Saturday, August 13, 2005

Am I a conservative?

Pandagon takes issue with the people who disclaim conservatism as a philosophy, and yet are still too far right for his tastes:
Glenn Reynolds pioneered it, but a whole host of other conservative bloggers (Hottentotten, Remainder L. Simon, etc.) have perfected it - they're entirely Republican/conservative shills, yet adamantly declare when it's convenient that they aren't conservative because of a position they haven't dusted off since the last time they wanted to prove they weren't conservative.

Here's what you do - come up with a series of phrases and/or topic areas that let you consistently link to conservative blogs or sources approvingly, while simultaneously pretending that you maintain "independent credibility" and are simply "examining the evidence before you". The perfect example of this comes from the master of Disinglennuousness - "Disturbing, if true".

Next up, forget that you're trying to pretend you aren't conservative, and assault liberals mercilessly. Claiming that liberals hate freedom (or, at least, the "freedom" you're obsessed with), focusing on the War on Terror exclusively as a battle against liberal complaints, or else just picking (a) particular Democrat(s) as "the reason I can't support the Democrat Party in good conscience" are all good ways of doing this, but the key is to pretend that the Democratic Party has just gone too far for your sensitive soul - even if the Democratic Party is symbolized by the clerk at the department store who overcharged you for your Izod.
Ya know, I consider myself a liberal, but I think I'm probably the only person on the planet who thinks that. I certainly don't take on the mantle of "conservatism" or "right wing," even though others have tagged me with that label. As to whether that label is deserved, I submit for your review the following:

I can't stand closed-minded people, and in particular people who who make decisions first and look at facts later, including but not limited to those who would dislike someone simply on the basis of his or her race. In general, I have severe problems with those who make decisions based on emotions rather than facts and reason.

I believe everyone should be treated equally before the law.

I believe more people should be naked more often, even old people and fat people, but particularly young female people.

I have no opinion on whether ending the life of a human baby in a womb is murder. I understand there is general consensus that ending the life of a newborn child is murder, and I question whether there's truly a logical distinction between the two situations, but unlike most Americans, I haven't come to a conclusion as of yet.

I have no problem with people of the same gender living together, exploiting one another's orifices and/or protuberances for their own enjoyment, and/or having legally-recognized lifetime relationships together. In fact, I have no problem with three or more individuals of varying genders, or even varying species, moving in together and doing pretty much whatever they mutually decide they want to do with one another, so long as I don't have to watch and/or pay for it.

It pains me that America has developed a permanent underclass, brought on largely by the pitiful state of the government schools which serve the America's poorest communities. I believe we need serious education reform NOW rather than later.

I believe that government programs, even social welfare programs, with a solid, proven track record of helping dependent and helpless people become productive, independent citizens should be expanded, no matter which party or group originally came up with them. I don't have a moral problem with the fact that certain people will have to be taxed, at least in the short run, in order to pay for such programs.

I believe that government social welfare programs which help those Americans with no hope of surviving without outside help should be fully funded. As above, I don't have a problem with the fact that certain people will have to be taxed to pay for this.

I'm not convinced that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea.

I believe America's borders should be wide open to those who honestly wish to come here to live peacefully, work and contribute.

I believe very strongly in freedom of speech and of the press. I believe we should generally err on the side of freedom where there is real doubt.

I'm not convinced that there's a problem with the "sexualization" of American popular culture, even to the extent that it increases the awareness of children to the issue of sexuality. I think there's a big difference between a child learning that "people have sex and enjoy it" and a child deciding "I can do whatever I want without paying any price."

I'm not convinced that there's a problem with the "culture of violence" which American popular culture allegedly fosters, again, even to the extent that it affects children and may tend to desensitize them to violence and death. See above re: sexuality.

I believe that tax cuts should not be enacted without corresponding spending cuts when it can be shown that they weaken the long-term financial health of the country.

I don't have any love for huge multinational corporations. Corporations exist for the benefit of their shareholders. They're not citizens of this country and they don't have "rights."

I believe that we should protect the environment.

I believe that it is vital that we reduce mankind's, and in particular America's, dependence on petroleum, and that we develop alternate energy resources.

I believe that the cause of "free trade uber alles" is an overly-simplistic philosophy, and that we should consider our interests as humans and as Americans, and not just as consumers, when we discuss our trade policies.

I ask you, is the above list that of a right-wing conservative? I really don't see it. Comments would be very welcome.


Blogger slickdpdx said...

Well said. I think it makes you a liberal but not a Liberal. The opinions of others may differ.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Eman said...

In my own personal lexicon, I suppose I'd say I'm a "liberal" but not a "leftist."

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

So, then, why wouldn't others consider you a liberal? This is exactly what I'm talking about - it has absolutely nothing to do with if you don't meet my personal standards of liberalism, and the fact that these people who label themselves liberal will continually lay out a list of ideas and beliefs that they contend makes them liberal...while never writing about them unless someone like me writes a post like the one you're responding to.

It's kind of hilarious, but I write this post, and I get a couple dozen people rushing to tell me what a judgemental and inaccurate asshole I am...while doing the exact thing I described.

8:29 AM  

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