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Real ‘thought police’?

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Tom 1, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. Tom 1

    Tom 1 Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    This proposed legislation in Scotland appears aimed at challenging pretty much anything that might be regarded as offensive towards someone, regardless of the intent of the speaker, including actors and stand-up comedians using lines in a play or as part of an act, who could be prosecuted and face jail time if found guilty of hate speech. Seems pretty extreme. The Spectator is a conservative magazine (albeit a very good one) so it would be interesting to hear the other side. On the face of it it looks like an attempt to overhaul on a fundamental level how people think about communication, both day to day or in drama, literature etc.

    Could possession of the Bible become an offence in Scotland? | The Spectator
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  2. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    +8,450
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    The law is awfully vague. Vague laws tend to gradually be expanded to cover more and more ground, such as with Euthanasia law and their 'intractable suffering' till depressed teenagers could be killed in Belgium. I don't think this will end well, therefore.

    The only defence would be to fall back on Common Law when run afoul of it, and that just means whether the courts interpret precedent or the new proscriptive legislation as being paramount in that case. It will give far too much ambiguity, and a lot would depend on how and in what tradition it gets interpreted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  3. disciple Clint

    disciple Clint Well-Known Member

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    I am concerned that we will see this same kind of move here if the liberals have their way.
     
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  4. Kentonio

    Kentonio Well-Known Member

    +8,161
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    It's a stupid bill which is far too vague to allow for any kind of realistic policing of it. Although the stated goals are good, this will harm those efforts rather than help them by antagonizing the public, putting far too much additional load on the police, and cause chaos for the public prosecutors who have to decide which cases to move forward with.

    I think common sense will prevail and it'll get substantially watered down.
     
  5. Tom 1

    Tom 1 Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    I think the idea that the stated goals, the intent to avoid stirring up bad feeling about or towards any particular group it seems, are inherently good is a bit dubious. Not wanting to make anyone feel bad is a pretty superficial notion of morality, the ability to experience and work through difficult emotions is essential to developing any kind of maturity as a human. The vagueness of the whole project and the thinking behind it is difficult to quantify, any specific instances I've come across involve ideas like 'the past is bad' (with the obvious implication 'we are better') and so it should be dismissed (in favour of 'better' ideas) along with the publicly sanctioned use of pseudoscience to try to force people to accept things that are either demonstrably untrue or unknowable. At its root there is an attempt to make it impossible, or at a minimum sanction-able, for anyone to go through the process of forming opinions that are contrary to prevailing social norms, or even just to pose questions about those norms. I don't see how that can be seen as a good thing.
     
  6. Kentonio

    Kentonio Well-Known Member

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    I think you’re reading more into the original intent than is actually there.
     
  7. JohnDB

    JohnDB Regular Member

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    Scotland is a nation under the UK umbrella in which the King/Queen of England is the head/Pope of the Church of England.

    Scotland usually follows suit with Britain...but not always...and everyone loves to poke fun at the Irish.

    I would more expect this law proposal to come out of Wales than Scotland but hey...things are a changing.
     
  8. Tom 1

    Tom 1 Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    Maybe, but it’s that bigger question I’m interested in discussing. What do you think the intent is?
     
  9. Kentonio

    Kentonio Well-Known Member

    +8,161
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    Simply to clamp down on hate speech, however it has the feel of a policy that’s been passed around so many committees and special interest groups who have all added their own additions until you end up with something completely over the top like this.
     
  10. JohnDB

    JohnDB Regular Member

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    Well in the past couple of years they had "Brexit" vote about leaving the EU. They were mortified over the stream of people from the Middle East pouring into the area.

    The UK is very much obsessed with maintaining their traditions. Muslim fundamentals do not mix well with UK ideals. Especially since most of the Muslim immigrants are extremely poor to begin with. Things like Octoberfest (a huge drunken party) can't be celebrated sober but with personal security concerns they were slowing down on celebrating. (Easy to get mugged when drunk)

    For whatever reason they do seem to tolerate the people from India fairly well... although it's required a century for them to do so.
     
  11. Tom 1

    Tom 1 Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    Sure, although it's not the proposal of some fringe group, but Scotland's largest political party. That they have taken the time to draft legislation at least suggests support from more than a handful of special interest groups. While it seems unlikely that actors in a play and so on will be successfully prosecuted, if it does enter into national law it could have least have the effect of dampening down interest in anything that might be considered 'suspect', lead to legally-backed protests against people practising 'wrong thinking' and so on. It's not like that isn't something some groups are keen to do. Personally, I find the whole way of thinking odd. The idea for example that anyone should be legally prevented from criticising Christianity, or the bible, or anyone who believes in it is not only absurd but dangerous and stupid in the worst way. There's a reasonable line to be drawn - were there anyone calling for the death of Christians or going into a church and screaming at people then they could be prosecuted under existing laws, but trying to root out anti-Christian sentiment in any context would be an exercise in malicious dumbness, and on the face of it I don't see any difference regarding any other protected or special interest issue, but there is nevertheless a fairly widespread sense that proposals of this sort are inherently good.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  12. Kentonio

    Kentonio Well-Known Member

    +8,161
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    This kind of legislation will certainly have gone through consultation with all sorts of different interest groups. The problem with that is that once you have some stuff in there it becomes harder to say no to others. Plus in a hyper social issue aware environment like this, stuff gets allowed in that should never be anywhere near a law book.

    If it’s any consolation though, Scottish people love being offensive and there’s absolutely zero chance of this law having any major effect.
     
  13. Tom 1

    Tom 1 Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    I'm not so sure, changes in law can be insidious. People don't just stop doing something overnight, but protracted and pointless cases that cost people time and money could have an effect on how people think over time. I'm not fearing the Apocalypse btw, but I do find it interesting how people who would condemn the catholic inquisition would quite happily or even passionately promote the same kind of thinking that led to it, over a different set of beliefs. Maybe in 20 or 30 years legislation of this sort will be the new normal. The only constant is change, so I wouldn't be hugely surprised. The SNP want to be seen as different to Westminster on every front, so them going ultra PC wouldn't be a huge surprise either.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  14. Arcangl86

    Arcangl86 Newbie

    +4,072
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    It's worth saying that "stirring up racial hatred" already exists under Scottish law. This will just expand that offense to include other protected classes.
     
  15. grasping the after wind

    grasping the after wind That's grasping after the wind

    +4,979
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    I would advise you not to go to Scotland in the future if the law passes as what you posted will surely be grounds for punishment.
     
  16. JohnDB

    JohnDB Regular Member

    +633
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    Probably so...
    Similar reasons are keeping me out of the PRC at the moment....as well as a global pandemic.
     
  17. mindlight

    mindlight See in the dark Supporter

    +1,877
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    Guess someone needs to test it out. Go the steps of the court house in Edinburgh with a megaphone and read bible verses from Leviticus or whatever and see what happens. I can think of worse things to be arrested for than simply telling the truth on the streets.

    Given that a lot of what Nicola Sturgeon says offends Englishmen I wonder if we can get her arrested for any speeches talking about English oppressiveness and arrogance and the desire to overthrow the Westminister yoke.
     
  18. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 contemplative humanist Supporter

    +11,970
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    So... much ado about nothing.
     
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