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Free To Move Around In This Pure Cage: Moral Exhibitionism

by on October 17, 2011

 ‘In the last resort, the conservative position rests on the belief that in any society there are recognizably superior persons whose inherited standards and values and position ought to be protected and who should have a greater influence on public affairs than others.’—F.A. Hayek’s ‘Why I am not a Conservative.’

Feeding off the rage from typing the last piece on illusory bi-partisan politics, I feel I should elucidate a fundamental problem that is eroding this country from the inside- moral exhibitionism.

From gay marriage to drug policy, the conservative position has been one of archaically justified barriers. One must revel in the paradox that the conservative is the champion of the second amendment which grants individuals the right to keep and bare arms, meanwhile, to consume a natural plant in the privacy of one’s own home is just too terrible to imagine. This latter point becomes even more explicit when you consider the importance that conservatives give to the notion of ‘private property.’ Now, to really drive this point home I’ll provide an example. Just this last Friday I purchased yet another commentary book on the 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and upon buying it and taking it home I could read it, burn it, cook it, urinate on it, throw it up against the wall, mark all over it with any number of colorful ‘tools.’ The reason for this is that it has become my private property. With the conservative position, this simply won’t do. They mean to tell me that I can own my own land, keep and maintain dangerous weapons, but to, for example, partake of a substance which grows naturally on this planet in the privacy of my home is just too absurd a notion to even consider.

I have already touched on the translation problem in the Old Testament where ‘homosexuality’ is condemned but let’s examine the subject a bit further. Now, even though liberal democrats don’t seem too  eager to help, the conservative actually insists on using pseudo-scientific terms from the 70’s when discussing homosexuality- ‘pathological,’ and a ‘behavioral disorder’ usually come to mind. Thus, such brainwashing fascist camps such as Exodus sprout all over the country.  Without any scientific/medical research, these groups and other imbeciles truly believe that homosexuality can be ‘cured’- which is obviously implying that it is a fault to begin with. What’s even more interesting is that it is almost routine from the right that homosexuality is interpreted as a choice….yet, who in their right mind would ‘choose’ to be so ‘sick’? Now, for it to be a choice to begin with, this is going to imply moral agency, yet, we find homosexuality in the animal kingdom where there is no real moral agency- this paradox remains unaddressed.

Nonetheless, the argument provided in favor of moral exhibitionism comes from a blurring of individual freedoms and social cohesion. In response to being able to partake of any number of activities in the privacy of my house, the reply that comes includes the necessity of having stop signs and cross walks and enforcing the adherence to what purpose they serve. Yet again, conservatives miss the point. When John Stuart Mill pinpoints freedom lying in the ability to do what one wants as long as he/she isn’t harming somebody else or infringing on their liberty- this does not include a stop sign or a traffic light.

In fact, in many respects, our current legal system illustrates this distinction. For example, I am perfectly able to have sex, masturbate, drink alcohol, etc. in the privacy of my home- yet, I can’t do any of these activities in a public park….and there is a reason for this which should not need explaining.

Whether the conservative wants to cite religion or traditionalism (which is going to be rooted in religion), the justification in legislating morality is nothing but a bullying tactic for uniformity. That is to say that there is nothing wrong with being religious for example- but to objectify one’s subjective belief and subject all to its rules is akin to practices in today’s Iran. A further example of the aforementioned distinction may help to illustrate the notion of individual freedom vs. social cohesion. I have quite visible tattoos and many may not like their depictions or not like tattoos in general- and this is fine for in a free society there are going to be things one view which is disagreeable to one’s own morals. I, in fact, hate reality television and sure, sometimes I imagine being the ruler and outlawing them and sending the participants to a secluded island where they can ‘act’ in ‘reality,’ but why should others live to my whims? Sure, these and other shows perpetuate stupidity and trends, but if I want to have my tattoos then it seems that there are going to be things that I don’t personally agree with but in the end, they don’t really ‘hurt’ anyone, no one is forcing me to watch them, the participants and viewers are voluntary, etc.

Moral exhibitionism is the antithesis of a free society, the antithesis of democracy, and the absolute antithesis to any sort of enlightenment, cultural understanding. In fact, it is moral exhibitionism that encourages all sorts of prejudices and stereotype loathing.

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From → Philosophy, Politics

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