Tag Archives: freedom

Freedom vs. Responsibility

I’ve been having an ongoing discussion with a libertarian who seems convinced, as most of them seem to be, that there’s some grand conspiracy to keep everyone from acknowledging the supremacy of the libertarian position.  This is crazy conspiracy theorist talk.  You’d think they could see how ridiculous it is.

But it’s also funny, he keeps saying that libertarians respect freedom, I keep pointing out that freedom is meaningless without responsibility, and he keeps going right back to freedom.  He doesn’t want to talk about an individual’s responsibility to larger society, he just wants to be left alone to do whatever the hell he wants to do, regardless of the potential negative impact it might have on society.

Of course, this is nothing new.  I’ve posted before about libertarians who, for example, don’t want to pay property taxes that  go toward public schools because they don’t personally have children.  If it doesn’t directly better their own lives, they want no part of it.  Never mind that having an educated populace makes society better for everyone, they get no direct benefit so screw it.  The same goes for roads.  If they don’t personally drive on those particular roads, they don’t want to pay a red cent for them.  The problem with these people is they have no interest in being part of society, they are fiercely individualistic to the exclusion of all else.  And as we all know, when you become a fanatic, regardless of what you are fanatical about, you become a problem.

What’s worse, no matter how much you point this out to them, they keep their eyes clenched tightly closed.  They just don’t care.  They’re blinded by their own political ideology.  Everyone else can see the problems inherent in their beliefs, they simply are unable to acknowledge it.  That’s why they have to keep pretending there’s a conspiracy and that nothing in their ideology could possibly be to blame.  They can only point fingers outward, never inward.  That’s why their party, after 45 years in existence, continues to fail miserably at the polls.  And instead of admitting that there is a problem with their own platform, they just make excuses for why they fail.  It reminds me a lot of the fanatical Christians who would rather pretend that the world is out to get them than to admit that they have had an unfair social advantage for centuries and now are being treated just like everyone else.  They want to be special so when their special status is taken away, they pretend to be persecuted.  It’s the same mentality.

Here’s the reality.  Personal freedom is great, but it has to be tempered with personal responsibility. Nobody lives in a vacuum.  Whether you like it or not, you are part of a larger society that has needs and you, as a beneficiary of said society, need to be willing to sacrifice some of your personal freedoms for the good of larger society because in so doing, your life is made better, directly or indirectly, by the health and well-being of society.  There is a balance that has to be struck and this is something that a lot of libertarians simply can’t get through their head.  They want all freedom, no restrictions.  Reality simply doesn’t work that way.  Chaos lies down that path.

But then again, these people are often closet anarchists.  They see themselves as Lord Humongous of the wasteland, when in reality, they’re nothing more than Toadie, the pathetic loser that everyone laughs are and who doesn’t know what a waste of skin they actually are. These pseudo-anarchists wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the wasteland but they’ll never admit it, just like the libertarian ideology can’t make it in the real world, but delusional libertarians can’t get that through their heads.

It’s all quite sad when you think about it.

Stop the Illiberal Left

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It’s really funny to listen to a lot of people on the left who pretend to be for freedom and individuality and free speech, yet in practice, they’re anything but.  Lots of people are coming to that conclusion, even people on the left who realize that so many people on the liberal fringe are not in favor of any of those things, in fact, they hate freedom and responsibility and the ability to speak your mind.  They are, what columnist Kirsten Powers calls, “the illiberal left“.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of reading liberal books and Powers does consider herself a lifelong liberal even though she works for FOX, but even she realizes that fundamental liberal values are being attacked by people that she thought were on her side.  These extremists cannot handle free speech that goes against their narrow views.  They want journalists who defy their wishes fired from their jobs and black listed from the industry.  Dissent cannot be allowed and we’ve seen this time and time again in recent years.  Either you drink their Kool Aid or you shut your mouth and they have no problem attacking you, harassing you or trying their level best to harm you, emotionally, financially and maybe even physically, because you refuse to toe their line.

It’s because of this that I find the idea that liberals are for freedom and anti-authoritarianism to be laughably absurd.  It’s clearly not the case anymore.  They want everyone to think like they think, act like they act and if you don’t, they have no problem trying to bring the full force of the law against you.  It’s why schools, once the bastion of free speech and expression, now have speech codes, “free speech areas” and are requiring people to attend sensitivity training because they haven’t had this ultra-liberal indoctrination shoved deep enough into their skulls.

I really recommend that anyone interested in this subject read Powers’ book, it really is a disturbing look at how the political and social left in America has gone batshit insane.  It’s also funny to read the far-left response to the book, where they try to defend their actions by saying that they don’t really have the political power to forcefully take away anyone’s right to free speech, that it happens as a consequence of their actions is beside the point.  It’s a coincidence.  Liberals can’t actually do these things, never mind that they really, really want to, they just lack the power.  Sorry, the desire to forcibly stop someone from speaking their mind is antithetical to the American political system, whether you hold a gun to their head, pass a law, or simply ruin their lives.  Anyone who engages in these behaviors needs a good swift kick in the teeth, it is reprehensible and it’s standard operating procedure for the new illiberal left.  We’ve all seen it.  We all continue to see it.  It’s disgusting.

 

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #2.14

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Should Auld Stupidity Be Forgot?

Tom DeLay and his tinfoil hat, the truth about the Oregon baker case, evangelicals want to stuff political offices with preachers and the freedom to thread eyebrows.  Then we revisit a bunch of stories that we kept saying we’d revisit and hadn’t.

Yes, the world is a crazy place, listen to us simplify it.

Mohammad on Busses?

muhammad_cartoon_big_fat_bookPamela Geller, the same one who put on the art show in Garland Texas that was shot up by ISIS-backed Muslim terrorists wants to see the artwork from the show gracing public busses and subway stations.  She wants to see depictions of Mohammad shown far and wide as a way of proving to the extremists that they cannot impose their religion on others.  As expected, bus and subway operators are hesitant to do so, it would open their operations to substantial risk and potential lawsuits and the left are out screaming racism and hurling insults at Geller, but I think it isn’t a terrible idea, done carefully.

The whole point of terrorism is to either force behavior or restrict behavior based on a threat of violence.  If we change our behavior specifically because of that threat of violence then in essence, the terrorists have won and I don’t think that’s acceptable.  Also, there is no such thing as sacred in a secular society, so giving the Muslims a pass to harm others because their religious beliefs are insulted while restricting other groups from doing the same is a violation of the most basic tenets of American freedom.  You cannot restrict free speech and you cannot respect violence done in response to free speech.  If you do, you’re no longer living in the United States of America.  The idea that we ought to stop drawing Mohammed because it pisses off the Muslims is as abhorrent as closing all of the abortion clinics because they offend the Christians.  Both the Muslims and the Christians need to grow the hell up and get over themselves.

Yet I think both groups, indeed any group, needs to be shown that it cannot threaten people with violence to get its way either. There is no right whatsoever not to be offended.  If something offends you, either don’t look at it or get over it.  Those are your choices.  Pulling a gun and shooting someone isn’t.  That might fly in the Middle East, it doesn’t fly in an advanced western society.  I think the more we offend these people, the more they have to see what they most despise, the less it will affect them if it’s everywhere.  They’re going to have to be pushed to deal with reality as it is, not as they wish it was.  The same goes for the idiot creationists who hate evolution.  Don’t give in, just keep teaching it.  Show these people they have no control over the real world.

It probably isn’t a good idea to put these pictures in public places where the possibility of widespread bloodshed exists.   I support the right of individuals or privately-held companies doing it though.  Someone has to stand up to these radical Muslim animals.  Apparently, the increasingly liberal citizens of America don’t have the balls.

 

Explaining Responsibility

personal_responsibility_areaWhile I was writing the post on Gary Johnson’s platform, discussions raged on about libertarianism and libertarian positions. I got into somewhat of a fight over the difference between freedom and responsibility and while my libertarian counterpart refused to see reason, I wanted to go into a bit of detail here because I think it explains the core of my political thinking.

See, to a lot of libertarians, in fact, every libertarian I have ever debated, freedom is infinitely more important than responsibility.  In fact, it seems like they only throw in responsibility at all as a means to do away with the inherent problems with unlimited freedom, they throw it in as a means to keep people from running wild, yet it makes no sense at all.  Anyone familiar with libertarian politics will know that they arbitrarily draw the line on freedom where it doesn’t cause anyone else harm, but why is that?  If someone is supposed to be free, what difference does it make if they harm anyone else, steal their stuff or do things which produce an unfair advantage over your opponents? The reason, although they’ll never admit it, is self-interest. They don’t want others to have the ability to harm them, thus they set this arbitrary limit on how much freedom people actually get to have.  They can’t justify why they set the limits where they set them however, but I can.

Personally, I think responsibility is infinitely more important than individual freedom.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against freedom at all, I think freedom naturally arises from responsibility and not the other way around as many libertarians do.  As far as I’m concerned, you have an inherent responsibility to those around you, simply as a consequence to living in a society. The same is true on a smaller scale if you live in the same house with others, you have a responsibility to share resources, treat each other well and keep the peace.  Scaled up, this works just fine for society as well.

But yes, I know, libertarians aren’t much into the social contract, in fact, their absurd ideas of natural law and  natural rights go completely against it.  That’s why they’re into freedom for the sake of freedom and for anyone who gets in their way, fuck them. It’s one of the primary reasons I have very little respect for libertarians.

Having responsibility first and foremost guarantees freedom, but it also guarantees interconnectivity.  People are responsible for taking care of others, but everyone is also responsible for providing for themselves.  It gets rid of the welfare state that the liberals love, but it also gets rid of the “I got mine, screw you” thing that the libertarians value.  It recognizes that everyone is connected to everyone else and everyone plays an important role in society.  If one part fails to properly operate, it harms the whole, which is why we need to hold everyone to the same high standards, such that all of us in society can continue to output at a high rate.  It’s not rocket science.  It just makes sense, unlike liberalism and libertarianism.

So be responsible, both to yourself and to those around you.  It’s the only way that actually works.

Freedom of Speech is not Freedom from Consequences

consequencesI see this all the time, I’m sure you do too.  A lot of people seem to think that their right to free speech somehow overrides anyone’s ability to criticize what they have to say or any possible consequences for the speech they engage in.  Sorry folks, it just isn’t true.

This was once again brought home to me when I received a call from a friend who is a securities broker.  He called to vent over an employee he had to terminate.  Apparently, it was a guy in his early 20s who had recently been “saved”.  Now I’m sure that anyone who has been around one of the newly-indoctrinated can recognize the sort, they’re “on fire for Jesus” and they want to tell anyone and everyone that will listen how great it makes them feel.  Unfortunately, this guy was doing it at work.  He was littering the office with tracts and bothering people on their breaks, trying to pass on the “Good News”.  Now my friend, who runs the office, had to sit this guy down a couple of times and tell him to lighten up because people were complaining that he was harassing them, but when it became clear that he wasn’t limiting his unwanted evangelism to his co-workers, but he was doing it to clients as well,  that was the last  straw and my friend put him through the termination process.  The part he wanted to vent about though is the fact that the religious zealot seemed to think that his guaranteed and “God-given” right to free speech meant that he got to say whatever was on his mind to whoever he could find and could not be abridged, my friend was clearly engaging in religious harassment and he’d sue!

Sure pal, go ahead.  Knock yourself out.

While this is clearly a case of someone who misunderstands the concept of free speech, it’s just not that uncommon, I’m sure most of us have had the experience of disagreeing with a theist and they come back with “you can’t tell me I’m wrong, you’re stifling my freedom!”  No, sorry, pointing out how flawed your arguments are is not limiting your ability to speak, it’s just showing that your speech is invalid.

This is even commonplace in the atheist “community” where people seem to think that they deserve to be given a voice wherever they choose to stop and unload their drivel.  While I’m not a fan of censorship, I am a fan of being reasonable and if you own a website or moderate a forum, you get to decide who can say what there.  I’ve deleted quite a few insulting, demeaning comments here that clearly violate my comment policy and I’ve had people send me nasty e-mail accusing me of denying them their free speech.  Fuck them.  See, nobody is required to provide you a venue for your speech.  They can tell you, assuming they control or own the area, that you are not free to speak.  That’s not taking away your freedom of speech, it’s just requiring you to take it elsewhere.  In the above example, my friend was not telling his former employee that he couldn’t talk about God until he was blue in the face, he was saying that he could not do it at work and certainly, he could not do it to his clients.  Outside of work, outside of the building, he’s free to say whatever he wants to whoever he wants and he’ll only be held accountable if he makes the company look bad.

Actions, any actions, whether you like it or not, come with potential consequences.  A wise person understands those consequences and considers them before taking actions that may incur negative results.  A fool, and let’s be honest, the people we’re talking about fall mostly into that category, never thinks ahead and spends their lives behind the 8-ball.

So Shaun, even though you  don’t read my blog, keep up the good work, you made the right decision and your ex-employee deserves what he got.  Hopefully the next guy you hire will know what being a professional is all about and will understand boundaries.  Far too many theists seem to completely misunderstand that concept.