I'm all for human rights -- for individuals.  Live-and-let-live is all about decency, dignity and tolerance.  If I do choose to pursue criticism or express outrage it's directed at the concepts and principles I disagree with; not the people I disagree with.  In such unfortunate cases, I've always believed one should assail the act, no the actor.

But there seems to be a trend transferring individual rights to groups.  My problem with that is the difference between individuals and groups.  An individual can have any possible combination of interests but groups normally organize around a special interest.  The NRA, feminists, Muslims, Christians, vegans, Greenpeace, whatever.  They all have a core cause around which are wound supporting ideologies.

Although groups have leaders, groups themselves are faceless.  Groups are about causes and ideologies -- concepts, not individuals.  So when a group claims defamation or human rights violations because of criticism directed at their cause or ideology, they are asserting the group as injured individuals.

That's ridiculous.  They're a group!  Nobody's leveling criticisms against individual members.  They're leveling criticism against the group's cause or ideology.  And that's what we're SUPPOSED to do -- criticize the act, not the actor.  They're a group!  How can criticism injure individual members?

Of course, there is no personal injury.  It's just a ruse that group leaders use to avoid accountability and preserve power.  They seek protection from criticism by isolating themselves from social discourse while simultaneously asserting their cause and ideology within the very same social discourse.

What drives these groups to advance such lopsided agendas?  Power.

Islamism provides us an obvious example.  Their cause and ideology is a house of cards.  They can't rationally defend against criticism of male domination and female subjugation.  They can't deny the inhumanity, under Sharia law, of amputations for thieves, stoning for adulterers, execution for apostates and blasphemers, and public whippings for drinking beer.  They don't want to deny that Islam is meant to rule the entire world.  They fear what would happen if Muslims actually investigated claims that Muhammad was a blood-thirsty robber baron who pillaged caravans and towns and took women and children as slaves and concubines.  They know that the Satanic Verses exposes contradictions in the Quran and the embarrassing doctrine of abrogation and they don't want it to be common knowledge.

They don't want criticism BECAUSE the criticism is valid.  They fear having their power threatened or their authority undermined.  They fear their civilization becoming obsolete and irrelevant. It's all about preserving the lie . . . because therein lies the power.

But another power has risen in the West.  Freedom.  Freedom empowers everybody, not just the puppet masters.  Freedom is more powerful than religion and religious leaders know it.  Their only hope is to confuse people or somehow make them surrender their freedom.

Defamation of religion?  It's just a ploy by desperate men clinging to power.

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Hi Eric,

Ron Paul?

As an American expatriate living in the Philippines for over 5 years, I've been "out of the loop" where American cultural literacy is concerned.  I'm Googling Ron Paul now . . .

. . . Okay . . . I remember seeing him before.  Never took much note of him.  He's a Republican.  I've been a life-long Democrat who has been moving toward the right over the last decade or so.  I now consider myself right of center.  Conservative in foreign affairs and liberal fiscally.

And that's an awful place to be.  There's no U.S. party better than the Democrats, so I'm stuck with them despite my distaste for some of their leftist agendas. And the Republicans?  Their extremes are even worse. I don't consider any alternative party to be serious contenders or realistic in their platforms, so I'm not too broken up about being out of the loop.

Where, on the political spectrum would you place Ron Paul?  Far right? Moderate?  I hope you're not equating this post with the far right . . .

I just finished reading a wiki about Ron Paul. He's the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party philosophy!?! I guess that shows just how out of the loop I really am :-) All I really know about the Tea Party is that they're far right wing-nuts.

Actually, the wiki (Wikipedia) made his ideas sound pretty good. Constitutionalism . . . some Libertarianism tossed in. But it seems too idealist. It's more ideological than political and, I'm sure, would end up widening the gulf between the rich and everybody else.

Plus, there's a taint of racism and homophobia from his past and from his current followers.

So, Eric, it looks like you ARE equating my post with the extreme right. Ron Paul has the most conservative voting record out there. You may like the guy but I don't really know much about him. If he's the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party philosophy, then I can't say I like him much.

@Kris Feesntra,

If it is predicated on false information and promotes hatred or illicit acts, then yes. If the information is factual criticism, then no.

That is a truism. Let me paraphrase: "If it's illegal, it's not legal." You'd be hard-pressed to make a safer assertion.

Criticism is criticism. Hate speech is hate speech. Criticism is constitutionally protected. Hate speech is not. Criticism doesn't violate ANY law. Neither does "false information" (except for truth in advertising and such). Hate speech does. Two different things. And criticism is often opinions; value judgments . . . not facts . . . so "factual criticism" should really be "valid criticism". But that's beside the point since criticism is still legal (if not ethical) even if it's invalid or untrue.

As I used to say, in the first grade . . . sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Criticism, valid or not, directed against a GROUP doesn't injure anybody. In fact, what usually hurts the most is the truth.

@Kris Feenstra,

My original post didn't mention law at all except for pointing out the inhumanity of Sharia law ("They can't deny the inhumanity, under Sharia law, of amputations for thieves, stoning for adulterers, execution for apostates and blasphemers, and public whippings for drinking beer.").

It was YOU who brought up law as an issue.  And I quote, "Should the law intervene?"  This was followed by the quote I've already cited: "If it is predicated on false information and promotes hatred or illicit acts, then yes. If the information is factual criticism, then no.", which, presumably refers to hate crime laws ("promotes hatred or illicit acts").

It appears, again, that you only reply to my posts to be contentious.  You'll deny it, of course.  But I think it clearly visible in the record.

What can I say Kris? Eric Rohn Estes said my post was "Well said."  If you have a problem understanding it, I don't care enough to rewrite if for you.

By now, I know the character of your replies to me.  I'm bored with them.  I'm done. Following turned off.



Discussion Forum

Defamation of Religion

Started by Atheist Exile. Last reply by kris feenstra Aug 23, 2011. 11 Replies

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