the "I" should be afforded divorced from the responsibilities that we have. See Coel's unipolar view of what responsibilities are required for society and how the associated right is so framed and defended. There is nothing fundamental here in any one particular "right", just as slavery was never fundamental, even though, as Will Self rightly point out, it is still here in other guises. As I said, they are just the "piss and wind" of people, and the wind will blow piss around somewhat.
jimtitt - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You think we are much better? The common law on blasphemy was only removed in 2008 in Britain (as it was replaced by the laws on inciting religious hatred), in Scotland and NI not.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> as moral arbiters they are controvertable, not inelinable,

Did anyone say different?

> and not fundamental

"Fundamental" doesn't mean what you think it does, see above.

> open to debate, and to the shifting sands of time and the morality within society or differences
> according to the milieu of the particular society in which they are found.

Did anyone say different?

Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Concise OED: "fundamental": "of or serving as a foundation or core; of central importance".
> Being "fundamental" does not imply it has an objective existence separately from humans. An artificial human construct can still be "fundamental". E.g. "A welfare state is fundamental to decent, modern society".

This doesn't criticise my point.

> You are attributing to MG and myself claims we have not made, and then attacking the strawman. We are both well aware that "human rights" are human constructs that have no objective existence beyond human opinion. That doesn't make them less important.

What specific claims have I attributed to you above that I've then attacked?

Important in what sense? Important in the sense that any law is important, or important in some kind of special way? Well of course I think laws are important, but they are also mutable and change, and I would agree that the idea of law is fundamental, but not necessarily individual laws themselves. The right to free speech is all very well, but it is clearly mutable by the responsibility we have endowed in other laws, as it is also by the natural law embodied in one's conscience. Free speech is an oxymoron.
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

You seem to think you are making some profound point but actually are just repeating things everyone knows.

1) Yes we know laws are made by humans.
2) Yes we know laws change over time.
3) Yes we know laws reflect societies' views of right and wrong, that also change to an extent over time.
4) Yes we know human rights are just laws that societies have elevated to a higher, more permanent position than other laws.

What you seem to be missing is that just because human made laws aren't universal in the sense of say the laws of electro-magnetism, doesn't mean they don't exist. It also doesn't mean they are pointless or wrong or have no effect. Try living in a society where the right to a fair trial isn't held in the highest regard if you doubt this.

It's pretty depressing that after the devastation of the first half the twentieth century led for the first time to a statement of what is regarded as the bedrock rights for any functioning society, and to institutions, however flawed, to try enforce these rights, people such as you try and pretend they are pointless fluff that don't "exist" and that they should be unpicked.

Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> What specific claims have I attributed to you above that I've then attacked?

The claims that the "rights" are inalienable and "objective" (in the sense of having an existence independent of human opinion).

> Important in what sense? Important in the sense that any law is important, or important in some kind of special way?

The former, obviously.

> Well of course I think laws are important, ...

Good. End of this pointless diversion.

> but they are also mutable and change ...

Now go and find someone who disagrees and argue against them.


Gordon Stainforth - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

Well, you have a point re slavery. But of course the concept of civilisation has evolved and, as it stands now (and back in 1789 or whenever it was), 'all men are created equal' even if the person who drew up the Declaration of Independence (Thomas Jefferson) was a hypocrite who himself had slaves.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

> You think we are much better? The common law on blasphemy was only removed in 2008 in Britain ...

At least that makes us a few years ahead! ;-)

The last prosecution for blasphemy was the "Love That Dares To Speak Its Name" trial in 1971. After that successful prosecution for publishing a poem, several other outlets re-published the poem as a protest, the authorities declined to prosecute further, and the law became a dead duck. Indeed, every year on the anniversary of the trial, the poem was read out on the steps of St Pauls cathedral. They continued that until nobody took any notice any more. So the law really was dead by about the late 1970s.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The claims that the "rights" are inalienable and "objective" (in the sense of having an existence independent of human opinion).

Well I denied their existence as objective in my opening gambit, not to knock a strawman, but to establish the ground on which to undermine their supposed "fundamental" nature, especially vis a vis your interest in "freedom of speech", and thus as subjective, mutable, and not inalienable and not fundamental. They are the core or the bed rock of nothing, they are not formative in the moulding of society or its laws, but can be found not infrequently at the fundament of societies morality which is to say the pretty shitty end, e.g. allowing the thin veneer hiding what I believe is your hatred of religion to obtain, or the outrageous hypocrisy of the US to shine a beacon on the absurdity of its own bill of rights.

- "Rights" have come late to most legal frameworks
- They are redundant in most western countries in the sense that other laws deal effectively with the same issues
- They are morally derivative reflecting as they do lowest common denominators of standards of responsibility expected (such as arose in the impoverished inception as a convention in 1948 after the worst excesses of humanity were on show, and which MG seems to believe were being heroically battled for all along... ...they weren't)
- They are a contradictory mess, such as embodied in the oxymoron of "freedom of speech", or as seen in the right to liberty with the right to life (or rather the convenient death) of an ambiguous abortion, or the right to life of a guy like Troy Davis dead at the hands of lethal injection, an injection probably manufactured here in the UK.

No, my point is that there is nothing fundamental about them, they emerge in society and its laws as moral derivatives expressed initially because of seeing basic human values and responsibilities contravened in the context of war and disaster. In the latter context they are absolutely essential conventions mutually agreed as an attempt to prevent the power of states and the distorting moral autonomies found during war from harming people, but which hypocritical states subvert (e.g. any civilian casualties right to life etc or worse, or abu ghraib, or extraordinary rendition for the purposes of torture from the UK). However, they are not essential in mature democracies that have a well developed rule of law. In this context they are often redundant and serve to enhance egoism and individuality within society working against the interests of a coherent community and the idea that people need to be able to get along together, in close proximity, empathising with one another.

Yes the moral ideas the motivate the inception of rights are more often than not incredibly valuable (something which I absolutely recognise, as I have in a post above, and which MG malignantly tries to undermine), and that sentiment of morality is at its best essential and worth propagating.

Incidently, I take it from your above response that you do not think that there are such things as inalienable rights.
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W: You could at least be honest in your pointless verbiage. I made no comment about the reasons fo WW2, just what it led to.

Just to be clear, you would prefer the UN charter on human rights and EU human rights law be abolished? Why stop there? Is anarchy your preference?
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

Despite the remarkable amount of piss and wind (your phrase I believe) in your last post, the principle of free speech (and why the heck is it an oxymoron?), and particularly the right to criticise and satirise influential institutions, is a fundamental (sic) part of a free and liberal democracy.

> Incidently, I take it from your above response that you do not think that there are such things as inalienable rights.

Correct.
Bruce Hooker - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

I've tried to read though your posts but I really can't see what point you are trying to make. No one is contesting that rights are anything but the basic rules people find suitable to live by and differ in time and in place but this doesn't seem to satisfy you. I would add another point that seems fairly obvious too, they are things people have to strive for, first to obtain them then to maintain them.

Taking the example of freedom of expression, this has took centuries to obtain but even now it can never be considered as eternally acquired, like all rights we will keep it as long as we are prepared to defend it... The recent events concerning cartoons and video films demonstrates this amply.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> I've tried to read though your posts but I really can't see what point you are trying to make.

I think what he's saying is something along the lines that he disagrees which the rhetorical underpinnings of current human-rights declarations and would prefer a different conception of how "rights" arise, based instead on moral duties.

(I could be wrong, my Jimbo->English translator is still a beta prototype.)
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:
> I made no comment about the reasons fo WW2, just what it led to.

It wasn't deliberate, I misinterpreted what you said. Sorry.

> Just to be clear, you would prefer the UN charter on human rights and EU human rights law be abolished?

Yes and no. I return you to what I said initially:
> > There are no such things as "rights", they are no more than artificial constructs that, at their best, reflect our responsibility to others in society, and at their worst reflect an inward looking selfish class securing their own prejudices.
I'd rather rights were reciprocally expressed as duties that emphasise the former , "responsibilities" and undermine the latter "inward looking selfish class securing their own prejudices"... ...a thing which will be essential for a growth in tolerance, community, less adversarialism, and empathy within society, things which have become terribly undermined, or if you like growth of a real phenomenon that correlates with Cameron's "big society".

> Why stop there? Is anarchy your preference?

Why the implied hyperbole of my position. What, in the full extent of what I've saidm would lead you to think that I'd prefer anarchy? Or is this deliberately disingenuous?
MG - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W: Human rights are just laws seen as particularly important. If you don't like them, why any other laws?
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> Human rights are just laws seen as particularly important. If you don't like them, why any other laws?

What expressions of western states would lead you to think that they are particularly important laws?
- Extraordinary rendition?
- Torture?
- Abu ghraib?
- Guantanamo?
- Dresden as a means to an end?
- "Parliamentary privilege" as special more free version of the right to free speech?
I rather think that "rights" are a sop to individuality and egoism within mature democracies and are not about fundamental protections of citizens which is largely ingrained in other laws anyway. That is to be distinguished from the value of conventions of rights mutually agreed to try to protect people (often from outwith geographically and legally) the context of war, civil war, regimes, natural disasters and a lack of basic democratic process.
Jimbo W on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I think what he's saying is something along the lines that he disagrees which the rhetorical underpinnings of current human-rights declarations and would prefer a different conception of how "rights" arise, based instead on moral duties.

Yes and no. Responsibilities are the more proximal expression of an individual's conscience and as such responsibilities have an immediate local relationship with the mind of the individual, which one would hope would usually resonate. Thinking in terms of responsibilities encourages empathy and to think of the other rather than the self, whereas "rights" encourage a view of what should be afforded the self by the other. The moral operator therefore becomes the flip-side of what is intended by basic moral motivations for the conventions. Thus within society an emphasis on "rights" exceed equivalent expressions of "responsibilities", whether they are responsibilities enshrined in law, or as expressions of natural law.
Coel Hellier - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

So how would you phrase the law regarding rights/responsibilities concerning freedom to speak, or to make this more specific, how would you phrase the law regarding what satirical images of figures such as the Pope or Mohammed or Greek Elders are legal?
stp - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

I think of rights more to do with protection of the individual from the state and thus nothing to do with morals which is personal thing. The two things seem to be getting mixed up in your argument when they should be separate.
stp - on 27 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Well signed it, at least it's raising some awareness.

I hate the way the law implies that God actually exists in the first place, itself a very one sided law.

Relevant Chomsky quote:

"If we don't believe in free expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
birdie num num - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
I don't agree that people have the right to "free speech" because speech in open society should always be constrained by a moral requirement (that most have in conscience) to empathise with those who might be affected by such "free speech" i.e. there is nothing truly free about it, and neither should there be, because there is no "freedom" that exempts individuals from their moral responsibility to others.

Num Num believes that people have the perfect right to blab out of their mouths exactly what comes into their brains if they so wish to do so. The result may be warty, disgusting, insulting and disgraceful. It may result in the speaker being sanctioned by the courts. So be it. Num Num would rather see an honest insight into an individuals opinion than one that was modified by the delicacies of political correctness.

Jimbo W on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:

> I think of rights more to do with protection of the individual from the state and thus nothing to do with morals which is personal thing. The two things seem to be getting mixed up in your argument when they should be separate.

Rights cannot be afforded to anyone except via the conforming behaviour of others. The behaviour of those others is dictated by their ethics and morality. Therefore rights necessarily have a definite relationship with morality.
Sir Chasm - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to birdie num num: Numnum may have missed the point, people being sanctioned by the courts makes it less likely that they feel able to express themselves, it's rather like saying "you're free to burgle but it's against the law". Of course numnum may have been making a more subtle point.
MG - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> [...]
>
> What expressions of western states would lead you to think that they are particularly important laws?


This really isn't very hard. Because they are deemed to have precedence over all other laws. If law A contradicts something regarded as a human right, law A doesn't apply.

Your examples are a bit childish. Some have been punished (Abu Graib), some were seen as necessary to uphold other rights (Dresden), some are rightly seen as abhorrent and violations of human rights by most (torture, Guantanamo). Quite why you think any of this means we should just give up on rights rather than try harder to uphold them is beyond me. Just expecting people to go around being nice to each other doesn't work.

Above your were claiming rights are somehow new. They have been around at least since the signing of Magna Carta in England and I am sure longer elsewhere. You seem rather confused about all this.


birdie num num - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:
Num Num wasn't trying to make any point, he was expressing what he believes.
Sir Chasm - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to birdie num num: So in this case does numnum believe the outcome was correct? The person expressed their opinion and the court sanctioned him.
Gordon Stainforth - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

There were rights in Anglo-Saxon times i.e. long before the Magna Carta. E.g. property rights, and also 'folk rights' based on ancient traditions within each of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. There were also, I believe (haven't had time to look up), 'forest rights' that pre-dated the draconian Norman 'forest law'. Forest meaning 'outside' of areas covered by the ordinary law (thus the strange term of 'woods within a forest')
Jimbo W on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:

> Above your were claiming rights are somehow new. They have been around at least since the signing of Magna Carta in England and I am sure longer elsewhere. You seem rather confused about all this.

Well not rights per se. Clearly the idea of a right is inextricably linked with the value in contracts / agreements etc and in that sense Gordon is absolutely right, they have been integral to civilisation and been about for a very long time indeed. Thats clearly not what we're talking about. We're talking about are "human rights" systems of rights provided as if properties of people, as has grown from bills of rights as laid down during US independence or in the context of the French revolution, and particularly the univeral human rights that emerged post the 2nd world war.
MG - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W: I not pursuing this further as you clearly have got completely confused about human rights actually are and I am not going to convince you otherwise. But just to finish, here is one of the key clauses from Magna Carta affording every (free) man certain rights. It reads very, very, similar to much modern human rights legislation (right to property, right fair trial, no slavery). Conceptually, rights are nothing new (and not just in contracts).

"NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right."
Jimbo W on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) I not pursuing this further as you clearly have got completely confused about human rights actually are

You really are unpleasant

> and I am not going to convince you otherwise. But just to finish, here is one of the key clauses from Magna Carta affording every (free) man certain rights. It reads very, very, similar to much modern human rights legislation (right to property, right fair trial, no slavery). Conceptually, rights are nothing new (and not just in contracts).

Clearly you need to go away and do some reading about the prevalence of serfdom and the utter selectivity of those rights. You yourself rightly cited in the context of the discussion as the universal declaration of human rights the context in which this discussion was being had, and that hasn't changed except perhaps because of some rapid wiki-ing on your part.....?!
Coel Hellier - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> You really are unpleasant

I think it's more that some of us are baffled as to what you are arguing. Perhaps if you answered my question from 22:24 last night we might appreciate it better? Specific examples are often a good way of clarifying things.

> do some reading about the prevalence of serfdom and the utter selectivity of those rights.

Did anyone ever assert that "rights" were not selectively applied and enforced?
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> do some reading about the prevalence of serfdom and the utter selectivity of those rights..

This is a good example of why one has difficulty in seeing what you are on about (it's clear that you are on about something) as all you say here is what every attentive school boy knows; the Magna Carta was only imposed on the king by the barons to defend their own interests and not those of the people as a whole, but try as I may I can't see how this is relevant to the discussion.

Coming back to your post higher up in which you say that, you prefer responsibility to rights you could see it as being like Newton's laws of mechanics (I think it was him) ie. for every force there is an equal an opposite one, every right for one person implies a duty for another - the right of the baron imposed a duty on the king. So really this oft repeated argument is nonsense.
Jimbo W on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> This is a good example of why one has difficulty in seeing what you are on about (it's clear that you are on about something)

It should be clear with the contrast I'm making in the sentence immediately following the one you quote. As MG rightly cited in the context of the discussion we were having the 1948 universal declaration. We're not talking about the selective human rights of history or magna carter we're talking about the supposed universal ones we expect. That was afterall, the point of my original criticism. If we can't expect freedom of speech on the grounds of a normal selectivity of their application and in contrast to an universal freedom or moral expectancy, then there is no ground on which to make an appeal to something like freedom of speech, as Coel wanted to do.

> Coming back to your post higher up in which you say that, you prefer responsibility to rights you could see it as being like Newton's laws of mechanics (I think it was him) ie. for every force there is an equal an opposite one, every right for one person implies a duty for another - the right of the baron imposed a duty on the king. So really this oft repeated argument is nonsense.

I certainly don't think of them as Newton's laws no, and I would certainly deny they had any objective reality (other philosophers on the subject would disagree). However, it isn't that duties or responsibilities are just some equal and opposite thing to rights, but they do have an indirect reciprocal relationship with "rights". You cannot be afforded your "rights" if the behaviour of others denies them. That behaviour of others is a matter of ethics and morality.
Coel Hellier - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> We're not talking about the selective human rights of history or magna carter we're talking about
> the supposed universal ones we expect.

I'm still baffled by what you're getting at. So there has been a gradually wider and wider extension of rights as society has progressed. First it was only the barons, then extended to all property-owning citizens, and from there to all men except slaves, and then including (newly emancipated) slaves, and then including women, and then including children, and then including other races and people in other nations, and today including more or less everyone.

So what? It's still the same idea, an idea that has gradually progressed. So what is your point?

If your point is that these "rights" are not primordial and absolute properties of nature, decreed inalienably for all time by God, and carved indelibly into tablets of stone, then YES WE AGREE! (As we've SAID multiple times.) If you want to argue against THAT claim then go and find someone who is advocating it!
Bruce Hooker - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

I agree with Coel's last paragraph, "rights" aren't built into some kind of interstellar ADN spiral, they have been invented by people over the ages. It may be the term "universal" that throws you but I think this is to a great extent wishful thinking, something of a French habit, in the minds of those who first coined the so called declaration.

In reality this document is what they thought should exist throughout the world. Now it is accepted in theory by many more countries than then but with more or less rigour, I think some countries give themselves an opt out for equality of women, for example.

So, they are what many peoples would like to be applied worldwide, they have a Western, Judeo-christian slant (in the classical sense of Western) and will evolve further over the years. They are not perfect but if applied fully would change the world beyond imagination, definitely worth fighting for, preferably in the non-military sense.
stp - on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Rights cannot be afforded to anyone except via the conforming behaviour of others. The behaviour of those others is dictated by their ethics and morality. Therefore rights necessarily have a definite relationship with morality.


So I think I understand what you're saying. Rights are not really enforceable because the State always has the last word, always has the power. It's really a voluntary act by the state to respect an individual's rights. If they don't, as in Greece, then there's naff all anyone can do about it.

So rights are entirely dependent on the good will, morality or integrity of the state which is never ever going to be reliable. Hence rights don't really exist except as a nice idea.


If that's what you're saying I tend to agree. Except I do still think they're worth having at least for a victim to be able to take the moral high ground. Perhaps there's also the chance that the guy in Greece might be able to use the European Court of Human Rights at some point further down the line.

In short I think it's better to act and behave as if they exist rather than to just give up and think of them as essentially worthless.
stp - on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It's interesting that if Atheism was a religion then these laws, which imply that God exists, could be considered as blasphemous towards atheists.

How would it be if all atheists started taking massive offensive every time anyone started bringing God into anything: That's insulting and disrespectful to my beliefs they could say.
Bruce Hooker - on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:

> Rights are not really enforceable because the State always has the last word, always has the power.

What is this all powerful monster you call "the state"?

Where does it come from in Greece as in other democracies?
stp - on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

The guy is in prison for nothing but expressing himself. Who will come to his rescue?
Jimbo W on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:

> The guy is in prison for nothing but expressing himself. Who will come to his rescue?

Coel
Bruce Hooker - on 29 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:

Changing the subject, but I'll answer all the same, it seems a few people but this really proves the point some of us are trying to make on the thread, freedom of speech is under attack at present and more and more by religious nutters.

Every time we allow mad mullahs to threaten us in Britain or France we also encourage mad monks elsewhere. Religion needs putting back in it's box, ie. a private affair which should in no way affect anyone but the believer himself.
Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> and why the heck is it an oxymoron?

Its an oxymoron because "free speech" is a concept that is not real:
- "free speech" is not free in its production, constrained as it is by conscience, and awareness of contrary laws (or indeed rights) or agencies
- "free speech" always has limitations. Even the person who is committed to the most sick and vile comments on the grounds of "free speech" are found to have real personal limits on what they are prepared to say, or to tolerate what others are saying, i.e. there always real limits on what a person is prepared to say or in public, and thus "free speech" exists within a zone that betrays a background of excluded speech
- "free speech", if it is done for some reason (and is not empty speak) cannot be personally free coming with the cost, as it does, of negating all other reasons that one might speak for. It is committing and limits one's own personal freedom.
- after the production of so called "free speech", there is the potential for real limitations on freedoms because of that speech, because of contrary law, libel, loss of control over the meaning of that speech once in the public domain
Coel Hellier - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

"Oxymoron" means internally inconsistent, so for "free speech" to be oxymoronic the two words would have to contradict each other (e.g. "living dead", "military intelligence", "deafening silence".

None of your explanation points to "free speech" being an oxymoron, it just suggests that the term isn't fully and literally accurate.

Anyhow, are you going to attempt to answer my previous question, about what you think laws should actually be on poking fun at the Pope, Mohammed, Greek elders, etc? Because I still don't know what point you are making, and I'm beginning to suspect that you don't either.

You're simply pointing out things that are well known (e.g. restrictions on free speech such as libel and shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre are well known and well discussed. If they're not included in a multi-paragraph exposition every time somebody uses the term "free speech" then that is for brevity).
Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> "Oxymoron" means internally inconsistent, so for "free speech" to be oxymoronic the two words would have to contradict each other (e.g. "living dead", "military intelligence", "deafening silence".

Which is my rhetorical point.. ..speech is never actually free.

> Anyhow, are you going to attempt to answer my previous question, about what you think laws should actually be on poking fun at the Pope, Mohammed, Greek elders, etc? Because I still don't know what point you are making, and I'm beginning to suspect that you don't either.

Well, what you're asking me to do is write a few reasonably consistent laws from the ground up, which is something that will take more than 5mins here and there to do. However, your example is problematic for me, because I don't actually think speech should be free. I believe it is always to be tempered by varying degrees of toleration dependent on the content of that speech. The relative facade of freedom in speech should therefore be maintained only by the laws that prevent us from harming, in whatever way, one another. More particularly, in your OP, I don't think you are really interested in the freedom of this man's speech per se, you are interested in what you regard as the unreasonable dominance of laws of blasphemy that you find archaic and dislike. Discussion of this man and his apparently violated "rights" is not for you an end in itself, rather he is a means to end for you to pursue your ulterior interest in pursuing hatred of religion, and belittling the values, embodied in law, of a foreign society.
Bruce Hooker - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Discussion of this man and his apparently violated "rights" is not for you an end in itself, rather he is a means to end for you to pursue your ulterior interest in pursuing hatred of religion, and belittling the values, embodied in law, of a foreign society.

So now you are satisfied that you've seen what Coel is up to, inadvertently we can now see what is behind your own! The simple fact is that you are a religious person who lacks the confidence to accept criticism of religion and whose answer is to curtail the freedom of speech of humanity.

I thought this was it but at least now you have clarified things... how many posts did it take though? !
Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> So now you are satisfied that you've seen what Coel is up to, inadvertently we can now see what is behind your own! The simple fact is that you are a religious person who lacks the confidence to accept criticism of religion and whose answer is to curtail the freedom of speech of humanity.
> I thought this was it but at least now you have clarified things... how many posts did it take though? !

You appear to have confused my attack of Coel's motives as a defence of the cultural, religious and moral determinants in this case. I have made no such defence, and dispute your "facts" as fictions. My view is that:
- the satirical cartoon is so pathetic it doesn't warrant an answer, and certainly not such a conviction
- the attack says more about the author, who clearly has more in common with the provocative offensive controversies of a man like Frankie Boyle than an affinity with a morally constructive challenge to the anachronisms of Greek democracy, culture and religion
Bruce Hooker - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

Yet another mysterious post, clarity has disappeared again.... you are not talking in many tongues, are you? Really, it is totally impossible to see what you are trying to say.
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Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> Yet another mysterious post, clarity has disappeared again.... you are not talking in many tongues, are you? Really, it is totally impossible to see what you are trying to say.

Well there were one or two of yours above that I couldn't penetrate either, but I'll humour you, as I was answering your accusation of declaring my hand, by saying that I hadn't, but then told you what I did think of this particular case in the op:

> You appear to have confused my attack of Coel's motives as a defence of the cultural, religious and moral determinants in this case.

What don't you understand about this?

> I have made no such defence, and dispute your "facts" as fictions.

What don't you understand about this?

> My view is that:

What don't you understand about this?

> - the satirical cartoon is so pathetic it doesn't warrant an answer, and certainly not such a conviction

Ok, I'll try again if you didn't understand this pretty simple sentence. The cartoon was so pathetic, it needed no response. It certainly didn't warrant the legal response that occurred.

> - the attack says more about the author

Clear on this?

> who clearly has more in common with the provocative offensive controversies of a man like Frankie Boyle...

Clear on this?

> ...than an affinity with a morally constructive challenge to the anachronisms of Greek democracy, culture and religion

Ok, I'll try again if you didn't understand this: he was never himself interested in pointing out the folly of old outdated religious ideas, but was motivated about causing offence and being cheered for it.
Coel Hellier - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Which is my rhetorical point.. ..speech is never actually free.

That doesn't make it an oxymoron.

> More particularly, in your OP, I don't think you are really interested in the freedom of this man's
> speech per se, you are interested in what you regard as the unreasonable dominance of laws of
> blasphemy that you find archaic and dislike.

No, it's both of those things.

> Discussion of this man and his apparently violated "rights" is not for you an end in itself, rather he
> is a means to end for you to pursue your ulterior interest in pursuing hatred of religion, and belittling
> the values, embodied in law, of a foreign society.

On the last point, not at all guilty your honour. First, as my OP title makes clear, I was surprised that this would happen in Greece; I in no way want to denigrate Greece as a whole over this; indeed, the majority of people complaining about this arrest are Greeks. Those Greeks have been publicising this and asking for support such as by signing the petition (see OP). There is nothing anti-Greek in supporting them.

Second, I have a track record of being just as critical about such laws in this country. Indeed, I've posted vastly more critical of the UK than critical of Greece.

Third, on "free speech" issues I have been entirely consistent and supported free speech when it is nothing to do with religion. Indeed I have repeatedly attacked the anti-free-speech of the Section 5 Public Order Act, in several different threads of the last year. Note that I equally oppose, for example, the use of Section 5 to prevent Christians preaching an anti-gay message on street corners.

Fourth, your labeling of my stance as "pursuing hatred of religion" uses too strong a word. This sort of use of the "hate" label is an attempt to silence and ignore critics by implying that they are extremists who "hate". A common example is the use of the word "Islamophobia" against anyone who entirely valid criticisms of that totalitarian set of ideas.

Fifth, you have posted multiple times on this thread, attacking our ideals of free speech, yet I still have no real idea of that you sort of laws on this you would like instead. Yes, a fully worked-out wording would take time, but you could at least tell us what general theme you'd adopt. Since you've given us nothing of substance, nothing specific at all (to the point that most posters replying to you have no real idea what you are advocating), I suggest that your criticisms are (to use your phrase) mere piss and wind.

> However, your example is problematic for me, because I don't actually think speech should be free.

Fine, so tell us, in outline, what degree of criticism or comment or ridicule should be allowed regarding the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mohammed or Greek elders. If you have no idea what your answer is then go away and think about it and come back when you have something to say.
Coel Hellier - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> - the satirical cartoon is so pathetic it doesn't warrant an answer, and certainly not such a conviction

Should there be laws under which this person could be arrested for blasphemy? For a quick summary of such laws see the OP.
Bruce Hooker - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

You've added another thing I don't understand here, why anybody would imagine that reposting a text chunk by chunk makes it easier to understand than in one block! If anything it's harder. At this point I will give up, we use the same words but don't speak the same language.

To recapitulate what I understand of all your posts; you don't like people to criticise religion in anything but a mild manner and will spend hours typing gobbledygook to discourage any who take umbrage with this point of view.
Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> You've added another thing I don't understand here, why anybody would imagine that reposting a text chunk by chunk makes it easier to understand than in one block! If anything it's harder. At this point I will give up, we use the same words but don't speak the same language.

You're just being obfuscatory.

> To recapitulate what I understand of all your posts; you don't like people to criticise religion

Until your accusing me of this above, I hadn't made any comment about religion at all, so the only reason to think this is because of adding 1 and 1 and making 10; or rather adding one fact (of my Christian belief), to another fact (of my disagreeing with some aspect of what Coel was saying about "rights") and taking that as meaning that:
- "the simple fact is that you are a religious person who lacks the confidence to accept criticism of religion and whose answer is to curtail the freedom of speech of humanity"
- "you don't like people to criticise religion"
Well I'm sorry but no, and this says far more about your presumptuousness and prejudice than anything else.
Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Should there be laws under which this person could be arrested for blasphemy?

Of course not, don't be ridiculous!
Jimbo W on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Fourth, your labeling of my stance as "pursuing hatred of religion" uses too strong a word. This sort of use of the "hate" label is an attempt to silence and ignore critics by implying that they are extremists who "hate". A common example is the use of the word "Islamophobia" against anyone who entirely valid criticisms of that totalitarian set of ideas.

Really... ...you just sound like you're polishing your turd.
Coel Hellier - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

>> Should there be laws under which this person could be arrested for blasphemy?

> Of course not, don't be ridiculous!

Well good! (Ummm, I'm even more baffled now as to what your overall point is.)
Coel Hellier - on 30 Sep 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:

> he was never himself interested in pointing out the folly of old outdated religious ideas, but
> was motivated about causing offence and being cheered for it.

How do you know that?

"According to the page’s administrator, he angered many in the Greek Orthodox church leadership after he created a fictional story of a posthumous miracle by Elder Paisios which was submitted to various Orthodox and far-right blogs in July and then it was reproduced both online and even on a far-right newspaper. The story was based on several existing tales that were already circulating online and involved a miraculous recovery of a teenage drug addict who had been in a coma after a car accident after his mother placed dirt from Elder Paisios’ grave in a talisman under her son’s pillow.

"In the an interview after his arrest, he states that he did this not only to expose the gullibility of the faithful, but primarily to show the poor fact-checking done by these sites. After he detailed this on the “Elder Pastitsios” page on July 26, both it’s popularity and the amount of hostile comments increased substantially compared to the past year in which he had been posting similar satirical content without incident. He has suspended the page voluntarily and stated that he may re-enable it for an hour so people can see what all the fuss is about. He says that he is an atheist because he likes to think for himself and that he has proven his point regarding the reliability of miracle testimonials and the exploitation of alleged prophecies by religious figures."

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