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Thread: Thoughtcrime

  1. #1
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Default Thoughtcrime

    Are some ideas too dangerous to be seriously considered and given credence? Are gut level reactions of abhorrence or distaste to certain ideas hardwired or trappings of societal prohibitions?

    Just in case, I don't mean people can't literally think these thoughts, I mean should they be given a public platform say on Good Morning America (or whatever the equivalent is in your country).

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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    You mean like this?

    Some thoughts are considered completely unacceptable because it is so engrained in our culture that they are wrong, and evil (often with a good reason) that we NATURALLY associate them with revulsion. These thoughts are often things that cause harm to others in a truly cruel way!

    For instance- I doubt that Jeffrey Dahmer would have ever been invited onto Oprah's show to discuss his ideas!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett
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    No idea is too dangerous to be publicized, and the bad ones shouldn't find a home. Unfortunately, some people manage to give credence to them anyway. That is why there are still Nazis, Communists, polygamist cults raping children, etc. But never EVER must a thought or a belief become a crime. Only actions (or, conceivably, inactions) may be criminal.
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    ...For instance- I doubt that Jeffrey Dahmer would have ever been invited onto Oprah's show to discuss his ideas!
    What about after his seeming conversion to Christianity?

    (There's nothing America likes better than a redemption story.)


    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    ... never EVER must a thought or a belief become a crime. Only actions (or, conceivably, inactions) may be criminal.
    Admittedly being devil's advocate here, but the question has to be asked:

    Can there be such a sharp and clear delineation drawn between thought and action, or do realistically the two muddy together?

    One of the most prominent features, for example, of those who commit crimes against others would be the act of visualization within the mind. (Serial killers/rapists are the most notorious culprits, but you'll find the same thing in "normal people," who might have violent or destructive thoughts against others or desires to commit adultery, for example, and entertain those as harmless and having no future impact on choices... which isn't necessarily the case.) If you think about doing something enough times, it seems to lessen the self-restrictions one might impose against actually doing it.

    Also, is there a distinction to be made between "punishing" particular thoughts as if they were crimes, versus simply restricting them?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    THAT would probably get attention- but advice on how to cook and consume humans would probably not be all that TV friendly!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    THAT would probably get attention- but advice on how to cook and consume humans would probably not be all that TV friendly!
    hee, Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!




    oh. Sorry. Bad choice of words there.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    What about after his seeming conversion to Christianity?

    (There's nothing America likes better than a redemption story.)




    Admittedly being devil's advocate here, but the question has to be asked:

    Can there be such a sharp and clear delineation drawn between thought and action, or do realistically the two muddy together?

    One of the most prominent features, for example, of those who commit crimes against others would be the act of visualization within the mind. (Serial killers/rapists are the most notorious culprits, but you'll find the same thing in "normal people," who might have violent or destructive thoughts against others or desires to commit adultery, for example, and entertain those as harmless and having no future impact on choices... which isn't necessarily the case.) If you think about doing something enough times, it seems to lessen the self-restrictions one might impose against actually doing it.

    Also, is there a distinction to be made between "punishing" particular thoughts as if they were crimes, versus simply restricting them?

    Yes, I think a sharp delineation can and must be made here. The crime is killing someone else, not having fantasies of murder. There is no legitimate way to prosecute someone for those types of thoughts, and, frankly, what someone thinks about is not up for governmental review. If someone is clearly delusional and may be judged to have diminished mental capacity as a result, then there are judicial proceedings in place to determine if they to be placed in a facility (but even that process kinda scares me, given its checkered history). I am also against hate crime legislation, because it involves assigning more punishment based on something that cannot ever truly be quantified or "proven" to be more than anything but an assertion.

    As to your final question, you would have to tell me. How would you restrict the mind? And can that ever be done in a free society without horrifying methods?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Yes, I think a sharp delineation can and must be made here. The crime is killing someone else, not having fantasies of murder. There is no legitimate way to prosecute someone for those types of thoughts, and, frankly, what someone thinks about is not up for governmental review. If someone is clearly delusional and may be judged to have diminished mental capacity as a result, then there are judicial proceedings in place to determine if they to be placed in a facility (but even that process kinda scares me, given its checkered history). I am also against hate crime legislation, because it involves assigning more punishment based on something that cannot ever truly be quantified or "proven" to be more than anything but an assertion.
    So this is mostly an issue of implementation? (i.e., negative fantasies are admittedly NOT good from a psychological view, but there's no practical way to restrict them; therefore, only actions -- thoughts that have been manifest in behavior -- can and should be dealt with.)

    Did I sum that up correctly?

    As to your final question, you would have to tell me. How would you restrict the mind? And can that ever be done in a free society without horrifying methods?
    Hmm, I suppose I wasn't clear on what I meant.

    Normally people aren't aware of each other's thoughts. But we're talking in context of an online forum, where thoughts are being broadcast without the accompanying actions so that we CAN be aware of them.

    So, in terms of an online forum, is there a difference between punishing vs simply restricting the expression of certain thoughts?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I think we should let all ideas be aired out and debated, so we can come to see which hold merit and which don't.

    Take religion as an example. Free speech regarding religion was considered too dangerous at one point and questioning the church was considered anathema, literally.

    Establishing a policy whereby we hide ideas is much too tricky since we don't know which ideas are good and bad. It's precisely that reason that we SHOULD allow them to be aired out, even if we find them offensive or libertine. Only then can we decide which ideas are worth keeping, and only then can we help others and ourselves grow.

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    Having the thought per se is not the crime. Legally speaking, what constitutes a crime is the motive, and the act. That is what differentiates murder from manslaughter, isn't it?

    Intent.

    In the case of an online forum, I'm ok with people holding any ideas, and discussing them in a sensible manner. What I find objectionable, is that some ideas could be thrown up just to rile up others, and debate descends into ad hominems and a sort of self-grandiosing?

    i.e. in that context, I question the intent of posting the thought. Is it an opinion truly held, and wanting to be tested. Or is it something just thrown in to garner whatever it is a person is after...

    Intent matters.
    Last edited by white; 04-08-2008 at 12:15 PM. Reason: clarification

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