Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

ProChoice Should Be A Man's Right, Too!


Because some people assume things by their titles, I have been hesitant to write this post for a very long time. But because the mentality and the laws have never changed regarding the matter, nor has societal opinion really shifted, I feel this is something that needs to be said. And with the abortion debate being more of a battleground topic than ever before due to the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade, I think it's time for men to start thinking about and fighting for their own rights of choice, far more than they have been. I write this entry not only for my younger self, but my son and all young men.

I will begin by saying I am not against a woman's right to have an abortion, and certainly not to use birth control. In fact, I don't think most people are against abortion in and of itself, and birth control should be far more readily available than it is. This post is about the realization that a man actually has less personal choice over his body than people think. Despite common presumptions, his sex life is dictated by the government. From the moment his sperm touches an egg, he is legally considered a father and has no right whatsoever to end that pregnancy. When the baby arrives, he will be forced to pay child support or face serious legal consequences. There have even been cases where underage male rape victims were forced to pay child support to their adult female rapist (I am not kidding). And my common sense tells me that there are men out there right now in unhappy and/or abusive relationships, because they know that if they leave, child support will be used to exploit them.

It's easy to say pull out, wear a condom, or don't have sex until you're ready to be a dad (even though protection isn't 100% foolproof). But the problem is that we don't say the exact parallel to women. If we told women to keep their legs closed until they were ready to be mothers, we would be accused of objectification, turning women into baby mills, condemned for not respecting her humanity, crimes against humanity, and forced parenthood. But for some reason, it's perfectly fine to do the exact same thing to men, even if they did not intend to create the pregnancy. If a woman can have sex freely without parental obligations, a man should have that same legal right. From the beginning of his knowledge about the pregnancy, he should be able to say, "I consented to sex, not fatherhood, and I'm walking away." Why? Because a woman can. Obviously a man and woman will exercise that right in different ways, but they should both still have that fundamental freedom. That is, if we truly believe that men and women should be equals.

Before you think that forced fatherhood can't negatively impact men (as if any human being would enjoy enslavement), let me assure you that young men have committed suicide to escape it. And most certainly, how many times do you think a man has had holes poked in his condoms by a girlfriend? Whether we like to admit it or not, and however rare it may be, men can and do face literal entrapment. Not to mention that, in general, a man's life will always be pivotally changed if he's forced to be a father. His finances, his mental health, his future plans, and maybe even his freedom if he fails to pay. Here in Illinois, you can have your wages garnished, your driver's license revoked, and/or be jailed. Just imagine if Illinois said that women who get pregnant and refuse to become mothers will be fined, jailed or face other consequences. What outrage there would be! Now I am aware that some states may enforce child support less than others, if at all. But the point is that there is no law on any State book which gives a man the inherent and Constitutional right to sexual freedom in this regard.

I know that when I first became sexually active at nineteen, that a baby would have destroyed my life. I can't even imagine the horrors that would have befallen me, but our society and legal system seem to only be concerned about that if I am the female. Why should the law have the right to tell me that I cannot appease my sexual desires and experience sexual connections, which the human body and mind need, unless I want to be a parent? It's my body, my life, and should be my choice, too. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Silent Ruins & Ghostly Faces

 
Slavery wasn't uncommon in the ancient world; the Spartans certainly didn't invent it. Although the purpose of the institution differed from place to place. Sometimes it was to pay off debts, the individual set free afterward. But slavery in Greece was normally for non-Greeks, aka foreigners. What made Sparta unusual is that they had no issue enslaving fellow Greeks. And it's also true that Greeks of this time period were different than the ones of the Heroic Age. After the Trojan War, Bronze Age Greece collapsed, for unknown reasons, and the great palaces and buildings went into the earth until they were rediscovered by archaeologists. After the collapse, a new wave of Greek people began immigrating into the mainland, and some of them founded the City we know as Sparta, picking the location because of its mountainous protection and incredibly fertile lands. These Spartans were not those of Menelaos, but they nevertheless admired Him.

Soon, the Spartans wanted more than just their own land, and needed people to work it. The people of Messenia to the west of Sparta's mountain range became the targets for no reason other than that their land, resources and labor were wanted. After 30 years of war, Sparta conquered the region and subjugated the population, having won both the First and Second Messenian War around 650 BCE. The conquered people were renamed Helots, which means slaves. They became an essential part of Spartan culture, but why were the Spartans so dedicated to keeping a slave class for 3 centuries? Simply put, the male Spartan citizen was allowed no profession other than war, which meant that there was no one to work the lands. Slaves or other forms of labor were needed so that the Spartans could focus on being a war culture. Because they were allowed to retain this sole occupation, they became the greatest fighters the known world had ever seen, at least for a significant time period.

The Spartans may have been the best warriors, but they were also not always admired in the Greek world. Athens basically thought them to be barbaric in their training and ways of life. Athens loved the beauties and pleasures of existence, they did not focus on war, and yet, as Perikles said in His funeral oration, they were just as ready for battle as the Spartans. Nevertheless, Spartan women were the envy of other Greek women. They enjoyed more freedom, more power, more equality, and were exceptionally beautiful. In the movie 300, when Leonidas comments to Xerxes that, "Clearly, you don't know our women," it wasn't a joke.
 
But soon, another City with some of its own infamous reputations would come onto the scene, Thebes. The home of the Hero Oedipus is routinely remembered for bowing down to the second Persian invasion in 480 BCE, surrendering the City and even eventually siding with them on the battlefield. When the war was over and the Greeks had won, Thebes paid a heavy price for their treason. But Thebes also did much good throughout ancient Greek history, and one of which was victory over the Spartan slave system. Sparta had worn itself obliviously thin after the Peloponnesian War, and in 371 BCE, their fragile peace with Thebes broke and the Thebans attacked Sparta at its weakest, with only about 1,000 Spartan men left to defend the City. At the Battle of Leuctra, a force of 6,000 Thebans finished off Sparta's strength, and absolished their slave system. The Helots were free after 300 years, and Sparta never recovered. Today on the field of Leuctra, the base of the victory monument built to Thebes still stands, a silent ruin and a ghostly face to the forgotten Heroism of the northern soldiers.

Our own American nation, like Thebes, probably, in part, freed the slaves because, like in the American Confederacy, it was the final blow to the enemy's power system. Without Helots, Spartan society would quickly decline. Not only was the labor gone, but war, the foundation of their culture, could no longer be solely utilized, and there was simply no time to make more Spartans. The Agoge training took several years. Sparta had been a producer of great soldiers, but it liked war too much. Considering the late Athenian overthrow of the Thirty Tyrants and the Theban conquest, some may argue that, ultimately, it was Sparta who lost the Peloponnesian War. The abolishment of Spartan slavery was, of course, not the only reason for the City's fall. The fact that they no longer had a standing army was the final factor.

Perhaps it was not coincidence that Thebes, being the City of Oedipus who freed it from enslavement by the Sphinx, was also the City who freed other enslaved people. But Sparta continued to be admired and studied throughout the centuries later and even into today. The face of Lykourgos, the founder of Sparta, is displayed today in the United States Congress. We can indeed learn a lot from Sparta when it comes to selflessness, honor, duty, strength, and Heroism. In the ancient world, some people did a lot of good, others bad, and others in-between. Humanity is not a perfect set but one that experiences, learns and grows. It is the good that the Gods teach us, and it is from the good that we find footing.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Greek" Christians Who Laugh At Me

Often times, I find myself in several Greek-based groups online, and they're not all Polytheistic. Some of them are dominated by the dominant religion of Greece today, that being Orthodox Christianity. While most of them are nice to me, there are others who are very rude and confrontational when they find out that I worship the Greek Gods; that my religion is ancient Greek and I reject Christianity. It's all the worse when you consider the fact that I do not make fun of or attack them in the group for their religious choices, but let me post something in a universal Greek group about my shrines, sanctuaries, or general spirituality, and at least one or two people will laugh at me or call me crazy in one form or another. One person even told me that I should see a psychiatrist. I should have retorted by saying that she's the one with Stockholm Syndrome. 

I do wish the group administrators would ban the bigots instead of just deleting my threads to stop the confrontations, but I have always found it very interesting that the people who submitted to the religious invaders who did everything they could to destroy the ethnic Greek culture and subjugate the Greek people, would think that someone like me who chooses to fight for their freedom from it, is delusional, crazy, laughable, etc. They certainly have the right to follow whichever religion they want and I'd never try to stop anyone from having that right, but it's clear that they think Christianity is the legitimate religion of the Greek people, or that it saved the Greek people from destruction. When in fact, it's the opposite. The legitimacy of any people is their ethnicity, not outsiders or foreigners who forced them into another ethnicity, and Greece today is not even a shadow of the greatness it was in the ancient times.

It also angers me that these Greeks in question resent the ancient worshipers and followers, but also have no problem using our architecture, forms of government, ethics, art, science and philosophy. They're more than willing to take the cultural constructs and claim their greatness for their own, but not the Gods who inherently come with it. Because the ancient Greeks had their religion intertwined into everything, you naturally cannot adopt that culture while excluding its spirituality. Otherwise, it makes you hypocritical. So I wish these Greeks, if they hate the ancients so much, would form their own culture, their own ideas, and give ours back to us along with the land they hijacked. It would be great if we could have all of our temples and religious lands back, along with restitution so we could restore them.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

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