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WTF Germany?!?
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Cap'n Tightpants
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Jul 14, 2016, 07:34 PM
 
German police launch first nationwide hate speech raids - The Local

At the centre of the operations was the Federal Office of Criminal Investigations (BKA), which stated that their aim was to “decisively confront” the strong growth in verbal radicalism which is appearing on the internet.”

Since December 2015, the BKA has been coordinating a police unit which combines state and federal police in a project called “Tackling Hate Posting”.

The unit was set up after Bavarian police observed regular “hate posts” being published on a secret Facebook page between July and November 2015.

According to the BKA, the posts often praised the Nazi era, included anti-Semitic content or other illegal far-right opinions.

German federal law states that spreading information which encourages violence against people due to their ethnic or religious background comes with a sentence of up to three years in jail.

“Today’s raids make one thing clear. German police are committed to tackling hate speech and provocation on the internet,” BKA chief Holger Münch said in a statement.

“Hate speech can not be allowed to poison the public debate. Attacks on refugee homes are often the result of a radicalization which begins on the internet.”
That's ****ed up. Sure, you can dislike what others say, even denounce their views publicly, but this goes beyond the pale. This is only going to make the radicals on the extreme Right worse and cause others to be sympathetic towards them. Is Merkel trying to lose the next election in a landslide? Because right now she looks like a tyrant and Germans are sick of her crap.
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subego
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Jul 14, 2016, 07:52 PM
 
Hasn't Germany consistently done stuff like this?
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 14, 2016, 08:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Hasn't Germany consistently done stuff like this?
Yes. Just like in many other countries (e. g. Israel) things like denying the holocaust and other forms of hate speech are a crime. The only thing that's “new” is the realization that much of this illegal activity happens online on Facebook and other forums, and so the federal police is trying to clamp down on that.
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subego
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Jul 14, 2016, 08:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Yes. Just like in many other countries (e. g. Israel) things like denying the holocaust and other forms of hate speech are a crime. The only thing that's “new” is the realization that much of this illegal activity happens online on Facebook and other forums, and so the federal police is trying to clamp down on that.
Do you agree with these policies?

They made a certain amount of sense as a postwar solution, but I would argue it's time to hew closer to the principles of freedom of speech.

Do people who argue for that (like I just did) get tarred as Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, etc.?

I'm sure you're aware I'm not a Nazi, merely American.
     
Snow-i
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Jul 14, 2016, 08:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Do you agree with these policies?

They made a certain amount of sense as a postwar solution, but I would argue it's time to hew closer to the principles of freedom of speech.

Do people who argue for that (like I just did) get tarred as Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, etc.?

I'm sure you're aware I'm not a Nazi, merely American.
How do we even define hate speech? Is it one of those "know it when you see it" type deals? Seems like the given definition is so broad as to encompass all ideas not explicitly endorsed by the state.
German federal law states that spreading information which encourages violence against people due to their ethnic or religious background comes with a sentence of up to three years in jail."
"Spreading information" can mean a whole shit ton of things.
     
subego
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Jul 14, 2016, 08:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
How do we even define hate speech? Is it one of those "know it when you see it" type deals? Seems like the given definition is so broad as to encompass all ideas not explicitly endorsed by the state.


"Spreading information" can mean a whole shit ton of things.
Edge cases (along with "mission creep") is one of the reasons I'm fanatically pro-freedom of speech.

It's certainly not because I see value in authentic Nazi sympathies.
     
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Jul 14, 2016, 09:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Edge cases (along with "mission creep") is one of the reasons I'm fanatically pro-freedom of speech.

It's certainly not because I see value in authentic Nazi sympathies.
It's not just the mission creep, When you outlaw something people do, it just goes underground. So not only will it be of limited effect, it is far better to have a wolf in your herd that you know about, vs one that you don't.
     
subego
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Jul 14, 2016, 10:09 PM
 
I agree both this happens, and shining a light on it is the best policy.

The main distinction I'm going for is the reasons for defending the speech are independent of the actual speech. The reason you provide follows in this vein.

I make the distinction because I've already seen people get called Nazi apologists for arguing against the police raid.
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 14, 2016, 10:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Do you agree with these policies?
Personally, I think they played an important role after the war, but are a relic and should be abolished. It's better to combat ideas with ideas, rather than to outlaw them. Nevertheless, I understand why they are in place.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Do people who argue for that (like I just did) get tarred as Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, etc.?
That depends on the generation. My parents' generation (whose parents and/or grandparents themselves were involved in WW2, but wouldn't talk about it) have a different approach, they had to suffer through Nazi white washing while they were young. My generation is already removed from this and has to find their own approach, and you'd find a bit more support for that. On the other hand you have a resurgence of right wing support in the former East, and people are (understandably) afraid of that.

To give you a bit of perspective: while a solid majority of Germans has supported and still supports taking refugees and migrants from Syria, etc. in, this has caused a resurgence of violence from right wing groups. Until the end of November last year, there were more than 700 arsons at refugee housings, and the number has risen to over 1,000 (that's the last stat I remember). These arsons have received relatively little attention (imagine what would happen if there were even 5 cases of arson by Muslims …), and even when they are persecuted often the right wing aspect is played down — perpetuating the old adage that “German justice is blind on the right eye”. On this backdrop, I don't think there will be any support for removing any limitations on free speech.
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Snow-i
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Jul 14, 2016, 10:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I agree both this happens, and shining a light on it is the best policy.

The main distinction I'm going for is the reasons for defending the speech are independent of the actual speech. The reason you provide follows in this vein.
Exactly - I'm with you 100% here.
I make the distinction because I've already seen people get called Nazi apologists for arguing against the police raid.
Unfortunate that there are so many that lack even a basic understanding of why freedom of expression is so important, especially as we're all moving headlong towards a surveillance state(s).
     
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Jul 14, 2016, 10:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Unfortunate that there are so many that lack even a basic understanding of why freedom of expression is so important, especially as we're all moving headlong towards a surveillance state(s).
You're wrong here when you claim that people “lack a basic understanding”, just because they have reached a different conclusion. For instance, the privacy protections in Germany are way, way stronger than what they are in the US — which is also an aftereffect of WW2.
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subego
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Jul 14, 2016, 10:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You're wrong here when you claim that people “lack a basic understanding”, just because they have reached a different conclusion. For instance, the privacy protections in Germany are way, way stronger than what they are in the US — which is also an aftereffect of WW2.
He's saying those who would call someone a Nazi apologist for reaching a different conclusion than them are the ones who lack an understanding.
     
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Jul 14, 2016, 10:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
He's saying those who would call someone a Nazi apologist for reaching a different conclusion than them are the ones who lack an understanding.
That's not how I read Snow-i's reply. And even if it is, I think he's painting with too broad a brush when he claims that reaching a different conclusion is due to a “fundamental lack of understanding”.

(Again, I'm agreeing that these rules are outdated, but Snow-i's reply lacks the necessary nuance to appreciate the historical and cultural context.)
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subego
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Jul 14, 2016, 11:15 PM
 
I can't say those hurling the Nazi apologist accusation are exactly demonstrating comprehension.

At least in the instances I've seen... to be clear, this was on the Internet, so I have no idea what the national origins are of either the accusers or the accused.
     
badidea
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Jul 15, 2016, 05:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
That's ****ed up.
Hmm, not really. The US claims to have freedom of speech and I kind of admire this approach to freedom but I am not sure if there is so much difference between the US and Germany in this regard as it looks like.
I am pretty sure that I would get into trouble walking the streets with a "Kill Obama" T-Shirt!? Or does this only apply for airports?
Is there no law in the US that prevents me from calling you a **** *** ****** ********* **? Would you have to accept this "opinion" or could you file a lawsuit against me?
Hate speech is not an opinion and shouldn't be confused with an opinion!
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Jul 15, 2016, 09:19 AM
 
I'll offer this article in light of this topic.

Newt Gingrich: Test every Muslim in U.S. to see if they believe in Sharia - CNNPolitics.com

Ole Newt is proposing that all US Muslims be "tested" on their beliefs about Sharia law and sympathies for terrorist groups like Daesh or al-Qaeda. And if they "fail" they should be deported. Even if they are US citizens. I submit that one's reaction to this will shed light on what on really believes about "freedom of speech".

OAW
     
Cap'n Tightpants  (op)
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Jul 15, 2016, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
Hmm, not really.
Yeah, really.

The US claims to have freedom of speech and I kind of admire this approach to freedom but I am not sure if there is so much difference between the US and Germany in this regard as it looks like.
Big difference.

I am pretty sure that I would get into trouble walking the streets with a "Kill Obama" T-Shirt!? Or does this only apply for airports?
Just airports, since those are private property and the owners have the right to tell you to leave. Farrakhan has been screaming for the deaths of white people for a while now and the USAG hasn't bothered him at all.

Is there no law in the US that prevents me from calling you a **** *** ****** ********* **?
Nope. There are slander and libel laws, but basic insults are perfectly fine, within the eyes of the law. That doesn't mean speech can't have consequences, like me calling you a ********** in return, or you being banned from private spaces. Kicking those people from Facebook is fine, locking them up isn't.

Would you have to accept this "opinion" or could you file a lawsuit against me?
You can't sue for insults, only for lies that are purposely used to defame.

Hate speech is not an opinion and shouldn't be confused with an opinion!
It certainly IS an opinion, and the only way to deal with such opinions is in full public view, lest they fester in the dark. In fact, they should be the MOST PROTECTED of opinions and the most radical and distasteful of words NEED to be put on public display, countered, and if needs be, humiliated. You're fully entitled to believe and say, "Asian people are a lower form of life", and in turn I have the right to reply that you're "fay-fay duh pee-yen".

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subego
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Jul 15, 2016, 11:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
I'll offer this article in light of this topic.

Newt Gingrich: Test every Muslim in U.S. to see if they believe in Sharia - CNNPolitics.com

Ole Newt is proposing that all US Muslims be "tested" on their beliefs about Sharia law and sympathies for terrorist groups like Daesh or al-Qaeda. And if they "fail" they should be deported. Even if they are US citizens. I submit that one's reaction to this will shed light on what on really believes about "freedom of speech".

OAW
I'm not sure how it ties into freedom of speech. Freedom of religion? Sure.
     
Cap'n Tightpants  (op)
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Jul 15, 2016, 11:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
I'll offer this article in light of this topic.

Newt Gingrich: Test every Muslim in U.S. to see if they believe in Sharia - CNNPolitics.com

Ole Newt is proposing that all US Muslims be "tested" on their beliefs about Sharia law and sympathies for terrorist groups like Daesh or al-Qaeda. And if they "fail" they should be deported. Even if they are US citizens. I submit that one's reaction to this will shed light on what on really believes about "freedom of speech".
He didn't get the nom for VP either, did he?
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subego
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Jul 15, 2016, 11:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
Hmm, not really. The US claims to have freedom of speech and I kind of admire this approach to freedom but I am not sure if there is so much difference between the US and Germany in this regard as it looks like.
I am pretty sure that I would get into trouble walking the streets with a "Kill Obama" T-Shirt!? Or does this only apply for airports?
Is there no law in the US that prevents me from calling you a **** *** ****** ********* **? Would you have to accept this "opinion" or could you file a lawsuit against me?
Hate speech is not an opinion and shouldn't be confused with an opinion!
Hate speech is most certainly an opinion.

What appears to be an important distinction between our speech laws and others is the limits are judicially determined, not legislatively determined. Attempts to curtail speech via law will face difficult challenges.

With the Obama shirt, my understanding is that would just get you hassled by the Secret Service, who will want to see if the threat is more than words, and would no doubt try to intimidate you into stopping. I say "intimidate" because they wouldn't have a legit legal option, so at best can frighten you into thinking they do. I could be wrong here, but you know what? I ain't Googling it.

With insults, they can't put you in jail for saying them, but there is a line which can be crossed where you give up the protection from assault. The generally used term is "fighting words".
     
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Jul 15, 2016, 06:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You're wrong here when you claim that people “lack a basic understanding”, just because they have reached a different conclusion. For instance, the privacy protections in Germany are way, way stronger than what they are in the US — which is also an aftereffect of WW2.
Privacy protections have naught to do with freedom of expression. If they want to investigate you for something you said, your privacy "protections" mean exactly nothing. You confusing the two sorta proves my point.

Both are important basic freedoms, but that's about where their similarities end. You could even think of freedom of expression as "public protections".
     
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Jul 15, 2016, 07:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm not sure how it ties into freedom of speech. Freedom of religion? Sure.
The part about being "sympathetic" ... not "members of", "in contact with", or "providing material support to" Daesh or al-Qaeda. That's not a religious test at all. That's more of a if the government finds you visited a pro-Daesh website or you liked a tweet by someone with vague ties to al-Qaeda type of situation.

OAW
     
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Jul 15, 2016, 07:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Privacy protections have naught to do with freedom of expression. If they want to investigate you for something you said, your privacy "protections" mean exactly nothing. You confusing the two sorta proves my point.
I did not confuse the two, I added an example to the list where knowing culture and history helps you understand why something happened.
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subego
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Jul 16, 2016, 07:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
The part about being "sympathetic" ... not "members of", "in contact with", or "providing material support to" Daesh or al-Qaeda. That's not a religious test at all. That's more of a if the government finds you visited a pro-Daesh website or you liked a tweet by someone with vague ties to al-Qaeda type of situation.

OAW
Gotcha! I was focusing on the Sharia law part.

As for pro-ISIS sites and the like, shouldn't be a surprise I think those should be legal, and you should be allowed to visit them.

That said, I recommend people don't unless they like being on "the list".
     
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Jul 16, 2016, 08:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Yeah, really.

Big difference.
Well ok then.
As I already said, I like the way it is handled in the US but I am also perfectly fine with the way it is handled in Germany (with the background of our special responsibility regarding the crimes in WWII).
At least we can say what the *piep* on TV!
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Jul 16, 2016, 08:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
Well ok then.
As I already said, I like the way it is handled in the US but I am also perfectly fine with the way it is handled in Germany (with the background of our special responsibility regarding the crimes in WWII).
Considering one of those crimes was thought suppression, it could be argued there's a certain irony to maintaining the policy in the absence of the conditions which precipitated it.
     
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Jul 18, 2016, 10:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I did not confuse the two, I added an example to the list where knowing culture and history helps you understand why something happened.
Oh we can certainly use historical reference to understand the why - i don't disagree with you there. It's just that this extraordinary measure was introduced for an extraordinary circumstance, and now there is a very real possibility that said extraordinary measure, in the absence of the extraordinary circumstance, will do extraordinary harm to the very basic human rights it was introduced to uphold. Unless, that is, you don't consider freedom of expression a basic human right.

The unfortunate truth is that rights are absolute, or they're not rights at all.
     
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Jul 18, 2016, 10:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
That's not how I read Snow-i's reply. And even if it is, I think he's painting with too broad a brush when he claims that reaching a different conclusion is due to a “fundamental lack of understanding”.
I never claimed that. You did. Subego got it right. The "fundamental lack of understanding" I was referring to is those calling the others Nazi apologists for disagreeing with keeping the law.

(Again, I'm agreeing that these rules are outdated, but Snow-i's reply lacks the necessary nuance to appreciate the historical and cultural context.)
Having studied WW2 and it's aftermath extensively in college, I think it is you who has missed the nuance here.
     
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Jul 19, 2016, 12:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Oh we can certainly use historical reference to understand the why - i don't disagree with you there. It's just that this extraordinary measure was introduced for an extraordinary circumstance, and now there is a very real possibility that said extraordinary measure, in the absence of the extraordinary circumstance, will do extraordinary harm to the very basic human rights it was introduced to uphold. Unless, that is, you don't consider freedom of expression a basic human right.
I think you've missed the parts of my posts telling what my stance on these laws actually is.
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I never claimed that. You did. Subego got it right. The "fundamental lack of understanding" I was referring to is those calling the others Nazi apologists for disagreeing with keeping the law.
Then I misinterpreted your post.
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Having studied WW2 and it's aftermath extensively in college, I think it is you who has missed the nuance here.
I think you overly trigger happy here: I wrote that your reply lacked nuance, I did not claim you weren't capable of it. Plus, you should not make any assumptions on what I do and do not know — especially if your point is that I made the same mistake.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Considering one of those crimes was thought suppression, it could be argued there's a certain irony to maintaining the policy in the absence of the conditions which precipitated it.
I don't think this is accurate here, and you can tell the difference if you compare East and West Germany to one another: in Western Germany society tried hard to replace propaganda with facts. That went so far that Germany and France started a decades-long project to agree on a common history. So propaganda was replaced with facts, and it is factually wrong to claim the Holocaust hasn't happened. In Eastern Germany propaganda was replaced with different propaganda, and it is no coincidence that this is where the relative frequency of extremists from the right (and to a lesser degree from the left) is highest. Again, I don't think this is warranted any longer, but it's wrong to equate that with a ban on ideas and thought in general.
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subego
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Jul 19, 2016, 06:14 AM
 
Making it a crime to be factually wrong is thought control.

Throwing people in jail for expressing their shitty political ideology is thought control.
     
Cap'n Tightpants  (op)
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Jul 19, 2016, 11:17 AM
 
^^ Yep. And the thing about Thought Control is that it's impossible, they will come out. and when they do, they can take over a nation. Germany has a track record with that, you'd think they would have learned by now.

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Jul 19, 2016, 12:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think you've missed the parts of my posts telling what my stance on these laws actually is.
Ok, I'll bite. How does it differ from mine?

Then I misinterpreted your post.
No worries. Happens

I think you overly trigger happy here: I wrote that your reply lacked nuance, I did not claim you weren't capable of it. Plus, you should not make any assumptions on what I do and do not know — especially if your point is that I made the same mistake.
I think we were just not on the same page regarding the reply in question. I was not making any assumptions on what you know or don't know - instead on how you interpreted my post. We good here?

I don't think this is accurate here, and you can tell the difference if you compare East and West Germany to one another: in Western Germany society tried hard to replace propaganda with facts. That went so far that Germany and France started a decades-long project to agree on a common history. So propaganda was replaced with facts, and it is factually wrong to claim the Holocaust hasn't happened. In Eastern Germany propaganda was replaced with different propaganda, and it is no coincidence that this is where the relative frequency of extremists from the right (and to a lesser degree from the left) is highest. Again, I don't think this is warranted any longer, but it's wrong to equate that with a ban on ideas and thought in general.
Perhaps not in general, but it is certainly a ban on ideas and thoughts specifically - which, as I believe subego is arguing, can be interpreted through "mission creep" to the point where specifically morphs into in general. The value of the distinction is certainly up for debate.
     
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Jul 19, 2016, 12:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
^^ Yep. And the thing about Thought Control is that it's impossible, they will come out. and when they do, they can take over a nation. Germany has a track record with that, you'd think they would have learned by now.
That's what I find so Ironic about this law in Germany. They attempted to fight fire with fire, and although successful now they've got a fire of a different nature that will be tough to put out. I have no issue historically with how Germany has handled this particular law, but it's past-time for it to be abolished to history as it is no longer appropriate to suspend a basic human right in the name of upholding basic human rights.

Suspension of freedom-of-expression is too powerful of a tool for a government to hold in perpetuity. At some point, human nature dictates that it will be abused by the ruling class. I believe Germany to be on the cusp of that transition, and must act now to preserve a free society.
     
Cap'n Tightpants  (op)
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Jul 19, 2016, 04:05 PM
 
I see this as the early 1900s, when the Nazi party was forced out of public debates and not allowed to formally exist, they were officially suppressed. Fast forward 20 years and see what happened due to that policy. Those who ignore history > doomed to repeat it, etc..
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