Friday, August 13, 2010

I Waste My Blogging Juice At Facebook.

I have readers, I know, because you come up to me and ask where I've been. Well, the title up there tells the story. I've been spilling my seed, as it were, politically as it were, over on people's comment streams on Facebook. Well, I just posted the following reply to a new friend who firmly believes in objective morality. The subject came up while chatting about Muslims' right to build mosques in American cities. It's edited a little. Hope you enjoy it. Give me some feedback and I'll respond!

Matt, I also like your turn of phrase regarding defending the rights of those who would destroy us. I think this subject is a little wider than one lane and can allow a bunch of opposing ideas to co-exist and still bear operational fruit.

I agree that there are ideologies which seek to destroy our country. In fact, there are lots of groups of Right-wing hotheads in our own country, talking about open war with the U.S. government, and calling on "patriots" to water the tree of liberty with blood. These are invariably sore-headed and benighted white men who feel, perhaps a bit justifiably, that the country isn't as nice a place to to be a white man in as it once was. (disclaimer: I am a white man.) They offer a nice "vanilla" option to our menu of mostly brown terrorists, and interesting "period" clothing too, like the tricorner hat, for example.

To me, these people are more dangerous than Islamists. For one thing, they fit in better (when they take the tricorn off). They also have voting rights and a stake in American culture. If Osama bin Laden walked down the street, we'd recognize him. Tim McVeigh, I'm not so sure.

The question we arrive at, Matthew, is where we decide to curtail these dangerous groups' rights to speak and assemble. As you would surely agree, the Constitution is not a suicide pact and we have the unquestionable right to defend ourselves, and that includes the right to silence a group or arrest their leaders when it is necessary to national security.

That necessity, under our constitution, is decided by the judiciary branch. If the Supreme Court denies your case, it's over. It ends. You stop funding the Contras or torturing gang leaders or water boarding Iraqis or whatever. God bless America.

Even Conservatives can fathom that the constitution isn't "just a piece of paper," despite what their most recent president would have them believe. Taking away a human being's constitutionally-protected rights is no small matter. It is a grave and serious matter. In my line of work (psych hospitals) we can hold you in locked confinement for 72 hours against your will. If after 72 you still wish to be released, a judge comes to the hospital for a hearing. If the hospital prevails, you remain locked in. Otherwise, you are released at once.

In practice, the hearings occur far less often than you would imagine. The hospital usually caves, knowing that the bar at which a judge will take away a patient's right to self-determination is very high. Frankly psychotic people have the same rights we do, as long as they are not a danger to themselves or others. You can wear a tinfoil hat to your hearing and soliloquize about the coming Alpha Centaurian Sex Monkey Invasion and still sleep in your own bed tonight. (Unless the Freemasons get to you!)

So I know how precious the right to speak and assemble is. And we have to tolerate anti-American ideas. To be America, we must protect everyone's rights equally or they are not "rights." We can stop anti-American acts, but not ideas.

That's why America is great. In America, think and say whatever you want, even if what you want is to destroy America. Just DON'T BREAK THE LAW.

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