Monday, July 16, 2007

Our Bodies Ourselves

For my first post, I am going to talk about the freedom of one's own physical body. This seems like it would be such a simple one, indeed it should. Yet in most parts of the world, there are vast restrictions on what we can actually do to and with, our own bodies. This is going to be a quick overview of a few of the rights that we should have, but in many places and cases, do not have, over our own bodies. It is my intention, over time, to address many of these issues in far greater detail, but I thought it would be very handy to start this blog off, with a series of what I believe to be the most basic, fundamental of rights.

First, as I am alive, in this, my very own body, I should have a right to end the life of this body. I should not have to find some unpleasant way to end my life, if I so chose. Indeed, I should be able and allowed to get assistance with the ending of my life. To me, it is an absolute, that if I am in an accident, or contract some disease, that will seriously detract from my ability to function and reason, or seriously detract from my quality of life, I should be allowed to die. Not by starvation, dehydration, refusal to resuscitate or being pulled off life support, but by a humane, painless lethal injection, administered by qualified medical personnel. Even outside the parameters of serious trauma or disease, there should be very few restrictions placed on the right to seek help in ending one's life. As long as one can show they are not being coerced and can prove competency, in the broadest sense of the word, people should be allowed to get a prescription for euthanasia.

Second, if people choose, they should be able to put whatever they wish, into their body. From foods that are generally unsafe, to various enthogens, it should be their choice to put what they please into their body. For many substances, I also believe this should be an informed choice, so I do support legislation that would require many things that are known to have serious dangers affiliated with them, be labeled or warnings otherwise given, before they are sold. But the final, informed choice, should be made by the individual that wishes to partake of them.

In the case of enthogens, there should also be laws that protect the rest of society from those who choose to use them. I support very harsh penalties, for people who get inebriated and subsequently cause harm to others. As an example, I believe those who choose to drink and drive, whether they actually harm someone else or not, should be charged with attempted manslaughter, if they kill someone, the charge should be murder. While I believe that people should have the right to use recreational drugs, whatever ones they wish, I also believe that they absolutely must be responsible when using them. If they are not, the fact that they are high, should not be any sort of excuse.

Finally, I will finish this post with sex, something most people get a fair amount of enjoyment out of. I believe that people have a right to have sex with whomever they choose, as long as they are of age. If they wish to get paid for having sex, or to pay for it, there is no good reason to stop them. As long as the sex is between consenting adults, those adults should be able to have sex under whatever conditions they choose. Prostitution has been around for a very long time and will not go away any time soon. Making it legal, makes it safer for everyone involved. Like any business, I think that the sex trade should also be regulated. There are a lot of very reasonable regulations that would make prostitution a lot safer on so many levels.

Like I said, I will address these issues in the future with far more detail. For now, I just want to go through and provide a brief overview of what my positions are. The next post I put up, will talk about my beliefs in human rights as they apply to families, indeed providing my fairly broad definition of what family really means. From “traditional” family units, to a host of very non-traditional families and what rights and security they should have in society. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have or leave any opinions you might have, in comments or send me an email. I only ask that you be polite to me and each other, if you choose to leave a comment.

13 comments:

JuliaL said...

Congratulations on the new blog. I look forward to reading it. Small suggestion: Consider moving over your February 23, 2006 post from an old blog, and updating it.

moosea1 said...

Interesting stuff. I hope you don't mind that I've linked to your blog from mine. Let me know if you are bothered by it, and I'll remove the link.

Beth said...

Where to begin? I guess I should first say I am glad to see you blogging again, DuWayne. I see your blog name comes from the Declaration of Independence which says:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--"

The framers believed our Creator endowed these rights, not the government, and so I disagree that we have any right or that the government should ever provide a right to end our God-given life. Nor should we have capital punihsment for the same reason.

As for the other things we might consider the pursuit of happiness, I do think we need to be somewhat proative in what we allow in terms of drugs because sure it's a good idea to have penalties for using them carelessly, but why not prevent it in the first place? We have more avenues of happiness pusuing than most countries, do we really need to have legal drugs as well?

DuWayne Brayton said...

Julial -

I'm not certain that I won't, but it is really not my intention to go outside the realms of human rights. At the same time, I can see a potential intersect - we'll see. It is certainly a near and dear topic for me.

moosea1 -

Please, by all means. The more people that come here the better. I am interested in starting discussions.

beth -

I will be getting into the discussion of the framers eventually. In short, that is between a person and their god, if, in fact they have one. It is not a right, or more to the point, a decision that the government should have any involvement in at all.

It is not a matter of needing legal drugs too. It is a matter of having the personal liberty to do as we will, as long as we do not interfere with the rights of others. That is why, on the one hand, I believe that people should have the right to do drugs, while on the other, they do not have a right to harm or potentially harm others when choosing to exercise that right.

In other words, we need not to interfere with one's right to do with their body as they will. Including the right to ingest even the most addictive, destructive of substances, in the pursuit of petty pleasure.

Beth said...

If you say that the government should have no say in matters of ones life and death, then they should not be granting rights to allow a person to end their life. There should be no such protection for those to take a life, ever, even if it is that person's desire to be dead.

As for your points on doing drugs that could be harmful to ones own body, then I would assume you don't think we should ever have a universal health care system, because it would be quite unfair for those who live a healthy lifetsyle to pay for those who do not, wouldn't you say?

Now I was thinking about the pleasures of sex vs. the pleasures of drugs (mind you I have never done any drugs so I cannot speak from experience) but the sexual desires are a human instinct given to us I believe so we procreate. Doing drugs is not an inborn desire, it is one that is determined by pure desire to escape reality, and so I really see no need to make such an item a necessity of life because it truly is not a necessity.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Beth -

You are coming at this from the perspective that the state should have the inherent authority to restrict what people may do with their bodies. That the state should then grant us permission to do the things we wish, with our own bodies. That is nothing less than claiming we are all wards of the state.

As for universal health care, I do support it and will continue to do so. I am a firm believer that there should be significant taxes on all drugs, to be used to offset the additional costs of health care consumption, by those who choose to partake of any of these substances. I also would love to find a way to define, for the purpose of similar taxation, junk food. This is a little more tricky, because even without eating a lick of "junk food" one may become and remain obese. But I think it's important that those who choose to use substances that are inherently unhealthy, they should help defray the additional health care costs.

Of course that requires a system of UHC anyways, something we are currently without in the U.S.

Beth said...

I thought your blog was in defense of a right to die sort of legislation, if so then you are wanting the government to get involved in our life decisions, while I prefer to let nature take its course.

As for health care and abusive things that affect our health, I am a preventative type person whereas DuWayne you seem to want to have excessive taxation to take care of problems that arise from not be proactive. Wouldn't it make more sense, cost less and be healthier if we did it my way?

DuWayne Brayton said...

I thought your blog was in defense of a right to die sort of legislation, if so then you are wanting the government to get involved in our life decisions, while I prefer to let nature take its course.

Indeed, the only legislation I would like to see, would get the current government involvement out of those decisions.

Wouldn't it make more sense, cost less and be healthier if we did it my way?

First, it would, or more to the point, does, cost far more to do it your way. We do it your way now and it is costing us billions a year, just to enforce the laws - before we even start to deal with the cost of caring for the people who use drugs now.

Second, even in an ideal system, where the laws cost us nothing to enforce and no one did drugs, it is still an unjust infringement on our rights. Adults should have the right to do with their bodies as they will. This is not a question of what is best for society, it is a question of our inherent human rights.

Rather than spending billions a year, perpetuating this gross infringement on our rights, we should be taxing the sales, to cover the cost it currently burdens every other tax payer with. The same is true of alcohol, tobacco and junk food.

I believe that health care is a basic human right. The extra costs inherent to particularly unhealthy choices, should be deferred by taxes on the costs related to those choices. Indeed, as many of those choices carry additional burdens on society, I am not averse to using levying taxes on them that are high enough to help defray the overall tax burden that UHC produces.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Beth -

The post by Jon Rowe, should provide a start to the discussion about the founding fathers. This is not, nor has it ever been a Christian nation. While most of the founders had some sort of religious notions, many of them were deists, rather than Christians. Even among those who were, there was a strong drive to create a secular government, not based on religious dogma.

Beth said...

You fail to consider that making drugs legal so you can tax them would create an underground network for people to obtain it tax-free, thus still requiring law enforcement to track down these lawbreakers. And we would still need the same law enforcement we have now to watch out for and process those who do drugs and drive and cause accidents, etc. You know we have speed limits on the highway for the safety of all, traffic lights as well to maintain order. According to you, this is a gross imposition on our human rights. As a nation, I see nothing wrong with putting limits for the safety of society.

We don't NEED to take drugs, at least junk food although not ideal does serve the purpose of giving the body something it can use to keep our bodies moving and our minds thinking. Drugs have absolutely no benefit to our bodies, and only can be detrimental to it.

More later, I am off to work.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Beth -

You fail to consider that making drugs legal so you can tax them would create an underground network for people to obtain it tax-free, thus still requiring law enforcement to track down these lawbreakers.

If the other, currently legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco are any indication, that would be a very small problem indeed. Besides, it is likely that the cost of legal drugs, even with a substantial tax, would be cheaper than they are now. It simply wouldn't be cost effective to try to get around the taxes.

And we would still need the same law enforcement we have now to watch out for and process those who do drugs and drive and cause accidents, etc.

Not the same. It wouldn't cost the billions we spend now, on a failed war on drugs. We already have the law enforcement out there now, looking for drunk drivers and even drivers who are under the influence of illegal drugs. Besides, if the penalties are made substantially worse, it should actually decrease the percentage of people who drive under the influence. If they know that it is likely they will get serious prison time, people will think a lot harder about making sure they don't have to drive.

You know we have speed limits on the highway for the safety of all, traffic lights as well to maintain order. According to you, this is a gross imposition on our human rights. As a nation, I see nothing wrong with putting limits for the safety of society.

This is completely different. There is no imposition on our personal liberties, to be told we have to follow the rules of the road or even safety regulations in the work place. There is a vast difference between being dictated what we are allowed to put into our own bodies and being dictated rules about how we interact with others, especially when we are driving several tons of steel that can easily kill someone.

We don't NEED to take drugs, at least junk food although not ideal does serve the purpose of giving the body something it can use to keep our bodies moving and our minds thinking. Drugs have absolutely no benefit to our bodies, and only can be detrimental to it.

I'm sorry, but the distinction here is bull. Junk food has no more value than the drugs. In many cases the junk food is just as bad for us, while there are plenty of drugs that do a far more effective job at keeping the body moving and the mind working. Hell, they are trying to give me a prescription for Aderoll to help get my mind functioning better. Aderoll is an amphetimine based drug, that is actually more potent than methamphetimine. The fact that it is made in pharmaceutical labs, instead of someone's bathtub, makes it not only safer, but also less addictive than street meth.

Ultimately, this is another key point about legalizing drugs. They would be far safer for everyone involved, if they were made in FDA regulated labs. No more kids being raised in toxic meth labs. Substantially less chance of people being poisoned because the drugs they ingested weren't made properly. Far less fear of seeking treatment for addiction. A drastic reduction in the profitability of organized crime. Virtual elimination of the sales of drugs to children (my son's default elementary school, has a substantial drug problem). Virtual elimination of drug related violence.

In fact, add prostitution and gambling to the mix and you get the virtual elimination of organized crime. About all that is left to them then, is loansharking and illegal weapon sales. Of course, with the elimination of vice crimes, there is little call left for illegal weapon sales. And payday, predatory lenders have already struck a blow to illegal loan sharking.

Beth said...

A couple of things, I do not see how legalizing drugs would stop the sale of it to children. Also, you mention having stricter penalties to discourage its use, then why not just keep it illegal and discourage the use with the stricter penalties?

I haven't forgotten the other topics such as the right to die issue, and the universal health care, but I am thinking about blogging on these issues myself.

Beth said...

I just can't stop thinking that when we legalize something, we as a society legitimize it, and knowing what we know about drugs (even the legal kind that are prescribed but can be addictive, etc.) I just don't see why we would want to open that can of worms. Junk food is bad for you, but you'd just don't hear of junk food overdoses killing people.