Thursday, 24 December 2009

Round and Round

I am trapped in an infinite loop, and there doesn't appear to be an acceptable escape subroutine.

I love writing philosophical essays. They make my brain feel good. But a while back, early in the morning (as in *ahem* before I went to bed), I had to argue against granting elective amputation to people with BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder). All was going well until I stumbled over the argument, "Yes, because people have a right to make their own decisions. They should be granted autonomy."

My first thought to counter that was people with BIID are irrational and so must be protected from themselves.

But then I thought that atheists think Christians are irrational, and we sure wouldn't want them to use that as a reason to take away our autonomy.

But then I thought that suppose a man is running around stark naked in the street because he believes he'll go to hell if he doesn't? Is it wrong to intervene then?

So I decided to allow nude men on the street. Clearly that will appall many people, but he's not hurting anyone. But what if he starts propositioning people? Freedom of speech would allow him to do that, doesn't it? So long as he doesn't force the issue?

But the response could be equally offensive. If people don't adhere to certain standards, then there's mayhem. It'd be practically anarchy and someone would eventually take control of the situation. And then we're back to making rules!

So let's skip the nudity and make rules to being with. The only fair way to do this would be to use the democratic process. But suppose that the democratic decision is to put all Christians in psych wards or make a switch to an authoritarian model of government? Can you overthrow democracy in order to maintain democracy? Does that even WORK?

Naturally, we could skip the democracy and supposed freedom altogether. That would be a bit more stable, but eventually there would be a revolt, which would naturally lead to a (short) period of anarchy.

And so it goes like this:George Orwell came up with a possible out in his book, 1984, but even if it would work, it would end up in a state of perpetual Big Brother, and not one of perpetual freedom. So what's left?

The only good way I see out of this loop is like this. You have to go out of phase on an angle tangential to politics and philosophy, which of course, while good as a theory, still leaves the question of how to apply it:
Aha! Yes! If everyone just loved God and loved their neighbour, then rules would be a moot point.

...But then I thought that I'm only supposed to argue for not allowing doctors to chop healthy limbs off people. And I still don't know how to argue it.

Sigh.

P.S. Merry Christmas! Happy birthday, Jesus!

P.P.S. Heal up fast, Judith! Thank God you're safe. My thoughts and prayers with you *hugs*.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley

5 comments:

Bri said...

Nice, I love your diagrams! They add a nice touch. I have to read George Orwell sometime before going back to school, and it's too bad you missed Intro to Politics with Marco.

Bri said...

Oh, and also, you're love God and your neighbor as yourself theory really is a good solution. I used the latter part as my thesis in my poli sci paper on foreign ownership and free trade. A+!

Bri said...

OOPS! I mean "your" not "you're."
Heh. This is the last comment. Sorry if you get so excited over having 3.

Art said...

I have thought about political structures too and have come up with the same conclusions. Democracy will only work long term if people are willing to work for the common good. (ie. love their neighbor as themselves) Without God, I doubt that will ever happen.

Perhaps the reason there are no thriving Muslim democratic nations is that their religion is not based on love and respect of others.

I think if someone wants to remove a healthy limb, that person should be allowed to do so but not on a whim. I also don't think a doctor should be obligated to perform a procedure that contradicts his belief in "do no harm". I would question any doctor's motive that would be willing to do such a thing but even so, the patient should need to be counseled and be made to go through a "cooling off" period to ensure that the insane patient is fully aware of the long term ramifications of the request. The procedure should definitely not be covered by health insurance.

CavDawg said...

An interesting point I read in a piece of literature from Jehovah's Witnesses was that God allows men to make their own governments because He wants them to see that their own attempts at creating order from the chaos are inferior to what He created originally in Eden.

That is, of course, paraphrasing, and I hope I'm not doing them injustice. Nonetheless, I agree. I think all human governments-- while useful in their spheres--are poor imitations of what God's Kingdom promises.

I also take serious issue with the statement that Islam is not based on love or respect of others, as even casual study of their faith will reveal the opposite to be the case. Muslims were the world center of culture while European Christians were preoccupied with slaughtering each other during the Medieval Period. I'm not interested in delving into the subject here, but I suggest that it's dangerous to dismiss entire belief systems like that.