Monday, December 05, 2005
Soothing shades of black and white
Ah, to perceive the world in soothing shades of black and white. CB, my fabulously intelligent, ultra-conservative friends knows the rights and wrongs and wherefores of many things, but in my opinion, he misses the major point of conservatism: it is nostalgic for things past. Morals, laws, families. I have ridden that horse in these posts a time or two, so I won't do that now. What I will do is explain as best I can what liberals will fight for.
In a patriotic rush to rid themselves of sundry rights, conservatives give away too much to politicians who are showing themselves to be beholden to nothing but power. When I argue with CB - or any conservative - that those rights will have to be fought for to regain, I mean that literally. Power concedes nothing without equal or greater resistance. As Focus on Families or the Christian Coalition asks that the rights of the citizenry be diminished ala the Patriot Act or the Intelligence Act, we tend to forget that these are not the most trying times in our history. 1919 was a hell of a worse year what with World War 1 and the Great Flu. 1939 and the Depression was no picnic and the early 1940s and World War II, which killed about 50 million people was no lark, either.
Conservatives, in the interest of keeping that foot in the past, are allowing men who crave power to create a new structure that will be even more unassailable. Case in point -- term limits. Who supports them? People out of the beltway. Which is the only group that can be demolish them? Those inside the beltway. And, that is just an example of the obvious powerbrokers. What of the gunrunners? Drug lords? Lobby Kings?
Liberals fight so the fluidity of one of the world's few societies that works fairly well can survive in the future. An oppressive society, and that is definitely where we are headed, is not a good construct for civilization. It will hold awhile, but has to fall because the center of a society is its people -- not the Caesars, Hitlers, Castros, Lincolns or Washingtons.
I want to save people like CB from themselves because, in all of us, there is a voice that says, 'I'm scared.' Using a line from the Jaggerz' hit 'The Rapper,' "I don't know what it is/but I don't wanna see no more."
Liberals will fight to have you look at the world with eyes wide open. Liberals are just as likely to give their lives for a cause, but as George S. Patton said, 'Make those other bastards die for their cause."
| posted by Jae at 6:51 PM |
CB commented at 9:34 PM~
Renegade Eye commented at 8:23 AM~
Liberals often oppose the civilizations right to go to hell, by regulating, smoking, guns, drugs etc. That is from the view of someone who is neither liberal or conservative.
Hillary is sponsoring an anti-flag burning amendment.
CB commented at 9:33 PM~
You had to know I wouldn't leave it there. As smarty saliently, succinctly, admonished, labels are difficult. My self described short hand (thanks Olive)connotes for many an imposing, repressive ethos. The irony is, my desire is to liberate and to remove oppresive influence.
My distrust of politicians is part of why I want to shrink government. The smaller government the government, the less intrusion in our lives, the more liberty we enjoy.
We,like what has been said of America and England, are two countries (ideologies)seperated by a common language. We are more alike, I suspect, than the product of our conversations.
Renegade Eye commented at 9:54 AM~
The New Orleans flood showed what less government means.
The conservative less government manthra, doesn't work in the real world. We need plant inspections, tax collectors, insurance regulators, etc.
A conservative friend of mine, who is very pro Bush, didn't take well to Social Security being messed with.
smartyspark commented at 2:29 PM~
I think that the people that believe strongly in less government also have the tendency to only want less government when it comes to what affects them the most. They seem to want more government interference for those with whom they disagree or are not part of their "group."
I don't know of too many white guys that were racially profiled and stopped after Timothy McVeigh's escapade. If the government started stopping white guys in pickup trucks the nation would come to a stand still.
The government has no business in anyone's bedroom that is occupied by two consenting adults. Marriage is a legal function very often denoted by religous, ceremonial and celebratory events. Why should the government care (or anyone else for that matter) if two men or two women choose to marry. I think that Karl Rove, et al, in their extremely creative thinking, understand what a divisive issue gay marriage is. I don't believe that gay marriage has any negative implications for heterosexual relationships - we manage to screw them up pretty well on our own.
The same is true for abortion. I'm not sure I understand the prolife viewpoint that says taking a life is wrong before birth, but after birth it can be a damn free for all, i.e., bombing abortion clinics, killing doctors, capital punishment and, of course, wars that kill and maim countless innocent women and children. Their platform would be much more palatable if they believed in and protected life at all stages and ages.
One would hope that our elected officials would endeavor to ensure that laws would be beneficial to more people than just their cronies, lobbyists and relatives or the cause du jour.
CB commented at 7:11 AM~
Maybe I am speaking Greek to a Ukrainian audience. New Orleans is evidence of the need for smaller government. Personal responsibility is the trade off for liberty. It is actually more akin to a trade up, than a trade off. It is like buying a Picasso for the price of an out of style,old shoe that you can't find the match to, with a hole in the sole. Personal responsibility leads to better outcomes, better, more fulfilled lives.
If I know that I am responsible for taking care of my family, myself, if I care about my neighbor then I will act accordingly. If I think that I am not responsible for my family, myself and most assuredly not my neighbor, that if I get in trouble, I will be bailed out and the rest are on their own, that leads to poor outcomes and an unhappy, bitter life.
As Thomas Jefferson asserted, it is an unalienable (God given) right to the "pursuit of happiness." He did not claim a God given right to happiness, or to have, we the people, bail you out when you make poor decisions.
Jefferson also wrote about the unalienable to life. Abortion, the taking of innocent life, surely circumvents that God given right. Smarty, you stand that on its head by asking about the occasional abortion clinic bombing (how many clinic bombings, doctor shootings, executions of GUILTY murderers versus the hacking to death of the INNOCENT, DEFENSELESS yet to be born). You talk about wars. My question is, if we sanction the murder of the most innocent and defenseless among us, how then do we value those that remain?
With regard to wars, the preamble speaks of providing for the common defense. It is lamentable when innocent life is taken. We can argue about whether Iraq was a necessary war or not and likely not come to agreement. I believe I can make the unequivocal case that for the majority of Iraqis, life is better and they have, according to recent polling, an optimistic outlook on their future. If you get your news from the alphabet networks, Katie Couric, et al, 70% of whom(again according to polling), believe that things are terrible and getting worse in Iraq (it is clearly reflected in their coverage) I can see how you would conclude bad things and have a bad opinion of the effort.
I get my "news" from the Marines I correspond with and the Special Forces soldiers that return to the area. They tell a different story about how they are received by the people, the work they are doing, the progress that has been made and the optimism and hope that exists among the people. They are getting more and more cooperation from the people to root out insurgent saddamists and bin ladenists, children point out where road side bombs are, people give them gifts, bring them food and on and on.
Given that Iraqis have stained their fingers blue, voted a constitution and will now elect their own representative government, I beleive the report of those I talk with more than Chris Matthews or Katie Couric.
Olive commented at 9:55 AM~
If only ninth-ward residents had been a bit more proactive about monitoring the levys. A neighborhood levy-watch program, perhaps? While they were at it, they could have gotten on those highway construction projects.
And how naïve of them (any of us) to expect our president (George ‘I’ll protect ya’ Bush) to hire a person of competence to fill this centuries most important crisis-management position.
The disasters that unfolded after Katrina hit were not the fault of the poor residents of New Orleans -- they only hurt them more because the space between surviving and not, was already slight for them.
When I look around this coffee shop, I see at least two people who I know are one disaster away from ruin. And they're doing their best to avoid that. I believe that.
Poverty exists in this country. There are steps that we – our Government – can take to help eradicate it (and wrinkling our noses at the poor isn’t one of them). Some are able to crawl out of poverty; others (for lack of education, hope, creativity, ability, opportunity, love) just aren’t. A compassionate culture doesn’t turn its back on its least attractive when their need is the greatest. That’s the point of government, not, as Smarty correctly points out, to keep an eye on my reproductive decisions or my lesbian daughter’s all-too-human quest for love.
CB, how do you feel about those who do believe in God espousing the benefits of taking life to improve it? And how does a single cell zygote get top billing over a fully formed human being living outside of the womb?
I want to understand how you make room for both ideas. This isn’t about the value of life nearly as much as it is about protecting your right to make decisions about my reproductive future. By bringing God into the conversation, you hope to trump my argument.
This is why the whole separation of church and state thing. Nothing ruins a problem-solving session faster than the arrival of the almighty. When you bring God into the conversation, you kill the conversation.
But I’d like to introduce another topic: Does God exists? Hmmm. I'm not so sure.
By invoking, what you think are self-validating concepts (there is a God because the God-Book says there’s a God), you draw a line in the sand.
Here’s the thing. To keep the conversation flowing, I can acknowledge that there might be a creator. But can you acknowledge that there might not be? Because, when the final word on your position comes from what you think God wants, there’s nothing left to reason out.
Olive commented at 10:36 AM~
P.S. I happen to know (because my lesbian, archeologist daughter told me) there are ancient Greek ruins in Ukraine. So, who knows, CB, maybe if we keep digging.... ;-)
CB commented at 11:38 AM~
Smooches Olive - I mean that,
Welcome back to the fray!
Let's deal with God first. The things I spoke of aren't dependent on the existence of God, His authority or whether you or I believe in His existence.
When I speak of life, it is irrelevant to me whether it is in the womb or out of the womb. If we can prosecute a person who sneaks into the nursery of a newborn and eviscerates the child with a knife, how is that different than going into the sanctuary (non-biblically)of the womb? Human life exists first in the womb, a dead life is rejected by the womb (miscarriage). What we are talking about is not a box of tissue, a grapefruit, a farm animal or automobile it is human life.
If you subscribe to the "ability to sustain life on your own" theory, I have heard some discuss, then you would also advocate the removal of life support from car accident victims or surgical patients.
With regard to bedroom behavior, I don't want to know and don't care. If you are talking about marriage and changing the definition to fit your circumstance, then I have a problem. The real issue for those who want to stretch the definition or redefine altogether what marriage means, is not the contract. What they want is acceptance of and validation of their choice by society as a whole. I have seen the arguements about caring for a person in the hospital and healthcare benefits, that may be, and can be addressed outside of a marriage contract. Their visceral, psychic need is for societal validation, which will not happen with judges circumventing existing laws. Courts cannot legislate (something they shouldn't be doing anyway) or rule on the way people feel about things.
Further, you don't hear of gay "marriage" supporters advocating the matrimony of a brother and sister or even of multiple consenting partners or why limit the definition to two consenting adults, that discriminates against the woman who wants to marry a farm animal or tree. The source of the definition is biblical, when you begin to change it, follow it through to its logical conclusion.
As for Katrina and reliance on government, Katrina made my case! Reliance on government is a fools game. It is right to hold government accountable for what it is charged with, but to see a storm coming and know that your city can't handle a mild spring shower (the city streets flood) to then ride it out is lacking personal responsibility. The government did its part. I remember seeing documentaries about how a hurricane would flood New Orleans when Carter was president. The government also came and rescued thousands of residents. But when you wait on the government to rescue you, you get what you get. When is the last time you dealt with the government in a NON-crisis? It will drive you to drink.
By the way, Louisiana and the city of New Orleans has been governed by Democrats for more than 150 years. The levy construction and reinforcement projects were paid for by the federal government but administered by Democrats. The last 3 mayors of New Orleans, Black. Nagan was offered Amtrak service but declined, was begged to evacuate the city, declined, had school busses sitting gassed up, but didn't use them because he said he didn't have qualified drivers. The governor was the person responsible for the National Guard troops, she ordered that water trucks and supply trucks be halted at the border of the city. She and the mayor fueded, she wouldn't take direction from the President because it the mission were "federalized" she would loose control. When the President finally had enough of the foolishness, including an inept FEMA response, he federalized the operation. You have a long way to go before you can begin to blame the President, who took responsibility for the federal response. Contrast what happened there to Mississippi, where more devastation occurred.
The entitlement mentality is the same mentality that makes you lose your instincts to get out of the way when a storm is coming. Unless you are severely mentally or physically incapacitated you don't have to be poor in America. If you can work, you don't have to be poor. Reproductive choices begin with the decision to perform reproductive acts. Before you go down that road, according to planned parenthood and the Center for Disease Control, less than 5% of abortions occur as a result of the health of the mother, rape or incest. Poor choices are rewarded by the government with options.
If you are Black, young, uneducated (not having finished school)and female, you have choices. You can decide to finish school, get a job, get married and then have children. 93% of the young women making that choice will never see poverty, nor will their children. She can make another choice, have sex, get pregnant and have an abortion. Do not pass Go do not collect $200. She can, like her 30 year old mother and 45 year old grandmother have sex, get pregnant and have the child, collect W.I.C. coupons and foodstamps, qualify for AFDC, and subsidized housing and more. She can then have another child with another baby's daddy (who doesn't stick around) and they as a family can wait for the hurricane to come and the federal government to bail them out.
Government programs that incentivize bad behavior are, well bad. The images you saw in New Orleans, as harsh as it may seem, is what I just described. The epidemic of abortions (state sanctioned murder) is out of control particularly among Black women. Money will not solve either problem. I won't go into it here, but I have addressed and will be happy to address again the folly of minimum wage - it causes, creates unemployment. Universal healthcare diminishes quality, endagers lives and creates greater disparity in coverage and outcomes between the haves and have nots, minority and non minority - according to studies done in the UK and Canada. Bigger government is not the solution, it merely costs more and makes things worse.
CB commented at 11:40 AM~
Please understand, I have gay cousins and other relatives, I have no anti-gay lesbian agenda.
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