I keep thinking

I keep thinking that I’ve posted things already, and then it isn’t here. I must be posting in my mind lately. Actually that is how I write many posts: think about them and and construct what I’m going to say, then write everything down quickly (with way too many typos and messed up punctuation). I should return to crafting articles in the way I used to: old fashioned writing and drafting.

Well, there is quite a bit to talk about in today’s ethics. Too much, actually. I came across quite a bit of theology that is … I don’t know what to term it, “gay-based?” It takes lots of time to talk properly about that since the field is mined and you have to carefully define and explain everything to step around all that. If you want real communication, that is. Another day.

Then there was the discussion with my husband. We have been talking about economics and the foreseeable horizon in our economic future in the nation. He is very Libertarian at the moment. we were talking about the bailouts, so when he said, “….like the war on drugs, accomplishing nothing” . I said whoa. As in “Whoa, Nelly!” Who says the war on drugs didn’t accomplish anything? The discussion led to me being able to articulate what I long held is a problem in discussions about the outcome of prohibition or arguments for legalizing drugs or prostitution, etc. All those are debates that Libertarians tend to engage in. The trouble with economic based philosophies is that they extrapolate the thinking into ethical issues. Economic and ethical goals are very different, and success measures are completely different in the two. So you have to make a distinction between them and not allow false analogies to creep in and become accepted through mere reiteration.

For one thing, when gauging the success of the “war on” (i.e.war on drugs) ethical problems the elements of societal damage have to be factored in. It isn’t the amount of the problem you still have left, but the societal damage in terms of human misery that you have prevented. When societies give free rein to damaging behaviors, society weakens as the vitality of the group weakens. The best outcome has come from regulation rather than prohibition usually, but some things are so detrimental in their nature and their use tends to such widespread problems (out of all proportion to their actions) that they have to be prohibited. Drug addictions are one I would put in that group, prostitution is another. The damage is pernicious and not limited to only the direct participants in the behavior.

So while I am for a free market, and think that capitalism is still the best economic tool for a free system…. I don’t extend that thinking to ethical issues. In fact, it is the ethical problems that lead to a downfall of any system that is used for an institution (such as the economy of a nation). Unfettered greed being foremost. Certain systems are more vulnerable to the known ethical snares (I would argue that Socialism is more vulnerable than a regulated capitalism).

The only obvious thing is that we have to have restraints. The discussions are always about how much restraint and what enforcement is necessary and allowed.

That’s all the out loud thinking for today.

One thought on “I keep thinking”

  1. I do not think that the various “Wars” on poverty, drugs, terror, etc., have accomplished nothing. What usually happens when the government declares these wars, and then goes on to make its plans in its “war room”, is that the problem is made worse. I am not saying to do nothing.

    War on Poverty (Johnson 1964): Poverty worse than ever.
    War on Drugs (Nixon 1971): Drug problem now worse than ever.
    War on Terror (Bush 2001): Potential terrorist threat worse than ever.

    I do not know the solutions, but what has been tried seems to have resulted in increased drug use leading to increased prostitution and crime to support the drug use. Further, the governments management of the economy is going to further worsen the problem. It’s almost as if government actually creates the problem in order to justify its own power (and existence)and its need to increase its power by subtly taking away everyones freedom. Witness the dramatic increase in surveilance anywhere you go and on everything you do, the massive increase in the cost and size of government, law enforcement, etc.

    Agreed, what is needed is restraint: self-restraint (self-control). But what do we do when the government itself is operating without restraint? Our government just runs roughshod over our rights, totally ignoring or re-interpreting the Constitution at its whim.

    Jesus, Himself, when dealing with the woman caught in adultery, came to her defense. The “authorities” had the law on their side to stone her. His way was to proclaim the Good News…not come in like the Gestapo. Jesus didn’t feel the need to call in the authorities when he was invited to a party w/tax collectors, winebibbers, harlots (and maybe even drug users). His Way was to proclaim the Good News of salvation, healing & Liberty to the captives (of Sin). Was the “ethical” thing for Him to snitch on the “bad guys”, or to look guilty by association. Good thing our DEA didn’t conduct a raid.

    The goal of Political Law (Mala prohibita):

    “by now it should be evident what the project of all laws that criminalize innocent conduct in order to prevent crime is: to so arrange the material conditions of life that those disposed to act upon their evil intentions will have no means of realizing their designs. Matters must be so arranged that, though criminals will want to use guns, they won’t be able to get them. People will want to use drugs, they just won’t be able to buy them. Thus the world will be made a safer place.

    “And now we come to the critical point, the self-destructive contradiction inherent in laws that criminalize innocent character to prevent crime before it occurs: their goal is to make responsibility irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if criminals want to commit murder with guns; we will simply arrange things so they cannot. Pass laws and vigorously enforce them, and it won’t matter whether people act responsibly or not. Their irresponsible intentions will be rendered impotent and irrelevant.

    “Query: how does the law have the moral authority to hold people responsible for their behavior, IF the law is engaged in a project whose operative presumption is that responsibility and irresponsibility can be made irrelevant, and are a matter of indifference? How do criminals, how does anyone, learn that they are responsible for actions, if the law is engaged in a mighty project to render irrelevant whether one does or does not want to act responsibly?

    “And if we think that laws designed to prevent crime can indeed make the world a safer place, we should ask ourselves this: How exactly, is the world made a safer place by making self-control and irresponsibility irrelevant?”
    – Jeff Snyder, ‘Nation of Cowards’ (2001)
    p.76-77

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