the Basica

  While it is good to hold discussion, do not simply debate endlessly about what has been said and what it means. Go beyond argument and even beyond scholarly research. If you really want to understand it more fully, discover the Truth that has caused it to be said. There are many ways to say a thing and many things that can be meant by a thing said. Free speech allows opinions to be clarified, tested, and refined. Thorough research reveals accurate context and details. Looking for what is behind the words allows the meaning to lift free of the confines of individual expression. By combining all three, the best and most complete understanding can be achieved.

  Avoid warring over interpretation as you would over the treatment of symbols. We are only pulled from Truth by such distraction and wasting of time. Have your opinions, but do not worship them. Look to the teachings and not to conformity. We follow the teachings when we look to them, not when we fight over them. Offer peace to those who do not agree with you.

  A free people must have freedom of expression. We are meant to be free. But we must also be responsible if we are to continue to be able to afford that freedom in a world in which human beings have both authority over one another and the ability to oppress each other even without official authority. Be respectful in your expression. But recognize also that an offensive expression cannot be banned simply because it offends. Also, at the same time, if an opinion is allowed to be expressed, the expression of the objection to that opinion must be allowed. Learn to carefully discern between that which merely offends and that which constitutes actual threat, defamation, or incitement; three things that are not protected by the right to speak freely because they are themselves a greater endangerment to freedom. This is not just good governance. It is good practice by all the people.

  If you are to protest or counter-protest, learn the method of non-violence. Study and practice the techniques that avoid escalation of aggression, and keep peace in your heart. Be resolved about it, and keep others who are likewise determined around you as much as possible as you go. Lead by example, demonstrating not just for a given movement but for love, compassion, and understanding for all. Champion, in this way, what is right in all aspects of life and spirit and not just your chosen cause.

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