June 05, 2017

Satanic (In)Tolerance


Let it be known that my personal opinion is that laws are arbitrary and that what is legal may be wrong, and what is illegal may be right. I believe that laws are imperfect substitutions for individual responsibility - something which every Satanist ought to cultivate.

Let it be known that I personally don't endorse the use of violence as a means to censor and silence opposing points of view. You're welcome to your opinions and beliefs, but don't make the mistake of confusing freedom of expression with freedom from consequences.

If you express an opinion or belief, you had better be prepared to defend it. If somebody has an opposing viewpoint and argues vehemently for their position, that's not censorship or a hostile attack - that's freedom of speech.

Having said that, though, there are limits to free speech. Nearly every freedom is in some way limited. Freedom of speech means you can voice your opinion in a public space and not be asked to leave, but it doesn't mean you can express it in a private business and expect to stay. Freedom of speech means you can speak about dangers the world faces, but you can't shout "fire" in a crowded movie theater. 

There are people who like to shout, "No tolerance for the intolerant!," and they're welcome to shout it. As it happens, I myself have very little tolerance for the intolerant. Why should I agree to listen quietly and nod politely to somebody who wants to deny individual choice and chip away at personal liberty? It's the thin tip of the wedge, and I have no desire to see the fat end of the wedge. But unlike those people I just mentioned, I am not willing to do the thing I think is wrong in the name of preserving what I think is right.

I think that the only way to genuinely defeat intolerance is to not punish the intolerant behavior, but to dismantle the intolerance words. This might look like rational dialgue, but it might also look like cowbell. After all - cowbell is just as much a method of free speech and expression and arguably makes as much sense as using a loudspeaker to initmidate women and advance public policy which would deny a woman's right to bodily autonomy. Cowbell is nonsense? Well, I happen to think that forced birth is also nonsense.

All of which is a long way of saying, there are limits to my tolerance. Push hard enough, and I'll push back.

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Freedom of Expression =/= Freedom from Consequences.