The Thought Police and the Animal Within

I have said on many occasions that most people – actually, almost all people – don’t really understand freedom. Most people don’t really want freedom and don’t know what to do with it.

One of my favorite YouTubers, The Amazing Atheist (his real name is T.J. Kirk), recently posted a longish video in which he defended some of his positions, beliefs and comments, after being attacked by feminist Greta Christina on her blog.

The author stands next to a symbol. You may decide what it symbolizes.
The author stands next to a symbol. You may decide what it symbolizes.

Thus begins, in my mind, the real debate: do we need or want a truly free society? In my opinion, a genuinely free society would allow us to think, feel and say pretty much anything. Anything. The only thing a truly free people should fear is action when that action is dangerous. How do we define dangerous action? Physical harm, property harm, and credible threats of such. Everything else, from my point of view, has to be tolerated in order to have a free society.

“I imagine raping The Amazing Atheist with a baseball bat,” is different from, “I will be waiting outside your workplace and when you come out I will kill you.”

The Bully Paradox

My wife and I have two Chihuahuas, Max and Sierra. One thing they teach me about the world is that every dog, big or small, has the same dog inside him. They are all hard-wired to chase rabbits and herd goats. They all growl when they are protecting someone.

The same is oddly true about people: we all have an animal inside us, and that animal is hard wired. One of the most difficult things to accept about that wiring is that we are all hard wired to be bullies. We all get high from feeling powerful. We all become aggressive and want to dominate. It’s a survival strategy from the savanna.

It’s not an excuse for bullying. But our nature cannot be denied. Christians bully. Atheists bully. Feminists bully. Criminals bully. Business people bully.

The bully inside, hidden deep within some of us, but on the surface for others, is at the heart of conflicts like the one in this discussion. The bully makes the profane comments. The bully calls us names. The bully hates us, because the bully is an animal.

The comments at the end of Christina’s blog post were, by the way, what we have come to expect from the internet: vulgar, simplistic, childish, and, of course, intensely hateful. The feminist subculture has, for its entire existence, been polluted with hatred, mostly for men, but more broadly, by a hatred of anyone who doesn’t tow their line without question. A genuine, healthy feminist, like any genuine, healthy human being, doesn’t hate.

And yes, I realize that my own argument supports people who want to comment that I should die and burn in hell. They should certainly be free to think and feel and say those things. But is someone truly free whose only feelings are violent and destructive? Such people are free from being censored by me, but are almost certainly being oppressed by their own emotional tyranny.

Atheists, I need to ask you: Is there any line that you think should not be crossed?” ~Greta Christina

There it is. Kirk draws his line. Christina draws hers. I draw mine. But all those lines are subordinate to the bigger line: the law.

You can spout off all day that T.J. Kirk or Greta Christina or Richard R. Barron should be put to death for their comments or thoughts or fantasies, but in the end, we can only be punished for our real, mensurate, demonstrable, destructive actions. Accepting that is one of the first steps down the road to understanding life.

Okay, I mentioned the dogs, and I haven't posted anything of them in a while, so here is an image of Sierra and Max in their Abby-made sweaters last winter.
Okay, I mentioned the dogs, and I haven’t posted anything of them in a while, so here is an image of Sierra and Max in their Abby-made sweaters last winter.
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5 Comments

  1. Awesome photo of the doggies. Interesting thoughts on bullying. I feel a ponderous condition coming on. ……

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  2. I do not bully. (unwanted, uncalled for, aggressive behavior)
    I have been known to be intentionally insipid with counter contrariety. In other words; ass-y. And I’ve been known to take that to almost a level ten. I’ve been assy-nine.

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  3. “…the real debate: do we need or want a truly free society?”

    My opinion: freedom is (should be) limited directly by number of people per square mile. One person alone on the earth can be as free as she wants (except of course no freedom to procreate). Once you add a second person in the general vicinity, they have to cooperate, or split up, or one of them dies. Once you have 7 billion people, quite a few of them piled into supercities, then each one’s freedom is superseded the next one’s rights.

    (Example: Your freedom to have loud drunken parties is superseded by my right to peace and quiet. At least under the law. Without the law, it would be the other way around, wouldn’t it?)

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  4. “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.”
    -Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction author (1907-1988)

    This quote is what really frightens me the most about the law. Tricky business.

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