Thursday, June 24, 2004

I Am a Liberal

During the last twenty years, the word “liberal” has become an insult and a source of shame. Bah, I say! Bah! I am a flaming liberal, and unrepentantly so. I like it. As a liberal, I believe that…

- Government should stay out of private and moral matters. Private citizens should be free to marry, have sex, seek or avoid medical treatment, and otherwise conduct their personal lives without undue official interference.
- There should be a strict wall of separation between church and state. Religion has in my opinion flourished at least in part because it operates independently of the government, and government has become more evenhanded for the same reason. Keeping religion and government well clear of each other has contributed to the wonderful diversity of our society.
- Government regulation is not the source of all evil, but has been and can continue to be a beneficial influence upon our society. Child labor laws, health and safety standards, and clean air and other pro-environment regulations have without question contributed to the health and well being of our society.
- The primary goal of the criminal justice system is not to wreak vengeance, but to protect society from those members who choose to make themselves dangerous, and to rehabilitate those who choose to be rehabilitated. This view does not preclude society from taking a strong stance against crime, but should temper the laws we make and the punishments we levy.
- Equality under the law, regardless of race, sex, religion, ability and sexual orientation should be sacrosanct, and honored by government on local, state, and national levels.
- Although personal responsibility is the primary determinant in the success of each individual, government can and should implement programs like public education and universal health care that benefit us all, directly or indirectly, and make success easier to achieve.
- Taxation should be progressive, with those of greater means sharing a greater part of the burden.
- Elections are the mechanism that make our democracy work, and one of our top priorities should be ensuring that elections are fair, accessible, and reflective of public opinion.

There. That’s not so bad, is it?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Is it just me?

Has anyone ever heard the saying, "Once you pay Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane?" I used that one on my brother and he looked at me as if I'd suddenly sprouted a second head. In case you're wondering, it's (paraphrased) from a Rudyard Kipling poem, the name of which I don't recall. This ignorance kind of ruins my righteousness, I realize. Argh.

Anyway, in olden times it seems that Danish raiders who preyed on England could be bought off...but only for a time. Once they knew you'd pay them to stay their hand, they'd make you pay again and again. Better to resist them, even at the cost of lives, then let them shake you down. I agree with this policy, both in my personal life and in world politics, although I've never personally been attacked by any Danes. Hmm. That lack of experience kind of ruins the relevance I'm attempting to create. Argh again.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

A Little Bit o'Trust

I'm not much into sharing, as is well known, but I've decided in a fit of uncharacteristic chattiness to share a few things about me you may not know. Here goes...

- I used to be quiet and shy, about 40 pounds heavier, with terrible taste in clothes. Everything I wore was too big, too wrong, and too badly coordinated.

- When I was 14 years old I got my orange belt in Tang Soo Do, which was my first-ever athletic activity and my first-ever award. During the test I had to spar a guy more than twice my age, and I put him against the wall so he couldn't do anything but defend. The heady rush of pride at this accomplishment was also first-ever.

- I have an extremely nasty temper when provoked. Fortunately, it takes alot to drive me over the edge, but once it happens I become demanding, uncompromising and harsh, with a knife-sharp tongue.

- The last fistfight I was in happened when I was about eleven. My cousin (whom I considered at the time to be ultra-cool) entrusted me with the coveted honor of guarding his jacket whilst he was smoking, and this kid threw it into a puddle. I was not and am not a fighter, but I distinctly recall putting the blocks to that kid but good. Ouch for him.

- The thought of getting old really frightens me.

Ugh...that last one was as personal as I get.