Author: Chris Rowley

Debating green

A controversial topic was debated on Feb. 1 in the Ragan Theater. A handful of students had already arrived a half hour before the scheduled time for the debate to start, while others slowly, yet eagerly, shuffled in. As the audience grew, quiet whispers turned into loud jokes about how ironic it was that the student association was handing out brownies earlier in the morning to encourage students to attend the debate. By noon, some audience members began to sing “Come Together” by The Beatles, showing their seeming excitement. The key speakers were Steve Hager, editor of High Times magazine and Bob Stuntman, former special agent in charge of the D.E.A. division in New York. The topic of the debate was the legalization of marijuana. When asked why the school hosted such a controversial debate and how students felt about it, Chris Loumeau, UVUSA’s vice president of academics, said, “[We] wanted to help students become more aware about the different aspects of this multifaceted debate while attracting a demographic of students who usually aren’t at attendance at school activities.” A firm believer that marijuana should stay illegal, sophomore Biology major Drew Guzman said, “I think [marijuana] probably isn’t good for you because it makes people lazy. I have friends who smoke pot and sit around all day like a bump on a log. People should be more productive with...

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Asking wrong questions

Here in the opinions section we have recently seen articles dealing with gun control and allowing alcohol on campus, at first glance these issues may seem unrelated, but on second glance I think we can see we are really dealing with the same issue: collective rights versus individual rights. Some people want to go to school in a gun free zone, and some would like to be able to protect themselves. Some people would like to drink on campus, while others would like to be an alcohol free school. Both sides seem fairly reasonable, so how do we decide? I think we are asking the wrong questions. When we ask if alcohol or guns should be allowed, or if we have a right to have them the natural question to ask is what gives a person a right to do anything in the first place? This is, to put it mildly, a complicated subject, but some light can be shed on the matter in even a small space. A right that can be applied consistently from person to person in all times and places is what might be called an individual right (though many would have a different definition). This is opposed to collective rights that would be more likely to reference “the greatest good for the greatest number” or “for the good of society” (or “for the good...

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Examination of the “sacred” is always ethical

As I was wondering through the halls on campus I happed to notice a poster on the bulletin board that said “Is examination of the sacred ever ethical?” It was referencing the HBO series “Big Love” which is about a fictional Utah polygamist family that happened to air an episode depicting activities that occur in LDS temples. I found the topic very interesting but couldn’t help wonder if we shouldn’t be asking a different question: “Why should any belief be beyond examination?” It seems that the implied argument in favor of not examining the “sacred” is that some people feel strongly about it, and feelings will be hurt. But there are more important issues than how people feel about the truth, one being what the truth actually is. No one deserves to privilege an opinion that they then claim is so important that it is immoral to examine it. Furthermore, what’s the point of having a view if it is not based on examination in the first place? If your beliefs are divorced from inquiry then we have a serious problem, namely that beliefs which are not based on reason and evidence can often be plausibly called prejudice and dogma. Not only is the examination of the sacred (whether God, government, or culture) perfectly ethical, it is also vital. From the flag, to the cross, there is nothing that...

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‘Equality Utah’ Should Not Support Anti-Discrimination Laws

A Salt Lake City anti-discrimination ordinance carried little or no controversy until the possibility of homosexuals being protected was proposed. Equality Utah (a gay rights advocacy group) and others on the left are pushing for the proposal to include homosexuals, while conservatives such as Gov. Gary Herbert are refusing to call this a “protected class,” and claim that the discrimination is already minimal. Such issues are always inevitable in the world of politics where consistency is avoided like the plague. In the past and present the LGBT rights movement has commonly put forward a magnificent maxim: two consenting adults should be able to do as they please. In other words, why is it the business of the government if two people engage in a peaceful voluntary contract? However, I am saddened to hear that Equality Utah is not upholding this principle consistently and they are just as much in the wrong in this situation as those they are criticizing. As Voltaire once said, “I disagree with what this man has said, but I defend to the death his right to say it.” I feel compelled to say something similar: discrimination is irrational, but I defend anyone’s right to do it. On what grounds can you advocate anti-discrimination laws by force of government and at the same time demand government stay out of marriage? In other words, do you have...

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