Wednesday, September 22, 2004

You have the right to be uncomfortable...

A heartening report from California:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have prohibited five high schools from using the nickname Redskins, considered by some American Indians to be a racial slur.

Three cheers for Arnold!

This trend of forcing schools to change their mascots is maddening, and it’s about time some commonsense took hold. We’ve become obsessed with outlawing all forms of discomfort. Not only is this impossible, it’s simply an awful goal. Comfort is not a right. In fact, just the opposite is true: discomfort is a right. Sound crazy? Consider…

When the American colonies demanded a Bill of Rights as prerequisite to ratification of the Constitution, they were fighting for the right to be uncomfortable. The freedoms enumerated were not designed to protect an individual, but rather to protect all individuals. The upshot is that that others, and government in particular, can’t tell you how to run your life. The bad news, of course, is that others have that same protection; you can’t tell them how to run their lives either. That means they have the right to do things that make you uncomfortable. To the extent that a society guarantees freedom for all, it necessarily guarantees discomfort for all.

Forcing a school to change its mascot is not, therefore, a defensive of civil rights, but rather an attack on them. A community’s freedoms are being denied simply because certain individuals are uncomfortable.

There is, of course, another aspect to this, which is equally absurd. Supporters of this law would have us believe that the use of the term Redskins is offensive. There’s no doubt that the word can be used as a slur, but we all know that schools adopt positive images for their teams. They choose mascots that represent strength, bravery, and courage. It is a tribute to American Indians that these schools chose them as their symbols.

It's interesting that, though the article begins by saying that some American Indians are upset by use of the name Redskins, the only angry people cited are liberal politicians. In fact, the article specifically states that the local American Indian communities endorse use of the name.

The people who support these types of laws are not only trying to outlaw discomfort, they are actively seeking it where it doesn’t exist.
[Via Boortz]

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