Sunday, July 1, 2007

Suppressing Ideas

A commenter named 'Z', commenting on an entry in my series about religion is a form of abuse, commented on the article "Taking Action Against Religion"

Sounds like another case of a religion (Atheism) attempting to suppress other folks' ideas.

The methods of suppression that I have written about involved using words and private actions.

I argued that false beliefs and bad desires contribute to death, sickness, and other forms of suffering or harm to quality of life. As such, people have reason to act so as to reduce false beliefs and bad desires. Furthermore, they have more and stronger reason to focus first on the worst beliefs and desires.

I have argued for a strong presumption in favor of liberty that limits the range of legitimate responses to words and private actions. It takes (or should take) an extremely strong argument to defeat this presumption.

However, those who would suffer death, illness, or other harms as a result of false beliefs and bad desires - and tose who care about them, either personally or with generic empathy for their suffering, give people reasons to inhibit such destructive false beliefs and bad desires.

And, most importantly, if the critics charges make sense, they would end up contradicting themselves, because the commenter's criticism itself counts as an attempt to bring the weapon of criticism against the idea that the author is critical of and wishes to suppress.

In the face of this criticism, I am supposed to become aware of the wrongness of my actions and cease making those claims that the commenter disagrees with - and agree with the commenter's use of words to condemn the expresion of an idea he disagrees with that it is wrong to use words to condemn the expression of an idea one disagrees with.

My view is that there is something out of whack with this commenter's response.

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