|President Obama Radio Address 8/12/09|
|Republican Radio Address 08/15/09|
We vegetarians and vegans aren't clear how we think or where we stand on these issues. Brilliant voices on both sides of this debate feed us oceans of information. Some preventive health voices (like Jeff Novick, Alan Goldhamer, et al) focus on how much money we could save on treating lifesdtyle-related conditions by shifting our society away from junk food, smoking and alcohol, and meat and animal products. To be sure, powerful interests impact the public mind through advertising and government subsidies to the wrong kinds of agriculture. Other voices gtell us that no change can be made until we have in place the systems that are financially dependent on keeping the American people well. Then and then only will the evidence become crystal clear to all Americans that it is in their individual AND collective interest to transform our lifestyles and everyday behaviors.
What if the community of vegan voices demanded that those vegans who advocate BOTH animal rights and universal healthcare coverage become an effective unified voice in the current US healthcare discussions??
The notion of individual obligation and collective obligation emerges in public debates frequently. The current 'healthcare' debate (about public responsibility = obligation) is one such instance where the public is dealing with philosophical issues about obligation in ethics. Military conscription, taxes, public transportation, and much much more depend on answering questions about moral, political, and social obligations in public life and personal living.
Am I alone in thinking that the Democratic Party has become a haven for 'anything goes' morally (hands off my body, etc.), while contradicting itself in its abstract ethical argument when talking about public provisions of social goods?
Lert me give an individual illustration. Years ago, I had headed north from Boston to participate in an anti-nuclear rally. It was politic at the time for the head of NOW to appear there, where she was among the few to be interviewed. She appealed to the Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of assembvly and the inherent right of protest implied in such rights to justify the protesters at Seabrook. By the time I arrived home, she had already appeared at an anti-abortion rally where she urged the local Boston police to round up the protesters and cart them off to the local jails for unlawful assembly.
Oh, my! Can you see how careful conceptual analysis of speech and ethical analysis really ARE important in public discourse - and in developing public policies?
How do we hold court publicly on open public issues such as responsibility for health (not merely 'responsibility for healthcare) and responsibility for personal and public safety?