As the United Liberal Aurinthian Party, we propose a coalition between ourselves, the National Social Democratic Party, and the People’s party.

 

We believe that our economic inequality and unemployment rate are the most pressing concerns, and that our three approaches to remedying those woes are in cooperation and would complement one another effectively. We will implement the progressive income tax to distribute the tax burden significantly more heavily on higher income workers (as laid out in the platforms of the NSDP and People’s Party,) and the reduction of unemployment benefits while raising wages.

 

As an addendum, we require greater scrutiny of the Schengen Agreement, and greater acknowledgement of the fact that it has greatly exacerbated unemployment woes.

 

In addition to the economic cooperation we are willing to compromise on the centralization of the high school system in West Europa, as outlined by the People’s party. However, we remain firm in our belief that decentralization of the university system as outline by the ULAP is a key player in achieving and maintaining economic prowess, as well as creating a skilled workforce.

 

In regards to health care we support the creation of local clinics to aid areas such as Aurinthia, where service has traditionally been hard to obtain. Further centralization is acceptable as needed.

 

Our three parties will continue to support free trade (as outlined by Brussels) with EU nations, and will only tax goods when tariffs are absolutely necessary (see the People’s party- oil, tobacco, and alcohol).

 

The crime rate will decrease as unemployment goes down, as well as the NSDPs crime prevention policies are implemented.

 

We support the People’s party in their handling of social hotbed issues such as abortion. We support both the NSDP and the People’s Party in their support for Green Energy Initiatives.

 

Finally, we remain firm on our initiatives to increase Macquire representation and political and economic clout, namely 1) the introduction of Macquire history and heritage into classrooms across WE, and 2) the rhetorical and practical political support of infrastructure creation in Aurinthia.

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NSDP Platform

The economic contraction that began with a burst housing bubble in 2007, and the threat of a potential Euro-zone break up due to extreme debt loads has impacted the citizens of West Europa in an intolerably negative manner. Despite Party 1’s austere, traditional approach towards the subject, we find ourselves in no better of an economic position then we did four years ago. Unemployment, crime, and protests among students and labor unions—the life blood and future of West Europa—have all increased. Due to the fact that Party 1 has disappointed the people by not boosting the economy, we, the New Social Democratic Party promote an alternative: drastic measures to help our citizens rebuild not only the economy, but also to repair and renew all such systems to prevent another such American-led crisis from disrupting the lives of West Europans again.

In order to make for a more equitable the distribution of wealth and bridge the gap currently found between the rich and the poor, we propose to raise the tax rate for the top 10% of earners—including earnings from capital gains and dividends—in this country by 30%. In addition, the top 1% will be taxed at a rate of 75% on all forms of income—preventing loopholes such as alternative forms of financial income from being hidden away for selfish personal use. This will allow us to invest revenue from taxes towards helping the economically disadvantaged to have a fair shot at following their dreams without an informal structure of crony capitalism keeping them down.

Part of this investment will go towards the increasing unemployment rate that has the citizens of West Europa becoming an unwilling drain on the communities they would instead rather support. The investment will allow the unemployment assistance program to continue, but the dual pronged approach towards the challenges of being unemployed will help citizens return to the workforce sooner. The plan requires those who are receiving unemployment and have less than three dependents to complete twenty hours of community service per week. In the event that the individual receiving unemployment is a single parent, the requirement of dependents will be reduced to two, instead of three. After two months, in addition to community service, all beneficiaries of the program will be required to provide proof that they have begun and completed the application process for various jobs. Such actions will allow the citizen to give back to the community in the form of community service, and will also help them to further acquire and develop skills useful to the acquisition and maintenance of a job. (See below diagram.)

 

 

 

 

 

Upon the question of government subsidies, we recognize the European Union is already subsidizing agriculture. In order to avoid inefficiencies and discourage unscrupulous characters from entering the agricultural industry solely to make a quick profit at the expense of established agricultural interests, the NSDP has decided to focus subsidiary funds on green energy and technology; two industries in which the government can predict a budget neutral impact and eventually a society-wide profit from such subsidies in the form of increased job creation, increased wealth to be used for the betterment of West Europan lives and living standards, and decreased harmful pollutants. Increasing industry tax to thirteen percent or higher then what the government subsidizes, will not only pay off the subsidy itself, but also allow us to invest some of the tax collected into prudently reducing the deficit and to help set an example for other Euro-zone members that growth and deficit reduction can coincide for the benefit of all parties involved. We would like to take this opportunity to emphasize our support for free trade under the condition that the trade agreement benefits all workers involved in the production, shipping, and sale of the final product.

To improve and make more effective the social welfare system, we strongly encourage businesses to reduce the unemployment benefits and retirement packages—in Euros, any stock options will be unaffected—they provide for their workers, with the condition that they simultaneously increase wages. This then allows the individual worker to invest their newly raised wage towards a retirement plan of their choosing. Businesses will also be encouraged to have a help desk set up with sound advice for prudent retirement planning, to help avoid the instances in the early 2000’s of workers losing their entire retirement savings on overly risky ventures.

Protests have been on the rise among students and labor unions. In so far as we see the austerity of Party 1’s to blame for the crime that has arisen as a result of such protest, we do not acknowledge immigration, in and of itself, to be a contributing factor. As supporters of immigration, we do reserve the right to deport immigrants who are not willing to come to terms with West Europa’s way of life and regulation. This tolerance towards immigration does not mean, however, that we will permit any lawlessness from any portion of society. We thus advocate rehabilitation programs for petty criminals as a means of reducing crime rates, preventing further crimes from being committed, and helping others become productive members of society. We wish to distinguish ourselves most definitely from the American system that is far too heavy handed in the name of reducing crime that instead only turns over-crowded prisons into breeding grounds for additional crime. Ours will be a more enlightened approach, one in which the individual can decide how cooperative to be with authorities, and what sort of treatment would be most effective at reforming delinquent and unproductive behavior.

As members of the NSDP, we recognize a disagreement between members of our group to be of a great concern. In addressing the issue upon which we find members of our groups divided, we find our approach to foreign policy to be the most contentious. We all agree the protection of our citizens is among our top priorities. An increase in military spending as regards specifically the domestic response team as an internal, defensive, group will allow us to more easily carry out our priority of keeping our citizens safe, while at the same time allowing us to avoid being sucked into any more costly American-inspired wars in foreign countries. This will also allow us to finally dismiss the distasteful policy of extraordinary rendition and the use of US-chartered jets to transport suspected terrorists.

The more moderate faction within the NSDP has previously expressed concerns over environmental regulation. This being said, the party as a whole takes up leadership against global warming as caused by imprudent and unregulated human activities, especially the use of too much fossil fuels. After the nuclear disaster experienced in Fukushima, we would not feel it to be a prudent or even moral action to expand the use of nuclear energy. Instead, the NSDP proposes investing time and resources in making green energy more efficient and accessible to the public—particularly though the use of subsidies derived from taxes placed on fossil fuel importation and consumption.

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THE PEOPLE OF WEST EUROPA

 

We represent the common people of West Europa and we stand for equality, justice and shared prosperity.  Our party upholds the rights of laborers, teachers, students and the less fortunate members of our society.  The leaders of our party come from the lower and middle classes and desire that everyone should be given a chance to succeed.  By favoring the pro-growth, devolution policies of the new labour party, we promote greater freedom in empowering the people of each province to decide what is best for them.  The People’s party believes that we must work together for the good of our nation and the world, transcending differences in race, gender, class and religion.  It is a testament of our commitment to the common good over special interests that we are the only party with over a quarter of the popular vote in every province.  We are public servants, dedicated to the will of our fellow countrymen.  Our party is resolved to represent the interests of the common people in whatever position we find ourselves after the election – let the people decide!  In our hands, the future of West Europa will be bright.

 

Social Policy

The People’s party envisions broad reforms including greater 

socioeconomic equality, expanded education opportunities, improved 

medical care for all and a more sympathetic treatment of minorities.

 

Equality and Social Justice

Our country is plagued by increasing inequality.  The highest 10 percent of the workforce now earns 31.4% of GDP, while the lowest 20 percent receive only 7.3% of the nation’s income.  Business executives and investors working in air-conditioned offices in Blandoon often make more in a year than farmers struggling to make a living in mountainous Aurinthia and police officers risking their lives fighting crime in the urban districts can hope for in a lifetime.  And to make matters worse, many of those in the lower socio-economic tier live from day to day without knowing for sure that they will still have a job tomorrow.  While nobody is to be blamed for these phenomena which have become increasingly common in modern times, we do see the situation as a problem.  It is often said that markets determine fair wages based on value added, but we would question this assumption which reduces merits to merely monetary calculations; is, for example, a basketball star really “worth” a hundred times more than a roof builder getting minimum wage or a single mother working so she can raise a family?  Popular discontent with the current state of affairs forms the basis of our support for moderate wealth redistribution by means of a progressive income tax and for the rights of workers and unions to engage in collective bargaining to better their condition.

 

Focus on Education

West Europa’s education system is in need of reform; the restrictive, top-down approach of the Ministry of Education is too inflexible and is unable to meet the different needs of many students.  The model proposed by the People’s party is based on that of Finland, which has developed a proven record as a world leader in education.  Good teachers are key to good education, and we will establish a competitive process for selecting top students for this profession.  All new teachers will be required to earn Master’s degrees, which will be paid for by educational grants and higher salaries after completion of our proposed rigorous certification program.  Educators and school administrators will then be entrusted with a greater degree of autonomy in choosing the curricula, teaching methods and school policies which best serve their students.  Further, it is too often the case that only the wealthy have access to the best schools, but we believe the opportunity for a quality education should be available to rich and poor alike; our model provides for a more equitable, nationalized funding plan and discontinuing support for private schools which draw top students and teachers out of the system.  Likewise, the generous tuition credits previously established by our party will be continued, allowing more students to attend our colleges and universities.  Higher education is a proven path to success and will bolster our economy.

 

Health care reform

Nationwide polls indicate that 65 percent of the population is frustrated with the quality of medical care, yet 60 percent oppose an overhaul of the system and over 80 percent are opposed to privatization.  Under our plan, the West Europan National Health Service will remain largely intact, continuing to provide universal healthcare for all citizens.  New hospitals and clinics will be built in urban areas where they are most needed, meaning shorter waiting periods and more advanced healthcare technology, as well as many new jobs.  Some of these facilities will be staffed by transferring doctors and nurses from less productive clinics in rural areas, although the majority of these clinics will remain open.  Physicians, pharmacists and other professionals will also be drawn into the industry by means of expanded education grants for medical school and bonuses tied to performance and patient satisfaction.  A large part of the cost of these improvements will be paid for by dramatically cutting expenses such as paperwork, data entry and medical billing.  This will be achieved through implementation of a smart card system similar to that of Taiwan, which has the lowest administrative costs in the world and minimal wait times.

 

Civil Rights

Although the situation in Aurinthia has improved greatly since negotiations were made with separatist leaders in the 1960’s and the Maquires were allowed to form their own political party, they nevertheless remain historically under-represented in our national government due to a lack of support in the other provinces.  While we do not support a movement towards independence, especially because this is favored by only a minority of Aurinthians, we do propose that the provinces should be given greater autonomy and authority over local matters through a devolution of parliamentary powers.  National and foreign policies will remain the concern of the central government, but when it comes to issues on which West Europa is regionally divided, such as school regulation, gay marriage laws and abortion, our party believes that the people must choose how to address these concerns in their own provinces.  Our national healthcare system will not use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions, and in fact abortion is effectively taxed as a result of tax refunds for dependents; nevertheless, we will not prevent the provinces from providing such coverage, and it would be ill-advised to deny access to abortion in places such as Carpinthia or make it universally available in Slovance where there is no political will for such a measure.  It is not possible to please everyone, but it is the duty of the People’s party to serve the interests of the greatest number possible.

 

Economic Policy

Our economic policy proposals center around improving stagnant 

wages, reducing unemployment and inflation by helping people get back 

to work, and jumpstarting sectors such as local alternative energy.

 

Renewed Prosperity

The biggest problem with our economy is that real wages are declining despite high productivity levels.  Wealth is more and more concentrated at the top, while the lower and middle classes responsible for the majority of consumer spending do not have enough disposable income to buy the goods and services that West Europa is capable of providing, thus stalling further growth.  Compounding this unfortunate situation are alarmingly high rates of unemployment and inflation.  Our party seeks to lessen wage inequality, combining the progressive income tax with agricultural subsidies for the less wealthy rural provinces such as Slovance, and opportunities for people to get a better education and work their way out of poverty.  Labor unions play an important part in this process, as evidenced in Carpinthia where unions are stronger than elsewhere and, subsequently, wages are notably higher.  Aurinthia, too, will experience income growth as we promote the expansion of tourism  Unemployment will decrease as new jobs are created in construction, medicine, clean energy and export industries.  Special attention will be given to addressing the record high levels of youth unemployment, and the minimum wage will be lowered for this age category to provide companies with an incentive to hire young workers.  Finally, we will curb inflation by making basic goods such as food and electricity more affordable.

 

Economic Security

In the financial crisis of 2008, we learned the dangers of investing in US subprime mortgages.  The People’s party is convinced that more strict financial regulations must be imposed to prevent such a disaster from happening again.  West Europa’s welfare system will be continued as a safety net for worst-case scenarios, but emphasis will be placed on re-employment programs and grants for for workers to retool by going back to school.  Our estimates project that these programs will more than pay for themselves by decreasing the number of people on welfare benefits and increasing the tax base.  Agricultural subsidies will be restored to their previous level in order to stabilize prices and raise wages in this sector which has been weakened by competition from foreign farms using less natural methods.  Maintaining the ability to provide our own food is also essential for national security purposes, as is protecting against rapid rises in prices which can shock the economy and create political upheaval and rioting.

 

Green Energy

Reliance on foreign oil and other fossil fuels not only causes high energy prices, but also releases harmful pollutants into our environment, air and water supply, and carbon emissions which hasten global warming.  If we do nothing to prevent this, the costs will be born both by ourselves and our ecosystem, and be passed down as a debt to our children for generations to come.  For many years, West Europa has been a leader in environmental policy initiatives, but we have fallen behind in the use of alternative energy sources.  Our party will address these issues by granting licenses and tax credits for new nuclear and solar power plants, wind farms, and fuel-efficient cars and recycling programs.  We will also promote research and development in renewable resources and clean coal technology.  Bringing more clean energy to the market will lower the price of electricity which has become a burden on homeowners and businesses.  The biggest economic gains, however, will be the thousands of new jobs created in design, construction, maintenance and service in both the public and private spheres.

 

Foreign Policy

We seek to foster friendly trade relations with developing 

countries and the European Union, a dedication to non-aggression

and world peace, and a fair solution to the immigration dispute.

 

International Trade

Like any system, free trade has benefits and drawbacks, but the People’s party promotes it because the gains outweigh the losses.  Feared as it may be, the downward pressure of globalization on local wages is tempered by rising transportation costs and the lower productivity of labor in underdeveloped countries.  Workers in import-competing industries who are hurt by free trade will be compensated by the availability of cheaper products and by new job opportunities in export industries.  Trade always goes in both directions, and nothing illustrates the desirability of international trade better than the fact that West Europan exports account for over 65% of GDP.  Our nation therefore should maintain friendly relations with our trading partners through membership in the European Union, which has proven well its worth in the past, and likewise in the World Trade Organization.  Developing nations will be given “most favored nation” status, which will spur their growth through natural market tendencies, and liberal trade laws will encourage foreign investment in our country as well.  Another benefit of free trade is that will decrease the need for immigration, because the exchange of goods serves as a substitute for capital and labor moving across borders.  Exceptions to free trade will be made in a few cases: tariffs on oil and genetically modified agricultural products will be optimized to stabilize price levels and promote local industries; tobacco and alcohol will be taxed in order to improve public health and raise revenue.

 

Military Policy & National Security

Preserving world peace and preventing terrorism are the shared responsibility of every democratic nation, requiring collective security and cooperation.  For this reason, we and many of our constituents opposed the US decision to invade Iraq without authorization from the UN Security Council, and our position has since been vindicated.  Sending Europan troops into hostile territory in search of phantom weapons of mass destruction did not serve any legitimate purpose.  No longer shall we risk the lives of our sons and daughters defending American national interests.  West Europa will maintain our moderate but well-trained Armed Force and Air Force to be employed in self-defense and take a significant role in coalition peacekeeping efforts.  By refraining from involvement in the Middle East we will decrease the likelihood of being targeted by international terrorism.  In addition, we will engage in tight border security in order to keep out terrorists, smugglers and other public enemies.  Crime rates will go down as underprivileged youth and immigrants are given new employment and education opportunities.

 

Immigration

Much concern and disagreement has been expressed by both supporters and critics on the subject of immigration.  While we understand the problems of civil unrest and possible decline of national identity, we find that denying equal standing to Muslim guest workers and other immigrants only fosters discontent and contempt for the law resulting in crimes such as the widespread looting in summer of 2011.  The best policy is to end racial discrimination and religious persecution once and for all, and give these immigrants a ready path to citizenship, helping give them access to better education and better jobs while enabling them to become more integrated into our society.  At the current net migration rate of 1.96 per thousand of the population, 40th worldwide and less than countries such as the US, UK and Italy, this is an achievable goal.  Further immigration will not be completely cut off under current conditions of declining population, but to prevent a large or sudden strain on state resources, it will continue to be limited at least until the economy strengthens.

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Party Platform

Party #5

The United Liberal Aurinthian Party

 

We, the United Liberal Aurinthian Party, represent a growing realization that much can be achieved with greater regional representation. For too long, the Maquire people have lacked representation in West Europa. Correcting the lack of Maquire representation is one of our chief concerns. We have established an effective plan for beginning to right the economy, which is suffering under high unemployment. We have adopted a responsible international platform, that does not compromise the good of West Europa for any other state. We support a generous social plan that considers both the wealthy and the poor. It is our duty to establish security for the next generation, to provide representation for each citizens, to create jobs, stabilize the economy, and provide appropriate representation on an international level.

 

 

Economic Policy

 

Job Creation

 

The economic situation is difficult in West Europa. There has been a shift away from agriculture and industry, and into service. West Europa needs new job sectors and policies that will foster the growing service and tourism industries. There are opportunities for job creation in the pursuit of new and more efficient sources of energy. We believe it is advantageous for West Europans to subsidize the development of these new technologies.

 

Unemployment Benefits

 

The current status of unemployment benefits has served to hamstring employers and reduce productivity. We propose a modest reduction in unemployment benefits, so that there is greater opportunities for competition in the workforce. Further, the standards of retirement are making it difficult for a younger workforce to take up higher paid positions.

 

Retirement

 

West Europa would would benefit from incentivizing earlier retirement. As better paid jobs become available to the next generation of workers, we will see a surge in the economy. With more of the next generation of workers employed, the unemployment rate will decrease.

 

The Schengen agreement

 

To further decrease the rate of unemployment, West Europa ought to revoke the Schengen Agreement, which has given the precious few jobs available to immigrants from other countries. It would greatly benefit West Europans, if there was less foreign competition for local jobs. It only makes sense that choices that have such bearing on local affairs ought to be made locally

The European Union

 

. The European Union is a great resource for improving international relations, but should not dictate the affairs of West Europa. We do not support ceding any power from the hands of our state to the European Union.

Stratification

 

The United Liberal Aurinthian party see the disparity between rich and poor in West Europa and favor a gradual tax that favors the lower class. This tax will raise the standards of living for the lower class without much loss to those in the higher tax brackets.

 

 

Social Policy

 

Education

 

We favor decentralized educational curriculums. It is a great misfortune that Macquire history and values are not welcome within our children’s’ classrooms. We believe that the minute rate of college educated West Europans will rise with greater federal subsidies. The disparity between high school graduates and college graduates, demonstrates the great weakness of our university system. As West Europa moves into a more service oriented economy, education will be one of the most important ways an employee can stand out.

 

Regional Authority

 

We believe crime is best dealt with on the local and regional level, assuming mutual support in regards to cross-regional criminal behavior. We believe that discrimination on all levels is an unacceptable standard. Therefore we will actively seek to end any discrimination toward the Maquire people. We are in support of environmental regulation, since it is the duty of each generation to not harm, but improve the status of the environment for those to follow.

 

Alternative Energy

 

We support further subsidies for the research and development of nuclear energy. It is in the interest of West Europans to create jobs as well as safer methods of generating power.

 

Gay Marriage

 

We believe that gay marriage and abortion are issues best dealt with on a regional level. As for Aurinthia, we represent the Maquire stance of support for both gay marriage and abortion.

European Union

 

We are open to further cooperation with the European Union on certain green initiatives. It is important to adopt higher standards for life, education, and welfare as West Europa continues to develop. We support continuing to diversify West Europa by allowing immigrants to apply for citizenship, but always with a view to the best interest of our own citizens.

 

 

Foreign Policy

 

European Union

 

We support further European Union sanctions aimed at combating terrorism. We support the continued reinforcement and maintenance of West Europan military and police forces to combat any possible terrorist threats at home. We, as a state in the international system, must show diligence in combating international issues through association with other states. The European Union is an excellent resource in this endeavor. We believe defense spending has not surpassed what is necessary, nor do we think it a cause of our current economic status. For these reasons, we believe in continued modest increases to defense spending or as needed. Maintaining a well equipped and well prepared military will give authority to our words in international dialogues.

Terrorism

 

We support the United States’ attempts to stymie terrorism, but we do not believe it is our duty to provide military support for active service in their aid. It seems best to approach terrorism through non-violent means, since it is difficult to distinguish terrorist from citizen on the ground level. So we hope that through international mechanism, we can apply pressure on states to monitor their crime and terrorism within their own borders.

Russia

 

We support further trade and relations improvement with Russia, but with caution due to the totalitarian nature of her government. Russia has been a reliable agent of trade and a non-threatening entity recently.We support free trade as a mechanism for improving relations with other countries and as a means of improving the West Europan economy.

Global Warming

 

We hope to combat the looming international issue of global warming by holding West Europa responsible for controlling ozone-depleting chemicals, and by further association with the European Union.

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To Redefine, Or Not To Redefine – Homosexual Marriage

Firstly. I am not a bigot. Neither am I an insulated Christian who has never really seen the “outside world.” I myself have several homosexual friends and acquaintances, my sisters have homosexual friends and acquaintances, and my parents do as well. We love the homosexual people in our lives in the same way that we love those who are heterosexual. We do not agree with their lifestyles, but we love them all the same.

Secondly, in my eighteen and a half years, I have never met a single Christian who believes either that “All homosexuals are going to hell,” or “God hates f-gs,” or anything of the sort. And I live in the Southern U.S., notorious for such beliefs. All I can conclude from this is that there are far fewer Westboro-Baptist-type-Christians than many think.

That said, I am not talking here about individual people who happen to be of homosexual orientation. I am speaking of the homosexual rights movement at large.

In regards to “gay rights,” many homosexual and heterosexual Americans don’t see what the big deal is. Just legally legitimize homosexual relationships and redefine marriage to include same-sex union.  The problem is that, for many people, these requests are simply an indication of a deeper demand.

Many Americans of homosexual orientation express a remarkable readiness to pull the “intolerance” or “hate” card when any sort of opposition arises. The vitriol with which individuals sometimes deal with opponents indicates what many homosexuals really want from society. They want marriage to be redefined. They want an end to intolerance. But most of all, they want affirmation.

Unlike any other movement, homosexual activists want approval, in addition legal legitimacy. No other movement is so quick to call opponents intolerant and hate-filled the moment they disagree. And in that sense, they do not want equality. They want more than equality. They want society not only to acknowledge them, but to approve of them. They demand more than has any other movement or sector of society.

This, however, is unreasonable. What they ask is for most, if not all, Americans to change their mindsets on their very society, to redefine marriage and union not only in law, but in their minds.

If the majority of American citizens and legislators want homosexuals to be included in the definition and scope of marriage, then let it be. If a society comes together as a whole and decides to change the fabric of its own nature, then it is their right. But until there is a clear majority to enact that degree of change, they should not expect approval. Tolerance, yes. Affirmation, no. Why? Not because the majority of Americans are “intolerant.” Because a massive number of Americas simply do not want homosexual marriage legitimized. They should not be excoriated for this, and they should not be accused of hate crimes or hate speech when they disagree. It is their prerogative to believe what they will. If they wish to disagree with the lifestyle of another, they have that right.

Love and tolerance is one thing; personal affirmation of someone’s behavior or lifestyle is another. One is required, the other is not.

Unfortunately, many advocates for homosexual marriage do not take this for an answer, and continue to demand something they cannot achieve, at least at this point in time.

For homosexuals to use the right of freedom of speech to protest and march for homosexual rights, and then to excoriate others who use that same right to defend what they view as the correct definition of marriage is hypocritical, dishonest, and undemocratic. That is an act of tyranny of the minority.

If homosexual Americans do want to be treated equally, they should cease to portray themselves as victims. They should cease to call disagreement “hate,” and difference of opinion “intolerance.” If they really do want equality, then they should strive to change the mindsets of those who disagree with them, not claim “hate!” at the first sign of differences. If they cannot change the mindsets of some, they must accept that as their right to believe what they will. They should strive to change society peacefully and logically. But until a majority of society wishes to change to suit their lifestyles, then they should lower their expectations. Not because Americans, as a whole, are intolerant or hateful, but because, until a majority of Americans wish to redefine marriage, expecting approval and affirmation is unreasonable and will inevitably result in disillusionment, frustration and anger. They should lower their expectations because a large number of Americans simply cannot give them what they demand: approval.


There Is A Continuity

“. . . and what I want to know is if anyone here would push the fat man off the bridge. would any of you?”

silence.

“remember, you can’t stop the trolley car any other way. again, imagine that it’s hurtling down the tracks towards the crowd of innocent people, and the fat man is fat enough-” he chuckles wryly “he’s fat enough to stop it. would any of you, you know, push him off?”

silence. someone coughed. a few people shifted in their seats, and the rustle sifted through the auditorium. everyone still had on their parkas and fleeces. it was cold outside the heavy oak doors.

“alright, so what’s happened here? in every one of these situations i’ve given you, not everyone would do the same thing…i mean, no one said they’d push the fat man off the bridge. and everyone gave me more or less legitimate reasons do do or not to do what i offered in the situation. so-” he clapped his hands together and clasped them “what’s happening here?”

he waited for a few moments, then his face brightened and he pointed out into the darkness of the hall.

“aha! we have a hand up. give him a microphone, will you? what do you think we’ve learned through these situations?”

a voice came through the hall, sounding simulated and unreal through the microphone.

“professor, this may sound like something of a tangent, but i think it has to do with the discussion.”

“well we’re not in a math class, so go ahead.” he smiled and chuckled again.

“what do you think it is to be…i guess you’d say, ethical? what do you think it is to be ethical?

the professor looked up and chewed on his lip for a moment.

“i’d say, in a small sense, i’d say that it’s doing what’s right. but in a larger sense, well-” he smiled and scratched the back of his neck “you’ll make me give away the punch line of the course.”

soft laughter through the hall.

“well, i only ask because i think i might know where you’re going with this, and i-”

“where do you think i’m going?”

“well, it’ll give away your punch line, but i think you’re going to say that there isn’t really a right or wrong in any of these situations. and that there isn’t a right or wrong in any specific situations. is that what you were going to say?”

“bingo.” he smiled and clapped.

there was a smattering of obligated claps around the auditorium. the amplifiers buzzed slightly as the voice laughed nervously into the mic.

“well, and i know not everyone agrees with me here, but i think that that poses…well it might present some problems, and i think that-”

“what kind of problems?”

“well, i guess, people doing what they want, and anything that they think is right or, or beneficial to them.”

“well that’s certainly a possibility, but if everyone does what’s beneficial to themselves, won’t it be, you know, alright for everyone?”

“but don’t you think there could be conflicts of interest, i mean eventually?”

“hm…well, that’s correct. but i still don’t understand your point. we’ve already seen that there isn’t a specific right or wrong in any of these situations or, as far as i can tell, any other situation. i mean, what else can you do? you sort of have to accept that, don’t you? by the way, to everyone else, i’m sorry. i don’t usually give students this much time on the mic because of the time constraints. i’m just curious as to what this gentleman has to say.”

“well, you can accept it, but i don’t think you have to.”

“how’s that?”

“i think the problem has to do with the way that we’ve been looking at specific situations, not as a whole. i mean, not looking at ethics as a whole.”

“isn’t that how you have to look at ethics?”

“well yes, but you’re not going to find how to act ethically from looking at specific situations.”

“explain.”

“i don’t think what we’ve been talking about is really ethics, to be honest.”

“well,” he chuckled again, this time rather irritatedly “the name of this class in the course catalogue is, after all, ‘overview of ethics’…”

“yes, yes, i don’t want to be trite, sorry. it’s just that, uh, aristotle said that ethics wasn’t how a person acted in specific situations.”

the professor raised his eyebrows slightly.

“he said that ethical behavior was, sort of, a lengthy process. he said basically that it was a way of life and a way of looking at life. it’s a fundamental way of life. it’s…” he searched for a word “it’s enduring. is that right?”

“well, that’s one way of looking at it. what’s your point?”

“i think my point is that unless you look at ethics as a way of life, something that’s enduring and fundamental, then you…” he paused to collect his thoughts “if you look at it as separate and unrelated situations and try to decide what you’re going to do, then of course you won’t find a universal right or wrong.”

silence. the professor looked out at the voice.

“does that make sense?”

silence.

“thank you sir, you can sit down now.”

there was an echoing rattle as the microphone was passed off. the prof looked up, then at his watch.

“well, i think i’ll let you all go a few minutes early today.”

a low buzz and hum rose as students got up and started collecting their things. they started filing out the door.

“oh and don’t forget, essays are due next tuesday at the start of class.”


For Tolerant American Academics

“Because most politicians and academic researchers assume Islam is a harmless religion and view the radicals as deviant, they overlook the importance of delving into the socialization process of the Muslim.

American agencies and academics and social psychologists make a big mistake when they try to understand a brainwashed mind only from the time it becomes radical. Radical Islam is sold in steps, and this is true in America too. At first it is marketed as a program for virtuous behavior, for goodness. Then you are encouraged to seek out other Muslims, to befriend only each other. The whole rancid subject of violent jihad is broached only in the later stages. But the prehistory of radicalism is a soft brainwashing in submission–the real meaning of the word Islam–from birth.” -Ayaan Hirsi Ali


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