snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > SLC Central > Soapbox Derby

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 13 August 2017, 03:56 PM
TallGeekyGirl's Avatar
TallGeekyGirl TallGeekyGirl is online now
 
Join Date: 31 December 2005
Location: Virginia
Posts: 11,889
Jaded American tourist gives Nazi salute in Germany, is beaten up

Quote:
BERLIN (AP) Police say a drunken American man was punched by a passer-by as he gave the stiff-armed Nazi salute multiple times in downtown Dresden.

https://apnews.com/7038efa32f324d8ea...,-is-beaten-up
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 13 August 2017, 04:25 PM
Psihala's Avatar
Psihala Psihala is offline
 
Join Date: 28 February 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 7,567
Default

Gee, I can't imagine why anyone in Germany (of all places) could possibly find something like that offensive.



~Psihala
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 13 August 2017, 04:37 PM
ASL's Avatar
ASL ASL is offline
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,239
Germany

Punching people in the face? I agree, that's very offensive.

Oh, you meant that other thing, that the tourist was doing? Yeah, that too, but meh. It's just unfortunate that laws against free expression are so pervasive in western Europe. Maybe people would be less prone to violence if the law didn't continue to give the impression that it's okay to stifle non-violent expression?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 13 August 2017, 04:45 PM
crocoduck_hunter's Avatar
crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
 
Join Date: 27 May 2009
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 11,523
Default

You mean like how neo-Nazis are allowed to have "peaceful" demonstrations in the US where they openly carry guns and advocate violence and oppression against minorities?

NFBSK that, if there's one group of people who deserve a collective face-punching, it's neo-Nazis.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 13 August 2017, 04:48 PM
ASL's Avatar
ASL ASL is offline
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,239
Read This!

You're right, NFBSK the second amendment. And the first amendment while we're at it. That's the real villain, isn't it? If we could just stop these alt-right folks from talking, we'd be able to push through an amendment repealing the second amendment no problem!

ETA: In fact, you know what, NFBSK the whole Bill of Rights: it was just tacked on as an "oh by the way" anyways, right!?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 13 August 2017, 05:14 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 8,781
Baseball

That's the thing between the US and the rest of the western world when it comes to freedom of expression.

In the US the freedom of one to express oneself defeats** the freedom of another to live free from persecution.

In the rest of the western world, the freedom to live free from persecution defeats the concept of absolute freedom of expression.

In the US, a counter rally was met with deadly force. In Europe, a Nazi salute was met with a punch.

One was definitely more violent.




**I usually use the term "trumps" but I don't want to make this a current issue thing. I've been saying it for years on this board.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 13 August 2017, 05:36 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 8,050
Default

From the article:

Quote:
Police say the American, who is under investigation for violating Germany's laws against the display of Nazi symbols or slogans, had an extremely high blood alcohol level. His assailant fled the scene, and is being sought for causing bodily harm.
It's perfectly possible to say, as the police in question are in effect doing, both that it's wrong to encourage Nazism and that it's wrong to punch people.

It's true that there's some essential conflict between the right to say what one wants and the right not to be harrassed and/or threatened by other people's speech. But the essential conflict isn't between the right to say what one wants and the right not to be punched by random people on the street (as opposed to, say, not be arrested by police, by force if one doesn't cooperate.)

It's not necessary, and is IMO a bad idea, to in effect say that one party must be in the right. Both parties are in the wrong in this case. Both parties are legally in the wrong in Germany, as I understand it. In the USA, only one party would be legally in the wrong (presuming the saluter wasn't making actionable threats); but both would still be morally in the wrong.

That doesn't mean that, in the USA, random people on the street can't do anything about it. (Random people in Germany can call the cops. I don't know whether they can legally try to perform a citizen's arrest to hold the saluter until the cops get there; but that's clearly not what the puncher was trying to do, as that person fled the scene rather than staying to talk to police.) The right of speech of random people on the street in the USA means they can tell the Nazi saluter (and the general public) what they think of Nazis. (Anyone understandably afraid of the Nazi in question, or too flabbergasted to react on the spot, is not required to, of course; but that seems unlikely to apply to anybody who decides to punch the person instead.)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 13 August 2017, 05:45 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,477
Default

Even in the US, there has been an exception to the right to free speech for "fighting words" -- words so provocative of a violent response that a person can be stopped by police from continuing to say them.

It has been posited that the fighting words doctrine may be read, because no matter how bad the words are, the response should never be violence. I largely agree with that view, except for, possibly, some extremely offensive and/or threatening remarks that are mostly in the racist or misogynist categories. If it applied there, I would say making Nazi salutes in Germany, or in a number of other sensitive locations, would also qualify.

That does not mean it's OK to punch the person in the face, but it means that even if US First Amendment law applied there, his expression might not have been protected speech.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 13 August 2017, 06:05 PM
crocoduck_hunter's Avatar
crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
 
Join Date: 27 May 2009
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 11,523
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
You're right, NFBSK the second amendment. And the first amendment while we're at it. That's the real villain, isn't it? If we could just stop these alt-right folks from talking, we'd be able to push through an amendment repealing the second amendment no problem!

ETA: In fact, you know what, NFBSK the whole Bill of Rights: it was just tacked on as an "oh by the way" anyways, right!?
That's not even a slippery slope fallacy, that's like a strawman nonsequitur fallacy. Freeze peach is not an absolute virtue. There's no actual benefit to society for allowing groups to call for the enslavement and persecution of people based on their race. Other countries besides the US have actually managed to recognize this without turning into Orwellian regimes.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 13 August 2017, 06:34 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 24,623
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
In the US the freedom of one to express oneself defeats** the freedom of another to live free from persecution.
When does it do that? And what definition are you using for persecution?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 13 August 2017, 07:23 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,354
Default

Not to speak for UEL but I've often thought (and occasionally said, I think) a similar thing about the relative ordering of free speech against justice, in the UK versus the USA.

In the UK, typically justice is ranked above free speech, and beyond the details released by police to help gather evidence, there is often some restriction on reporting of an ongoing criminal case, until the verdict is reached. (Not a complete restriction, although it can be, but some details will be restricted). This is to avoid the jury being inadvertently prejudiced by popular discussion. A paper could be charged with obstruction of justice for publishing articles saying somebody was guilty or condemning them before trial, or with contempt of court if there was a specific court order. Justice in the trial is put ahead of the freedom to report all the details before the trial.

In the States, I gather it's the other way around, and the papers can print more-or-less whatever they like about the suspect, and the jury somehow has to have never seen popular media or read any opinion pieces in order to avoid prejudice. (Even though they probably have no idea they'll be on the jury until a while after all the reporting). So free speech trumps justice, to my mind.

Of course, whenever I mention this to Americans, everybody suddenly thinks that free speech and justice are exactly the same thing, and there's no way that anything could possibly be prejudiced by my writing national news articles about how guilty you are before the start of your trial, and even if it is, your going to prison unfairly is just the price you have to pay for me being able to say exactly what I want, and so on. Free speech seems to be a little bit fetishised, as well.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 13 August 2017, 07:29 PM
ASL's Avatar
ASL ASL is offline
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 5,239
Jaded

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
In the US the freedom of one to express oneself defeats** the freedom of another to live free from persecution.
Does expression by a private entity = persecution in Canada and western Europe?
Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
That's not even a slippery slope fallacy, that's like a strawman nonsequitur fallacy. Freeze peach is not an absolute virtue. There's no actual benefit to society for allowing groups to call for the enslavement and persecution of people based on their race.
Rights need not be virtues (or exercised virtuously, whatever: surely we can agree there? Comes up a lot RE: abortion, actually). If we could create a perfect utilitarian system in which only those actions that contribute to the greater good are permissible, then you might have a point (though I think it would take more than the processing power of a mere human mind to live in such a world). In the mean time, I am in favor of rights being available to the not-so-virtuous, perhaps even to advance their not-so-virtuous end, on general principle and because to deprive us of that free expression would have adverse consequences IMHO.

Here's a not-so-far-fetched hypothetical: suppose this lewd thug hadn't encountered a violent thug? What if, instead, this citizen had pulled out their phone and simply called the police to report the brandishing of an illegal stiff arm salute about the streets of Dresden (presumably someone did just that)? Supposing, then, after making the call to the police, they had pulled out their phone to start recording the unfolding scene. Supposing they had put it up on youtube without offering comment and then a bunch of RWNJs from the US viewed it and started posting a bunch of comments like "thank you for bringing this to the worlds attention, Germany's anti-expression laws are out of control!"

Would this hypothetical German citizen have to defend their actions to the police and prove they didn't mean to show a video of a guy wielding a Nazi salute as a show of support, but rather as a criticism?

Quote:
Other countries besides the US have actually managed to recognize this without turning into Orwellian regimes.
Now who's making a strawman? There is something between where the US is on the scale of free speech and, say, Airstrip One. I would argue that Germany and much of western Europe are definitely in between on the spectrum and it is to their detriment to be so, whether they end up going full-blown Orwellian or not. It's just kind of ironic that the acceptable government response to an oppressive regime is to throttle down on freedom of expression.

ETA: For an illustrative example... Is this video advocating racial violence, and if, if you say no, would I have to prove it (or at least make a case) in order to show it in Germany?

Last edited by ASL; 13 August 2017 at 07:45 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 13 August 2017, 08:50 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Ottawa/Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 8,781
Baseball

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Does expression by a private entity = persecution in Canada and western Europe?
Burning crosses by the KKK seems close enough to persecuting blacks, to me.

But I'm on the outside of the US looking in. It's one of those things that, to a foreigner, make the US look a little odd.

Richard W has a similar thought about it.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 13 August 2017, 09:13 PM
Steve Steve is offline
 
Join Date: 19 October 2002
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 4,718
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
Burning crosses by the KKK seems close enough to persecuting blacks, to me.
People get arrested for that. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/1...n_1098306.html

(The article's about a weird cross-burning incident, but towards the end it lists people who've been arrested for cross-burning.)
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 13 August 2017, 09:14 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 8,050
Default

ASL, I had managed to miss that so far. And I kind of wish I hadn't watched it now.

I think that video's pretty clearly designed to scare the crap out of viewers about racial (and gender and religious) violence; and, therefore, to scare people away from it.

But . . .

I don't think it would take a huge amount of tweaking to turn it into something that would, on some people, have the reverse effect.

I have no idea whether it's legal to show it in Germany. And I don't think it should be illegal to show it in the USA.

But . . .

The problem with the free speech issue is that, to take some language I've been using in a different thread entirely, it doesn't really work to try to jam everything into a neat set of two boxes. We seem to be discussing a box that says 'any speech whatsoever ought to be legal' and another one that says 'everything that can be construed as hate speech, encouraging Nazis, encouraging violence, etc. ought to be illegal.' I don't know whether German law actually says the second. I don't think USA law actually says the first -- in fact I'm sure that it doesn't; actual direct threats and damaging slander/libel are illegal in the USA, though there's often some argument as to whether a specific bit of speech fits into those categories. (And I've never been able to figure out why Holocaust denial isn't slander/libel: it's calling all of the survivors/witnesses liars.) But I think the underlying problem is that drawing a nice neat bright line is very hard, probably impossible, to do.

If you showed that video to an audience of non-white people, Jews, gay people and said to them, 'we need to arm ourselves and be ready, because Bannon's crew is acting awfully like this, and people may be marching down the streets coming to get us' -- which side of the line is that on? I mean, I think that's free speech. But I also think there's danger in it.

If you then showed the video, followed with a video of a speaker giving the above advice, to a batch of white supremacists, and told them 'see, that's what the gays/Jews/nonwhites think of us, and they're arming themselves, we need to be ready to get them before they get us' -- I think that's on the other side of the line. But as long as nobody adds 'let's go, right now' on the end of it, I suspect it would be protected free speech in the USA.

And I acknowledge that between my two scenarios that line looks awfully blurry.

Germany and the USA have taken two different tacks in trying to deal with the problem. I'm not at all sure that there is one right way of dealing with the problem. Maybe there's no right way of dealing with the problem, and societies are going to have to pick one of the wrong ways, and hope they've picked the one with the best overall outcome.


ETA: Richard W, the news reporters here generally keep saying things like 'the accused' and 'the alleged murderer'. I don't think they're legally allowed to come straight out and call the person guilty before conviction -- though there's no pre-publication check, they'd have to be sued after publishing. I have seen reports come awfully close to the line.

Last edited by thorny locust; 13 August 2017 at 09:21 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 14 August 2017, 01:46 AM
Mouse's Avatar
Mouse Mouse is offline
 
Join Date: 11 July 2003
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 6,880
Mouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
NFBSK that, if there's one group of people who deserve a collective face-punching, it's neo-Nazis.
I freely admit that I am totally posting the cover article of Captain America's debut issue primarily for my own amusement, but also because everyone needs to know about one of the best Take Thats! of all time. Why did Joe Simon and Jack Kirby hate free speech and America so much? But from the looks of it,Captain America secretly hates America, so maybe it's not too surprising.

Though on a more serious note, I get tired of the perpetually aggrieved tone from the Neo-Nazis about incidents like these. They constantly scream for death and murder and then they are shocked, shocked that someone might be offended by it. Freedom of Speech doesn't mean you will completely exempt from any and all consequences, including people taking offense at what you say.

Plus, it's rather tiring to hear the "But Free Speech!" argument from them, given that they aren't exactly known for their rock-solid belief in unfettered free expression. In fact, they seem to support a wide variety of censorship on such matters as LGBT works or anything that's remotely critical of the Rightwing whatsoever.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 14 August 2017, 10:39 AM
Don Enrico's Avatar
Don Enrico Don Enrico is offline
 
Join Date: 05 October 2004
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 7,405
Germany

First of all, a (stupid) question: Is the "beaten up" in the headline a proper descrition for "being punched in the face once, suffering minor injuries" in US English? From the headline I was expecting several attackers and/or at least several punches, kicks or other attacks,but that doesn't seem to be what happend.

Secondly, yes, the attacker is legally in the wrong, and the police is investigating. He wasn't defending himself or somebody else, and - although there is such a right - he wasn't making a citizens arrest, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
We seem to be discussing a box that says 'any speech whatsoever ought to be legal' and another one that says 'everything that can be construed as hate speech, encouraging Nazis, encouraging violence, etc. ought to be illegal.' I don't know whether German law actually says the second. I don't think USA law actually says the first -- in fact I'm sure that it doesn't; actual direct threats and damaging slander/libel are illegal in the USA, though there's often some argument as to whether a specific bit of speech fits into those categories.
German law doesn't say the second, either. In fact, German hate speech laws are as difficult to interprete as other country's, and whether a certain speech is covered by the right of free speech, or maybe by the right of the freedom of art, or is illegal for inciting hatred and violence is a difficult legal question. The culprit in this case, however, is investigated for violating a different law. This one makes it a punishable offence to publicly display certain symbols of the NSDAP, among them the swastika, the SS runes, the word "Heil Hitler" and "Sieg Heil" and the on-armed "Hitlergruss". There are exeptions for education, art and anti-Nazi propaganda, non of which apply here. This Americam tourist violated a very clear law meant to hinder all attemps to re-crate the Nazi party, and he will be investigated for that - and, given his status as a foreigner and his supposed extremely high blood alcohol level, will probably end up with a minor fine, if at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
ETA: For an illustrative example... Is this video advocating racial violence, and if, if you say no, would I have to prove it (or at least make a case) in order to show it in Germany?
I can't listen to the video at work, but from what I see,
  • the video is not using any of the forbidden symbols mentioned above, and
  • it would most definitly be considered "art", therefore having a lot of leeway about what is shown and said.

It's available over youtube in Germany, and nobody seems to need to make a case to show it.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 14 August 2017, 12:08 PM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,166
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
This Americam tourist violated a very clear law meant to hinder all attemps to re-crate the Nazi party [...]
This this this. Even in the US you can't scream fire in the proverbial theater, you can't 'joke' about the bomb you're going to take on the plane, you can't threaten someone or extort them - nor many many other things. Free speech has its limits even under the First Amendment.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 14 August 2017, 03:02 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 8,050
Default

Thanks for info, Don Enrico. I was hoping you'd chime in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
German hate speech laws are as difficult to interprete as other country's, and whether a certain speech is covered by the right of free speech, or maybe by the right of the freedom of art, or is illegal for inciting hatred and violence is a difficult legal question.
That doesn't surprise me a bit. The whole thing really isn't a simple question.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 14 August 2017, 03:04 PM
Sue's Avatar
Sue Sue is offline
 
Join Date: 26 December 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 8,424
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
First of all, a (stupid) question: Is the "beaten up" in the headline a proper descrition for "being punched in the face once, suffering minor injuries" in US English? From the headline I was expecting several attackers and/or at least several punches, kicks or other attacks,but that doesn't seem to be what happend.
One punch is not "beaten up". No one would ever normally use this term in that context unless they wanted to paint a very different picture from what actually transpired. Mainly because they want you to read the headline and open the article.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Laura Ingraham's inadvertent Nazi salute at the RNC had Twitter losing its mind TallGeekyGirl Social Studies 12 26 July 2016 06:27 AM
Queen Nazi salute film: Palace 'disappointed' at use Andrew of Ware Soapbox Derby 61 23 July 2015 02:33 PM
Detergent pulled in Germany over neo-Nazi code hoitoider Business Bytes 3 10 May 2014 03:39 AM
Nazi-themed Wagner opera cancelled in Germany A Turtle Named Mack Amusement Bark 3 10 May 2013 11:09 AM
Nazi Germany's Dance Band Rules of 1940 snopes History 8 10 August 2009 06:54 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.