Thursday, June 26, 2008

Logically Absurd.

I only liked Atonement, the book by Ian McEwan, but I really liked the movie (I’m sensing a trend on this front as I had the same reaction to The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini). But I did find what Mr. McEwan had to say about Islamism on Sunday quite interesting and the reaction to it even more interesting.

Should those of us who develop opinions based on the morality of life rather than allow the primacy of toleration to hold sway live in fear of prosecution because we opine Islamism to have strong anti-life, anti-freedom , and anti-enlightenment components? Should it be frowned upon, let alone illegal, to point out that these components in are direct and stark constrast to the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

It is within one's individual rights to practice any or no religion as he chooses. When, however, that religion (or other group) begins to censor dissent with the help of the government, there is a real threat to freedom of speech and expression. It is logically absurd to consider a personal judgment against a set of standards, values, and customs held by a group of people as dictated by the religion they profess to be a crime (renaming it a hate crime in order to elevate its wrongness only makes it more absurd).

Negative opinions do not stop anyone from practicing religion, nor advocate violence against members of that religion, nor incite others to violence against them. Hearing dissenting opinions may cause someone to think twice about advocating tolerance at the expense of critical judgment. Is that the real crime? Thinking for one’s self? Rejecting multiculturalism as a value and holding individuals and their rights as a primary? Is the fear of being called a racist and bigot greater than the need for rational judgement?

Just how quietly tolerant must we be?

Inciting violence against a person, or group of people is illegal and should be demonstrable in an objective court of law and punished accordingly. Judging a philosophy, an act, a custom, an opinion, a group, an individual, and every other thing that you come into contact with to be in concert or at odds with your values is essential to your life.

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