Do You Have The Right To Be Respected?

Aug 30, 2011 Comments Off by

No. Here’s why.

The first thing we must do is define respect. This is quite tricky; it’s common usage gives it quite a loose definition. Generally people would say that it is to not arbitrarily criticise or insult someone, or to be unjustifiably condescending. One might also consider respect to be conversational equality.

Clearly it is difficult to define respect. Normally if we cannot define something we cannot ascribe any rights to it. Though for the sake of argument let’s continue anyway. So we’re either using the incomplete definition above or the common understanding definition.

The reason that you don’t have the right to respect is because it forces constraints on what a person can or cannot say, which is an infringement on the right to free speech. In the case of religion, to say that it is disrespectful for someone else to criticise or insult your beliefs is trying to stop them from saying it. You do not have the right to silence someone else, therefore respect is not something you have the right to.

Of course, if someone is arbitrarily criticising you, and is themselves avoiding your arguments or simply trying to aggravate you, then by all means, insult them back, this is the brilliance of free speech.

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