The most repinned post on any of my Pinterest boards is an infographic on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s also the one with the most comment-conversations by far. Normally I don’t engage in comment battles — if I have something I absolutely must contribute, I usually shut off notifications of further comments — but when it’s my post (my board, my thought, my backyard) I will keep ploughing ahead. I also reserve the right to have the last word, under the Get Your Own Damned Blog ruling of 2002 (cf. Twisty Faster).
A summary of interactions:
1. “Other people have the right not to want gay marriage”: yes, and they are free to express that opinion. My adding that it should include the explicit right never to marry seemed to heal the breach. Verdict: fist bumps.
2. Random frothing from a lady who conflated the declaration with “not working for what you get” and determining that it’s “BS” because the US Constitution only guarantees the PURSUIT of happiness, not free abortions, and PS you probly are for gun control: explaining the difference between the US and the UN, that the US Constitution doesn’t apply worldwide, that I am pro-gun, and that thinking a blob of cells should have more rights than the woman pumping them full of blood, etc., etc. (When their rebuttals are limited to 500 characters, anti-choice folks don’t get to indulge their rant-over-facts technique to end conversations and pretend they won the argument.) Verdict: random frother tires of presenting balloons for my pin; bails.
3. Anti-PC snark stating that if you can’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., then there is no freedom of speech: sorry, wrong number, since you have the freedom to be as bigoted as you want, but free speech doesn’t imply freedom from repercussion. Everyone is free to have an opinion; whining because your opinion is disgusting doesn’t take away your right to speak it. Verdict: sincere offer to explain why it is logical to be intolerant of intolerance and still be tolerant was met with silence. (I hope she works out the math and comes back; I was looking forward to that.)
4. Crypto-pseudo-Libertarian coyly asserting that it can’t be a “right” if it places a burden upon others: delicious fun spanking the monkey ass of someone who cherishes license more than liberty and thinks public health is an unnecessary luxury that poor folks don’t deserve. No inherent rights? I agree! It’s shorthand for the idea that no one person or group inherently deserves less respect or fair treatment than any other individual or group. No burden upon others? Easy! The word “burden” can mean any responsibility, no matter how slight, as well as mean a problematic responsibility that exhausts resources. A main purpose of society is to do useful things the individual can’t; putting a slight burden on everyone for a significantly useful common purpose (roads, schools, and — whisper it — public health) is not the oppressive type of burden but an obligation that does good for all and harm to none — like a “Good Sam” road rule. Verdict: NOT TODAY, SATAN!
5. Fastidiously polite Saudi man thinks that democracy isn’t All That, that Westerners have a distorted notion of royalty, that a king who owns a country should not have to bend to the will of the people any more than a shop owner should consult the factory schlubs on how to run his business; and that people who have different ways should just be left alone because “they are happy the way they are”. Agreed that democracy has major problems and that the US has “No More Kings” printed on its DNA from its history with England (and secretly longs to indulge its shameful urge to adore royalty in filial piety). That said, a nation is its people, unownable, and it is shameful and unjust to govern without consent of the governed. PS: “leave them alone, they are happy the way they are” has been used to justify non-interference with all manner of abuse, from domestic violence (“she’d leave if she didn’t like it; it’s not our business to interfere”) to slavery (“look at how happy they were back then, with all their meals and things provided”), so use that idea with care here in the West. Verdict: royal subject still thinks kings are awesome if they treat their people well yet does not mind that kings are not obliged to be awesome.
What next, seriously? I did not expect one do-gooder infographic to inspire so much resistance. How many Americans think individual freedoms are actually a horrible idea and highly suspect? I get the Saudi guy, who is a paragon of intersectional privilege, but garden variety poor Americans? To paraphrase Professor Kirke, what ARE they teaching in schools these days?