Recently an internet acquaintance, a fellow falconer, wrote comparing my Opinions sub-page to the Unibomber Manifesto. Fearing that what I'd written lent itself to inaccurate conclusions, I asked him for his positions on the topics, and what ensued was an intelligent discussion on the issues. Email was exchanged throughout the day. I've added it here as a clarification of both positions, and an example of how people can respectfully discuss passionate issues in a civil fashion.
The only liberty taken in editing these was to remove a few personal asides and to sort the complation by topic, so it would read better. Places which seem somewhat disjuncted are the result of moving things around in that fashion. I didn't change any of the wording, but arranged things so that they'd be seen in context.
BRIAN: You asked. I'm sure you'll flame me for my opinions, but they are what they are. You just have the attitude that the government shouldn't tell me what to do, but they should tell everyone else what they should do. That bothers me. Also, that one shouldn't judge another, yet you do everytime you post to the list. If I know you well enough, you judge everyone you meet (as do I). There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong, is not being allowed to judge what is wrong for oneself. Being told you may not. That is wrong. I'd really love to write an entire book on what I think is wrong, but I must go now. I look forward to your flame. I'm sure it will come.
My response to that, one pair of emails later, was:
JT: I think you may see by now that the above is a bit inaccurate. As for judging, I refer to sitting in judgement, feeling your way of things is the ONLY "right" way. You read me inaccurately if you feel I'm saying I feel you don't have the right to determine for yourself what you do in your life. What I *am* saying is that everyone has the right to self-determination, and that others have no right to impede them in doing so in any fashion.
Thus began the following debates:
BRIAN: Politics: How you could vote for a man who is most probably a felon, rather than a man who gave his right arm(literally) for his country is beyond me. It just goes to show you are persuaded more by someone's charisma than their character.
JT: I don't see how losing an arm in battle makes one a better candidate for the job of President. Much has been made of that by Dole and his campaign staff. But there are thousands of men who've lost a limb or been hurt while in the military. Should they all be considered better candidates because of it? Personally, I see nothing glorious in war and think only a fool wouldn't try to avoid it. (That's not to say I'm a pacifist.) I'm not saying Dole rushed headfirst into it. His injuries were sustained in a World War, and WWII was something worth fighting for. Whether or not Clinton is a felon remains to be seen. I watched all of the debates and, had Dole done more revealing of specifics on how he planned to do what he promised and less attacking his opponent, I might have been able to vote for him. As it was, he did not. And after 30-some years in political office, I felt he was part of why things are as they are today. So I made my choice. If a better candidate had been available, I would have chosen that person. In the final analysis, it came down to the lesser of two evils for me, as I said on the homepage. But then again, I believe Nixon did a good job, Watergate or not. *I* only care about how the man does the job he's hired for, and if Charlie Manson could turn this country around, I'd give him the job, but make damned sure he stayed locked in the Oval Office the whole time! :)
BRIAN: I'm not saying you should have voted for Dole because he lost his arm in battle. It just goes to prove the charater he has. I wouldn't vote for Clinton for dog catcher. In a recent survey, over 80% when asked if they would go into business with Clinton said no. Yet, they voted for him.
JT: Brian, how does losing an arm in battle constitute a display ofcharacter? I see it shows how a bullet injures a man, but character?
BRIAN: Losing an arm in and of itself does not show character. Realizing there is a greater good than yourself and responding to your countries call does. We will probably never agree on this. Dole is a man of character, Clinton is not.
JT: I don't know Clinton OR Dole from the man in the moon. Who know, they may BOTH be frauds, if enough digging were done. After all, they _are_ politicians.:)
BRIAN: Sexuality: I don't think you and I will ever agree here. Suffice today, a relationship should be between a man and a woman. Not a man and a sheep, monkey or another man. Find where the AIDS virus actually came from, and you'll find a man doing a monkey. Sick.
JT: A man doing a donkey? I've seen nothing to support THAT idea. But the point of my position is that it's between the two CONSENTING individuals, and why should I care or have an opinion on it so long as I'm not an unconsenting party to the act? There are still people today who feel as loathesome about interracial couples as you do on this subject. Perhaps you're even one of them. Nevertheless, and keep in mind, what I'm saying is that just as you don't want to be told who you can or cannot sleep with, no one else should be telling others what they cannot/must not/should not do there either.
BRIAN: The AIDs virus is a natural part of a monkey's (not donkey's) physiology. Man caught it from them. That is pure science, nothing I made up. I could just never accept anything else as normal. Interracial marriages are no problem for me. Intersexual are.
Aside from JT: I note that so longhe has no problem with something,
it's acceptable.This implies that only what some one man has no
problem withis acceptable,while other ways are inherently wrong.
We still have a long way to go towards tolerance.
JT: It appears that monkeys have something in their physiology which defeats the HIV virus. There is no other correlation between the Green Monkeys you refer to and AIDS. It's a virus. Asper is a spore. Shit happens.
BRIAN: Monkey's do have something in their physiology that defeats AIDS. The correlation lies in that a man got AIDS from, in your words, fucking a monkey. Maybe God, destiny, or whatever runs the universe decided when man got that sick, it was time to end things.
JT: Or maybe... it has NOTHING to do with men doing it with any other species, but is just some mutation. Perhaps the _only_ correlation between the two is that they've both had HIV introduced into their systems. Neither of us knows. I really don't care. I just want as few people to die of disease as possible, however it was contracted. Then again, I was going to be a physician at one time...
BRIAN: Family Values: Why is it that you anti-family people always try to force on everyone that they must accept whatever you do without question. If I am your employer and want to offer you and your "partner" benefits, so be it. If I don't, who is the government to tell me I must. Why do you think it is your right to take money from my pocket and use it (for) something I (don't) believe in. This is what recognizing non-traditional marriages would do. Noone is making it illegal to offer those benefits, just not illegal to not offer them.
JT: You're presuming that I'm ANTI-family. Not at all. I love my family dearly, and wish they were stronger, better to each other. Try to follow me here: "Benefits" are part of a worker's compensation for his efforts; part of one's paycheck. You work for x$ per hour, and health insurance, sick days, etc. The lump sum is your compensation for your labor. When you sign your wife and kids up for insurance, you're only taking that which is part of your compensation, you're not getting a "bonus" from your employer. It's part of why you took the job, and part of your pay. Now _you_ tell _me_ why someone who's doing your same job shouldn't be getting paid as well as you are? Wouldn't you think that to pay one man one thing and another man another for the exact same job within the same company would be unethical? I don't attack Family. But I do defend the concept that all men deserve to be paid and treated equally. It is the job of the government to ensure that they are.
BRIAN: You take the money you earn from your employer as free money. That money is paid to you by the employer for services rendered. Benefits are a part of that.
JT: I certainly do not take it as free money. It's MY money, I worked for it, and it's mine. Benefits are not something a company does out of the goodness of their heart. It is an aspect of compensation, offered as a base-pay to all full-time employees of that company. In other words, it's agreed when you start there that you get Benefits plus x$/period.
BRIAN: Do you think all employers should be responsible for providing benefits for everyone? I think we would differ here.
JT: Of course not. But if they agree to provide such-and-such benefits to all employees, then they must do so to ALL employees. If you started a job and they agreed to pay you $10.00 an hour, for example, would you not object if they only paid you $8.50?
BRIAN: If I started a job and agreed to pay me $10 an hour and payed me 8 instead I would be mad. If I agreed to work for benefits for myself and my wife, then told the employer they had to provide it for me, my wife, my neighbor, my homosexual lover, and the Green Monkey I'm entertaining on the weekends, who would be mad then?
JT: On that one, then a single man who gets married shouldn't be eligible for benefits for his spouse either. Point is, we both know the only reason why Alternate Lifestyles aren't getting benefits is because the people hiring them don't approve of those lifestyles, and because their employers can get away with it. Tell me, how would you feel if your employer were to discover that you were a falconer and start treating you differently, negatively, because of it? You'd tell him it was none of his business what you do on your off time. And if he disapproved of our sport so severely that he pulled your family's health insurance? Remember, you can't quit, cause you need the job, and most all places feel that way. Now, tell me what you'd do and feel. If you say you'd stop flying hawks, I'd say "But you shouldn't HAVE to - it's none of his business." If you say you'd find another place of employment, remember the condition that 95% of the employers feel that way. What you'd do then, if you could, is sound your trumpet against the wall until they stopped treating you that way over something that is none of their business in that it has nothing to do with your job. An apt anology, I think. You COULD stop practicing falconry, I suppose...
BRIAN: I think an employer pays an employee, benefits included, based on that employees worth to the company. Not everyone who does a job gets paid the same. What about someone who has been with the employer longer, or works for a different employer doing the same job. Should everyone be paid the same regardless? No, I don't think so.
JT: I said the same job. Obviously, if you've got experience, you're not doing the same job. More to the point, see Base above.
BRIAN: If you have a situation where an employer isn't covering your needs, it is your personal responsibility to find one that does, not the employers to change what is offered.
JT: And there are neighborhoods where "colored" folk can live. Same logic. What we're talking about is the right of every American citizen to be treated fairly and equally. A man shouldn't HAVE to go find a company that will pay him the same as everyone else who's in a "traditional" lifestyle. As an American, he should be guaranteed that equal treatment.
BRIAN: Equal treatment? What if company A was paying $10 an hour, and company B $8 an hour. Should company B be made to pay more? I think not. The employee would have to find the company that pays what he need, and fits his needs. Same logic applies to benefits. Companies pay married people more than single people all of the time. If you are married, and your child is ill, you can have 12 weeks off. Unpaid of course, but as a single person, as for 12 weeks off. You won't get it.
JT: Correct, the way the law is now, you wouldn't. I'll reasonably assume you love your spouse. She and your children are the most important things in the world to you, right? And you feel that way about them no matter who approves or disapproves. If your parents didn't approve of her, your _parents_, even, they'd just have to get over it. Now let's say that you have this love but, for whatever reason, you aren't legally married to the woman. She becomes ill or is hurt in an accident. Your boss says "Hey, she's not your wife. Tough luck, pal, you show up for work or you're fired." It wouldn't take you more than half a second to tell him what he could do and be headed out the door. You'd make that choice, if forced to. Point is, we're talking PEOPLE here, not statistics, or Preferences, or Alternative Lifestyles, but human beings who feel and care just as deeply as you do. Only a total shit would interfere with that bond because he didn't approve (of the nature of the relationship) or just because he would get away with it. And if you can't see THAT aspect of being human, compassionate, Christian, then you have no concept what any of those terms means.
BRIAN: There are companies out there that offer benefits for non-traditional lifestyles. My problem is you would have the government enforce a set of morals on someone;*** something you profess to dislike. Where does that stop. My neighbor may not have insurance, should my employer cover them. How about my parents, siblings, well you can see where I am going.
JT: I did follow ya, Brian. I think the problem here is in us not agreeing that Benefits are an aspect of compensation. If you still think they're not... If one's employer were not paying benefits, taxes, insurances, etc., on the employee, wouldn't they have more $ available to pay them more money? If no company offered insurance, wouldn't they have to pay more across the board so that the employee could afford his own insurance? Thus, I say it's an aspect of compensation. What YOU'RE saying, then, is that a man who doesn't want to work for a company who pays married people more than he pays single people should work elsewhere. It may be practical, but it's not Right.
BRIAN: In your closing, you make my point exactly. Noone has the right to impede on someones right, employers and companies included. We can, however make judgements of those decisions that are made. If I decided it is not moral to have a relationship with the same sex, who is to tell me I must pay for their benefits.
JT: If you decide it's not right FOR YOU to have a same-sex relationship, or a relationship with a member of the opposite sex out of legally recognized wedlock, it's your decision. But who can tell someone else, directly or by punative behavior, that they can't/shouldn't, etc.?
BRIAN: There are inequities in life.
JT: Yes, and it's our responsibility as members of a society to do what we can to change that fact.
BRIAN: You must be responsible for finding what works for you rather than changing everyone else to meet your needs. Those who want to change everyone else are just whining instead of taking responsibility for themselves and finding other work. I know you'll probably disagree with me, but the minimum wage is the same thing.
JT: Strangely enough, I think minimum wage is bullshit. If people refuse to work for it, there's no problem. And if all a company can afford to pay is $3.10 an hour and a man wants to work for that, then it's none of anyone's business. Unfortunately, the rest of our disagreements aren't as uncomplicated as that.
BRIAN: (Referring to an employer being mandated to pay benefits to people in Alternative Lifestyles:) Then who is forcing their beliefs on who. If you want to run your business that way, then good for you. I would choose not to, and wouldn't want you telling me I must. That is what freedom is all about.
JT: Freedom is an ideal, as is fairness. As you pointed out, the world isn't fair. And as Garth Brooks and several others have pointed out, only when all of us are free will any of us truly be free.
BRIAN: I can decide if I want someone who is in a relationship I disapprove of to do business with me. I can decide to do business with whomever I like (unless the PC police find me).
JT: You CAN go murder the guy down the street, but that doesn't mean you should.
BRIAN: Plain and simple, it is my business and I should be allowed to run it, succeed or fail. If I don't want to pay those benefits, I shouldn't have to.
JT: Again, the point is that you DON'T. You merely write the check. It's not YOUR insurance, it's the employee's.
BRIAN: I also wouldn't pay for an insurance plan that covers abortion. Should I have to? Pay for what I believe is murder?
JT: You've got me in a Catch-22 on that one. I believe the fetus should be carried to term and adopted out if the mother doesn't want it. Then again, I believe our adoption system needs improvement. On the other hand, there's the "If you don't believe in abortion, then don't have one" arguement. You say you shouldn't pay for the abortion insurance. Tell me, since you won't pay for that because you think it's murder, will you put your money and home where your mouth is and provide those unwilling mothers a place to stash their children?
My final analysis on abortion ended up being that an unwanted child is often abused, at least emotionally, which amounts to ruining at least two lives. Accordingly, I had to go along with that if we can't trust 'em with a choice, we probably couldn't trust 'em with a child either.
One might also ask, since you're bunnyhugging on this issue, if there's any difference between a condom and an abortion.
Cutting the sarcasm from the above, seriously now, do you feel a teenage girl should be ruining or radically altering the rest of her life for the sake of an unborn fetus? If it was your daughter, (and don't say it wouldn't be, happens to the best of families,) would you want to see both of your hopes and aspirations go down the tube over it?
In many of these subjects, it's all too easy to declare Right and Wrong in a circumstance when we're not in the middle of that trauma. As I said, I believe people are, overall, just trying to do the best they can to be happy. We have every right, perhaps it's even our obligation, to try to get them to see a "higher" perspective on the issues when we feel they're going the "wrong" way. But we have NO right to judge them or to interfere with their decisions. If we do, we must also be willing to step up and take on the consequences of our imposed will, providing them with viable alternatives. Otherwise, we're telling a man he must not steal while his only alternative is to starve.
BRIAN: Environment: How, as a falconer, can you say to the government "stay out of my life" even though you do impact the environment, even in a small way when you tell them to make sure they stay in the lives of others who do. Major corporations would be much more environmentally concious if we, as the consumer, would not buy their products if they weren't than by some bureacrat telling them to be. It is hypocritical. I also find it hard to believe you would crucify technology here and extoll going back to indian ways, while encouraging the use of GPS?
JT: I think alot of this comes from you extending what I say beyond that which I've actually said. You just suggested that major corps. would be more environmentally conscious if we didn't buy their products until they were. I'd like to agree with that. In a practical world, though, it just doesn't fly. Why not? Example: McDonald's got caught with their pants down a few years back. They were stamping all of their packaging with the Recycle symbol, but it wasn't recycled material at all! Dolphin-safe labelling is another example. Point is, big corps can TELL us ANYTHING and we, the public, have no way of knowing the truth unless someone inside that corporation spills the beans on them. It's wonderful to think people would be that noble, but in the real world, a man who needs to keep his job isn't about to cut his throat over something that noble. Those who would are few and far between, and even if they did, they might never be heard by most of the public. So we hire the government to make sure the powerful corps are being straight-up.
BRIAN: Environment sum up: Actually, when I am out hunting, I pick up other people's garbage all of the time. I just don't want someone telling me I must.
JT: I don't doubt that you do. And I'm not saying you must. I'm onlystating what will happen to us all if we don't.
BRIAN: Tuna: Everyone asks about Dolphin safe tuna, but who asks the tuna how it feels about that.
JT: No doubt. Are you suggesting that we all become vegetarians? Wonder how the plants feel about that. Difference is that tuna are dim creatures and while they may very well have the same instinct for survival as every other living thing, they aren't self-aware, and THEIR school isn't going to grief, not even for an instant, over the loss of a member of their family. Moreover, we're not even eating the dolphins.
BRIAN: I am not suggesting we become vegetarians, just that we be truthful. Dolphins, although cute and probably smart, are not human. We need to draw the line somewhere. The question is where. I draw it at human and non-human. You draw it a little lower. And, if you have dogs, you know that dolphins are not the only animal to feel a loss when an animal from their pack dies. Still, they are not human. Dogs are killed by cars, yet we don't outlaw cars. I'm not trying to say to kill dolphins intentionally, just to not make such a big deal out of a few who are killed incidently. We need to do everything we can to stop it, but it will still happen. Death is a part of life. So is predation, including human predation.
JT: Sure. But if they were killing dogs at the rate of 167 per day toprocess tuna, it would have stopped long ago. But a good portion of the reason I include it in my webpage is to alert the public, especially those who do care about dolphins, to the fact that the Dolphin Safe labelling is a scam.
BRIAN: Labeling is a scam everywhere. I'm sure there are 167 dogs killed a day on roads across America, yet no one outlaws driving.
JT: Yeah, but nobody's saying that they've adopted a program whereby cars are Dog-Safe either. This is about people being specifically and intentionally misled to believe something that's untrue.
BRIAN: Its a terrible thing, incidental kills, but it happens and all the bunny hugging in the world isn't going to stop it.
JT: I don't hug bunnies, I let my hawks do that for me. They're VERY affectionate to the little furballs.:)
Seriously, though, if there was a car that cost $1.00 more a month and didn't kill dogs, most people would buy it, right? Cause they care $1.00 a month worth for dogs. All I'm doing is letting people know that the lie is going on, and urging them to spend the $1.00 a month not to run over other creatures.
BRIAN: If I decide to eat tuna (which I don't) with a little dolphin in it, who is to tell me that is wrong.
JT: If I buy a slave, mistreat an animal, starve my hawks, beat my wife... who is to tell me I am wrong? A student rises to the least expectation of his teacher. It's up to all of us to show each other where we err.
BRIAN: As soon as you give the government an inch, they take a mile. When they came for the trappers I said nothing because I was not a trapper. When they come for me, who will speak?
JT: MY point exactly. Some of these things don't have any direct bearing on my life. But injustices must be fought, wherever they are found. And I'm told the keyboard is mightier than the sword. :)
BRIAN: On Friends and future generations: Only a poor student rises to the least expectation of his teachers. Someone who truly wants to learn, does so regardless of anyone's expectations.
JT: Agreed. This wasn't to us as Students, it was to us as Teachers, and to demonstrate a concept: If we accept mediocrity, we will most certainly receive nothing more.
BRIAN: On Life in General: I'll actually agree with you here. I rely on noone, expect nothing from anyone, and blame only myself when something doesn't work out.
JT: Well, there's that one, at least.:) After you read this, I think you may find we're not as far apart as you'd thought.
CLOSE THE WINDOW - IT'S GETTIN' COLD IN HERE!
(There is no exit link)