Now, obviously there is a taboo on the removing of fundamental human rights from anyone, but as freethinkers I think we should be able to ask this question without heated emotions but with cool logic.
Now let us assume that Richard Dawkins is growing senile in age, and what is more, through this causing a great deal of harm with his public outbursts. In particular, say, let us assume these outbursts are hurting the public image of atheism and thus strengthening fundamentalist religion. Well, there can be no doubt that the net harm done to Dawkins by locking him away and censoring his freedom of speech-in this one instance – would have a net positive if it caused more people to leave fundamentalist religion. What’s more, we could provide Dawkins with a Spartan existence out of his own wealth and donate the rest to much better causes, like the rights of oppressed Muslim women(let us call her Muslima for simplicity.)
Now it must be recognized that this is a restriction of Dawkins’s freedoms, but they are not nearly so bad as those conditions in North Korea. This is not a defense of course of incarcerating Dawkins, but rather a thought experiment that I think raises interesting questions about the rights of individuals versus that of the greater good.
Now I know many are afraid of a Stalin like crackdown on those asking this sort of question, legitimately, but I think as freethinkers we must have the courage to apply logic to these sorts of questions.
And if you disagree on my hypothetical involving Dawkins, please feel free to use Harris or Hitchens or whoever you like! It is only a philosophical thought experiment.