I look into the world and i think that we live a great time, where, in a click you can talk to people all around the world.

Interested in being a member (click here) or if you just want to leave a short message (click here)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Finland: Thought crime or not?

"Yesterday a Finnish blogger, Mikko Ellilä, was convicted of what could be called, despite all the political and legal jargon, a thoughtcrime. What he did was tell several hardly disputable facts: that, on average, white people have a higher IQ than Africans (this difference may be due to nutrition, education and/or genetics but that's beside the point), that crime rates are exceptionally high for Africans (or their offshoots such as African-Americans) and that immigrants consume more of society's resources than what they contribute, i.e., that immigration is a net loss, at least in a welfare state such as ours." (Sandt's Observations )
I don't think that all this thoughts are without dispute. For instance:
- "on average, white people have a higher IQ than Africans" how did they conclude that? Did the studies picked persons from the same level of degree and social background? What I am saying is that you can only conclude that if you pick two persons who are equal and the only diference is the race (one thing that is almost impossible)
- "that crime rates are exceptionally high for Africans" again you have to exclude all things besides race to reach this conclusion. Mixing factors will not allow you to reach a valid conclusion.
- "immigrants consume more of society's resources than what they contribute" my doubt goes if the study did valued the benefit that all Finish have for having lower wages workers? And the jobs they have, don't they create value to Finland?
For me the hard part to believe is that a lawyer could not say that what this blogger said wasn't true, because the hard part is to prove that that claims are true and not the opposite. It is nearly impossible to single out race as a factor for having less IQ or being more prone to violence. There is no cientific proof for this claim. Is this a thought crime? I don't think so.
But this imposes a big and diferent question: Where is the limit for freedom of speech?

8 comments:

Matt M said...

Even if those claims made were entirely without basis (I'm not saying that they were - I haven't looked at the stats) that's no reason for legal action.

People should have to right to say what they want (with the exception, in my opinion, of direct incitement to violence). In a liberal democracy if people make claims you disagree with then you should use your own freedom of speech to show why they're wrong. Using legal action does nothing to expose or challenge lies or inaccuracies, it simply reinforces the sense of persecution and drives such opinions underground where they fester.

Stran_ger said...

First of all welcome back!!!

A doubt: what about the direct incitement of discrimination?

But I have to agree with the part that mainly you should respond through freedom of speech.

For me the part that is more dificult to come to a conclusion is where you draw a line between freedom of speech and something else.

Do insults enter the freedom of speech domain or is it a crime?

Matt M said...

I don't think we should prosecute individuals for discrimination - I may not like the fact that someone turns me down for a job etc. based on my skin colour, gender or sexuality, but I think the best way to counter that is through debate rather than legislation. As far as I'm concerned, people should have the right to insult me and refuse to hire/work with me if they want, as the alternative is neither workable nor desirable.

After all, what's the difference between a valid criticism and an insult? Who gets to decide?

(Government-run services are different though - Anyone who pays taxes has the right to be employed if their qualifications are right, so measures against discrimination are probably necessary in some form).

Stran_ger said...

Well I agree when you say:
"After all, what's the difference between a valid criticism and an insult? Who gets to decide?"

But the opposite also. I dont get is how you separate state from private companies. Since these last ones also benefit from stte investment (money from tax payers).

If there is no law against discrimination then the human right of being all equal goes to the trash can. Group pressure will start to work.

Imagine that tomorrow in the newspapper it is said that Gordon Brown is a pedophile, is this an insult or plain freedom of speech?

Matt M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt M said...

But the opposite also. I dont get is how you separate state from private companies

The state doesn't run private companies though and has no say in who does and doesn't get fired. If a private company wants to discriminate in who it hires then it should be allowed to, just as I'm allowed to discriminate in where I shop or work.

If there is no law against discrimination then the human right of being all equal goes to the trash can. Group pressure will start to work.

We discriminate all the time though - In who we talk to, work with, hang around with, live with... If I'm choosing between two equally qualified people for a job and I go with the one I get on with best then I'm discriminating against the other guy (because they don't like football, or have the same taste in music, etc.).

Besides, if I'm being hired by a bunch of bigots then I'd like to know about it. I'd hate to end up working in a place where they only hired me because the law told them they had to.

Group pressure may well kick in - but it'll ultimately collapse on itself. Which companies do you think will do the best: Those who hire on the basis of skin colour/gender/sexuality/etc. or those who hire on the basis of talent?

Imagine that tomorrow in the newspapper it is said that Gordon Brown is a pedophile, is this an insult or plain freedom of speech?

Neither - It's either a lie (if he's not) or a fact (if he is). If a newspaper wants to say that Brown is a ****head or something similar then they should have the right to.

Stran_ger said...

First of all sorry for the following questions but I really would like to know where are the limits.

"If a private company wants to discriminate in who it hires then it should be allowed to, just as I'm allowed to discriminate in where I shop or work."

But imagine you cannot discriminate since, for instance,
everybody follows the same racial policy of employment. In this scenario should it be allowed to discriminate or not?

"Group pressure may well kick in - but it'll ultimately collapse on itself. Which companies do you think will do the best: Those who hire on the basis of skin colour/gender/sexuality/etc. or those who hire on the basis of talent?"
Depends on the society you live in. You are imagining a society where someone has that possibility to choose. It is not the same everywhere. In a more socially closed society that choice does not exist.

Somebody once told me that "you don't ask a slave if he wants to be free", I believe this case has some similarities.

Matt M said...

People should never apologise for asking questions. :-)

In this scenario should it be allowed to discriminate or not?

The chances of everyone having the same prejudices are quite small. Eventually, a company would come along with a more forward-looking attitude, allowing people to be judged on their ability, which would then open the way towards more equal treatment. (Assuming the law was such as to allow a fairly fluid economy).