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Free Speech Permit

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At birth, all U.S. citizens will still be granted the standard consitutional right of free speech. However, as this right is ambiguous and offenses can still be punished with civil fines and loss of one's job, it is necessary to clarify the specific classes of potentially insulting remarks that a person is allowed to utter risk-free.

Public speakers, singers, and politicians are advised to apply for a Free Speech Permit. This specifies what classes of insults (racial, gender, sexual orientation, monetary status) you can make WITHOUT fear of losing your job or incurring criminal or civil punishment. The sections are further divided into insults towards your own race and towards other races; the former is much easier to obtain permission for.

The types of free speech granted will be decided by United States popular vote, using text messaging, internet polls, and national phone hotlines.

Even if an expression is permitted, the speaker may be forced to apologize and his permit may then be revoked. This depends on public outcry. However, he is guaranteed to keep his job and will suffer no monetary damages.

Once that section of the permit is revoked, a second offense is unprotected. The speaker is then subject to the standard free speech amendment to the U.S. constitution.

phundug, Apr 14 2007

current events http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Imus
[jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2007]

Whiskey http://www.mindspri...s/whiskey/intro.htm
invented in Ireland [xenzag, Apr 16 2007]

The story of the Cavity Magnetron http://news.bbc.co....ci/tech/6331897.stm
[hippo, Apr 17 2007]

Tim Berners-Lee http://news.bbc.co....hnology/3357073.stm
inventor of world wide web [xenzag, Apr 17 2007]

Pretend everything was invented by someone French Pretend_20everythin..._20someone_20French
by M. mark_t [calum, Apr 17 2007]


       The right is not ambiguous. The assignment of free speech to corporations (as if they were individuals) and the prosecution of people who practice it is the problem.
nuclear hobo, Apr 15 2007

       The very idea of someone making racist comments and getting away with it by law is just wrong.   

       Besides, it wouldn't work. The guy makes a racist torrent, and then can't be fired because he had a permit, so the firm fires him for something 'unrelated'.
Germanicus, Apr 15 2007

       If you cant deal with people's right to speak their mind then leave. If you work for me and get paid by me then you will speak for me or get fired. No one said you had to work for me.   

       No one has curtailed Mr. Imus' right to speak freely in whatever manner he wishes, they just choose not to pay him for it any more.   

       This is a fundamental tenet of a free society as the slope from saying I cant make a racist comment and I cant make an anti-government comment is very short and very slippery.   

       The very basis for this idea is naive.
jhomrighaus, Apr 15 2007

       //The assignment of free speech to corporations (as if they were individuals) and the prosecution of people who practice it is the problem//   

       This is not a problem at all. If you dont like the message then you can choose not to deal with that company, thus society determines the nature of what is acceptable. If CBS began broadcasting strong racist messages on a daily basis their customers would object, pull their funding and the corporation would cease to exist, end of story, problem solved. Democracy and the free market in action, this is one of the fundamental reasons that the United States as one of the youngest societies on the planet has achieved so much in a little over 200 years, more than any other society on the planet.
jhomrighaus, Apr 15 2007

       Others have done more with less.
Texticle, Apr 16 2007

       What jh said. People at the cutting edge, whether it's technology or broadcasting, do run the risk of getting their their fingers cut. We don't need any laws about this.
DrCurry, Apr 16 2007

       //more than any other society on the planet.//
Blimey. That's some claim.
calum, Apr 16 2007

       Is this some breaking US news story at the moment?
zen_tom, Apr 16 2007

       // Is this some breaking US news story at the moment?//   

       Yes see link!   

       //Blimey. That's some claim.// //Others have done more with less.//   

       By all means throw out some other examples!
jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2007

       If you need a permit then, by definition, it isn't free speech.

I'd be interested to know what you think the USA's achievements are.
DrBob, Apr 16 2007

       //By all means throw out some other examples!//   

       Are we talking achievements, or examples of free-market democracies?   

       Because on one hand you've got the technological, architectural and organisational (read Colonial/Imperial) achievements of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, British, and for at least 50 of those 200 years you mention, between 1776 and 1865, the USA; All of whom, far from operating true democracies, actually did really very well out of slavery, thankyou very much.   

       While, strangely enough, many of the powers mentioned (except perhaps the Egyptians) were also extemely proud of their governmental systems in terms of how fair and representative they were, as well as embracing and benefiting from all of those lovely free-market and free-speech bonuses that we've all grown to know and love.   

       I'd venture that the reason why the US has grown so rapidly is likely to be down to the abundance of natural resources, married with the almost total replacement of the indigenous population with colonists; many of whom were the slaves and indentured servants, who did much of the actual building, planting, farming, mining and other work that was necessary to make the formative colony a success.   

       The size of the continent, and it's relatively sparse indigenous population also allowed for the new technological, post industrial advancements to be implemented without all that pre-existing, medieval infrastructure getting in the way.   

       //Democracy and the free market in action, is one of the fundamental reasons that the United States as one of the youngest societies on the planet has achieved so much in a little over 200 years, more than any other society on the planet//   

       So while free speech, market-economics and representative government must been a good way to nurture this explosion of development, I can't see it being fundamental - and, given the chance, all of those slaves would probably argue the toss over the free speech/democracy points too.
zen_tom, Apr 16 2007

       They had to say "ho" when announcing Don Ho's death the other day...
xandram, Apr 16 2007

       The administration of this system would be expensive, its powers would be abusable and real malice would leak through the cracks in it anyhow. [-]
pertinax, Apr 16 2007

       It was free speech that ultimately allowed us to move forward and eliminate slavery(and the deaths of many free speaking people in one of the bloodiest wars ever fought)   

       I am making no statement as to the rightness or wrongness of our choices as a society only the success of a free market free speech society as a whole. Be clear that things such as slavery were not limited to the US(the world had quite a thriving slave trade before we ever showed up) Further subrogation of native peoples is also not a trick we developed either. I think the Brits hold the crown on that trick. But it is wrong for us to look back and say who was right or wrong, hindsight is 20/20, but looking back tells us that the most successful societies in world history were overwhelmingly democratic in nature(republics, parlimentary, etc.) and many if not all tolerated the practice of free speech.   

       The United States is by no means a new invention by one in a long line of free societies that repeatedly have proven more stable, more prosperous and more successful than their contemporaries.
jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2007

       Oh don't get me wrong - I wasn't making a moral position and I certainly wasn't trying to diss the US - I was just answering your challenge to provide some examples of nations that had achieved more, with less.   

       I do think it's amazing that what we today call "The West" follows almost verbatim the ancient Roman model, which in turn was based on some of the city states of Greece, which in turn likely inherited ideas from somewhere else.   

       Rather depressingly (depending on your point of view) I have to argue against your point about //the most successful societies in world history were overwhelmingly democratic in nature// while this is true - those societies were successful, I'd say only with the qualification that despite their vaunted democratic values, these societies succeeded because they were able to maintain a good supply of slave labour. It's counter-intuitive (when you think of their representative governmental achievements), but telling, that those high-power, high-achievement cultures (Egypt, Greece, Rome, Britain and the other Imperial European powers, and later the US etc) all had large unrepresented sections of the population who did almost all the hard labour for the benefit of those who did enjoy some kind of civil representation.   

       Today of course, we have industrial technology to perform the necessary tasks for a thriving civilisation, and so have transcended the requirement of slave labour - at least, let's hope so - Today, a culture can grow and become influential without the use of forced labour. Free speech really can finally be free, because we now (as a species) have the luxury of technology to provide us with all our civic requirements.   

       Let's hope it remains that way.
zen_tom, Apr 16 2007

       Serf's up!
Ian Tindale, Apr 16 2007

       //I'd be interested to know what you think the USA's achievements are.//   

       The Internet

       The Singer-style sewing Machine

       The light bulb

       The personal computer


       Assembly lines

       The Americans With Disabilities Act

       Automatic gear shift

       The elevator brake

       Air conditioning

       English-speaking England

       The Airplane

       The microchip

       The Panama Canal


       The transistor

       Nuclear power

       The iPod

       The typewriter

       The zipper

       stroboscopic photography

       Polio vaccine

       Nylon, Neoprene, teflon, kevlar

       solar cells

       //If you need a permit then, by definition, it isn't free speech.//   

       Not really. If you read the idea carefully, what is proposed is additional protections in the private sphere through a statutory scheme. I think what is proposed is the types of speech protected under the Constitution -plus- regulation of private entities to prevent retaliation for this speech against those who hold permits.   

       The problem with this idea is that you ave to take away someone else's constitutional rights to enforce the newly-created statutory rights. The best way to determine whether your tongue-in-cheek jokes are being interpreted correctly is to wait and see if you get fired.
nomocrow, Apr 16 2007

       // Today, a culture can grow and become influential without the use of forced labour. // Good thing those cheap workers in Bangladesh don't complain too much about the whippings.
placid_turmoil, Apr 16 2007

       Oh yeah, well we British invented:
The non-flushing toilet
Pneumatic tyres (oh wait, they're Scottish)
The World Wide Web (whilst abroad)
The swinging sixties
The jet engine (probably, although it was a close run thing)
The Seed Drill
Television (another Scottish one?)
The hovercraft
Ian Tindale, Apr 16 2007

       Good list [nomocrow] only the tip of the iceburgh of course.   

       As to the question of the private market, why should the government have any say over what is said by employees of mine while on company time. Its my business I own it, I paid for it, I paid for their time to do a job that I define. That relationship is a contract in which I say jump and they say how high, If I don't like how high they jump then I let them go.   

       If they feel what I did was unfair then they can sue me and try to recover(which happens all the time).
jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2007

       Is it possible to invent gravity?   

       On second thought didn't the brits have a hand in inventing the USA to?   

       You forgot powdered Wigs, Tea and Crumpets.
jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2007

       Yes, Newton invented gravity. It's made from apples.
Ian Tindale, Apr 16 2007

       well they did invent Guinness so I suppose we cant be too hard on them.
jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2007

       //English-speaking England//
Best to ditch that old canard, it irks some people quite hard.

       //Television (another Scottish one?)//
'fraid so.

the Ku Klux Klan
The American Navy
The Wealth of Nations
The Watt Steam Engine (and, by extension, the Industrial Revolution)
David Hume
The concept of evolution (no, really, see Lord Monboddo)
The Krankies
Auld Lang Syne
Encyclopædia Britannica
Graeme Souness
calum, Apr 16 2007

       Are you sure about bagpipes? (I mean, about being of Scottish origin, not 'are you sure about bagpipes' as a general validation).
Ian Tindale, Apr 16 2007

       Actually, no, I'm not sure.
calum, Apr 16 2007

       //well [the brits] did invent Guinness so I suppose we cant be too hard on them.//   

       That was the Irish, so feel free to keep dissing us Brits.   

       But Marmite, now that's a genuine British invention.
imaginality, Apr 16 2007

       corrections... whiskey was invented in Ireland, the oldest and best being Bushmills (see link). That which the Scots describe as whiskey is skank water by comparison.
xenzag, Apr 16 2007

       corrections... whiskey was invented in Ireland, the oldest and best being Bushmills (see link). That which the Scots describe as whiskey is skank water by comparison (retreats as hail of bricks and bottles blot out the sun)
xenzag, Apr 16 2007

       Further Engl/Scot/Wel -ish inventions include:   

       Benny Hill
The Sandwich
zen_tom, Apr 16 2007

       Let's not forget Monty Pyton ...
nuclear hobo, Apr 17 2007

       sp. Python   

       No danger of forgetting them, given the 'What have the Romans ever done for us?' theme this discussion has taken.   

       "All right, but apart from the air conditioning, McDonalds, the Internet, Californian wine, personal computers, jets, the free market system, and Polaroid cameras, what have the Americans ever done for us?"   

       "Free speech."   

       "Oh. Free speech? Shut up!"
imaginality, Apr 17 2007

       "I'm sorry sir but your permit expired at noon, we are going to have to arrest you now for excessive sarcasm"
jhomrighaus, Apr 17 2007

       Guinness? That's nothing more than disguised and rebranded London Porter, in effect. British.
Ian Tindale, Apr 17 2007

       further corrections ... jet engine (Frank Whittle), computer (Charles Babbage), and internet (Tim Berners-Lee) all British inventions.
xenzag, Apr 17 2007

       I'll see your bushmills xenzag, and raise you a Talisker. Slainte mhath!
calum, Apr 17 2007

       The design for the US' Stars and Stripes was invented by the British, or at least, the stripey part was.
zen_tom, Apr 17 2007

       xenzag, - Tim BL didn't invent the Internet.
Ian Tindale, Apr 17 2007

       And don't forget the Cavity Magnetron - another great British invention (It's an interesting story actually - see link).

And, another of those things the British invented but didn't tell anyone about because of the Cold War: Public-Key Cryptography.
hippo, Apr 17 2007

       …so it could be said that it 'flew below the radar'?
Ian Tindale, Apr 17 2007

       Thats an scotish one(Radar) and Babbage's machine was certainly impressive but I would consider it quite a stretch to consider it inventing the computer.
jhomrighaus, Apr 17 2007

       Interesting lists of 'achievements' but, with the exception of The Americans With Disabilities Act I would suggest that none of them rate very highly from a civilisation point of view. No mentions of health, education, literacy, happiness or peace and harmony there, just a list of stuff.
DrBob, Apr 17 2007

What about gravy? Surely that's not just "stuff"?
zen_tom, Apr 17 2007

       <coughs, points to Krankies, Souness>
calum, Apr 17 2007

       //xenzag, - Tim BL didn't invent the Internet.// www did did did ! ! !
xenzag, Apr 17 2007

       I think there's a bit of semantics going on here - Tim BL (from Wimborne, Dorset) came up with the concept of a browser, that read and parsed hypertext.   

       Meanwhile, teh internets, is a distributed network of cables, routers, and computers that negotiate packets of data between one another within nets and subnets over a messaging standard called IP (internet protocol).   

       The one sits atop the other. The software "Web" (of World-Wide variety) sits atop the much harder network of interconnecting machines that constitues the internet. The software makes it far easier to navigate and use than having to constantly provide 4-byte addresses and associated port numbers. But it is something different.   

       Try opening a command shell on your operating system, and typing
ping www.halfbakery.com
You'll see a set of four numbers separated by full-stops, this is the ip (internet) address of the halfbakery. Your web browser asks the bakery server (at the address listed) to send it the html, which it recieves normally on port 80.

       Somewhere between you and this server, there is a box that resolves the alias www.halfbakery.com to that 4-number address. When you 'register' an internet address, all you're really doing is adding another entry into that resolution table, so that whenever someone types in www.xyz.com, they'll get pointed at the machine at internet address xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
zen_tom, Apr 17 2007

       which was created in the United States.
jhomrighaus, Apr 17 2007

zen_tom, Apr 17 2007

       <even further off-topic>
The author of the book "History the Betrayer: a Study in Bias" chose invention lists as his strongest and most obvious example of patriotic bias through selectivity. Invention lists fit this role nicely because, of course, technologies tend to roll forward more or less in parallel in several places at once, and each technological step in one place is likely to rely on technological steps in other places. So, simply by careful selection of facts, a number of developed nations simultaneously are able to create the false impression that they, and they alone, invented every damned thing worth having - without actually lying.

       The man who formulated this brilliant observation was, of course, British.
pertinax, Apr 17 2007

       xenzag, - so, going by your logic, Tim would have had to invent Arpanet and Janet first, then after shifting Fido onto the early backbone, establish protocols such as usenet, followed by email, mime and ftp and ntp, and later on when he felt like it, invent gopher and irc, then for an encore, top it all off with http.
Ian Tindale, Apr 17 2007

       //health, education, literacy, happiness or peace and harmony//   

       Health - polio vaccination. Many, many other medical achievements.   

       And the health system sucks, I know. I'm working on it.   

       literacy - we have over 99% literacy, just like the U.K.   

       happiness - not having polio, jazz,the internet.   

       education and peace and harmony - nobody's perfect. I'm working on it.
nomocrow, Apr 17 2007

       // Tim BL (from Wimborne, Dorset) came up with the concept of a browser   

       While Tim Berners-Lee came up with the World-Wide Web, the first SGML browser (which, yes, followed hyperlinks) was written by John Bottoms in 1987, predating the Web. And of course there's Vannevar Bush's Memex, written about in 1945.   

       (I don't mean this as a contribution to the idiotic "who invented most" battle, but to point out that ideas are not created in a vacuum, and many interesting things are put together by groups of people from all over, working loosely together in a climate that fosters exchange of ideas.)
jutta, Apr 17 2007

       //idiotic "who invented most" battle//   

       Yet another American invention.
nomocrow, Apr 17 2007

       Actually following a short sleep, I remember that it was non other than myself who invented the internet, using little more than the dried backbone of a sardine, some clear plastic tubing and a spool of 3amp fuse wire.   

       On another subject [lt_Frank]//They are the straw that breaks the camel's back of quality 'bakers, such as UB, and of course, myself.// Is that a single or double hump and what do you store in yours?
xenzag, Apr 17 2007

       //and many interesting things are put together by groups of people from all over, working loosely together in a climate that fosters exchange of ideas//   

       Isn't it great what free speech does to make that possible?   

       This whole discussion, good and bad is an extension of free speech rights.   

       Oh by the way you realize we are all just having fun and not actually seriously trying to win the discussion.
jhomrighaus, Apr 17 2007

       Um, guys, hang on a minute - have you got a permit for all this?
DrCurry, Apr 17 2007

       //Free Speech Permit//
Who invented the one where you must pay?
Ling, Apr 18 2007

       While I agree that Hate Speech as you call it is deplorable, I would posit that it is a necessary extension of Free Speech. You cannot have free speech without allowing all points of view. No matter how much we might hate to hear such things their existence is a powerful validation of the right to speak freely. It is incumbent on us the listener to also speak up and express our view. If we sit by and complain then such behavior will continue unchecked.
jhomrighaus, Apr 18 2007

       //Thats an scotish one(Radar) // 16cm radar was patented in 1934 by... a Frenchman, Emile Girardeau, though a German patent for a 50cm wavelength ship detection device was granted in 1904.
sp. "Scottish"
coprocephalous, Apr 18 2007


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