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Reged: 05/06/05
Posts: 924
Loc: Los Angeles
      05/11/10 02:30 AM

A correspondent recently wrote to me that she disagreed with me on some small matter quoting Voltaire as saying, "I may disagree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it." This is a misquotation of Voltaire popularized by Will Durant who wrote The Story of Civilization, a retelling of history with a Christian bias. Volataire actually said, "I may disapprove of what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."

The difference between disagree and disapprove is the difference between fact and morality. Voltaire in the correct quote calls us to a higher calling in which we defend the right to speak of those whose views we find morally repugnant. This is an important difference in the arguments about gay marriage, bare backing sex and the right to end one's life, for example.

As Americans our First Amendment provides for free speech, even that which we find repulsive. There are some exceptions to be sure, but even those are closely circumscribed.

I find that most of the arguments on these pages are a result of the first misreading of Voltaire rather than the second, correct reading. We should learn to listen to those whose positions we find not only incorrect but also morally repugnant; and, reply in polite discourse.

Before my mental condition was diagnosed, I often lashed out from mental anguish caused by depression and behavioral disorders caused by long term HIV infection. I notice quite frequently that many of the posters to these pages do likewise. To me these outbursts are proof that HIV causes behavioral changes.

Let us be more tolerant of our fellow sufferers and learn to take each comment with a grain of salt.


Life is a river.
Carpe diem.

Edited by ScotCharles (05/14/10 10:11 PM)

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* Voltaire ScotCharles 05/11/10 02:30 AM
. * Re: Voltaire alive2   06/15/10 05:27 AM
. * Re: Voltaire ScotCharles   06/16/10 06:33 PM

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