The other day my husband emailed me this:
"Interesting perspective. . .and the source of the quote "it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg"
You'll need to follow the link above if you want to understand the following rant, which is my response to this gentleman's writings.
The author assumes there is an empirical morality -- as defined by him. And he takes "live and let live" to an absurd conclusion: everything is okay. It most definitely is not okay. That's not the point, regardless. In order to establish the moral boundaries of "live and let live" we have to be open to dialogue - period. That means listening to a different point of view without immediately labeling it 'stupid'. As my friend Stacey pointed out the other day, "I can disagree with you and still think you're an intellegient person." Amen, sister. And, maybe, just maybe, the Christian-Judea values need to be revisited and maybe they're incomplete -- let's even admit that they need to be more fully explored in a modern context. I mean, according to the Bible we're not supposed to suffer a witch to live. Sooooo, what is a 'witch'? And are we supposed to kill one when we see one? What about that "thou shalt not kill" thing? What about our Wiccan friends? My point is, we need to have an open mind and a willingness to negotiate, and re-negotiate as necessary.
Having said that, let's take a point from the Wiccan creed "As it harm none, do what you will." Sounds similar to the "live and let live" philosophy, right? It can also apply to your thoughts, if you believe that the mind has power, which the Wiccan's do believe. So, the Wiccan is encouraged to "tend the garden of his mind", much like the Buddhist, to protect himself just as much as the subject of his thoughts. Because, there's another Wiccan belief that what energy you send out into the world comes back to you three times.
But you know what? Its all semantics and verbal snowball fighting: the gist of it is (and always has been) how do we function as a group? How do we meet our individual needs and the needs of the group at the same time? How do we "just get along"? I believe the only way to do it is to take personal responsibility of ourselves. And, unfortunately for same of the anarchist libertarians, that means sometimes deferring to the greater good. That's how society has survived all these milenia . Compromise. But here's where I agree with our sanctimonious author (see link to article): we have to do it voluntarily or it will be imposed on us through legal means.
Take charity, for example. We are being taxed highly to take care of those who, for various reasons, are unable or unwilling to take care of themselves. Our charities failed at some point and now self-perpetuating government agencies have taken on our responsibilities. This is where churches filled a very important need (and still do) in America, but churches can't carry all of the burden, for numerous reasons. And some of the liberal ideas about charity are to "save the whales" or offer "art in the park". I'm not saying there aren't valid reasons for these kinds of things, but there are more pressing priorities, like providing food, shelter, medical care and a basic education. Ridiculous amounts of resources are wasted on "charitable" ventures that do little more than make a committee feel good about itself. Good grief.
You and I both know that what's happening is the great self-centered movement in American. Whatever a person's particular belief system, its become all about "me". Even the self-hating liberals and Christians (yes, they share that particular character flaw) do it for show -- and to assuage their own guilt: "it hurts me to see them suffer so I will rescue them so I can feel better about myself". But if the charitable act does nothing towards fixing the problem or worse exacerbates it, it is truly a selfish act.
Obviously, I'm generalizing and its not fair to lump everyone together -- there are liberals and Christians who truly care about others, but I'm making a point, so please be patient.
There's something else, something beyond all this pettiness - and I truly believe that when we stop seeing ourselves as only separate entities -- when we see ourselves as part of the whole, we will have new things to argue about.
LOL! Why do I take myself so seriously?