I have written quite a bit about free speech of late. Its a topic that I am a bit hesitant to take a stance on, being that I can comprehend the arguments from both sides. Both can make a good case.
However, where I stand on free speech hardly matters really. First, because I hold no position of societal authority (I can believe what I want, but cant mandate anything on any level that matters).
And second, because I do not practice censorship even in my little bubble of existence. I hate using that word (it is reminiscent of all those people online calling their removal from a given group or platform as censorship).
When in any of my online domains, I let people do as they please. And for the most part, same within real life. I just call them out.
If your in a public space or my space, it should be expected. I do not care about sacred cows. Deal with it 🙂 .
Either way, something that I have come to understand recently is that the philosophy of free speech is misunderstood by almost everyone I have ever heard give an opinion on it over the years (even myself in previous years). Particularly when the word censorship comes up.
When it comes to censorship, were talking about the federal level. Were not talking about a privately run digital space online, or a privately run digital platform. Were also not talking about idiots reporting content on a mass scale, or DDOS attacks .
These people are idiots, and they make life unnecessarily difficult with their acts of blatant hypocrisy. However, you still can (technically) say whatever you want.
To be censored, is to have the/a government (or an entity represented therein) tell you to cut it out, or else.
For example . . .
Jean-Marie Le Pen has been fined €30,000 (£24,000) after being convicted of denying crimes against humanity.
The former French far-right leader was fined in a court in Paris on Wednesday for repeating remarks he made about the Holocaust.
The 87-year-old had called the Nazi gas chambers a “detail” of World War II.
Take note of that one little word, detail. Because much of the case against Jean is riding on it.
He was convicted of the same offence in 2012 because he said the Nazi occupation of France was not “particularly inhumane”.
Regarding his most recent offence, during a television interview in April 2015 Le Pen said: “Gas chambers were a detail of the war, unless we accept that the war is a detail of the gas chambers.”
He made similar remarks in 1987.
Le Pen founded the Front National (FN) party in 1972 and was leader until 2011. But he was expelled in 2015 by his daughter because of his comments about the Holocaust and extreme beliefs.
Marine Le Pen has been leader of the FN party since 2011.
First off, window dressing.
This post is not inherently in defence of the man at hand (Jean-Marie Le Pen). One does not need much more background than is provided to know were dealing with a douche canoe stuck in old and toxic beliefs. However, if the context we are being given here is correct, than I have to come to bat for him.
Not for the “Nazi occupation in France was not particularly inhumane” comment. I do not have enough information to make a judgement anyway, so I will leave that out.
The comment that is more important to me is “The gas chambers were a detail of WW2”. To react in rage about this is frankly, ridiculous.
To quote Jean himself:
“Gas chambers were a detail of the war, unless we accept that the war is a detail of the gas chambers.”
Allied forces bombing at least 1 urban civilian target in Germany is also a detail of World War 2 (the city contained no targets of military or industrial significance). Then there is also the 2 H bombs dropped on Japan by the US. Also a detail of World War 2.
Maybe Jean used the word in manor that attempted to reduce the severity of the situation. But even if so, its still hardly a justification for a fine and/or a hate crime conviction. I can understand that the formerly Nazi occupied nations of Europe may be a somewhat more sensitive to this kind of speech, but STILL.
Hate speech can be debated. Whether or not Holocaust denial (outside of institutions of education anyway) is dangerous, can be debated. But in this case, I think the French authorities may have gone a bit to far in defending their history (or more, feelings).
Though a United States type anything goes level of free speech could be seen as being to lenient (when other factors are worked in), going after someone for a chosen adjective is also far to extreme a reaction. Certainly considering that the statement may not even be considered offensive, if you change the source.