Q&A with Christine Amsden discussion

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Life and Daeth

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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine | 25 comments Mod
One of the ideas I explore, but do not definitively answer, is the question of who should have the power to control the nature of life and death. The Change was not put to a popular vote, and now, the characters attempting to undo The Change are also not seeking opinions, but doing what they feel is best for everyone. Do they have that right, even if, in undoing The Change, they are going back to "natural aging?"


message 2: by Susan (new)

Susan (Susan87) The older I get, the more frustrated I become with others who think they can make better choices for me and my family then I can. It should be an individual choice. The government, and the do-gooders on both sides should stay the heck out of it and let the individuals decide for themselves.


message 3: by Austin (new)

Austin Morgan | 2 comments Then this should really flabbergast you. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-ca... apparently from 1930-1979 32 states in the US had eugenics programs where the government forcibly sterilized groups seen to be unworthy of reproduction.


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan (Susan87) Scary!


message 5: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Hobbes (vincenthobbes) Christine wrote: "One of the ideas I explore, but do not definitively answer, is the question of who should have the power to control the nature of life and death. The Change was not put to a popular vote, and now, ..."

In my opinion, nobody should have the power to control the nature of life and death. It's not up to us.

Eugenics has been around since the dawn of time, and well underway in America.


message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine | 25 comments Mod
Us Americans do tend to be individualists, don't we? :)

Is there never a time, though, when cumulative individual decisions could be bad for society? For example, parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.

Science gives us new options with interesting consequences. In some cases, such as euthanasia, society generally does think we should step in and make the choice for the individual who may want to die.

Another example: There is often a public outcry when parents, usually following a religious doctrine, refuse to get life-saving medical procedures for their children. Can we, as a society, tell them how they have to raise their children?

Other decisions government makes for us:

Whether or not we should wear a seat belt.
How old we should be to drive.
What days we can purchase alcohol.
How fast we can go on the highway.
Where we can smoke.
Whether or not we can take certain drugs.
Children are required to go to school.
18-year-old men have been required to sign up for the draft.

I could go on, but here's my point: The whole "individual liberties" thing sounds like an amazing principle. It's one that makes me smile, because I want the freedom to live my life! But principals often break down in the real world. I've come to realize over the years that there are some times where I would just as soon the government butt out, and other times when I am willing for them to butt in, for the good of society.

I created an extreme example in The Immortality Virus, going with a dystopian future in which agelessness leads to a bad situation. Yet, on an individual level, and despite all that, I think most people wouldn't give it up. My heroine, Grace, is an idealist, but she's also human. When she discovers that someone purposefully set loose a virus to stop aging, she was upset that her choice was taken away, but she doesn't particularly think that she might be doing the same thing, because what she's doing will return people to a "natural" state.

I've sometimes heard that word, "natural," applied to choices people would like to make for one another, such as particularly, homosexuality and its associated rights.

Now, I'm not making value judgments on any of the issues I listed (though I have opinions), but even setting things like eugenics aside, there are a lot of times society, led by the government, makes decisions for us. Is that okay? If so, when? Why?


message 7: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Hobbes (vincenthobbes) Christine wrote: "Us Americans do tend to be individualists, don't we? :)

Is there never a time, though, when cumulative individual decisions could be bad for society? For example, parents choosing not to vaccinate..."


I'll throw in my two cents if that's okay...

Rarely should individual liberties give way to the collective. Only the basic principles of keeping a civilization should apply.

If one person's child is vaccinated, what does it matter if another's is not? The vaccinated one is protected, so it shouldn't matter.

I agree with euthanasia, to some extent.

Whether or not we should wear a seat belt.
Should be up to the individual.

How old we should be to drive.
Raise to 18

What days we can purchase alcohol.
Unsure of question.

How fast we can go on the highway.
Perhaps, yes....tough question.

Where we can smoke.
Anywhere outdoors unless private property. Let restaurants/bars, etc decide if they want smoking. Public places are paid by the taxpayer, so we should be able to smoke anywhere outdoors.

Whether or not we can take certain drugs.
Not the government's business. Possibly different for minors.

Children are required to go to school.
Nope. Not the government's business.

18-year-old men have been required to sign up for the draft.
No way.

It's never okay for governments to make decisions for us....why? Because WE are the government. The foundation of America is that our rights are derived by the consent of the governed, and that certain rights are inalienable, therefore can never be stripped.

Just my opinion for sake of discussion....good thread btw.

-Vincent


message 8: by Christine (new)

Christine | 25 comments Mod
re vaccinations: Vaccinations are not 100% effective. Those who receive vaccinations cut their risk significantly, but when it comes to contagious illnesses, what the CDC has been trying for is a herd immunity to help protect everyone, especially those too sick or too young to receive vaccinations. The more individuals who choose to go unvaccinated, the more paths the viruses have to spread.

re when you can buy alcohol: In many states, including the one I live in, they restrict the sale of alcohol on Sundays for religious reasons. Particularly as religious freedom is guaranteed by the bill of rights, I see this as overstepping their bounds. It's one of those minor annoyances that no one gets riled enough about to do anything. :)

I'll weigh in on a few of the others later, but I wanted to clarify those points.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan (Susan87) Where does personal accountability come into play?


message 10: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Hobbes (vincenthobbes) Christine wrote: "re vaccinations: Vaccinations are not 100% effective. Those who receive vaccinations cut their risk significantly, but when it comes to contagious illnesses, what the CDC has been trying for is a h..."

Remember, vaccinations are a billion if not trillion dollar industry. I'd say most of what we hear is propaganda. Research often shows the opposite about vaccinations, but it's hidden from the public for obvious reasons....money.


message 11: by Christine (new)

Christine | 25 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Where does personal accountability come into play?"

I'm not sure I understand the question.


message 12: by Christine (new)

Christine | 25 comments Mod
Vincent wrote: "Christine wrote: "re vaccinations: Vaccinations are not 100% effective. Those who receive vaccinations cut their risk significantly, but when it comes to contagious illnesses, what the CDC has been..."

I don't want to stray off topic into a vaccine debate. :)

But let's look at the hypothetical: Society is made safer if every individual takes a certain action. Some individuals do not want to take this action, either because they don't believe the validity of the claim or because they have some personal fear. The average individual is not qualified to understand the situation. So, should individuals be allowed to make a choice that could have societal effects? If so, how do we deal with the consequenc3es? If not, who does get to make those choices, and how do we know they have our best interests at heart?

***

For the record, I like to ask questions more than answering them, because I tend to see a lot of gray area in these kinds of discussions. My opinions are not all set in stone, especially when it comes like weighty questions such as: when do the needs of the group outweigh the needs of the individual, and vice versa?


message 13: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Hobbes (vincenthobbes) 'Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither'--Ben Franklin

:)

But hey, good topic of discussion Christine....I can tell you're a 'thinker'...


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