Beggars, Street-Sellers and Fund-Raisers

If you take a walk at lunchtime in the city (Melbourne) you will likely be interrupted by somebody who wants money from you. Beggars will want a few dollars, cialis buy ostensibly for a room or a bus.  Fund-raisers for the larger non-government organisations won’t accept cash donations. They want your credit card details in order to make monthly donations. At least the street-sellers leave you with something other than just a good feeling. By the way, the good feeling from giving only comes if your do it out of love and not guilt.

I think people should be able to wear an “Opt-Out” badge that requires people to leave them alone when they are walking down a street or on public transport. Headphones are one of my favourite ways that somehow make people leave me alone. When I was living in the city I would wear headphones with the lead stuck in my pocket, and nobody would interrupt me. Without headphones, I was constantly stopped. Shaving my head completely bald and wearing a big moustache was also an effective technique for being left alone. That actually made some people cross the road.

The opt-out badge could list what one is prepared to be interrupted for. Then people on the street would not interrupt you for things that anger you or in which you are not interested.

A badge might look like this:

Interrupt me for: Money, food, gym memberships
DO NOT interrupt me for:
Greenpeace, Red Cross, Christianity, anything else

Spock would think that this would be a logical and efficient social contract.
McCoy would rather people just left him alone when he walked down the street.

Marriage

In our society we live by such diverse social rules that even people living next door to us can be unwittingly offended by our own beliefs, viagra sale cure behaviours and what we find acceptable.

If we were to actually meet aliens from another planet, advice they could behave in ways that made us think that they wanted to wage war against us; they may not be able to understand our culture enough in order to be polite. If they went around killing people, store would we be expected to assume it was a social faux par and that it wasn’t a deliberate act of war or aggression? How many should we allow them to “accidentally” kill in the name of diplomacy?

This is an extreme example to illustrate some people’s reactions to an idea which is alien to many of them: non-gender-specific marriage.

When two people think that they will be a good family they should be able to go to the government and say, “We are going to be a good and loving family. We may or may not raise children. We may or may not have children. If we do, though, we will love them dearly.”

The government in response will then say, “Go for it! Become the fabric of our society. Strengthen our society by being a good family and by being people who love each other and who will love their children. It is not our right to know what is in your pants or dress. It is not the media’s right to know and it is not your neighbour’s right.

If you think that you will be a good family, then the government will stand by you and will give you every opportunity to make it work and to make it good.”

A person’s gender or what they do with it is not the government’s business.

Gender should be removed from marriage applications, certificates and records.

Loving people make great families and great citizens, regardless of their private preferences.

Now it is time for the secular government of our society to acknowledge it.

Wealth

The concept of wealth varies greatly between individuals, viagra usa look but it is always associated with having more than a person needs to survive. A person can feel wealthy when they have enough to eat, cialis canada ailment a place to live, malady and more than enough to meet other needs. When we decide who is well off and who is not, we are judging the lives and lifestyles of others against an idea of what it means to be rich. Underlying this, though, is really a belief that wealth equates to happiness. We look jealously towards wealthy people and believe they are happy people while missing the sheer amount of time, effort and pain required to maintain that wealth.

There will always be people with more than you and people with less than you. It is common in our society to blame the people less fortunate than ourselves for their own situation by believing two lies: that we are where we are solely through our own efforts; and, the less fortunate are where they are through their own lack of effort.

Before China annexed Tibet, the country operated under a feudal system where people used Buddhism to convince the poor that the wrong they did in their past lives was the reason they were so miserable today. Our own belief that effort brings reward and therefore poverty implies not enough effort is a logical fallacy. Effort is not the only cause of financial success, and lack of effort is not the only cause of poverty.

There are many factors that determine the likelihood of an individual’s personal wealth, success (and hopefully happiness, or at least self-sufficient satisfaction):

Early education, opportunities, available services, available employment, strength of relationships, and family and personal issues are some of the less controllable factors related to whether a person is financially successful.

The social benefit of a person becoming financially successful rather than requiring government assistance is the lightening of the government funding load. Many of us are jealous of people who receive government assistance when we do not think they deserve it. Some people will always abuse a system of welfare assistance, but what of the people that it helps? Should they be hurt in the process of making the welfare system “fairer?” The concept of government welfare is based around two important ideas:

* That a person’s situation or disadvantage is not necessarily the fault of the individual

* That long-term social costs can be offset with shorter-term assistance

One way of determining the success of a government is whether it can produce and maintain productive citizens. A productive citizen provides a net profit to the society and strengthens the government, increasing its power. A citizen that is a net drain on a government weakens a society and hence its power. It is therefore in the interests of a government to pursue policies that result in the most productive citizens. Providing an environment where the disadvantaged are helped with aid and money to improve their chances (and their children’s chances) of being productive citizens makes sense. And this is without needing to resort to moral arguments for the fundamental equality of everyone or the biblical underpinnings on which our society’s laws are based in the first place.

If I were to send a message to the super-rich in the world, I would say that there is not enough to go around for you if you are never satisfied, but there is enough to go around for everyone else. Is it possible for one society to be wealthy without another being poor? Can a society thrive without inequality? The greatest fear of the wealthy and comfortable is that there is not enough to go around for everyone to be as comfortable as they are. This was Karl Marx’s complaint about capitalism: that it could only exist through the exploitation of other people’s labour.

Spock would say that the distribution of wealth in the western world is unfair but not unjust, and that the government should not interfere.

McCoy would say that it is unfair and unjust and that the government should do something about it.