standing up for principles pays off sometimes

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Locke on January 7, 2009

says Ryan.

I’m big on standing up for the principle behind the thing if I know it’s wrong.  If I’m paying by credit card and the cashier asks for ID, he gets a lesson on why that violates Mastercard’s merchant agreement.  If the Wal-Mart greeter asks to see a receipt, I say no.  The rights I’m quibbeling over aren’t that important, but it’s the principle behind the thing.

It’s easy to lose your principles, especially in this political environment.  You can be anti-torture all you want, but as soon as it’s a terrorist, or detainee accused of being a terrorist, or some guy we picked up in a field in Iraq, or the ever-popular person who is going to detonate a bomb in New York right now unless we get the disarm codes — well, let’s see how much you protest then.

(Interesting side note: In ancient Greek courts, testimony from slaves wasn’t admissible unless it was procured from torture.  They thought that the natural inclination of a slave was to lie unless given proper motivation to tell the truth.)

Anyway, often standing up for your principles just makes you look like a righteous jackass to people who don’t value principles as much.  Other times, it wins you $240,000.

An airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed Arabic script has been awarded 240,000 dollars in compensation, campaigners said Monday.

Raed Jarrar received the pay out on Friday from two US Transportation Security Authority officials and from JetBlue Airways following the August 2006 incident at New York’s JFK Airport, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced.

“The outcome of this case is a victory for free speech and a blow to the discriminatory practice of racial profiling,” said Aden Fine, a lawyer with ACLU.

Jarrar, a US resident, was apprehended as he waited to board a JetBlue flight from New York to Oakland, California, and told to remove his shirt, which had written on it in Arabic: “We will not be silent.”

He was told other passengers felt uncomfortable because an Arabic-inscribed T-shirt in an airport was like “wearing a T-shirt at a bank stating, I am a robber,'” the ACLU said.

Score one for principles.


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