Can we all just agree on a couple of things – Part 2 – General stuff that ought to be obvious to everyone
So, here’s the first chunk of things that just seem stupidly obvious to me. I’m a decently smart person, decently educated, decently empathetic…there’s nothing heroic in any of those things in me…and as I’ve been thinking through what’s important to me, what needs to be said because “keeping an open mind” cannot be the same thing as “I dunno”…these didn’t require all that much thought. I know what the arguments are against them, believe me, give me the hunger for fiery debate that I had twenty years ago and I could and would take up the opposite side of these thoughts and if not win the argument then at least browbeat the listener into submission.
But ultimately, this isn’t about debate for me anymore. There are not always two sides to every story. Or, at least, not two valid sides, worthy of consideration. Some things are right, some are wrong. Some of these are listed below.
There are two aspects to defining any marriage: religious and secular. The religious aspects are the specific vows, ceremonies, etc. that are used to formalize the decision of two people who have decided to spend the rest of their lives together, defined both by religious tradition and by whatever shared interpretation the two people have settled upon; this also applies to the decision to remove traditionally-religious connotations from the experience and agreement entirely, however consciously and/or fervently that decision is made.
The secular aspects concern the legally-recognized entity of a married couple, giving certain increased rights to them in regards to the other, beyond what’s available to un-related people; things like hospital visitation rights, access to and decision-making authority upon financial matters, estate laws, those sorts of things.
When it comes to the religious aspects, a religious organization can define marriage however it wants; despite their funky tax situation, religious organizations are private entities, and not formally an operating arm of the government. But when it comes to the secular aspects, the same rights and privileges should apply to all marriages, regardless of who is getting married, be it the same or different races, or religions, or sexes, even if one or more or all religions are opposed to that union. Government should not (and thankfully often does not) exist to enforce the beliefs of one or multiple religions.
Redistributing wealth simply because it is inequitably distributed is wrong, the product of zero-sum thinking, and a wasted re-hash of the worst political and economic ideas of the twentieth century. It is based in the notion that there are a fixed amount of resources in the world, that human beings are unable to create anything of value, and has led to the vast majority of state-enforced human suffering for the last half century.
Redistributing wealth because those with the majority of it acquired it by lying, stealing, cheating the system and breaking every remaining law that they were unable to bribe politicians to either remove or completely de-fang is called justice, one of the foundation principals of every enlightened, prosperous civilization in the last five hundred years.
It is inexcusable to ever hit or intentionally cause physical harm to a child; it is also true that words—even those said either in the wrong order, or with the wrong intonation, or conspicuously not said at all—can cause far more lasting harm to a child than a bruise. This isn’t to excuse any act that would cause a bruise, this is to place emotional trauma and abuse in its proper place on the scale of human cruelty compared to physical violence.
It is much less harmful for a child to see—either in person or in pictures—a naked woman and/or man than it is to see a fully-clothed woman and/or man beating the crap out of another fully-clothed woman and/or man.
The Boston C*****s are, in fact, the silly mascot-like agents of a lethargic, senile yet undeniably craven and horrific demon, and should be mocked and disparaged at any and all opportunities, to the fullest extent of available resources.
In a representative democracy, the people in charge should not be perfect, in their morals or their finances or their personal history. But they should be the best of us, smarter than most, selfless and patriotic, committed to finding the best possible solution to the problems that face us and the best possible ways to improve those things that are already working. Likeable, non-descript talking heads able to stick to memorized talking points belong on the PR teams of insurance companies at regional conventions, and should not be entrusted with running things that actually matter.
The purpose of government is not just to protect inalienable rights.
A “right”, as in something that endowed upon all human beings by their creator or self-organizing social contract of choice, is something that you can do by yourself in a field. If you require the efforts of anyone else to accomplish it—say medical care, or internet access, or paved roads, or decent music—it is not a right, it is a created asset, a value that requires value in return to acquire.
That said, we’ve evolved a bit past the bare level of sustaining life as our primary goal as a culture, and although healthcare and internet access and other advances in human life that make it better are not anyone’s “right”, it is a perfectly proper role for government to play to organize resources and efforts to supply them to as many people as need them; they can operate on a scale no corporation can.
I’m insulted by anyone claiming a “right” to healthcare (for example), as though the thousands of hours a doctor spent in school, and studying, and interning, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent paying for all that training somehow entitles you to a share of the results of all that investment, with nothing invested by you…but I’m damn well willing and able to insist that some of my tax dollars go to paying for universal healthcare for everyone. Healthier people means happier people, means more productive people, means life is better for everyone. A rising tide raising all ships. That’s a positive-sum game, and it’s not rocket science or a religious crisis for me to decide—since the government is taking my fucking money anyway—that they ought to be spending it on things that actually, tangibly benefit my life and the lives of those around me. Unless you think the Ad Council is benefiting people’s lives more than affordable-to-all preventative healthcare would.
More yet to come…