Archive for Rights
I’ve spent some time thinking about what the #Occupy movement is really representing. I’ve tried to attend the camps as I’ve traveled and interview the people in the camps; as well as, their formidable opponents in the ownership positions of the respective societies that Occupiers exist.
I think that I’m comfortable echoing the analysis in that Occupiers have done a good initial job in comparison to similar movements around the world and in the United States in particular. They’ve caught the attention of the masses, in that everyone knows what #Occupy means. Of course the problems of any fledgling movement are that its priorities aren’t hashed (#) out. While everyone knows what #Occupy is; no one has any idea of what it wants, or rather, needs.
Every movement-struggle-jihad, has is a battle of philosophy on how a society should exist versus how it does. Based on the consistent and more frequent collapse in the economic system, it is evident that we are due for some structural change in the modern world. When I listen to the rhetoric of this movement and the defense of its identified opponents, I think the following apply. There is a clash of ideals on whose altruism is not only virtuous but most beneficial. On the one hand we have that of the individuals, formally represented by the #Occupiers. On the other we have that of the institutions, formally represented by their owners/stakeholders. While individuals (humans in this case) can allocate a moral regard to their fellow man/woman based on their acknowledgment of his/her intrinsic or extrinsic value, institutions do not. Yet some individuals can advocate the virtues of an institution because for their holding that the institution’s incentives to take action better the society as a whole.
Institutions were created by individuals to protect the discovery, development, and deployment of technologies (methodologies, hardware, & software) that help individuals control what would otherwise be a chaotic environment. Who wants to live in 3000 B.C.E.? I’d doubt any of us could enjoy limiting our communication to a distances less than 20 feet. While institutions have served individuals well over the millennia their control mechanisms have the potential to run-a-muck. Their primary control mechanisms are related to their extrinsic value, or ability to generate revenues above the costs to exists. Controls validate the existence of each institution (for-profit & not-for-profit alike), but individuals don’t regard themselves as having extrinsic value alone (at least not all of them), per this on-going survey that I’ve been taking with some backlash about the use of language on “value“. Problem comes into play when those who are still benefiting from the existing operations of institutions clashes with those who are no longer benefiting. As institutions trying to sustain existence, they actually have incentives to suppress markets to indemnify stakeholders, per their understanding of who is most valuable.
Regarding the Occupy movement and its potential participants, the progress will occur when and if the most radical of the bunch agree that the contrast of values between individuals and institutions is infringing on their civil or even human rights and is in fact stifling their ability to live productive lives. Regardless of how they derive their understanding of the modern economic situation, they’ll have to hold it as dear and urgent as their more radical predecessors of the last past successful liberal movements. I’m not referring to MLK’s boycotts or the freedom riders, or the Jewish resistance in Europe, or the Mandela‘s political activism. I’m referring to the immediate threat that militant groups like the Black Panthers, or the onslaught of the Allied Forces, or the provocative military growth of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the many like groups respectively per each struggle. The laws of arbitrage are clear and animalistic. Incumbent leadership, ideals, and conservatism can only respect some formidable opposition.
The incumbent power in 1950’s United States and 1980’s South Africa only yielded because they perceived an inevitable destructive threat; any rhetoric that suggests otherwise is misleading. It would take years to list all the martyrs from every movement who gave their lives to inspire the few, and were willing to take other’s lives for their cause. The pathology of pacifism is a failed effort when it does not inspire an aggressive colleague. Occupiers are going to have to figure out what in the world they can do to change the way institutions and individuals agree on human value. Although they were arguing slightly different causes, the incumbent powers decided to oblige Lyndon B Johnson immortalizing Martin Luther King in order to nullify the slogan “black power” and its author Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). It seems as though it takes a guilty old man faced with the passions of an aggressive young man, to make any incremental change.
Lately I’ve been taking a lot of lectures and podcasts on animal rights. For anyone “in the know” regarding our latest technological developments with synthetic DNA and cells coupled with out attempts to merge those with technologies seemingly more distant than from being what we know as human (homo sapien sapien), the regulatory and philosophical issues surrounding animal rights are urgent.
Consider how humans today are enthusiastic about enhancements of sorts to their physical and virtual being. Implants, prosthesis, medicines, computing powers, travel, ….our agility and fountain of youth…
Consider a near future where run-of-the-mill humans are simply inferior to those of us who decide (and can afford to) upgrade. Now consider how legal structure that’ll need to be built to manage the human species….ensuring that they don’t run-a-muck by over populating, over violating, overly interfering, and over representing themselves as valuable. Or will humans be valuable, and if so, in what capacity?
In an age of potential abundance and institutional scarcity (the current age) we are faced with the dilemma, to or not to identify less cognitively astute species as having rights. From a legal and point and attorney would tell you that rights are a privilege of a participating entity in a community, organization, nation/state of sort. It has been that way for centuries now, and is difficult to amend.
It’s always been necessary in (the attempt at) civil society to allocate rights to entities regardless of their societal status in order to avoid the (what some would call, natural) animal-istic virtue of respect. Anyone ever watched the animal channel where the Alpha in a pack or outside of a pack takes what it wants? Its due to a lack of formidable opposition by the others. The laws of society and cultural norms are not representative of the laws of the courts.
Humans are in the process of building species that will be more than capable of dominating in the aforementioned way. Defining rights and protecting them under laws is what keeps us from taking the Amish people’s land and doing what we please. We’ll require something similar for the bohemian naturalists of us out there, that no matter how sexy a trip to venus could be, they’ll never allow themselves the hedonistic good of downloading themselves into a body that travels at unthinkable speeds and distances, to see the rings.
So what do we do? Start protecting house pets and our food alike with the rights that we will soon have to allocate to our neighbors, or write them all off as less-than-valuable for a scientific study.
Most of the questions asked here are relevant in the topical debates on rights and animals today, but I’m of the group (if there exists such a group) that thinks, these questions aren’t addressing the root cause of this important issue affecting your parents and children. The argument that needs to be had is one of, how we value human abilities and what type of support (resources) we want to allocate to that potential. Its a conversation for elites and egalitarians, liberals and conservatives alike. And we’ve yet to address it will in civil society…lol @ civil,