Should It Be Illegal To Call Someone A Nazi In The UK?

I meant to ask this last week but I forgot. Apparently in the aftermath of Tory MP Anna Soubry being called a Nazi police are investigating whether or not calling someone a Nazi is criminal.
  • Of course, the more speech policing the better.
    Vote A
  • Only if they are not Nazis
    Vote B
  • No, get rid of all the hate speech laws.
    Vote C
  • No, this is a step too far.
    Vote D
  • Other
    Vote E
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What Girls Said 6

  • I don't think the law should be concerned with name calling. That being said, our current laws about slander and defamation of character should enough to take care of instances of "hate speech."

    Governing free speech will lead to a slippery slope that shouldn't be gone down. Yes, it may be limited hate speech today, but tomorrow may turn into people having others arrested just for not agreeing with them.

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  • That would be ironic since the Nazis controlled speech back then. . .

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  • 2050: now it is illegal to call someone a man/woman/kid/old lady/black/white/human/ cat/dog/ atheist/vegan/diabetic/alive/dead

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    • 19h

      that would be the end result of some of the insanity we are looking into.

    • 19h

      So very sad that we are headed in that very direction!

  • If it is an unsubstantiated attack on the public image of a person or entity then yes, it should be illegal.

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  • I don't know... why would you?

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  • Call a nazi a nazi. It's not a slur and to suggest it is is farcical. Fascist beliefs should never be legitimised in any way because they endanger us all

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What Guys Said 36

  • No just no

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  • You keep asking the question in different ways. No right is absolute and context, manner and historical context applies.

    Not being familiar with the situation, I cannot speak to the specifics. Other than to say that an investigation - particularly in the context of British speech laws which are not nearly as liberal as their American counterparts - is not an indictment of wrong doing.

    If the purpose of calling the Member a Nazi was to provoke a riot between her supporters and her opponents, then particularly in the context of British law, an investigation is warranted. Start throwing around such accusations and in the right circumstances punches start to be thrown.

    Free speech is good, but it is ironically not possible in those cases where it leads to violence. You are apt not to speak freely where doing so will get you clubbed over the head.

    Free speech and civil peace are a function of each other and each is related to the other. Thus a balance is struck and each country and each culture strikes that balance - and if it is a democracy revisits its merits - persistently and across time.

    Dogmas are fun because they spare people the torture of having to think. Without any context for judging the merits of the case - and while I am a fan of yours I am, in this case, suspicious of the way you framed the question and the explanation for it - it is not possible to come to a reasoned and prudent judgment.

    Should it be illegal to call someone a Nazi in the UK? If it is a characterization of their political views, probably not. If it is slander, arguably it should be.

    We judge these things case-by-case. Not in the absence of the particulars.

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    • 1d

      Well this question was more tongue-in-cheek than anything. "Right" leaning and pro-brexit politicians have been called nazis for years, but as soon as a pro-remain MP is called a nazi the police begin thinking about whether or not it should be illegal to do so. It's the double standard that I find particularly humorous.

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    • 1d

      Well of course not, but my case is that we found that to be unconstitutional and immoral. Something that could not have happened were freedom of expression quelled. The example of Hitler outlawing freedom of expression being a relevant case example.

    • 1d

      Oh no we didn't. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.

      Sort of my point, when democracies feel existentially threatened and the emotions of the moment, rather than prudent debate and deliberation take center stage, democracy can be its own worst enemy.

      Democracy is more complicated then you seem to understand. As Burke said, "To make a government requires no great prudence. Settle the seat of power; teach obedience; and the work is done. To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government; that is, to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one consistent work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind."

  • The UK has different libel laws than the US in general.

    Basically it would be totally legal to call someone a Nazi if they were a Nazi. But the onus is on you to show it.

    This actually lead to one of the most fascinating trials in recent history where they had a year long court case on if the holocaust happened.

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    • 1d

      That's strange. Anyway, should it be that way?

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    • 10h

      I’d have to check more clearly but I’m not sure that it’s a crime to be anti Armenian (or anti Semitic for that matter).

      In the case of Irving, he wasn’t charged for being anti Semitic, rather -he- brought a defamation case against someone for calling him an anti Semite (and their defense was that it was true). I suspect that’s a bit whats going on in the case you mention - it’s not about hate speech it’s abour libel/defamation laws being tighter in the UK (though hate speech laws are also tighter).

    • 7h

      That makes sense. I was thinking more along the lines of the holocaust denial laws in Austria.
      Thanks for the information though.

  • It's imbecilic and immoral to try and put draconian laws on speech, and it does nothing but fuel the causes of these extremists, who can point to the suppressing society we live in. You have the right to believe what you will, even if it is objectively a stupid opinion, and you can call someone a Nazi, that doesn't make them one. Only weak people feel like speech needs to be suppressed, sticks and stones people.

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  • Such a storm in a tea cup and completely ludicrous to think of banning the use of 'Nazi' as a term in the same way we have banned racial words. They are two completely different things, even though ironically it is/was Nazis who used racial expletives more than the rest of us anyway... !

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  • We had to kick the Brit's asses because of government over reach.
    As a result, we have Freedom of Speech. And guess what? Hate speech is free speech and protected under the constitution. People call POTUS DJT a Nazi every day. Where the hell would we jail all these delicate snowflakes? Don't bother lecturing me about the limits of our free speech. Calling somebody, Communist a Nazi or whatever isn't restricted.

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  • "police are investigating whether or not calling someone a Nazi is criminal"
    This is the point where you know the UK judicial system is a joke, but one that nobody laughs at.

    Seriously, when even police doesn't know what does or does not constitute a hatecrime, you are in a serious trouble.
    Obviously it shouldn't be illegal to call someone a nazi. The one being called one should have the right to sue the other person for slander and libel if they suffered significant setbacks from it (for example, being called a nazi, and Antifa thugs torching your house).
    But it should under no circumstances be a crime. That's just stupid.

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    • 1d

      Doesn't Hungary have some hate speech laws?

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    • 1d

      We don't have hate speech laws, we have no speech laws. As in, if you don't like Papa Orban, you don't get to speak.

      Don't get me wrong, Hungarian democracy and liberty is MUCH worse off than in the UK. We literally have a borderline fascistic system with spies and moles everywhere.

      But the West, with the UK and America in helm have stood for centuries as a role model and example for the rest of the world of what a nation might aspire to achieve. And now we are at a point where even the paradise is getting corrupted.

      I was actually thingking about moving abroad whenever I can, but the US is slowly turning into an anti-liberty organisation that wants to have sheep instead of people, the UK is even worse in some regards, and the US, while still significantly more free, has so many backwards things, that I am honestly worried about my own future. I am thinking about moving to Japan - at least Japanese, albeit xenophobic, still have properly working judicial systems, and don't obsess over feminism and multi-culturalism, as far as i know.

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      US number 1 😂
      Yeah I remember hearing about that Orban fellow. that’s not good. I also share the feeling that the west as a whole is beginning to fail on the values that made it great (freedom of expression being the biggest).

  • I don't think it should be I disagree with the conceptual basis of hate speech legislation
    The premise is flawed I find
    Much as I vehemently dislike people making ill advised unfactual claims I do not their their right to do so should be compromised

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  • Calling someone who isn't a fascist a fascist ruins the meaning of the word. Nazism revolves around Germanic supremacy anyway, it makes no sense to call an Englishman so.

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    • 1d

      Should it be illegal?

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    • 1d

      Who should decide that? For example here we’ve got everyone equating Donald Trump and Hitler... that seems like a bit of an overreach to me

    • 1d

      I don't know.

  • No, not in my opinion. This issue revolves around controlling free speech and unless someone is slandering or libeling your name and falsely accusing you of being a Nazi to other people in that manner, then simply calling someone a “Nazi” as, let’s say, an insult, shouldn’t be illegal no matter how distasteful something like that is. Again, if someone is publishing works or articles using your name and falsely accusing you of being a Nazi and possibly making money off of it, that is different. I’m not a legal expert so I’m just going by my own knowledge.

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    • 1d

      thats right and i think even she found the comments laughable but the manner in which they were delivered was very questionable

  • If you ever set up a hate speech law, you have to also give the power of defining hate to a small set of individuals. It is authoritarianism at its worst

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  • No. Speech shouldn't be restricted unless it calls for the death or physical harm of someone. Calling someone a Nazi shouldn't be illegal. Encouraging people to kill X with the excuse they're a Nazi, should be illegal.

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  • Maybe, but only tempoary.
    If they plan on keeping hate speech up they should include it to completely piss off the left. Then we can all fight for free speech together.

    But fundamentally everyone should say what they want.

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  • The question is what happened to freedom of speech, supposedly the modern era is a time when you can say anything you want but laws keep coming in that limit your speech.
    What is used to be: Say anything you want
    What it is now: Say anything you want - T&C's apply
    I'm not agreeing with what is said but I'm just saying people should be free to say whatever. That's why I can't put it in yes or no since I don't agree with what is said but I don't agree with it not being allowed to be said

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  • No because, what happens if you actually run into a Nazi and you can't call him one for fear of being arrested?

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  • Absolutely not. It is highly important that people have the right to say anything that want. Anything whatsoever. The reason I believe this is that when people can say whatever they want, then everyone is allowed to be honest, stand up for what they believe in, and everyone has the right to expose their stupidity or vile, disgusting, vitriolic behaviour.

    If calling people a nazi is to be outlawed then this is going to make it difficult to identify extremist liberals to then completely disregard everything they say and do. This is the thing, we need people to expose their vile stupidity by incorrectly accusing people of being nazis due to their own lack of understanding of what a nazi is, so that we know not to take anything those people say or do seriously.

    This is the thing, the right to free speech is a great asset to help everyone to be able to form their own opinions about people, to help people to identify the idiots.

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  • If you state it as a fact that someone is of that political affiliation, then yes it's liable and should be illegal. If you're expressing it as an opinion then it's your freedom of expression.

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  • What? That’s fuckin insane. How do you combat a fascist ideology if you can’t make parallels to how that framework was applied in past regimes? I understand that the word ‘Nazi’ is perhaps the most abused word in terms of people just calling others that whenever they dislike what they have to say. But even so, what business of it is the government to punish people for using a smear? If I lived in a country where that was law I would call the people who passed it Nazi’s to their faces just so they’d have to arrest me for making a mouth sound they didn’t like. That kind of law is the antithesis of the kind of liberty which people who fought the Nazi’s were pursuing back in the day.

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  • People should have the right to insult someone that deserves it

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  • Yeah I have had people call me a fascist, it is insulting. Tolerating people these days is hard work.

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  • Hate speech laws are there to protect miniority. But to say you can and can't say is just being a nanny state.

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  • the media loved that story didn't they? what i thought was ironic was the right wing guys hassling suobery were the very definition of neo nazis whilst she is so far to the left of the tories she should join corbyns lot. it does go to show one thing though and that is that democrasy is broken to the point where the yellow vest movement may soon become united in communism because its the nearest thing to both extremes. as for calling someone a nazi thats fine but if you saw the footage of those several big burghly men crowding one single female and abusing her verbally in a threatening way then thats not right is it?

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    • 1d

      Well their were different videos. The one where she's safe and far away talking to a reporter with chants in the background "Soubry is a Nazi" is hardly abusive or intimidating unless you just think shouting protesters are intimidating and harassing. If that's the case then all protests would be outlawed. Secondly remember that she herself said that she was not intimidated by these people. Lastly, this behavior has been happening to "right wingers" or the pro-brexit activists for far longer and far worse for several years now and no one had a problem with it then. Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left XD

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    • 1d

      well maybe jo coxs death means things like that are now taken more seriously and thats why... call it a double standard if you like but i call it progress and i told you my stance on it

    • 1d

      Gotcha. Thanks

  • Yes! All the SJWs would instantly be arrested and sanity can return.

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  • Is this to do with the situation with count dankula?

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    • 1d

      No different thinh

    • 1d

      Gotcha I think freedom of speech is a think all people should have no matter their belief or gender or whatever it may be but context is important

  • It's a serious insult

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  • Regulate EVERYTHING! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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  • It'll be the new N word.

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  • Nope l speak my mind

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    • 1d

      No one will ever stop me from talking no matter who it is they are only a bit of sperm like me so they can go stuff themselfs make what laws they want l dont even care l dont go by any laws l live by my law

  • What if I'm a nazi for real?

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  • no, if someone is a nazi, call them a nazi

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