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So, once again, a competent and passionate diplomat was murdered by rednecks because the right of a redneck in California to be a gobshite was exercised and the right of a free press to report it in the most sensational terms was exercised.

Freedom of expression and the right to bear arms were preserved, hallelujah!

And I'm thinking back to an earlier instance of the same nation putting guns and rockets into the hands of rednecks so as to overthrow a government that (despite its mandate to bring economic and gender equality to a backward nation) was objected to for largely ideological reasons (i.e. those freedoms). And then those rednecks became the Taliban and Al-Qaida, and eventually turned their freedom of expression and the right to arm themselves... well, on their erstwhile benefactors.

Who having made the mess and knocked down the government did nothing to rebuild.

Apparently this is a pattern: throw some 18th century formulation of human rights at a situation and see what sticks. The great experiment remains experimental; the lab results are not in, even after 260 years.

But I have seen an interesting trend in my forty something years... It seems that this particular set of experimental factors give freedom. But only to those with Lawyers, Guns, or Money. Or some combination thereof.

Perhaps, now that ballot boxes don't travel on oxcarts and standing armies exist that hold atom bombs in their arsenals, it's time to consider a redraft of the constitution? Maybe one that doesn't allow everyone's freedoms to be abridged by morons with Kalishnakovs?

Just saying.

ETA: As ever, the most sane analysis of the matter is from Juan Cole.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Sep. 12th, 2012 01:28 pm (UTC)
Getting involved in other peoples' (in the sense of tribes) development is like getting involved in other people's childrearing. The advice givers rarely seem to have much actual interest in the unique situations of the people they're counseling, and do they really want to actually take over the rearing of that child, from babyhood to age eighteen or twenty-one or whatever? Usually not. "Hey, I gave you my two cents and recommended a good baby book! Why'd you make such a mess of it?"
barry_king
Sep. 12th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
War is the most technical solution to a non-technical problem. As a people, we excel at technical solutions.
teriegarrison
Sep. 12th, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC)
Well, you know, I believe in freedom of expression and freedom of the press. I don't think anyone should have to shut up just because there are insane people out there who will react insanely on religious grounds. (Or even because I don't like what they say.) I mean, c'mon, the Columbine guys (I think it was -- one of the big US shootings) said they got some of their inspiration from Marilyn Manson songs. Does that mean Manson shouldn't have recorded the songs?

I just don't think that's a road we want to go down. It isn't freedom of expression or freedom of the press that caused the deaths; it was a some crazy people who have crazy beliefs. And frankly, I personally believe that most religion-based violence (like, for ex, Northern Ireland) is caused by nothing more than thugs using religion as their excuse.

Muzzling people or the press isn't going to stop people who will use any excuse they can find as an outlet for their violent tendencies. But it sure would help corrupt politicians take over even faster than they already are.
barry_king
Sep. 12th, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not saying muzzle anybody. I'm saying a good man died because somebody had to use their right for expression to speak explosive shit simply for the sake of starting a fight, and it happened with impunity because the responsibility that comes with those freedoms was never met.

It's not good enough to just declare free rights for everybody and go home. IF you are going to give everybody free expression, it has to happen under conditions where there are legal repercussions for violent acts. You don't just hand all the warlords guns and expect them to form a just democracy. It's nostalgic narcolepsy of the worst sort.

So when NATO and friends bombed the Libyan government out of existence, they had the DUTY to institute law and order in the country to support the legal freedoms they were supposedly supporting. That costs money, lives, and effort.

But, as usual, there was plenty of attention and money paid for a very profitable bout of destruction, but precious little for rebuilding, and nothing for nation-building. The fact that Libya turned into a kind of Afghanistan was not only predictable, but precedented.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )