The Waste of a Gift
The following will be really, really hard to understand if you are a man, especially a man living in a Western country run on ‘democracy’ (there has never been a true democracy, so I put that in quotes).
If you have lived in any kind of dictatorship – and by that, I mean a real dictatorship, not a ‘democracy’ that many men will call dictatorships because they don’t get to abuse or rape women as freely as they wish – or you are a member of an oppressed group, such as women, LGB, or racial minorities, then this might be easier to understand.
In the semi-free societies that result from a ‘democracy’, people have rights or what we conceived of as (morally, legally) protected categories of behaviour. There is no set list of rights, and in fact, there are rights we likely haven’t conceived of yet simply because we live in a male-dominated society that has different priorities for human life than, say, a non-sadism-based society would have. You see, rights are not innate or natural. Rather, they are symptoms or markers of a civilized society. The more advanced a society, the more numerous and more equally applied to all people these human rights are. Likewise, the less civilized or advanced a society, the fewer rights are allowed for everyone equally. In a sense, rights are a gift to be shared by all members of society, not to be taken for granted or abused.
Even within our currently semi-free societies, these rights are not equally allowed or protected. The ruling class – specifically, men, since all societies are currently male-dominated – will be more protected than other groups, and they will often take liberties in defining those rights for themselves and in restricting those rights for other groups (first and foremost, women).
The most troubling thing about the most ‘advanced’ societies that actually build rights into their governments’ legal mandates is that the most powerful people (men) don’t see rights as the communal gifts that they are. They see them as more like property or collectibles that individuals can own. And instead of using them for good or for further social and intellectual advancement of their society – which I see as the primary goal of human life – they use them to further agendas of hate, violence, dominance, oppression, and self-centred pleasure.
If one uses the right of ‘free speech’ as an example, we can see blatant abuse by the dominant class (men, of all colours). The abuses take the form of silencing the speech of women, while promoting the voices of men. Redefining oppressed groups’ (especially women’s) non-violent speech as hate and violence. Defining or including hate and violence against women (e.g., pornography) as speech, when clearly it isn’t. Using speech as a weapon, rather than, say, rhetoric, to actively and deliberately hurt groups of the least powerful people (women) who have done nothing wrong.
These instances, and common ones at that, are abuses of a gift. And it is shocking to me that when the powerful (men) are fortunate enough to have access to a gift, the first and central things they want to do with that gift is to destroy people (women) who have no desire to harm them.
Please think, men. You abuse the gifts you have, and in that way, you hurt ALL of society in many ways you probably haven’t thought of.
Posted on November 17, 2015, in Feminism, Human Rights, Language, Male Privilege and tagged free speech, freedom, freedom of speech, rights, society. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The Waste of a Gift.