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.
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 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.