Thursday, July 26, 2007

Labels and Opinions

NOTE: On a message board that I infrequently visit - someone posed a message that asked us to state our opinions on different subjects without generating debate or response. I can't resist an invitation like that so I had to respond. This board is part of an arts community and is very liberal in it's overall viewpoints so I often refrain from responding so that I don't have to incur the wrath of non- likeminded individuals. Part of the question was whether some of our viewpoints could be labeled conservative when we consider ourselves liberal or visa-versa. Here is my response:

I hate labels. I am a middle of the road person because I see benefits of different viewpoints and ideologies. This doesn't mean that I have trouble deciding where I stand, it's more that sometimes I'm on one side of the fence and sometimes I'm on the other side of the fence. There are too many people associated with either "side" that I would under no circumstance associate myself with. I hold all politicians circumspect. I vote based on who I think is best for the job given the choices and the circumstances. So here is where I stand on some of the political hot buttons and basic philosophy:
  1. I do not believe in the death penalty. First, the people most likely to be subjected to the death penalty are poor and do not have the luxury of paying for high-priced unethical lawyers who will find a way to get them off - (OJ Simpson comes to mind). They are therefore at the mercy of the public legal system. In addition, I don't think as a country that we have the right to say that murder is illegal and then murder someone. Keep them locked up, it's cheaper and prolongs their suffering.
  2. I am pro-choice. A womans body is her body. Abortion is a medical decision that is private. I have one caveat: late term abortion is irresponsible and unless it jeopardizes the life of the mother, should not be performed.
  3. I truly believe in free speech. Which means everyone - not just the people I agree with. This "politically correct" nonsense and the effort to eliminate any theological viewpoint is ridiculous. No one should try to indoctrinate you, or grade you (public school system - including colleges) on whether your viewpoint is the same as theirs. Differing ideas should be explored and freedom of speech should be protected under all circumstances. Many "theories" about human beings that were accepted doctrine have been proven false by those who dared to question their accuracy. This applies to both "sides" of the political system.
  4. I believe that most people are so firmly ensconced in their own beliefs that they will go out of their way to read, watch and associate themselves with people and things that support their perspective. It's natural and human nature but if we are unwilling to be diligent about our own beliefs and how we think then how can we expect the same of others.
  5. I am for the right to bear arms. The whole idea of the type of gun control we try to impose is so ridiculous that it alarms me that there are so many people who believe it will solve our problems. The statistics do not support the band-aid being thrown at the problem. The people who we need to be afraid of, the people who will rob us and kill us are not going to register their guns. They will buy them illegally off the street. They have done studies where they have asked criminals who have committed crimes using guns what they are afraid of the most and the overwhelming reply was they would be afraid of a "victim who was armed."
  6. I think a lot of the scientific theories being thrown around about the environment are exaggerations and sometimes outright lies. It's very easy to believe the headlines but upon further inspection so much of what is used to come up with the headline is just bad science. For instance, DDT could save thousands of lives every year in Africa and is proven to be harmless in the dose that is needed to kill the mosquitos that carry malaria. But since DDT has a bad reputation in America (which is based on a book about how DDT effected the eggs of birds when used in larger doses), the USA won't fund the use of DDT in Africa. We provide nets for beds (which many African children don't even have) and say we are doing something to help.
  7. I believe that anyone is capable of anything at any time given the right circumstances. That people will do things in a group that they would never do if they were alone and that if you want to know the truth about anything all you have to do is follow the money. If there is money to be made, truths will be twisted, the plot will be set and the show will begin. "There's a sucker born every minute," said by George Hull, although is attributed to P.T. Barnum.