Lately, I’ve been musing about what it means to be human in the modern age. Visit http://2-xl.net/?p=196 to read “Rethinking what it means to be human.”
Here is the scene: Young people gather in a home for a party. They are drinking. Some pass out. Later, an unconscious teenager is sexually assaulted. The deed is photographed. People watch. Photos and video are sent out. The event goes viral.
Such a scene played out in Saratoga, California in September, 2012. And also Steubenville, Ohio. And also elsewhere. And repeatedly.
The Saratoga case is especially grievous, as the young victim, Aurie Pott, committed suicide 10 days after the crime (see story here).
The common denominator in these cases is alcohol. While drunkenness cannot be accepted as an excuse, it must be examined as a contributing factor. Emerging studies show that alcohol doesn’t incapacitate ones mental faculties as is generally supposed — that people are unaware of the things they do — but that alcohol causes people simply not to care (see story here). Again, these studies don’t excuse the boys’ behavior, but such studies certainly expand our understanding of the problem, and we should arm ourselves with this knowledge.
Unfortunately, we do not.
The typical response to such cases is outrage. Boys are told to respect young women. (One college student even produced a viral YouTube video on the subject.) Schools implement anti-bullying policies. People proclaim the victim is not to blame. The problem with all of this activity is that people simply do not care, when they are intoxicated. All this outrage falls on deaf, uncaring ears once the keg is popped.
Now, it is possible that Pott’s assailants were not inebriated. It is possible that, sober, they simply did not care. And, frankly, it is obvious that an entire community of young people, those who shared images of the assault, did not care. But, alcohol was readily available at the party, and the victim was indeed so intoxicated that she passed out. Alcohol was a factor.
For my part, I would not discourage people’s attempts to address the social problem of bullying, but I would also not ignore the obvious issues, namely substance abuse among teens and the general decline of morality in our society.
As the Supreme Court ponders the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act, it should be noted that traditional marriage was never intended to discriminate against homosexuals. In fact, I don’t know that anyone has argued such a point. What is posited is that traditional marriage no longer represents the values of society, that it has become discriminatory. If the Supreme Court rules that traditional marriage is, in fact, discriminatory, merely extending marriage to same-sex couples will do little to establish true marriage equality.
The problem with the institution is that marriage, however it is defined, is an exclusive relationship. If the rights of marriage are extended to homosexual couples, vast classes of people will still be excluded. Though I do not support polygamy, if marriage is to be redefined, the definition should include polygamous parties. Why should it not? Polygamy is a normative institution in much of the world, and outlawing it in the United States harms immigrants who are already involved in such an arrangement. Simply that it is not normative behavior in the U.S. should not exclude it from constitutional protections.
And there is another, more common class of people who are harmed by the current rules: singletons.
It may defy logic to include single people in the definition of marriage, but such will prove necessary if “equal protection” carries the day in the gay marriage cause. By virtue of being single, I am unable to enjoy the benefits of marriage. Some might say, “Well, you can always get married” — and, yes, that is true; but it is also true of homosexuals: any gay person can marry someone of the opposite sex. Why is it that I cannot, as a single person, enjoy the financial and legal benefits of marriage? Why are my health and social security benefits limited to me, when such are shared by married couples? Why am I excluded from any other of the myriad of benefits shared by married couples?
Given that singletons are a growing class, such considerations are not extravagant. If we are going to redefine marriage, why stop with homosexuals? Will such ensure true marriage equality?
Extending the marriage contract to everyone might deprive gays of their civil rights spotlight, but the Constitution was not ratified to champion individual agendas, but universal freedom. I am for true marriage equality, or else the status quo.
The peace was tenuous at best. Now, it’s broken. Rebels have taken the capital of Central African Republic. Pray for peace.
Bono the humanitarian would almost be a cliche if his actions were not so extraordinarily generous. It may be said that Bono has a big ego, but he has a bigger heart. His work in famine relief, economic development and debt forgiveness is truly worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. His humanitarian efforts began quietly in 1985, when Bono and his wife Ali visited a relief camp in Africa. He wanted to do something to change world, not merely to sing about it. The video above is remarkable in that this “secret” mission has never really been documented, besides a few references in biographies, so it is a treasure to watch.
From NBC News:
Crystal Kelley got paid $22,000 to have a baby. But that wasn’t the only offer the 29-year-old Connecticut mother of two received. After an utrasound at 21-weeks revealed significant medical issues, the parents offered her $10,000 more if she agreed to an abortion.
The gross immorality of that second offer tells us that there is a lot wrong with the first arrangement. It is intolerable that our society continues to put up with an unregulated, free market in hiring cash-starved women to make babies. — link
A little later in the article…
According to a CNN report, Crystal Kelley then got a letter from an attorney named Douglas Fishman reminding her that her surrogacy contract required her to get an abortion in the case “of severe fetus abnormality.” The lawyer told her that if she did not promptly get an abortion the no-longer-wannabe-parents would sue her to get back the money they’d paid along with the money they’d spent on Crystal’s medical bills and legal fees.
I’m certainly not an advocate of government interference. Less government is preferable to more government. However, government is necessary to regulate behavior between individuals. The unborn are rarely included in these conversations, and the article cited above does not consider the interests of the unborn child, but scarcely are relations between people considered also. Contracting another person to have your baby is an ugly business, especially if there are no rules. Under these circumstances, those that control the funds determine the outcome, and that is not the basis for morality.