Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Individual Rights and Expectations

Ayn Rand

Do not make the mistake of the ignorant who think that an individualist is a man who says: “I’ll do as I please at everybody else’s expense.” An individualist is a man who recognizes the inalienable individual rights of man—his own and those of others.

“Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 84
The other day, I heard a psychologist talk about expectations in relationships. He made the point that expectations make for conflict/"war". Expectations are those "goals", images, desires, hopes, and dreams that are put upon the relationship or the other individual. Though our culture "romanticizes" love and creates what "happily ever afters" must look like, real people must step back long enough to ask themselves and thier mates what are their goals, hopes, dreams, desires, and images of marriage. Otherwise, one will always be frustrated because thier "mate just doesn't get it", and you really won't understand why. But, this way, you can count on having a "real relationship" that is based on real communication with another person, which is not defined by a role or function of one marital partner, but mutuality, compromise, negotiation, and respect.
In civil societies, we come to expect that people will obey the law, where we can live peaceable lives, depending on the mutuality that paints our society. Time has meaning in our society, because Americans believe that deadlines are respect for those that are waiting on you to meet them. When an American makes a date, whether a professional or social one, it is considered disrespectful and dishonoring to be late, without calling with an explaination and apology. This is a common courtesy to not presume upon another individual's time/life. And it doesn't much matter whether the one late is the employer or the employee, as to its message. Americans understand that business does not function apart from the employee, and good businessman knows how to entice and convince an employee to join his enterprise. Collaboration is the "food" of business partnerships, and building teams that meet the expectations of their investors. This is what has prospered America economically; trust, respect, co-operation, and mutuality.
How does free and open communicaton and a respect for individual lives make for a better life? It doesn't if one believes that men and women are unequal, in their personhood. If men and women are looked at as only thier gender identity and form their expectations based on that alone, then, it limits personhood to a particular role or function that is "expected Such structuring of a relationship might be easier to "correct", but it is not fulfilling to the individuals involved. Society might function smoothly, and might benefit by these simple roles/functions, but is society where the ultimate focus should be? Society, as the predominat value in this scenario, is justified to over-ride individual liberties because society cannot function apart from a fully functioning family. And a functioning family is considered in some circles to be a man and a woman, producing children. Society does not have the complexities to discuss when such limitations are the norming "norms". But, how do we address those at either "ends" of marital definition?
Those, who believe that polygamy should be allowed to define marriage, have different expectations of women and the relationship between the husband and wife, than a traditional marriage would. The woman is useful for the man's pleasure and procreation of his familial line. But, the woman has little say, even when they have the "right" to approve of a "newly elected" wife. Should this type of marriage be allowed in our society? Why or why not? Wouldn't it meet the requirements of a fully functioning marriage, a family? Polygomous marriages is a partiarcial view (expectation) of marriage.
On the opposite end, are same sex couples that expect that marriage should be defined by mutual consent, commaradie, and expectations. Is this not similar to the first communicative relationship that was affirmed? Is this kind of marriage to be allowed in our society? Why or why not?  Is marriage about one's gender and function within the marital bed/relationship? Is marriage primarily about the ability to procreate?
In America, religious liberty is a value that cannot be undermined, unless we change our Constitutional government. We believe that the individual has a right to conscience in worshipping 'God' however he./she sees fit. No one can deny that priviledge, but it stops at the door of another's conscience, as one individual cannot impose their views, without hindering another's right to civil protections under law.
So, what should we desire for and in America, as to our expectations? Should we desire everyone have the same liberty we desire for ourselves? Should we desire that everyone believe like we do? How possible is it that with America's diversity that we will all see "eye to eye" on most everything? Aren't our diverse views understandings that make for great science in investigating such questions? Should we limit the diversity that is the seed-bed to discovery? I think not, that is my hope and expectation!

1 comment:

Toyin O. said...

Very interesting post, thanks for sharing:)