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May 6th, 2014

outlier_lynn: (Default)
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 07:22 am
Okay. It is not new. What is new is the level of annoyance I have when the phrase is spoken. The phrase is "the right side of history." I guess most people want to be "remembered" well even if those remembering are only family and friends. People in power, though, want to leave a "legacy."

As motives go, that one really sucks. When one is dead, one will not know how or if one is remembered. It won't matter. But it does matter in the present. While angling and spinning and twisting to create a legacy, vast swaths of human misery are left untouched because the likelihood of failing to make a difference is too high. And, it seems, nobody wants to be remembered as a failure.

Then we have the tricky problem of determining the "right side" of anything. The problem, of course, is believing that there is some set of intrinsic values called right and wrong. Circumstances change and what is workable at one time may not be workable at another time.

My favorite example of this is "gay marriage." I really, really hate that phrase. "Same-sex marriage" is better, but "no marriage" is best. Leaving the spiritual side of marriage for the superstition that the parties are party to aside, marriage is a civil contract. Like all contracts, it governs the way entities interact. It sets down rights and responsibilities of the parties. It should also include the process for dissolving the relationship. We leave that part to "family law." (We are idiots.) We are fighting the good fight for marriage equality. Except it isn't equal. Marriage is still defined as a particular legal agreement between two people and administered by the state. It is not flexible and tinkering with the edges will not leave people on the "right side" of anything at some point in the future.

When defining the question of marriage as who is in and who is out, it seems like there is a right side and a wrong side of history as long as we assume that future generations are going to continue to live in the superstition of marriage. Circumstances will change. We might end up with a future in which we are laughed at for out barbaric notions of relationships. (I personally have high hopes for our future selves in this regard.)

Other current and very popular controversies about which we feel there is right and wrong are also mired in social superstitions. The right and wrong of a given point of view depends entirely on the differences between that point of view and other points of view. Good, bad, right, wrong and simply determinations made by filtering behaviors through one or another collective morality.

We each fight for our point of view. And we fight harder when our sense of self and our free expression are being suppressed by a majority point of view. This is so if we are a minority facing systemic racism, genderism, sexism or heterosexism; or, if we are in the majority, having our values strongly questioned. We will fight to protect "our way of life" even if we have to deny others their freedom of behavior or thought.

So, to those in power who believe they are leaving a legacy by trumpeting their particular moral positions, stick your super-sized ego where the sun doesn't shine. You, too, are just another bully pushing an agenda that not everyone wants.