The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Liberty’

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ROCK ‘N ROLL?

It’s been about two and one half years since I began this blog.  As someone new to the whole blogosphere I unfamiliar even with the basics.  How to write text and have it appear – how to respond to comments – all that stuff.  I learned through trial and error and made more than my fair share of mistakes along the way.

Months went by, I had settled into a regular routing of posting, I knew how to respond to comments and I was began to feel comfortable with my writing.  And then one day I noticed something on my home page which I had overlooked.  It was a statement from Word Press that “You have 55 comments in your spam queue.”  That was interesting as I was unaware I had a spam queue – or anyone would bother to send material to it where it would take its last breath.

So I went to my spam queue and began reviewing the comments which Word Press had diverted.  Several of them were obviously ads for a service which would improve the overall appearance of the blog and which promised greater visibility by helping to select key words that google would pick up.  Several were in foreign languages and I have no idea their subject matter.  So I deleted them all and went about my business.

As more readers left comments, I noticed that the number of spam comments was rapidly overtaking the number of actual comments and would soon surpass them.  That day came and went and now the “spam” comments, received and deleted, is about four times the number of real comments.

But there is something interesting in the more recent comments – other than that about twenty per day are regularly appearing.  That is the subject matter of these comments – which predominantly come in two varieties.

The first advertise a variety of porn sites where, should one have an interest, a person presumably can view a variety of “Eurasian shemales” and things of that sort.

The second of these advertise sites where drugs, (mostly pain medications but ED drugs are also a common theme), can be obtained.

For all his genius, Jefferson messed up.  He spoke of our right to, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but omitted “privacy.”  It’s only fair to admit that he could certainly not have foreseen how the world would change a few centuries after his time.  But golly, it would have been nice if he had been that prescient and slipped it in, right after that liberty word.

But wait a minute.  Isn’t it essential to liberty to be free from spying (which implies intimidation) – whether that is from government or from fellow humans?  We’ve always had nosey neighbors and peeping Toms.  We’ve simply enhanced the tools of their trade and speeded up the process, enabling them to be even more intrusive.  And now, more than ever, we’ve gotten government in the game – in fact leading the charge.

I realize that the reason for the particular spam comments I’m receiving is that I’ve touched on drug companies and their products and written a few posts on human sexuality.  Obviously, that is sufficient to drive people through the google algorithm and allow them to send out their stuff.  So, as convenient as google is for doing useful research, it too has its downside, as my inbox will attest.

But as annoyed as I am by all this, I am most offended that from the original ‘60’s mantra, ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll,” someone had the nerve to turn off the music.

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“ON LIBERTY”

If I were forced to choose a term to describe my political philosophy I would select the term, “Liberal.”  However, that is in the sense in which that was defined by John Stuart Mill in his essay, “On Liberty.”   I think that within today’s re-defined terminology that would translate to Libertarian.

“On Liberty” has been continuously re-printed since it’s initial publication in 1859, attesting to the significance of the message it conveys.  The essay is relatively brief and should be something that everyone who votes in the November 6, 2012 election should read before they cast their ballot.  Sadly, I know that will not be the case.

There are several essential ideas which Mill states clearly in his essay.

“Over himself, over his mind and body, the individual is sovereign.”  Mill goes on to talk about how the “Tyranny of the Majority” can attempt to force their will on the individual and how this is endemically contrary to the nature of men joining together in a political union.

Before those of you reading this ask, “Does that mean that people are free to commit murder or do anything else that we view as contrary to our view of living in a lawful society?”  The answer is resoundingly, “No.”

Mill goes on to describe the “Harm Principle” which addresses this issue.  “Neither the state nor any other social body has a right to coerce or restrict the individual unless (my emphasis) the individual causes harm to others.”

This is a message not unlike that which the Founding Fathers incorporated in The Declaration of Independence and framed in the Constitution of the United States almost a century earlier than the date of publication of Mills’ essay.  It is a message that established America as the world’s first great modern democracy.  It is a message that has increasingly been overlooked, ignored and blatantly violated. 

It is a message which needs to be revived with the support of all of us who live in this land and call ourselves Americans.

There are now five remaining contenders for the highest post in the land, President of the United States.  There is only one who has been consistent in supporting the principles that the Founding Fathers established and which Mills echoed in his essay.

I will leave it to you to figure out who that candidate is and to do the intelligent thing if you are in a state with an upcoming primary or caucus and are eligible to voice your opinion in it.  You really owe it to yourself to do the right thing.  If you don’t take the responsibility to do that, who do you think will do it for you?

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