I lack sustained motivation

I am thinking of a million different fascinating things to talk about, but lack the sustained motivation to write an entire blog post.

I am currently thinking about my Intro to Philosophy final paper. I have finally narrowed down a hesitant thesis/hypothesis: Should people be trusted to know what’s best for themselves, when considering the impact of everyone’s personal and individual decisions on their immediate or larger communities?

The goal, as this is an introductory class that covers just the basics of major philosophers from ancient times to contemporary, is to use a few philosophers’ (Plato, John Locke, and Rousseau, for starters) writings to set a basic timeline for this ongoing discussion, and eventually (15 or so pages later) attempt to not only argue for my side, but actually choose one.

What do you think about this thesis? Should all people always be trusted to know what’s best for not only themselves, but themselves in relation to their communities and the larger communities that they may not come in immediate contact with, but ultimately affect?

What else are you thinking about lately?

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17 Responses to I lack sustained motivation

  1. Danny says:

    An interesting question considering that time and time again we see countless examples of how such trust has led to wondrous and disastrous results.

    I know its been a few weeks since I’ve done a post here so I’m trying to think about what to do next. I’m thinking about touching on gender and violence again.

  2. femspotter says:

    I would love to hear your take on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and whether or not you think the Jeffersonian/Lockean reading is accurate: that it limits religious control of government just as much as it limits government control of religions. I thought of this with regard to the Bart Stupak opposition to federal abortion funding in the health care bill that was passed on Sunday and how he says he based his decision on a strong Catholic faith. But in doing so, he ignored the 59,000 nuns who released a statement supporting the bill.

    • April says:

      Ooh, good questions… I will get back to you soon, after I’ve finished reading some of the background information on Locke.

  3. N says:

    Should be people be trusted to act ethically and responsibly? What is the alternative? To compel someone to act in what is “best” for themselves and society? Is such a compulsion itself ethical or moral?

    • April says:

      I suppose I didn’t make it entirely clear that I’m wondering on a governmental level. Not appointing people responsible for others on a personal level, necessarily.

    • N says:

      I’m not entirely sure how I gave the impression that I was about individuals. Let me give an example of what I am trying to convey: Many people would agree that it is acceptable for government to outlaw employers from making hiring and firing decisions based on sexist prejudice. Do we go a step further and suggest that it is also the government’s job to indoctrinate people with feminist thinking?

    • femspotter says:

      Acceptable? If you’re talking about the U.S. government, isn’t it Constitutional to “outlaw employers from making hiring and firing decisions based on sexist prejudice” or any other prejudice: age, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.? I think that would stand for any government and its own constitution or set of agreed upon laws if they based their system on a principle of equality. I would never argue that any government should indoctrinate any kind of thinking beyond the equality ideology it was founded on. That’s why there’s such controversy about creationism in public school texts and religious factions wanting to indoctrinate at the elementary school level their beliefs rather than scientific findings. Wouldn’t a feminist government be just as problematic as a Catholic government, for instance? Feminism is something I live by but I can’t force it upon others beyond the laws we all agree to live under such as the aforementioned law preventing sexual discrimination in the workplace. (I realize my view is US-centric.)

    • N says:

      I believe that we are essentially in agreement. By “acceptable” I may have better said “uncontroversial”. It may be government’s job to ensure a just marketplace and public space, but the idea of government meddling in people’s minds and homes is egregious.

      The way to lift the thinking of people is person to person not through legislation.

    • April says:

      Do we go a step further and suggest that it is also the government’s job to indoctrinate people with feminist thinking?

      Yeah, that’s kind of what I’m getting at. “Indoctrination” is a strong word, though. I’d say that, in the case of feminism, it should be brought out of the privileged Women’s Studies area in colleges where it’s learned, but rarely applied elsewhere with the majority of students. We’d still have the option of the classes in colleges, but businesses would be run under the assumption that feminist theory is not only valid, but ideal in the area of societal interaction.

      Of course, that could cause a lot of problems and many people would be opposed. So, say I think it’s a good idea, and so do a lot of other people, but another sizable portion of the population does not. Where do we go from there, if we’re trying to create a more efficient method of changing laws and long-held sexist, racist, etc. views in society? It seems silly to say, “well, the bigoted ass holes have a right to their opinions, so we’d better give them equal air time and attempts at lawmaking or leadership.” But it also seems silly, and obviously problematic, to have a one-sided sort of litmus test for leadership and education and business-related institutions. You run into problems when you deliberately shut out one part of the population.

      But on the other hand, if, say, a TV news station needs a meteorologist, and they have two applicants- one who is well-versed in the science of meteorology, and the other is not and believes that thunder is God bowling and rain is caused by angels crying, the trained scientist will likely be chosen over the person without factual knowledge.

      I guess the difference between feminist “indoctrination” and the bad meteorologist would be that someone would always be able to make an argument against feminism that would keep the debate going on and on, without any ability to prove solid facts based on science. Meteorology would be more cut-and-dry.

      That was long, sorry.

    • femspotter says:

      Actually, for argument’s sake, I would love to hear people try and invalidate feminism based on anything remotely conclusive. Usually when I’ve encountered it, there’s denial of established rape statistics or a religious argument such as “women can’t be Catholic priests because…” I’ve never met one I couldn’t beat. I have a lot more trouble arguing against the death penalty than ignorance about what women can and should be allowed to do or how we are and should be treated.

    • N says:

      My academic understanding of feminism is probably relatively limited when compared to many of the readers of this blog. That being said I see feminism as the sort of natural conclusion of authentic, egalitarian values. Within that context I think you are right that its difficult to make a case against it. However, there are definitely value systems among the homo sapien sapien ape that are definitely not egalitarian. Within those contexts dismantling Feminism isn’t necessarily all that difficult.

    • femspotter says:

      How so? I think most feminists concede that females are biologically different than males. How would someone say advocate rape or general misogyny?

    • N says:

      Well for starters you could open the sacred texts of several of the world’s largest religious traditions and the values that they espouse.

    • femspotter says:

      Yes, there are many opposing values. But where’s the “because?” Women are inferior because…

  4. innocentsmithjournal says:

    I would actually reverse the question: should we be trusted to know what’s best for people?

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