Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sources of Oppression

Although the oppression of capitalism, which I consider equivalent in moral terms to slavery, occupies a great deal of my thinking, I would have to confess that in my own life, I haven't found it to be particularly oppressive.  I accept that this is primarily because I'm fairly lucky in the scheme of capitalism, and most others aren't so lucky.  But also I should probably consider other sources of oppression more often.

My resentment at government oppression meanwhile is limited essentially to unwarranted intrusion into my personal behavior.  I strongly feel that in such matters as they do not affect others, people should be allowed to do as they please.  So I resent all the prohibitions, on drugs, sexual behaviors, and prostitution.  Had this been a society with legal drugs and prostitution, I feel my life could have been much better in that regards.  I imagine "coffee shops" and "brothels" where I might have spent much time in my youth, instead of depression.

Taxation has not been a problem IMO, nor government regulation, and more especially of the latter would be just fine in many cases IMO.  I would generally prefer to pay more for safer foods and other things, and my preference isn't reflected very well in the rigged "marketplace."  However a considerable source of oppression arguably has been extended copyright terms, and patents which in some cases have kept useful ideas from being as much used as they could be.  Since it is a certain class of capitalists who have clamored for unreasonably long copyright terms (I think the original 17+17 terms in US law were correct), I could blame these laws on capitalism.

And in similar terms, the prohibitions arguably stem from religion, and represent a failure of church and state.  Gore Vidal makes this argument, and specifically blames monotheisms.

And there's another clear area of oppression, which has only been of hypothetical concern to me: the restrictions on abortion.  Actually I consider this particularly oppressive not so much directly (as I could get around them, being fairly well off, I could fly to another country if needed) but in the general milieu of opinions.  In a better world, someone my age (61) might be able to try for their first child through possibly more than possibly one fertilization attempt, checking for genetic defects, and using abortion unless and possibly until clean genes are achieved.  In a better world, not oppressed by anti-abortion, I might be able to convince a female partner that this would be the way to go.

Religion has also been a factor in creating the current anti-sciencism, and being tolerant of global warming denialism, which dooms future civilization (and not perhaps me personally so much).

In short, though I generally haven't felt religion to be such a big deal, people can "believe" what they want as far as I am concerned, but in fact, pressure from religion, and in particular failures of separation of church and state that occur through prohibitions, have been the most pervasive oppression in my life.  The oppressions that have resulted from capitalism--private ownership of the means of production--have not been so great in my life.

And separating out religion from state, the secular state (not including the prohibitions) has not been oppressive to me at all, and has done at least a little to protect me.  Now here I'm lucky simply being white, perhaps.  If I were not white, I would find the inevitable racial profiling to be oppressive, especially if I were latino nowadays.

Gore Vidal also lays blame for the racism at the door of monotheism also, including the racism in laws such as immigration laws.

I am sad to see the rise of what I consider ill conceived political ideas, in almost complete antithesis of my ideas, in the 3 US branches of government.  Attacking what I consider worthy and promising to make the oppressive things moreso.  But I do not consider the principal fault in the principle of government itself.

What about gender oppression as such.  As a male, some might again say, I'm lucky, and perhaps so in some ways as employment and expectations, which also involve capitalism and state.  That's probably also from the monotheistic influence on those institutions again.  But within actual sexual relationships, and starting said relationships, I feel more on the unlucky side.  But had religion never entered this picture, and prohibited coffee shops and brothels, I don't think I would ever have felt much if any sexual oppression, as alternative social outlets would exist for the same surplus male sexual energy.  As it is, with the level of toleration for erotic images increasing over time--freedom of erotic images is a very important one for males especially--the oppression has also been diminished that way.  So for me at least, here again, the oppression is either naturally unavoidable for me (as a male) or due to religious influences on government and commerce.

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