Monday, September 29, 2003

Jay has made good on his threats to start ranting again, and the 'net is a better place for it. His post today entitled "Sept. 11 begins to get clearer and clearer" has some things I agree with, and some things I disagree with. I was originally just going to respond in his guestbook, but I decided to be a prick and just turn his topic into a rant of my own. Nothing but quality here.

I think my credentials for being against the US pushing its beliefs and values on others is pretty well established. It's immoral, and if nothing else, impractical as it just creates more enemies for us and causes instability around the world.

That being said, however, just because something is "different," or tradition, or rule of law doesn't mean that it isn't still wrong. We live in a PC world that tells us to accept everything, but I don't think that means that we should just let people get away with harsh shit just because it's different without at least saying something about it. I know this is coming from my biased Western perspective, but having things like equality for women is just the right way to go, and I can't let people off the hook just because of religion.

Religion, of course, is what so much of this stems from. I was thinking about it today, and I realized that religion ruins more lives than... Anything. Not really a new fact, just one of those things that really strikes you when you actually articulate it.

I realize this is very dangerous territory to say that people should be willing to stand up for what they think is "moral", because that's what allows Christian fundamentalists to feel justified doing things like killing abortion doctors. There is no easy answer to the debate.

Still, though, can anyone who's had the opportunity to live in a free society (well, free for now, more or less) say that things like equality of the sexes isn't a good thing? Can any of us honestly say that these things aren't progress? Yes, of course, it's biased, because this is what we know and what we have lived with, but it's the best we can do in terms of objectivity.

I also agree that feminists often do take things too far, they can be hypocritical, and they can behave like fascists. All the while, lots of men are pigs. Those guys who are castrated for rape or molestation fucking deserve it, and I wouldn't mind seeing harsher, more barbaric punishments for those crimes here. Men get tons of shit - lots of it deserved, some of it undeserved. But you know what? Women and other minorities have faced tons more shit over the years, having faced awful discrimination which hasn't completely disappeared. People aren't up in arms over men being punished harshly because men have always had it so fucking good. While we're at it, relax white guys. The white male patriarchy isn't in danger of disappearing anytime soon. Let's cut the others some much deserved slack, but not so much that it becomes abused. It's time to start taking these changes in society like a man.

So what's the answer? I don't know. On one hand, I don't feel like we have any business dictating to other countries how to behave. Part of the problem is that even though I feel some people are right in their criticisms of others, they don't handle it in a very reasonable fashion. Anytime we go after someone else, it is with the condescending tone of "We're better because we're America." Some of the things that people like feminists are pushing for are the right things to do, but they go about it in the worst way possible. How can we work for what is right and for progress, while at the same time not being such fucking pricks about it? It's probably impossible, because we will most likely never have the credibility we need. However, we could probably start by at least acting more evolved if we're going to be telling people we're so evolved. Oh, then there's the fact that it's really hard to define what is truly "right" and "progressive" and to get everyone to agree on that.

On the other hand, I'm not ashamed to stand up and say that things like genital mutilation are just fucking wrong, and they are barbaric. Keep in mind that things flow both ways; these other countries consider us equally decadent and hell-bound for the things we do. Granted, they don't have the military might of the US to enforce what they want to enforce, but NOW doesn't exactly have its own air force to go and stop stonings and mutilations, either. In the end, we don't have right to tell others what to do, but that doesn't mean we can't form and express our opinions on the matter. Again, the door swings both ways.

Wouldn't it be neat if there was a supreme being to sort all this out for us? Well, there isn't. Or if there is, he is clearly not fucking helping. So we're on our own, and we're not doing a stellar job thus far.

I clearly have no answers on how to solve this conundrum, and I had better punt here before this really unravels.

No comments: