Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Frustration with the national mechanic

So I'm in this class, which, uh, frankly I've forgotten the name of. Its catalog name is BSM.07-03.BSAB06FD71-PHL323 so its some sort of philosophy class.

Anyway, names aren't important. They are merely labels.

So I'm in this class. One of the exercises is to figure out where your moral and ethical maturity is, what level. There is this thing called Kohlberg's stages of moral reasoning. You can read about it here. After reading it, I sort of placed myself in stage six. Examining that of course caused me to do some self-analysis about what frustrates me with our country and the world in general. I sort of did a rambling vent that went something like this:

"I'd like to think I'm in Stage 6 for the most part. I think that the rights of individuals should be held in a higher regard than the rights of society in general. For example, I don't feel its society’s place to punish me for not wearing a seatbelt, or not wearing a helmet while cycling. Yes, of course the 'greater good' is served by these ordinances, but they infringe upon the right of the individual to be who they are. If people want to weed themselves out of the gene pool, it should be their right to do so.

Nor is it the job of society to protect me from things I can easily avoid. I don't need smoking to be illegal in dining establishments. If there wasn't a well ventilated non-smoking section I just wouldn't frequent the place.

I feel that our country has lost sight of the rights of individuals. We've lost touch with the harsh realities that made our country what is was in the beginning. We're becoming a nanny state run by the moral minority. Almost oppressive in its character.

There is nothing relative in this that I can see. Personal rights have gone by the wayside in our sad, misguided attempts to legislate morality and security. The worst part of it is that our society often doesn't have a firm grasp on what it is passing laws to protect from, nor the real impact that these nanny-laws will have in the future. Take for example prohibition. Best of intentions right? Make alcohol illegal. Genius. What do we get? Organized crime booms, people get locked up for doing what they've done all their lives, wasted lives and dollars chasing after more moral fiber.

You can see the same thing in the sad misguided war on drugs. A million people a year are incarcerated for marijuana abuse. 25% of the adult population admits to using it. Criminals are making millions each year off its sale. And more people died from consuming spinach this year than smoking marijuana. What are we saving ourselves from here exactly?

I guess what I'm getting at here is that I feel individual rights should be held sacrosanct. I feel that puts me into stage six."

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