Tuesday, August 25, 2015 (“Starting All Over Again” by Mel and Tim)

I’ve thought a fair about politics over the last few years. I’m thoroughly convinced that if you are to succeed in politics, you have to be very dirty or your opponent has to be a complete incompetent. I’ve gone around from side to side – each shift represented a different phase in my life. I never really identified as a conservative. I’ve never really had a dog in that fight. I’m not religious. I’m not terribly afraid that youngsters are morons who need to be whipped into shape either. I suppose I swung leftwards when I was younger because I really thought that people who claimed to represent the down-trodden were smart, helpful and right. It turns out that they’re not really any of those.

I identified – and still do to some extent – as a libertarian because I became convinced that nobody had the interests of anyone else in mind. So, rather than arming one’s oppressors, you try to strip them as much as possible. These past couple of years, I’m not really sure of anything. I’m still fairly certain that anyone who runs for a big time office like “President” is either stupid, crazy or evil. I suppose that anyone can be any of those things at the same time. But the point is, you really shouldn’t trust stupid, crazy or evil people – especially if you think that your own personal situation is so bad that you have rely on someone else to right the ship for you. And you shouldn’t trust people whom you don’t know very well. I don’t know why anyone thinks that is a good idea.

Something has always eluded me in trying to explain why lefties and righties turned me off so much. This article doesn’t exactly explain my thoughts but it did spark thoughts…

If I follow anyone’s platform or program – that is, the things they would like to see done in the country – I tend to see them use government, law and the Constitution as a means to their end. So, in the case of gun violence, a lot of left-wingers would like the government to interpret or create laws to ban private ownership of guns. They see that if people have unfettered access to guns, then the wrong people (stupid, evil or crazy people) will have access to guns and will do bad things. They see that the badness that results from the baddies having guns outweighs the good  of good people having guns who don’t do anything wrong with them. So, given that situation, they use law that doesn’t yet exist to bring about the change they think is good. On the other hand, you see a lot of right wingers trying to pass legislation to ban abortion. They’ll do anything to make a spectacle of the situation, from shaming pregnant women trying to go into the abortion clinics, threatening the lives of the doctors who perform the procedures, to putting frighteningly gruesome pictures of aborted fetuses (No. 3 from this link: http://civilliberty.about.com/od/abortion/tp/abortionmyths.htm). There was a Supreme Court case on this that we all know in the US and that’s the law of the land. But that doesn’t stop some people from trying either to chip away at it or bring it down in one go. Lefties and Righties have different pet issues but they really seem to be using the same playbook.

One thing that strikes me about this is that both political side I’ve mentioned do two of the same things that I think many of the rest of us either don’t do because we don’t know any better or we do out of principle. 1- They believe that their view of morality is the right one and are trying to impose it on the rest of us. I don’t believe that these people are evil fucks like they quite often display themselves as. Pro-lifers believe that abortion is murder and they’re doing all they can to stop it. That idea doesn’t seem so wild. Imagine something that we all take for granted as illegal, like theft, suddenly becoming legal, or at least completely unenforced. That would make a lot of people upset and they would do all they can to get things turned around. Both sides want to stop something they think is completely immoral. That’s pretty understandable. I could come up with a list (I’ll do my best to keep it fairly short) of pet issues of both extremes of the 1-dimensional political spectrum the political scientists have us on (Some later post I’ll go on about why I reject that).

Lefties:

* Environmental issues (pollution, global warming, transportation, etc.)

* Inequality issues (minimum wage, wealth redistribution, food stamps, progressive taxes, etc)

* Women’s rights (sexual discrimination, reproductive issues, health issues)

* Minority issues (racial/ethnic discrimination, disability issues, sexual preferences issues)

* Universal healthcare

* Denigration of Israel’s standing in the world

* Skepticism of Capitalism and Globalization

Righties:

* Pro-life issues

* Religious issues in public life

* Defense of Israel no matter what hijinx they get up to

* Skepticism of multi-culturalism

* Pro-Capitalism and Globalism

* Laissez-Faire in most markets

I won’t go on much further – mostly because I don’t care to take up much more time to fill the list out especially when nobody other myself will read it. Also, the lines get more and more blurred between the two when you go deeper. Also the groups start to splinter into subgroups the further you go down.

The two groups’ platforms are based on what they think is morally correct. Whenever someone disagrees with these ideas, one side will not only see them as wrong and mistaken, but they will see that since these issues are based on morality, to disagree with their stance is to be immoral. So, they must do whatever they can to make sure the immoral assholes of the other side don’t get their way. It really comes down to a matter of good and evil to them. People tend to be more emotional and passionate about emotional issues than they do about things they don’t care so much about. However, they also tend to be more irrational and crazier when emotions and passions come into play.

Once the morality of the issue has been decided within the group, any method of bringing about the change necessary to make the world a more moral place is fair game. If you think that banning guns is more important than the Constitution, you don’t care that the 2nd Amendment expressly prohibits your methods. It has to be done and a list of reasons of why it’s more important than the Constitution will be given. A- The 2nd Amendment was created in the 1700s and was only enacted to prevent the successful reconquest of the American colonies by the British. B- We have the army now to protect us and this law is really about militias, so it doesn’t apply to today’s situation. C-That’s just the way things were back then and things have changed now. D- That’s a stupid Amendment and must be changed. Take your pick, but they get sillier and sillier as they go down and more and more dismissive of the Constitution.

To these two sides freedom is only allowed as long as it doesn’t get in the way of bringing about the change desired. So often their versions of morality conflict greatly and the rest of us have to witness politics as a battleground of morality. To these guys it’s not about the adjudication of laws and statutes, it’s a means to an end. To my mind and I get the feeling that to the minds of most libertarians, freedom is not a means to an end. It is the end itself. Instead of allowing people the freedom to be stupid, poor and crazy, the laws are being used to enforce one version of morality. Morality changes with every generation. The hippies ‘view of “free love” was seen as evil. We (a vast majority of people) see slavery and racism as wicked. I don’t think it’s a good idea to codify morality because not only does it change with stunning regularity, there are often conflicting views within one’s one time as to what is right and wrong. I don’t think that the politicians should be telling me what’s right and wrong and I don’t think they have the right to control my behavior especially by taking away the rights given to me by the Constitution. It may not be convenient for them but that’s none of their damn business!

 P.S. Here’s a song that has nothing to do with any of the above.
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