Re: How and Why We Are Stupid, Part 1

Call me peculiar, off base, unusual, unique, bad, good, silly or smart. But I say that we immerse ourselves in inherently contradictory viewpoints. We concentrate on opinion instead of solution. We

May 20, 1999 at 2:06 pm

Call me peculiar, off base, unusual, unique, bad, good, silly or smart. But I say that we immerse ourselves in inherently contradictory viewpoints.

We concentrate on opinion instead of solution. We hurt others in the name of what is right, even when they've done no harm. We use labels such as "impaired," "sinful" and "deviant" to initiate actions that serve the interests of a few while talking about the good of society. We continue to perpetuate alienation in our children, offering them a colder version of our world each day, but then look around for a cause for their problems everywhere other than our own society running on our own rules.

Here are some examples of our created dilemmas and problems: our fights.

Take abortion vs. right to life. When Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in the Roe vs. Wade decision, he did so painstakingly. Not only the wishes, benefits or whims of the mother were taken into account.

Rather, the "right" to an abortion would change with technology's ability to make a fetus viable at an earlier time. Without realizing this one fact, anyone debating abortion is being foolish. Most staunch right-to-lifers will insist on a no-abortion-whatsoever agenda but, when questioned closely, admit that stopping abortions after 30 days would greatly reduce the amount of abortions performed, moving closer to the "right" agenda. Pro-choice fanatics argue vehemently that any restriction threatens a women's control over her destiny and creates dangers, but even this rock-hard view can be reversed.

Take the following two options as an illustration: Abortion as one option. Option two is the location of the embryo by a special high resolution ultrasound, then non-traumatic removal and freezing of the embryo. Say the cost is the same, but the complication rate of embryo removal is far less than abortion. Every woman I've presented this to would opt for giving the frozen embryo up to a woman who wants to give birth. The right-to-lifers would be deprived of their argument that thousands are murdered each year because most abortions would be eliminated. Roe vs. Wade would change according to Blackmun's original prescription. Only certain abortions, when the mother's life becomes threatened for example, would be left. The extremists — those who think any abortion any time is OK, and those who would outlaw all interventions in fetal life, including birth control — hopefully would drift further into obscurity.

This is not to say that debate goes away. We now have to deal with embryo rights. Can embryos only be adopted? What about scientific uses? Which types of abortions, if any, are still acceptable? We now might have another dilemma, complete with a new body of law, embryo or premature life law, to help us. But, as a society, we will have progressed and expanded the options available to both women and moralists.

Failures to progress in this society, due mainly to rigidity of intellect, go on and on. Take the incessant arguing over school prayer. The very same people who argue for ultimate rights and non-manipulation of embryos seem to feel that schoolchildren, before high school or college, should be maximally pushed around. So, we face the prospect of duly teaching fourth- or fifth-graders that America is an enlightened "melting pot" of cultures while insisting that they all worship in one fashion.

Our society is oddly entrenched in the notion that young minds are so inflexible that they must be treated as primitives — manipulated — while it is somewhere in higher education that people become interested in subjects of whole learning such as comparative religion.

The choice of a religion is a matter of individual and family, and one reason our country formed. Instead of promoting a majority or a minority religion through more rules and coercion, we could teach those things that all religions want to teach. The consequences of hate, envy and greed in tangible terms. The world views of the human psyche and soul. The deeds of great religious figures. The spiritual viewpoints of those of long-suffering faith, such as Native Americans. Thus, we would be teaching the common trends of peace, good will, compassion and love. We also would be pointing at ways to transcend such things as religious persecution. Those who argue that schools have such a role at early ages should be satisfied. Those whose intention is to hang the ignorant heathen now would have no forum under the public trust.

The desire to inculcate a religion into schools to influence child development simply is one more example of a viewpoint that younger people are not whole people. We can't keep hoping, however, that the broad education and open forums in colleges will compensate for the perpetual and widespread attempts at behavioral conditioning, properly termed alienation, in first through eighth grade. As with the abortion fight, we have lost sight of our common human goals.

Children should feel safe, not only from physical danger, but from oppression. The real religion all too often in schools is one of competition, greed, get ahead at the expense of others and ironically don't stand out or be different from the programmed norm. Performance on very narrow lines is then enforced. Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, the more early school training is like jail, the more kids are learning to fight personal wars. And violent video games might show the way.

Our needless fights go on in numerous ways, but all have things in common. In not facing the effort needed to protect individual liberty while maintaining the common good, we ultimately blame certain groups or individuals for our problems. Often, at the same time, we elevate the desires of special interests, not contributing to our progress and safety, to institutional policy and even law.

It's not the abortion, folks, or even the abortionist. Rather, it's the society that creates the need for abortions beyond simple medical justification. It's not lack of prayer in schools or even in the communities at large that actually seem to be praying more than ever. Instead, it's the presentation of a world, cold and valueless in the face of an almighty dollar, less natural resources to back it up and more long-term competition for any space to breath.

Instead of finding solutions, we engage in persecution, often by church and state. Perhaps the 1960s law that placed the words "In God we trust" on all of our money should be rescinded, and the words placed back in the hearts of those inclined.

To the state then give the very few and specific jobs it should have. To the church give the decisions of its members. And keep both from shackling the hearts, minds and souls of those who would be free.