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General principles for living in a democracy

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  • General principles for living in a democracy

    We keep getting the same conversations about various specific issues in civics. You know the ones: homosexuality, marriage for homosexuals, poor beleaguered Christian bakeries, how rotten the 'left' is, how the world is going to hell in a handbasket because Obama, legalisation of pot, why it's the fault of women, why it's the fault of black people ... and on and on.

    I'd like to try something a bit different, and have a conversation about the principles that sub-groups in a pluralistic democracy might use to interact with the larger society. I would politely ask that you keep debate about particular issues out of this thread and instead focus on the overarching principles.

    I think I can see a few different principles in action:

    1. The 'pork' principle. Jews and Muslims do not eat pork. As far as I am aware, they abstain from eating pork, but do not advocate that all society refrain from eating pork. They do not seek legislation to outlaw pork products. This principle seems to be 'My faith requires me not to do X, therefore I don't do X, but you can do what you like'. Perhaps it could be stated: In general, society should be as free as it can be (allowing for public safety and order) but I reserve the right to place further restrictions on myself based on my beliefs.

    I can discern another principle at work, which for no apparent reason, I shall label:

    2. The 'Seer' principle. My faith beliefs are not only of fundamental importance to me, they are necessary for the good functioning of society as a whole. I shall therefore advocate strongly for legislative enacting of my faith beliefs for the whole of society. I shall further consider it persecution if society disengages from my faith beliefs and passes laws that require me to act like any other citizen. (That's putting it a bit strongly, I know, but what can you expect from an old leftie.

    I suspect there are various intermediate principles between what may be two extremes.

    My question is: What ought to be the balance here?

  • #2
    Well your two extremes are not completely accurate. Some Muslims object to pork being sold in markets where they might shop, but that aside . . .

    I believe people should be free to pretty much do as they like as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. I object to homosexual marriage and should not be obligated to take part in any way. That includes baking cakes and performing wedding ceremonies. I feel free to advocate for legislation consistent with my beliefs, just as homosexuals and atheists are free to so advocate. If I succeed I object to activist judges over ruling my successes.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

    Comment


    • #3
      Two partial solutions.

      1) Someone in a minority should have the same rights as majority people. The system of law should be the same to everyone.

      2) The ambit of each government should be no greater than the size of the average county in the USA. No international government; no national government; no government on the level of the USA states. One version of that is panarchism. If a group of anarchists want to have their own place in which to live, well, OK. Communists should have its own place above which rules a communist government. Fascists, a fascistic government. Lesbanists And so on. May have to revise later.
      The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

      [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jedidiah View Post
        Well your two extremes are not completely accurate. Some Muslims object to pork being sold in markets where they might shop, but that aside . . .

        I believe people should be free to pretty much do as they like as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. I object to homosexual marriage and should not be obligated to take part in any way. That includes baking cakes and performing wedding ceremonies. I feel free to advocate for legislation consistent with my beliefs, just as homosexuals and atheists are free to so advocate. If I succeed I object to activist judges over ruling my successes.
        I certainly agree with you about not being compelled to perform homosexual marriages. I find the cake thingy a bit problematic. You should not be compelled to put a message on a cake of which you morally disapprove. However, if you sell rice do you question every person who buys to ensure they're not buying some to throw at a gay wedding? If you're a tailor, do you not make a suit for someone going to a gay wedding?

        I'm really not sure where the line is.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
          Two partial solutions (ideals to strive for).

          1) Someone in a minority should have the same rights as majority people. The system of law should be the same to everyone.

          2) The ambit of each government should be no greater than the size of the average county in the USA. No international government; no national government; no government on the level of the USA states. One version of that is panarchism. If a group of anarchists want to have their own place in which to live, well, OK. Communists should have its their own place above which rules a communist government. Fascists, a fascistic government. Lesbanists Lesbians And so on.

          To maximize people's choices of the kind of government, each government's ambit (area on Earth) has to be strictly limited to county size or less.
          Changes made to prior post as shown above.
          The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

          [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
            I certainly agree with you about not being compelled to perform homosexual marriages. I find the cake thingy a bit problematic. You should not be compelled to put a message on a cake of which you morally disapprove. However, if you sell rice do you question every person who buys to ensure they're not buying some to throw at a gay wedding? If you're a tailor, do you not make a suit for someone going to a gay wedding?

            I'm really not sure where the line is.
            When you buy something from a business, how do you know that the owner will not use the money for crime?

            It may not be possible to see all the time which side of the line something falls; yet some things are obviously on one side or the other.

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            • #7
              Selling something to someone has no sense of supporting any cause. Even if you make a suit for a homosexual marriage ceremony that does not suggest support. The cake certainly does.
              Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jedidiah View Post
                Selling something to someone has no sense of supporting any cause. Even if you make a suit for a homosexual marriage ceremony that does not suggest support. The cake certainly does.
                If you're putting two grooms or two brides on the cake, inscribing names with frosting, that's much more involved than just renting someone a tux.
                Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                  I suspect there are various intermediate principles between what may be two extremes.

                  My question is: What ought to be the balance here?
                  It is all power play. Just as there was power play amongst aristocrats and monarchs in past times, so now is there power play between the empowered citizens. (Of course, one could accurately say that most cases involve aristocrats manipulating groups of citizens to play their power games.)

                  What do you seek? Some inherent "balanced" way of doing things? Or just pragmatic guidelines?
                  Last edited by Paprika; 11-07-2014, 12:50 AM.

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                  • #10
                    My question is, what are laws based on? Do we have laws based on ethics and morality? Are most laws morality based? If so, wouldn't one desire to see their morals reflected in their laws?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      My question is, what are laws based on? Do we have laws based on ethics and morality? Are most laws morality based? If so, wouldn't one desire to see their morals reflected in their laws?
                      Yes, but we must be aware we live in a society committed to certain core values, with enough freedom so that if you choose you may further limit your freedom as you enact further parts of morality without compelling others. The eating of pork comes to mind, or those Christian denominations who insist women should wear head coverings. They are free to do so, but none of us would like to live in a society that compelled it.

                      I'm suggesting that general society should have a minimalist moral code to which different subgroups may add their own. Now I'm a dreaded liberal and it surprises me that I'm arguing for LESS government influence while the conservatives around me are arguing for MORE.

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                      • #12
                        How about if it's just a cake, and they mention it's for a gay wedding?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                          Yes, but we must be aware we live in a society committed to certain core values, with enough freedom so that if you choose you may further limit your freedom as you enact further parts of morality without compelling others. The eating of pork comes to mind, or those Christian denominations who insist women should wear head coverings. They are free to do so, but none of us would like to live in a society that compelled it.

                          I'm suggesting that general society should have a minimalist moral code to which different subgroups may add their own. Now I'm a dreaded liberal and it surprises me that I'm arguing for LESS government influence while the conservatives around me are arguing for MORE.
                          Christianity isn't really the type of religion where you're supposed to think of your faith as a sort of side hobby that you shuffle away or minimize if you believe it'll inconvenience others. Christianity ought to be the type of faith that is lived constantly. Practically every decision and action the Christian makes should be done through the filter of their faith. But in truth, most Christians probably don't live their faith that way, even though they probably ought. What do you say to those people who do (or at least try) to live their faith in the continuous now? Are they the Seer types you talked about in your first post?

                          By the way, I don't care if you're a liberal. The whole conservative/liberal, republican/democrat, me vs. you thing is a bit weird to me. I probably lean more socially conservative than not, but there are plenty of liberal views that I have no problems with whatsoever. I think issues are more important than whatever party one affiliates themselves with. Party affiliation seems to just cause a lot of group conformity and unnecessary divisiveness.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                            How about if it's just a cake, and they mention it's for a gay wedding?
                            If the baker would be asked to inscribe anything on the cake in approbation of the wedding, I could see a problem. Otherwise,

                            I'm gonna throw this little piece out there as well for your digestion:
                            http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclu...ecommendations
                            Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                              Christianity isn't really the type of religion where you're supposed to think of your faith as a sort of side hobby that you shuffle away or minimize if you believe it'll inconvenience others. Christianity ought to be the type of faith that is lived constantly. Practically every decision and action the Christian makes should be done through the filter of their faith. But in truth, most Christians probably don't live their faith that way, even though they probably ought. What do you say to those people who do (or at least try) to live their faith in the continuous now? Are they the Seer types you talked about in your first post?

                              By the way, I don't care if you're a liberal. The whole conservative/liberal, republican/democrat, me vs. you thing is a bit weird to me. I probably lean more socially conservative than not, but there are plenty of liberal views that I have no problems with whatsoever. I think issues are more important than whatever party one affiliates themselves with. Party affiliation seems to just cause a lot of group conformity and unnecessary divisiveness.
                              I don't see it as ghettoising your faith, or making it merely a hobby. I think I'm saying you should feel free to act out your faith as vitally as you can as long as you respect that I, who do not share your faith, may have different moral positions on certain issues. Given we live in a pluralistic society, whose morals should triumph? As i've been saying I'm all for limited government imposed morality and then a diversity of moral opinion which is freely acted on by members of groups who hold that morality.

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