Because there is an online journal that actually publishes a monthly article about my political opinions I try and keep myself informed. I like to examine both sides of an argument before I write an opinion, and while I fully admit I'm no expert, I do make the effort to make comparisons to history whenever possible before wading into the debate.
Lately however I've found it rather difficult to get two sides of the conversation, my more liberal sources are equitable enough, and internationally conservatives are quite willing to have intelligent conversation, but within the USA every Republican I could once have a respectable conversation with has become a screaming four-year-old.
I feel like whenever I start discussing politics with a Republican they suddenly pull out their bible and say:
"Raise your right hand."
"Do you swear to hate every word, deed, associate, and cause of Barack Obama as long as you both shall live so help you God?"
"Do you pledge to uphold the tenants of the Obama haters and spend your every waking deed counteracting the continual advance towards the Obama-Nation of the United States?"
If my answer is not a resounding "I DO!" then I'm blocked out by a wall of juvenile petulance and insults until I end the conversation. I honestly can't count the number of times a conservative has called me "socialist" in the past three weeks. So in an attempt to get past this retarded meeting ritual of determining my political affiliation I will do my best to explain what I'm about here.
I identify with Libertarianism in that I consider personal freedom to be my true-north. Whenever I come across a political conundrum I consider freedom to be the first concern. Freedom for all people to life, liberty and the pursuit happiness. To have this I believe people need the resources to survive, but beyond that they need the room to pursue greatness without undue exploitation. I believe the best way to achieve this is through decentralized governance.
Breaking that down I mean that we as a society have an obligation to make sure that the least of us can survive and should they so wish have the opportunity to advance their station in life. That means providing a bit of food and shelter for the homeless, but beyond that the government's obligation ends. Individuals and private organizations need to take over from there.
I believe that information needs to be available as it possibly can and that people should be able to say what they want to say, love who they want to love and hate who they want to hate as long as they do not impede another's ability to do the same. As far as freedom of information goes, people should of course be able to get compensated for information they have if it has significant value.
Exploitation is a core element of life, however when the conditions exist to the point where a human being is being exploited to the point of being unable to pursue greatness - whether capitalist, socialist, religious, or criminal in nature - those conditions need to be remedied.
By decentralized governance I mean this: Power divided among many. Government. Church. Corporation. Citizens. All separate and individual acting as checks and balances to ensure that one does not get undue influence over another while acting in their own self-interest. Overlap is inevitable, and so is conflict, but these are necessary to maintain the most freedom for everyone. Decentralized governance also means governance over smaller geographic areas, and smaller niches within aspects of culture, capitalism, and church. Smaller niches means more choice and more choice is more freedom.
To apply this to more current issues I believe that public schools should not have any policies or curriculum influenced by religion. If parents want religion integrated into their children's education they can pay for private schooling which should be able to teach whatever it likes as long as basic educational standards are met. However if an individual, state, or municipality wants to fund religiously influenced programs on their own then they should be able to; and again private citizens should be allowed to pay for private schooling that does otherwise.
I believe that the "bail-out plans" being instituted by nearly every government across the globe are what the people are demanding. If you're not one of those people then I'm sure you have a reason but the fact is that these governments were responding to pressure from the people pass these budgets. In America, George W. Bush was responding to that pressure when he urged congress to be swift in bringing this money to bear, and when Obama took over he did exactly the same. Beyond that I'm neither for these budgets or against them because I honestly have no idea how effective they will be at what. Instead I look at how these governments use this money with a keen eye on the long-term. These bail outs are effectively giving governments a fairly free reign to spend a lot of money however they want and as long as their spending is justified as "economic stimulus" it will probably not be questioned. I watch out for that.
I believe that America's standing in the international community depends largely on how effectively it can use it's military and I do not believe that giving more power and influence to the UN military is wise (remember the decentralized thing). Having said that, I see that America's military is overextended in it's obligations and unless it lightens those obligations it will not be able to maintain it's station within the global theatre. If America does not have it's military ready to aid it's allies and deploy against it's enemies if needed then countries will not listen to US Diplomats, and if that occurs other nations with their own motives will fill the power vacuum. I'm not one to say whether or not this is good or bad, with George Bush at the helm less US influence was probably better, now that's debatable. However in the United States own self-interest losing it's international influence is not a good thing, so for the time being it would be wise to avoid any new military entanglements. This means being careful not to overly antagonize Russia, North Korea or Iran which all have the military strength to pull the USA into a long battle it can ill-afford.
Finally if Freedom is my north star, than the United States Constitution is my map. In my experience deferring to it rarely steered any government wrong, and when deviated from trouble occurs. Undermining the Constitution has not - in my experience - ever been good, and so I try to consider that first and foremost before I voice an opinion. It was penned by men I consider very wise and in my experience it creates the most ideal conditions for freedom that I know.
I hope that summarizes my political stance. If that makes me a liberal cream-puff, a pinko-socialist, a war-monger, an Obama-lover or even a Libertarian… I'll leave that for you to decide.
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