The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘civilization’ Category

ZIMMERMANIA

Just when we began to focus on serious issues like the intensification of Radical Islamic terrorist attacks on Western Civilization, who pops up his head once again but none other than George Zimmerman.  You remember him, don’t you?  He’s the guy who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida, was brought to trial and was acquitted.  That judgment resulted in some minor protests (though absent the burnings and lootings which subsequently have become fashionable) and an explosion in the sales of hoodies – much to the pleasure of the manufacturers in China where they are made.

Whatever you thought of the Zimmerman verdict, it’s pretty difficult to argue that George’s subsequent behavior would not suggest a person who is rapidly speeding downhill.  His latest arrest, as I recall his third, suggests that he is not coping too well with reality – or has abdicated much commitment to it.  And while it might be expedient to shake our heads and tut tut his behavior – drawing whatever inferences befit our personal views of the man  – I am surprised that the liberal left press hasn’t gone on to offer us an explanation for it, one that would be consistent with their worldview of other shooting deaths which also involved blacks.

We know from viewing the mainstream media that anyone who is murdered, irrespective of the circumstances, is always the victim.  That is particularly true if that victim happens to be darkly complected, the activity in which he was engaged prior to his expiration being irrelevant.  Just because he was robbing a convenience store or breaking a law prohibiting the sale of loose cigarettes is inconsequential.  There is always an explanation about how society doomed that person to a life of petty crime – or even more serious infractions.  But if we take that “logic” to its inevitable conclusion, that leads us to a paradoxical conundrum.

If we accept that lawbreakers have no free will but are merely marionettes whose strings are pulled in a certain predetermined sequence beyond their control, it seems only reasonable to apply that same robotic condition not just to one segment of society but to everyone.  Therefore, we should not try to convert the racist from his views but rather, accept his view on race as being nothing more than the manifestation of a condition which his environment has imposed upon him.  He is no more guilty of anything than the person who finds that cancer has invaded his body.  It’s just one of those things – a sort of “Deus ex machina” syndrome or to put it in Calvinistic religious terms, nothing more than the earthly expression of predestination.

It is clear that what might be construed as random events do have implications for our lives.  Prior to his encounter with Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman seemed to be quite a decent person.  He was involved in mentoring children, many of whom were black and certainly didn’t exhibit any reported issues which would suggest that he would become a violent person.  If we accept his version of the events that night, confirmed in the jury verdict, he was merely concerned that Martin was a threat both to him and to his neighbors.  Apparently, the local constabulary and the local DA agreed with his explanation and were prepared to let the matter drop.  Enter the DOJ.

Because the Holder Department of Justice has made a six year career of looking for and, inevitably finding, racial motivations in every instance where a black individual is slain by a non-black person, they succeeded in reopening the case and forcing the now famous trial.  And, despite Zimmerman’s acquittal, his life (and that of his family) were forever changed as a result of the trial, irrespective of the outcome.

Zimmerman was once a person who was considered a likeable person and a good neighbor was regularly portrayed in the media as a racist vigilante.  He went into hiding having received death threats.  Perhaps from the stress which we would all feel as a result of being publicly cast as a pariah, his relationship with his wife suffered and they were divorced.  He was involved in several road rage and speeding incidents and now, most recently, was charged with throwing a wine bottle at his current (soon to be ex) girlfriend.  But is any of this Zimmerman’s fault?  Or is he merely a hapless victim, brought to his current condition through a set of circumstances which were beyond his control?

If we accept the premise that the liberal left espouses, we would have to conclude that in the same way that Trayvon Martin was a victim of circumstance, (remember that if he had not been suspended from school for the third time, he might not have gone to the grocery store which led to the fatal encounter), Zimmerman is little more than a marionette whose strings were pulled by the media’s attention to his trial and by the public’s reaction to the way in which he was depicted.  In that light, his recent brushes with the law and domestic violence are little more than expressions of his condition – one which we might describe as Zimmermania.

While it might be comforting on an emotional level to believe that whatever we do can be explained away through some sort of concocted justification, it precludes us from ever being virtuous by doing good at the same time that we can never be criticized for venal behavior.  And if we accept that premise, we are closing the book on life in a moral society and are opening a volume with the one word title, “Chaos.”

CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARES

One of our neighbors, Mr. O’Connor had passed away and my family got me dressed up in my best Sunday clothes to attend his funeral.  He was a warm and wonderful man who always went out of his way to make sure that he held the door for any of the residents who were entering the building.  He was a person whom we called a “gentleman.”

Mrs. O’Connor was similarly caring and always made sure to ask all the kids in the building how we were doing at school.  She was a retired teacher and was passionate about her life’s work.   I remember her telling my friend Timmy who was struggling with his spelling that she would be happy to help him if he wanted some extra assistance.

Mr. O’Connor’s was the first funeral that I attended.  His Requiem Mass was a solemn high celebration at St. Jean Baptiste Church, a wonderful, traditional building that inspired awe because of its massive size, its excellent stained glass windows and the many candles that flickered at all the side altars.  But the thing that I remembered most about that funeral was that I would no longer see Mr. O’Connor’s smile or hear his happy voice.  Ever.

Several nights later, mom came quickly into my room and sat on my bed.  Apparently I had been yelling in my sleep.  She asked me if I were alright – but I didn’t want to tell her the subject of  my nightmare.  After a few minutes I lay back down but the rest of the night my sleep was troubled.

From the time I was in third or fourth grade I realized that my interests were different from those of most of my classmates.  Different doesn’t imply better or worse – simply, different.  I would rather spend my free time reading or listening to classical music than playing hopscotch or jacks or softball.  While that didn’t involve me with my classmates in many of their pursuits, I was normally the person to whom they turned when they were stuck on a math problem.

In class I was usually one of the first to raise my hand and was typically one of the last to be selected for a team when we chose up sides.  So I was “different” but I had a voice and I wanted to sing with it.  And then came the nightmare.  I can only believe that the genesis for it was both Mr. O’Connor’s funeral and my childhood experience with my peers.  While I never shared the nightmare with my parents I remember it today as vividly as when I first had it.

I was in a glass coffin which had been buried in Times Square.  I could see through the sidewalk but apparently the passersby had no idea I was there since, despite my yells telling the pedestrians who walked directly over me that I was underneath their feet, no one took notice.  The nightmare was centered around this horrible sense of isolation and inability to communicate.

As I look at the country and the world today, I am honestly grateful that I lived most of my life at a time when there were people like my parents and Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor.  They were courteous and generous people – not unlike the vast majority of those whom I met on a daily basis.  Perhaps they have disappeared because we took their behavior and them for granted.

We have come to believe that the only proper use of the word “civil” is as a modifier for the noun “litigation.”  We talk incessantly and say very little that is meaningful.  We addict ourselves to media which celebrate the trivial, the mundane and the vulgar and wonder why there is so much rude behavior, violence  and mayhem in our society.

As a child, I realized that I was “different” and that caused me to have nightmares.  The only thing that has changed in that equation is that I have come to terms with my individuality and I sleep much better.   As I view the alternative option, I think I’m in a decent place and am firmly resolved to stay there.  And to those of you who, like me, miss the civility of former years and feel estranged in our new world, take heart.  We may be few in number – but we are not alone.

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
― Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations”

ARE YOU NUTS? OR IS IT ME?

As I look back over my life I realize that I have had to make many decisions –choosing between two or even more alternative plans of action.  Some of those decisions worked out well – others, not so much.  I have always replayed the thinking that went into those poor decisions to see where I went wrong – not for the purpose of beating myself up in a frenzy of self-flagellation but to avoid repeating the mistake in the future.  But even after deciding on a path that didn’t work out well, I’ve never questioned the state of my mental health.  Until now.

As we have embarked on peeling back the onion which was the life of the mentally disturbed Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, as I suggested in an earlier post, more information would be uncovered and dissected by the media.  After all, they have space to fill.

One of the assertions that was made truly stunned me.  That was that, besides the obvious, Alexis’ several detentions for shooting a firearm in his apartment and shooting out someone’s tire; informing the police in Rhode Island that he had to move to three different motel rooms in one night because “the voices” were pursuing him, a message they apparently ignored; we should have seen his potential for being a violent person for one obvious reason, that being that he was a loner and didn’t have a Facebook account!

Perhaps not being a Facebook subscriber is an indication of mental illness.  I have read countless studies that suggest a majority of the homeless who live on the street have mental problems.  Obviously, when you’re living in a cardboard box you aren’t likely to have Wi-Fi up and running to allow you access to the internet on your laptop.  And while you might consider connecting at your local Starbucks, I wonder if you would be any more welcome there than those carrying weapons – or whether you could afford any of their beverages.

There are a number of people whom I know who feel that Facebook provides them with a valuable way to communicate with their families in an efficient manner.  That makes sense to me.  But I wonder how many of the subscribers utilize the platform in that manner.

My sense of the “social media,” mainly derived from anecdotal evidence and from the statements of those who are avid users, is that it they are a crutch which people who have difficulty communicating or relating to other people on a direct, interpersonal basis prefer to use to express themselves.  One of my acquaintances who is an active Facebook user, recently broke up with his girl friend by sending her a text message, announcing the end of their relationship.  Such is our modern, technological world.

It is always dangerous and probably inaccurate to make sweeping statements about any group of people, particularly when they number in the millions, and expect that we are categorizing them in an accurate manner.  Having made that disclaimer, I look at the social media with a certain amount of distrust – if only because they themselves admit that at least twenty percent of the profiles which are listed are either misleading or outright false.

As a child I was extremely shy – overly so.  I do not know if that was a result of a poor self-image or what other reason there might have been that caused me to be that way.  It was not because I was ugly and the kids made fun of me – I wasn’t.  It was not because I struggled in school – I excelled there.  It was not because I had no talents – I was musically gifted.  It was not because I was unpopular – my classmates generally liked me and sought me out as a friend.  Nevertheless, I was extremely reserved, introverted and uncomfortable when I met new people.

Fortunately, I overcame that.  But the way that I overcame that was that I had to overcome that to survive.  There was no anonymous platform called Facebook behind which I could hide.  My experiences and those of my contemporaries naturally forced me into associations with others on a direct, person to person basis.  That was the only basis that existed and I am grateful for that.  But I wonder if I had grown up today with the anonymity of the internet, whether I would ever have had to face dealing with people on a one on one basis and might still be that shy, introverted child.

If you were to take a poll of everyone with whom I have dealt during my life, I suspect there are a few of those who would check off the box marked “Dislike.”  But those would be very few in number.  (There’s no pleasing some people).  But I am confident that an overwhelming majority of the people who know me would be pleased at our association.  But the kind words or accolades of others doesn’t validate a person’s behavior.  That has to come from within the individual.

If I were to do something wildly outrageous, I suspect there are a sufficient number of moral heathens in our global society who would enjoy my performance and actively share that with others of their fellow degenerates.  My Facebook “Like” button might well get near being worn out.  So does that constitute an endorsement for my behavior?  I guess if you look at the raw numbers you might say that it would.  But if you consider the character of those who are the plebiscite, you might draw a different conclusion.  We all know that bad news sells.  So does bad behavior.

Several years ago I was playing poker and seated across from me was a fellow who claimed to be one of the people involved in the “Girls Gone Wild” tapes that were being sold on television.  He went on for some time about how much money he and his partners had made with this venture.  I believe that he was probably telling the truth.  Other than the ads, I never viewed the tapes, and based on what was presented in the ads would certainly not purchase an hour and a half’s worth of watching young women getting drunk and allowing their libidos to take over their actions.  But there are people who have different tastes and who found these tapes entertaining and titillating.  Would I feel proud if a large number of these went to my Facebook page and clicked the “Like” button?  I don’t think so.

If I saw a value in the social media I would have a presence there.  But I don’t.  I would rather have a sage person offer me good constructive criticism than a group of self-absorbed, self-adulating people tell me how wonderful I am and want to be my “friend”.  But that’s me.  I guess that makes me suspect in the minds of the madding crowd.  And that’s okay.

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  What’s yours?

CULTURAL BARBARISM

As I was driving Gracie back from the dog park this morning I was listening to the Guarneri String Quartet perform Dvorak’s Op. 96 No. 12 best known as “The American” string quartet.  It happens to be one of those pieces I would take with me were I to be marooned on a desert island, so I was enjoying the experience.

As we waited for the light to change, a late model pickup truck pulled alongside us.  I couldn’t tell you who the “rap artist” was, but the driver had cranked this cacophony up to maximum overdrive.  I am not sure whether this particular piece qualified as “Gangsta Rap” or was an example of the genre in its purer form, “Crap Rap.”  I do know that I rolled up my windows, closed the sun roof and could still feel the beat from the woofers pounding at me.  When the light turned, I purposely waited a few seconds to allow the other vehicle to move down the street ahead of me so that I could escape this noise and go back to enjoying the string quartet.

While I realize that there is no accounting for taste – or lack of it – I can’t help wonder what sort of effect listening to a steady diet of rap with its mostly demeaning lyrics must do to an individual’s psyche.  Or perhaps the psyche is already predisposed to wanting to listen to this type of stuff and is merely finding an expression for its own ideas and feelings.

When we returned home I enjoyed my coffee and some yogurt and Gracie enjoyed her morning treats.  I sat in the back yard watching Charlie the mockingbird, who is a regular visitor, perch on the wall, waiting for his morning treat.  So I went in to the pantry and set out his raw oatmeal which he seems to enjoy more than traditional bird seed.

He and Gracie have reached a sort of détente.  She isn’t quite sure why I tolerate his presence and I suspect he wonders why I tolerate having such a massive canine in the house – but other than staring at each other they have come to an understanding.  Would that humans could do as well in the way of interpersonal relations.  And I went back to thinking about the fourth movement of the Dvorak, my favorite movement in the quartet.

After some time re-playing the music in my mind I decided it was time to start the day as it was already 7:30.  So we went upstairs and I turned the news on the television.  As it happened two stories caught my attention.

The first was that a new video game, “Grand Theft Auto V” had been released and attained sales of $800 Million in a 24 hour period of time.  After I did a little checking I was able to discover that it sells for $60 a copy – so over 13 million people purchased this game.

The game, of course, extols those who have mastered the art of car theft and it does so in an extremely violent manner.  Perhaps that explains, at least in part, why a car is stolen in this country every 44 seconds – and less than 12% of those who are responsible are ever apprehended.

The second item which aired a bit later in the morning was that the Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis apparently enjoyed playing video games – sometimes for as long as 15 hours at a time.

As you may recall, on Monday the media leaped all over the shooting.  Virtually every station first reported that the weapon that Mr. Alexis had used was an assault rifle – and most pointed out that it was the same weapon used in Newtown.  They were wrong.  Not only were they incorrect with their “facts,” which seems to be a secondary concern for most of our news sources, but they are wrong as to their underlying assumptions as to the cause of these mass murders.  They insist on citing guns as the cause rather than looking at the persons who are standing behind them and pulling the trigger.

Mr. Alexis was a mentally disturbed man who needed help.  He didn’t get it and as a result 12 innocent people died.  Whether or not his absorption in playing video games contributed to his condition is anyone’s guess.  But I think a reasonable assumption is that it might well have aggravated his mental problems.  Perhaps banning violent video games will be the next thing on the agenda for our liberal friends, though I doubt it.  It doesn’t fall within the purview of their agenda.

Mom used to say, “You are what you eat.”  The same is probably true of how our minds are fed – whether that is with positive or negative nourishment.  So to start your day right, I’ve attached the Dvorak for your enjoyment.  Be well.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

If it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable.  We descry the violence in our society and our world.  The horrors of gassing civilians in Syria; the number of murders in our inner cities; the general disregard and disrespect for others in our self-centered culture.  And we find the causes to be plentiful.

There’s the breakdown of the traditional home where traditional values at least had the possibility of being taught to our children.  And then there’s the violence that they learn through our media, video games and the movies.  And we wring our hands and wonder why did our little darling go and punch out the neighbor kid just because he was wearing more expensive athletic shoes.

We are an acquisitive society and used to be a competitive one as well.  Keeping up with the Joneses was a well-known phrase and an acceptable form of behavior.  We have been told, and it is true, that the consumer drives the economy in the United States – at least two thirds of it.  So we invent new ways to suck the money out of consumers’ pockets and into the coffers of whatever company has created the latest diversion to amuse our citizens.  Of course, there are a lot of old and tried creations that have been re-invented or more highly glamorized which serve the purpose as well.

On Saturday, September 14th Floyd Mayweather won his latest pugilistic bout.  He was well paid for the effort – a reported $41.5 million.  Even after paying his agent and Uncle Sam, that will leave him with a tidy sum.   Good for him.  That’s entrepreneurship at its finest.

Mr. Mayweather has a talent and he is monetizing his abilities.  The fact is, however, that it is a violent skill which he has mastered.  But if it were not for the rest of us who pay to watch two human beings beat each other up, Pay Per View would not have been able to record its single biggest take for any sporting event.  It’s obvious that we do not condemn violence when we pay money to enjoy the thrill of watching it.

The same statement may be made with regard to the biggest single and, perhaps most violent sport which demands and gets infinitely more of our dollars than boxing – that is NFL football.  That it is violent is inherently obvious from the league’s recent agreement to set aside $675 million to compensate players who have suffered head traumas and brain injuries from their years of participation in the sport.

If football were a prescription drug, with the number of serious “side effects” that it causes among the patient population, the FDA would withdraw its use and further dispensation.  But there is too much, far too much money generated by football ever to consider such an option.  And so, perhaps it is true, that money is indeed the root of all evil.

I wonder if those who are rightfully saddened at the events of Columbine, or Newtown or Aurora have ever considered whether they should withhold their dollars from a sport that has resulted in hundreds of serious injuries that would simply have been avoided if the game didn’t exist.  Or, given the fact that they want to raise their children in a less violent society, they have forbidden their children either to watch football or, more to the personal safety of those children, forbidden them to participate in the game at their schools.  Probably not.

In some ways, watching violent sports is a voyeuristic way for us to release some of our inner hostilities and frustrations.  Most of us handle that fairly well and that is all there is to it.  But there are those who are the exception to the rule and whose inner psyche actually feeds off this violence.  It’s hard not to wonder whether, like those famous video games and violent movies, the game does not contribute to a need to vent feelings of violence by some viewers on those with whom they share our society.

Of course, that speculation is rhetorical in nature.  If it were proven that there is a direct correlation between watching a boxing match or football game and violent behavior, that study would be suppressed before it ever made its way into the light of day.  There is simply too much money involved to allow that sort of statement be aired.  Even our over-regulatory nanny government would keep its hands off because where there is money involved, politicians’ major concern is that they are the recipients of as much of it as possible.

If you consider this year’s unfortunate record of the number of NFL players who have been arrested for violations ranging from DUI to murder, it should cause us to ask the question, “Why are so many well-paid athletes getting themselves into trouble?”  In part, the answer goes back to money.  Take a kid out of the ghetto – and that represents the background of nearly half the players in the league – raised in a violent atmosphere – and suddenly reward them with incredibly large incomes and it is not surprising that they do not know how to handle their instantaneous new wealth.

Further consider that football, a “macho sport,” recruits those who are unafraid of risking their bodies in pursuit of moving the sticks along the sidelines.  These are tough guys on the field and they were probably the toughest guys in the hood when they grew up – which is how they survived long enough to play for the big bucks.  If they hadn’t made the NFL cut, they would most likely have had a career either running a gang back home or at least providing the muscle for it.  Should we then be surprised that so many of these men find themselves at cross purposes with the law?

The rules of basic courtesy and civility have either not been taught or have been ignored by a significant number of those who come from generations that succeeded mine.  Not that all of us Baby Boomers were always attentive to them.  But having no standards of basic civility quickly leads to outright disdain for others and from there it’s anyone’s guess what might happen next.  Well, we don’t really have to guess.  The newspapers and internet are chock full of the newsworthy reports of a morally decaying society.

Mom will have collected the football jerseys that the family wore on Sunday and gotten them ready for the laundry so they can be worn next week.  She and dad will give no thought to what those represent – other than their making a statement about the player and the team that they love and support.  It’s all in keeping with the celebration of the all-American pass time, Sunday’s newest god.

And the violence will continue throughout the country – a hundred or so new murders this week, thousands of cars being stolen and homes being burglarized.  The cycle will continue because, unwittingly, we tacitly endorse it – perhaps without realizing what our actions imply.  And the cost – well the ultimate cost is a society which will go from disarray to collapse as the prevalence of anger creeps into more of our hearts and as we become more inured to hearing and reading about it and perhaps being victimized by it ourselves.

That’s the cost of living in our modern world.  That’s the price of entertainment.

DISTRACTIONS

What is the real motivation for President Obama’s call to action again Syria?  The stated view, of course, is that humanity must protest the use of chemical weapons.  Humanity, based on the number of those allying with him internationally, apparently doesn’t have the same view or appetite for yet another conflagration.

Even those who believe that we should take a military stand against President Assad are hesitant because Obama has shown so little consistency in his approach to this that one can only wonder if he is bipolar.  In fact, a review of his positions on almost every issue since he has taken office have shown so little commitment to any principle or ideal, it is fair to ask whether he is capable of maintaining a position that isn’t influenced by the latest poll.

Once again, I return to the question of whether the president is inherently nefarious or merely incompetent.  I’ve pretty much concluded that there is no sense of ethics which guide his actions – but I have to admire his manipulation of the nation’s agenda predicated merely on the achievement of his political objectives.  What are those objectives?  The simple answer is – control.

Look at the entire history of this administration.  Under the guise of doing what’s best for “the common good” it has an unflagging record of restricting individual freedom and replacing it with government oversight and control.  This mindset is an expression of the communist concept that “all men are created to serve the state.”

How has this control manifested itself in the nearly five years America has had the misfortune to have the Obama administration in place?  The examples are countless, but there is none which is more threatening to the individual’s life and liberty than the ACA (Obamacare).

So how does that relate to the Syrian misadventure which we may or may not undertake?  It’s simply a matter of distraction.

During the two and one half years that civil war has been waged in Syria, despite the hundreds of thousands killed, the administration kept silent.  We never heard then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak out on the massacre – nor did we hear the president make any comments of outrage.  Now, with the utilization of chemical weapons – apparently for the third time – we have crossed Obama’s “red line” – which he has subsequently disavowed.

Obviously, using weapons that ninety-eight per cent of the world’s population have banned is horrific.  But as I mentioned, this is supposedly the third time that these weapons have been used in Syria.  So why take action now – and not before?

I have a scenario which I can’t prove but which seems plausible.  It is to distract us from the implementation of the most controlling portion of the Obama administration’s agenda – implementing the ACA.  If you control a person’s ability to receive medical care, you control the person at the most fundamental level – his very life.

Consider the following events which have yet to unfold.  The first is that the Congress has now to spend its time debating Syrian intervention – when it should be turning its attention to funding the government.  That funding may or may not include a provision to pay for Obamacare.

The administration has constantly made comments about Republicans’ attempting to “shut down the government.”  The Obama White House has mastered the art of the “spin” and elevated it to an art form.  Unfortunately, the “leadership” of the Republican party have demonstrated as little recognition of principle as their counterparts across the aisle and in a race for “who is the weakest of them all,” it’s a pretty close race between them and the president.

So let’s assume that we do take military action against Syria.  The Congress has still to determine which parts of the government should be funded.  The hew and cry, now that we’re engaged in yet another war effort, will be, “We’re at war and those horrible Republicans are trying to defund the military at a time when we most need to be funding them.”  Speaker Boehner, who has already established himself firmly as a member of the Beltway power elite, will crumble as usual – his greatest strength.

With the distraction created by this military action – and the consequent reaction in the Middle East which could easily bring us into a regional war, the debate over funding the greatest controlling law ever enacted, Obamacare, will proceed and be implemented.  And that will eliminate the rights of any of us to maintain control over our own lives.

Weapons of mass destruction are horrifying.  They are rightfully outlawed by the international community.  But with the prospect of what might evolve into World War III, it is rational to ask the question, “Is the greatest and most lethal of these living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?”

THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE

There is nothing more annoying to me than when a woman uses the phrase, “It’s my body and my right to choose.”  It’s as though dragging out that old bromide is the absolute, indisputable debate clincher and there is no response possible once it has been uttered.

If you don’t think about it very deeply, that phrase could be something that is part of the mantra and foundation of libertarianism.  It would appear to be something that we should endorse, living in a country which was founded with the proclamation that we have the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In entering into one of these conversations, I always ask the individual whether this is a right that inures only to women or do men get to play on that same level playing field?  Since it would be very un-PC and sexist to restrict that right to only one gender, naturally the response that I get (after some hemming and hawing) is that it applies to everyone.

My follow up to that answer normally runs along the lines of, “So, you’re saying that the man who is a rapist and acts to fulfill the commands his mind is issuing and his body is able to accomplish is justified in doing what he does?  Or it’s okay for the mayor of San Diego  to grab women’s butts or breasts because he finds that satisfying?”

Since they haven’t really thought about the logical conclusion to their statement, I always receive a horrified look and a gushy, “You’d have to be nuts to believe that,” kind of response.  Implicit in their answer is the key to this entire issue.  That is, there are certain things which society deems “proper behavior” and others which it does not condone.

With all the headlines that are coming out of the Obamacare debacle, I find myself having more or these conversations than formerly.  Many of the women I know who voted for his second term did so because of “women’s issues”.  And I find that, if you’ll pardon the pun, to be very fertile ground for debate.

When someone identifies herself as “pro choice” I normally offer the following scenario.

A woman goes to a restaurant which has an extensive menu.  She might select the Lobster Newburg or order a garden salad for dinner.  She has freely  made a choice.  No one has looked over her shoulder or coerced her into selecting one entrée over another.  But if she chose the Newburg her bill is going to be higher than what she would have spent on the salad and she should be prepared to pay the price for it.

The one word that I find most lacking in the vocabulary of those who are “pro choice” is the word “wisely”.  Yes, we all have the power to choose and we all exercise that every day.  But to choose wisely, well that takes some thought and an admission that our decisions have consequences not only for us but for our society as well.

There is a reason that the word wisely is not a part of the “pro choice” lexicon.  This is not meant as a condemnation of anyone who holds that view who has arrived at her position on the subject in a thoughtful way.  Although I disagree with their position, I can respect the fact that they made it in an informed manner.

My statement is based on my observation of people who have gravitated to that position without thinking about all of its implications or who have merely adopted their view because all of their friends think the same way.  It is predicated on my observation of how they deal with their acquaintance and friendships.  These are merely my empirical observations – and I would be the first to admit that those are limited in number.

But, based on what I’ve seen, looking at the anecdotal evidence of how almost all  of them conduct their lives, I cannot escape the conclusion that most of those who are “pro choice” have adopted their outlook for one simple reason.

They simply do not believe they should be held accountable for their actions.

Fortunately for them, the United States currently has a government that shares that viewpoint as it demonstrates the exact same behavior on a daily basis.  But when people and their governments lose sight of their moral perspective, history teaches, in countless examples, that the end is very near at hand.

Like the house built over a sink hole, the abyss that will swallow us all may arrive at any moment.  Then there will be no more choices to make as the sands of time sweep us under the roiling earth – perhaps to be replaced with something wiser and better.

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