Saturday, October 11, 2008

A bit on ethics and ideals.

I've been wanting to start some a blog for a while now, thought I might as well start it out with something blatantly controversial for fun. Here goes nothing:

So anyway I was reading about various incidents of people throwing away registration forms that new voters had filled out and, for a moment at least, I was taken aback a bit by the fact that anyone who really appreciated any of the principals of this democracy or of this country could do such a thing [leading me to the conclusion that people who make the decision to do shit like that really probably don't believe, so to speak, in such ideas].

And then I thought about asking myself (because questioning where I stand on certain things is one of my hobbies), whether or not I'm really capable of doing such a thing myself, and whether or not I ought to react to what I was reading with moral outrage or merely anger that the people doing this were doing something that, the end result of which, wouldn't lead to an outcome I would consider favorable -- or merely somewhere in between.

And pondering that for a moment I realized that while I do think the right to vote and the right to be represented is fairly important (since democracy seems to be a decent way of going about running things particularly compared to some alternatives that don't really benefit nearly as many people), but to me it's not of the utmost importance -- and if I felt strongly enough about something I think I would disenfranchise a few voters myself. And after another moment of consideration, I came to the conclusion that in the case of this upcoming presidential election, I would happily disenfranchise some republican voters, and I wouldn't feel the least bit bad about it. [And that's because in my evaluation of things, I am pretty sure that a lot more people (soldiers, civilians, tons of people that don't want to be in the middle of a civil war) are going to die if McCain gets to be president...and of course I feel bad about this because I can at least start to imagine what it would be like to lose someone I really cared about, and wouldn't want anyone else to go through that (as a few hundred thousand people have gone through it in Iraq over the last 5 years or so).]

So for me personally, I think it's much more important that people aren't having their family members come back from wars dead, with missing limbs, or with PTSD and statistically far more likely to end up homeless, drug addicted, or suicidal (and that's just for guys we send over) than making sure that any individual's voice is heard in a clean and fair democratic process.

Now the ongoing war in Iraq is a perfectly plausible and appropriate example of where I'd throw whatever appreciation I have of democracy to the wind in favor of a loftier goal. And though that's just where I draw the line, I don't think i'm alone in holding the sentiment that for really important things, most people feel the same way as me about the overall value of the democratic process. And I know that I wouldn't have to step far into slippery-slope territory to make everyone see that a methodology really shouldn't be viewed as a goal unto itself.