Tag Archives: alcohol

People are only truly free if they have the freedom to err


other's rights

I shared this picture onto facebook today, thinking to myself, “Surely, people will agree.”

The response I got was as follows:

The reason this is bullshit is because many of these things are choices which those who disagree with are nonetheless forced to participate in. Gay marriage? Try refusing to photograph, perform the rites or cater one and get sued (already happened) Porn? There was a time when people in underwear weren’t shown in ads. Now they are nude in bed together on daytime TV for little kids to see. Alcohol? Try driving down the road while every third driver is legally intoxicated. Drugs? Try thinking you have raised your kid so he won’t be dumb enough to use illegal drugs and just sit back and enjoy the heartbreak. Cigarettes? Try dealing with the lies told your child by others who convince him it won’t hurt anything and it’s “cool”. Yep. this sign is total bullshit.

So, feeling strongly about the importance of rights and whatnot, I feel I need to respond.

First, let me take the responses points individually.

  1. Gay marriage? Try refusing to photograph, perform the rites or cater one and get sued (already happened)

The decision to refuse the benefits provided by being in a legally recognized union, known as a “marriage”, to those who choose to be in a non-standard relationship is tyranny. Whether or not homosexuality is moral or not is immaterial. The fact is that “marriage”, as we know it in the United States, means two different things.

One is to be joined in a commitment recognized by your religion. This union, by itself, does not bestow any particular benefits except to abide by one’s religious beliefs.

The other is to be legally joined to another person, and to be recognized by the government and in commerce as working together.

The first should be managed and administered by the “marrying couple’s” religion and it’s leadership. The second is managed by the government.

Now, religion and state being seperate entities, religious leaders should have the option to not participate in such ceremonies or personally recognize such unions. That is their choice, and they feel that their religion mandates such a position, and so long as they do not attempt to otherwise hinder the couple from getting married, then they should have the right to refuse to administer the ceremony or participate in it, even to the point of refusing to allow the service on their property or provide commercial services in support of the ceremony.

However, the state should recognize such a union performed within the laws of the state, and provide to the couple all of the rights and privileges it provides to anyone who enters such a union. The state is not a religion, and while it may offer lip service or a historical relationship with a religion, it should hold itself seperate from the religion. It should not, under any circumstances, show favoritism to one group or community over another group or community.

My opinion is that the state should have nothing to do with marriage at all, but that is not our situation in the United States. We have to work with the system that is in place, and that system requires that any couple who wants to be legally recognized as “married” has to pay for a license. To deny that license on any grounds to any individual, with the exception of a child, is inequality. All inequality that is supported by the state is tyranny.

If you support the idea that the legal institution of marriage should be refused to an individual or couple because they do not agree with your religious belief, then you support tyranny based on religion. If that is your belief, you have a right to it. I do not hold this belief, however, and thus, support the idea that ‘gay marriage’ should be legal.

The idea that any commercial service must be applied against the will of the proprieter of a business is also tyranny, but also madness on the part of a customer within a capitalist driven society. If you wanted a service provided for what you see as an important life event, why would you want people to do it who would be irritated and offended that they were doing it, when their work would invariably show this irritation and be ‘less’ than someone else’s who was pleased or indifferent to be there in the first place?

That there have equivalent lawsuits to try to force or coerce people into administering these ceremonies, or providing commercial services in support of the ceremonies, is tyranny as well, because it interferes with the individual’s right to practice their religion according to their own conscience. The fact that this has happened in no way takes away from the need for state recognition of homosexual and heterosexual marriage to be applied and allowed equally.

These are both situations that should be addressed properly by the courts, recognizing the rights of the individuals in each case first.

      1. Porn? There was a time when people in underwear weren’t shown in ads. Now they are nude in bed together on daytime TV for little kids to see.

What children watch on daytime TV is the responsibility of the parent. Morality is a pretty subjective thing, especially when it comes to sexuality, and it is the job of the parent to decide to what level children are exposed to it. I don’t personally think that they should be exposed to sexual ideas at a young age, but I do not feel that I have the right to decide what my neighbor thinks about their own children, to the degree which our society and culture suggests that it is appropriate. That is why we have laws which determine at what point a ‘child’ becomes an ‘adult’ and can make their own decisions.

If it was a situation where people were required to watch television, and the only things on the television were sexual in nature, then it would be tyranny for parents’ rights to be overstepped and forced into allowing their children to watch such things. This is not the case, however, and the situation is that there are other choices in programming, choices which do not include such advertisements.

For the government to decide things that are within the parents’ purview is tyranny. The government can protect a child’s physical safety, as there are parents who are incompetent when it comes to this, but it is not the job of the government to determine the child’s morality, and the further they stay from that idea the happier I am.

  1. Alcohol? Try driving down the road while every third driver is legally intoxicated.

I would have to say that this sounds like quite the challenge, but far from reality. I invite you to give evidence of the claim that every third driver is intoxicated, as you say.

Alcohol is a substance generally used for recreation. It is illegal to use it publicly, except under certain conditions. It is illegal to drive while intoxicated or to be publicly intoxicated.

Are you saying you’d like to bring back prohibition?

  1. Drugs? Try thinking you have raised your kid so he won’t be dumb enough to use illegal drugs and just sit back and enjoy the heartbreak.

While I understand that you may have had a personal experience with this, and I’m sorry that you have, I cannot sign on to the idea that it is the government’s job to protect people from making the choice to use them.

The government should, by all means, expect a person to pay a consequence if they harm someone else or damage property or become a public nuisance while under their influence, it should not be up to the government to decide whether or not a person is able to use them.

I can see some wiggle room in this issue, as some drugs have far worse effects and chance of death than others, and if a drug is generally “safe for use”, then it should be legal, and up to the individual to decide if they will use the drug or not.

Thus, marijuana, which is the drug currently under examination as a possible legal drug, based on the current research, should be legal and regulated in the same ways that other legal drugs are regulated, so that the consumer is getting a viable product that does not harm them further than is expected by any such substance.

To allow access to other, more dangerous, less helpful substances while denying access to marijuana is tyranny.

      1.  Cigarettes? Try dealing with the lies told your child by others who convince him it won’t hurt anything and it’s “cool”

Again, while I understand that you have had a personal experience with this, and I am sorry for that, it comes down to the right of the individual to choose to use the substance.

Now, on cigarettes, I would have to say that it is reasonable to expect cigarette smokers to refrain from smoking in public places, considering that the smoke can harm others. It should probably be regulated with similar laws as alcohol, with the exception of those laws which were created to combat people trying to do activities which would be dangerous while experiencing an altered state of consciousness.

The goal here, as with all the other points, is protection of the rights of the individual. For the government to deny the rights of an individual is tyranny. For the government to deny the rights of an individual based on the desires of another individual’s personal beliefs or morality is inequality.

Individual rights, applied equally and protected to the utmost by the government would allow for all of these things to one degree or another. Without government influence, in a free, capitalism driven society, these things are self-limiting. Those who want success or long life are careful with the substances they take in. Parents who want their children to hold off on sex until they are of an appropriate age will do what they need to do to arrange for that. Those who do not, will suffer from the things they will experience within the capitalist society-less luxuries, possible homelessness, even death. Those people who are unfortunate enough to wind up in these situations can thus be held up for the rest of society as reasons to probably avoid those things within the society.

I think Gandhi said it best: People are only free if they have the freedom to err.

 

(extra note:  I hold a libertarian position on abortion, for more info on that go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_perspectives_on_abortion )

 

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