Yesterday, Scott Adams posted
about the fact that Cartoonists could apparently now cause buildings to be burnt to the ground, a newfound power he could use next time someone stole his parking space.
His title was "Cartoonist or Puppet Master", which ties quite neatly back to something I've been thinking about for a while - which is how much compromise is needed when dealing with other people, and how much responsibility we have for their feelings/actions. Are gay people responsible for bigots being violent by their public displays of affection? If I wore a certain Cannibal Corpse t-shirt, would I be responsible for people being upset about it? If I decide not to go to someone's birthday party am I responsible for them being
Clearly, taking someone's feelings into account is important, but we need to be able to say "And doing X is more important to me than the feelings it causes in other people.", either because we feel that people shouldn't feel that way (which is the way I feel about g@y bigots) or because we feel that the right to wear a t-shirt we like is more important than the feelings of random strangers we pass in the street (which is certainly the way I used to strongly feel, and still do, to a certain extent).
I think that what it comes down to is that one thing I want (A - people to not feel upset at things) goes very badly with something else I want (B - freedom of expression) when dealing with the reality of human behaviour (C - people get upset at expressions they don't like). What I'd like is to change C - the behaviour of the people, but this is clearly unrealistic, so I either have to live with people getting upset, or lose freedom of expression. Compromising depending on how important a particular piece of speech is, how much upsetness it's going to cause and how much I care about the people it's upsetting is the obvious answer.
Now, I just need some sort of graphing tool for mapping A,B and C against each other and I can offload this all into Excel!