To me this is a good example of the thinking that could ultimately lead to the downfall of the U.S. as we know it.
An email written in 1984 on the harm that political polarization causes in America.
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Date: March 27, 1984 11:38
jeff boscole lives!!!! long may vacillating versimilitudes of veracity persist??!! SUNDAY night i watched a 60 minutes article on a minneapolis ordinance to define pornography as "... any material,printed or viewed, which portrays women as the subject of violence and domination by men, in a sexual context" ( not an exact quote) . Under this ordinance, purveyors of any material of this nature could be sued in civil court, for violating the civil rights of the person suing. During the ensuing "debate" between the A.C.L.U. representative and the proponents of the bill, I was impressed by how very sick and degraded our society has become. Keep in mind that the main thrust of this bill is against so-called "snuff films", magazines that show women tied up (naked) with guns to their heads,etc. etc. ad nauseum. this was not an ordinance against portrayal of non violent sex between consenting adults. it was not the old "moral major- ityitis" at work again. this ordinance was drafted by liberal,"rabid" feminist types that are clearly not a threat as far as general cencorship goes. Still, with all that , they actually found some idiot to get up and defend the "right of expression" of these perverts. the old "where will it end" argument was pulled out and waved in our faces once again. there was no reason- able debate of the specific merits of this particular bill, but silly generic debate on freedom of speech. To me this is a good example of the thinking that could ultimately lead to the downfall of the U.S. as we know it. I call it "fear of the grayzone", and it has been responsible for innumerable follies throughout history. let me point out a few other areas where this is a problem: 1) it is currently legal to abort a fetus up to the end of the 2nd trimester (~week 27) strictly as a matter of convenience, as opposed to medical necessity. on the other hand, it is possible to save a premature infant as early as the 24th week. this has lead to "wrongful life" suits when an abortion fails, the fetus lives, and is kept alive by new medical technology. a prime example of a gray area in action. but instead of dealing with a real problem, there will be an endless debate between those who see humanity in a lump of tissue called a fertilized egg, and those who thoughtlessly consider the womans right of selfdetermination as paramount, no matter the costs ethically. 2) in the current political debate on El Salavador, the right and the left wing in this country have been polarized to almost the same extent as the actual participants. the left refuses to see (potential or real) manipulation of a just cause by our enemies, and the right refuses to see death squads and massive political corruption in the current power elite of El Salvador. the invalid "black or white" political extrapolations from the politics of this country to the very different conditions of another country is a pattern that blinds us to any valid considerations of how the gray areas in the politics of the other country need to be addressed. we need to break this pattern lest the intolerance each side associates with in the other countries politics feed back to our political arena and start a violence cycle in this country. it will do us no good if the conservatives in this country are percieved as nascient fascists by the left and the liberals are percieved as leninist symps by the right. we need to appreciate the culture of "tolerance of the gray area" that still persists in this country despite our stupid neglect. 3)etc there are examples in almost every aspect of life and 4)etc i don't want to go on too long. THE POINT is that our society is a finely tuned and balanced system, it is not purely one way or the other. this is the thing we value about our country. trying to impose rigid thought systems on a such fluidity just leads to distortions. THAT INCLUDES the rigid thought that there are no reasonable bounds on the types of thoughts and actions that can be portrayed publically. for a society to exist there is a "least common denominator", an intersection of ethics and morality that all people in that society need to agree on as the public morality. I contend that a society that hasn't the nerve to resist incursions into this area of commonality by violent perverts and deviants that can't resist an illgotten buck has too feeble a claim on existance and will soon (within a century or so ) degenerate into fascistic moral repression, or break into total anarchy. p.s. for those of you inclined to psuedo-mathematics I have formulated SHERMAN'S LAW OF MORAL MULTIPLICATIVITY: m1*m2*m3*m4*m5*m6.....*mN<=S<<<
>>>>>>>>>>>> p.p.s. hint: S is not equal to 42.
Mar 27, 1984