Saturday, March 29, 2008

Most Important

Originally, I started this web log (I still refuse to use the term 'blog' for the time being) as a place to show some of the things I've done at school and show off some fun things like the two liter soda thing. But lately its turned into a sort of personal manifesto. A place where I catalog the things I believe, which I think is very important because once you actually start trying to put into words the things you believe, you may find out that you don't actually believe them. Or, on the other hand, you may realize that you know more on the subject that you realized. Either way, I would encourage anyone reading this to try the same thing some day. Its good to be able to put into words your stances on things like capital punishment, birth control, tipping the waitress, civil disobedience, internet piracy, etc. Anyway, on to the actual subject of this post.

As of right now, the two most important things in all of everything are life and choice. Life first, then choice. Why life first? Because we only have one, and even if you don't have choice, it still beats the alternative. So, the most important thing in life is the freedom to choose. It may be a little cliched to say that Americans take their freedoms and liberties from granted but it is true. Sure, the country doesn't have everything right and might not ever, but we've got a head start that a lot of other countries don't have, thanks to our constitution (which at the moment is in serious jeopardy, Mr. Bush).

For a few years now I've started applying this value of choice to a lot of different issues. Take drug legalization. I am all for legalizing every single drug out there. The government has no right to deny me the choice of what I do with my own body (not that I would, but the choice to be able to is important). Same with prostitution. Not that I likely would, but its not harming anyone. So whats the big deal? Anyone anywhere should be able to do whatever the hell they want so long as its not harming anyone else. You want to get stoned out of your mind all day? Its not a smart decision, but its yours to make. Gay marriage? Go for it.

I'm especially advocative about choice when it comes to children. For the most part, children don't have much choice in anything. What they eat, where they go to school, when they go to bed, what movies they get to watch, and so on. For the most part the lack of choice is actually important. Kids are inexperienced. They don't have the same awareness and maturity that someone older has. So its up to the parents to make some decisions for them and lead a good example. However, the line is crossed when it comes to curtain things. Circumcision for one. I used to think it was weird not to be. But its a choice that a lot of parents deny their sons. And, I'm sure you must have been expecting this, raising a child in a specific religion. I really wonder what the numbers would be if parents allowed their children to choose a religion for themselves. I know I brought this up before, but 99% of religious people are the same religion as their parents. Its not a coincidence.


andy said...

hey hey,

i agree it's good to write down your beliefs and stances on different moral issues. if you do it for a long time, it's interesting to look back on how you've changed and where you've remained the same.

Life & Choice - so these are your top 2 priorities? That seems pretty fragile, man. Not to sound too depressing, but both of those can be taken away pretty easily. If Life is at the top, then it seems logical you would be pro-life, anti-war, and against capital punishment. If you mean this from an individual standpoint, then it appears more like a "every-man-for-himself-take-what-you-can-get" kinda view.

The Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, that I think is a brilliant writer, once tells a story of a man speaking to a skeleton/skull who has temporarily come back to life. The man takes pity on the skeleton, assuming he must suffer from the darkness and aloneness of death. But the skeleton replies, "Actually, I'm quite content. I have everything I need. Why would I want to go back to the living?" Essentially, the author is posing the question: how do we know that death is worse than life? They could be vice-versa or equals or completely different.I'm not trying to promote an interest in death here, but its good to question basic values to see why we believe what we do.

Regarding liberties & politics, I recommend seeing the movie "Sicko." It's fun and interesting, and I'd be curious to hear ur opinion of it. The film indirectly deals with individual rights, offering perspectives from different countries primarily over health care. I suggest looking into the differences pertaining to the effects of protests of recent years in France vs. the effects of protests in recent years in the US.

Regarding Proposition #420-69: Everyone should be able to do whatever da' heck they want.
i.e., putting man back in his state-of-nature; i.e., letting the "blond beasts" once again take reign, the primitive survival-of-the fittest; putting a female in a shopping mall with an unlimited credit card balance or behind the wheel of a car; putting a male in Hooters bar, locking all of the doors, and leaving him with an unlimited supply of canned food.
Haven't we learned from Hollywood and the Disney channel (but most accurately from the original Twilight Zone) what happens when people have access to what ever they want? The Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons? I mean...everything is legal for them, right?

I have to disagree with legalization of prostitution. I believe James and I argued this in our debate class, and actually won, in a class full of freshman guys. Impressive, eh? I think the difference between drugs and prostitution is that the latter CAN harm other people. It's not a solitary activity, it concerns the rights of 2 people, sometimes 3. There would have to be some way where only women who have been educated and received the rights of any citizen actively CHOOSE prostitution over other jobs. This is complicated. So for me, I can't really say I'd be willing to let prostitution be legalized everywhere. It clashes not just with my view of what sex should be, but also my view of human rights.

Circumcision-to my understanding, this is mainly done for health & sanitary reasons now. Personally, I'm glad I DIDN'T have this choice. Cuz if I was old enough to make it, I'd be scared shitless to actually have it done. period.

Kids-remember those bratty kids at camp? I can almost guarantee that they came from 1 of 2 parenting situations: parents are too strict, or parents give too much freedom/distance to the kids. Statiscally, the happiest families and the least broken homes come from families who are not too strict and not too distant/submissive.

Check out this Canadian comedian: Russel Peters, and his thoughts on parenting:

andy said...

damn, i write alot...

Camille said...

Side note: circumcision is a tradition in both Judaism and America. However, most other religions and countries do not share the practice. It began first as the religious tradition as stated above and continued in the interest of sanitation as infection was common. In today's living, soap and medication being readily available, such issues are a minority. In fact, circumcision numbers are dropping in the US in recent years. The majority has actually switched to the UNcircumcized! Most parents who opt for it today do so because either they themself had it done or they agree it looks better. The purpose is purely aesthetic. I have heard, however, that the number in prepuberty circumcision has begun to grow as boys are taking matters into their own hands when parents didn't make the choice for them. I hear its painless although recovery can be tedious and swabbing can be tender.

On another note, I totally agree with Andy on his parenting style. It has been proven through much research that children are more well behaved and grow to be responsible, "good," and "normal" when raised in a home that is open to choice and opinion yet caring enough to place some limitations.

Jimmy said...

srry i'm late. after weeks of checking this with no new replies I stopped checking. thanks for telling me you were posting again, jerk.

first things fist. advocative?

second so this is why you asked me about my prostitution views. you whore. I asked why you asked me about this and you still didnt tell me you wrote a new blog. WTF.

so andy touched on my view about circumcision. it started as the Jewish belief that it was a covenant between them and God. Currently many non Jewish parents do choose to do it for health reasons. Camille, it is not soley for aesthetic purposes, there are still health risks, especially when the child is young. I am glad too my parents made the choice for me. it's one of those choices that parents make in the best interest of the child.

as for prostitution. I think I remember the debate. My biggest gripe with it right now is that because it is illegal, it is practiced in an extremely unsafe and immoral manner. If it were legal I imagine there would be a science dedicated to the regulation of it with safety being the first priority (at least I hope there would be).

in regards to the drugs, not my deal I don't really care. I am extremely against the punishments for possesion of small amount of marijuana though. The U.S. wastes an obscene amount of money in anti-weed campaigns and punishments. getting caught with a small amount of weed should result in nothing more than a ticket. there is no necessary court date, jail time, or community service. That is a waste of our already crappy legal system's time and money. It's rediculous how serious the law is about weed.