Wednesday, January 31, 2007

So what am I?

Am I a liberal? Am I a conservative? I've been trying to identify my own political leanings for the last few years, with little success. I'm a Texas Democrat, which means I probably do not fit the classical definition of a big-L Liberal (as the term has been used in the US over the 20th century). However, I'm extremely likely to vote Democrat in state and national elections.

But what am I? In a combined effort to puzzle this out and justify this stupid blog account, I'm doing this exercise in public. Maybe the two or three people out there who actually read this thing can help.

Here are my positions on various matters, in no particular order:


  • I believe that the power of the federal government can and should be used to improve the health and welfare of American citizens;

    • However, not all problems are solvable with a government program -- we should pay attention to what worked and what didn't work with the Great Society;

  • I believe the free market is a wonderful thing in general, but that some degree of regulation and government involvement is necessary -- the market rewards success, not good behavior (see Enron);
  • I believe that if you're going to increase spending, you should damn well generate the revenue to cover it -- better to tax and spend than spend your way into bankruptcy;

    • Which brings us to the Grover Norquists of the world -- if you really want to starve the beast into bankruptcy, think about the effect on the world economy if the US suddenly defaulted on all its loans;

  • I have no illusions that Social Security, as we understand it, is going to survive the next couple of decades (which is just peachy, as that's when I'll be retiring);

    • However, I don't know what a suitable replacement would be -- I don't want to rely on the stock market for my retirement;

  • I believe that the United States should not intervene militarily in any conflicts that do not directly affect the security of American citizens or interests unless we are specifically asked to do so (note that this means I do not believe we should intervene in Darfur, much as I would like to see that situation end);

    • I believe that the absolute worst way to spread democracy is at the point of a gun;
    • It is time that the US realized that it is part of an international community -- we don't have to do what the UN says, but we should realize that the same time that nobody has to do what we say, either;

  • I believe that the War on Drugs has largely been a failure, and that it's time to create reasonable drug policies based on medical and scientific research, rather than mindless hysteria;

    • To wit, we should go ahead and decriminalize minor drugs like marijuana;
    • Do away with mandatory drug sentencing, and trust the judges to do their job;
    • Go back to treating drug use and addiction as a public health problem as much as a law enforcement problem;

  • I believe that abortion should be kept legal, but that it should be avoided by all means possible, meaning:

    • Providing comprehensive, objective sex education programs, that

      • Promote abstinence first;
      • Do not stop there, and instead describe all forms of birth control and disease prevention, including condoms, the pill, etc;
      • Do not bow to pressure from various groups -- if we're serious on cutting down on teen pregnancy and STDs, then education is the best way to do that, unless you want to segregate boys and girls from the time they're 13 until they get married;


  • I am an environmentalist to the degree that I believe that clean air and water are vital, irreplaceable resources, and that it's in our interests to preserve them at all costs;


There are more, but I've already spent three days on this stupid post, after a month of non-activity, so I'm going to put it up as is. I may come back and add to it in the future.

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