So today I wanted to talk about a discussion that I had with my friend recently (really more of an argument). Many of my friends are conservative, which means that I often end up being the only person with a more left swinging perspective to my life. Yesterday, our discussion evolved (ironic, since we were playing Pokemon Go!) from the statement “Cassady doesn’t shop at Wal-Mart,” which is true. I don’t, because I don’t believe they treat employees well enough to deserve my dollars. And it may be slightly more expensive to shop elsewhere, but hey, I think we should pay the small price extra for better treatment of all peoples.
Our discussion eventually got to the point to where I said something along the lines of “it’s a natural right to deserve a decent life in our society.” Which my friend misconstrued to mean natural in a slightly different way that I meant it—he used natural as in it would occur this way unimpeded by human developments, I used natural as in we are born into a society with these values. I couldn’t convey that at the time though because it was a hard thing to put words to.
His response wasn’t attacking my idea, but rather invalidating my point, which was to argue that natural was an invalid argument because aspects like abortion are not natural, which means the use of a natural argument to validate one idea while invalidating another is hypocritical. Which is true. I didn’t have an answer for that at the time, because I had to think about it. I do now.
It was wrong to use natural in the context that I did about human rights. They aren’t nature related. The truth is we aren’t born with unalienable rights—seriously. We have earned them. Every step forward in human development has been earned in some progressive thought process. We came to a point some two hundred years ago where we were able to become, in my friends words, meta-conscious, meaning we are aware of our ability to change the course of our lives at any given moment, as well as the impact of our actions. And that is the grounds that people deserve a decent life. Because in our society of meta-conscious beings, each person should be able to live out natural aspects of life, like having a family, without struggling for food. It’s a very capitalist centered mind set to say that we should all make a grab for the food on the table and whoever gets that food gets to eat, instead of sharing the food so that nobody starves, but maybe serve the people at the top the choice portions.
My friends other example involved monetary values. He said that by my thinking, the right thing to do would be to give excess away. His example was that, lets say, he got $1.00 every day, and he could live off $0.35 every day. Under my thinking, he claimed. The right thing to do for everyone else was to give that $0.65 to some charity so that others could use it too. Which is not the truth of the matter. The reality is that some people have more dollars than that. I equated it this way: lets say a person has $30.00, and a good, average life requires $10.00 to live in some quality. That person has made three times that—but no person needs three times luxury. Why not let them keep $20.00 of that $30.00 and raise someone who doesn’t have anything—not because they haven’t tried, but because they haven’t succeeded yet—to a place of decency.
That’s not natural, but that’s something humans have the capability to do. And it’s also the morally compassionate thing to do. We live in a time where we are surrounded by thieves and people out only for themselves, which is why money is used as the measure for success in life. To make the shift so that community and personal subjective life is a measure for success, we must first make that an option for the majority of humans in America—and under our current structure, too many people cannot afford that opportunity. Too many people suffer from starvation, in the richest and most powerful country in the developed world. That’s unacceptable, and in all honesty, its downright cruel.