Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alrighty... lets fire up some discussion. IS freedom of choice really the right to hate?

OK... where to start?

Basically, i just went to youtube and typed the only thing i knew to - "Freedom of Speech is the Right to Hate", and clicked on the first video in the mix.

In short, it's a video response to an atheist concerning free speech.

In the video the man, (who, i thought really interstingly is MUSLIM) describes how even though people have "the right to engage in intellectual discourse, criticism and debate", they should still stay true to others' right to respect and dignity.

Wasn't that the main thing we talked about??

This creepy old man with a creepy little sign is protesting at an innocent young man's funeral, completely disrespecting the dead boy's parents and family. All for his own, creepy, old (yet still 'wise and authoritative') beliefs.

There's the other thing! He mentions authority later in his video description. Word for word:

"Who would win in a slandering fight between you and Rupert Murdoch? You both and the same 'freedoms' but he has more POWER than you (since he owns SKY channels and newspapers)."

Thats's it. Who determines whether this guy is just old and creepy, sick, and wrong for coming to this boy's funeral and undermining every last bit of importance he had in life, destroying the good memories of him with messages of hate, or whether he's an Authority, a vietnam war veteran who's seen more than any of us IB kids combined, who knows - and FEELS what's right for himself (and obviously others around him)? Who decides this?


It's his belief.

It's his choice.

I guess we have to give it to him, right?

But no matter what is decided, someone else has to come in and throw in their two cents. The majority of the comments were hate messages, not only to the man himself, but also to Islam, Middle Eastern Countries, and people of color in general!! It disgusted me... i had to leave 3 comments politely telling some people off. Oh well.

I just thought that this man, known as youtuber mujtahid2006, summed up everything we talked about in the last 3 days perfectly. Check out the video so you can see waht im talking about, the hate comments, and how right this man is on everything we talked about.

Go, my fellow IB students...




Ben Baroch said...

I do agree that it is wrong to disrespect the dead, but the "creepy old man" has a right to say what he feels. And the fact that he protested at a funeral makes the image all the more provocative. He wanted his ideas and opinions to be known, so what better way than to do something outrageous? Nobody ever got noticed by following all the rules of society. By protesting at a funeral he is saying that even though the boy is dead, it hasn't changed his views. It serves to show how adamant this old man is about his beliefs.

On another note, just because he is old and has an unorthodox approach to protesting, that does not mean that he is "creepy, sick, and wrong". Also, the undermining of the boy's life was the purpose of the protest. The old man is sending a powerful message. Personally, I got out of it that the old man is of the belief that the choices the deceased made in life led him to be killed, where as the old man "chose" to be heterosexual and he has lived to be 74.

I disagree with that message though. Where as the old man believes being gay to be a crime and as giving him the right to hate, I believe that it doesn't matter if someone is homo or heterosexual. They do deserve basic human rights as laid down by philosophers such as Hobbes and Locke.

Any other opinions?

Ben Baroch

Lauren P said...

On another note, I agree with the man on the video, in many respects. Though he tends to single out atheists as the ones doing the wrong, his idea that people can disagree and argue, I believe, is spot on. When he says that "slander for the sake of slandering," is wrong, I also have to agree. It is one thing to exercise your freedom of speech to try and prove a point, or open minds, but simply puting people down Because You Can is, in my opinion, wrong.
Of course, I don't know the origional reason for this video, and his references to a cartoon, but I do believe in his basic ideas. Intelectual critisism can be tolerated, but slandering without justification, is unjust.

Taylor G. said...

As I've uniformly claimed in class, I do believe the phrase, "Freedom of choice is the right to hate," is correct. That is to say that the context assigned to said phrase, by the protesting veteran, then communicates a completely different message, a message endorsing ignorant acts of brutality towards those whom do not share a belief.

In my opinion, to take physical action in response to "Freedom of choice is the right to hate," is completely irrelevant to the meaning of the phrase. Hate resides only within the realm of mental opinion, and further physical expression of hate is, in my opinion, unrelated to the matter.

Freedom of choice, in relation to the 'right' to hate, should not concern moral code, for then it would not be considered free. I believe that expressing one's hate, or love for that matter, are, with regards to freedom of choice, the same.

Well that's my take on it. I appreciate your enthusiasm in this topic Ali.

Brittany said...

I believe to some extent of "freedom of choice is the right to hate" in that you can obviously choose to feel however you want about any issue, no rule or document or anything can prevent that, but what we can do is make rules such as, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Yes you have the right to hate, but if you use that hate to attack other people for what they use their freedom of choice to believe, that is wrong becuase it is restricting their personal freedom.

As far as the man holding the sign goes, I think it all depends on why he is really protesting. If he is protesting to show support to what was done to matthew shepard and show his personal views, then I think it is wrong, becuase he is acting upon his hatred and that is restricting upon the freedom of others (like m. shepard, who was actually killed out of an act of hate). If he is protesting to support that everyone should have the freedom to have their own opinions, then he is 100% right because we do have the right to hate. It is hard to believe that this man is just standing up for freedom of choice however because if he was he would fully support shepard and not be protesting at his funeral (maybe attending, or protesting somewhere else).

therefore the general impression that the man gives is that he is there protesting to show that what was done to matthew shepard was ok becuase people have a right to feel what they feel, and think whatever they think. To me however this does not justify the death because the right to choice, and the right to physically attack someone do not at all go hand in hand.

Ian B said...

I think the real question here is 'What constitutes right?' Clearly ability does not translate directly to right. I believe that everybody has a different idea of right or wrong, and as a result we as a society cannot define anything as a right. It doesn't seem to me that we have any 'rights', so to speak, because we will never unanimously agree on anything. What one person defines as a right, another believes to be immoral.

For example, the old man protesting Matthew Shepard's funeral believes that to hate is a right. However, since the targets of the hate likely do not agree that it is reasonable to hate, to hate becomes unreasonable because the hate directly affects them. Similarly, it is not a right to murder somebody because the affected person does not believe that that is a right.

I will follow up on this later... class has just ended.

Simone said...

I just think it is interestingly ironic that he's holding a sign that promotes freedom of choice. My question is, if a bunch of gay people went out and strung up veterans or cowboys or heterosexuals or whatever and beat the crap out of them and left them to die in the cold, would he share the same view? They hated, they acted. Would he come to the funeral of a young heterosexual man beaten up because he prefers to kiss girls and hold up his sign with his thumbs up?

firefeather said...

I think everyone's said just about what i want to: that i personally find the veteran's protest morally wrong, and yet he still has some vague right to hate, but not express in the manner he chose. It seems like the comment by Simone is also sorely accurate--you wouldn't see the same guy protesting at a heterosexual's funeral, even if said person had the record of a sexual offender or something. The way the veteran directed his hate has upset a lot of people in our class, but it seems to me that we're almost focusing on the wrong issue: we all see it as morally offensive, but to him it wasn't. Plain and simple. He felt justified, and he did it, and he made us all react in a very strong way.

But i believe that hating the old man for protesting in the manner and in the location that he did almost makes us as bad as he is, because we are hating him in return. It's akin to standing up there next to him with a sign that says "i hate the guy next to me, and its my choice."

As with most, i believe the guy in the video is correct about "slander for the sake of slander" is wrong. But he seems very strongly opinionated about this, and especially against atheists. Its possible that he was slandered by an atheist. He also doesn't have anything to back this up.

I. Kennedy said...

I still disagree with the comment on the guy's sign because it is inaccurate. The statement "Freedom of Choice is the Right to Hate" equates freedom of choice and the right to hate. These two are different things. I think that the right to hate is INCLUDED in the freedom of choice, but is not THE SAME as freedom of choice. I think that freedom of choice is a vastly broader concept that hatred. In lieu of seeing the photo and understanding what the man was trying to say, I don't disagree with his message. To me, he is saying that "I have the freedom of choice, and I am going to use that to hate homosexuals" (as he was protesting Matthew Shepard's funeral). I think he has the right to do that, though I disagree with the manner in which he expressed his view. I simply believe that his sign was not written to accurately convey his opinion.

Liz I. said...

once again this goes back to the idea of the freedom of speech. while most of the world would probably find something like this offensive, hurtful, and/or inappropriate the man is simply exercising his freedom of speech. there is nothing that is technically morally or ethically wrong about this. it is also not breaking any laws or such that i know of. it was a peaceful protest, but it could be found hurtful to many different people

Nathan B. said...

Absolutely. I will first say that what this man did, in my opinion, is unthinkable. I mean, to protest at funeral is abhorable whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. I also believe that homosexuality is a genetic mutation, like green eyes, but thats a different subject completely.

However, even though our emotions blind in us when dealing with such issues, we must learn to see with other senses such as logic and experience (what an awesome IB analogy!!!). We have to remember that for every disrespectful funeral protester there is a civil rights protester who stood in the same streets and protested the same way to make their very different beliefs heard. The minute we stop letting someone have their right to hate then we stop someone else from their right to love, which, is detrimental. (see my whole rant on love in the "what do you believe" section)

Ian B said...

Again I pose the question, 'What constitutes the right to something?'

If we can't agree on what exactly a right is, I don't think we can determine what our opinions are because they are not situated.

I for one believe that we have complete freedom, save one: the right to intentionally hurt anybody or anything in any way - physically, emotionally, mentally, et cetera. This is the limitation on freedom of choice.

Hence, for me, freedom of choice is NOT the right to hate if that hate hurts somebody, as is the case with the man's sign and most cases of hate.

Jessi said...

i think it also is about how you look at the words, is it freedom of choice equals the right to hate?, or is it that freedom encompasses the right to hate?

Arora said...

I think that freedom of choice is the right to give up your right to hate. Personally, I think it's physically and mentally detrimental to hate anything, and really, most of the horrible things in the world have come about because of hate. Hating bad things puts us in the same position. To be better than that- we need to fight fire with something other than fire.
So, whether the man means that the freedom of choice is the right to hate or encompasses the right to hate, freedom of choice also means that we can give up the right to hate. And to counteract hate, that's what's necessary.

lisaking said...

I realize it's a little after the fact to jump in on this, but I finally looked at it from home where I could actually SEE the video Ali posted (stupid PSD filter!!!) Anyway, I want to commend all of you for the civil level of discourse you are having on a very touchy subject. You are asking the right questions and coming up with some very valid points that you are presenting well.

FYI, the video is clearly a response to the cartoons published by the editor of a Danish newspaper a few years ago that sparked riots and global controversy within the Muslim community. In Islam, it is considered blasphemous to portray the prophet Mohammed in pictoral form, and when the editor a paper in Copenhagen (where there is a very large Muslim, immigrant community)chose to publish a series of cartoons depicting Mohammed engaged in unflattering and terrorist-like situations, the Islamic community was outraged. It's interesting, Ali, that the video you found does, indeed, connect with the content of our class activity, albeit in an entirely different context.

Nice discussion, everyone! Keep it up!

Mrs. King