Friday, October 7, 2016

Maybe I'm Not A Liberal II

I get my politics from my parents.  They we Democrats, Jewish Democrats, liberal Democrats.  I’ve always thought I was basically a liberal Democrat also.  I still think I am.

But maybe I’m not.  Not that labels are important, but they do describe something.  A general world view, maybe.  How you vote, yes, that’s probably right, at least for party.  But they say that nowadays labels are kind of out of date.  And since I’m one of the highly educated, maybe my nuances make labels even harder.  But being on the left is sort of a birthright to me.  Concern for others, that’s part of what it connotes for me, it’s a basic morality that was handed down.

So, given that, I am totally outraged at the Left, the way someone who has been betrayed feels.  All the lefties who want to restrict free speech, especially on campus.  Can you believe it?  These people are total jerks — or, better to say that their position they hold on this issue is mistaken.  Or, they’re jerks.  Dunno.

And the anti-Semitism!  God, how can you stand that?  It used to the the Right, now it’s the Left.  Maybe I feel the way liberal Republicans, or even moderates talk about that party — I didn’t leave it, they left me.  And the Republican party has indeed been highjacked - not that I could ever be a Republican.  I don’t like smug country club members.  They remind me of my middle school nemesis, Dicky Richards, with red faced and red haired daddy picking him up in a woody station wagon.  We’re talking identity.

In the NYT Dave Leonardt yearns for a Republican Party that actually represents some conservative views, instead of its simplistic partisan stance, often a cover for racism and stupidity.

Here is what he lists as some views they could responsibly reflect:

“…in favor of reducing the role of government in many areas of life and expanding the role of the market.

There are similarly serious arguments in favor of immigration restrictions, abortion restrictions, a more hawkish Syria policy, more competition in education and any number of other conservative positions.”

I looked at these and said, “Wait a minute!”

I am dismayed at the ignorance and ham-handedness of government a lot, and I see a lot to like in a market, if the market is governed properly, and I see a lot wrong with the way regulation works, and the way government works.  I see a lot to dislike in the modern corporation and the corporate-dominated state.

I’ve posted about immigration — I can see virtue in helping people in need, but there is a difference between that and welcoming people who want to keep their own culture and live their life that way when they are here.  If they want to learn English and live as Americans, then they should be able to come.  Otherwise, just take a timeout here until they can go back.  So I say there needs to be a middle ground, where we can be humanitarian but still safeguard American culture, at least to some extent.

Abortion - nah!  I’m for abortion, as necessary, on demand, only restricted when the fetus is viable.

Syria hawkish policy — hell yeah!  I think we should have bombed the Damascus airfield when the Red Line was crossed, and I don’t see “working with Russia.”  Russia is a hellhole.  Politically, how did they ever help the world except for WWII, which was in their own national interest?  Political ideas from Russia?  Anyone?  Culture OK, politics not OK.  And now, true to form, it’s Russian nationalism pure and simple.  Yes, it’s hard to get into Syria and distinguish opposition to an awful regime, war criminals (along with the Russians), from those who would have an Islamist state.  But it would have been good to hobble the regime, and now to establish some safety zones.

More competition in education — absolutely!  Public schools will never change from within, ever, and they are shortchanging everyone.

So, color me shocked by recognition.  I still can’t picture myself as a conservative.  Notice he doesn’t say anything about income distribution, or strengthening equal access to success.  Those are important.

My friend Colleen Kraft, with whom I share a Myers-Briggs classification (ENTP), and with whom I generally agree, says I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative.  My old friend Jonathan Gross, who I think is conservative, says I’m a centrist.  Oh, God.  Maybe that’s just what I am.  That sounds so dorky!  I want to be vibrant, alive, incisive!  I guess a centrist could be that.  I dunno.  I think Snowden did us a big favor and should get a year, maybe, suspended if possible.  Is that Centrist?  I dunno.

I guess you have to wear what fits you.  Sigh!

Budd Shenkin

1 comment:

  1. Socially Liberal and Fiscally Conservative is a description of NC's politics until the last few years. Democrats ruled the state, but it voted "conservative" in national politics.
    I understand you don't like the Republican Country Club set, but it should be just as hard to like the ultra wealthy liberal elitist people.
    And what is with the aggressive Anti-Trump demonstrators? There seemed to be more HRC supporters disrupting Trumpkins rallies than Trumpkin disrupting HRC supporters.
    Although I hope HRC wins, I am concerned her supporters and the Media will not watch her like a hawk! I suspect most of Trump voters are voting against HRC rather than for Trump. I just hope her greed can be reigned a bit!!