Saturday, November 22, 2008

What are the big issues? The "dots" that we need to connect (or are the "splotches"?)


I wanted to run down the major topic areas of greatest concern to me. They all have to do with personal sovereignty, and the major forces at work that can affect it.

(1) General morality
(1a) Personal morality in terms of responsibility for choices made
(1b) Personal responsibility in terms of karma and unseen dependencies on others
(1c) Is interdependence necessary, and can intimacy be “forced” sometimes?
(1d) Sustainability as a moral value
(1e) Asymmetry as a moral distractor
(1f) Transparency of information
(1g) Power structures as a source of stability
(1i) Liberty in terms of governance structures, v. liberty in terms of "granularity" of personal sovereignty
(1j) Why we need to be able to count on the law, and may be nothing without it

(2) LGBT Issues:
(2a) “Don’t ask don’t tell”, gay marriage, and gay parents: how these issues relate to “sharing responsibilities” and “sharing uncertainty”
(2b) How the institution of marriage affects true singles and people without partners
(2c) How eldercare and longer lifespans may particularly affect singles, the childless, and LGBT people
(2d) What really causes what we call “homophobia”

(3) Retirement issues
(3a) Filial responsibility laws – a deadly legal trap, and the next big financial shocker
(3b) Paying for and providing custodial care, and why politicians fail to talk about it
(3c) What’s the truth about social security?
(3d) Can we “really” save our pensions?

(4) Speech issues
(4a) “Don’t ask don’t tell” mentality and the “real life world”
(4b) reputation, in the eyes of the beholder: ethical practices for employers, including "blogging policies"
(4c) Implicit content (a huge new legal gray area, particularly for the Web!)
(4d) Accountability of speakers: downstream liability, and tort reform
(4e) “Free entry” is not necessarily a “fundamental right”
(4f) How to make filters, label, and accountability software work
(4g) Critical copyright and trademark litigation and bills
(4h) Will the marketplace genuinely give "net neutrality"?

(5) Communications security issues
(5a) Internet “driver’s license” and potential liabilities for security problems
(5b) Schemes to end spam
(5c) “Absolute liability” offenses

(6) Service issues
(6a) The “pay your dues” concept
(6b) the military v. other forms of service
(6c) “don’t ask don’t tell” and any future draft
(6d) “don’t ask don’t tell” and other jobs or services requiring “forced intimacy”

(7) Regulation
(7a) Transparency of markets as a libertarian concept
(7b) What is Soros's "better regulation"
(7c) Could regulation of markets imply regulation of distribution of speech?

(8) National security
(8a) Which threats could defeat the U.S. and west?
(8b) Which threats are the most intractable?
(8c) What causes the west’s “moral vulnerability”?

Picture: from the newly reopened National Museum of American History, Washington DC.

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