Thursday, February 9, 2012

Censoring the Critics of Violent Idologies


I am interrupting my discussion of Sean Faircloth's new atheist political strategy.

Well, sort of.

I want to discuses something I read the other day. It has relevance to the series on political strategy, but it does break the flow of that series.

It concerns an article that announces that Google and Facebook are censoring material in India under penalty of law. A justification behind the law was given in the article as follows:

While civil rights groups have opposed the new laws, politicians say posting offensive images in a socially conservative country with a history of violence between religious groups presents a danger to the public.

(See The Guardian, Google and Facebook block content in India after court warns of crackdown)

I have read few things that are so utterly idiotic as this.

How about, "Religious groups with a history of violence present a danger to the public?"

You know . . . "history of violence" . . . "danger to the public" . . . They kinda go together.

Yet, (as if speaking to these “politicians”) you want to blame the peaceful victims.

Have you noticed, you are giving power to the advocates and practitioners of violence? That is NOT a safe move.

Seriously. In the name of peace, you intend to give the members of an admittedly violent ideology the power to dictate what people see, hear, and read? You intend to give them power over what people think?

And you expect them to use this power to promote a message of harmony, peace, and understanding?

We can already see how they plan on using this power. They plan to use it to ban all criticism of their violent ideology. They are using it to get the government to prohibit people from saying, ‘Maybe this violent ideology we have had around for hundreds of years isn’t such a good thing?”

"Do not criticize us. Do not dare say we are wrong. Do not contradict or condemn our violent ways and means - or we will kill innocent people. And we will blame you!"

They are going to use this power to grow their cult of violence.

And you have given them every incentive to do so.

Not only are you empowering the violent by attacking their victims and silencing their critics, you are empowering the violent because they are violent. That is what this excuse for these laws is saying. It is because the advocates and practitioners of violence are violent that you wish to give them power over what people say, see, read, hear, and think.

In doing so, you have announced that an eagerness to do violence is a shortcut to political and social power. Don't be surprised if they suddenly find a whole lot more things to get violently upset about. Don’t be surprised to discover that they are now going to start to get violently upset if the law does not favor them or their leaders in other ways – in economic contracts, in political appointments, in imposing their doctrine on others through legislation.

You have already said that you will grant political power and social advantage to those who threaten violence. Consequently, anybody who wants political power and social advantage now has an incentive to become an advocate and practitioner of the same sorts of violence.

At which point we can certainly count on you to tell us that it is not the fault of the advocates and practitioners of violence. Following the same logic used in the initial quote, I am certain you will announce that Condemning violence in a socially conservative country with a history of violence between religious groups presents a danger to the public. Or that Criticizing the social and political advantages given to the members of violent ideologies is a danger to the public. or Refusing total surrender to the advocates and practitioners of violence is a danger to the public.

THIS is your plan for peace? To give the practitioners of wonton violence everything they want - as if they and others will not see this as an incentive to threaten even more violence?

Are you insane?

If you want peace, do not empower the advocates and practitioners if violence. A better strategy would be to protect their victims, and empower their critics.

Of course, if you love violence, then go ahead. Continue to feed and reward violence and I am certain you will soon find yourself with an abundance of this crop you are so carefully harvesting.

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