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Posted by Philip on 6 February 2017, 2:23 pm in , , , , , , , , ,

On the contradictions and hypocrisy of our hybrid global/local world

Does anyone remember any countries holding select committees to decide whether or not people should be allowed to use the internet? Whether or to export and import goods to and from each other? Whether or not to recognise (heterosexual, at least) marriages within each other's boundaries? Maybe I missed something, but I don't recall these or other such arguments.


That's because the internet and international trade were agreed to be mutually beneficial to the global community and economy, as well as those of individual countries. There are exceptions of course, such as the TPPA, but these exceptional debates are usually driven by protesters, not by governments and industries (although, Trump's dismissal of the TPPA highlights the fragility of this kind of generalisation, but please bear with me).

Just to labour the point, marriage between people of the opposite gender, seems to have global approval. No straight couple would expect to migrate to or visit another country and have their marriage unrecognised. Nor would licenced drivers, despite the recorded dangers of driving on the opposite side of the road.

My point is that we have come to the point where the sanctity of global and local agreement has become ad hoc. This can be seen in the current arguments about medically-assisted dying, legalisation or decriminalisation of cannabis and the right to be married as a same gender couple.

Why is it that I can go to different countries and my ability to access assisted dying, smoke a joint or be married changes? Sometimes my access to these liberties can change depending on where I am within a certain country.

What's more, the recognition of my qualification to perform certain occupations, particularly in medical fields, changes if I leave the country in which I received such qualification. Yet I am globally qualified to drive a lethal weapon anywhere in the world, despite fundamental differences in the experience as well as the rules governing it.

That I can use the internet, drive a car and purchase imported goods anywhere in the world, but the aforementioned activities are sanctioned or not depending on locality, seems fundamentally contradictory.

Of course, moral and ethical variations, as well as religious and political differences, are cited as the reasons, but this logic is flawed. The internet causes as much harm as good and international trade threatens local economies as much as it benefits global consumption. And marriage? Well, one word suffices — divorce.

The practice of sanctioning different activities based on global and local terms is a glaringly philosophically and politically hypocritical. It's a hypocrisy staring us in the face and though we may discuss it in siloed contexts — like alcohol and cigarettes being legal and marijuana not (despite the former two being demonstrably more harmful than the latter) — we are bereft of a higher level conversation.

Another example of the critical need to focus on the big picture.​

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