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Passions

What are one’s passions? That’s a dangerous question for me because they’ve proved in the past to be very fickle. Ten years ago I was convinced I was going to become a computer programmer and that was that. But my math was not up to snuff and ultimately it just became boring.

Next was journalism. I started reading Tom Wolfe and became a big fan of Citizen Kane. When I was passed over for editorship school paper I was devastated. I lost that passion just as quickly as I had gained it.

My attention was then drawn toward fiction. This is where I was at in my final year of high school and thus English Literature was the program I applied for at university.

Three years later (one of which I passed) my enthusiasm for Shakespeare and my pretentious classmates was waning. But in this case, a lot of things had changed in my life. I had found love and then lost it pretty hard. The temple of secularism that was university had driven me to become more spiritually aware. I was heartbroken, academically unsuccessful and had a handful of new mental diagnoses to boot. Yay!

But I payed for my sins – I spent a semester at community college where I took a geography class alongside a young lady who couldn’t India on a world map. After that I jumped headlong into my latest “kick”: religion. Oh yes, forget all that other stuff, I had finally found my calling. And I could legitimately use the word “calling”. I was going to become a pastor.

That dream took a year or two to die but now it’s definitely six feet under. I eventually
realized two things: I hated school (but loved education) and becoming a pastor would
involve a whole lot more of that. Also, my fits of crushing social anxiety are decidedly
impediments to a job that is all about interacting with people. The same thing happened with my dream of voluntary service. There was a SALT placement in Serbia I was looking at. It looked lovely. But as I looked at all the forms and all the requirements and what I had to do and where this might take me my head started swimming. I couldn’t take it. I cashed out, I dumped the forms in my recycle bin where they still lay, taunting me. Maybe someday. But I’m getting old.

My political evolution has been much less haphazard. I can easily see the path I have made and why I made the turns that I did. I was once quite conservative. I think it still would not be inaccurate to describe me as a conservative but that’s only part of the picture. I’ve lost a lot of faith in institutions. That, combined with interest in nonviolence has driven me to look into Christian anarchism. Truthfully though, I’m a Christian democrat. I believe in the concept of a social market economy and I think community is essential. When it comes to others I’m certainly paternalistic.

My politics now are mostly informed by religion. I’m a firm believer in the consistent ethic of life, which for me encompasses opposition to violence, capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion. For the most part I consider these issues to be intimately connected although I realize most do not. That said, I still do approach each of them differently.

My commitment to nonviolence frequently wavers. I do not like war but at the same time I find the idea of asking Syrian rebels to lay down their arms and say “pretty please” to the Assad regime to be stupid and naive. Capital punishment is illegal in Canada and I really don’t foresee it coming back. Euthanasia is still illegal although I find its growing acceptance to be rather disquieting.

And then there’s abortion: it’s a topic I’ve blogged about before but rarely ever spoken of in public because that’s a conversation that usually doesn’t end well. I’m still thoroughly opposed to the practice but I have an almost equal amount of disdain for the pro?life movement which seems to think that shaming women for their past “indiscretions” is somehow an effective way to lower abortion rates. I’ll admit my own attitude in the past has at times been rather callous. There also seems to be a weird connection between pro?life and anti–same?sex marriage groups. That’s like having a group that’s anti?war and anti?vegetables: the two issues are utterly unrelated. There’s an Israeli charity, Efrat, that focuses more on support for the mothers but I don’t think it goes far enough. I wish there was a group whose principle mandate was financial, social and mental support for mothers along with education on the adoption option. That would be good.

But for now I’m most interested in copyright reform. When’s that going to happen?

Only “Human”

I happened to glance at a “Dear Ellie” column in the newspaper (one of those myriad Ann Landers knock-offs) and it ran something like this: “Dear Ellie, I’ve been dating a married man, blah blah blah, etc.”  And then she replied with something like “Well your problem is a communication issue…”

No, your problem is your dating a fucking married man, you slut! Don’t get me wrong, I disapprove of his actions even more but it was the lady who happened to be writing the letter.

It’s really pissing me off how borderline acceptable adultery has become.  In fiction particularly it’s often portrayed as some sort of character flaw.  No, just no.  Drug addiction is a character flaw, rage is a character flaw, being a workaholic is a character flaw; unilaterally shattering the bond with the person you pledged your all to, till death you do part: that’s a failure at life.  Murderers, rapists, pædophiles: I put adulterers in the same category.  What’s the point of a marriage vow if there’s no consequences to breaking it?  At the very least I think infidelity should be regarded as tantamount to waiving child custody.  How the hell are you supposed to be a role model?  Yet in some countries adultery isn’t even taken into consideration in divorce proceedings.  For people in abusive relationships I guess I can understand it but that still doesn’t justify it.

They had their priorities straight in the olden days.  The affair of Sir Lancelot and Guinevere leads to the downfall of Camelot, the deaths of Arthur and Gawain and ends with the two lovers adopting celibacy.  Now that’s some seriously righteous consequences.  Now this is not to say that the folks of the middle ages were perfect.  In particular, kings seemed to be somehow immune to the no adultery rule.  Of course the best monarchs (Edward the Confessor, Richard the Lionheart, Henry V, Henry VII) curiously don’t seem to have had mistresses.

The Human League - Human

[Ed.--In retrospect I think comparing adulterers to murderers, rapists and pædophiles was a bit harsh.  Nevertheless I do think there should be some form of punishment for what is, essentially, the breach of a contract.  However, I believe the emotional devastation caused by adultery can be comparable to those previously mentioned heinous crimes.]