Monday, January 31, 2011

The spheres of society

There are several major fields of influence that make up our society as a whole: political, economic, media, and religion/spirituality. It is not to say that a person as an individual must have a position in each of these spheres, but that they all have an influence in our society and our discourse as a nation.

The important thing about these spheres of influence is that, while they do overlap, they are also patently separate. Too much cross-contamination is never a good idea.

A recent reminder of this is a bill being proposed by House Republicans that would change the definition of "rape" when used as an exemption to tax-funded abortion. Currently, the rape exemptions include cases of statutory rape, even if it is consensual. With the new law, this would no longer be the case. This new attack on abortion rights, a truce that has stood since the 1970's, is the result of strong religious opinion being mixed with political influence. The safety and humanitarian rights of the citizenry are not being discussed in this new bill. Rather, the bill focuses on the morality of the writers rather than what is best for the citizen.

Another example of a breaking down in the separation of spheres is the continual influence of big business and lobbyists in the discourse and elections of our government. When there are those who are professional lobbyists and they are more likely to get an audience in our legislative body than the average American, there is clearly something wrong. This is a breakdown between the economic and political spheres.

The point is, there are walls for a reason. We have safeguards and divided sectors and opposition for a reason. To pour everything together without regard for the consequences opens us up to corruption of our society as a whole. Our media is infected with corporate interests and extremist political punditry. We are barraged daily with distorted characterization and falsehoods from all sides. These are not problems in and of themselves, but symptoms of a larger breakdown of isolated influences.

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