Friday, July 10, 2015

The TaraElla Show

The new TaraElla show is launching, and the ideas lab is becoming part of the new TaraElla show.

Check it out here!

This means the ideas lab is closed for now. It may reopen in the future, depending on need.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Let's Honour the Tradition of Marriage in Diverse Ways

The tradition of marriage is important, yet simple. It's all about two people vowing to commit exclusively to each other for life, with religion being involved most, but not necessarily all of the time. It was neither a legal contract nor did it need government approval. Of course, there was also no government approval of divorce, as a result.

Things have changed, and not for the better, I believe. Marriage has since been usurped by the government, and any road back to marriage privatization will be long and difficult (although we must not give up). Some celebrities have also, regrettably, trampled on the institution of marriage for their own publicity. Marriage is not always what it was, back then, nowadays.

Hence whilst we have to recognise that those who want to live the original spirit of marriage may now do so in a number of different ways. For example, there are some religious or very libertarian people who may object to the government being their God and ruling over their marriage. Such couples may choose to have a religious ceremony but not be legally married. On the other hand, other couples may choose a form of 'covenant marriage', wanting legally stricter rules for divorce, where it is available. Still other couples feel that, whilst they would vow to do anything to stay together for life, having the government as the agent discouraging divorce is subjugation to authoritarianism, and covenant marriages still have an unacceptably high failure rate (up to 20% from my memory), so they would instead rely on their own self-sufficient ways to keep their marriage intact for life. Some of these choices may take a form of the modern legal-social institution of marriage, some may come under another title, and some may be able to sit side by side with the standard legal marriage contract. What matters is they all honour the tradition of two people vowing to commit exclusively to each other for life, using the method considered most appropriate by the couple themselves.

This diversity also applies in the case of same sex marriages. Society now has to deal with how to include same sex couples in the social fabric, after their unfortunate exclusion for many centuries. Long stading traditions are being called to adapt to this new demand. Whilst I strongly believe in extending the institution of marriage to same sex couples as I believe they too should be benefitted by the tradition, and I also believe that laws everywhere should be changed in line with the principle of equality before the law (the US Supreme Court has recently agreed with me here), I do believe that those who sincerely believe in marriages being only between a man and a woman should be afforded their freedom of conscience. This includes churches and individuals. They should be able to perform, partake in, and recognise marriage only according to their personal beliefs.

Marriage is a long standing tradition, and like any tradition that lives and thrives over countless generations, adaptation to changing circumstances and hence evolution by diversification is inevitable. To say that there is only one way to honour the ancient tradition of marriage is necessarily wrong and maladaptive. What is important is that the original spirit of marriage continues to be honored in modern society, and is not forgotten in future generations.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Commitment in the New Age

Relationships between people have become less permanent over the past few decades, and this has let to a lot of pain and misery for many people. Is life meant to be this way? I don't think so. I think we have lost the culture of commitment, and we need to restore it.

The traditional marriage relationship serves as a good inspiration. Two people make their vows to each other, and commit for life (for the record I don't agree with the government usurption of marriage in the 1700s, turning it into a legal contract)*. When people took this more seriously, relationships often did last for life. On the other hand, many of my friends don't believe in marriage nowadays. That's okay too, each person should be able to find the path of commitment most suitable for them. What's important is that traditional and non-traditional couples alike can take commitment seriously, and try their best to make it life-long.

Restoring commitment culture is essential for the future survival of our communities. It should be a high priority in today's world, and it's also something we can work together towards.

*Whilst I totally believe in marriage, my strong view is that the vows to keep each other for life is what makes a marriage. Therefore, I see 'private marriages' as equally dignified and meaningful, and I believe anyone who isn't a fascist should also do so. Google 'marriage privatization' to learn more.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A New Liberal Consensus

What does the word 'liberal' mean nowadays? It's a question worth asking. In North America, there has long been a distortion of the word to just mean big government and leftism, whilst in Australia, it is the name of what has become the major conservative party, a party that does not even support the freedom to marry for gay couples. Neither definition seems very 'liberal' to me.

In fact, the word 'liberal' has an inherent meaning, much like conservative or socialist. It means to support freedom. Of course, how this freedom is interpreted differs amongst individuals, but surely it doesn't mean taxation without representation or opposing the freedom to marry. We need to reclaim this word by strengthening awareness about what liberalism is (and what it is not).

All liberals should support freedom above any other ideology. A liberal may be conservative, progressive, pro-business, pro-environment, religious or atheist, or everything in between, but they must respect liberty above all else. Whilst they may have their own beliefs, they must not force it onto others. In politics, liberty must be their main game, and in upholding this liberty, they must not use the power of the state to force their beliefs onto others. For example, a liberal is free to not approve of same sex marriages personally, but should still vote for the freedom to marry. On the other hand, a liberal may be personally angry about climate sceptics not supporting more climate action, but has to fully understand that the mutual respect of each individual's personal conscience and the upholding of the principle of governments only levying taxes when there is a mandate to do so are too important to sacrifice in any case, and therefore will not use the climate emergency to justify distorting these principles.

Liberals may otherwise still have disagreements on policy and ideology. For example, some liberals believe that lower taxation and freer markets are always the key to freedom, whilst others believe that freedom would only equally be available to the poor and disadvantaged if a strong welfare safety net is available. Some liberals believe in gun control, citing that it is a right for citizens to be able to roam the streets without fear, whilst others believe that the right to bear arms is more important. Either way, these are all valid disagreements for liberals to have, because they are all about how freedom is to be maintained. Therefore, liberalism should be a broad church. I believe the consensus should be that everyone who truly believes in liberty for all should be allowed in, even though this welcome should not extend to encompass those who seek to take away others' liberty for any other ideological agenda (whether it is religious values, environmentalism, upholding tradition, or feminism).