Thursday, November 05, 2009

Core Values

If you are a functional adult in our society, there are probably some core values to which you adhere, or mostly do. It is likely you have deeply-held beliefs that you have examined and decided upon, and if you have come to these by a process that you trust -- reason, faith, experience, some combination of these -- you are unlikely to change your notion without some new evidence that smacks you upside the head.

Hot-button issues usually get sifted into this category relatively early: Religion, politics, social mores, gun control, best beer ...

It is possible to change one's view on such things, but based on my own experience, I suspect that past a certain point, this doesn't happen very often. If I have come to a decision about, say, abortion, and it was a long and considered process, then chances are I have gone over most of the arguments for and against. I've weighed them, made a decision based on my values, and unless somebody comes along with something that blows my belief out of the water, am not going to flip-flop.

Older you get, the more experience you have, the less likely that somebody is going to present an argument you haven't heard before, and if you have examined that argument and found it wanting, hearing it again reworded from a new source doesn't make it any better.

Three-chord rock has been around for a long time, having come from three-chord blues. Each generation since it started has discovered it and coming grinning back to plop it down in front of their elders: Listen, listen, this is great stuff! It's primal!

Yep, and it was primal ten, twenty, fifty years back, when your older brother, your father, and your grandpaw hauled it in and laid it on the table.

Life is a passing parade, and the folks at the front of the line have been walking longer than those at the back of the line, so a lot of what is new for junior is old-hat for senior. Doesn't mean they have seen everything, but it does mean that they've seen more. Sometimes, it is cause for a knowing smile. Ah, to be young and full of fire!

This is all in service of the latest round of hoo-ha from the new guys who grew up with computers believing that anything they can download should be free, and who go to some length to try and justify it as okay.

Everybody does it, so making it illegal won't work. It's not hurting anybody, it's just electrons.
Or, The big companies are fat and greedy, so it's okay to rip them off. Or, information should be free and anybody who tries to stand in the way is just a selfish reactionary.

We can all download whatever we want and we're on the road to Shambalah, where the fresh-baked cookies are free and don't have any calories.

La, la, la, la, la ...

And the voice of rationalization is heard throughout the land ...

No. Wrong. TANSTAAFL. There ain't so such thing as a free lunch. Somebody, somewhere, has to pay for everything. And while it might be true that at the base of every old fortune there's a highwayman, or that private property is a crime against humanity, our consensus reality has demonstrated that pure systems that offer such -- be they unbridled capitalism or communism, fail to take into account human nature, and fall by the wayside.

These days, the commies are turning a profit; the capitalists are voting in regulations. The middle of the road has always called to hikers who don't want to fall off the edge. Ayn Rand's dollar sign in the air belongs in the same place as Marx's Dialectical materialism -- history's ash can of ain't-never-gonna-work philosophies -- which will have to be compacted some for them to fit, 'cause there is a lot of crap already in there.

So we muddle along as best we can. I have heard the arguments for pie-in-the-sky probably as long as most of the readers here have been alive, and I don't buy it. So, in the interests of saving us all time and energy, if that's what you believe, that from each according to his ability to each according to what he wants, then don't bother to say it here.

I'm not claiming sainthood. I am aware that this slope is slippery and that I've slid down it a time or twelve. But we draw the line where we draw it.

Like somebody said in a posting, sometimes I speed. I know I'm breaking the law when I do it, and if I get caught, I won't kick at the ticket. I'm not going to try to convince a jury that speed limits are bad ideas, and since we all speed sometimes anyhow, it's not right to enforce those laws.

Easy to be an anarchist at seventeen. Not so much at thrice that age.

We can discuss issues upon which we have disagreement and perhaps find common ground. But if you are thinking to change core issue choices? If you aren't a world-class philosopher, your A-game isn't going to be enough. I've heard it before, from people better at it, and I'm not moved.

If you are in the KKK and you want to wear your sheet and hood into the Sunday morning service down at the predominantly-black Zion Baptist church, you might want to rethink that.


Dan Moran said...

Easy to be an anarchist at seventeen. Not so much at thrice that age.

When I was 17 my father talked me out of an anarchy tattoo. "Can you picture yourself at 70 with that tattoo? Wouldn't you feel like a damn fool?"

I couldn't picture myself at 70 with the anarchy tattoo, so I didn't get it.

I got it for my 42nd birthday. I looked up one day, realized I could see 70 from where I was ... and was perfectly comfortable with the idea of being the old dude with the anarchy tattoo. Almost five years later, no regrets.

Steve Perry said...

Forty-two is still awful young.

Saw biopic on Warren Zevon, done when he was dying. Walking with Dave Barry, and Barry said, Well, now you can get that tattoo ...

steve-vh said...

Dan, I've had that same coversation in my head (and with my wife who fancies getting one). And I still can't see 70 at 44.
But to top it off, one of my wife's freinds whoretired at 60 this year, just got her first one. I'm starting to loose the arguement.....
Gotta love Barry.

What I can't/don't want to imagine is all the 70yr old women in 50 years with asscrack tattoos.

Saw a 50something on Springer, while I was convalesing on Meds last week, give a convincing moral arguement to her daughter about something the daughter had done. Then she turned around and you could see her ass tattoo. I didn't hear anything after that. Could only stomach 5mins anyway.

Dan Moran said...

There aren't many 70 year olds out there who should be showing off their butts in the first place -- I've known a few, over the years, but just a few -- guy I used to work out with, yoga lady I knew -- from the neck down, they looked 30.

Still and all, that's a lot of work to go to just so you can show off your butt tats.

That's why I got mine on my shoulder. Thinking ahead ....

James said...

I stopped a stripper once who had a tramp stamp that read "Don't Panic. Brace Yourself". I asked her if that was an OSHA requirement.