The Importance of Thrift Stores

During the beginning of December, it started getting cooler outside here in Florida. I only had one pair of jeans that fit, so I decided to buy some clothes. At first, I thought about getting more jeans just like the ones I had been wearing because I liked them. However, with Christmas coming, I had a budget and, after seeing how much a new pair5 of jeans would cost, I decided to go to Goodwill for clothes.

I ended up spending $50 at Goodwill. But I got 2 bottoms, 2 shirts, a coat, and 2 dresses.

What a deal!

I felt good being able to buy my clothes from a thrift shop. Turns out, it’s not only good for your wallet, it’s also good for the environment.

Making a new garment uses water. It takes energy. It takes shipping. I was able to save these things by buying my clothes used.

I don’t have a big carbon footprint. However, I currently eat meat because people in my household have diabetes and have to eat meat. There’s no better way for them to get their needed protein. I eat what they eat. So, I eat meat. Being able to buy my clothes used means I can shop for what I need and have minimal effects on the environment.

When I went to Goodwill, I dropped off some clothes, too. I didn’t throw them away. Currently, a good portion of our old garments end up in landfills. I was able to give my old clothes a new life.

Shopping a thrift stores ought to be the latest trend. It’s good on your wallet and good for the environment.

Saving Face: Utilitarianism, Disability, and Chronic Illness

When I was an undergraduate thinking of graduate school over a decade ago, I was heavily immersed in ethics and political philosophy. As an undergraduate at Stetson University, I attended a talk by Peter Singer at the University of North Florida, where I would soon begin studying for my MA. I was sympathetic to virtue ethics and it would not be until recently that I moved toward utilitarianism.

When I attended Peter Singer’s lecture, there was protest by disabled people in the community and on campus due to Singer’s views on disability. In this post, I aim to defend utilitarianism and rebuke Singer.

I recently turned toward utilitarianism because I became an atheist and disavowed my metaethical presuppositions that made me a virtue ethicist. All that was left was me and fellow humans with pleasures and pains. Thus, in order to be ethical, I needed to maximize pleasures and minimize pains for myself and for others. So I found myself a utilitarian.

I am disabled and I follow various disability conversations online. Contrary to Singer, who has argued disabled lives are not worth living or are somehow less worth living that abled lives, I have found that often what makes disabled lives hard is the failure of accommodation. I have roundly decided that accommodation of disabled lives is a necessity of utilitarianism.

Most of the world is organized for able-bodied human beings. Yet, if we live long enough, all of us will get sick or become disabled. Contrary to Singer, who has argued disabled lives are not worth living, I argue that utilitarians ought to consider accommodation for various disabilities. It maximizes pleasure to do so.

Singer is wrong to think disabled lives are not worth living. I have met many disabled and chronically ill people who are only hindered by lack of accommodations. It’s winter right now, for example, and snow on the sidewalks hinders wheelchair users. I have been a caregiver for someone who was unable to walk. I wanted this person to have maximal happiness. Yet, simply getting around in stores, restaurants, and public parks was overly burdensome. This is because the design is for able-bodied people, which, again, most of us will not be if we live long enough.

Contrary to what I thought as an undergraduate, utilitarianism is not at odds with disability justice. Instead, a utilitarian should advocate for disability rights.

You’re Not Blessed. You’re Just White.

The prosperity gospel is common among evangelicals. It’s the basic belief that, through prayer and good works, one can be blessed with wealth. I see it in practice every time I go on social media and people I know post memes asking for God’s financial blessings. I see it in members of my own family who believe their good fortune is a blessing from God.

Most evangelical believers are white. Moreover, many of them are not astute when it comes to matters of race. However, Black Americans, for example, face wealth disparities and I’m sure it’s not because God didn’t favor them.

The prosperity gospel is racist. No, you’re not favored by God. You’re just white.

Unfortunately, white evangelicals often get financially rewarded in life and then praise God–without acknowledging that their wealth is the result of racism.

The prosperity gospel is harmful to society. It ignores the truth and is willfully ignorant of real inequities. It’s past time for it to go.