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Previous | Next by Casey 23 January, 2003 - 7:00 PM

I've been busy lately and haven't gotten around to this place, and for that I find I have much catching up to do, I deserve this, its like fun homework.

Spike I hope you get that ACLU job. If so maybe you can do something about the following:

I've had a new idea recently. It seems to me that the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by nature implies a right to death, servitude, and the pursuit of misery. I say so only because I don't think anyone has the omniscience to divine what exactly constitutes a "good life" for any particular person. Some people are only happy when it rains, and no one has the right to judge the difference. I believe in total individualism as an ideal. One should be able to do whatever they want with thier lives, bodies, and goals as long as they don't bother anyone in so doing and I think our Constituion was written with this philosophy in mind. Suicide should be legal. I wonder why it is considered illegal currently and I can only conclude that the cost on society of a suicide has an impact ultimately more than what the suicidal individual suffers. In a concrete sense I don't think that legalization of suicide would have any negative impact on society. Consentual euthanasia clearly has some applicibility for the terminally ill. For those who might commit suicide stemming from mental disease, legalization of the act would not affect the suicide rate, and nor would it obligate insurers to payout life insurance benefits to the survivors. The legality or illegality of suicide is largely irrelevant to the act. The illegality of slavery is in reality only partial. We currently have the freedom to choose our masters but for most of us salaried employees, we have chosen not to be free. If we aren't running our own company, we are generally engaged in some form of servitude. If we happen to have an employment contract, our servitude is indentured. The right to servitude is already protected by law. The pursuit of misery is only protected where the majority deem it "moral". Self-mutilation of the body (to a point) is legal, but self-mutilation of the mind (via drug abuse) is not. In most cases the pursuit of happiness itself is to risk misery. Extreme skiiers risk death or maiming in the pursuit of the happiness thier sport provides, and such a risk is legal. Every choice for a carreer risks misery in that an alternate carreer would be the right one to make an individual happy. But if you decide you don't want to wear your seat-belt (purposely increasing the risk to your life), well that's illegal. There seem to be so many victimless crimes in this country and so many laws to break that make no sense to me. Why do I pay a fine for not wearing my seatbelt? Who is the victim to whom I am paying reparations when I pay such a fine? I could understand if the only result for not wearing a seatbelt might be points on my license because I put myself at higher risk for personal injury in so doing and for that the expense will fall to my insurance company. Its the same logic they use when life insurers ask if you smoke. But the fine seems frankly unconstitutional to me. Government should not be in the business for protecting "We, The People" from ourselves because as I said before, no one (especially government) is equipped to decide what constitutes the right way for me to live my life.

1/24/2003 >> ben

check out maslow's hierarchy of needs, and the related psychology works.... he talks about personal happiness,
with the points about why things are legal or not... that's a question that as far as i can tell, has to do with people who have money to lobby their statespeople for laws. the seatbelt laws in maryland (correct me if i'm wrong, this is secondhand) were put into effect following some intense lobbying by a women's organization across a few states (i was told maryland, virginia, wv, delaware and i think pennsylvania)...
maryland as well has always had a soft spot for religious lobbyers (lobbyists? lobbii? one second... yeah, lobbyists is fine... there's a reason i have the link to on this site) as well, so the whole protecting ourselves from ourselves comes in it seems during times when people's understanding of something is low and their fear of it is high. not a lot of people ski, however a lot of people attempt to commit suicide. most people drive... and so forth
as long as the government licenses you to drive, supposedly they get to tell you what you can and cannot do while driving... (c.f. cellphone laws)

1/24/2003 >> spike

I've gone through these same thoughts myself Casey. Mainly when it comes to the nation's drug laws. I also find it rather unconstitutional and immoral to 'protect' people from themselves. The only time the government has the duty to be directly involved in the lives of its citizens is when one does harm to another. NOw whether i mean physical or mental or emotional harm, that is a much more complex matter. Because i believe in laws such as anti-discrimination laws where the victim may not be physical harmed, but their chances to pursue happiness are diminished. But if i am smoking some pot in my basement and buy it form a local grower/dealer who doesnt get involved in turf violence, then why should my actions be illegal??

The paternalism of modern government i tie directly to patriarchy. Why is it that the most controlled people in this country, as to how they live, what rights they do and do not have, are children and the poor? Because, patriarchal attitudes demand social children to control and punish.

1/24/2003 >> rich

Who would have thunk it. There is a secret undercurrent of libertarianism here at DTC. Yehaw! Casey, have a look at Seems to me that socially at least you line up pretty darn square with the libertarians.

Brought to you by a card carrying member of the libertarian party.

1/24/2003 >> spike

problem i have always found with libertarian party is the whole free market, capitlaism rocks ideology. I find them bunk and quite appaling in ways, but the whole free individual part of libertarianism i wholely agree with. I also believe that the reality of racism, sexism et al in the society is often-times ignored by libertarian party, at least as far as i know.

1/24/2003 >> muhgcee

I am in total agreeance with you, Casey, although I have my reservations parts of the drugs thing. It has always been my belief that all people should not be punished for some people's actions. I.E. If 50% of all people who have DeCSS use it illegally, the software itself should not be illegal. But somehow I am still unsure about whether all drugs should be legal or not. I believe that alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and some halucinogens (sp?) should be legal, but how about the hardcore drugs? I honestly do not know much about drugs, but out of heroin, cocaine (sp?) and a couple others, should all be legal? It seems that with some of these drugs, you are completely not yourself and have a very high risk of harming others while under the influence of them. I am still undecided on this. Any comments to sway me one way or the other would be appreciated.

1/24/2003 >> jackie

the line between harming yourself and harming others is often blurry, muhgcee. like drinking alcohol is fine, but then drunk driving.... so yeah, i see your point, and i think that the areas where individual rights start to supersede those of other individuals are the toughest to think about when it comes to libertarian philosophies.

and also, what spike said about capitalism, and i'd like to add women to the list of children and the poor, who are the most controlled, least free in the system.

1/25/2003 >> Casey

Ya, I'm becoming more libertarian day by day. I hesistate to affiliate myself with any organizaton that would have me (Groucho Marx, ibid.), but I do like the libertarians. Rich I wouldn't say that there is anything secret about my libertarianism though. Yes I'd classify myself far more a social libertarian than an economic one, economically speaking I think I fall more into a catergory of socialism, but thats another posting for another time. Muhgcee, as far as the drug thing, hunh, ya I could say more on the subject. I may make a bigger post to the board on this topic.

1/25/2003 >> Casey

Still working through the Maslow's hierarchy of needs ben and how it relates to what I was saying. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is where I've ended up: People sometimes have conflicting needs. One person may have the need for esteem and craves influence, while another has a need for personal safety and security. The first person meets the need for esteem by lobbying hard to get a seatbelt law passed, but in so doing decays the security of the second individual by infringing on thier autonomy. The first person wins though because the first's need for the esteem is stonger than the second's need for security?
In short, your theory on why anything becomes legal or illegal is based on a balance and flux of individual needs, as classified by Maslow?
If so, then by extension can we assume that the needs felt by the framers of our Constituion are today largely irrelevant? Maybe a new Constitution should be written from scratch every 100 years or so.....?

hmmm I'm liking where these ideas are taking me, in a scary way.

1/25/2003 >> Casey

Yes, a law should be passed (or perhaps an amendment) that forces every new law passed to have an expiration date attached to it. Is this a new idea?

1/26/2003 >> spike

casey i am with you on the whole, the constitution no longer speaks to the needs or the world that we live in today. I do think we need to rewrite the entire document and put a sunset provision on it of lets say, 100 years. Or at least start debating the idea, because our so-called democracy is becomming (has always been??) a plutocracy.

I havent read it myself, but i want to, but Robert Dahl, a respected scholar of democracy and the constitution, just published, "How Democratic Is the American Constitution?" by Robert Alan Dahl. After the 4 books i have on hold at the moment, this will more thanlikely be my next read. I will post review of it here then.

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