Quote of the day–Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire

I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.

Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire
To M. le Riche, February 6, 1770
It was not Voltaire, but his biographer, S. G. Talentyre in The Friends of Voltaire, who originated the famous remark, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
From The Great Thoughts (link is to the 2nd Edition, mine is the 1st Edition–1985) compiled by George Seldes.
[I sometimes think of deleting a comment on my blog from someone too stupid to know how to determine truth from falsity. They may be so pig-headed as to continuing insisting the righteousness of their cause despite uncountable instances of them presented with overwhelming evidence their cause is at best ill-advised and I feel some frustration at their inability or refusal to follow even the simplest of logic trains. But then I think of what Voltaire said.

I wouldn’t directly give my life to enable him or her to continue pushing their agenda. Indirectly I suppose it is possible via my pursuit of liberty but that would be a side effect rather than in direct support of such an individual. I think I might consider looking the other way rather than risk my own life in defensive of theirs should I know harm to them was imminent.

I sometimes wonder if in a fight to the death if adhering to principles is a luxury only affordable when you are winning. Does the other side abandon their principles when they are loosing? Or do they adhere to them until the end? If so then perhaps those principles are best known by their examples of Reasoned Discoursetm (see also here and here). Is their insistence that you should be silenced or put to death a sign they have abandoned principles because of the hopelessness of their cause? Or is it insight into the true nature of their principles?

I don’t know for certain.

At least for now I exercise loyalty to my principles by not deleting their comments.–Joe]

13 thoughts on “Quote of the day–Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire

  1. I’m sorry but in a fight to the death I will use every trick I know. Regardless of application of Queensbury Rules.

    If it is me or them, I intend to be sorry for them. And as quickly as possible.

    However, you can say anything you desire and I will not censor you. And I will probably protect you from harm to the best of my ability. However rule number one is self survival, and this is always my primary thought.

    Probably why I never became a body guard. May have more wolf in me than I like, but in situations that have tested this I have always survived. I will admit to this day I have never had to decide my life or another, but I have a sneaking suspiscion of what I would do should that situation occur.

    YMMV.

  2. Is their insistence that you should be silenced or put to death a sign they have abandoned principles because of the hopelessness of their cause?

    I saw in my WordPress Dashboard that this blog linked one of my posts in the quote above.

    I see many pronouns in the above quote which refer to ‘them.’

    Who are ‘them’ and why the categorization?

    Mud-rake
    http://manwiththemuckrake.wordpress.com/

  3. Mud-rake,

    In general people who advocated the infringement of the specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms and other freedoms. And in particular those people who leave comments on my blog.

    You, in your post, advocated the suppression of the right to free speech.

  4. Joe,
    I have always advocated freedom of speech (among other freedoms), but in this way.
    If one is too obnoxious or offensive, that person is asked to take their freedom of speech somewhere else. I will not prevent them from saying it. I just do not wish to listen to it.
    Don’t let me stop you from saying it, just don’t say it here.

    The same style of “freedom of speech” carrys over to my listening (or not) to the radio, TV, political speeches, etc. That’s why I use the volume, channel & on/off controls.

  5. I’ll delete SPAM because what emanates from the ass doesn’t constitute speech – but it happens so rarely. People come for the picture(s), one picture in particular, but seldom leave comments.

  6. If forced to fight, I will. Once I have been forced into that fight, I no longer owe the opponent any consideration of any kind. I do owe it to myself to win, any way I can.That debt I will honor and not experience one whit of false conscience. Shoulg someone wish to avoid that response, don’t force upon me the fight. Really simple, isn’t it?

  7. DirtCrashr,

    I don’t grant SPAM posters the status of having any rights or privileges. They are usually just ‘bots and are deserving of the death penalty just by the fact of their existence.

    Straightarrow,

    So… what if it is a political fight rather than a physical fight?

  8. Speaking personally, I would not risk nor sacrifice my life to protect someone who is firmly and irreconcilably intent upon abridging, limiting, and restricting the rights of others. If that particular individual was part of a larger group that might be protected by such a sacrifice, so be it, but in specific instances, no way in hell. I simply could not let myself do such a thing, so I guess it is good I am not a doctor or somesuch.

    Speaking as to weblogs, so long as the comment in question is not outright tinned meat, anyone can say anything they want, and I will be quite happy to ensure those words get all the exposure they deserve or warrant… and possibly more. That does not, however, indicate or imply that I support those comments, or the people who make them, and in the situations where I adamantly oppose the messages being put forward, or the messengers delivering them, I will retract what little support they would automatically receive from my weblog – namely, linkage and the Google Page Rank augmentation therefrom. After all, it is my right to determine who or what my property supports.

    Tolerance is something we should all work to achieve in our own lives, but the important distinction is that “tolerance” does not equate to “approval” – something that has been forgotten in the intentional re-engineering of the English language.

  9. I’ll expand on Linoge’s point. There is a precedent for suppression of speech that most of us would support. IF someone were to come on here and start telling us how “the ni$$ers” need to have this or that right taken away from them, I’m guessing such a comment would be deleted. I haven’t asked Joe– maybe he’d leave it up and spank the guy, but most other venues would simply keep such comments, and the people who make them, out of the conversation. Hardly anyone would suggest for example, that in a TV program about race relations, the Grand Wizard (or whateverthefuck he’s called) of the KKK should be invited and given equal billing. Those who advocate against any basic right are no different than the KKK and should receive the same treatment, IMO. What they are doing is calling for, or conspiring for the commission of a crime. That is not free speech. Our problem, as with slavery at one time, is that so many people accept such behavior, and it is therefore too often accepted in main stream discourse.

    “Is their insistence that you should be silenced or put to death a sign they have abandoned principles because of the hopelessness of their cause? Or is it insight into the true nature of their principles?”

    Does it matter in practice? Either way we get to the “silenced or put to death” stage, so I wouldn’t waste too much energy answering that question, anymore than I would attempt an analysis of one’s social, economic and emotional history while I’m being fired upon.

  10. Don’t delete the idiots. Twas the idiots that convinced my wife to start taking my ranting seriously.

  11. You, in your post, advocated the suppression of the right to free speech.

    Is that so? It seems to me that SCOTUS has ruled on many occasions that there are limits to ‘free’ speech. In the case cited by you [my post] I pointed out just that fact. Rush Limbaugh ‘speech’ is tantamount to incitement to insurrection, clearly limited even in this free society.

  12. Mud-Rake,

    I am well aware there are limits to free speech but in your post you provided no evidence that his speech came anywhere near to those limits.

  13. Rush Limbaugh ‘speech’ is tantamount to incitement to insurrection, clearly limited even in this free society.

    Proof please, other than your mindless rantings & ravings. Unlike you, I support the free speech of even those with whom I vehemently disagree. I am not the least bit surprised to see a “tolerant” “progressive” liberal advocate the suppression of speech he doesn’t like.

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