Monday, February 22, 2010

I Guess I Just Ain't Good Enough

Reading around this week, I came across a thing called the 9/12 Project, the brainchild of Fox News' Glenn Beck. Not being the kind of person to see something by a person whose politics I find abhorrent in the extreme and not want to interact at some level, I decided to look a little deeper at the 9 Principles and 12 Values that give the organisation its name. According to the project web site, if you agree with 7 of the principles then you have something in common with Beck and his ilk. Let's address these one by one.
  • America is Good
Being something of a nit picker, my first thought is "good for who?", is America good for the Palestinians living in camps being radicalised by an American backed Israel? Is America good for the poor of its own nation who can't afford health insurance, while health insurance companies lobby openly to have its own customer base dwindled to only those with enough money to pay ridiculous premiums? Is America good for the manufacturing jobs that have been shipped overseas in order to maximise shareholder dividends? Countries are of course value neutral, there is no such thing as a bad country or a good country - unless of course racism is your thing and anyone brown and wearing a turban is bad by default. America is just a country, no more special and no more chosen than any other country. I guess then I fail to have something in common with Glenn Beck, because America is just America and not a moral proposition.
  • I believe in God and He is the center of my life
Admittedly this is, already, starting to feel like an AA meeting, but we'll continue. Again I have to ask a question of this statement, whose God is Beck talking about? Is he talking about the Christian God, or the Mormon God? And let's face it, only the theologically illiterate would consider Mormonism's deity to be anything like the traditional monotheistic faiths, the differences have been shown quite clearly elsewhere. Until someone can tell me which God, unless of course this is a nebulous concept like in Freemasonary, then I guess I can't approve of this statement - not looking good is it?
  • I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday
Sure, not a problem, striving to be a better person is something I agree with whole-heartedly.
  • The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not government
Not sure quiet how this one works, given that God is the center of life for people who can sign up to this project. How can human beings be the ultimate authority when God is the center of life? That simply doesn't work.
  • If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Absolutely agree, without justice society falls apart. But who enforces that justice? If it is the populace then mob rule becomes the norm, I guess when it comes to law and order, the government is the ultimate authority rather than myself and Mrs Velky Al?
  • I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Yes of course, with the caveat that the right to life brings with it the responsibility to live well, to liberty the responsibility to champion freedom for others, to happiness the responsibility of gratitude for all that you have.
  • I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Yes in theory, but I have no problems paying tax to help create a society where everyone has the same opportunity to better their lives. Taxation is not charity, it is social responsibility.
  • It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
I agree entirely, but the converse must also be true. It is un-American to force your opinion on other people, and to use your authority to ensure conformity with your opinion.
  • The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Yes OK that sounds very nice, but if they work for me and I begrudge them pay, then the public is a very crappy employer.

The 12 values are listed as follows:

Hard Work
Personal Responsibility

I agree with every single one of them, because they are human values, sought in every culture around the world. There is nothing uniquely American, European, Christian, Muslim, atheist, socialist or conservative about such values, they are simply human values.

So I guess I am not eligible to join Beck's project, not that I am surprised.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It Takes Two To More than Tango

I am not a fan of tabloid newspapers, having read The Guardian and The Independent for much of the last decade. Whenever I would head back to the UK for my little visits I looked forward to getting the Saturday edition of the Guardian, and the Observer on Sunday, to then spend a week reading through them in preparation for the following Saturday and Sunday. Neither am I am fan of tabloid level news programmes on the television, the kind of thing which digs and delves into the private lives of the famous because it is apparently in the "public interest".

The cause of my ire this morning was watching Good Morning America, during which they started talking about Tiger Woods' press conference tomorrow and its implications for his career. If the rumours are true and Tiger has been in "sex therapy" then I am very, very confused. Is sex now something which is not a normal part of life? Is it something that you need therapy for when you see an opportunity for a little bit extra and you go for it? Is being unfaithful to your wife something that you need to see a counsellor about? Is there a self-help group called Adulterers Anonymous?

The media here seem to love banging on, pun not necessarily intended, about the affect Tiger's indiscretions have no doubt on his wife, and how could a married man be so bad, blah, blah, blah. This got me thinking about the women that Tiger is alleged to have bedded, and how the media is a scrum of hypocritical parasites. Did these women not know that Tiger Woods had a Mrs Tiger Woods and little cubs at home? Why is the media not going after these women and asking why they knowingly slept with a married man? Why are these women not being reviled as home wreckers?

Oh, I get it, these women are not rich, famous and influential, so I guess you can't expect anything better from them. So adultery is bad for the monied peoples of this world, the "role models" if you will, but not for the regular people who jump into the sack with the wealthy? A bit of balance is required, a little less moralising about Tiger Woods doing what many men would given the chance, and a little more about the women who had an affair with him whilst knowing he had a wife and kids at home.

There are two sides to every story, here it is simply a man who wanted some fun on the side and women who lacked the integrity to say no. A sad reflection on the state of society indeed.