Thought Crime pt. Deux

I have recently run into a number of Europeans in the States, and there are aspects of each other’s government and culture that we just don’t understand about each other.


They just can’t grasp the concept that it’s legal to be a Nazi here. Especially the German kid. He was astounded. I guess it was something that was so assumed to be illegal in Germany that he honestly didn’t know there were Western industrilized countries where it wasn’t.

As a libertarian-leaning American, I defend openly Nazi’s rights to be complete buttheads in the space of their own minds, as long as it doesn’t bring itself into illegal activity (a likely story).

I was against the flag-burning amendment that was bandied about a few years ago for the same reason. I don’t like the idea of America having any form of hate crime. As long as it’s your flag burning, and you didn’t steal it to burn it, I say, well, don’t catch the drapes on fire.

These same people find it incredible to see the ads for cable boxes that it would be illegal to actually use or anything.

I find it incredible that these people so willingly lay down for their government restrictions and control. Controlling the tv stations? Taxing up to like 50%, and then basing benefits on not working (Sweden)? Telling you what political opinions you can have? When I recite these lists of restrictions, I start to have a little understanding for where the outlaw militias in the States are coming from, intellectually speaking.

So, any Euro’s out there who wish to respond on whether they like their monarchical descended governmental attitudes? Honestly, in America, if you even proposed some of the restrictions I hear about from some of these visitors, your office would have to rent a separate room just for the hate mail.

Here’s a european’s perspective on rights in the USA (some of the things I noticed when I moved here):

You mean nudity is forbidden on American television, and you can’t say the word “shit”? It’s OK to see people being blown up or murdered, but not OK to see people having sex?

I read a cover article in Time Magazine about how Scientology defrauds thousands of people out of money (and brainwashes them), and no one makes it illegal?

When I applied for my first job (at a defense contractor), I was asked “Have you ever been a communist?” I thought all political parties were legal?

When I apply for a job, they want me to take a drug test?

The USA still has the death penalty, violating one of the most fundamental human rights, the right to life?

A friend of mine (a teacher) says the books he use at school are so old they don’t mention that man has walked on the moon?


I agree that many of the freedoms in the USA are worthwhile, especially the freedom of expression. But when you look at the kind of things that would be forbidden in Europe, for example starting a political party in Germany that says kill all the jews, you figure that most people don’t care enough to make it an issue, and most of those that do care probably don’t like nazis anyway.

In the USA, I’m a member of the ACLU, that defends those prized civil liberties, but I notice that for most people ACLU seems to be a derogatory term.

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Well, let’s see…

Scientology. Yeah, I know what you mean. The problem with that in the States is that they claim to have a religion going. I know and you know that they did that after they figured out the tax benfits, and the IRS has been on their tail for a long time, but if you claim to have a religion, it’s a very touchy thing in the U.S. to restrict it. This all comes from being descended culturally from people who were running from being told exactly what God was, etc. So, the American take on it is, if they’re claiming you get a spiritual benefit from the exhorbitantly priced classes, and that sort of thing is unquantifiable, then we’d probably better leave it alone, as long as people are not actually being kidnapped or robbed (charges that have more or less actually come up when dealing with S., actually).

Drug tests: No one is E. would test for drugs? Even for airline pilots, etc? That strikes me as overly trusting. I’m not sure what you mean with that.

The communist thing I’m surprised at. When was that? I do, however, appreciate somewhat the position of a defense contractor, charged with holding national defense secrets, interviewing someone who openly holds an ideology once headed by someone who announced “We will break you!” Not that that in itself is a total excuse for not hiring someone.

Death penalty: I don’t know that, frankly, everyone does have a right to life. If they have demonstrated a complete inability to get along in society to the point where they have actually with forethought taken other people’s lives, it is at least arguable that society can reserve the right to remove them in the most permanent fashion.

After all that, I don’t want this to degenerate into a death penalty argument, or any Great Debate, so let’s remember I’m asking for other views, such as those provided by Msr. Jacques. Thanks.

Most European countries are founded on a very different set of political theories. It is considered normal for states to act “in defense of themselves”. The Algerian Insurrection led de Gaulle to invoke a provision of the Constitution which allows the President to make decrees with the force of law. Germany outlawed the Communist Party of Germany (although the German Communist Party is perfectly legal). It is illegal to advocate theocracy, communism, fascism, or federalism in Turkey.

There are tradeoffs. Gaullists agreed that for de Gaulle to become a de factodictator, temporarily and legally, was far better than a military coup. We’ve never been that close to a military coup in the United States. Kudos to our military for staying away from politics (the barracks are preferable to the statehouse, trust me).

From the OP:

Isn’t this terribly ironic? Aren’t these militas in the wrong country? Members of the outlaw militias believe the Federal government is already oppressive and overbearing, and often believe it should be overthrown. Talking like this and stockpiling guns would get you arrested in the blink of an eye in most European countries, but it’s legal here.

The conclusion I draw: the “slippery slopes” so often warned of by American civil libertarians don’t necessarily exist. Banning a party that advocates violent revolution does not necessarily lead to banning all (or all but one) political parties. Banning the Church of Scientology does not immediately precede banning the Lutheran church. The Europeans have drawn their line between security and liberty in a different place than the U.S. - that doesn’t mean the line is moving. I prefer the U.S. model, because I think extremist parties are more dangerous when they’re underground, not because I think there is something inherently “fascist” about banning fascist parties.

Drug tests: No one is E. would test for drugs?

I’m sure some do, but hell, I’m a programmer! (database administrator now) I have asked several of my friends in similar jobs (in Europe) and have never heard of any of them needing to take a drug test.

The communist thing I’m surprised at. When was that?

1987, Hughes Aircraft Company, California.

RE: Death Penalty, Scientology -

The reasons you give for justifying the US position on those have some merit. Remember, however, that Europeans will come up with equally valid arguments to defend the European point of view on issues you think are “strange.”

By the way, was the “Msr Jacques” indicating gender confusion?

Jacques is a french masculine name. English version being James. (remember Jacques Cousteau) By some strange perversion, in the USA people will give the name “Jacque” to women. Go figure!

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Krushchev said “We will bury you”. A bad translation of a Russian expression meaning, “We will survive you” or “We will outlast you”. Marxist doctrine claims that capitalist systems destroy themselves; according to Krushchev’s professed beliefs, the Soviet didn’t have to do a thing to destroy this West, they only had to wait around for Western workers to lose their chains.

Don’t worry, I’m not putting blood-spattered expansionists like Stalin in the same category as Krushchev. I just wanted to get in my two bits on “We will bury you”.

Regarding Scientology, I
Post deleted due to copywrite violation

unfortunately, what they do doesn’t constitute fraud. You willingly pay money to take classes and to support an organization that you have every right to support and believe in. You and I may think they are loony, but that’s subjective.

The commie/defense thing. Well, duh. I think everyone can believe in whatever political system turns them on, but if you are going to have anything to do with defending MY political system, I’d like to know you support it.

Drug test: SUCKS!!! However, you have the right to refuse, and they have the right to refuse to hire you because of it. Nobody’s real rights are being violated. I think most drug testing is ludicrous, especially since it doesn’t usually cover alcohol, but I do like knowing the pilots and other folks responsible for the safety of others are not drug users.

ACLU being a durogatory term: ain’t that a bitch? Never ceases to amaze me. I thank heaven for the ACLU. They are the last defenders of freedom in this country, I don’t even want to contemplate how ugly things might get without them. They are fighting an uphill battle as it is.

unrepentent liberal most of the time

What’s a copywrite violation?

Copyright, I’ve heard of.

“It says, I choo-choo-choose you. And it’s got a picture of a train.”
– Ralph Wiggum

This is turning into a Great Debate or something! So what is YOUR political system? Are you saying one can’t be an american and a communist at the same time? Maybe they should have asked me if I voted Republican and was in favour of the vietnam war.

Heck, they should be able to ask me to prove I’m not gay then, right? I have the right to refuse their question, and they have the right not to hire me. They should also be able to ask me my age, number of children (because if I have kids I’ll be taking off early), etc… All perfectly OK!

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

No, actually, no employer can ask you those kinds of questions, as they are illegal. This thread talks some more about those questions, if you’re interested.

My guess is that the questions you listed refer to legal activities, whereas a drug test is to find out if you engage in an illegal behavior. The Communist question should never have been asked, as far as I know.

“It says, I choo-choo-choose you. And it’s got a picture of a train.”
– Ralph Wiggum

Uh, Beadalin…
Have you been following the Chinagate scandle? To sum it up, a Chinese guy with communist symathies was hired by a nuclear research facility, and promply sold all of his work to China. Now China (a country with an abysmal human rights record) has the USA’s multiple-warhead technology, which means that they can park 12 nukes in your back yard with the push of a button. Defense contractors have every right to grill their employees about their political beliefs, because those beliefs can directly affect the security of the nation and the world.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

Hughs Aircraft is a defense company, and presumbably you were interviewing for a position that required a security clearance. Refusing a security clearance on the grounds that someone at one time was a member of an orginization that activly supported a nation that was openly hostile to our nation is a far cry from preventing you from joining a political party or acting publically as a member of that party. Being a communist was (and probably still is) considered a “risk factor” for being a spy for a communist country.

Dave Swaney said:

to which Jacques Raymond Kilchoer responded:

Not to put words in Mr. Swaney’s mouth, but I think that “Msr.” was supposed to be an abbreviation for “Monsieur” (sp?). Is that not the correct abbreviation? I haven’t taken French in ages; I’ve forgotten.

You may now resume the discussion. . .

“You mean in America you can’t hang out in the park and drink a beer?”

“There is nothing you ought to do, for the simple reason that you know nothing, nothing whatever- make a mental note of that, if you please.”
-V. Nabokov

Cessandra, that’s exactly what I meant to be saying. If you hadn’t said anything, I would have assumed that my flippant attempt to show my worldly sophisticatin had gone horribly aray (which I know is spelled wrong, but it’s midnight, and I’m having a complete mental block so that I can’t even find it in the dictionary). Is not Msr. the abbreviation for Monsieur? Did I forget everything from high school French?

I thought the points about security clearences and communism were well made. When the consequences are so high, civil rights and such start to lose their grip on the top of even the American hierarchy of principles.

I find myself being very American. That German kid I mentioned also had problems with all the Turks moving in. Not because they were dark, but because they had a different culture and because “Islam says that anyone who dies fighting for Islam will go straight to paradise.” Thus meaning that it lends itself readily to extreme reactions to percieved threats. A charge that has been made in many other places.

But I told him, you’re not going to get an American like me to support your attempts to keep your culture “pure” or whatever. I refuse to define myself as anything but an individual for the most part, because I end up wishing to distance myself from large parts of most every group, even my religion (and sometimes especially my religion).

Also, it’s going to be centuries before the rest of the world doesn’t have an automatic reaction to any sentence with the words, “German,” “immigrant,” “culture,” and “resentment” in it. Watch it there, bub. Your history (well, not yours individually, but there is such a thing as the demonstration of a culture’s beliefs over time) is not the cleanest, in the way that Half Dome is not a rock for the kids to play on in the backyard.

From my OP: “I don’t like the idea of America having any form of hate crime.”

I meant to say thought crime. Hate crimes are a different issue I don’t really feel like getting into right now, although I’d have to say that I do tend to lean that way on that issue, but I haven’t thought about it enough to really say much.

A small point: "Isn’t this terribly ironic? Aren’t these militas in the wrong country? Members of the
outlaw militias believe the Federal government is already oppressive and overbearing,
and often believe it should be overthrown. Talking like this and stockpiling guns would
get you arrested in the blink of an eye in most European countries, but it’s legal here. "

Just because there are more freedoms here in this regard than in somewhere else doesn’t make it “free enough.” It’s always possible that the person who is the more extreme of the two still isn’t going far enough.

I just reminded myself: What is it with the “Euro” attitude toward guns? I mean that I honestly don’t understand what the facts are. There have to be quite a number of hunting rifles through Europe, but they consider American gun laws to be clucked at. Do you have to jump through three hoops of fire and be married to the p.m.'s daughter to own a pistol? I realize that I’m lumping together quite a number of governmental systems here, but is there a general pattern? (And you should hear real Africans react with derision at the American tendency to say things like “African colors” or, and yes, it’s actually said, “The African flag.” Just comes to mind when talking about lumping disparate peoples together.)

I was born and grew up in this country, but I take a similar view of it to that expressed by JRK. . .all except as to the ACLU. I was a member of the ACLU years ago. It has degraded into pretty much just another politically correct special-interest group, just politically correct interests, not the corporate special interests. I’ve been to ACLU meetings; there has been a very wide generation gap there. I have corresponded with them on legal points; they just make up the rules they want, and which their special interests support – and lie like hell about the law, just like any other lawyers.

The death penalty is about the worst aspect of this country. However, an even worse one is that cops can chase any fugitive at any speed they can reach at any time of day under any traffic or weather conditions, no matter what information they have or don’t have on why the fugitive is fleeing, or anything else about the fugitive. If, in the process, they kill half a dozen completely innocent bystanders/bydrivers, they simply charge the fugitive with a murder in each case, and nobody can have any recourse against them or their jurisdiction, so long as that jurisdiction has certain irrational legal double-talk written into its codes. This is particularly true in CA-US.

I think legally defense contractors can ask about having been a member of any communist party (there are or were at least two in the US), though maybe they technically are supposed to refer to such parties as ones which advocate overthrow of the US. This would be so that they can later more easily get a security clearance for you, not because you are, on hiring, applying for one.

I thought the standard abbreviation for ‘Monseur’ as simply ‘M.’. Checking with my dictionary, that’s what it says.

Diceman’s description of the Los Alamos national-security problem centered on a Taiwanese-born Chinese-American employee is sick. The employee apparently just violated some security standards; he didn’t “sell” anything to China. The CIA is now bragging that, in the process of checking this stuff out, they got more secret info from China than China did from us. . .whatever mathematics you use to calculate such things.

I totally don’t understand the controlling attitude toward guns in private hands in this country, particularly relative to most European views. I think all the gun nuts here, including all Libertarian Pary members, should go hunting in the manner of the Springfield, OR kid who survived the school shootout in that town. He just went hunting with his brother and was promptly shot to death accidentally by his brother. Any gun a private individual wants to own should be left at his rifle range. Tonight’s TV says 3000 guns sold by police recently have turned up as those used in crimes. Chicago’s angry because some came from Miami. CA-US and FL dump their criminals in each other’s state. It’s all fun and games, but the games are almost never aimed at making the place safer, only providing more fun and games.

Beyond its natural resources, the US is a great country. . .only on many pieces of paper, supplied by clear-cutting the continent’s forests.


Drug test: SUCKS!!! However, you have the right to refuse, and they have the right to refuse to hire you because of it. Nobody’s real rights are being violated. I think most drug testing is ludicrous, especially since it doesn’t usually cover alcohol, but I do like knowing the pilots and other folks responsible for the safety of others are not drug users.

Yes, our real rights are being violated. I don’t like people poking around in my piss.
The attitude “if you don’t like it, go elsewhere” is kind of ridiculous considering 98% of Fortune 500 companies now drug test.

Also, most drug tests DO test for alcohol, the problem being that alcohol only stays in your system for about 12 hours.

Cocaine, meth, and other stimulants stay in the system about a week or less.

Metabolites of THC stay are stored in the fat for up to a month, thereby putting marijuana users at a tremendous disadvantage when the cup is held up to their crotch.

And yet another point that could make you think twice about testing is that there are some drugs they just can’t test for! You can drop 1000 mcg of LSD an hour before a drug test if you want, and it’ll make no difference.

I can understand drug testing for occupations
where an inebriated person could put lives in danger, but I mean COME ON! It has gotten out of hand when you drug test an office worker. What’s he gonna do? Drop a keyboard on his foot?

There isn’t much employment related drug testing in Canada. Companies who tried to implement it found themselves in court. Drug testing is legislated for some critical jobs but generally Canada has resisted it as a human resources policy. One of the main arguments is the accuracy of the tests. The consequences are potentially so severe for a positive test (the complete destruction of careers and reputations) that even the squeeky clean are opposed.
Here’s a logic concept :(I hope I get this right, you’re a tough crowd). You have a test for something (X) that is 99% accurate and you are looking for X that occurs in 1% of the population. If someone tests positive how likely is it that they have X? 50/50. The test may be 99% accurate but the results are only 50/50. But as X increases in the population The test results become more reliable. If you have a vested interest in the War On Drugs industry you are going to encourage the spread of drug testing and you are going to encourage the belief that drug use is widespread throughout the population.
Nobody really has an accurate idea how many drug users there are in any group chosen for testing and this is a factor in the accuracy of the tests. Drug testing spreading beyond the military, airline pilots, etc. must be opposed to protect the very small minority that will be harmed by false results.

Dave Swaney:
The french abbreviations are:
M. Monsieur - as mentioned by another poster
Mme Madame
Mlle Mademoiselle
Don’t let your spelling go awry!

Re: communism and defense job.

The point I’m trying to make is that, compared to Europe, the paranioa in the US surrounding communism is humorous. In Europe, the communist party is just another political party. The assumption in the US is that you cannot be a member of a communist party and be a loyal american at the same time. Why not? Why didn’t they ask me if I was Jewish? Because then, I of course would automatically sell all my secrets to Israel.

A better question would be “Under what circumstances would you feel it appropriate to reveal defense secrets?” And if you think no one would answer that question in a way that would jeopardize their chance of getting a job, keep in mind that someone intending to spy would not reveal that they were a communist anyway.

Nanobyte said:

Then why do they defend the Ku Klux Klan’s right to have parades?

Beadalin says:

One of the questions I mentioned was “Why don’t they ask me if I’m gay”. The latest information I have says that approximately 19 states still have laws criminalizing sodomy. So then it should be acceptable for a company to ask me if I’m gay? My argument is that my company has no business knowing if I smoke pot on the week-end. If it’s for safety reasons, then why don’t they ask about alcohol?

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.