I have been out again in defiant. I went for a long drive, through the park, into town and back via the lanes. Long drives give me a chance to think, analyse, and reflect on my values. Yesterdayafternoon, I was pondering university, as usual, and specifically the people I met there.
University definitely made me more liberal. Well, perhaps its more accurate to say it drew my liberalism into sharper focus. Before uni, I was very liberal, but I still had certain biases against certain activities. It wasn’t until I actually met people who indulged in certain activities that these biases were questioned.
Take the example of drugs. The usual standpoint is that all recreational drugs are bad; I used to think this, before I actually pondered it. I realised, of course, that there are reasons why people take drugs (usually ultimately concerned with discontent with the status quo). One also realises the inconsistencies in society’s attitude towards drugs: why is it that people are allowed to smoke tobacco or drink beer, but not take weed? Tobacco causes cancer, alcohol is also very dangerous. I like my beer, so is it not hypocritical for me to criticise anyone for smoking cigarettes or joints? Back at school, I used to get uptight at my friends who smoked, but then I realised precisely why they showed such disregard for getting lung cancer: life would be too short.
And life is way too short to get uptight. If my friends take joy from smoking, let them. We only have one life to lead, one body to control, surely if it isn’t hurting anyone else, why do we all get so uptight about people doing what they want to do? Passive smoking hurts others, which is why I support the pub smoking ban, but in their own homes, or if it doesn’t hurt anyone else, why can’t society tolerate such activities? No doubt there can be some harmful consequences from such activities, but I have only observed the positive consequences – people having fun, feeling mellow and being happy. I’m informed that the harm comes from ‘bad batches’, which would suggest to me a need for legalisation and regulation of such substances. Bring it away from the underground; this way, at least, the problem of drug crime can be irradiated.
Now, I don’t smoke for physical reasons, and drugs are a pain to procure, so I just stick to alcohol. This does not mean I’ll disassociate myself from friends who do such things? Why would I? same goes with my gay friends (up until 30 years ago, homosexuality was illegal). Humanity is wonderful in that it comes in all shapes and sizes – this is all part of that diversity. Naturally, one must always be careful, but my point is that uni made me question my stereotypical views. There were many people there, from all walks of life. My point is that uni made me more accepting of others and it made me appreciate the diversity of life.
CaMoron claims society is broken; what he, for the most part, means is that it does not conform to his narrow stereotype of what society should be. I just think society is changing as people explore new ways of living. Exploration can only be good. Thus, I say live and let live, and see what happens. I value diversity and acceptance, now more than ever. The Tories seem to want everybody to conform to their rather narrow view of what life should be like. Despite the fact that they use the language of tolerance these days, this seems meaningless rhetoric when their leader speaks of wanting to mend a broken society.
Naturally, tolerance can only be part of the issue. Things like domestic violence and burglary cannot just be accepted, and so need to be addressed. But, unlike most conservatives, I think it is wrong simply to dismiss perpetrators of such activities as simply evil or bad. Behind every action there is a reason. I’m not completely dismissing free will, but I don’t think our actions come wholly from choke. Behind every action there is a reason, or else all human action will be chaotic. Therefore, I say it is better to take an accepting approach, and try to understand why people may turn to crime with a view to addressing the root causes. After all, simply to lock people up who ever did anything wrong would be a waste of human resources.
Moreover, what is ‘wrong’? 40 years ago, homosexuality was wrong! Am I wrong for liking to wear girls clothes. Back on campus nobody batted an eyelid when I did that, or when we went through the sports hall in zentai suits. Campus, of course, is a very liberal environment, as I say; students are very open, and accepting. After all, there is no logical reason why anyone should be offended or object to such activity. If only the world was like a university campus.
I guess this is all pretty boilerplate and obvious. I’m just attempting to establish my views on the subject. I may, of course, be setting up a straw man, but my gut says that the Tory’s attempt to appear liberal, and to take the centre ground are just a sham. Historically, they are the party of iliberalism and intolerance. If we look beneath the rhetoric, they are just the same old conservative party, wanting everybody to conform to their narrow values, resenting difference and unwilling to look deeper than the black and white, right and wrong.