Friday, April 11, 2014

Press release from book publishing service helps pin down my own philosophy

I did get a press release form from XLibris to approve regarding my latest book, “Do Ask, Do Tell: Speech Is a Fundamental Right, Being Listened to Is a Privilege” (“DADT III”), which will stress that the book is the third of a series (see Book Reviews Blog, Feb. 27). 

It says that, within the United States Armed Forces treatment of homosexuals through the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, from 1993 until 2011), I saw a mirror of the progress of my own life.  True, that’s a good metaphor.  Part of that reflection backtracks to the Vietnam era military draft and deferment system.
I do think that the release gets to the core of my argument.  Sometimes a different person can state something succinctly that “you” have been spiraling around, as if afraid of an event horizon.  Individualism, even carried to excess, produces innovation and more culture, and raises the standard of living for everyone over time.  But individualism is predicated on a kind of differential and inevitable inequality (I am reminded of a friend's favorite phrase, "inevitable epigrams"). As an irony, that inequality produces instability in society, which can become uncontrollable, leading to expropriation and revolution, if those who are more fortunate don’t use their capabilities wisely, even in interpersonal interactions.
The other part is about family responsibility.  Yes, it is sometimes imposed on people, regardless of their own choices and “personal responsibility”, as with eldercare, or with childless or single adults suddenly raising siblings’ children after family tragedies.  Family is both a creator of individualism and a challenge to it.  There is always a moral tension between “taking care of your own” and moving out into the world beyond family.
Another major point, not quite included in the press release, but a corollary, would be the point that unrestrained “self-broadcast” and asymmetric reach can become dangerous if not balanced by capacity to take responsibility for others. Luck does have a bearing on our concept of responsibility. 
I have a link with a “sneak preview” of the more exact quote, here

A part of me can relate to what may be behind some of these rampages by male teens and young adults (latest).  Young men, especially, find that society is making pressures on them, to serve cohesion-related needs other than their own, in situations that for some reason make them feel humiliated (even bullied) in front of other peers.  

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