I must make sure that social media is a reflection of my life and not the substance.
- 7 Social Media Resolutions for 2014 (socialmediaclub.org)
I must make sure that social media is a reflection of my life and not the substance.
I love hound dogs. Always had em my whole life. Beagles, a Bassett hound Daschunds and now my Weimaraner. I love their perpetually sad eyes that only their wagging tails betray. I love their ubiquitous nose to the ground snooping. I love their distinctive yelps and howls.
The most endearing quality of hounds though that always warms my soul is when they do that high pitched “Snoopy” whine as they yawn.
If they flush a quail, fetch a duck or track a deer , that’s just icing on the cake.
The statement “All politics are local” applies less and less when we keep allowing bigger entities of government to do things lower entities should do. The most important entity of government should be the individual. It is now becoming the exact opposite. We must elect public servants who are humble enough to acknowledge this and are willing to cede the power of their office that their predecessors grabbed.
It will be a long and difficult fight against the machines that are in place, but it is the only war of recent memory truly worth fighting for.
If you call me a prude, I may take offense given the context. If you called me prudent, I would consider this high praise.
I am a libertarian. I believe in the basic good in people and their capacity for self governance. One credo I see bandied about in society these days is “Do whatever the heck you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” To a libertarian, this is the nominal condition for self governance beyond which societal restrictions at the hand of a hated and hopefully minimal authority would intervene. In other words, if “doing whatever you want” destroys other peoples property or infringes on their own pursuits, you have crossed a line where you will then be regulated by others.
However, there is a big difference in the context of “do what ever you want” to a libertarian and what is playing out in today’s society. There is a presumption to a libertarian that this credo represents protecting an individual’s right to realize his self potential in his own way and in accordance with his own beliefs. I don’t think our founders (although definitely not saints themselves) envisioned a society that is permeated with objectified sexuality, conspicuous hedonism, godlessness and general amoralism as the preferred end product of their labor and sacrifice. This is not what “do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else” means.
Let’s say your daughter or son is going out for the evening. Do you admonish them to “do whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone else?” No, of course not, You would want your child to be respectful of themselves and others and act in accordance with the morals and values that you raised them with.
If we would not want this behavior in our children, why then would we feel license to comport ourselves by the nominal parameters of the phrase “do what ever you want as long as you hurt nobody else” rather than the noblest interpretation as envisioned be lovers of liberty?
In the end, we all live in and are part of society. I’d rather live by the credo “do whatever I can to improve myself and thus help others “
I saw a meme stating that you don’t need faith, just empathy. It bothered me everytime I saw it but never actually rationalized my discomfort with the statement. Then I got to thinking…
Without a defined moral compass, empathy and the compassion that it would beg has no focus. Just being there and reflecting someone’s feelings may make a person “feel” understood, but it does nothing to help that person’s dilemma. Conversely, you can have someone empathize with you and then try to have you subscribe to a solution which has no positive effect for you or may exacerbate your problem.
I can empathize with someone who is in severe psychic distress. It may stem from a tragic incident, or hitting bottom from a destructive lifestyle or just frustration at a string of bad luck events. This person may express the desire to do something drastic to quell the pain, or may just want to do nothing and wallow in self pity. I have faced these situations before and can certainly empathize. But empathy alone does not help the individual.
That is where the certainty of faith comes in. There is a defined higher purpose rather than the tenuous guide of moral relativism that pervades secular humanism.
A good example (and this actually happens in Belgium I hear) euthanasia, can be an option for someone in the throws of a deep depression. It may certainly be understandable and easy to empathise with. I don’t know how many times I may have said or thought “If my wife or child died, I don’t know how I could go on living.” But people do go through it, they grieve and they continue living and they even find happiness again. It is my faith principal of the sanctity of human life that guides me in these matters. It guides my help to others and most importantly, it guides my perception of others in empathy. I would never suggest that a person in severe but surmountable psychic stress end their life, and more so, I would never aid or abet it.
I may empathize with the victim of a violent act. I may empathize with their anger and need for vengeance. However, my faith tells me that vengeance is wrong and that retaliation is a sin. Forgiveness is the key toward healing such an affront.
If I see someone who is angry or upset because they work very hard, but do not reap the same benefit as someone else, I may empathise with their disappointment and even their envy of the other person. A very empathetic feeling of “fairness” may make me want to take from the more fortunate and redistribute to the less fortunate. However, my faith tells me that this is theft. It is wrong even if many utilitarian justifications say it isn’t.
Empathy is not enough. It may incite very negative and counter productive reactions. Reason alone is not enough either for it denies the transcendent nature of the human spirit. Faith, moreso religion, in my case Christianity offers me the perspective and defines the spiritual so that I can not only empathize with another person, but can act in a consistent way out of true love and compassion.
In any case, empathy only comes when one’s own self interest is sidelined. One must humble oneself in order to place another’s emotions tantamount to oneself’s. The core of my faith is humility with the fact that all of us are as brothers and sisters. We are all flawed and yet loved beyond reason by a loving God. To seek God is to seek each other. It is the inherent selflessness of faith that runs counter to any natural empathy which rarely goes beyond familial or social bonds. My faith seeks out the enemy, the outsider, the stranger as my own brother, my own sister.
No, empathy is not enough. Not by a long shot.
I have seen many questions as to the groundswell of support for Phil Robertson regarding his suspension from “Duck Dynasty” by A&E. Also there is wonderment as to why this reaction is stronger than those relating to Paula Deen and Martin Bashir.
There was a lot of support for Paula Deen, not as much as for Phil Robertson, but that speaks more toward his popularity. Martin Bashir went on a scripted hate filled speech against one person. He is relatively obscure however and reactions to him proportionately so. Phil Robertson, however, is very popular. Many people relate to him as his story is one of redemption with his quirky but close family and his compelling rags to riches life adding to his entertainment value. It is Phil’s discovery and adherence to his deep and abiding faith that raised him from the depths of a destructive lifestyle. This faith cultivated, guided and sustained this interesting family. Many people turn to his example as witness to what faith can do in their own lives. Moreover, “Duck Dynasty” is the only reality TV series that is banal and lighthearted. It does not attract with the titillation and licentious back stabbing and scandalous behavior at the core of all too many other reality
TV shows. It speaks to the positive nature of humanity where people can relate to the Robertson family’s core strength and goodness rather than feeling superior to the seemingly trainwrecked lives of a bunch of selfish/licentious baffoons on other shows. A&E caved to pressure from an intolerant group. That is their right as well as the right of other networks in their actions to remove Paula Deen and Martin Bashir. Phil Robertson just expressed an honest but admittedly coarse query based on the tenets of his faith to a baiting and cynical interviewer with GQ. People can clearly see that and many view it as an attempt by some to defile and defame a basically good man. People see this cynicism and the resultant actions of A&E and intolerance to personal belief as a portent of what they may face if they express a personal opinion or belief. This is why Phil Robertson has struck such a massive and resounding chord.
Phil did not attack any one person or group. In fact, if you read his interview in total, he reflects the same message as Pope Francis as not being one to judge. He admits that he himself is a sinner and that he loves everybody else because they are also sinners. This is the basis of tolerance, but it is obviously intolerable to some.
I dare say that “Duck Dynasty” may very well outlast A&E.
I have finally relented and realized that my thoughts are better suited to this forum than other social media. I am an old dog learning new tricks. Please bear with me.