.. in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship.” — Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority .(CIEC, para 5) As a society, we’ve gotten quite accustomed to having our information spoon-fed to us without questioning it. We don’t know how to tell good information from bad. Our own ignorance is really the enemy here, not the Nazi revisionists and certainly not the Internet. Are We Protected? There are laws against slander and libel.
These laws exist so that one can protect himself against people who use speech as a weapon, rather than as a tool. What it comes down to is this: A society built on free speech is a society that’s willing to take risks. It’s willing to risk that unpredictable, individual expression may hurt or offend people, or give power to people or groups whose rhetoric can catch hold and sway the population. In contrast, a society that’s built on free speech is also willing to have faith that free speech will allow the truth to prevail, and that’s more important than the risk of humiliation, and even more important than the risk that someone might believe a lie. “If the goal is to protect children, then parental empowerment technology together with education provides the means.
Making a law would only lull parents into a false sense of security, into feeling that children were protected when they are not. We know that at least 40% of the content that may be inappropriate for children is outside the US, and beyond the reach of US law,” said Bill Burrington, Assistant General Counsel of America Online.(CEIC). Many lies are being told today by hate groups, and maybe some people believe them. There is nothing so powerful about them, that gives the government, or anyone else the power to decide whose version of history, or whose version of the truth, should be allowed to travel along the wires of our communications systems, including the Internet. Examples Of Hate Sites Hate group web pages are not difficult to find. Identifying an organization as a hate group would be somewhat of a subjective task.
Some individuals would broaden their list to include organizations that manifest various levels of intolerance toward target populations, even though the organizations would not advocate violence. Lists of hate groups generally include organizations that advocate violence or unreasonable hostility toward target populations, for example. Racists David Duke, a former Louisiana legislator and national leader of the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is one example of those who are using the Internet to spread racial hatred. On his website, he writes: “Our people (white people) will learn that our very survival is in jeopardy. We will finally realize that our culture and traditions are under attack; that our values and morality, our freedom and prosperity are in danger.( Creating Fear of Difference Online).
Several white supremacist groups use symbolism from Christian scriptures to assert their racist and anti-Semitic agenda. One example is the Aryan Nations, which claims that fair-skinned people with northern European ancestry are God’s chosen people, to the exclusion of all others. Such Internet messages propagate fear of difference by stereotyping, exaggerating or making up figures, and spewing fear-filled language. They create an atmosphere of hate that feeds violence. That is just one example of the many Internet sites that is steering up hate in our society.
The Aryan Nations, Christian Identity, Ku Klux Klan organizations and a number of other groups assert that white people should not have to share a common culture with non-whites. Sex Discrimination Many of these sex discrimination sites have gone under ground. These site are the weaker of the hate sites. Many of the sites also lean on the same basis for rejecting the homosexual life. Here is an example of one of the sites: “Homosexuality is immoral and is therefore illegal — despite the desperate attempts by homosexuals to have homosexuality and homosexual marriages declared legal.”(Homosexuality) My Stance I believe we do have a severe problem on our hands.
However I feel the problem is not with the internet. I would have to say that the censorship of the internet is to be taken care of at home. Many people rely on television, VCRs, and toys to watch over their children. What happened to family values? I think people have become very lazy when comes to care for their children. Come on America, start accepting responsibility for yourself and stop blaming technology.
Conclusion In conclusion, The decisions we make today about our basic freedoms will be ones we live with for a very long time. We need to turn on the lights in the internet world, and expose the darkness and the lies. Bibliography Allport, G. (1948, 1983). ABC’s of Scapegoating. New York: Anti-Defamation League.
Anti-Defamation League (1994). Hate Crimes Laws: A Comprehensive Guide. New York: Author. CIEC. “Communications Defamation Act”, June 6, 1998.
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Feminist Internet Gateway. “Sex Discrimination”, http://www.feminist.org/gateway/sd exec.html Harris Raymond C. “Homosexuality.” http://www.primenet.com/~rayhar/p homosx.htm Jenness, V. & Broad, K. (1997). Hate Crimes: New Social Movements and the Politics of Violence.
New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Matsuda, M., Lawrence, C., Delgado, R., & Crenshaw, K. W. (1993). Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment.
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Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. Response. “Creating Fear Of Difference Online”, 1998. http://gbgm-umc.org/Response/articles/hateonline.h tml Stay, B. (Ed.) (1997). Censorship: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press. WebActive.
“Guide To Hate Groups”, October 6, 1996. http://www.webactive.com/webactive/sotw/hate.html.