Thursday, July 14, 2005

Right and Wrong

It has come to my attention that some people might not understand what drives my opinions - why I think that some things are right, and some things are wrong. "How do you determine which is which?", you seem to ask me with you large, round, imploring eyes. At least, that's how I picture you in my head. Very kid-on-black-velvet-painting-that-I-bought-at-a-gas-station, if you know what I mean. Anyway, like I said - you're confused.

(If you're not confused, I don't mean you. Get over it.)

What makes something right:
It allows people to live in the manner that they choose, including the condition that they do not choose to infringe on *other* people's rights. You think the only way to live is on a farm where you get up at 4:30 to milk animals? Go ahead. You think the only way to live is helping messed-up rich people with their problems until you become a messed-up rich person yourself? Go ahead. No sex without marriage? Fine. No marriage? Fine. No sex? Well, you'll die out unless you get a lot of recruits, but that's OK with me, too. Love computers? Hate zippers? All of that is all right with me. Laws that let people choose these things? Yes.

What makes something wrong:
It infringes on someone else's right to live in the manner that they choose. Any law that affects what consenting adults do (non-lethal) to each other behind closed doors? No. Taking money away from the poor to fund things that will "make our economy stronger"? No. Love illegal dumping? No. Hate biracial marriage? No. Want to impose your country's system of government on the entire world? No.

Really, no. I love the US, and I love democracy. I don't love that it's brought me to this particular point today, but not everything is bad. Sometimes you have to try new ideas out to find out if they work or not, especially when you know that problems exist that aren't being solved. True, new things often don't work, but that doesn't mean that trying them is wrong. I think our system is a great system that is growing, and evolving with the world around it, but that assuming that everyone wants to live this way is arrogant. Some people like church and state all wrapped up together. Some people find too much freedom chaotic, and need to live somewhere more ordered. Let them - as long as they, too, don't try to impose their ideals on the entire world.

What does not make something wrong: If you don't agree with someting that doesn't affect you, it is not automatically "wrong". That's why I feel the way I do about other countries choosing their own form of government. It's like people choosing to paint their den chartreuse and orange. I don't want to be in that room, but I don't have to be, now, do I.

What does not make something right: If other people have done wrong things before, and no one complained. It doesn't make those wrong things all right, and it doesn't make the new wrong things all right. Someone (possibly even me) may be a hypocrite, but that doesn't make what they're saying any less true, if it's true.

Maybe there are extenuating circumstances, and maybe I don't understand exactly how everything needs to play out. The world exists in shades of grey, I get that. But it still doesn't mean that the answer to "person 2 did something wrong" is "person one did something else wrong and you defended person 1". Whether or not I was wrong then doesn't mean I'm not right, now.

I get the feeling I may have said all this before.

So, are you less confused now? Yes? Would you mind making the big-eyed face a little longer, anyway? It's just so darned cute...

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