Saturday, August 13, 2011

Last Words on DM

This is the last thing I am writing about DM or the petition to the Montreal Police for a while. Feel free to comment, but don’t feel insulted when I do not reply (it will be tempting, so I just might after some time). It’s not that I’m purposely ignoring anyone, I just don’t give two shits about DM, and it’s ridiculous that I spent the last two days primarily answering to people who think I am defending him.

The police almost certainly won’t stop him from commenting on your blog, your twitter account, or the blogs and twitter accounts of everyone who has ever commented on yours. Maybe they can try, because maybe there is some sort of spam law somewhere (I would be more surprised if there wasn’t), but I doubt these ordinances will be utilized for an online troll.

Really, the best people can hope for is for the specific threats to cease. This might happen, though again, I doubt it. However, I am confident that if the police do anything, ending the threats themselves is what they will focus on. Maybe someone will explain to him that he can’t make death threats, but that isn’t going to stop him from spamming in the comments of hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of people.

No one likes DM or what he does, but what makes him so horrible is not the death threats. If there are actually people out there who honestly feel threatened, I don’t have any sympathy for them. I feel about as much pity for these individuals as a person who gets worried on a plane because another passenger looks Middle Eastern.

You don’t have a right to be free from fear. No one does. And thank goodness for that. Some of the worst decisions come only from fearful people, from individuals who think that being afraid entitles them to do anything, even if it violates the rights of others. I like to think of it as “Bush logic.”

It’s the same kind of logic that suppresses science, because it “threatens” religion. It’s the same kind of logic used to round up people of various religions, ideologies, races, etc., because they are a “danger” to society. It’s the same logic used to take down atheist billboards for being “unacceptable.”

Suppression is not the answer. What is the answer? Free speech. If you don’t tolerate everyone and what they say (even how they say it), you will simply justify any action you wish to take against those who oppose you. You will label your enemy “intolerant,” and it will be too tempting to adopt the views that, “I tolerate everything but intolerance.” Then, you no longer see the person, you see “intolerance,” and you have dehumanized them enough that you feel comfortable doing anything you want.

I advocate tolerating everything except violence. That’s the line I decided to draw, because I don’t see a world where speech of any kind can be censored as being better than a world where all ideas can be subject to being labeled “threatening.”

I’ve said this many times before on this matter, but it’s the ultimate reason for my stance: today it’s DM, but tomorrow it could be atheists, or feminists, or liberals, or conservatives… or anyone. This isn’t a slippery slope, it’s a precedent. There is nothing good down that road.

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