The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's about much more than a book

There are many things going on in the world; amazing things, dangerous things, senseless things. Where once our worlds were small and everything was right around us, our community has grown so we can see and hear things that happen on the other side of the planet. When we were children, our world was first our parents, the house we were brought home to, the family that surrounded us and protected us. We learned many things inside that home. We learned how to get along with the others who lived there. We learned something we call "give and take", we learned to share our toys, we learned that others could be mean and that they could be kind.

When it came time to venture out of that house and we learned about neighbors and boundaries, our world expanded. We learned to be polite so as not to offend someone. But we also learned that being polite did not always prevent that. We learned that not everyone would be our friend. We learned that, sometimes, no matter what we did, some people would not be our friend but would rather be our enemy. We learned there were people who would take advantage of our desire to be friends.

The world got bigger and more complex.

At a time when we are worried about bullies in school causing kids to feel so tormented that only suicide seemed the way out, we are being told we must tolerate the bullies of the world. We are told we must walk softly and eschew the "big stick" so as not to rouse the bullies' anger.

When I was growing up, venturing out into the world, the biggest bully was called the Soviet Union. And this bully was clever. And strong. And we had to be careful not to offend him. So we sort of stood up to him but not so much that he might throw a punch at us. We let that bully intimidate others. Just so we didn't have to get into a fight with him.

And whenever our leader, our protector, tried to stand up to that bully, many of us became more afraid of our protector, our leader, than the bully.

That's still going on today. Even though that bully of my youth turned out to be not that tough. Even though that bully was shown to be what he was and his world came apart. And that happened because we finally stood up to him. Finally refused to ignore his nature. You see, that bully was replaced by another one. And we are making the same mistakes we made with the earlier bully.

A little known preacher near Gainesville, FL, announces he will burn copies of the Holy Book of a large rival religion. Members of that religion protest against this affront. Some of these protests are peaceful. Some of them are rife with threats. And some are violent and people die. Many people counsel this preacher to not burn those books. They say it will only anger the bully; that it will create violence in reaction; that just announcing it has made the world a more dangerous place. And the preacher acquiesces. He calls it off.

But sometime later, when many (most) have forgotten about that preacher, he pops up again and this time burns that book. Just one copy. A symbolic gesture of condemnation of a religion he sees as instigating fear, violence, and anger in the world. And the bully reacts predictably. He reacts just as he did when other acts which offended him occurred. He protests, loudly, and then violently. He lashes out. He encourages his followers, his associates, to lash out violently. People die. People who do not even know the preacher in that small Florida town. People who do not even come from the same country that small town is in. People who were just easy to access.

The bully responds by intimidating those around him. Just as bullies have always done when they feel their control, their power, is threatened. Bullies gain strength by not being confronted. They grow stronger. They become harder to keep in check. And they must be confronted, they must be kept in check. Throughout history, that lesson has been repeated again and again.

And we always seem to learn it (again) when it is almost too late.


Pearl said...

There's a religious group (all 30 of them) claiming to be Christian that shows up at military funerals, waving hateful signs and spewing filth. If they ever show their faces here, the great state of Minnesota will be there. I don't subscribe to stupidity or cruelty.


Douglas4517 said...

Yep, that would be the Waterboro crowd. Classified rightly as Really Stupid
People. And, as always, protected by the First Amendment. Still, they
haven't attacked anyone physically. And they aren't advocating beheadings,
stonings, or flogging of those they hate and fear.