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  •  "There he is! Get him!" may or may not... (0+ / 0-)

    It may come at the end of a long philosophical discourse where the speaker and the crowd maintain a tone of complete rationality, and the crowd is well and truly persuaded, of their own free will, that a certain person in town deserves to be lynched.  

    However, Fire! in a crowded theatre, and child pornography, don't fit that model.   Nor does fraudulent commercial speech, which is also proscribed: it creates an emotion of trust that is obtained on false pretenses.  

    But leaving aside commercial speech for the speaker's benefit, the emotional states that are known to produce harmful acts against others are fear, rage, hatred, and lust.  Each of these can cause a person to act aggressively in a manner that they otherwise would not, if they were in possession of their faculties.

    This is not an abstraction; this is based on neuroscience that is every bit as solid as the climate science upon which we must now base major changes in our economy so as not to render ourselves extinct.  We can measure the neuropeptides and neurohormones that are the causes of the emotions in question.  

    Yes, I am seeking to systematically define the boundary conditions of free speech, in a clear and unequivocal manner, based on the generalizations that follow from examples that are clear and incontrovertible.  

    If we don't define the exact boundaries of free speech, what we are left with is a fuzzy border that will gradually be encroached based upon whatever expedience happens to rule the day.

    The boundary I am defining is straightforward:  inducing an emotional state that circumvents an individuals's free will and ability to reason, in a manner that causes them to harm another person.  

    And the standard I propose is that actions should have consequences.  1st Amendment protection should not be available to that type of speech when and if it leads to harm.  I wouldn't seek to a-priori muzzle it, since history shows that path to be fruitless.  I would simply open it up to full liability for consequences.  

    Thus, Vanderboog's urging his audience to break Congressmembers' windows, would not be protected speech.  Nor would posting a Congressmember's brother's address, when doing so leads to an attempted multiple murder via severing a propane gas line.  Sarah Palin's target crosshairs on Congressional districts, if they resulted in assassinations, would also come in for strict liability.    

    Or are you arguing for lifting the restrictions on shouting Fire! in a crowded theatre?   Are you arguing for legalizing kiddie porn?  

    •  No, I'm for leaving the First Amendment (0+ / 0-)

      the fuck alone. Again, your criteria are ludicrously broad. Just about any political speech meets  them.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” — Emma Goldman

      by Jyrinx on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 02:32:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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