The right to be stupid

My, there’s quite a little flurry of posting about the anti-jihad manifesto published in a French journal and signed by a number of prominent writers, journalists, and intellectuals.

It’s not a manifesto I’d sign. Put me down on the same side as The Brussels Journal:

The Islamists and the secularists (including the priests and bishops among them) have more in common than the Islamists and the Christians (including the agnostics among them), because the latter acknowledge that at the heart of Christianity is the individual with his individual responsibility before God. Without Christianity, individual responsibility would not have become the centre of European civilization. It was the French Revolution that jeopardized this tradition and that became the root of collectivism, with its socialist, fascist, national-socialist and communist excesses. From this perspective even Jihadism is more a child of secularism than of religion.

My complaint against Muslims who riot about cartoons, mutilate and abuse women, and cut the heads off of people they dislike so that they can be free to perpetuate all sorts of primitive tribal prejudices and practices which I’m sure that Mohammed would have condemned is not that they’re Muslims but that they’re bad Muslims.

There is another question that comes to mind: does one have a right to do and believe stupid things even when those stupid things condemn you and your children to poverty, misery, and disease? I’m afraid that the answer is “Yes” unless freedom means something very different from what I think it means.

UPDATE:  Sissy Willis appears to be in a similar place to mine.  A little to the right, perhaps.

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