Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Natural Liberty VS. Civil Liberty: Who Has The Right To Decide For You?

"In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something."

How many times have you heard a person argue against something they've claimed to support? Our lives are filled with people who have knee jerk reactions to whatever polarizing issue is in the forefront of our collective minds. Why do we suspend our abstract principles in the face of reality so easily? 

This contradiction is woven into our Constitutional Republic. The ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are still fought for by those on the outside of what Dr. Cornel West termed: the "normative gaze". There's a Dimension of personal belief that spills into the public sector; this belief has the ability to circumvent the rights of others. Living an ideal life is an abstract fiction sold to us by propagandist in large marketing firms. What is normal, and why should we subscribe to someone else's definition of it?

The abstract fiction of freedom sells better than a real world example of injustice. Look at the current situation gays and lesbians find themselves in. The right to a marriage recognized by the sovereign is a right many in this free country have fought (and some died) for, yet the majority of states have laws banning these citizens from engaging in the practice, and furthermore they fight against those who fail to see the injustice in the policy.

The odds of convincing someone opposed to same sex marriage that it should be legal are slim to none, so what I'll try to do is clearly define liberty. I respect the religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. We have a right to believe or not believe anything we want, but that isn't at issue. 

Natural liberty is the belief that you can pursue any endeavor your heart desires. There aren't any moral or ethical barriers stopping you from living anyway you choose. Civil liberty is contingent on the idea that you follow the laws established by the sovereign in order to receive the protection the sovereign offers. 

My questions are few: how does the sovereign benefit by not recognizing the consenting relationships established by citizens of the sovereign?  how does limiting their freedom promote liberty in greater society? If the sovereign- in the form of the U.S. government hasn't established any laws prohibiting consenting adults from loving each other, why enlist laws that prohibit the natural evolution of that love?

“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.” 

Denying gays and lesbians the right to marry not only harms them as individuals, it harms the idea of liberty capital L. Our country was founded by brave men who fought the tyranny of the royal crown. Men who in the name of liberty committed genocide on native Indians and enslaved Africans. Why wait for history to point out the flaws of our current thinking. I'm not saying anyone should change the way they live. I want people to see how clear the line is drawn. Either you believe in liberty or you don't. If you don't believe in same sex marriage: DON'T MARRY SOMEONE WHO SHARES YOUR SEX ORGANS.

My fellow Christians love quoting scripture when topics contrary to biblical teachings come up. I offer them Matthew 5:29. The only one eyed Christians I know lost their eye due to accidents or disease. I've never met a Christian who plucked their eye out because it offended them. Paul said slaves obey your master, yet we got around that. Paul also said women shouldn't preach, but we worked that one through as well. My religious beliefs have the ability to influence my decisions, not the decisions of others.

If we want to further the cause of liberty as described in our countries founding documents we need to include all the members of our society. This is a question of following the rule of law. If freedom is reserved for some and not all at least post a list of desired peoples who shall be protected by the sovereign. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Similarities With Distinctions: Why Paula Deen Is Different Than The 2 Live Crew

Paula Deen VS. 2 Live Crew

Imagine, it's 1987 and you've got tickets to see the 2 Live Crew. The amphitheater is packed. The opening act is a D.J. who is seamlessly blending records into a musical narrative about the plight of living in the hood. After his set there's a pause; the stage goes dark, and the 2 Live Crew comes out dressed in three piece suits. The crowd looks on trying to figure out what's happening. Luther Campbell approaches the microphone and starts reading bible scriptures. 

That hypothetical situation is as far from a 2 Live Crew concert as you can get. This is where Paula Deen comes in. The backlash she's faced over her use of racial slurs is deserved, but for a different reason: she didn't market herself as a gangsta rapper or a bigot. She gave us something we didn't come for.

I was going to leave this alone, but the illogical and immature Facebook posts and comments of her supporters has prompted me to point out the obvious: the companies who cut ties with her did so because it was better for business. When a company does a deal with Lil Wayne, they know he's going to use racial slurs, misogynistic language, and glamourize street life. In essences they're getting what they paid for. There isn't one company who did business with Paula Deen who expected her to start dropping N-bombs (even if said N-bomb was 30 years ago)

As a black man, I'm not upset Paula Deen uses that word. I'm offended by institutional racism. There isn't a double standard about race. If you're a serious person and you use a racial slur it will hurt you. The idea that we would hold a comedian or a rapper to the same standard that we would hold Paula Deen too is ridiculous. So, by that logic, pointing out the fact that some of the companies who dropped her also sell Rap music is faulty. 

Companies get into bed with the Rap music industry because there's a segment of middle class suburbia that can't get enough of that stuff. That's called free market capitalism. The irony is that the same people who profess to support capitalism reject its principles once they are faced with them. Paula is on ice, (for now) but she'll be back. The market has spoken.