May 13, 2010

An Inalienable Right Belongs to Everyone

(Update: 5/14/10, Apparently Ron Gochez is a high school teacher, not a university professor)

Matthew 18:21-35

Freedom of speech is an inalienable human right. This means it is a right we all have as children of god. It is a right we are born with and we retain until we die. Even if we are filled with hatred, we have the right to express that hatred. An inalienable right must either belong to everyone or no one. There is no middle ground. A terrorist supporter is free to believe the terrorists are right in their actions, is free to provide moral support to those actions, and is free to campaign in defense of those actions. This is important because any right denied to the terrorist's supporters can also be denied to the terrorist's opponents and that is a situation we must avoid at all costs. As soon as a verbal disparagement or disagreement is denied, the door is opened wide for any kind of vocal dissent to be disallowed as well.

For example, I strongly disagree with the MSA member in the first video and I am disgusted at her hypocrisy. I feel there is defensible grounds to dismiss her from UCSD, which is an educational institution supported in large part by California taxpayers. I am also appalled at the hypocrisy of Ron Gochez, the UCLA professor in the third video who is clearly seen preaching hatred for America and support for La Raza. He has no right to accept taxpayer money in his paycheck and then turn around and advocate the destruction of the system that employs him! However, both of them do have the right to feel as they do and to express those feelings publically. I will defend to my dying day their inalienable right to feel as they do and to express themselves publically, but I will not excuse their receiving taxpayer money in support of those beliefs. I will do this not because I feel they are justified in their beliefs, but because their inalienable right is the same as mine and if I defend mine, I must also defend theirs. Anything else would be a mirror image of the same fascism these two people are professing support for.

Compare these two viewpoints with the recent Arizona initiative being discussed in the middle video. People like Ron Gochez and Pres. Obama claim the law creates racial tension because it requires local law enforcement to stop everyone of Latino descent and demand proof of either citizenship or immigration status. In reality, the law itself specifically prohibits such actions, but don't take my word for it, read the law for yourself!

In line with this, I also believe that "public safety laws" which imprison people and/or fine them for screaming "Fire!" in a theater or an enclosed market are also unconstitutional and need to be repealed. Just because an action is dangerous or foolish does not mean it must be illegal. It would be just as easy, and just as unconstitutional, to enact laws demanding that people get up from their seats and walk slowly to the exit when someone screams, "Fire!" Every individual is responsible for both their own belief system and their own physical safety. After all, it does not matter how many laws there are, there is no way to stop or prevent stupity, and the same is true of hatred. Violence itself must be punished because such actions violate the inalienable rights of the victim, not because they offend some complicated ideal of public safety.

Morality and ethics are too frail a foundation to build a legal system on. In the end, every individual must choose their own value system and accept the consequences of those values. Any attempt to impose one's values on society as a whole is fascist in intent, no matter how well justified in either the name of God or "the public safety".

Just like the scripture I posted at the beginning of this note. I didn't post it there because I am insisting everyone who reads this must adopt it as their own. I posted it there because it is the foundation my entire understanding of freedom rests upon.