Thursday, April 05, 2007

A tired rant

I'm getting as tired of writing my rants as you are of reading them. My problem is that I feel responsible for the actions of my species while also feeling powerless to do anything about them. My core beliefs seem to be at odds with an increasing number of people and it depresses me, because in my moments of arrogance I'm convinced my beliefs are right.

Belief number one: freedom is not absolute. People who say they should be able to do what they like without giving a damn for anyone or anything else are both wrong and unrealistic. If we all took that attitude we'd live in anarchy, but sadly it seems more and more people take this viewpoint. In the past I've tended to then go off on a rant about people who are like that, but maybe I should be concentrating more on what I believe freedom is, so here goes:

Freedom should be the right to do what you want so long as you don't impinge on anyone else's freedom. So, for example, I am free to play my music at whatever volume I like, so long as I don't impinge on someone else's freedom to peace and quiet. It's a simple analogy based on Christ's principle of "Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself". It's freedom with responsibility - something that appears to be unfashionable these days.

We can blame Blair and Thatcher, or we can take responsibility for the problem. Ultimately democratic governments are formed and molded in their voters' image, so all the selfishness and incompetence we see today is merely a reflection of what we're like as people.

This core belief ultimately drives everything else I believe in. My fears for the environment and my own inadequate attempts to do something about it are based on that - my freedom to live as I choose shouldn't impinge on the freedom of people in the third world to live without starving to death, or future generations to live on a planet that hasn't been ruined by my actions in the past, never mind the freedom of other species to co-habit this planet with us.

I'm aware that I probably break this principle every single day, but that doesn't mean I can't try to stand by it. We can all try and fail, but it's the trying that counts, and failing doesn't mean you shouldn't try again. However inadequate my efforts prove to be, at least I can face myself in the mirror, my friends, family and one day my children and know that I tried. It's the least any of us can do.

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