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November 05, 2004

Liberal Reaffirmation

I took a survery at Political Compass the other day and ended up with these scores, which put me somewhere to the left of the Dalai Lama:

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -8.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.90

How did I end up thinking this way, especially growing up in Texas? I'm not sure, but I've been pondering what I believe and why I believe it in light of the startling loss for Kerry.

In a nutshell, this is where I'm coming from:

Personal Freedom: You are free to do as you please as long as your actions don't infringe upon my person or my rights. In other words, I don't feel I, or anybody else, has the right to tell adults what they can do with their own bodies and lives unless they are harming others or themselves. This applies to drugs, medical decisions, gun ownership, religious expression, sexual proclivities, etc.

Collective Responsibility: Sartre found a moral compass in his Existential philosophy by stating that man is inescapably free and therefore totally responsible for himself and, by externsion, all others on the planet. I believe this means that basic human needs and dignity must be met through the collective effort of a people via government. This is the foundation for our humanitarian efforts worldwide as well as our need for basic healthcare and welfare here at home. We are too rich a nation for any of our citizens to suffer due to poverty or circumstance.

Secular Democracy: We can't all agree on a religion, but we can agree on a Constitution. That's why a nation of laws will last a lot longer than a theocracy. Imposing one's religious views on others under the guise of laws is a recipe for oppression and hypocrisy. Why can't we learn this?

Enlightenment Principles: We are the children of the Enlightenment, a time of reason and science. Our country was once fearless in its pursuit of progress via science, but now, at the cusp of a unified theory of physics and the genetic eradication of disease, science is a bogeyman, untrusted and misunderstood, inconsequential to our everyday lives. Other countries are taking up the banner of scientific progress and leaving us in a new Dark Ages. We will come to regret this.

Military Power: We are warriors, but we have never been aggressors as a superpower. America's might comes from a moral and reluctant use of power, not a voluntary and unnecessary conflict. Use the military when necessary, but don't forget to honestly face the results (graphic).

Economic Justice: The entire tax system must be fair and progressive. The Federal Income Tax receives a lot of attention, but the real injustice is happening to the middle and lower classes because of regressive taxes like sales and property tax. I've written about this before, but suffice it to say that the rich, overall, pay far less of a percentage of their income in taxes.

Corporate Power: When's the last time government at any level did something for the average guy? Doesn't it always seem that laws are written with Big Money in mind, rather than the plumber, the teacher, or the office worker? Government exists to provide the environment for prosperity and order for all citizens. I think this ideal went wrong when corporations became citizens.

Environmental Caretaking: It's a no-brainer that we must care for the Earth, but we continually make decisions that run counter to this notion. Dependence on oil and coal must end quickly, replaced by nuclear, solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources. Yes, I said nuclear. Envision an America with no dependence on the Middle East and how many problems that solves.

Class Structure: The class struggle is a Marxist idea that is lightly dismissed in our "classless" society, but it has become undeniable that money rules our political power structures. The hegemony of the rich is exerted through media, popular culture, advertising blitzes, campaign financing, copyright enforcement, financial markets, etc. The middle class is underrepresented in modern politics, except for the "social issues" pols throw out to stir up resentment and fear, like gay marriage. Start voting your pocketbook and things change overnight.

Government is Beneficial: The government facilitates and regulates the infrastructure upon which we all depend. Government is an agreement among us about how we ought to live. Government is us, you and me, working together to pool our resources and energy to make good things happen. Government is the pedal on the economic engine, driving prosperity through fiscal and monetary policy. Government is a precursor to civilization, not a detriment.

Thanks for reading.

Posted by tat at November 5, 2004 09:53 AM

Thanks for writing!! There is nothing I could possibly add to that!!

Except... It must be said again... Trickhorn and Nana T are right. Your daughter is beautiful!

And she has a GREAT DAD!!

Posted by: RobDog at November 5, 2004 05:51 PM

Agreed on all counts.

On the Church/State front, anyone heard about the "widespread" return to Creationism in the Science Classroom?

Welcome back to 1925! Someone dig up Scopes and WJB and Clarence Darrow and we'll have a gay old time!


Posted by: Kent at November 7, 2004 03:14 PM


Brilliant commentary as usual!

- Barak in '08!

Posted by: Busta at November 10, 2004 05:38 PM