Monday, February 23, 2009

Every week the Week magazine has a puzzle contest where they provide a story/scenario and invite their subscribers to try to complete it, offering a years free subscription to the winner. This week the puzzle is about the Dalai Lama and his new twitter account. The contest was to come up with a wise saying within 140 characters that the Dalai Lama might send his followers.

So here is my entry:

"If you surf the internet too much you will not download wisdom. Take the time for reflection for the internet is only as big as your imagination."

I thought it would be fitting if the Dalai Lama questioned the very medium he was using to enlighten his followers with. It is an aphorism that will lead into a set of essays that I am working on about modern technology and the inner life.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Question of Rights -- Part 2

As I explained in my previous post, people often have very different ideas of what is good when they are debating a question of rights. Depending on what someone means when they say something is a "right" they will, without fully knowing it, state their moral view and how they believe that it relates to the law, which itself is part of their moral view.

There is what I will refer to for convenience here as BELIEF A, that generally what is immoral should be illegal. In this idea, a legal right supports the good and people need the law to shepard them into a realm of goodness that lies beyond the law and transcends the law. Here the question of what is legal works backward from the question of what is good.

And then there is what I will call BELIEF B, wherein that which is moral and legal exist as overlapping but separate realities and the law has only a very limited ability to shepard people into goodness. In this idea, a legal right is separate from the good, and some legal rights can be a reflection of the good while other things can legal without being necessarily good. This belief is a "legal minimalism" that only works backward from what is imminently bad and harmful to society to decide what should be illegal.

There is another idea of the law and the good that I will call BELIEF C, that the question of what is moral generally follows what is legal. In other words, the legal right is the good. BELIEF C is based on the idea that the collective moral intuition of people operating in a particular time and era figures out the best calculus of what is good and what is legal at any point in time is generally a reflection of what is the best negotiation of a situational morality. Whereas BELIEF B is merely a "legal minimalism", BELIEF C is a moral minimalism wherein anything that is not harmful is good. In this idea, as in BELIEF B, the law should only “shepard people into goodness" in the sense of protecting people from the clear and present harm of others.

These beliefs are not always mutually exclusive. It is also possible that a person may have all of these different dispositions toward the law, operating in paradox and/or cognitive dissonance with each other. There may be certain areas of life where a person holds one view of the law and another area of life where they hold another.

It is also possible for the ideology of one idea of the law to elide into the practice of another. For example, it is possible for a person with a BELIEF C or BELIEF B to come full circle to the practice of BELIEF A when the expression of certain ideas and thoughts are seen as toxic and as "pre-crimes' for bad actions. A broad enough idea of what is “harm” will render that which is not harmful as a de facto a narrow vision of the “good”.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Question of Rights -- Part 1

Here is a Miriam Webster dictionary definition of a "right".

2: something to which one has a just claim: as a: the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled b (1): the interest that one has in a piece of property —often used in plural (2)plural : the property interest possessed under law or custom and agreement in an intangible thing especially of a literary and artistic nature 3: something that one may properly claim as due

Here is a link to an online legal dictionary that parses out several variations on the idea of "rights".

The general principle of a “right” seems simple enough: a right is a justly entitled privilege or power. The law does not create rights but acknowledges them as naturally existing. But what are the boundaries of our "justly granted privileges"? For legal purposes, those things not explicitly forbidden in law are considered in the realm of "just privilege".

Just because something is or should be in the legal realm of "just privilege" does it also mean that it is also good? Different people can be asserting that something is a "right" with very different ideas of what is good and how goodness relates to the law. To help bring more precision
to this question, I am going to offer my own vocabulary of “right” to help parse this out.

It is possible to believe that something must be legally within the realm of "just privilege" because it is fundamentally good and proper. I will refer to this as a "right of design", which is a legal right that is derived by working backward from a best use of our human design.
My right to vote is an example of a “right of design” which is derived from my naturally endowed rational powers, which are generally good to exercise.

It is also possible to believe that something should be legal within the realm of "just privilege" not because it is good but because it is impractical to use the law to stop it. I will refer to this as a "right of utility". In the realm of legally allowed “just privilege” a “right of utility” touches the realm of design only the very limited sense that a free person needs to be able to make bad choices in order for that person to have freedom. A right of utility works backward from what is merely impractical to enforce.

I have the right to get drunk in the privacy of my home. This is not a good use of design, since it is better of me to not get drunk even in the privacy of home. However, as the era of Prohibition taught us, it is not practical to make a law against it. Making a law against getting drunk at home would cause more problems than it would solve and be too intrusive to try to fix, so the right to get drunk at home is a right of utility as is the right to hit myself with a hammer.

It is this vocabulary of rights that I think will aid in our debate over hot button topics. It will reveal that there are several debates rolled into one:

DEBATE A) Those who believe that the issue involves a right of design vs. those who believe the issue would make something legal that is wrong and should not be made legal. These two parties are at fundamental odds with each other.

DEBATE B) Those who believe that the issue involves a right of utility only vs. those who believe that what is at stake is a right of design. These two parties have agreement on what should be legal but have different ideas of what is fundamentally good.

DEBATE C) Those who believe that the issue involves a right of utility vs. those who believe that the issue should not be a right at all. These two parties have some agreement on what is good but do not agree on how the law should be applied.

Very often in a hot button issue, the debate A) is front and center, but the debates B) and C) are equally important, even if they go on behind the scenes. Having this vocabulary will help organize what is being debated by whom.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What is Art?

I have thought from time to time on the nature of, beauty, smut and "transgressive art" and the public license that should be afforded to these. I once had a debate with someone about whether smut advertising was art or propaganda. I argued that the intent of the image had something to do with whether it could be considered “art”. I argued that advertising smut was aimed at subverting the viewer’s attention to distract him to buy something and was therefore to be considered propaganda and not art.

I argued that enough smut becomes and "unchangeable channel" (Gil Reevil) that one cannot ever choose to avoid. An environment of smut advertising as an “unchangeable channel” had the effect of dull the senses not to enlighten the senses. I explained that despite that artfulness with which certain Saddam Hussein pictures may have been made throughout Iraq, their intent was to be an instrument to subjugate and brainwash. Even ancient Egyptian megalith sculpture, while wonderfully made and enjoyed in 2009, was originally intended to intimidate and awe its ancient viewers into worshipping the Pharaoh. Art that may be explored as beautiful later can still be used to hurt and dull the sense of people in the present, depending on how it's used.

The person I was debating with said that it's too hard to tell what art is and isn’t art, so it’s not possible to make any such judgments. After all, what is considered art in 2009 is not necessarily what was considered art in the past. This person argued the postmodern position that everything and anything can potentially be seen as art. Since art is ultimately enlightening and enriching to human existence anything that might possibly be considered art at some point in the future should receive no constraints. In other words all objects are either art or “proto-art”.

In this view, life of the present moment is always and continually a foundry, a sometimes brutal foundry for the beautiful and enlightening art that the future will be able to perceive. For postmodernists, art cannot be crisply defined, but we know it when we see it, and our eyes in the future will be better than our eyes in the present. Therefore it is necessary that we in the present sublimate an inclination to judge and suppress art or proto-art so that future generations will be able to see its beauty, even as we in the present now enjoy the fruits of the past's brutal art foundry.

Joy for the sake of Joy

The question of art cuts deeply at what is means to be human. The question of "why is art" is inseparable from "what is art". What makes us human is that we are designed to seek joy for the sake of joy. We are not designed merely to seek the pleasure of sated base appetites. We experience the joy for the sake of joy, which is an emotional nourishment for its own sake, as we experience our ability to see infinite levels of abstract order and as we see the complexity of our selves reflected in that order. We find joy in the perceiving and find joy in the discovering previously undiscovered forms of order in the world.

Beauty is that aspect of order that is enjoyed for the sake of joy and not merely for what particular survival utility the particular form of order has for us. There is an extent to which it is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is as much an experience as it is anything else, but it cannot be wholly imparted to the subjective experience of one human vs. another human. We collectively experience beauty because our innate ability to find joy in order is being met with something that has a unique form of order, even as each person may not experience it equally.

We have a profound need to discover ever more forms of order in ever more realms of abstraction. It is our joy and our calling. The need to discover new lands is but one form of the quest to understand terra incognita. A scientist, mathematician, philosopher and artist are all operating on the same basic impulse – they are all seeking to discover previously undiscovered forms of order. These are all fundamentally, efforts to quarry the order from reality.

An artist is only "creative" in the sense that the quarrying is a more exclusively inward focused process. An artist, mathematician, philosopher, or scientist is capable of finding joy for the sake of joy in those forms of order which have been quarried out of reality, even as the newly discovered order can also have utilitarian uses. When those new forms of order are quarried out of the efforts made in the lab, the study or the studio, they are brought into the world and our met and recognized by our collective ability to see and enjoy the order. The presentation of the order has now caught up to our ability to see the order that was always there as a latent potential.

A spear tip may be a form of order, a technological form that has a utility in hunting for food. I may enjoy the fact that I gain material benefit in the form of food from a spear. When I enjoy the beauty of the streamlined artistry of the spear tip and wonder at the hands that flint-napped it, I am experiencing beauty. In the case of the spear, I am enjoying a facet of the spear's reality that is not mutually exclusive to its other facets. The utilitarian facet may even enhance the beauty facet. It may be an experience of beauty whose intensity and mystique is enhanced by the reality that it is also very deadly useful. Here, the beauty of beautiful spear is the experience of the order that is represented by that spear tip that exists on different levels of life and reality.

I can find joy for the sake of joy in the order that is presented in a Japanese sword, a joy that resonates with the profundities of an object that has been used to slice bodies in half. I can find joy for the sake of joy in the shape of an airplane wing. I can find joy for the sake of joy in a form of music that was created to find joy in God. Art may be in the natural realm, such as a sunset. Art may be a side benefit of a utilitarian goal of making a more useful object as with the shape of a boat or a mathematical formula.

With this in mind, art is any thing that meets our ability to perceive order in such a way that it produces joy for the sake of joy and the wisdom that goes with it. Potentially, everything and anything can be art. Even the natural world can be enjoyed as art. Here, art is the object, and beauty is the quality of order that the experience of the object begets in us.

"Art" that fills our art galleries, as we normally define it, is actually "art created intentionally and exclusively for the sake of beauty, as I have defined beauty: "art" as we generally define as "art" is a work of order that has been quarried out of reality for the express purpose of generating some form of joy from the perception of some form of order. Later generations may take an object that was not created intentionally to be "art" and may nevertheless treat it as "art". Advertising ephemera and toys from the past are collected and admired for an unintentional mastery of a certain order that was not appreciated at the time it was created.

Art and Wisdom

When we perceive a new aspect of order in the realm of our emotional experience we gain a form of pre-articulate “proto-wisdom”. Later when this experience develops into articulate knowledge, the wisdom takes on a linguistic form and is useful for the realm of words and becomes Wisdom proper, defined as first-hand articulate knowledge of the world.

Joy in the perception of order and the accumulation of wisdom are inseparable. Joy itself is the union of wisdom and pleasure. Entertainment is a form of the joy of perceiving new forms of order unfolding before our eyes. The joy may not be "happy happy": it may be a turgid and dark joy in the gaining of painful wisdom. Very frequently joy is both bitter and sweet, sometimes with different combinations of both. Gaining the perception of order and wisdom can be a painful and expensive process.

It is the process of gaining wisdom whether pre-articulate or articulate that is enjoyable as a form of perceiving order. But proto-wisdom that is not on its way to becoming articulate knowledge of the world is an arrested form of joy, which is actually not joy but merely pleasure. Not all that contains nutrients is nutritious. I think of how chocolate can be nutritious in the right time and place, but too much of it is malnourishing. It is possible to be malnourished by experiencing pleasure in art by only being able to enjoy a certain form of the perception of order without consummating it with thought.

It is possible to malnourished with an experience of a proto-wisdom that never becomes wisdom. Here, art is merely experienced as "hedons" of pleasure, as a shallow sensory experience never blossoms into a more mature form of exploration. That which could nourish us will impoverish us if our senses are dulled. This is a hazard with art that is too ephemeral or art that is too imposing and impossible to avoid or art that comes at profaning/exploiting other good things in order to be. Here, the experience of art is thus only pleasure divorced from any purpose and progress and never becomes full joy.

Appreciating our Appreciation

How do we appreciate order that has been wrought from violence without condoning violence past, present and future? Here the violence may be the hard violence of swords and Pharaohs past or the subtle violence of the present of having sensitivity drummed out of us. While we appreciate the artistry of ancient pharaohs and spears, we also enjoy a history of certain victories in the cause of the justice and the rule of law that freed us from much of the tyranny of pharaohs, spears and swords. And so the development of our sense of justice and rule of law through history is another part of the order that we have found joy in uncovering.

Now there is another aspect of order that we must bring to light, while we must be open to the mysterious unfolding of new forms of artistic order, but we must not lose our joy of the journey. The joy of experiencing order is the substance of our appreciation of art. Our very capacity for appreciation is part of the order that we must appreciate. This is appreciation of our appreciation is the meta-artistic view of the world of our self knowledge. It contains an ethical requirement to work to protect it from harm.

You can’t explore what’s in your face. The joy of exploration requires distance so that there is space for reflection. We must savor art and make sure that those things that are used harshly to dull our senses need to be held in check: this, so that there is contemplative space for the practice of actually harvesting the proto-wisdom of artistic experience into articulate wisdom.

To appreciate our appreciation, the creation of art owes as much a debt to the present as to the future. A Japanese sword it not art when it's slashing you. Borat is not art when he's humiliating you. Smut propaganda is not art when it is dulling your sense, shocking you with irresponsible intentions. The justice that is owed to the appreciation of our appreciation can't happen in an environment of un-mitigated violence, whether the hard and obvious violence of swords, or the subtle violence of propaganda that subjugates us by desensitizing us.

The casualty of this subtle violence on our sensitivity is the diminution of the “dialogue” (i.e. the accumulation of wisdom) that artists always claim to want to stimulate that will never happen. So much of the dialogue they want to stimulate is in the activist direction of making the world better. To that I say, "Fine, don't make the world worse in the process. Don't make art irresponsibly in the name of getting people to be more responsible and sensitive".

Transgressive and the unchangeable channel of smut advertising needs to be held in check to allow for contemplative space, even if the trangressive art and propaganda might somehow be "proto-art" that might be one day refracted into a form of beauty and wisdom. This, so that whatever kernel of nourishment therein will actually and eventually nourish us and not rot us out in the meantime in the midst of an "evolution too slow to save our souls".

Putting boundaries on transgressive art and propaganda gone amok is an extension of and refinement of our call to justice whose lineage extends all the way back to the first rule of law. There are those who will argue that transgressive art needs to transgress in order to be, in order to cut and do what it must and that putting bounds on art hurts art. To answer this (I know I open up a large can of another topic by saying this) putting bounds on art can often enhance the quality and creativity of art. I want to give trangressive artists more to chew on when they think of mocking or tearing down a boundary to make their point. I want to push back against trangressive art when it is a form of tyranny.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The War on the No Cussing Club

Read here about the No Cussing Club

If you read the link above, you will see something that caught my attention when I heard about it on the radio. A teenager started a "No Cussing Club", a group of people who simply decide that they will abstain from cussing. There are those who see this club as a direct threat to their First Amendment Right and see that this threat must be confronted with anonymous death threats.

When I first heard about this on the radio, the radio host made good point saying, "…what about the First Amendment rights of the teenager who believes that cussing is bad?..." I want to explore the deeper reason why a "No Cussing Club" would pull death threat makers out of the woodwork. The impulse to cuss without restraint and then confront the Cussing Club with death threats are related impulses that connected by an underlying worldview that needs to be exposed and brought to light.

We all value bathroom stalls and bedroom privacy. We have a natural desire for a certain verbal prudence which is an extension of the privacy that we value in having bathroom stalls. Uttering a cussword is the equivalent of momentarily ripping down the walls of everyone's bathroom and sexual privacy and putting a private matter onto a screen for all to see. The F-bomb is rightly called a “bomb” because there is violence to it: it is an act of verbally tearing down the wall of our privacy, and it has the effect on our sense of prudence what scratching a needle across the record has when it halts a song un-expectedly.

In the rarest instances when exploring philosophical ideas, I've used off–color language to make a point (Here is my WWAD post which is relevant to this post). In Letter to the FCC I defended the FCC banning "fleeting indecency" during the hours of 0600 to 2200. I argued that people need to be apprenticed in simple ideas of decency and considerateness before they can navigate moral complexity with an eye towards what is ultimately good and decent. I argued that one must reckon with this need when considering what is best for the common good, and that this need demands a pocket of common time and space where simpler ideas of decency are upheld. The First Amendment right to express adult concerns on issues can be exercised freely without cussing, and people should be held to this standard on the airwaves.

I argued that people must be long apprenticed moral arithmetic to ever be able to use profanity in a moral calculus of "creative violence". There is a very big difference between

A) a rare and conscious use of profanity to shock an audience into seeing something when that audience has proven themselves in need of such a shock when all other means to wake that audience out of a slumber have been exhausted


B) using profanity without regard to boundaries says that privacy and boundaries of time and place do not matter.

Using profanity at will between the hours of 0600 to 2200 on public airwaves is an expression of a B) worldview and not an A) worldview. Unbound cussing is one form of the advancement of and evangelism of a worldview that is denuded of any idea of the sacred or even the special, and unbound porn is another. With this worldview the inclination to guard what is sacred is seen as an expression of human ignorance and fear. In the name of authenticity and naturalness, the power that comes from exploding our impulse to sacredness can be profaned for anyone's banal purposes of self promotion.

There is power to cussing and there is a cost when this power is used selfishly and habitually in a banal way. Banal, habitual, selfishly used cussing begets cynicism and numbness. Unbound and banal cussing can resemble creative violence but really isn't. It not a refinement of moral arithmetic but a replacement of it: it is based on a wholly competing idea of what is "authentic" and 'real" and "natural". Unbound cussing works backward from numbness and ennui as that which is natural and authentic.

In my Open Letter to Big Kids post, I explained that destructive people want the trappings of danger to command respect from people more innocent and more gullible than themselves. Wearing these trappings of danger is what I call "wearing a lion's mane", like a member of a tribe who wears the mane of the lion he has killed to show his bravery and prowess. Cussing is one way among many (gang fashion, etc…) that people try to give themselves the trappings of toughness and danger. Wearing the trappings of danger is a way of saying "Awe me, for I know the ways of the world! Entrust me with your respect and allegiance"

As lion's manes go, a cuss word is not necessarily creative or brave, and is therefore somewhat of a cheap, second hand lion's mane. When everyone is wearing some sort of second hand lion's mane as an expression of coolness, it can take real personal courage to not to wear a lions mane at all. When people lack this courage and lack the vision of a better world that would summon this courage, it can feel very natural to follow a crowd who are all wearing some form of cheap second hand lion’s mane, all seeking to command some low grade admiration from each. This low common denominator is "natural" for those who operate with a worldview that doesn't summon them to anything else.

To suggest any boundaries on cussing, or its cousin, porn, is the counter evangelism for a this worldview with a wholly different idea of what is “natural” and “authentic”: that some sacred time and space is required to make us better human beings and that profaning it is an act of nihilism. To be concerned about nihilism is to value a reality of goodness/ideals and hope that is being denied by nihilism. It is based on a view of human beings needing special times and places for different experiences to nourish a diet of spiritual emotional and mental needs; a diet that is as broad as the physical dietary needs that we have. In this paradigm to be fed junk is malnourishing to the soul: it is bad to even be fed too much of something that could be a good in a different portion.

To blend metaphors, these nutritional needs of the soul and mind demand the acknowledgement of a sort of "moral geography" in society, relationships and personal choices – a moral geography of boundaries of time and place that negotiates the meeting of these varied needs. The idea of a "moral geography" takes the idea of “moral hierarchy” of virtues and vices and places the hierarchy in the realm of multi-dimensions, a moral landscape of heights lows, middles and cliffs and boundaries. In a moral geography of varied terrain, not all paths are equal: paths that avoid the cliffs and lead to the heights are better than those paths that don't. It is this sense of special times and places in this moral geography that can be summed as the idea of the "sacred" and the "special".

It is with a moral geography of varied terrain that the classical distinction between License and Liberty distinction makes any sense. As I explained in my Naked Smoke post, License is the sheer ability to do something. Liberty is the license exercised with the discretion of acting in good faith to shoulder the responsibilities that come with the license. The idea of Liberty makes sense in a varied moral terrain where common good is something that transcends mere personal advancement.

“Freedom” and not “Liberty” is the rallying cry for those who do not believe that there is a moral geography with a varied moral terrain. In my Porn Moralists post I mentioned how the idea of the "Superflat" culture was used by a Japanese Philosopher Murakami to describe the obliteration between high art and low art in postmodern culture. The idea of the “superflat” can be taken beyond art and used to describe the flatness of moral geography to those who do not perceive that humans have needs that require a varied moral terrain. In a flat moral geography, Liberty is collapsed into License such that distinctions between the two are irrelevant. In superflat land, all you need is "freedom" since the common good is not elevated higher than personal advancement. It is in the broader realm of moral flatness that the consumption of art-- particularly the “low art" of disposable and consumable products and entertainment -- is denuded of “dietary” considerations, as I have defined a diet of spitiritual, emotional and intellectual needs. If the art is pleasing you somehow and not causing imminent harm, then it's perfectly good.

With the First Amendment, the Founders understood that there is a moral reality that transcends the First Amendment that makes the right a right: that the right to free speech operates in an unbreakable package with other moral truths, particularly that rights come with responsibilities to act in good faith to advance the common good. There is a moral geography that Founders understood that lies behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and Bill of Rights; that there are the dialectics of rights and responsibilities, personal advancement and common good that operate in a Helenistic sense of balance and proportion to each other. The Founders believed that citizens of a free society needed to invest effort to properly navigate this moral geography and that it took effort to apprentice oneself in moral consideration and reflection.

Those who want unlimited right to cuss and make death threats would hurt the speech of those who disagree are holding the First Amendment as a form of Secular Scripture while they reject every other moral principal that the Founder stood for. For them, the Founders were the secular equivalent of Moses for the First Amendment but can be dismissed as slave owning bigoted white men for every other moral consideration that led to the First Amendment.

For the death threat makers and those who want unlimited license to cuss, the First Amendment is the only remnant of the Founders moral vision that has any place in the moral geography of the superflat. This is based on a hyper rejection of sacredness and an extreme rejection of humans needing a particular emotional/spiritual diet that requires certain pockets of time and space free from the intrusion of cussing. If you don’t believe these needs exist, you don’t have to factor them into your consideration of common good.

In the superflat, the First Amendment it is denuded of any other consideration of common good and so the mere advancement of the morally denuded First Amendment therefore becomes the highest common good. When you flatten the reality that makes the First Amendment right a right, you elevate the unlimited porn and cussing as the highest and only expression of the common good. And so Larry Flint can wear the American Flag as one out to do us all a favor.

So the First Amendment in the superflat world is the right to cuss without limits. In this flat terrain, the engine is of one’s intentions revved for maximum freedom to go full steam ahead like a car, speeding, careening, doing donuts on the dessert floor. All pleasure is morally equal, so you are “free” to do whatever you want where-ever and whenever.

Any moral system must manage how people interact with each other and the “superflat” moral system is no exception. Trying to create moral freedom by creating moral flatness makes it necessary to enforce a low common denominator of behavior. Part of the underlying idea of "authenticity and "realness" is that there are not higher ideals that people must aspire to in their thought and language. In this realm, "I cuss therefore I am", since all people are fundamentally animals who's only motive is to pleasure themselves by gaining dominance over others. Since people are essential domineering animals, all thoughts and ideas can be decoded for certain "dominance instincts" and thus certain conspiratorial dominance intentions. Those thoughts and ideas that will lead to bad dominance equilibrium among brutes must be policed.

Anyone who aspires to live according a vision of a more varied moral terrain is the potential domineer of others. Since people cannot be entrusted to think through nuances they must their thoughts policed to make sure that they do not ever impose their thoughts on others. The only acceptable imposition is to impose the superflat that is seen as promoting maximum instinct expression. In the superflat, maximum cussing is the calculus of maximum diversity of instinct expression among brutes. You must keep your non-cussing values to yourself. If you evangelize them in any way, it would upset the equilibrium of brutes and give domineering animals the idea of dangerous moral hierarchies. Even if you keep to yourself while quietly practicing your values you can be persecuted for having incorrect thoughts that have the potential to poison the PH balance of society with potentially toxic ideas.

While I have argued for the FCC 0600 to 2200 hrs ban on cussing/profanity on the airwaves, the leader of the no cussing club has stated that he is not trying to impose a law and that he and others are only trying to put a personal value into practice. From the moral view of the threat makers, it does not matter that the No Cussing Club isn't promoting law since law has its genesis in thought. Therefore thought must be policed. People cannot be trusted to have thoughts that may end up in laws they don't want, even if they say they don't want to impose laws. Those thoughts might put brutish people to march in goosestep formation so they must anticipate this brutish goose-stepping with their own pre-emptive total war against a "pre-crime". Any thought that can challenge the superflat must be nipped in the bud by any means necessary, using any available cyber weapon, threat and assassination of character.

Such an extreme rejection of sacredness has lead to this view of human brutes needing violent thought policing. This impulse to thought policing it is not a generous enough view of human potential to be worthy of democracy and to be worthy of the government of by and for the people that the Founders bequeathed to us. The Founders said, “…we've given you a republic if you can keep it…” In bequeathing a democracy to us that bequeathed to us a place where different views were allowed to be expressed where the parties make a good faith effort to be civil. Democracy is a civic matrix for dialogue that, if heated, makes every effort to be civil and peaceable. In bequeathing Liberty the Founders bequeathed the freedom to undermine it and choose tyranny.

Many of the death threat makers are advancing/protecting their idea of freedom in the name of protecting it from something that is religious or at least connected to religion. In fact, the superflat is its own alternate religion that seeks not only to make exposure to cussing a freedom but a requirement. The death threat makers have become the Inquisition of the superflat religion. Its in the force of their thought policing that they make the force of their allegiance to their religion known.

Those who think A) that an anti-cussing club is an affront to their First Amendment and B) that they can enforce that right with death threats will not be remembered well by history. They owe their debt to terrorists and not to the Founders. To have any integrity these anonymous people making death threats need to stand up and be counted. Until then they are cowards who must hide in secret to promote ideas thought threats because they know they will look stupid defending their actions in public.

The audacity of 22,000 death threats against the No Cussing Club is a dragon breathing down the neck of those who value sacred space, who question the superflat moral vision and those who would impose it with force. It is a dragon that will grow if it is not confronted. To the No Cussing Club: keep it up and don't back down.