defending liberty and justice

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

defending liberty and justice

Postby Athena on July 29th, 2016, 10:38 am 

Once again I am in conflict with the property managers. I question my own thinking on this matter and would like some feedback.

At my neighbors' request, I have been blocking open the fire door. They know I put rule by reason above rule by authority. Laugh, in America we are living in fear of that authority above us. I suppose I shouldn't laugh, because it would be a big problem if I were evicted, but I laugh because as we tremble in fear of this authority, and obey it no matter how bad it is, we like to believe we stand for liberty and justice.

Anyway, the "authority" has signs that in huge letters tell us the fire doors must be kept closed. Because the risk of dying of heat is greater than the risk of a fire, I open the doors anyway. So now there is a full letter under the big sign explaining the importance of a fire door. Here is my response if you care.

Dear Property Manager,

I woke at 5 am and could not go back to sleep. This is rare for me but occurs when the authority above us, assumes it has better reasoning than we do. My neighbors are distressed by the lack of ventilation and excessive heat they are forced to endure because of the one-sided understanding of fires doors that puts them in danger of dying from the summer heat. Which is the greater danger, a fire raging through the building despite modern fire alarms or heat exhaustion?

Yes, if there were a fire, those doors would be needed, and as soon as the fire alarm went off people would be going through the door and allowing it to close behind them. But in the history of this old building, there has never been such a fire. The risk was greater when people could smoke in their apartments, and that is no longer a risk factor. Occasionally someone leaves a pan on the stove and sets off a fire alarm. Exactly how dangerous is this compared to being miserable on hot days, and unable to sleep because of the heat. I am a gerontologist and my educated judgment is that older people are in much greater danger when the doors are left closed.

Let me make it clear how much I am suffering, my agony that disturbs my sleep, and pushes me to seek legal help although this is probably futile, because we have become overly reliant on "authority" and legal power, and so disrespectful of each other as human beings. Yes, this is a personal problem, and perhaps I should turn to White Bird and crisis canceling, but I need to make my point. We are intelligent adults forced to live as children dependent on parents because we can not own our own homes, where there is no authority preventing us from making our own decisions. Homes where there is no authority to prevent us from opening a door to get some relief from the summer heat on the third floor of the building. Our nation didn't always put obeying the law against our human right to make our own decisions.

The thinking of the authority above us is along the lines of what caused us to break away from England. It is offensive and not exactly the best logic. The door leading to the laundry room is just a door. Now all doors are helpful in preventing heat from transferring one room to the next, but these doors are not fire doors. When these doors are open and the windows in the rooms are open, the building has essential ventilation, and this looks like an intentional design, considering at the end of the halls there are fire doors, and the doors leading to laundry rooms are not fire doors. The fire chief who said they were fire doors that should be left closed was being overly zealous and did not have to live with the results of his zealousness. The fire chief's words about the doors, come many, many years after this building was built. Not until recently have we not been respected as intelligent adults who are pretty good at figuring out what is in our best interest. You may not think so, but this kind of authority is not good for our democracy, and this is a very serious matter to me.

Since I am writing I will add the issue of allowing people to park their bicycles on the second floor, but not allowing anyone to leave a stationary bike in the room. I figure this is a legal decision made to prevent a lawsuit, and this may be reasonable, but I question that. There might be a legal protection that allows for a stationary bike? There are also laws about accommodating people with disabilities, and I am thinking of all the older people here who have had hip and knee replacements and those who are over weight. They all need to be exercising and there are apartment buildings that do have exercise rooms. They just cost a whole lot more than what we can afford. Their need for exercise is more of a safety issue than the likelihood of a fire raging through the building and no one shutting a fire door as s/he runs out the door. This is a human concern, not a legal concerned, and I am speaking for the humans I care about. I am sure you all want to believe we have a society that runs on concern for one another, but that is not what is happening here.

It would be wonderful if we could resolve these issues as equal human beings, instead of authority over subject to authority and going through a courtroom.

It would be a small but important satisfaction if only there were acknowledgment that the decisions are not personal concern for us, (as our democracy was supposed to be) but are impersonal legal matters made by those who do not have to live with the consequences of their decisions. Please, do not talk down to us as though we are children who do not understand the purpose of a fire door and can not figure out what is in our best interest without authority telling us what that is.
Athena
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Re: defending liberty and justice

Postby Braininvat on July 29th, 2016, 12:21 pm 

You have other options, don't you? Some have exhaust fans in one window, which create negative pressure and thus pull in air from the other windows and make pretty good ventilation. If your apartment has two windows, you can use this system. Turn the fan on high when the night air cools, as you go to bed, and it will be much cooler in the morning. Then you can shut the windows for a while, keeping in the cool air, until it warms up. Then you start the cycle over again. Or you can do what most Americans do - put in a small window AC in the room where you sleep. A 5200 BTU unit will not overburden your electric bill, for just one room. These small units are not too heavy and can be installed by one person, or two.

That said, I'm not sure how keeping the fire door ajar would make it harder to use in the event of an actual fire. Indeed, the whole logic of this prohibition escapes me.
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Re: defending liberty and justice

Postby Athena on July 31st, 2016, 12:17 am 

Thank God, a very logical argument! I love it.

I am taking up a collection for a lobotomy. PM me if you would like to contribute.

I am obsessed about the threat of authority above us, that makes the real option to obeying illogical authority- being evicted or fired or whatever else "authority" can do to us if we don't "obey". This is the same argument I am making in the banality thread.

My apartment is on the cool side of the building and I get a good breeze, but my neighbors believe I will take action when something is wrong, so the concern is not my comfort but theirs and mostly what has happened to our liberty. I am sure we as a nation are losing our liberty, and we don't care about that as we don't global warming. As long as we can smoke pot and die our weird colors and have no restrictions on our sexual activity we are happy.

I will be taking your argument to legal aid, and I bet they will say using my air conditioner and contributing to global warmer is better than leaving a "fire door" open. I don't think they will appreciate the logic of your argument at all, but I have to try. Nor will they see any threat to our liberty. A lobotomy, please.
Athena
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