Who Is Mistral Dawn?
Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Friday, April 13, 2018
Your Freedom To Swing Your Arm Ends At My Nose
Today, I'm going to share with you something that I wrote a little while back regarding the way certain people in this country seem to think that because they have the right to make certain choices for themselves that automatically translates into their having the right to force everyone else to adhere to those choices, as well. I hope the following metaphor helps clear things up for those people.
Okay, let's say that you and I are friends and we decide to go out and have lunch together. We go to this great burger joint and the server comes over and asks for our order. And let's say that I'm a vegetarian, so I order the veggie burger. But you're not a vegetarian, so you order the double bacon cheeseburger with a side of extra bacon grease and chicken fries.
No problem so far, right? I mean, I have the right to be a vegetarian if I want to be. And I have the right to order any damn burger on that menu, including the veggie burger, that I choose. And when that veggie burger is brought to me, I can eat and enjoy it. Hell, I can compose sonnets to it, if I want to. "Ode To The Veggie Burger." And you have the right to not be a vegetarian if you don't want to be and to order and enjoy the burger of your choice. So, no problem.
And maybe the experience is even deeper than that. Maybe I'll decide I need to learn all the mysteries of the veggie burger and take part of it home and put it under a microscope and dissect it into its component parts. Still okay, right? Maybe I'll decide I need to tell everyone I know about the awesomeness of the veggie burger. I mean, they're not under any obligation to listen, but I certainly have every right to speak my mind. So everything is still hunky dory, right?
If I wake up every day blessing the veggie burger and whisper my gratitude for being my personal savior to the spirit of the veggie burger before I lay my head on my pillow each night, that's okay too. Maybe I'll even decide to write books about the veggie burger. "Living Life In Accordance With The Veggie Burger" and "The Veggie Burger And You: What Does It Mean?" And then hire Morgan Freeman to narrate the audiobook versions. Still perfectly fine, right?
But, see, here's where we start to have a problem. If I decide that since I'm a vegetarian and I think veggie burgers are awesome, I try to prevent you from ordering your heart attack on a plate and force you and everyone else in the restaurant to only eat veggie burgers. Not just then, but for the rest of your lives. Because that's what I think is moral. Not so okay, right?
And while I have the right to gather some of my vegetarian friends together and have us all stand outside the restaurant with signs warning about the dangers of rejecting the veggie burger, provided we stay on public property and remain peaceful, I don't have any right to prevent you from going into the restaurant. Or to grab your arm as you walk by me, ignoring my signs, and refuse to let you go until you tell me what you intend to order. Definitely not okay, right?
I also don't have the right to decide that since I pay taxes and some of those taxes go to support agriculture, that means that all farmers must cease and desist from all raising of livestock for meat. And it's completely unacceptable for me to track those farmers down and harass and threaten them if they decline to accede to my demands. And, it would be beyond horrific if I decided to punctuate my point by harming some of those farmers or blowing up some of their farms. Right?
It would also be completely unacceptable for me to demand that public schools stop teaching about the digestive process in biology classes and how meat is broken down into amino acids, which can then be used by the body in various ways. Nor would it be okay if I insisted that the science I found inconvenient be replaced with Meat Is Murder propaganda in those classes. Would it?
And if I was a doctor, it would be completely unethical and immoral for me to refuse to aid you if you came into the ER where I worked because you were having a heart attack because, in my opinion, you deserved that heart attack for eating meat. Or, if I was a pharmacist, it would not be in any way acceptable for me to refuse to fill your blood pressure or cholesterol prescriptions because I thought the only reason you'd need those medicines was that you weren't living your life the way I thought you should. Right?
So, basically, what it boils down to is that I have the right to hold whatever opinions I damn well please, no matter how odd others might find them, and to act on those opinions for myself. But so do you. And you can't be free to exercise your right unless you are simultaneously free from having my opinions forced on you. Right?