Indifference is not respect
May 28, 2013 by Paul McKeever
Indifference is not respect.
Consider, as just one example, a belief in a god. If you think such a belief is arbitrary nonsense, but you think that you “respect” a person’s belief in a god, you are failing or refusing to recognize the “ought” implied by every “is”: you are separating value from fact. If you say that you do not believe in god but that you “respect” a person’s belief in a god even though you think that the person’s belief is arbitrary, you not only are lying: you are also telling the world that facts have no value to you; that truth, falsehood, and arbitrary beliefs are, to you, equally meritorious. Moreover, you are telling the world that you think it is right to treat all claims – whether they relate to a god or not – as equally valid and praiseworthy.
Ask yourself who benefits from such a practice. The theocrat and his terroristic or electoral enablers? The child molester? The person who votes himself an income, or transit, or a house, or a cell phone at your expense?
Ask yourself, also, what and who is disrespected and harmed by such a practice.
Truth: If falsehoods and arbitrary beliefs are accorded the respect of truths, the implication is that distinctions among truth, the arbitrary, and the false are themselves illusory or arbitrary.
Reason: If falsehoods and arbitrary beliefs are accorded the respect of truths, the implication is that illogical methods of arriving a beliefs – whim, faith, consensus, a coin toss – are no better or worse than logic, no matter what the purpose of your beliefs.
The Good, and Virtue: If falsehoods and arbitrary beliefs are accorded the respect of truths, the implication is that ethics, and ethical judgments themselves, are not respectable.
Individual Freedom and Capitalism: If falsehoods and arbitrary beliefs are accorded the respect of truths, the murderer, the rapist, and the thief are accorded the good will of the war hero, the beloved spouse, and the farmer.
Indifference is not respect, and the person who persists in according respect to all allegations of fact, and to all individuals, regardless of the actual merit of their thoughts or actions, should expect fully to have her cries for help met with the public’s indifference and – if she survives the offense – to witness the horror of the public expressing respect for the perpetrator’s motives.
Respect only the respectable – the true and the right – and prepare to be respected accordingly. Your life and happiness depend upon it.