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Old 2003-09-20, 04:50   #12
NickGlover
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Prime95
A common misconception about the first amendment - even in the US - is that it guarantees citizens the right to say anything at any time. This is not what the first amendment guarantees. It only prevents the government from passing laws that limit your right to speak out. Employers, forum moderators, any private entity may create rules that limit speech.
Well, said, George. I would like to add some comments about the distinction between these two views of free speech (which is probably drifiting away from the topic of this thread).

What nitro stated was essentially a positive right to free speech. What that means is that the right requires that others take certain actions (or provide resources) to allow someone to exercise the right. In the case of the forum, the positive right to free speech means that the forum owner would be required to provide the resources (the forum) for people to express views he does not necessarily want expressed on his forum.

Positive rights of various types are most closely associated with the views of socialists and modern liberals in the U.S (however, many conservatives advocate various positive rights).

What George stated was a negative right to free speech. This right requires that others refrain from taking certain actions that would interfere with one's speech. As George noted, an example of this is passing laws limiting your right to speak out.

Negative rights are the traditional approach of most libertarians today and classic liberals from the 17th thru 19th century.

In libertarian rights theory, the negative right to free speech is not a primary right, but instead is derived from property rights. For example, exercising one's right to free speech could involve: giving a speech on one's own land, renting an auditorium to give a speech in, self-publishing a newsletter, or buying commercial time on television. Note that all these involve using one's own property or paying for the use of another's property.

This negative right to free speech is only violated when someone violates property rights or physically attacks someone. So the negative right to free speech does not apply to what nitro can say on this forum. If Xyzzy were to limit what nitro can say on the forum, he is just exercising his property rights over the forum. The negative right to free speech does not give nitro the right to express his views no matter what on the forum; he only can express his views on the forum if the owner agrees to let him. This does not completely prevent nitro from expressing his views publicly because he could pay the costs to host his own forum where he would be able to express whatever views he wanted.
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Old 2003-09-20, 11:39   #13
cheesehead
 
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When I earlier wrote "I will not participate further", I was referring to discussion of this thread's title topic, the war on terror. Now that the meta-discussion about suitability has continued this far, I have some more to say publicly.

I've previously participated in other on-line forums where heated political debate and associated personal attacks were the accepted norm. Nothing wrong with that, there. But GIMPS Forum hasn't been in that category, and the acceptable limits on debate here have been more polite. Both these types of forum have their proper places in the cybercontinuum.

As soon as I saw the initial posting of this thread I recognized, from my previous forum experience, that its topic was one almost certain to provoke such strong passions that some participants would go beyond the polite limits that have been the norm at GIMPS Forum so far, especially if I expressed certain views of my own. Though I personally would be willing to sling my appropriate share of mud if someone else slung first, I expected that that would quickly escalate beyond the tolerances of this forum's moderators, and it would tend to ruin the calmer mood established in the pre-Soapbox GIMPS forum.

I'm not quick to call for banning a topic. I don't recall having ever suggested in the less polite forums that any particular topic was out-of-bounds except in a couple of cases where it seemed that certain incitements to violence might lead to real-world trouble. I've never before objected to discussion of a topic at GIMPS Forum.

And -- critics please note -- I never proposed any blanket supression of any topic here. My objection was _specifically_ directed to suitability of this topic _in this forum_. There are _many_ other on-line and off-line forums where the topic of "The War On Terror" is appropriate. Those who wish to discuss it have a wide variety of places in which to do so. Banning it here would not infringe on your civil liberties.

Critics, if you think I need educating about freedom of speech or press, please note that I was a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union thirty years ago.

Now some comments on some issues raised:
Quote:
Why??
I said what I meant and meant what I said about my motive for requesting that this topic not be discussed. "IMO, a discussion of this topic in this forum will definitely get out-of-hand." I have no unspoken political reason for wanting the topic not to be discussed.

Perhaps if I had explained my thoughts more thoroughly initially, it might have headed off speculation.
Quote:
Do you feel ... and don't want ...? Or even ...?
Whether I do or don't is not relevant to my objection.
.
Quote:
A true test of democracy is to allow other people to say stuff that you particularly *do* find distasteful & objectionable.
You're allowed to say whatever you want, but not necessarily wherever and whenever you want to say it. Limitations on discussion in this forum by the forum moderators do not infringe on your civil liberties.
Quote:
Only wanting/allowing discussion to take place about stuff that you agree with ...
No one knows what stuff I agree with or not in regard to the title topic, until I express it, which I haven't here. Actually, I'd love to see discussion of stuff I _dis_agreed with in a no-holds-barred forum, so I could lampoon the opposition. But I don't want GIMPS Forum to be no-holds-barred.
Quote:
... being disrespectful ...
Someone who has for a year displayed a photo of a llama wearing a foam cheesehat as his avatar can probably adequately handle any perceived disrespectfulness himself. :)

(BTW, credits to eepiccolo for (a) squeezing the original image [which I illegally copied from the Foamation Inc. web site] down to this forum's avatar size limit, (b) adding the text "2^P-1", and (c) again squeezing the image to get within the current avatar limits.)
Quote:
If you don't want these sort of comments and these sort of threads then the answer is simple. DON'T HAVE A SOAPBOX IN THE FIRST PLACE, SIMPLE ISN'T IT?
All-or-nothing extremism is not necessary here. Less simple, but more reasonable, is to allow polite, moderate discussions.
Quote:
The whole point of a soapbox (go look up "Hyde Park corner") is that ANYONE can 'get up on their soapbox' and say ANYTHING.
... in Hyde Park, yes. And in many other places, too. But not necessarily in a privately moderated forum such as we have here.
Quote:
If you don't like what I'm saying then walk away. Period.
No one's forcing you to post your views _here_. There are many other suitable forums where you could exercise your right to post your views.
Quote:
Presuming this site is hosted in the US don't you care about the first amendment in here, or as I said earlier, does that only apply if I am saying something that you happen to agree with.
As has already been pointed out, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to relationships between government and people, not to relationships between people without governmental involvement.
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Old 2003-09-21, 23:07   #14
nitro
 
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Default Re: The War on Terror

Quote:
Originally posted by kwstone
I hope this doesn't stir up to many hot feelings, but I feel that the guy who wrote the study summarized in the newspaper article that I quote below (Daily Telegraph, 2003/09/09) is pretty near the mark. What do you think? And, if he's right, how could we approach the problem better?
Anyone here *still* think the West is winning this war??

http://www.johnpilger.com/print/133098

http://fairuse.1accesshost.com/news1/monitor1.html

http://www.sf.indymedia.org/news/2003/09/1645030.php
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Old 2003-09-22, 21:38   #15
Prime95
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Default Re: Re: The War on Terror

Quote:
Originally posted by nitro
Anyone here *still* think the West is winning this war??
Quite possibly, only time will tell. If in 5 to 20 years Iraq is a prosperous, democratic nation with neutral-to-positive ties to the West, then it will have been a success. Prosperity should reduce muslim radicalism and provide a positive example to other nations in the Middle East.
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Old 2003-09-22, 23:51   #16
nitro
 
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Default Re: Re: Re: The War on Terror

Quote:
Originally posted by Prime95
Quite possibly, only time will tell. If in 5 to 20 years Iraq is a prosperous, democratic nation with neutral-to-positive ties to the West, then it will have been a success. Prosperity should reduce muslim radicalism and provide a positive example to other nations in the Middle East.
Well, I hope the surviving relatives of all these dead Iraqi's agree with that viewpoint....not to mention the family of the dead British TV journalist, shot on his way to hospital by US forces.
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Old 2003-09-23, 04:09   #17
Prime95
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I think the most common definition of "winning a war" is either one country's troops defeating another country's troops OR through use of military force one country achieving a desired goal. In the strict sense of military victory, one could well argue that the Iraq war has already been won with the challenge of a successful rebuilding still an open issue. Using the goal-oriented definition, we first have to agree on what the U.S. goal was, and that could fill up another whole thread. My previous post made it clear that I think the (unstated) U.S. goal was to improve long-term national security by establishing a prosperous model democracy in the heart of the Middle East as a positive alternative to muslim raicalism.

Innocent casualties are a characteristic of every war, both won and lost, just and unjust. My point is that your articles would be better used to advance your position on a variety of different fronts, such as "Does anyone still think the Iraq war was worth the cost?", "Does anyone still think Iraq will be friendly to the U.S. after all these civilian casualties?", "Does anyone still think the U.S. can run a "clean" war with a minimum of civilian casualties?", or (about WMD) "Do you still trust your intelligence services enough to embark on the next war?", etc.

In the opening days of the Iraq war I had a long private email exchange with two members of the prime numbers mailing list. One bordered on the irrational. The other was very cordial and the exchange helped both sides better understand the viewpoints and motivations of the other. Quite interesting, but of course no minds were changed. Do you mind if I ask you where the U.K. anti-war crowd is now focusing its efforts? It seems to me you could go in any of several directions (or all at once).
1) You could stay focused in the past recalling the horrors of the war, the on-going problems, and lamenting the decision to go to war.
2) You could be after Blair's political head
3) You could be rallying European countries to make the U.S. "pay" for its war efforts by boycotting U.S. products, frustrating U.S. diplomatic efforts, etc.
4) You could be lobbying for or against an all-out reconstruction effort. I would think this is an especially troubling issue for the anti-war group as their compassion would make them favor reconstruction, but from their point of view the absolutely worst outcome of the Iraq war would be a successful reconstruction effort which might/would encourage the U.S. do it again in some other country.

Have protests waned or are they building momentum? Is Blair a goner? Care to give us a U.K. news update?
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Old 2003-10-02, 08:51   #18
Mr. P-1
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Prime95
Do you mind if I ask you where the U.K. anti-war crowd is now focusing its efforts? It seems to me you could go in any of several directions (or all at once).
Inevitably some people are doing all of these things.
Quote:

1) You could stay focused in the past recalling the horrors of the war, the on-going problems, and lamenting the decision to go to war.
Focussing on the past is pointless.
Quote:

2) You could be after Blair's political head
There are a fair few doing that.
Quote:

3) You could be rallying European countries to make the U.S. "pay" for its war efforts by boycotting U.S. products, frustrating U.S. diplomatic efforts, etc.
I don't think there's any great anti-American mood here. Even the most ardently anti-war people distinguish between the country and its leaders. I would continue to support or oppose American foreign policies on their merits.
Quote:

4) You could be lobbying for or against an all-out reconstruction effort. I would think this is an especially troubling issue for the anti-war group as their compassion would make them favor reconstruction,...
If I were a citizen of a country which had not supported the war, I would lobby my government not to risk our citizens by assisting the policing/reconstruction of Iraq until the US hands overall control to the UN. America and the UK made the mess, as long as they remain in charge of it, they should be responsible for clearing it up.

But I am not opposed to reconstruction, which is clearly in everybody's interest. The issue here is whose job it is.
Quote:

...but from their point of view the absolutely worst outcome of the Iraq war would be a successful reconstruction effort which might/would encourage the U.S. do it again in some other country.
It would surprise me if many anti-war people would think like that, (but what do I know about what other people think?) I opposed the war because I thought it was 1 unjustified, 2 unnecessary, 3 dishonest, 4 not in our national interest 5 not in the interest of the Iraqi people. None of those apply to the reconstruction of Iraq. Issues of 'encouraging' future agression is very much a secondary consideration. My hope is that Bush will be 'discouraged' by the American people booting him out of office at the first opportunity.
Quote:

Have protests waned or are they building momentum? Is Blair a goner? Care to give us a U.K. news update?
Waned, inevitably, with the end of the the active phase of the war, though they were still able to field a 15,000 strong demonstration in London last week. Blair is weaker than he's ever been, but he's in no imediate danger, unless something unforseen and sensational comes out of the Hutton Enquiry, which seems highly unlikely at this stage. The main question seems to be whether defense secretary Hoon will survive.

Regards

Daran
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