You'll probably disagree strongly with this but it's something I've been thinking about a lot...

Politics was really interesting today, we're learning about liberalism at the minute, classical liberalism and stuff. Got onto the topic of 'individuals should have freedom, until their freedom impinges upon the freedom of others' and we all got talking.

When is it right to censor someone? I believe in the freedom of speech, but when should we as a society draw the line and say hang on, that's going too far and needs to stop. I.e, should a religious fundamentalist be allowed to preach on the streets about their religion and 'incite' violence against people who are of a different/no religion. The conversation got onto a Catholic priest (don't know who) who had condoned bombing abortion clinics, which I said I understood.

Basically, I imagine the viewpoint of this guy is that people bombing abortion clinics are acting in defense of the unborn children that would be killed there. I realised this by applying the situation to something I'm more familiar with, i.e. animal rights activists using violence against vivisectors and animal testing laboratories.

Some would say its contradictory to use violence against doctors or vivisectors when you are ultimately trying to fight for more compassion, non violence and peace between species, and an end to murder. But the people (Criminals) who are using this violence see it as acting in defence of the defenceless. Imagine this analogy - if a man was poised to murder or harm a baby and you could stop that man by using violence, would society condemn or condone you for your actions? I think most of society (apart from strict pacifists) would condone your actions.

If you are against someone attacking a vivisector or bombing an abortion clinic the real reason is not the violence or the law breaking (it would still be breaking the law to attack the potential child murdered, regardless of his intent), it is the question of who you decide is worth defending and who isn't. Unless you believe violence is always wrong in every situation (in which case you'd be against vivisection, that is violent, and war that is defending your country) the only real issue is when it becomes right to step in, break the law to do something you believe in, and whom for.

The teacher asked me how far I'd be prepared to go for the sake of animal rights, would I ever resort to violence (against an animal abuser) to which I replied honestly, I don't know. I would see it as perfectly just to commit an illegal act against a person or property if that ultimately would result in less suffering for animals. But why should breaking the law be alright for me and not for others?

Everyone with a strong belief feels they are right. If I think it's ok to break the law, why shouldn't other people with strong passionate beliefs break the law too? My friend Tom's dad said that in a liberal democracy you have to stay within the law's boundaries to protest and try change things and he has a perfectly right point. I can't condemn Islamic terrorists for blowing themselves and us up because of their beliefs when I think it's fine for an animal rights activists to blow an animal abuser up.

There really is absolutely no answer to this, I guess you could say that everyone should stay within the law, but the way we abuse animals feels so disgusting and cruel to me that I don't imagine if I followed my heart I could ever condemn someone for taking the law into their own hands to try and halt animal abusers in their tracks. I can only really conclude with my thoughts - everyone with a passionate belief should fight for what they believe in. I may not agree with it, and may not like their tactics (which could harm others) but there's nothing else I can come up with. I can't blame someone for having such strong convictions they will fight to the death to uphold them or change things.

The world contains a lot of people, all with their own set of beliefs and values about what's right and wrong. I think the way of the world is that we all have to fight for what we believe in and hope that the morally 'right' situation comes out of it at the end. That doesn't sit well with a liberal democracy and sounds like a bit of a free for all, but I don't think a human is worth the cells they are made of if they don't stand up for their beliefs, whatever they are, and fight for what they think is right.