Reply from a reader (not named):
“Your website contains proof of delusion”
This comment appears to be a reaction to Chapter 4 of my “When Liberty Is Stressed” book from 2002, which he gives the correct web reference to in the essay. Here it goes:
Please correct your gross misrepresentation of truth on
More than 8,000 soldiers died in the battle Gettysburg alone, and there were other Civil War battles equally as bloody. Here is one of many sources which shows your blundering for what it is
The war on terrorism is the war for *FREEDOM*, and
compromises of our liberty are much more our casualties in that war more than
any one (or thousand) person's death. Tolerance, privacy and protection of the
civil rights of whoever is touched by our country's laws should be (and WAS,
before Bush) our most sacred trust. Laws that do not protect the right of the
individual, as a rule, oppress the rights of the many. By letting terrorists
make us change our lives and laws to make ourselves less free, we concede defeat
How many women and children in Afghanistan and Iraq have died for the sins of a few dozen terrorists (assuming it was not a false flag operation by the Bush administration)? There is no question that tens of thousands of civilians have died from acts of violence--that many deaths have been documented and corroborated by multiple press reports of western media--and it appears to be hundreds of thousands have died due to violence, disease and the general disruption that comes from living in a war zone... Saddam is a terrible man who killed hundreds of his own citizens. He used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of thousands or millions of Iranians. We have descended upon Iraq like a plague, causing the death of one in thirty-five. Is that part of the price that you are willing to pay for your security from terrorism? Would Christ say that your security was more important than peace?
I am an atheist who will personally interject myself into defense of religious freedom and a heterosexual who, though I find the sight of men kissing men to be distasteful, will vigorously defend their right to do so. Between us two, who of us more faithfully follows the dictum to "love thy neighbor as thyself?" If you love your neighbor as you love yourself, then you should defend your neighbor's right to kiss (and love) whomever he pleases as you would defend your own right to kiss whomever you please.
I despise Christians who lie and who distort the teachings of Christ to promote intolerance. Shame on you.
Become Christ-like and tell your fellow Christians that it is their obligation to promote tolerance for the beliefs (and non-harmful actions) of others. Spend less time gay bashing and more time and effort tending to the needs of the poor.
My Reply: I don’t know where there is any “gay bashing” in the chapter. It simply goes over the idea that freedom cannot be taken for granted, and sacrifice is often called for when liberty is threatened. People like myself are easy targets for not having “paid our dues.” As for the needs of the poor, they must be met by individuals as well as governments, and that is part of the whole liberty issue. This is discussed in many places on the “controversial topics” directory. Most mainstream interpretations of the Gospels emphasize the communitarian nature of early Christian society, the willingness of Christ to accept poverty as somewhat immutable and therefore the social responsibility of all. Modern individualism has challenged this original belief system, resulting in many paradoxes.
It is true, however, that the war in Iraq (and Afghanistan) has resulted in thousands of maimings and deaths of the individually innocent. I have pointed this out and reviewed a number of independent films that make this point (one of the first that I reviewed was Scott Ritter’s “In Shifting Sands”; go to http://www.doaskdotell.com/movies/msand.htm . It is a goal of terrorists to force governments to overreact and make others “accountable” for the sins of governments; this is the “tainted fruits” theory. It is also true that the actions on 9/11 resulted in close to 3000 innocent deaths, which have been added to by various other acts around the world (Indonesia, London, Madrid, etc.)
The item that he cites from my site was actually hacked around April 1, 2002, when it was on a different domain.
Nov. 14, 2006
March 31, 2007
A reader in Australia writes this: (regarding this essay)
I was surfing today on subjects that I could read on the matter of feeling listened to. I happened on your site and was very interested in your comments. I will go back and re-read..and re-read as I tend to do, but I felt that in some of what you were 'doing' what you were commenting on. You complained that people/groups would not listen because you were not of the 'specific' group. A question of empathy and a willingness to be open I believe is the problem here. You were a bit offensive in relating to that the fact you write at a certain level and many would not understand what you were saying. That is complete snobbery and a very bigoted point of view. You are not more creative, wise and truly all-knowing. What gives you the right to the idea that you are intellectually above the' cretins 'of the world? Education is a tool not a weapon to threaten anyone with. If the majority of people are not able to understand your train of thought, as you say you have observed, then it is you who is not communicating effectively. You may be your own worst enemy.
In a way of a detailed reply, I could point to a couple of recent blogger entries (below). The original essay is a soliloquy (even a screed) that I placed in my "personal" directory rather than an "editorial" or blog commentary. I do see the early sentence about "cognitive maturity" and it is not supposed to refer to my "intellectual superiority" or some such notion, but rather the tendency of so many people to understand things (and their willingness even to hear of things) only in terms of their own immediate needs -- which, however, may be very pressing. I don't that that the piece or writing "threatens" anyone (in the usual sense of that concept), except in the negative sense of a lack of "solidarity." But the "knowledge of good and evil," or rather the claim to have it personally, does sound like an "original sin."
Dec. 28, 2007
Tom Disch ("Endzone" website here) wrote these comments to my essay on filial responsibility laws:
"I just wanted to say thanks for the meaty and well-pondered essay on your website concerning filial responsibility legislation. I had written a story on that theme, which was inspired by two recent movies, Away from Her and The Savages." He mentions a specific example of someone whose "brother and sister-in-law hit on him for support of an aged parent with whom he hadn't spoken for years. I'd assumed there were no legal grounds for such an impost. A friend doubted this and found your essay with just a little googling. Thank you for doing all that research--and then assessing so much data so thoughtfully."
"I'm sure Filial Responsibility will become an Issue as soon as someone comes up with a better Subject Line for it. My sympathy is all with the Eskimos on this one. It's an issue that needs its own Terry Schiavo. Some celebrity will have to forcibly evict an Alzheimer's parent."
Thanks for the feedback. My review of The Savages is here. I'll add "Away from Her" soon (on order from Netflix).
January 7, 2008:
E.J. Totty comments on my concept of a "collective right":
There is no such thing as a 'collective right.'
Black's Law Dictionary, Deluxe Seventh Edition, contains no entry for such a thing.
Ergo, the information given in the entry for the above referenced URL is highly misleading.
I'm rather curious: why it is that you consider that there would be any such non-existent thing.
In the example you ~attempt~ to provide, the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.
In fact in the Founders time, there were no such remarks recorded or even noted, regarding the idea of 'collectivity' regarding anything in the matter of rights, as in the main, the whole idea of rights springs from the natural rights.
Care to comment?
The "rights" slides are a proposal of mine as to how rights should be categorized, particularly with respect to a "Bill of Rights 2" proposal. They are not necessarily based on any one document or court ruling. The concept underlies my second booklet, "Our Fundamental Rights", here.
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