Thursday, September 15, 2005

Post Number Forty-Six: Ceterum censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam

Of Equality

In the III-II centuries b.C., the might of Rome conflicted with that of Carthage, a city built on the coast of modern Tunisia, from where it controlled the Mediterranean. Already in control of the Italian Peninsula, the Romans knew that Carthage represented an obstacle to further growth of the economy of the Republic (Rome was a Republic then). Sea routes were of critical importance to boost commerce and Rome simply couldn't let them be controlled by a foreign power. On its own side, Carthage knew that its dominion on the sea was in danger and Rome was to be confronted soon, before it became too mighty an enemy to deal with. This led to the Carthaginian Wars, three series of battles which rank among the most famous campaigns ever fought on this planet. Certainly, one of the most renowned episodes is that of the Carthaginian general Hannibal moving from Spain (back then, a nation under the rule of Carthage) with an army that included elephants, an animal Romans were unfamiliar with. Hannibal was driven in an extenuating series of battles away from Rome by Quintus Fabius Maximus, a Roman General I am proud of having my same name (Maximus is the Latin translation of my Italian name). Anyway, it is known that after the second Carthaginian war was ended, Marcus Porcius Cato the Censor was elected consul of the Republic of Rome, and he had the habit to conclude whatever speech he had on no matter what topic, with the sentence "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam", that means "As for the rest, I believe that Carthage must be destroyed".
His insistence should be now matched by my intention to close every post I submit to this site with the sentence "Ceterum censeo homines equales esse", or "As for the rest, I believe that all men are equal".

All men are EQUAL. I have already stated this sentence in my blog. I have noticed by talking with Viv that some people still find this too hard a concept to understand. Perhaps, some people do not really know what it means, to state that all men are equal.

I am a guy. I have brown hair and brown eyes, a white skin that becomes beautifully tanned very quickly after a short exposition to sunshine. I have studied Physics, I enjoy literature, I can speak two languages and mutter some words in another couple, my IQ was estimated equal to 135, I am sensitive to music and much less to paintings, I love classical music and beautiful women (the definition of beautiful woman is very subjective in this case). I am European and Italian, specifically Northern Italian. I pride myself of being continuously flattered by Miss Vivien Won who I repute one of the most interesting people in the world, and by Tanya Gelfand who is, simply said, a perfect charming friend of mine. I love science and philosophy, am curious and somewhat arrogant especially when it comes to dealing with Catholic lowlife.

This very inaccurate description of me already identifies a series of characteristics of my being me, that set me apart from a lot of people. I am a guy therefore I am not a girl (and sometimes I regret it). I have brown hair, hence I am not blonde. I am Caucasian, so I am not Asian or Black.
And so on.

I adore Tanya Gelfand and Vivien Won, but they are obviously very different from me. And very different between themselves as well, for that matter, if anything, one is an Asian beauty with a devastatingly inquisitive mind and the other is a Russian-Jew concentration of pure charm and artistic talent. I am not an Asian beauty and I am not slightly talented for visual arts.

If I were so picky as to care about this, my left hand is different from my right hand. They can both type relatively quickly on the keyboard but one can write, the other can't. My eyes are not remotely similar, one is very larger than the other and my sight is therefore impaired: unless I intentionally focus my sight, everything in my world appears blurred just as things do in impressionist paintings by Renoir.
And so on.

It is therefore very evident on the surface, that I am quite different from other people, and in fact I am quite unique. I am a strong supporter of the uniqueness of human beings. There can only be one Vivien Won, and even if we cloned Vivien the new Vivien would not be the same person, for the new girl's life experiences would be totally different and therefore would lead her to a different personality behavior. When I was a child the world was totally different. I was born in 1974 and there were no home computers, cell phones or globalization back then. If I were cloned here and now, my clone would grow up in a totally different world and would certainly develop a different character according to his surroundings.

Each of us is unique, but still I reckon that all human beings are equal. How can it be so? How can I plainly state that human beings are equal if I just stated that human beings are unique and unreplaceable?

I state that because being equal does not mean being, in fact, IDENTICAL. I am not the same as Viv or Tanya.

Stating, like i do, that I am equal with Tanya and Viv, means that, while I recognize the obvious differences among the three of us, I believe that from a certain point of view, that is as far as our nature of human beings is involved, such differences are irrelevant.
In fact, while Tanya and Viv are obviously more attractive than me, no one can deny the fact that the three of us are, actually, human beings. Were I so insane to punch Viv to unconsciousness, I am quite positive she wouldn't be happy about it, as in fact no other human being would. I can in fact assure you that I wouldn't be happy to be punched to uncounsciousness by Viv as well... As human beings, we have similar feelings that induce us to cry or rejoice. When a person says "I am sad", we all know what that means because we all know what it means to be sad, and we know that because we experience that all the time. A human being has a brain (although most human beings do not use it). This brain, in case it is put to use, is able to produce rational thinking. Rationality is a characteristic of all human beings (put aside whether it is actually used or not). Humans share the same destiny on this planet. If the planet was wiped out, all humans would die. In fact, anyway, all humans die, and all humans are born from a mother - or at least from an egg cell.

Those among humans that believe we are equal, actually do not believe that we are identical. What we believe is that the differences among us are not as important as the things that unite us. It's all there. I dare a further step. The differences among living beings are irrelevant. All of us are alive, therefore similar.

We therefore believe that the fact that we are all humans, implies we have certain rights.

Regardless of how sexy or smart or rich or hard-working or whatever you think other people, or yourself, are, because you are a human being, you have rights.

This is it.


Which rights?

1. the right to be alive. I have the right to live. Note: I do not have the duty of living. I have the right to live, which implies, in my opinion, that I also have the right to choose when I want to stop living. Note number two: I claim, state, and fiercely assert that embryos are not human beings and therefore their supposed right to live comes second to the right to be happy of their mother.
because, in fact, right number two is
2. the right to pursuit happiness. To each his own. We are all different so we are happy in different ways, but each of us, for being human, has the right to pursuit his/her chosen path to happiness. VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Your chosen path to happiness cannot clash with the paths of someone else. You do what you like with your life, but do not tell anyone else what to do with theirs, and most of all, do not prevent others from pursuiting happiness through your careless behavior
3. the right to a job. Surprise. Job is a right.
4. the right to a house. Surprise #2: housing is a right.
5. the right to feed and drink (this is actually an extension of right 1.)
6. the right to health (this is again an extension of right 1.)

These things are inherent rights of human beings. I was born humans therefore I have all those rights.

What we do in Europe (what we used to do and only some countries still do, specifically the wealthiest and most competitive economies in the world - Scandinavia) is to set rules that guarantee these rights.
We believe that since all humans are equal, the community of humans counts more than the single individual, in the sense that what one does, he doesn't do it for himself alone but for the community. So it is simply right that if I work hard, I do it for the good of the human community and not just for myself. So a part of what I gained I give it to the rest of the people, because only an imbecile would think that if one is poor, that is his fault.
We do not prevent people from being rich, but we do our best to redistribute wealth among all the people, through taxes, so that no one is too richer than someone else. Because everyone has the right to own a house, to be treated if ill and to be fed if hungry.
What happens if a country does not do that?

In the USA, they really believe that if you are poor it's your fault. They do not redistribute wealth through taxes, they despise the poor and praise the wealthy.

The poor have aren't guilty of their condition of course, but Americans are driven imbecile by Republican propaganda. Therefore, when a city is flooded like New Orleans these days, instead of working side by side, feeling a part of the society (which is what Europeans did in Central Europe during the floods of this summer), they shoot each other and try to steal each other's wealth. This is what to expect from a people that does not recognize the rights of human beings. This is also the beginning of the decline of the USA, which is something they looked for, and I hope it will teach them a lesson.

Now all of us, let's think of our country. Are human rights protected? Are humans treated as equal, regardless of their differences? Are omosexuals tolerated and treated equally? can they marry? are girls treated equally like guys? Does the Government make the rich bastards pay taxes so national wealth is redistributed to the good people that did not sell their soul to the devil to become rich bastards? Are the poor treated with condescence and helped regardless of their race?
Italy is light years behind in this sense. We are a bunch of racist imbeciles with so little understanding of human rights that even the Americans fare better than us. And Americans have basically no knowledge of human rights, apart from what they wrote in the Declaration of Independence (all of which their Republican rulers were very quick to forget).
Finland is much closer to this "ideal" of equality. Finland has the most competitive economy in the world, and Italy doesn't even appear in the list of competitive economies.

Being equal means that we have the same rights.

And as for the rest, I believe that all men are created equal.