‚ÄúMODERATION IN ALL THINGS‚ÄĚ // ADDICTION

Photo by Dylan de Jonge (fair use)

Balance is delicate ‚ÄĒ a Goldilocks concept : ¬†just right. ¬†Early Greek philosophers articulated it well : ¬†moderation in all things. ¬†German designers of the Bauhaus school borrowed the concept, observing that less is more. ¬†Yet so many humans, especially in youth, tend to subscribe to a risky ¬†position by arguing that, if some is fun or good, ¬†more is better. ¬†

We can become addicted to substances, to pleasures, to self. ¬†But we can also become addicted to nonsense, making a god out of purity, abstinence ‚ÄĒ resulting in¬†holier than thou¬†positions, and judgementalism. ¬†(Yes, I get it, that some people simply have problems maintaining balance, and their only practical resort is abstinence ‚ÄĒ and I do not judge that position.) ¬†Whatever works to attain balance is wise, even if it may appear to be immoderately severe to other folks. ¬†Jesus said¬†judge not, lest ye be judged. ¬†And that’s a delicate and difficult instruction.

Presently I’m located in a state which has banned all alcohol sales, again. (I’ve written on this topic before.) ¬†Said state also insists that people wear masks ‚ÄĒ a wise policy, brilliantly enforced by traffic laws. ¬†They even insist that everyone smear alcoholic sanitizer on their hands upon entering a store ‚ÄĒ a practice which I find bizarre. ¬†Hey, the world is dirty, and as soon as I touch anything, so am I. ¬†There is even some evidence that hand sanitizer is unhealthy, if it has been made with methanol, which is toxic, and can be absorbed thru the skin. ¬†¬Ņ Is such a state poisoning citizens?

But the inconsistency about alcohol is odd. ¬†On one hand (yeah, on both) the state advocates using alcohol to prevent cv-19 infection, and on the other it bans alcohol consumption where it could be considered medicinal to the throat ‚ÄĒ the main entry portal of the plague. ¬†Drinking a little alcohol might actually be beneficial, as long as it is done moderately. ¬†

Of course, no state can legislate moderation. ¬†Yet they continue to try. ¬†And people continue to drink hand sanitizer when they can’t buy booze, and then die. ¬†Together we can get thru this pandemic if we think carefully.

 

UPDATED ‚ÄĒ ¬Ņ¬Ņ MY HERITAGE ??

The justification for displaying treasonous symbols based upon family history, “heritage” ‚Äď is indefensible. ¬†For example, in my own case I have some German-American ancestry, and some southern ancestry. ¬†One of my paternal ancestors was born in southern Germany, arriving in the USA at age three. ¬†He was seriously wounded in our civil war, fighting to defend the union of states, and our national Constitution, as a foot soldier.¬†

¬†My Dad’s elder brother was a paratrooper in the US Army during WW2 who served in Europe, fighting against the German reich. ¬†(On my maternal, Irish, southern side, a history of any Confederate service is unknown to me.) ¬†I simply¬†cannot imagine anyone in our family justifying the display of the nazi swastika for “pride of our German heritage”! ¬†

Here’s a well-argued essay suggesting that neither symbol above should be displayed by loyal Americans. ¬†In the case of the stars and bars of the confederacy, that flag represents the ownership and abuse of other human beings. ¬†(Thomas Jefferson reportedly claimed the children he fathered with his slave, Sally Hemings, as “property”.) ¬† It is shameful to celebrate and defend such a heritage by flying that rebel banner. ¬†

I ask, from the flip side of the Golden Rule : ¬†If you were “owned” rather than “owner” would you be displaying this symbol? ¬†The words of George Santayana come to mind : ¬†Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. ¬†Remembering is one thing; prideful celebration and display is something altogether different. ¬†Humility requires, nay, demands that we put away such artifacts.

Independence Day is a day humbly to celebrate unity, equality, liberty. ¬†Like Lincoln’s¬†Emancipation Proclamation,¬†which immediately became law but did not instantly become practice,¬†these¬†words ring true : ¬†Love hath one race, one realm, one power. ¬†~MB Eddy. ¬†¬†The human race knows this in its heart, and will come to see that it is practiced naturally. ¬†We have an internal and eternal sense of justice, and an innate ability to recognize the ideal. ¬†This is our destiny. ¬†

Philosopher John Rawls (in my retelling) invites us to a game of musical chairs at a table where the constitution of the land is being drafted. While we deliberate over what is just for various classes of people, we don’t know what chair we will occupy ‚ÄĒ a wheelchair? ‚Äď a throne? ‚Äď a beggar’s pallet on a sidewalk? ‚Äď that of a bank CEO? ‚ÄĒ yes, true justice must truly be blind. ¬†Nobody knows where one will sit tomorrow, which is true today. ¬†Disregard our future seating at your own peril.

Excerpted from a powerful essay by Robin Wright at The New Yorker : ¬†The statue [of Liberty] was the brainchild of¬†Edouard de Laboulaye, a prominent French expert on the U.S. Constitution who also headed the¬†French Anti-Slavery Society. After the Civil War, in 1865, he wanted to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S., enshrined in the new Thirteenth Amendment, which, in theory, reaffirmed the ideals of freedom‚ÄĒthis time for all people‚ÄĒfirst embodied in the Declaration of Independence.