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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Do We Really Have Freedom Of Thought ?

Look through newspapers, peruse online news sources and blogs, or scrounge out your remote from underneath your sofa cushion and switch the television on  CNN or BBC.

One thing you will notice is that news is primarily about people, and so it is primarily rather subjective. When it comes to matters of a political nature, perhaps this subjectivity is a problem.

Laws are made to be objective and rational, so that they do not favor one side or the other but come to a comfortable compromise. At least that is how it is supposed to work in the USA.  Some of the Constitution is open to interpretation, but the basic idea of America, the element of this nation that its citizens take pride in, is the freedom given to its people to choose.

Our choices are supposed to be our own, but often it can be found that decisions that are intrinsic to the individual end up in the hands of other parties. Some of the recent hot button topics exemplify this and also have me wondering whether sizable portions of our population really know what freedom is.

Certain issues that are vehemently debated over by the population would be easily resolved if they were viewed in an objective, rational and scientific manner.

Such an issue is abortion. The word itself has the power to illicit some sort of physical response (I totally just saw your eye twitch). Yet it still confounds me why this topic is so highly debated. Often, it is about the fetus, and how it feels.

The British Medical Journal states that for a fetus “a system necessary for pain is intact and functional from around 26 weeks of gestation” and “neuroanatomical pathways necessary for processing pain…could be in place by 23 weeks’ gestation.” According to the Guttmacher Institute, around 98% of abortions are performed before the fetus reaches this stage. A sane, rational mind would be able to deduce that there is virtually no repercussion for the fetus during an abortion because it is not alive and feeling anything at all by that point. It really just boils down to people needing to acquire the invaluable skill of minding their own business.

A woman should have the freedom to choose whether she has a child or not; this should not be mandated by so called “pro-life” groups or anybody else except her, since it is her body and only she knows of her circumstances. But somehow ,these facts seem to elude many people, and a lot of fuss just has to be made.

Gay marriage is another issue that causes a whole lot of hullaballoo. Marriage is a legal contract between two individuals, and the reasons given to refuse two people this right just because they’re gay are often laughable. An example of this would be an article in The Tech, by Adam Kolasinksi: “Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage, unless they serve some other state interest.”

So we’re all expected to have babies because the state says so, and we can’t get married unless we are capable of spawning? Does that mean heterosexual couples who have no desire for children should all be singled out and deprived of the right to marry? Should senior citizens no longer capable of producing children have their legal bond dissolved?

Mr. Kolasinksi claims that exceptions should be made for the old and the willingly childless but not for homosexuals because well…the only reason I can seem to discern is that it’s because they’re homosexuals.

The only other argument is that it is morally wrong, but this is backed by religious small-mindedness and completely discounts all rationality, not to mention the fact that church and state are supposed to remain separate.

While one’s religious doctrine may say something is immoral, it is a violation of human rights to impose such beliefs on another individual and limit his/her rights. Also, there is an abundance of research (that seems to go ignored) that proves that children raised by gay parents are in no way worse off than heterosexual parents, so that argument doesn’t work either.

This is why such debate over issues like Prop. 8, and the fact that gay marriage is legal in only a handful of states, indicates that perhaps we only have a farcical selective sort of freedom.

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    tempterOct 22, 2010 at 12:06 am

    what orifice was this pulled out of?