Tag Archives: consequences

Disobedience of the Law

raif-badawi
Actions have consequences, breaking the law is not a consequence-free game.

This is pretty much guaranteed to piss off just about everyone who reads it, I’m sure, but I recently got into a discussion on a forum with someone who was incensed over the jailings, beatings and executions of atheist bloggers in Muslim countries. Yes, it is likely that most people reading this agree that the laws in these countries, often based on Sharia law, are distasteful.  That doesn’t stop it from being the law of the land.

See, there are lots of people, particularly in the United States, who are wholly misinformed about their place in reality.  They are sure that everyone on the planet lives under the Constitution of the United States and shares all of the rights and privileges that we do.  They are wrong.  Our laws stop at our borders.  Anyone who lives outside of our borders has to deal with the actual laws and rights available in their own little corner of the world.  I fear that a lot of people who spend time online with those in the western world get deluded into thinking that they have these magical rights when, in reality, they have nothing of the sort.

It’s usually not the people that quietly stop believing in Islam and live their lives privately as an atheist, those people don’t get caught very often.  It’s the idiots who go out of their way to antagonize the society in which they live and blatantly shove their apostasy in the face of the authorities that bug me.  Just because you don’t like the law doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow it or pay the consequences.  And these people knew the consequences, in almost all cases, they lived in the society for their entire lives. They openly violated the law and then were shocked when they were carried off to jail for whatever punishment the country deemed proper.  This didn’t come out of the blue, nobody was surprised when the authorities showed up on their doorstep and even if they did, ignorance of the law is no excuse.  People need to stop acting stupidly and stop pretending they have rights they simply do not have.

Don’t give me the “civil disobedience” line either.  Civil disobedience is not a way to break the law and get away scott free.  In fact, the whole point of civil disobedience is to break the law, get caught and be prosecuted, such that you bring attention to the injustice of the laws themselves.  If you’re not willing to suffer the consequences of your civil disobedience, then you’re just being a coward.  I’m willing to bet that none of these bloggers ever gave a moment’s thought to what might happen to them if they were caught.  This isn’t civil disobedience, this is abject stupidity.

People like Raif Badawi, who openly flaunt their violation of the law and get what they have coming to them are not victims. Yes, I think the laws under which he was sentenced are idiotic, that means somewhere between jack and shit.  If he wanted to speak out against Islam, his first move should have been to get the hell out of Dodge, maybe going to Canada where his wife and children now have asylum.  It is not bright to punch the society in the nose and then pretend that you shouldn’t be held accountable for it.  Whatever happens to him is a tragedy, that doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely legal.  No matter how many times Amnesty International claims he’s imprisoned for “exercising his right to freedom of expression”, that doesn’t mean he actually has that right.  People need to disabuse themselves of that silly notion.  It’s nonsense.

So please, before anyone screams about how horrible and awful it is that people in other parts of the world ought to be able to break the law with impunity, realize that you and your local rights and privileges mean precisely dick to the situation at hand. Let’s deal with reality as it actually exists instead of pretending that your political fantasies have any bearing whatsoever on the situation.

Delusions Have Consequences

walkin4You might think this belongs in the Religious Horror Show, but not so.  The person involved did it to themselves and harmed no one else so it’s more of an “evolution in action” moment than anything else.  The Religious Horror Show has very specific rules of what belongs and what does not.  This does not. So let’s look at these religious delusions and their unintended consequences.

A pastor in Gabon’s  capital city of Libreville thought he’d try something cute.  Pastor Franck Kabele, 35, told his followers that he was confident he could recreate Jesus “famous” walking on water stunt.  According to Matthew 14:22-3, he said that anyone with enough faith could do what Jesus supposedly did and took his congregation down the beach surrounding the Kombo estuary by walking on the water.  By his second step, he was underwater and he never came up again.

There are other similar stories in the region, such as the tale of a self-proclaimed Prophet who taught that he could walk into a lion’s den, just like what happened in Daniel, and be safe.  He tried this little stunt at the Ibadon zoo in south-west Nigeria.  Even though he was warned multiple times what would happen, this Prophet walked into the lion’s den and was shredded before the gate closed.  Another self-assured theist dead from his delusion.

Whether the religious are willing to admit it or not, there are negative consequences, sometimes dangerously so, that come part and parcel with their ridiculous delusional beliefs.  It’s sad when these result in a loss of life or limb for the believer, it’s horrific when it causes the death of an innocent person and when it causes a group of people to follow in one’s faith-filled footsteps, it’s unimaginably bad.  Has anything good ever come from such stunts?  Has anyone successfully walked on water through faith alone and not silly tricks?  About the best I can say of these two stories is that the faithful really did have faith, no matter how misplaced and their followers got front row seats to the utter failure of their religious buffoonery.  Maybe they’ll take the lesson to heart and reject the ridiculous beliefs that led their teacher to a tragic end.  I certainly hope so, even if a loss of life was required to teach that important lesson.

Accept vs. Respect

Have you ever had someone tell you that they had the right to do something?  I’m sure it happens to most of us, especially the ones who debate on a regular basis, all the time.  For the most part, I’ll even agree with these people that they do, indeed, have the right, or at the very least the ability to do the things they claim.

But nothing guarantees them that I’ll respect what they do, nor should it.

You want to shave half your head and paint the other side purple?  Knock yourself out.  You want to punch holes in your face and stick thumbtacks through them?  Have a good time.  You want to tattoo swastikas all over your body?  Go for it.  You want me to respect you and treat you like you made the right choice for any of those?

Fuck off.

I bring this up because I’ve seen an increase in people whining about how unfair it is that people are being “intolerant” of their choices.  Yes, they have a doorknob through their nose, but that shouldn’t matter!  Employers ought to overlook that!  Sure, they have obscenities tattooed across their forehead, but so what?  That’s no reason for people to react negatively to them!  Words like “intolerant” get thrown around mindlessly, far too many people forget that nobody actually has to tolerate their actions, there are consequences to everything you do!

For long-time readers of this blog, this is nothing new, I’ve written about it before, it just gets more and more common as time goes on.  Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean anyone is obligated to support you in doing that thing.  Nobody has to pat you on the back or ride you around on their shoulders and make you feel good about what you’ve done.

Unfortunately, as I see more and more of this, it becomes painfully clear how much of a liberal position this is.  It applies pretty much across the board as liberals want to change the social landscape, they don’t want to just push actions on people, they want to push worldviews.  That’s where I entirely part ways with them.

Take gay marriage for a random example.  I’m fully on board with wanting equality in marriage.  I think gays should be able to marry legally without a moment’s hesitation.  But you know something?  I don’t think for a second that even if we pass the legal right for gays to marry, the people who are fundamentally opposed to gay marriage, or to gays period, are going to magically change their minds and become supportive.  It’s just not going to happen.  Most of them are going to die before they ever change their minds.  They’ll have to grudgingly accept it, or at the very least, accept that they’re not going to be able to stop it, but if you think for a second they’ll ever like it, you’re wrong.

They have as much right to hate it as you do to like it.  In fact, they have as much right to speak about how much they hate it, and why they have it, as you do to speak and write about why you support it.  Freedom of speech and freedom of expression go both ways.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not singling out the liberals for doing this, the neo-conservatives are unfortunately just as censorship-happy, they think they can control what people say, just because they don’t like that speech, but I haven’t seen the right-wing expect people’s minds to change instantly like I see regularly on the left.  It seems a primarily liberal thing to not only want situations to change, but for everyone to be forced to rally around the new regime and slap each other on the back regardless of how they really feel.

If you do something I think is stupid, I’m going to tell you that I think it was stupid.  You have no right to ask me to shut up, you have no right to tell me I can’t speak.  I’ll defend to the death, your right to do all the stupid things you want, but I’ll expect you to suffer the consequences of your actions, for good or bad.  If that means you can’t get a job, don’t come looking to me for a handout.  You made your bed, go lie in it.  And don’t expect me to admire what you do, just because you have a right to do it.