On Mockery

Ridicule is a powerful, and to the self-righteous and those in power, dangerous weapon. From simple humor, to satire, to outright derision, we may often cleverly direct barbs at those who make questionable claims with intent to deceive, control, or harm others; to take their votes, their money, or their health and lives.

Here, I speak only for myself with regard to others’ beliefs…

I’m happy to let most people keep to their beliefs, as long as they do likewise for me. After all, nominally, at least, there’s a guaranteed freedom of belief in my country, despite the wishes of dogmatic sectarians in religion and politics. I respect that freedom to the extent it’s respected for me.

So beliefs I leave alone. It’s claims that I’m concerned with, not beliefs. Not all claims are innocent, and some need to be called out when they are made when false and/or harmful.

Many take offense at ridicule, and this is understandable — few like to be laughed at rather than with. This sometimes results in threats and intimidation by the offended, but often just fallacy, mudslinging, and misrepresentation to salvage credibility in the face of looking foolish.

But in the United States, where there is nominally a Constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech and expression, there is no freedom from the consequences of what you say anywhere in that same document, especially when you say patently absurd things to pander to, defraud, or influence others unethically.

Anywhere. In. The. Constitution.

Look it up online if you care to — you won’t find it. And while you’re at it, look up the Streisand Effect as well, a common hazard when attempting to suppress criticism.

So satire, ridicule, and outright mockery are powerful tools; dangerous to the powerful, applicable to the silly and puffed-up, and apply rightly to claims made for unjust and unethical purposes.

Whatever you believe, it’s what you actually say that matters, and the aftereffects might not be what you like, but don’t whinge and cry persecution for your beliefs when called out online for saying the ridiculous or the utterly appalling.

I’m not concerned about your beliefs beyond respecting your right to have them…

…and you’ll just make things worse. ;-)

The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Daleks

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