FROM SELF ASSERTION TO SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.
We live in a world where man and nature both persistently insist on us, resist us, and offer opportunities. Catastrophes can be man made, or natural while also partially being caused by mankind. Most of us seek meaning and purpose in life. We are lured by the “good” in a world, often pervaded with evil, where we will die. Meaning and purpose seem best served by self fulfillment, creativity, with enjoyment induced or associated. Human choices are made here.
The simplest approach to “good” is by existential affirmation, life style, and career. When we vote in a “democracy” we make such an affirmation about society and humanity. Our life styles also produce relevant effects from not littering, to acts of cleaning both public and private spaces, giving up seats to others, having manners, showing courtesy, giving tips, reflecting, and engaging in friendly and fruitful conversation and dialectic.
On the other hand, we are all consumers. The products we buy often feed corporate greed and monopolies, enslave or use the very badly unpaid, unhealthy labor (from production to distribution to sales to deliveries) while despoiling the environment and sometimes creating “conspicuous consumption”. If our existential affirmation works towards the good, it can also participate in the bad.
We can make the claim that our careers can serve ideals commensurate with life styles. Hypocrisy, however, may abound. I remember when I first started representing the poor in slums, as a lawyer, I was attacked by fellow graduates, who were working for some corporate firms that were prosecuting the poor for using cannibus. Those same lawyers were also using marijuana and had that in common.
I opposed the abolition of jury trials for those accused of Civil Rights crimes and raised difficulties with “affirmative action” advocating instead recruitment in slum schools and Indian reservations and educational institutions to entice the best students, encouraging those who wanted to learn more, offer remedial and early education, and the elimination of “legacy” and “athletic” scholarships from many mainly white dominated Sports in “elite” institutions. Yet, I was not deemed “radical” enough in my attempts to help ameliorate some bad contributing conditions.
There are many ways to help those less fortunate. There is grassroots organizing, worker owned and/or factories and means of production (sometimes entailing destruction), co-operatives (including banks) and political participation, with a range of volunteer work (e.g. sewing).
What should a civilization provide?
A civilization should provide sustainability, health, education, transportation, safety, stable currency, human agency, secure government software that works, data privacy, fair commerce, facilities for creativity in art, science, thoughts, crafts, and enjoyment including the law, mathematics and philosophy. Participation by your career offers real occasions for self fulfillment and meaning for living. Yet, in these activities we still participate in the institutions of evil.
- Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability
- Seattle Council Just Passed America’s First Ban on Winter Evictions
The West Coast city is getting more active about preventing homelessness.
There is no such thing as an “offline” world.
There is no barrier between the physical world and cyberspace it is indistinguishable.
- NY Bar Exam In Complete Disarray
- 2/12/2020 Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is in favor of private transactions for digital currencies. “As we look at cryptocurrencies and an overall societal shift toward digitizing our financial transactions, it’s vital that we build privacy values into both the technology and the regulatory systems.”
- Plastic Surgery Patient Photos, Info Exposed by Leaky Database
- IANA locked itself out! Love the Internet
- Take Entire Countries offline also see Hubs and Spokes
- Steal This Book ~ Abbie Hoffman
- How to See the First Show You Watched on Netflix
WHAT TO DO?
We must selectively choose our battles.
Not buying toilet paper because it is made by Koch industries will have little effect. Boycotting concert halls or hospitals named after corrupt oppressors does very little. The test should rather be when there is an organized activity to join (e.g. grape pickers) for the collective movement may make a difference! We could argue the only successful embargo for countries condemned was against “apartheid” in South Africa because of such a powerful local movement progressing. Currently, law students at Yale and Harvard are attempting to prevent the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind from recruiting at those schools because the firm represents fossil fuel companies who do environmental damage. Where is the ideal that the popular client still has the right to representation (right to counsel)? During the McCarthy era, the first rate small firm of Rabinowitz and Boudin lost most of their clients because of their representing claimed communists or “pinkos” (Cuba and Poland) – echoing the Hollywood black list. I do suggest that lawyers can make an ethical choice as to the class and type of clients they seek to serve. Trump should be disbarred and prosecuted in State Courts now.
We are omnivores. We do not condemn carnivores in the wild. It is easy to engage in anthropomorphism and write the pathetic fallacy to condemn eating meat. But, we know little about ourselves, less about humans, and nothing really about the interiority intellectual or emotional of other beasts. True enough we have an apparent aversion to cannibalism which is easy to carry over to primates and even other intelligent animals, whales, elephants, and apparently goats. True it is also that most “modern” consumers can buy meat with no obvious animal nature.
When I lived in Italy in 1966 (when they baked real bread loaves, frozen beef from Argentina in parts and lamb racks from New Zealand (and horse meat) wine and oil stores, drinkable fresh eggs in bars, pasta stores, separate food and good stores, I purposely went to the butcher to watch them cut up “Bugs Bunny” for my rabbit dinner; goats, and cows. I believed one should confront what is disturbing in what we obtain – as well as evil in other commercial projects.
Some only eat fish (some hunt it as others do some animals – of course, there are societies which subsist on one or the other). They squirm, writhe, seem to undergo pain. It appears that octupi are intelligent (even in the buds of the tentacles), become attached to owners, and appear to dream and express emotions. Why is this different in kind than eating animals?
Finally, there are vegans and vegetarians. (I have read of some Indian religious group that only eats dead leaves). Yet, it is established that plants cry in pain (supersonically) when cut, that they communicate to each other (particularly about dangers) struggle to survive. Because it is more remote than what we see in the mirror are they more “moral” to eat?
Worse, agribusiness is a plague, not to mention golf courses, amusement areas, etc. Not only does it enslave workers in disgusting ways, it destroys ecology (in conjunction with some dams) poisons our air and water, eliminates directly and indirectly other species and varieties, but has also destroyed much of nature’s beauty. Except for a few “farm raised” products (and in the United States there are no Federal standards for “organic”), vegetables come from agribusiness (as eggs and (beakless) chickens come from confining cages, cows deprived of calves -slaughtered as veal – to have milk pumped until killed young for meat. Most vegetable eaters existentially participate in Monsanto and their ilk. As omnivores, of course, their diet also suffers defects- not as bad as that of artificial sugars (fructose) thrust upon the poor particularly, but defects nonetheless.
None of us have a right to be self righteous (let alone castigate those who nourish themselves differently. . . or cause disruptions for other diners who continue the human historical omnivorous past. We all participate in existential furthering of evil which leaves the squeamish as bad as the rest of us. To be self-righteous about being a vegetarian or a vegan, cause others inconvenience and embarrassment adds to the evil in the world, not approaching the “good” beckoning somehow, somewhere…