I have this fantasy that in future negotiations over climate change - instead of going into that room and saying, 'I'm defending Chinese interests,' or 'I'm defending Australian interests' - there will also be an identity inside of each of the negotiators thinking, 'I'm also defending human interests.'
"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?
I rolled my eyes. "For defending my honor, you dullard." He yanked me beneath a shadowed awning. I had a moment's panic when I thought he'd spotted trouble, but then his arms were around me and his lips were pressed to mine. When he finally drew back, my cheeks were warm and my legs had gone wobbly. "Just to be clear, " he said, "I'm not really interested in defending your honor." "Understood, " I managed, hoping I didn't sound too ridiculously breathless.
What I noticed at Grace-Calvary is the same thing I notice whenever people aim to solve their conflicts with one another by turning to the bible: defending the dried ink marks on the page becomes more vital than defending their neighbor. As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God. In the words of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas, 'People of the Book risk putting the book above people.
Barbara Brown Taylor
History leaves no doubt that among of the most regrettable crimes committed by human beings have been committed by those human beings who thought of themselves as civilized. What, we must ask, does our civilization possess that is worth defending? One thing worth defending, I suggest, is the imperative to imagine the lives of beings who are not ourselves and are not like ourselves: animals, plants, gods, spirits, people of other countries, other races, people of the other sex, places and enemies.
I'm a blowfish. I'm not a shark, I'm a blowfish. So that perfect example about me hitting my head [he walked into a street sign and it was caught by paparazzi], it's like a blowfish. I wasn't coming out of my house going to a paparazzi's house to attack them. I'm defending my family in front of my own house. I'm defending my name as someone's screaming something negative at me. That's a blowfish. People have me pinned as a shark or a predator in some way, and in no way am I that. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone. I want to defend people. I want to help people.
In order that the revolution should be something more than a word, in order that the reaction should not lead us back tomorrow to the situation of yesterday, the conquest of today must be worth the trouble of defending; the poor of yesterday must be worth the trouble of defending; the poor of yesterday must not be poor tomorrow.
If you accept - and I do - that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don't say or like or want said. The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don't. This is how the Law is made. People making art find out where the limits of free expression are by going beyond them and getting into trouble. [... ] The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.
John Locke, called the Father of Liberalism, made the argument that the individual instead of the community was the foundation of society. He believed that government existed by the consent of the governed, not by divine right. But the reason government is necessary is to defend private property, to keep people from stealing from each other. This idea appealed to the wealthy for an obvious reason: they wanted to keep their wealth. From the perspective of the poor, things look decidedly different. The rich are able to accumulate wealth by taking the labor of the poor and by turning the commons into privately owned commodities; therefore, defending the accumulation of wealth in a system that has no other moral constraints is in effect defending theft, not protecting against it.