Archive for September, 2004

Things I’m trying to figure out

September 7, 2004 1 comment

How did the ability to compromise and work with others become a bad thing? We call it “flip-flopping” now. But if we ever expect to put a serious dent in terrorism, we’re going to need all the cooperation from our allies that we can get. Telling them “My way or the highway” won’t work.

How did the inability to ever change your mind become a good thing? In other words, how did pig-headedness become a virtue? Are we so addicted to tough-sounding language that we can’t see more than one angle on anything?

How did the word “Liberal” become a bad thing? It means; “to be tolerant or open-minded, to favour freedom over control” which is generally a good thing. Somehow it also came to include; “Regulate the hell out of business so it can’t do what it does best, which is provide goods and services while generating wealth for its owners and a higher standard of living for its employees and customers.”

And how did “Conservative” come to mean “nut-job?” It means; “Opposition to rapid change” which is generally a good thing. It has come to include; “Oppress individual rights wherever possible, from taking pictures of public landmarks to personal life choices that are nobody else’s business but your own.”

(Neither side is particularly tolerant of differing opinions, by the way.)

Can’t we learn to counter offensive speech with corrective speech? Instead of lawsuits or felony charges. It’s speech! Item number 1 in the constitution, remember?

While we’re on the first amendment, how did the separation of church and state come to mean that an individual teacher can’t keep a bible on her desk, or talk about her faith? Isn’t she an American? Doesn’t she have the right to practice her faith?

While we’re at it, what the hell is wrong with France, banning Muslim head-scarves in public buildings? Are they just trying to piss off the entire Muslim world for absolutely no good reason?

The Ten Commandments don’t even start on interpersonal morality until the fifth one. One through four are all God being insecure about himself. If tax dollars are spent to display them, how is that not an establishment of religion?

How did the right to own firearms, which is listed second in the constitution, become more important than free speech, which is listed first? Do we really think carrying a pistol will protect us from a real tyrant? (Hint: most families in Iraq were armed.)

I have to have a license to drive, my car needs a license, and I am required to carry automobile insurance. Why am I not required to do these things for any guns I might hypothetically own?

How did honest citizens who want to carry a pistol get to be seen as a threat? They’re not the ones we should be worried about. Do liberals really believe criminals wouldn’t think twice if there were a realistic chance their victims might be armed?

While we’re at it, why are laws on self-defense so tangled? It should be simple: “What happens to you while committing a crime is your own damn fault.”

I’m not really expecting answers to the questions above – ideologues have pat responses to all of them. These questions are just examples to demonstrate that digging ideological trenches puts us all in the position of ignoring legitimate opposing concerns. That’s the very definition of extremism, and it leads to bad policy.

My real question is: Why can’t we do better than the bitter divide we’re in right now? Is it because we’re afraid to compromise? Isn’t doctrinal rigidity the path to tyranny, no matter who wins?

  ΒΆ 8:20 PM
>>Isn’t doctrinal rigidity the path to tyranny, no matter who wins?<<

More importantly, does anyone really win in this situation?

I do not believe the majority of America is a polarized as the two parties. I would love to see a true third party emerge from this polarization… not nader and his nutjobs but a moderate party—somewhere between the demogoguery on both sides.

Alas, it will never happen.. if there is one thing both parties agree on is a two party only system :(


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