Alchemical Thoughts

It’s a matter of respecting the rights of others, but you respect mine as well

Posted on: March 7, 2009

I often describe myself as someone with a "live and let live" attitude. If there is something I can't tolerate it is oppressive and pushy people who think their rights, and only their rights and views, are the only valid ones and are more than happy to trample on everybody else. I am looking at a lot of you religious fundamentalist nuts out there and their enabling brethren for example. I honestly do not care what it is you practice or preach as long as you keep it to yourself and don't try to convert me, or worse, to give up my rights and freedoms because your big fairy in the sky tells you to. Guess what? I don't have a big fairy in the sky telling me to do it, so please, keep it to yourself. I will be happy to mind my own business in the meantime. Is it really that hard to respect the rights of others and get others to respect mine? I don't have all the answers, but J.D. Tucille considers it in his post on "you respect my rights and I will respect yours." From the post:

"It comes down to the same thing: When liberty is under attack, everybody is at risk. But that's not what the politicians and inspectors and tax collectors and police officers say, of course. No, they're all too happy to tell you that the queers next door are a threat to your way of life, or that the gun nuts are a public danger, or that the tax dodgers are greedy and not doing their fair share, or the store keepers are running amuck without entangling red tape, or that the pot heads are lazy parasites who will corrupt your kids.

But once the politicians and inspectors and tax collectors and police officers are done with the queers, they'll happily shift their sights to the gun nuts, then to the tax dodgers, the store keepers, and then the pot heads, and …

Where were you planning to hide? Forget about it. Because you're some kind of menace, too, and you'll be fresh out of allies if you don't realize that the freedom of people you don't care very much about is just as important as your own."

This is what a lot of people do not get, and it is the reason that I believe quite firmly in defending the rights of others. Because in the long run, if you do not, when the oppressors come after me, there will be no one left to help defend me. In a way, it is a matter of self-interest to me. You help me out, and I will help you out. And I may not agree with a lot of stuff, but I do agree with their right to express it (again, as long as you are not trying to impose it on me, go wild). At one point, my father and I were talking, and he wondered out loud how come his boys turned away from the religion they were raised with. For the record, I was raised Roman Catholic, and I am no longer practicing. In fact, I am happily going along as a spiritual but not religious person. He was fairly mellow, saying he was not going to ask me why, that it was my thing, but it made me think. And at the end of the day, this is certainly one of the issues that convinced me to get away from religion and seek my own path: that more often than not religion is more interested in suppressing the rights of others in order to carry out whatever their agenda is; in extreme cases, they do things like what the Catholic Church recently did in Brazil in relation to a young 9 year old girl getting raped. Pharyngula has been following the story, and I have to say, it is definitely a fine illustration of what I have been saying. What they don't get is that they will be a threat to someone as well down the road, and then who will they be allied with when the oppressors come around for them?

Just one of the things I keep in mind now and then. 

Oh, and by the way, that Examiner site where the article comes from looks interesting. I may have to take a look around.

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