Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cool Tapes

I was talking with a friend of mine at Ottawa's own Super Ex (Super Ex-cuse is more like it, given the rather pitiful stage entertainment), and I realized - not for the first time - that my proposed social system had a few "bugs" in it. So today's post is a look at my thoughts, as I attempt to create a little ideological code of my own. You might say "what about that Euston Manifesto you linked to? Isn't that enough?" This is just a tangent of my own; a look at where I think human rights should be going. Make sense? I hope so...

As a staunch defender of personal freedom, I believe that choices made for us about what is, and is not appropriate should be restricted to the extremes, and that personal choice should otherwise be the rule. Obviously, we have hit snag #1: what are the extremes? Well, as the French once wrote "Liberty consists of the ability to do that which is not injurious to others". That makes enough sense, so there's rule #1.

But what about that which is injurious to the self? Here's my original rule:
"Your liberty allows you to put yourself at risk, so long as you are prepared to accept the consequences"
meaning that if you break yourself skiing, you pay the medical costs, or something like that. But that makes it really hard for all people to ski, so you hurt the freedom of the less affluent. Let me update this a bit, and we'll see if I can do better:

In the case of possibly harmful activities and substances, you may partake of either freely, but are subject to the following responsibilities:
-You pay a portion of the costs for damages to yourself and others, dependent on your means, the severity of the risk of said damages, and any negligence on your part.
-ALL RISKS ARE YOUR OWN. Unless you are misinformed of the risks associated with a hazardous activity or substance, or there is negligence on the part of a supervisory party, no one may be held legally or fiscally responsible. Also, it is unlawful for anyone to require you to waive your right to legal action in either case.

Makes a little more sense, no? This means that second-hand smoke is punishable, but smoking itself is just fine. Infringing on smoker's rights? Blow me, tobacco companies; smoking's fine, but don't visit it upon those who don't. Also, if you are grievously injured while sporting, because you slipped, that's covered. If it can be proved that you were flaunting suggested safety regulations, better get ready to pay up. The idea is to allow people to play around more, because a lot of times, they won't get hurt. The public, however, shouldn't pay for such folly. Obviously, proving anything is tough, but the idea is to catch the truly irresponsible. The rest will be publicly covered.

So those are rules 1 and 2. If I think of more, I'll post them here.

If you're wondering why I'm so liberal-minded about this, it's because I enjoy my own freedom, and I do not want to see it taken away from myself, or anyone else.

Comments, please. What is YOUR Utopian code?

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