Extract from an imaginary equality policy:
The only life experience any of us can truly know is ourself. We perceive others as objects outside ourselves, so it’s easy to forget that we are all different selves, that we each experience life as a self isolated from all others communicating through our senses and memory, and that other people’s selves are just as real — and valid — as our own.
The principle that we are free to hold whatever views we want and to act on them to the extent they do not harm others applies universally. When we act on our own views in ways that harm or significantly affect others, it is not acceptable to assert in defense things like:
- “they are a minority so they have to accept the majority view”,
- “they are the majority and we are a minority that is entitled to offend”,
- “people like us are harmed far more often than people like them”,
- “people like them usually harm people like us”
- “their view is so wrong I need not respect it”
- and especially “my view has absolute authority stemming from within my belief system”.
Everyone is an individual and every individual deserves the respect we expect ourselves. We treat each person as a respected individual, not as a token of their classification in our eyes.
A good rule of thumb is that if we feel the views of others are offensive, they probably feel our own views are offensive as well, a view they are completely entitled to when they do not act on it to harm us. If we wish to have our freedom to own and express our views protected, we must also actively respect — preferably protect — the rights of others to the same freedom.