I'm really tired of the left / right political distinction that obsesses the simple minded American media. Therefore, in my usual contrarian way, I am staking the ground for Orthogonality. There are many dimensions to the political spectrum and I assert that I am at right angles to any and all of them.
Many in society today are crying out for an end to the politically charged atmosphere which some blame for the violent act perpetrated by a nut job gunman in Arizona. Yeah right.
Don't get me wrong. The shooting was a mindless and brutal act and done for political purposes. But what were those purposes? The perpetrator has not revealed his motives. The internet trail he left indicates many possible motives. But was it really due to the politically charged atmosphere? I don't think there is evidence to support that claim. I don't think it can be demonstrated that a causal link exists between the political atmosphere and that trigger finger. Does that mean we must stifle the language behind the politically charged atmosphere?
The problem with restricting that type of speech rests with the definition of what constitutes a dangerous, politically charged atmosphere. Given the definition by some on the Left the past few days, that would result in censoring Patrick Henry, John Adams and even Saul Alinsky. All of those were claimed to be dangerous and vitriolic. The Right doesn't get off easy. They point at the language of Jihad in the Qur'an and claim that the atmosphere created by some Imans led to the Fort Hood shootings, the 9/11 attack and even the existence of al Queda. Following their definition would lead to censoring Islamic services and, and to be consistent, Christian and Judaic services and speakers. (and nut jobs like Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps)
Freedom of Expression is absolute but charged with responsibilities. However, the right to not be offended does not exist and there is no responsibility on the part of a speaker to respect any claim to such a right. There is a responsibility to not causally incite violence. (Charlie Manson causally incited violence by ordering that violence; screaming fire in a crowded theater causally creates a hazard) Civil penalties exist for demonstrated libel and slander. Political speech has contained blatant lies and misdirections since before the days of the Roman Republic and early Greek democracies. In that context it must always be taken with a grain a salt.
Freedom of Expression is central to my objection to any Blasphemy law. Blasphemy is a victimless, thought crime. If you think you are a victim of blasphemy, think again. You may be offended by what I may have said about your religion and that's just too bad. You can't demonstrate with statistically significant data that my denial of the existence of all of this planet's historical gods is wrong. Also, the demand to respect another person's religion is a violation of my Freedom of Association. You don't need to respect the claims of the Aztec that required tearing out a human heart each day. How is that different, in principle, from respecting any of today's religions?
So I'm orthogonal and off a 2D chart. To some, I appear to be right wing to others I appear liberal or socialist. I own firearms, including 2 pistols, but I think I should be licensed to own and carry and should be required to submit myself to physical and mental evaluation for possession and use of such dangerous machines in the same manner that I must be re-licensed to drive and must undergo physicals and biennials to fly. I am not red or blue; I am purple with a tinge of green, gray and white.