Posts Tagged ‘rights’

Reflection

August 13, 2017



In the wake of the violence visited on Virginians in the incident in Charlottesville yesterday, I am hearing more and more hate speech.

Hate the Nazis. Hate the White Supremacists. Hate the Alt-Right.

I am seeing fully conscious and normally rational people reacting with “we should not allow Nazis here” and the usual “my dad died fighting Nazis and he didn’t die to let them come here.”

Actually, people, the veterans who were killed died for exactly that.

In America, we have that complete freedom of speech guaranteed by the blood of the patriots who have fought to defend that right.

Last election cycle we saw the birth of the rallying cry to “punch a Nazi” after seeing a video of a man being interviewed blind-sided by a person who then raced away through the crowds.

Striking a blow against “Nazis”! And the groundswell of support reverberated throughout the Facebook universe with the hashtag “#punchanazi” and everyone rallied around the flagpole.

Yes, the freedom to assemble that we so often take advantage of becomes a powerful voice.

If some group preaching a mantra we find offensive, we choose to exercise the right to assemble right beside them to protest their right to assemble for hate. Yes, and the hate spills over by the anti-protesters and, seemingly very humanly predictable, violence starts.

In this very Christian nation which cannot seem to remember what Jesus might do, most often allow our basic instincts to control and we answer hate with hate.

The attitude becomes: You want to preach hate? Okay, we will preach hate of you for preaching hate. We will attack you physically to show you hate is not the answer…

Really?

Now I hear people going completely off the reservation and trying to pass laws against Nazism in America.

No. Most emphatically, NO!

To go down the road of censorship is a treacherous and slippery slope and once undertaken can only lead to more of the same until we become a monotonic nation best reflected in the pages of Orwell’s classic, 1984. If you believe in freedom, you believe in freedom for all.

The heroes who’ve defended the Constitution in the past with the ultimate sacrifice did so NOT to ensure that we could pick or choose who can come, who can talk, what can be thought, what can be said… You include ALL this in “freedom” or you have no freedom at all.

If some group wishes to preach hate… Let them! But if they grow violent, shut them down. If they speak violence and yet do so peacefully, who cares? If you start the violence against them – who has actually won?

Let them peacefully assemble and – if you somehow feel the counter-argument must be made – do so at some other place, at some other time. To try and shout some other group down is usually called incitement to riot. (and in this case it would apply to the protestors against the alt-right march)

Don’t you realize that by violently opposing them you have strengthened their arguments? If you want to marginalize them, diminish them, then do not attempt infringing on their freedoms.

Trying to shout them down is a strategy from weakness.

America has overcome these sorts of things before. When I grew up we had just recovered from the Red terror crackdowns. It is not an America I should want to return to.

If we are not going to be free, then let’s just admit it, bring it out in the open, and tell the ghost of Mister Jefferson (at whose campus this incident occurred) that we no longer support his dreams of equality and freedom and the essential goodness in Man. Tell him we reject everything the Founding Fathers stood for. Tell him he and his patriots died for nothing because there are some ideologies we simply cannot abide.

Like freedom of thought.


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Our Onerous “Rights”

February 15, 2012

Americans are guaranteed certain rights that have evolved into civic “duties” and eventually into drudgery that we’d love to avoid.

One is the right to vote. To freely choose our representatives and have a voice in that government of, by, and for the people. Too many people reject the franchise and do not vote or only vote in the national election. One person I knew voted for Clinton in ’92 because his daughter had the same name as her daughter. Perhaps not the best reason to vote for a candidate, but at least she did vote!

The other is the right to a free education. Of course, they draw the line at the college level, which is anything but free. Unfortunately, there are many students who just can’t wait for it to end. And with the present focus of the educational system, it is understandable.

It is more important for the kids to be able to pass the tests rather than actually learn anything. For some reason, the educators actually believe kids learn this way.

Many people have tried – or heard of people who did this – cramming for an exam. You can cram a lot of data into your short term memory, information that will stay there long enough for you to be able to pass the test. The problem is that the information does not stay for long. In other words, there has been no educating!

Modern schools, so intent on ensuring that the students pass the damned “Standards of Learning” tests actually ensure that the students do not actually learn anything. The system currently in place actually produces the opposite of what it is supposed to achieve.

This may not be visible in the “better schools” located in districts of higher economic profiles but in the economically challenged areas the drop out rates are on the rise. Not only are the children failing the schools, the schools are failing the students.

Of course, that would appear to be the goal of Bush’s famous “No Child Left Behind” legislation – whose real intent seems to have been creating more troops… funny, they should have called it “No Cannon Fodder Left Behind”. But it does not result in better education for anyone.

Looking at a normal learning experience – just a random sample of life – you can be told not to touch a hot stove, you can even read about it or see it on television, but until you actually touch the hot stove, you will not really understand why you should not do this.

Of course, you may have already touched something else that was very hot and already know not to touch the stove, but again this was from experience rather than any “book learning”. It is this experiential aspect that is the only way we can learn anything.

To repeat: experience is the only way we humans learn. As we get older, we are able to read things and apply it to various aspects of reality but only because we have already experienced similar things and have learned – again, through experience – that such things can be applicable in other situations.

Until you feel the hot stove, you cannot really know what it’s about. Until you break a bone, you cannot know what it’s like. Until a loved one dies, you cannot understand the depth of that loss.

To try and “teach” children by removing all experiential parts of their education is a complete waste of time. Sure, you will have them pass the tests, you will get that Federal funding your school district is drooling to acquire… but what is the point of the education system if people are not getting an education?

But is there anyway to teach us to be a better electorate?

Nothing’s worked yet!