Archives for posts with tag: freedom of speech

Weapons are nothing but repurposed tools. Sometimes ‘enhanced’ to fit the new goal.

Clubs had started as fruit harvesting utensils, then used for hunting purposes and eventually for bashing in the heads of those who had slept with the missus when the wielders weren’t looking. And so on…

As a tool, an implement is used to ‘put things together’. As a weapon, the same (kind of) implement is used to ‘set things apart’. An axe can be used to split wood in order to build a fire or to ‘split’ furniture during a fit of rage.
Generally speaking, a tool is used towards the ultimate goal of adding to/fine tuning a structure while a weapon is used to destroy/disable something which is meant to remain so.

Our ability to communicate was ‘the’ tool which actually transformed us into what we are today. Humans.
At least according to Humberto Maturana. His theory maintains that we’ve become self-aware social individuals through what he calls languaging.
In a nut-shell, he says that we’ve become humans – self conscious apes, by continuously expressing our thoughts towards the other members of the community. Hence simultaneously building an ‘agora’ and ‘walling in’ individual private spaces.

Yet the same ability to communicate can be used also as a weapon.
Instead of being used by individuals to mutually groom themselves, and ultimately adding to the overall resilience of the community, ‘weaponized’ communication is used to ‘downgrade’ susceptible individuals. Hence lowering their ability to coalesce into functional communities.

History suggests that, in the longer run, democracy – as a manner of decision making, increases the survivability of the communities which use it. Simply by pooling the decision making resources of the entire community instead of relying on the mental prowess – and good will, of a single authoritarian leader.
Only for democracy to be fully functional, the individual members of the community have to be able to share, in earnest, their thoughts.
This is why Freedom of Speech has been enshrined in the First Amendment.
That’s why whenever the public discourse becomes increasingly dominated by ‘fake-news’ things start to go south.

That is why whenever people allow themselves to be split into warring parties – with no real communication between the sides except for the misinformation hurled across the divide, both sides eventually end up wondering at the destruction they had allowed the ‘communication warriors’ to inflict upon them.

Until some two and a half centuries ago, there were two kinds of people.
Those who did, because they could, almost all that crossed their minds.
And those who had to suck it up, because that was all they could do.

OK, there had been, for a few millennia, a Middle Eastern religion whose teachings suggested that all humans had been created equal – because all of them had been made to resemble their creator,… but not very many people used to bother with this interpretation…

Then, all of a sudden, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

From that moment on, all of us have started to ‘have rights’. To express our opinions about things, to carry arms…

And we eventually made full use of those rights… by publishing porn magazines, by buying, for our own protection, AR-15s…

Some American states, Florida among them, have recently stated that people have the right to ‘stand their ground’. Or, more exactly, to defend the ground where they happen to be at any one moment. Using deadly force, if necessary. As if it that ground were their castle.

A few days ago, a guy had parked his car on a spot reserved for people with special needs. Right in front of a convenience store. He went in, accompanied by his five years old boy to buy something, leaving his woman and his other children in the car.
Another guy, apparently having ‘the right’ to park in that spot – the first one didn’t, came up and engaged the woman about the whole situation. The driver came back from the store, exchanged some words with the ‘challenger’ and then shoved him to the ground.
The challenger drew his gun and shot the offending driver, despite the fact that he wasn’t in any immediate danger – after shoving the challenger to the ground, the bully had retreated a few paces.

According to Florida statutes, what had happened was nothing more than ‘self defense’, a.k.a. ‘holding your ground’. Furthermore, the gun involved in the incident was registered and the owner had a permit to carry it around. No charges was pressed.

Which makes me wonder…
We have these “unalienable rights”… including that to ‘pursue our happiness’ … but do we really need to press them on… regardlessly?

The ‘bully’ parked where he was not supposed to because he wanted to buy an ice-cream for his toddler – I’m imagining things here, I confess.
The ‘shooter’ wanted to use his right to park there, so he confronted the woman he found in the wrongfully parked car.
The bully returned to his car and, perceiving a threat to his family, used his right to defend it.
The shooter eventually ‘stood his ground’ and walked scot-free…

You see, I not trying to make any fine point here. To contest the concept of ‘standing your ground’ or the idea of people carrying heat when shopping for groceries…

I’m just wondering… what happened to the concept of ‘rights’? Why some of us have arrived to see them as obligations?

The whole thing might have started as the deceased parked in the wrong place…. but if the shooter had chosen to call the cops instead of confronting the guy… he wouldn’t have had to shoot the ‘bully’ in front of his children….

https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/7/23/17602312/stand-your-ground-florida-michael-drejka-markeis-mcglockton

vluchtelingen-wegversperring

‘Hungarian self-defense’

 

… must we sink in our own, self induced, decrepitude before we’ll be able to notice the stink we, ourselves, have draped around us?

Before figuring out that it’s us who are ultimately responsible for our own fate?

Before figuring out that by allowing this kind of crap to be traded above our heads, and sometimes even by helping to its distribution, we soil the most precious of our ‘belongings’ – our souls?

This image has probably been ‘Photoshopped’ by somebody.
I’m not going to discuss that person’s motives here. We live in a free world and everybody should be able to express his/her feelings.

What I find extremely interesting – and dangerous – is the fact that this picture has been so widely circulated over the internet that it ended up in my mail. A short Google search confirmed that it comes from somewhere in Holland only the guy who sent it to me, horripilated, lives in Canada…

So, what’s the use for us to clamor virtuously about human rights and then make fun, shamelessly, of people who find themselves in a horrible situation?

And, please, do not make any mistake!
I’m not speaking exclusively about the refugees here.

Some of the manifestly dissatisfied Europeans who are protesting these days are not as much against the refugees themselves as they are against the hapless manner in which the European bureaucracy has been (mis) managing so many things recently.

Just as some of the political leaders who are lambasting the European Commission on this subject are not interested in improving the European Community but in ‘scoring swag’ with the disillusioned (and somewhat naive) electorate.

We need to break this vicious circle!

Yesterday I went to the French embassy in Bucharest and lighted a candle in mourning for the people killed during the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack.

I, an agnostic, using a religious symbol in remembrance of a group of people killed by a couple of (intolerant self proclaimed) defenders of religious values for poking tasteless fun at some religious symbols.

Je suis Charlie

While there I noticed a mother who brought her very small child to a ‘shrine’ build in the memory of people who authored such extreme works of art that some of them cannot be shown, under any circumstances, to underage audiences.
(I really do consider that what those people created were indeed works of art. Only not all art is contemporary with the moment of time when it was created so, maybe, it should be saved for ulterior audience… and, hence, shown to a very limited selection of the people currently roaming the Earth.)

%d bloggers like this: