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Archive: 31 January 2004

Slouching Toward The Middle

As you no doubt already know, I’ve been pondering liberalism and conservativism of late (feel free to tell me when it gets annoying), and the pondering if anything has deepened my uncertainty.  This all might well be an effect of the impending Preseidential election, which I studiously ignored until this month because I refuse to waste time on the process until the calendar year in which the actual election takes place.  That potential Presidents should waste the time, money, and energy to campaign for almost two years is simply ludicrous.

Anyway, one of the sites I drop by to read every now and again is Keith Burgin’s What A Butthole (apologies to anyone whose content filter just tripped an alarm).  Keith’s a conservative and makes no bones about it, and he’s not shy about holding forth.  He’s taken me to task on occasion for things I’ve said here on meyerweb, in fact, and I respect him quite a bit for that.  I may not agree with him, but I’m always glad to hear his point of view.  (I was hoping he’d have some book recommendations for me, but sadly, no soap.)  In a recent post telling Rush Limbaugh where to get off, Keith had this to say:

I have a very strong set of beliefs and a moral code . . .  Conservatism to me, is taking responsibility for your own life and the lives of your family. It’s teaching your children your moral code and being there to set them straight when they stray.

I don’t think of that as being conservative, I think of it as being a mature adult and productive member of society.  I can have and do all that and still consider myself a liberal, as it turns out.  But does that mean that one of us is wrong about what we are?  I’d say no, which I suppose shows my left-leaning tendencies.  Keith also lists five bullet points worth of his views, and as it turns out I agree with just over three of them, although when you break it down I fully agree with two points, half-agree with two more, and hold a related belief on the fifth.

I still don’t feel like I’m a conservative.  I have a strong ethical code, but I do not believe it to be the best code for everyone.  I don’t have a particular desire to return the country back to “the good old days,” largely because there never was such a thing.  I do not think change is inherently bad (how could I, in my line of work?).  Where does all that put me?  This is what I’m trying to figure out, of course, and why I was looking for good books from the conservative side of the bench.  It isn’t as though I’m going to pick a side and then become a party-line parrot.  I’d just like to know where I stand on the spectrum.  Is there a political-belief validator somewhere online?

For those who, like both Keith and myself, think that the federal government could do with less power than it has accrued, here’s an excellent if disturbing piece: Slouching Toward Big Brother.  I might quibble with a detail or two, but certainly not with the overall theme.  One line reminded me of something I said recently, and that apparently struck other people:

Security is a trade-off.

It’s all tradeoffs, really.  But some tradeoffs are far more serious than others.  My choice of font sizing is nothing compared to the choices between liberty and security.

Oh, and speaking of font sizing, check back tomorrow to see the site’s new change of clothes.

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