March 23rd, 2006

My wonderful Meg kitty.

Why Red, White, and Blue Countries Ought to be Better, Vol. 2

With thanks to theswede:

An Afghani man is standing trial for converting from Islam to Christianity. It's apparently derivative of an interpretation of Islamic law. Various leaders are calling for the man's death even if he's released. Additionally, they're raising the threat of an uprising (a la Soviet Union in the 1980s).

This sort of thing seems like it's been on its way for a long time. These are the hazards of nation-building -- the very thing which Bush said he wouldn't do in 2000 and the very thing he's done twice in his terms. Admittedly, the threat of an uprising doesn't have a lot of teeth behind it. Osama bin Laden did it with our help in the 80s. They'd require equivalent funding for military equipment in order to do it again. They may find it, but not to the same extent.

While I don't believe the man should be killed, I do agree wholeheartedly with a statement made in the article. Democracy is supposed to be the rule of the people. If the desires of the people are discarded, then how can you call it a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

Let's bring this home for a moment. If we believe in saving this man, should the blue states then continue to South Dakota to save the women there? Perhaps to Mississippi to free so-called sexual deviants?

Defending one's values is honorable. Creating a place for people to live with those values is admirable. Imposing them on others is a very poor thing indeed. It is not the job of governments to legislate morality, but to punish actions which hinder people's lives. It was not the task of the Founding Fathers to create a new nation which would then take over the world so that everyone could have freedom of expression. It was to create a place where those of us who value it can live safely. I hope this man will be exiled to a place where his lifestyle won't put him in danger.

On another day, I just might quote John Stuart Mill on liberty and Thomas Jefferson on minimalist governing. On this day, I end the post here.

EDIT: With a nod to rockanachronism's series of "Why Blue States are Better", it occurs to me that this might well be titled "Why Red, White, and Blue Countries Ought to be Better".