Thursday, January 26, 2012

Protecting cherished beliefs

This is an issue in Great Britain more than here. It's not that we don't have crazy and viciously stupid believers in America, but we're somewhat protected by the Bill of Rights.

Criticize my beliefs all you want. If they can't withstand a little criticism, what good are they? In fact, I'd thank you for convincing me I'm wrong, because the truth matters more to me than my feelings.

Ridicule my beliefs, if you think they deserve ridicule. I don't care. As far as I'm concerned, only ridiculous beliefs need protection from ridicule. If my beliefs can't withstand a little ridicule, what good are they?

Attack me with a stone, a gun, or a bomb, and I'll object. Attack me with words and I'll give them the consideration they deserve (i.e. none, if they're just epithets; serious thought if they're based on reason and evidence).

Do you think my beliefs don't matter to me as much as yours do to you? In fact, it's just the reverse. My beliefs matter so much to me that I want to be sure they're true, and not just wishful thinking. Can you say the same?

You have the right to believe whatever you wish. But you don't have the right to be free from criticism or ridicule, because that infringes on the rights of the rest of us. And if you actually care about what's true and what isn't, you shouldn't want to be protected from criticism or ridicule.

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