Some random thoughts about NZ Bus, the atheist bus ad campaign and complaining persons (NZ Bus is currently not going to run the ad in response to public criticism)…
- I personally am not afraid of the campaign, and would argue that it is not offensive, and should therefore be allowed to run as any other non-offensive ad (I’ve met an atheist whose t-shirt read: ‘Militant atheist: there is no god-damn god, god-dammit’; which would, for me, be too offensive for a bus ad… and possibly for a publicly-worn t-shirt? Which raises some of the ethical questions below…).
- Perhaps those persons complaining about this (or any other) ad are just as entitled to do so as are the atheists who are complaining about the current decision of NZ Bus?
- Where do we draw the line as to what is a human-rights issue and what is not? The idea of living in a society in which vandals, rapists and murderers are ‘discriminated’ against is surely less worrying than the idea of living in a society in which religious or anti-religious ads (in general) are unallowable due to a few people expressing offense?
- As someone responding to the interview this morning on Breakfast Show on TV1 implied (possibly/probably with a sarcastic example?), should we be shocked if NZ Bus opted not to run an ad from a company named ‘strip of meat’, complete with ‘strip’-ping topless women? Again, my view is that the atheist ad is infinitely less offensive that that example, but it does raise the question, no?
- I also can’t help but point out that without taking seriously (as having some ‘weight’ or ‘authority’) the goal (telos) of –for example– peaceful respectfulness toward neighbour (or similar), there is absolutely no reason to deny any racist, bigoted or discriminating ad campaigns (i.e. ‘Maori suck eggs!’ etc.).
- I’m still amiss as to how one can get a prescriptively passionate ‘ought’ (ethic) from a prescriptively indifferent ‘is’ (ontology). I.e. – “At bottom, there is no meaning in the universe, but this is an outrage!!! And my outrage is more justified than the outrage of those who have the exact opposite view!!!”
- I reckon NZ bus should not be enslaved to a dictate to allow every single ad campaign to run, though I also don’t think they should be ‘free’ to discriminate against groups.