Posted by Mycroft Holmes | Filed under Decision Eh
In this election year, I find myself asea. On one hand, I know with a certainty bordering on faith that if the Democrats, especially one of these particular Democrats, gets into the White House, the country will dive head first off the thirty-foot board into a swimming pool filled with excrement, razor blades, and rubbing alcohol. On the other hand, none of the Republicans remaining, now that Fred has abandoned us, seem to be any better on the issues that matter to me.
So I thought maybe if I made a list of my stances, someone might be able to point me to a candidate I can vote for without feeling the need to repent and shower afterward. With that in mind…
Generally speaking, as long as whatever someone else is doing isn’t bothering anyone else, I think they should be left alone. This includes drugs, sex, and suicide, among other things. As long as everyone understands the risks, and does them in ways that don’t hurt anyone, have at it. Of course that’s not an absolute; nothing ever is. And of course it’s more complicated than that. Think of this as more of an ideal.
The second amendment to the US Constitution is an individual right, based on the premise that any government can become corrupt and the people might have to rise up in revolution to overthrow it someday. The “militia” is us.
Embryonic stem cell research is not murder. I don’t know the numbers, but I understand a lot of fertility clinic leftovers get thrown away. If they could all be introduced to the stem cell research industry, I imagine a lot of that research would be a lot farther along than it is today. Besides, why is it wrong to run tests on zygotes, but not wrong to put them in a Ziploc baggie and toss them out? I’m opposed to avoiding concrete scientific inquiry on the basis of moral arguments we can’t even all agree on. Yes, the skin cell->stem cell thing is cool. But are we missing anything by bypassing the source? I don’t know. That’s the point. Contrariwise, if there’s no difference between a skin cell that becomes a stem cell and an embryonic stem cell, then there’s no difference, and the altered skin cell also has a right to life.
I’m not in favor of abortion, but then again, I don’t expect I’ll ever have to decide whether or not to have one. I can, however, think of circumstances where the simple fact of a pregnancy can be detrimental to the health of the mother, even if she’s underage, and especially if she has to tell her parents about it. I’m not advocating it as preferable. I think it should be discouraged in every reasonable way. But after that, if that’s still what she wants to do, that’s her deal.
I already hear the counter-argument: she’s not just affecting herself! What about the life of the baby? There’s a heap fallacy at work here. It is not true that at time T there is no life and then that at some time T+x after sperm and egg meet, life appears. Life doesn’t begin. It continues. Any line we choose to draw as a society will be arbitrary, whether that is at the moment of conception or at birth minus one second, and we will never get everyone to agree on something that makes us all happy. Therefore, let’s compromise on something we all despise equally. For instance: viability. The baby gains human rights the instant it is able to survive as an independent organism, or has independence thrust upon it. That’s roughly 24 weeks and getting younger. And we won’t be fiddling with world records here, either. Let’s say 50% survival rate, corrected for normal infant mortality rates.
I’m in favor of nuclear power, and have been since I heard of the stuff in the 70’s. I’m in favor of ethanol as a replacement fuel for gasoline. If that company that claims they can do it for $1 a gallon from any organic waste isn’t lying or wrong, we should throw money at them as a nation until they perfect it, and let’s get started converting our engines. Oil’s more valuable as plastic anyway. I like solar power, but it’s difficult to imagine having enough surface area to cover all our power needs. Does anyone need Wyoming for anything?
One of the few legitimate reasons for the existence of the federal government is, and I quote, “provide for the common defence.” That means we can’t have people running back and forth over our borders whenever they feel like it carrying who knows what. People who are here illegally are “illegal aliens.” That’s a legal term, not an insult. They have no right to be here. They need to go home, and stay there until we decide to allow them back in. It shoud be remembered that the Mexicans aren’t a displaced indian tribe. They’re Spanish. They are of Spanish (and Portuguese, granted) descent. Their ancestors raped and pillaged at least as much as our did, and I betcha ours felt worse about it afterward. Then they lost the southwest to us in a war. If they want it back, they can start another one.
By the same token, the announced, avowed intent of fundamentalist Islam is to conquer the world by violent means. Right now, their main targets are the United States and the rest of western civilization. They have, and I think this needs to be said more often, declared war on us. Whether we like it or not, we are at war. The war doesn’t stop because we say so, because we aren’t the aggressors. We need to keep fighting until we win. The fact that we have massively superior firepower and the ability to project it anywhere in the world in as little as few hours or days does not make us the bad guy. All it means is that we’re going to win, eventually, unless someone convinces us to stop fighting. The war ends when they give up, not before. I think we should be careful not to hurt or kill innocents in the pursuit of the enemy, but to a certain extent that is inevitable, and we have to accept that.
Global warming: we haven’t been studying the weather long enough as a species to be able to say with any validity that humans are the cause of increased temperatures in the last few years. I’m not sure we’ve been studying it long enough to claim that temperatures are rising in the first place, instead of undergoing normal long-term variation. It’s possible the cycle is longer than the hundred years we’ve been keeping records. It’s possible the sun’s output is varying, as evidenced by warm-ups detected on Mars and Jupiter. And most importantly, the entire issue has become politicized and death-knelled by a man seeking relevance and his willing sycophants for too long for anyone to think rationally about it anymore. We should not be making national policy based on a doomsday boogeyman. That said, some of the things suggested as ways to combat global warming are good ideas anyway, such as recycling, as long as they don’t become mandatory.
National health care: keep the government away from my kidneys! I’m all in favor of every American having full access to medical treatment. I am vehemently opposed to the government having a finger in making my medical decisions. Does anyone remember HMO’s? The way they tended to screw over the people who needed expensive emergency care, forcing doctors to try cheaper, less successful alternatives? Also, does anyone have any idea what happens to any system or program run by the government? It costs more and does less with the money. Actually, that’s not just the government. Any one-size-fits-all system has the same limitation when individual variation is very large: the outliers are ignored or rationalized away. The system can’t account for everyone and be finitely complex at the same time. When dealing with health, economies of scale do not exist. Each case must be handled on its own merits. None of the systems I have heard being proposed will do that better than what we have now. The problem lies less in the fact that people can’t afford insurance than it does in the fact that common medical procedures cost thousands of dollars. That’s probably where more effort needs to be focused. Just, not by the government.
There is a basic, simple lack of sincerity and common decency in the country and the world today. I don’t mean “lack of decency” as in too much porn and drugs and general debauchery. That’s more of a symptom. I mean that people used to give a crap about the other guy. Nowadays it seems that everyone is always looking out only for himself all the time and to hell with anyone in his way. They’re looking for a payday, and if that means being a dick, so much the better. I haven’t mentioned any specific politicians up to this point, but here’s a perfect example: Hillary Clinton. I believe, and I think I’m not alone in this, that she will do or say absolutely anything to get to be the next President, even sleep with her husband. Not because she wants to be a great leader in this time of crisis or due to an overabundant sense of duty. Rather, because it’s the prize. It’s her golden ticket into the history books. It’s the stick with which she will spank the nation into doing things her way. She wants to be Queen, and I think that’s enough reason to keep her as far from the west wing as humanly possible.
But it’s not just her. It’s lawyers who get paid whether they win or not, so they sue as often as they can get away with it. It’s people who use tragedy to promote their personal agendas. It’s dictators who pretend to hold elections to legitimize their rule, and then offer to send observers to monitor our elections. It’s the fact that I can no longer believe independent election monitors are unnecessary in this country. It’s every politician who would rather get reelected than do the best thing for the country. It’s everyone who bases their votes not on what they believe but on who they think will win, just so they can say they voted for the winner, like it’s flippin’ American Idol. It’s everyone who thinks, “What’s in it for me?” before, “What can I do to help?” It’s everyone you meet and hear about every day who make you want to scream, “What the hell is wrong with you people?!”
We used to believe we were better than that. I don’t know what happened, but it needs to stop.
Okay, deep, cleansing breath.
I think that covers the high points. For personal liberty and rational thought, against idiots and criminals. Tell me, oh wise internet, who is my candidate?