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Thread: Is European Freedom Of Speech Better Than American?

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Is European Freedom Of Speech Better Than American?

    The two vary in only one relevant way, for purposes of this thread: In the US, we believe that the cure for horrible ideas is for citizens to shout at them, without aid of the government censoring the other guy.

    In the EU (as well as Canada, I think) the citizens DO expect the government to censor citizens with horrible ideas.

    This difference is wildly believed to account for the somewhat more noisy and raucous protests and counterprotests that occur in the US as compared to Europe. (That's a BIG generalization.) Since 95% of this board "wishes protesters could be more polite and respectful", seems worth looking at.

    *Snip*

    It is hard to overstate the shock that these shops can cause visiting Italians to feel: the Scelba Law has made apologia del fascismo (“apology of fascism”) a crime in Italy since 1952, which means that the open display of fascist symbols and such public support for fascism itself are not a common sight. I decided to visit Predappio for the first time to learn about the Museum of Fascism that the town’s mayor, Giorgio Frassineti, of the left majority party Partito Democratico (Democratic Party) wants to build here, to counter the strain of nostalgia for fascism he feels has infested his town. Before setting off, I had been warned about the shops. I thought I was prepared. But I wasn’t. I never expected to see something so blatant, so aggressive, and so openly nostalgic for the fascist past. The very existence of these shocking shops represents, in a nutshell, all the ambiguity of Predappio, and of Italy’s relationship with its fascist past. It is hard to see how they could be considered legal, given the above mentioned Scelba law, and yet, law enforcers let them exist as if they were unable to see them, in spite of the outrage they have caused.

    A visit to Predappio can feel like an excursion into an alternative reality, one where fascism is displayed as a folkloric episode, and where revisionist history is displayed as fact. You wouldn’t find this type of scene anywhere else in Italy. Of course, fascist graffiti pops up from time to time in the country’s biggest cities; extreme right-wing soccer fans will raise their right arm straight in the air in the Roman salute while chanting their team’s name; and a neo-fascist group called Casa Pound (from the name of the British poet Ezra Pound, a fascist sympathizer) has attacked refugees, immigrants and left-wing opponents, while also developing an ideology that openly admires fascism. And yet, none of this compares to what a visitor sees in Predappio.

    *Snip*

    For Frassineti, Predappio’s mayor, building the museum has become an urgent matter, as a number of pro-fascist parades and visitors have drawn increased attention to the town [which is Mussolini's birthplace and where his tomb is located]. “It is difficult for things to be any worse in Predappio than they are right now,” he says with barely suppressed impatience. “I’m hoping that a serious, sober, historically sound museum will get rid of the neo-fascists that come here, or at least contain them.”

    While Mussolini was in power, Predappio became known as “the Duce’s Village,” and school children and groups of supporters were taken here on organized visits. Mussolini used architecture as one of his main propaganda tools, erecting monuments and apartment complexes at a pace never seen before in Italy. In the twenty years that he was in power, Predappio became Mussolini’s pet project, as he completely overhauled it to showcase some of his favorite styles, still clearly visible today. Its main road is flanked by palaces that show off the simple lines of the Italian Rationalist Movement (link in Italian), and the heavier statements of the Neoclassical, or Monumentalist Movement (link in Italian). Just behind this main thoroughfare, you can still see the “economic houses” and the “very economic houses” built by Mussolini to win support from the poorer classes—practical, essentialist buildings that were meant to provide all the basic amenities at a low cost, but which still required more money than the regime had. What remains today of this obsession for architecture is a visual dictionary of the 1920s and 1930s architectural lexicon, making Predappio a period-movie director’s dream. In recent years, the mayor has supervised the restoration of these buildings, which are all currently in use.

    Now this architecture, and Mussolini’s hand in it, is presented to visitors as an “open air museum,” peppered with explanatory signs and leaflets, giving the first hint that Predappio wants to go from being seen as Mussolini’s shrine to a town that acknowledges its history without openly endorsing it.

    Growing up in Bologna and Florence—two cities awarded the Gold Medal of the Resistance, an honor given to the cities that fought most valiantly against fascism and the invading German troops —I spent more time studying anti-fascism at school than I did fascism itself. Many Italians have only a cursory understanding of the crimes perpetrated in Mussolini’s name, and of the ideology he touted.

    This is because for decades, Italy has tried to avoid the debate over fascism’s legacy in the country. Unlike Germany or South Africa, for example, which have a number of public spaces that invite people to reflect upon the horrors of Nazism and apartheid, Italy has avoided similar historical reflections.

    A few things have contributed to this eagerly pursued amnesia. To start, Italians have chosen to focus on the resistance movement that helped to overturn the fascist regime rather than on its supporters, explains Giulia Albanese, professor of Contemporary History at Padova’s University. And Italy has also avoided reckoning with its own crimes by concentrating on “the comparison with Nazism, which has always been used to justify, and minimize, fascism’s crimes,” making what happened in Italy look more benign, Albanese says. Add to all this the fact that Italy became one of many pawns during the Cold War, meant to fight a further spread of communism, delaying indefinitely the day of reckoning.

    The desire to sweep the horror of the regime under the carpet has opened the country to revisionism and indifference. And in spite of a law which criminalizes reviving the Fascist Party, attempts at whitewashing the country’s history are treated with surprising tolerance.

    The choice of the birthplace of Mussolini as the site for Italy’s only Museum of Fascism to date has caused a storm of controversy. Many fear the museum could turn the town into even more of a shrine to fascism.

    *Snip*

    Proponents of the museum, on the other hand, believe it will help Italy confront its past without making excuses for it. “We must become capable of talking about fascism as if it were any other historical time, without feeling compelled to add… things like ‘Oh, but it became truly bad only after Nazism entered the fray,’” says Marcello Flores, professor of History and Human Rights History at Siena University, who has been coordinating the preliminary plans for the museum. “We must become secular enough to be able to talk about fascism in all its aspects, without fear and without political expediency,” he argues. “Our democracy was born out of that disaster.”

    Despite the criticisms, the project is moving forward. Funds for the estimated €6.5 million project will be raised by the government, and the EU announced at the end of last year that it would contribute €2 million towards the endeavor.

    Far from the heated disputes among historians, the idea of a national museum of Fascism is supported by many local citizens, tired of living under the dark shadow of Italy’s dictator and of his contemporary supporters. For Paola Meloni, a 46-year-old lawyer from Predappio, having the museum would be a relief: “Predappio could really do with an attraction that is more neutral. We had hoped to market ourselves for our local wine, but it has not been enough. I would welcome a good historical museum here,” she says.

    In the meantime, Predappio lives on in its parallel reality, where anybody can openly buy a fascist uniform.
    https://qz.com/993672/a-controversia...ors_picks=true

    If the US adopts the rule of law that our government can censor hate speech, how to we go on to discuss our own history? How do we honor our heroes and condemn our enemies within?

    Why is it so much better to award MORE power to the government that it is to tolerate there (mostly law-abiding) protests and counter-protests over Trump, etc.?

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    The French not only erected monuments to their Resistance Fighters, after WWII. They also sought out and stigmatized French Nazi collaborators.

    Are only one of these stories important to teach to modern French schoolchildren?
    Last edited by Madeline; 29th May 2017 at 04:33 AM.

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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Clyde Kennard (June 12, 1927 – July 4, 1963) was an American, Korean War veteran, and civil rights pioneer and martyr from Hattiesburg, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement.[1] In the 1950s, he attempted several times to enroll at the all-white Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) to complete his undergraduate degree started at the University of Chicago. Although the United States Supreme Court had ruled in 1954 that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional, USM rejected him. Kennard was among the thousands of local activists in the 1940s and 1950s who pressed for their rights.[2]

    After Kennard published a letter in the local paper about integrated education, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a state-supported agency, conspired to have him arrested on false charges. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years at Parchman Penitentiary, the state's notorious high-security prison. He became terminally ill with cancer. The state governor refused to pardon him, but released him on parole in January 1963. Kennard died that year in July. After publication in 2005 of evidence that Kennard had been framed, supporters tried to secure a posthumous pardon for him, but Governor Haley Barbour refused. Supporters gained Barbour's cooperation in petitioning the court to review Kennard's case, and in 2006 his conviction was overturned completely.

    *Snip*
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Kennard
    Last edited by Madeline; 29th May 2017 at 04:07 AM.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Richard Collins III was about to graduate from Bowie State University on Tuesday [May 2017]. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army. He was airborne certified. He was a son, a friend, and active in his church.

    To Sean Urbanski, a University of Maryland student, he was black. At around 3 am on Saturday, May 20, Collins waited for an Uber ride along with two friends who were students at UMD at an on-campus bus stop. Urbanski walked up to them, and, according to witnesses, said, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.” Collins simply replied, “No.” He stood his ground. Urbanski then stabbed him in the chest and fled the scene. Collins died at the hospital.

    Make no mistake about it—this was a lynching, a lynching committed by a UMD student. A lynching 10 minutes from my damn house. Urbanski, as has been widely reported, is a member of a racist Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation.” But that’s also not all he is. He’s a college student who grew up in the leafy suburban environs of Severna Park, Maryland. He hung out at Adele H. Stamp Student Union, studied at McKeldin Library, and wore his Baltimore Ravens gear around campus. He was not an interloper or an outsider. He is a homegrown terrorist who grew out of the soil of this college campus.

    The sooner that the administration and the student body reckon with that reality, the better. The UMD campus has seen racist chalkings, nooses, flyers, and threats since Donald Trump took office. And yes, one would have to be willingly obtuse to not see a direct line from having open white supremacists in the Oval Office to the emboldening of the perpetrators—not just at UMD but, according to NPR reporting, at campuses across the country.
    https://www.thenation.com/article/ly...ryland-campus/
    Last edited by Madeline; 29th May 2017 at 04:09 AM.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    How do we judge the validity of the criticism now being flung at Trump and the US government, that his racist speech is inspiring more racist hate crimes, if the black students and protesters in BLM, etc. try to silence everyone's discussion of racism, past and present?



    Note: on private property, this sign is 100% okay, because we have freedom to assemble -- and to exclude anyone we want -- on property we own. But on a public university's property, this sign is as unconstitutional as this one:



    How are we to discuss the cause of the rise in hate crimes in this country when too many of our public colleges and universities saw students wearing pro-Trump gear before the election bullied by other students, without stepping in to protect them? Some were reportedly even threatened that the offended students would ask the college to EXPEL the "offending " Trump supporters among them. Who knows whether any such expulsion did in fact take place?

    Is "polite" protesting BETTER for our society and our democracy, or is it (as I contend) actually almost WORTHLESS in achieving real change? Is a kerfuffle at a protest so terrible that we want -- even demand -- that the 1st amendment be narrow and government censorship powers created?

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by Madeline; 29th May 2017 at 04:04 AM.

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    What I realize on PH since I read threads and posts, is the fact that what is written is often what would lead you in front of a judge in most Western European countries. Must we consider that these countries are less free as far as what people can express in public or openly ? I do not think it is really the case, because expression means an interaction with others. There would be no thread of the kind if we referred to a lonesome man on a desert island. So, the difference I see is that in Europe you can express whatever you want as long as you remain respectful of individuals, even if basically you are racist etc... You are not authorized to focus on one individual or a group to say what you want to say...... In the US it is different, you can insult anyone you want using even dirty words and there are most of the time no consequences. On the other hand, you are immerged in the politically correct which is another type of censorship. One could say that in a way from one Continent to the other things are upside down.
    Thanks from labrea

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galatin View Post
    What I realize on PH since I read threads and posts, is the fact that what is written is often what would lead you in front of a judge in most Western European countries. Must we consider that these countries are less free as far as what people can express in public or openly ? I do not think it is really the case, because expression means an interaction with others. There would be no thread of the kind if we referred to a lonesome man on a desert island. So, the difference I see is that in Europe you can express whatever you want as long as you remain respectful of individuals, even if basically you are racist etc... You are not authorized to focus on one individual or a group to say what you want to say...... In the US it is different, you can insult anyone you want using even dirty words and there are most of the time no consequences. On the other hand, you are immerged in the politically correct which is another type of censorship. One could say that in a way from one Continent to the other things are upside down.
    You are correct, that the US has plenty of criticism coming for its mishandling of our freedom of speech, even as it is currently interpreted by our SCOTUS.

    But I disagree that silencing all but polite discussions of racist etc. ideas has value. We did not end Jim Crow in a debate in a Harvard classroom.

    We ended it with the blood of Civil Rights protesters, and the nations disgust at the southern states' government abuse of their non-white citizens.

    In a very real sense, this is the photo that tolled the death knell for Jim Crow:




    Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, on August 24, 1955, when he was accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who was a cashier at a grocery store. Four days later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Till, beat him and shot him in the head. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them. Till's murder and open casket funeral galvanized the emerging Civil Rights Movement. Over six decades after Till's brutal abduction and murder, in January 2017, Timothy Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till and a senior research scholar at Duke University, revealed that in a 2007 interview Carolyn admitted to him that she had lied about Till making advances toward her.
    https://www.biography.com/people/emmett-till-507515

    Was it wrong, IYO, for Maimi Till to "give offense" by arranging an open casket funeral for her child?

  10. #10
    Southern Strategy Liberal OldGaffer's Avatar
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    Most of Europe rates higher on the "Freedom Scale" than the US. We are sitting at 90/100, all the Nordic countries are at 100/100, Germany is 95, Canada is 99, Australia 98 and on down to Mexico at 65 and Africa and a lot of Asia not even considered "Free". I remember when the US was the freest nation on Earth, but those days are long gone.

    https://freedomhouse.org/report/free...dom-world-2016
    Thanks from Madeline, labrea and Iolo

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