Thursday, March 09, 2006

Republicans wasting our time, again

Tennessee. The Volunteer State. It's currently beset by the "Tennessee Waltz" investigation into corrupt legislators, a poor health care system, rampant obesity, and a lower average death age than most every state.

So, what are legislators doing to combat these various ills?

They're banning the sale and use of sex toys.

Let's keep in mind, there are exceptions in this law. Exceptions for doctors and psychiatrists to prescribe them for patients, exceptions for college classes to study them, and exceptions for school libraries (WTF?).

First of all, this ban won't work. It's called the Internet, people, or just taking a drive over state lines. Secondly, how do you enforce such a ludicrous ban? This is a violation of Griswold, because it goes into the bedroom once again and attempts to regulate such private behavior.

Most importantly, though, it's going to be reviled by many (and let me tell you, sex toy use, like porn, is not for those among the minor few. It's huge, whether you like it or not) and it's a complete waste of our time and money. With all these problems, once again Republicans are trying to stir up a "moral issue" while ignoring the real moral issue, the issue of lives. Letting people die because we wasted time on banning sex toys instead of fixing a broken health care system is the real immorality here.


Blogger E. M. Zanotti said...

Actually its not a violation of Griswold. That case governed the rights of married couples to procreate or to use birth control in planning children. It had nothing to do with sex toys. Even Lawrence had nothing to do with it: that case governed peoples rights to have intimate contact with other people of their choice.

Both are substantive due process cases, do not govern particular behavior but rather your "right" to be self-determinitive in your romantic pursuits and decisions to have children (not the parameters of the sexual act itself). It would behoove you to study some basic Constitutional Law before commenting on a particular laws application to Amendment provisions.

This is federalism at its best: a LEGISLATURE and not a JUDICIARY determining the will of the citizens of the state. Like it or not, this is how democracy works. Whether this law will be enforced or not remains to be seen. The point of moral law is to set a societal structure based on either a Natural Law (more often thought of as Western philosophy) or societal consensus (post-Enlightenment thought). All societies insist of a method of laws that govern the behavior of citizens; someones "morality" must rule, wheter that is a Christian morality or a secular amorality.

If the citizens of Tennessee want sex toys banned, ban sex toys. Theres not Constitutional right to use a vibrator, nor will there ever be one found, despite the shambles of the "living Constitution" theory.

Health care, despite the insistence of Democrats everywhere, is not a true moral issue. If anything, its closest moral theory is the Universal Destination of Goods and Services, or perhaps Distributive Justice. To call health care a "moral issue" misunderstands the orignial interpretation of that basis, or at least the Augustinian/Aquinas understanding that gave birth to the concept. The morality of health care is accomplished by providing the opportunity for access, not the health care itself. In current society, this would mean limiting the amount of money awards in civil suits, giving tax credits so that businesses can purchase health care for their employees or enter into health care collectives, and insisting on patients rights.

One need only cross the border into Canada (where I once broke an arm) to find out that Universal Health Care means Awful Health Care for everyone who cant afford expensive private health care. There is a reason the system is failing and unpopular: it sets the lowest common denominator, stymies medical research and development, and has insanely long lines.

And incidentally, if you drive across state lines to get contraband and drive back, it interferes with dormant commerce provisions.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Thad said...

I wasn't arguing for universal health care here. Far from it. But to not do more to fix the infrastructure, a fair amount of which is public in the South, is morally wrong. To not do more to ensure access to good health care is morally wrong. To not work on some of those things you mentioned, or others solutions, and instead to tackle sex toys (which does not seem to be a matter of major public interest by any measure) shows a disregard for the more important issues. Sex toys are a personal choice, whose use does not affect the common welfare. A crumbling health care system, on the other hand, does affect the common welfare, and should be the higher priority.

Without a public clamor for changing the laws in regard to sex toys, this is simply trying to change the subject away from what matters most. Good health care and access to it are part of a true culture of life, not the sloganed version we get from many GOP lawmakers. That's not a political point, that's just the way it should be.

I've written a lot about the culture of life as espoused by Republicans as opposed to what a real culture of life should encompass. Culture of life to them means not allowing vegetables to die even if they choose and banning abortion. It shows, however, a disregard for life that is already walking the face of this planet.

We've barely done anything about Darfur. We've chosen to not support those groups who give condoms to Africans to help stem the tide of AIDS. We blew it with Katrina, causing the death of thousands. We have let health care deteriorate, where we spend three times as much money on paperwork as any other nation in the world, to where doctors I've spoken with say they prefer Medicare, because it requires less paperwork than HMO's and PPO's. We argue for and institute abstinence-only education, betting that our children will always follow conscience over basic instinct, and leaving them uneducated as to how to protect themselves if they give in to their instincts. Witholding knowledge of safe ways to do something "bad" does not prevent the act from occuring. It just makes the consequences worse.

Fake moral issues, and that is what I consider this bill, are a political tool that prevent real reform from being done. If Tennessee had a real groundswell of support for this ban, then that's fine for them. Let them go and do it, not that it'll be worth the time, but let them do it. That's not the case here. This is legislators doing this as a political distraction, without public demand, and that is repugnant to me.

6:37 AM  

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