Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ethical Debate About Human Rights - Part Deux

A Little Dialogue Between Scary Fundamentalist and Myself - He Said/He Said

After yesterday's entry on Ethical Debate based on the Keeping article in the Star Phoenix, Scary Fundamentalist, who is probably more of the latter than the former, and maybe less of both and I dialogued a bit through comments, which I wanted to share this morning. It went like this:
Scary Fundamentalist said...

To me, Keeping's argument sounds like the shrill demands from the fanatical left to give five-star hotel treatment to Taliban prisoners. Ms. Keeping has undoubtedly never been in the crosshairs of the HRC, and maybe cannot see this happening in her lifetime, so she can opine about civility. For those of us who live in fear of when the HRCs will come and figuratively (or even literally) break down our door, offense is a legal and legitimate means to get the attention of the oblivious public. As long as it doesn't extend into outright libel, Ezra and the rest of us have nothing to be ashamed of.

mbrandon8026 said...

I think my own conclusion is that some prudence is in order. If you wouldn't tell your Mom what you are saying in a Blog in these words, maybe they are not the right words to use.

However, a little righteous indignation has its place and time.

Also, there is an important place for the High Road.

Above all Follow Your Own Conscience, which presupposes that you have formed one.

Scary Fundamentalist said...

Each and every person is accountable before their God or conscience as to the means employed to this end, but far be it from me to expend precious energy to nitpick at the incivility of my allies. Images of deck chairs moving on a really big ocean liner come to mind.

The High Road is a necessary perspective when one is considering the same tactics of the enemy. In this case, taking the "Low Road" would be demanding the creation of jackboot Stalinesque bureaucratic agency to enforce speech freedoms.

Part of what we're fighting for is the freedom to be offensive. We may find it morally objectionable to offend in the manner of Levant and others (Shaidle comes to mind) but we must defend their right to do it.

mbrandon8026 said...

Again, we fundamentally agree. I understand the frustration of Ezra and Kathy as best I can, and choose to speak in my own terms because of my beliefs and style.

I just don't have a personal need to be offensive in the same manner. For me it can be offensive enough just putting the truth out there, without embellishment.

My Blog. I get the last word.

So here is the last word. Actually, I am not fighting for the freedom to be offensive, though that is a potential by product of speaking one's mind. But I keep being reminded of 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 "Love does not take offence", and realise that it is not about being offensive at all.

If for example, something happens around our house, and my wife says to me: "You are a real jerk." I can be offended and respond with some retributive comment. I can be non judgmental and try to understand what she was meaning, and maybe even acknowledge after I understand that I, did in fact act like a real jerk. I have choices.

Here is a question, actually a few to ponder. Is something offensive because I FEEL offended, or is it inherently, in fact offensive? The same goes for discrimination. Is something you did discriminatory because I FEEL discriminated against, or because you, in fact discriminated against me? Oh, and who determines the "in fact" part?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The freedom to be "offensive" is included in the broader notion of freedom of speech. Some of us may regard the words of Ezra and Kathy to be offensive, but we both know that many hold the same sentiments to that which comes from our pulpits or that which lies within the ancient texts we regard as holy.

By destroying the concept of state-run censorship, we set ourselves free to determine for ourselves what is and is not offensive, and use only the means at our own disposal to act accordingly.

For Keeping to denounce what she deeems as offensive is definitely valid; only it's about as valid as a soldier criticizing his comrade for a lopsided beret during a deadly firefight...