10 October 2008

More Serenity

Waiting for Sara to call me back, so I've got a minute to get a few more thoughts down.

The best thing about all this is, it doesn't feel like anything is really changing.  It'll be a wild, wonderful weekend, but then we'll head back home and pick up where we left off.  I figure that's a really good sign; our relationship is already in the right place.  The rest is just paperwork.

Oh, but there will be a might party, have no doubt about that.

And I think we have a lovely ceremony planned.  That's the one thing that has me nervous; not the marriage, but the wedding.  (Better than the reverse, I know.)  We've written our own ceremony.  Ben here is officiating.  It's a trifle terrifying, not having anyone authoritative to tell us what we're supposed to do (the answer "anything you want" isn't particularly comforting to the chronically indecisive).  But we've done our research, and we've incorporated traditional elements.  I think we've got something really nice worked out.  (There will be details, fear not.)

But all is in order.  Tokaji has been procured.  Rings are packed, and my are they lovely.  My best friend Brendan is here now; he's three months into a year-long
teaching gig in Japan, but he made it back for the wedding.  Tux gets picked up first thing tomorrow morning, and then it's off to Hanover for the rehearsal, and then...

The leaves in are at their peak color this weekend, and the weather should be delightful.  My word, we COULD NOT have chosen a better time to get married in New England.

Okay, time to talk to the bride, then sleep.  Surprisingly tired.  More to come...


Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I'm afraid I've been rather preoccupied.

I'm getting married in less than 48 hours, y'see...

01 October 2008

Daily Double Standard: God and the Economy

"How can you live like that? How can we be expected to be moral without religion? Is it just every man for himself otherwise? Is it just survival of the fittest? We couldn't possibly live like that."

Sound familiar? If you're out to any of your friends and family of faith, then at some point I'm sure you've gone through this tired old debate. No: social species like humans have developed codes of behavior (read: culture) that ensure our mutual survival and prosperity through cooperation; no, religion is not a necessary precondition for the ideology that in order to survive and prosper we must work for our collective good. Yes, a society built on selfishness and individual gain would absolutely crumble, but religion is not the only reason that people will work together for a common goal - and in fact has often had the exact opposite effect.

So far nothing new here.

But what I find the most hypocritical about this misguided belief is that the people who think that people would have no reason to play nice if it weren't for the constant surveillance and intervention of a great cosmic overlord are often the very same ones who think that regulation of the economy should be avoided at all costs.

How can someone possibly think that the strategy of "every man for himself and to hell with the rest of you" will create a healthy, well-functioning economy, but a chaotic and horrific society? Especially since white-collar crime feels so much more 'victimless' to the perpetrator than, say, assault and battery. Does that mean it's somehow easier to resist the temptation to shift a decimal place than it is to pull the trigger on another human being? "I'm completely above unscrupulous banking, and I would never dream of cooking my books -- but it's sure a good thing there's a God up there threatening me with hellfire, because otherwise I couldn't help shooting orphans in the face!" I don't know about you, but I would find it much more difficult to kill a man than to cheat on my taxes.

Can anyone out there sincerely believe that human beings would casually rape, murder, and pillage each other without God, but that we unfailingly exercise the utmost self-restraint and fiscal responsibility in our business dealings even if there are no serious consequences for dishonest dealing?

Make up your minds, right-wing christo-fascist wackaloons, because you can't have it both ways. Dishonest dealing and murder aren't all that different - people suffer both ways for the uninhibited greed and selfishness of others. So what's it going to be: are we inherently good people, or aren't we? Do we need someone or something telling us to mind all our Ps and Qs by fiat, or should we take Darwin to heart, take as much for ourselves as we can get and let the chips fall where they may?

Or maybe, just maybe, we can all come together and agree on a set of principles - a 'social contract' if you will - whereby we will agree to comport ourselves, in everyday life and in business dealings alike. Compliance with these principles achieves optimal benefits, harmony, and prosperity for all, and deviance is interpreted as a breach of contract and will be punished accordingly. Doesn't that sound nice?

Oh wait. We already have that. They're called laws.