Don’t Confuse Like with Rights

Mark Suster and Fred Wilson wrote two powerful posts last week in defense of Gay Marriage and The Cordoba Mosque.  They were eloquently written and heartfelt.  At the core of both was the realization that it was just “right” to allow people to make decisions for themselves whether the rest of us like it or not.

It sadden me to read the comments.  The number of people who openly opposed gay marriage and the development of the Mosque near ground zero was astonishing.  The anger, venom, bitterness and desire to impose themselves on others was disheartening.

I think we are losing our grip on the definition of freedom.  Freedom has nothing to do with liking.  We have to stop confusing the two.

I don’t like the KKK, Skinheads, Rush Limbaugh, or the much of the crap that is put on TV today aimed at my kids.  I don’t like flag burning or abortion.  There are a lot of things people do, that I don’t like.  With that in mind, I would fight to protect the rights of the KKK, Skinheads, Rush Limbaugh, the crap they put on TV, flag burning and aborrtion, not because I like them, but because I LOVE freedom.

You can’t expect to be free if you don’t allow others to be free.  Freedom is reciprocal.  Everyone gets it or no one gets it.  Freedom is all encompassing.  There is no such thing as partially free.

Too often we confuse liking something with providing the right to do something.   But it doesn’t work that way.  It actually works just the opposite.  The founding fathers created rights to guarantee our freedom, to protect us from those who disliked what we did.   They new that if we used LIKE to determine our freedoms we’d all be in trouble.

Take LIKE out of the freedom discussion and it makes things just a little easier.  I don’t like a lot of things people do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to do them.

Don’t confuse like with rights.  It’ll cost you your freedom because somebody somewhere doesn’t like what you’re doing and that’s not reason enough to demand you stop.  Our own freedom is tightly wrapped in how much freedom we give others and like should have nothing to do with it.

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