Monday, September 29, 2008
What do people mean when they say they support freethought?
Intuitively, I would think that meant that they accepted that people held their own beliefs without trying to coerce them into following some group. Perhaps they would try to understand the perspectives of other people to see how they came to different conclusions. (That would be without calling them stupid or shunning them.) However, this has not been my experience. In actual fact, advocates of "freethought" apply their own coercive techniques to make dissenters follow the crowd (in my own limited experience.) So what do they really mean? Is the claim only a collection of words that sound pretty? Are they expressing an ideal of non-coersion that they only apply to others? I am interested in learning the perspective.