…and mine is none of yours.
Look, to reword and rework a tired, old phrase: morality begins at home. Morals and belief systems, as well as the personal behaviors to which they lead, are…well…personal. They are — and should be! — the intimate, immediate decisions only of the individual involved.
No one else need have input. Hell, no one else should have input. My morality — or the occasional lack thereof — is none of your business, thank you very much.
And that “no one else” goes double — goes ten freaking times — for the government! It is no business of the government’s what, or who, I do. Or how…or why…etc… Fill in your own damned blanks on that one.
Okay, let me back away from the confrontational and shoot for the rational…
I am a pretty moral guy. Yes, I drink too much. Yes, I cuss too much. Yes, I’m a cynical asshole. But…I don’t do drugs (anymore), I don’t steal, I don’t lie (much…and no, those pants DON’T make your butt look big!), nor do I rape, pillage or otherwise live a pirate’s life.
My stories aside, I’m actually pretty fucking normal.*
*My definition of “normal” may differ pretty significantly from yours, but…no harm, no foul.
But I live that “normal” life from choice, not because someone told me to. Hell, just about every time someone TOLD me to do something, I did pretty much the exact opposite. I’m not, it should be said, a terribly good follower.
I choose to be good, to be — in most senses of the word — moral. I make a choice to which I am neither commanded nor compelled. I CHOOSE TO.
And that makes a difference.
Every time a government — any government, take your pick from history — has tried to legislate morality, it has failed spectacularly. And it always will fail because normal, everyday people know and understand just what the limits should be, and those limits do not include telling us what we should and should not do.
Now, what got me to thinking about this?
Yep, you guessed it: more Roy Fucking Moore (again).
Beyond his need to grope teen-age girls, that asshole — judge or not — threw aside any semblance of legality and liberty with his statement that homosexuality should be illegal. He went so far as to imply that gays and lesbians should, beyond just jail, potentially face the death penalty.
What are we, Saudi Arabia?
Look, I’m a straight white guy: I have nothing to fear from people like Moore. But, many, many friends (and relatives) DO have things to fear from people that want to deny them their rights and their liberties. Hell, people that want to deny them their lives.
From a religious point-of-view I get it, I really do. Religious folks, especially Evangelicals, have very real problems and reservations in this area.* Fine, no problem. Your beliefs, like my morals, are your business. BUT, when you decide to start inflicting those beliefs on other people, THEN we have a problem…a very real, and very serious, problem.
*I understand these — I don’t agree with them in even the smallest way, but I do understand.
Then again, those folks seem to have all kinds of problems that they want to “help” with, things like: drinking, dancing, listening to music, watching movies/TV, science, history, education, the list goes on and on.
Honestly, I am NOT attacking these folks. I have far too many friends and family members to whom the label “Evangelical” applies to condemn them, just like I have far too many LGBT friends and relatives to condemn THEM. All I ask is that both sides let the other live in peace.
That, in the end, is the bottom line of my libertarianism: you leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone. Call it the Revised Golden Rule for the Truly Cynical.
Now, that does cut both ways: when the LGBT folks attack those Christians who do not toe the line, it can be just as bad as what the Evangelicals want to do to them. Neve forget that tolerance is NOT the same thing as approval, and it never should be.
To put another spin on it: I’m a slut. I’ll sleep with any girl that will give me the time of day. My relationships have all ended as major disasters anyway, so why bother with the whole “get to know you” thing? Now, I don’t ask anyone to approve of my lifestyle — hell, I’m not sure I approve of it! — but I damn well do expect you to tolerate it.
See the difference?
Evangelicals: you don’t have to approve of anyone else’s lifestyle, of the “sinners”, but you damn well DO have to tolerate other individuals’ right to live the way they choose.
“Sinners”: YOU don’t have to approve of the Evangelicals, but you DO damn well have to respect TREIR right to live and believe what and how they choose.
It’s called Freedom of Conscience, folks…and it means a great deal.
Folks who have been reading this blog for a while know I have a real problem with how regular folks lack voices and input into society today. To be blunt, about the only control we do have is in our own lives, and how we choose to live is far too important to let someone else — anyone else — dictate and control. That applies to other individuals just as much as to governments.
Focus on your own choices, and your own life, and let everyone else live theirs.* That is the foundation of a free and just society.
*And, no, I am not an absolutist in any sense of the word — there IS right and wrong in the world. Rape, violence, and the corruption of power (power of all stripes) ARE immoral and wrong from ANY perspective.