Is there a center (in politics) anymore?
How free can a group be before infringing on the freedoms of another?
Start by listing things that cause damage.
You’ll see the competing stakeholders immediately… Using drugs, killing, stealing, property destruction, abortion, distribution of sexual materials to minors. These each imply a two or more party exchange of rights, one taking them, and one losing them. Yet, though these disparities are clear to some, whether right or left of a central view, only a few are generally understood to be detrimental, depending on your position.
But, when one looks strictly at loss, disputed terms begin to evaporate: losing your freedom, losing your assets, losing your life, dependents losing their parent, losing a father, losing a mother, losing your innocence. Each of these obvious losses, though, have been decentralized to serve various stakeholders’ interests. Something that was once striking, like loss of life, is typically redefined as something like: necessary collateral damage, ethnic cleansing, mercy killing, or compassionate termination of a pregnancy.
It is the idea of freedom that is ultimately being appropriated to a “side,” however. Where does freedom from death and/or indecency end and give way to the competing interests of adults’ control over children, for example? The real question becomes, what exactly is damage? Thoughts are centralized very consistently by asking one to endure damage or loss, but not so simply when the decision is whether to inflict it. This is a major disconnect of psyche from reality, and results in the gravest of loss and damage.
Two central questions occupy all of human thought on freedom, what constitutes taking a child’s innocence, and what constitutes taking a child’s life? These statements of the questions are obviously composed from a certain view, but what if you state the reverse view? When is a person exercising freedom from restricted sexual expression, or, when is a person exercising freedom from being a parent?
The choice above to relate loss specifically to children is intentional because both a child’s freedom and existence (or quality of life) is decided by adults. This means that they are the most vulnerable to the highest degree of damage and loss. Adults typically agree on more visible abuse toward children as unacceptable, but as the observable evidence becomes harder to collect, adults are more inclined to ignore these losses in lieu of their own gains for the transaction.
An example of this would be the wide-scale electronic distribution of pornography, ignoring the obscenely prolific consumption of it by minors, in order to gain an input conduit for pleasure seeking. Clearly, the visibility of the damage created by long term exposure to adult material by children is masked enough for most adults to ignore this transactional exchange of damage for pleasure, or else there would be a stronger lobby against online porn than for it, and it would be ended as a practice.
To this we should ask, is there a center of opinions where a certain level of pornography consumption by minors is acceptable in exchange for the benefits of the adult male population having access to it? The answer should be, no. Yet, because of the low visibility, and the wide range of views on the damage it causes, there’s very little public discussion for this. And yet when something like child trafficking news is reported, 100% of adults suddenly have the same, central opinion.
Perhaps, then, it’s this question of visibility, transparency, that decentralizes all public opinion on these issues. Once an issue is brought out into the open, adults scramble to the center. And, the one factor that determines transparency the most is the definition of terms for loss each adult personally holds.
If your definition for abortion is safe or convenient removal of potential distress, then your visibility for any loss has been mitigated. If your definition for abortion is rather, the termination of a life and its potential effect on the mother or the world, the transparency of the act of marginalizing that loss is very clear.
In most cases, the visibility of loss inflicted on children is in direct proportion to an adult’s acceptance of it in exchange for their own pleasure. But increasingly, through either willful ignorance, or physical refusal to collect observable evidence, the damage and loss inflicted upon children has become increasingly acceptable to a growing distribution of adult minds.
Where, then, is the “center?” The basic, concurrent definition of it has not moved at all. What has changed is only the minds that decide on the meaning, or definition, of value. It’s not even that the minds that are in power are deciding, necessarily. It’s that the agreement on the center of the value of human life drifts with our ability to mask loss. A father that is lost to accidental death is more visible that a father lost to drugs, divorce, infidelity, porn, sloth, or debauchery. Which causes more loss? Case by case, maybe some more than others, but by consequence, there is a child without a father in each and every case.
Loss is the central metric. Replacing loss as a metric with transparency is, plainly, farce. You can redefine or marginalize loss all you want, to your detriment and to that of the child. Without touching on competing interest in adult economies at all, one can assess loss readily with this central question of damage to children. The refusal to, or willful ignorance of, the effect on the most vulnerable is, again, the metric of the health of a culture. This is why we have perhaps lost a clear center for some of the most obvious, heretofore easily indisputable measures of value, like the value of human lives. I’d heartily challenge anyone to convey a transparent argument, one with a definition of life based on loss/value, for abortion that is clearly centrist, and then find any place for it in a healthy society.
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