This is "Loving Your Brother?"
posted Feb 22, 2004 at 07:05PM
(Note: This letter to the local newspaper was written sometime in late 90's. The name "Prescott" replaces the orignal real name in the letter.)
Man's struggle out of the slime has been an arduous one. When one reads Jack Prescott's letter about his brother, one can see why Like most minority groups, I suspect gays simply want to have basic human rights, without having to compromise their true nature. The fact Jack Prescotts compares his brother to a goat shows that there is work yet to be done.
Mr. Prescotts is in good company. Jews were considered sub-human. Blacks were once considered beasts, women considered chattel and common property. This was a prevailing view only 50 years ago, a time when, yes, gay rights also seemed ridiculous. Mr. Prescotts strikes me as being one of those deformed "conservatives" who would love to bring back that status quo, the glorious "traditions" of that time. Mr Prescotts should note however that when push comes to shove, ethical people, which includes true conservatives, are not afraid to bomb cities, to send out the National Guard or to burn bras until the stench of Playtex fills the air, to resist such evil and fight for the cause of basic human decency. He may choose his battles as he desires, but his side does not have a good track record.
Mr Prescotts uses the fear-mongering tactic of stating how these efforts for liberty and equality of rights, under the guise of compassion, enlightenment and tolerance creates havoc in advanced nations. Hasn't Mr. Prescotts ever noticed that it is only countries without these qualities that are backwards. How he must squeeze his eyes to avoid a reality that is so blatantly obvious. Basic human and sexual liberty are a fundamental building block for societies to advance. It assures people the freedom to take risk, to use their imagination, to create and to grow. Sex is an affirmation of life in all of its complexity and diversity. Remember the Jurassic Park film? "Life finds a way. It breaks through boundaries, violently if necessary and there you have it".
The belief that sex is inherently evil and must be constrained within a narrow ideologically correct band, is common only to groups, wether they be left wing Dworkinite feminists, fanatics under the guise of religion, and right wing Nazis, whose base character and natural instincts are to restrict, to categorize, to impede ....to destroy.
Mr. Prescotts must gnash his teeth over the events of the last twenty-five years. They have seen a veritable explosion of human rights and sexual liberties for minorities, women and gays. Gnash his teeth because this period has coincided with the greatest growth in prosperity ever realized in history. It is a period in which the "decadent" west has gained a dominance in spheres military, economic, technological, and cultural that is utterly complete. This generation has successfully built upon the efforts of prior generations . However, unlike the much ballyhooed "greatest generation" of fifty years ago, this "self-indulgent, egotist" generation did not need to bomb half the planet into rubble to make it easy to get those growth numbers, to stimulate technological innovation, or gain an awareness of the need for progressive social policy.
I have learned that advanced countries keep on advancing only when an enlightened, educated populace has faith in its own abilities, in its capacity to handle the complexity and diversity of the real world around them, and to apply ethical principles to the real-life circumstances that face them.
Case in point. As every sane man knows the requirement for children to have caring parents is fundamental pillar of family values. On one side you have a group of abused kids with no parents and who are eating up tax dollars. On the other side you have a group of people who are dying to give these kids a good home and loving environment. You have two options: A Get these two parties together - kids are better off, adults are now too busy to get into trouble and saved public funds can now be put towards getting the Armoured Corps some tanks which don't have cracks in their hulls the size of the Grand Canyon.
Or you can keep kids in foster homes, turn the adults into a bunch of militant activists and tell the Armoured Corp that they'll be receiving the state of the art in throwing spears.
There are tough ethical issues facing our society but this one is a no-brainer. The fact that Mr. Prescotts would choose the latter course shows that he is a slave to an ideology totally divorced from any ethical structure. Blind faith in ideology is the crutch you use when you are not able to handle the reality around you and comprehend the circumstances facing you. Ideology is what the mullahs used to send their subjects charging into massed machine guns waving Korans in the air. For a secular example you only have to go to WWI, where staff officers, the epitome of Western "rational" thinkers were doing the same thing, only more efficiently.
What Mr. Prescotts would call opportunism I call being smart: applying common sense to a situation and trying to make circumstances work in your favour in your effort to build, ironically, a more conservative and yet dynamic society. The only opportunists I see are the usual suspects who pop up when things go wrong. Of course they will. To err is human. The first airplane wasn't anything to write home about either. That is the risk we take in living in a free ethical society. Taking those risks is the only way we can find contentment with ourselves. Nietzsche a favourite right wing philosopher once asked the question, "How does one find happiness?..Live dangerously" Every minority whose members have to step out from the shadows into a hostile society understands this instinctively.
Groups and societies that are on the rise are those that take risks. The opportunists use misfortune for their own ends. "Things are horrible because you didn't follow ideology. It is too risky.... too dangerous. These people encourage people to lose faith in the abilities given to them by God, to not develop their ability to think, to depend instead totally on ideology. They encourage people to remove all risks from their lives no matter how trivial. Individuals, no matter how talented or rich, who no longer have the freedom to take risk are people whose spirit has been sucked right out of them. Societies that care more about eliminating risk instead of taking them lose the vigour and boldness required to advance or remain an advanced society. Societies which replace ethics with rules are societies which no longer think; indeed they take on the characteristics of domesticated cattle.
That's what ideology is. It is not even desired end point. It is just a set of rules which never change with time and are thus independent of circumstance and independent of experience and accumulated knowledge. History shows that every country ruled by ideology is a basket case. Ideology, is too rigid for real life,. That's why every policy in the US which is a pure product of religious right wing ideology costs moon-shot type money to implement, and results in social catastrophe (drug policy); and why in Canada every program devised from pure left wing ideology cost moon-shot money to implement, and does absolutely nothing except jerk people around make them poorer. (Gun licensing, smoking laws)
It is from a religious viewpoint that the analysis of Jack Prescotts becomes truly damning.
"Love your neighbour as if he was your brother".
This is the central teaching point in every major religion that has ever existed. They may be ready to go to war on everything else, but this is the one teaching they all have in common, independent of geography, culture and level of technology. Indeed there is no social group above the level of a street gang that does not have this central ethical principle. It is the essential requirement for a civilized society.
"Love your neighbour as if he was your brother"
Mr. Prescotts has broken this tenant in the most literal and fundamental manner. It may be that his brother will heed the words of Jesus and forgive him, for it is obvious that he knows not what he does. But God will not be merciful. From the Old Testament we know that our God is a vengeful God, mighty in wrath and in no need of enlightenment. He has no compassion and tolerance for those who would break his most precious law, a law that He sent His own Son down to pound through our thick skulls. Mr. Prescotts should rest assured that when he stands in front of Him in Final Judgement, He will be asking some stiff and penetrating questions. He will point out that his words are eerily similar to people who are fascists, who are homophobic and who are intolerant. Indeed if a person's heart were filled with rage and hate and darkness that person would say very much the same words as Mr. Jack Prescotts.
Forever is a long time to burn in unendurable agony. I suggest Mr. Prescotts rethink his plans to dwelve into social engineering. His very soul is in peril.