Wings, Feet, Beak, Middle of the Bird

It occurred to me that, as Warmers often want to accuse me of being “right wing”, and as I am “Right Wing Friendly”, maybe I ought to clarify my actual biases.

First off, it needs to be pointed out that I’m also “Left Wing Friendly”. No, honest!

While I reject Socialism in all its forms as the “better solution”, I’m fairly well schooled in them and don’t mind thinking about them at all. As I’ve often said, I can likely make the best intellectual case for a Lange Type Socialism. In large part, though, the present environment of “who is in charge” and “what they are cramming down our collective throats” causes me to be “in opposition”. That isn’t bias on my part, it is an artifact of the times. When Baby Bush was in power, I was quite distraught over the destruction of our liberties and such.

So the basic thing to realize about me is simply that I’m an “Analytical – Amiable”. I’m most focused just on ‘solving the problem’; whatever it is, regardless of where it leads, do I like it or not. Just a monkey turning the analysis crank. Yet an Amiable and just like pretty much everyone unless they try to hurt me. That, it turns out, matters. The Warmistas seem dominated by angry hateful people who’s first instinct is to hurt folks and go for personal attacks. That’s a Bad Idea when applied to me. (To anyone, actually, but especially for me). So I end up pushed out of their box, by their hand, not mine.

So that’s why I’m “Left Wing Friendly”, because I’m pretty much “everyone friendly until threatened”.

My Left Wing Preferences

I typically call myself a Libertarian or an Independent. Yet there are some “Liberal” / “Progressive” / “Left Wing” positions that I happily embrace. I don’t talk about them much. Mostly because I don’t think I’m all that interesting. “It’s not about ME.” is a typical POV for me. (Though in this case, this article IS about me.) So lets look at a few of my biases and preferences. (Realize that if you are a hard core Right Wing on this, I’m not assaulting your choice. In fact, I embrace your desire to choose it. Free Will and Liberty and all that.)

1) Women’s Issues:

I’m a man, so I can have no valid opinion on what women want. It’s up to them, not me. I’m entirely irrelevant to women choosing for themselves what they want. So on most of these points, while I might have an opinion, I value it at ‘irrelevant’.

Abortion: Women ought to choose, each as they prefer. The “involved” male ought to have about as much involvement in the abortion decision as in the relative time involved in the pregnancy. So figure one minute. I make that about enough time to be informed after the fact…

Contraception: Women ought to choose, each as they prefer. Not my place to be involved. (Though the spouse ought to tell me if she decides to suddenly stop ;-)

Equal Pay for Equal Work: I’m 100% for it. THE largest raise I ever gave was to a woman. 37%. We got her out of college at new hire rates. She was spectacular. At the end of the first year her work matched that of male counterparts (with about a decade more experience), so I argued with HR and got them to ‘give in’. (Oddly, got to play the ‘equal pay for equal work’ card on the FEMALE HR rep ;-) That said, the statistic that “women are only paid 70% on the dollar” or whatever is largely bogus. No such statistic exists in real data. Frankly, I don’t think it CAN be created. Not enough data. It’s a made up number from a silly source.

Rank: I’ve reported to Evil Bastards, to a variety of male bosses, and to a female V.P. at a tech startup. (A couple of them, actually). I found working for the women more comfortable, generally. The one who had gotten here from Red China (as it was called at the time) was a bit odd as she was way political, but still easy to work with. I’ve served on a substantially all female board of directors as one of the ‘token men’. At a very ‘left leaning’ organization. One devoted to the Womens Agenda. I’ve been on T.V. with the director of that group speaking in advocacy for it. (She being, obviously, a she…) I like women in positions of power. They generally, IMHO, handle it better than men. Partly that may just be that, as a ‘geek’, I’m not into the typical “macho bullshit” behaviours and that can set off the “bully the wimp” attitudes in some guys (the less bright, generally, but some in positions of power too. It happens.)

2) Drugs:

I think they all ought to be legalized. What business is it of anyone else if I want to play with my brain?

I’ve tried M.J. and I DID inhale. Were it not for the tendency to move my otherwise quite good memory closer to ‘normal’ and so I forget things, I’d likely use it on a regular basis. But since I am highly dependent on ‘highly precise memory’, I notice the degradation way too much to find it an acceptable price to pay. So somewhere around 40? years ago decided it was not for me. But don’t worry, I can still hand roll a dooby pretty well and I’m happy to sit in the corner at a party ‘rolling’ for others to enjoy. Might even get a bit of ‘contact high’, but don’t expect me to take a big toke as I’m not willing to be stupid and forgetful for a week… damn it. And this after I’d invented a great way to move the “magic stuff” anywhere you wanted it. If you ever run into folks using “acetone extraction”, I developed it and ‘told a lot of folks’. Easy to do. Just ‘wash and evaporate’ and you, too, can make “magic anything”. (Be careful with sparks. Acetone is highly flammable…)

Coke is interesting, but it, too, has too much ‘cost’. Not just dollar cost. The ‘adaptation’ rate is fairly fast, then you get angry and grumpy without it. Partly, too, I think I’m less sensitive to it. I can get a more pleasant buzz and more ‘kick’ from a double espresso and Scotch. ( Which I dearly love ;-) Very similar effect for me, too. A ‘very happy high energy buzz’. But without the ‘grumpy rebound’ and without the legal issues and without the $$$ cost and without… Hey, I lived with a Jazz Musician for a while… if you DIDN’T join in, folks looked at you strange and felt out of place… it was just being ‘sociable’. Later I learned to ‘find something I had to do’ for a few minutes at the right time and I’d just sneak off to the ‘back room’ like I had a private stash or something… that was really putting some Scotch in my coffee ;-) But if you are having a party and need someone who knows how to ‘cut a line’ hey, happy to do it. Do like to wipe a bit on the gums though ;-)

Mushrooms? Tried them once. Very mild visuals, but they cause some gastrointestinal rumbly and, er, um, “smelly farts” that I found disturbing. I’d love a mild hallucinogenic that didn’t have those kinds of side effects, but have not cared enough to look for one. Basically, I’m a ‘curious dabbler’ more than a ‘regular interest’ sort. Never had the courage to try the hard core synthetics, though. (LSD, DMT, etc.) Guess I have my limits ;-) Tried growing them once (mostly as a protest against them being illegal as I was already not interested in consumption – but thought maybe I could make an extract minus the problem bits). It didn’t work well. I suspect the spores I bought were dead, but my ‘technique’ with spawn was likely deficient too. Still have the book on ‘how to do it’ and some day would like to succeed (though mostly just as a matter of pride. Heck, I’d be happy just to get Shiitake to grow.)

Never did injectables. I’ve had them from medical procedures and find them generally nice. The oral form is just as pleasant, to me, though. I’ve had a fair load of codeine and similar from various surgeries and such. Nice stuff. Like a vicodin nembutal mix (had it for ear surgery) and valium is nice. Never cared enough to do them ‘recreationally’ but don’t see why other folks ought not be allowed.

So the point here? I think the entire “war on drugs” is not only completely stupid, a horrific waste of time and money, and a horrible intrusion on individual liberties; but I’ve lived ‘up close and personal’ with a drug using culture (from college years in the ’70s up until about 2000 when my major link to ‘that group’ died of cancer – likely from exposure to petrochemicals in a gas station his dad owned…) and can tell you first hand: the war on drugs does not work. (Oddly, the ONE thing that I do feel strongly about is “doing stupid things that don’t work”. Really can’t stand doing broken things that don’t work. Efficiency and efficacy matter…)

3) Animal Rights:

“Intelligent life in the universe is numerous. I vow to protect them.” That was one of the mantras at a local Buddhist Temple I’ve attended. I have “talked with my bunnies”. (They have a limited, but interesting language). I could not eat one (unless it was a choice of death, or not… but even then might not be able…) It isn’t a matter of capacity. I was trained to ‘dress’ rabbits at about 6 years old and have the skill. It’s just wrong to eat your friends. My family is about 1/2 vegetarian. I’m not one of them, but rarely eat ‘red meat’. I do eat pork (despite them being relatively smart. They can also be rather mean… somehow I don’t mind eating ‘intelligent life’ that is mean to me. Warmer Trolls ought to remember that… I’d have an easier time cooking one of them than a bunny…) Chickens are dumb and mean, so we have lots of chicken ;-)

I don’t care if YOU want to eat cows, rabbits, whatever. You have the right to be insensitive and uncaring… but I might explain to you the personality and complexity of rabbit society… and the remarkable parallels to humans.

Primates, IMHO, ought to be granted the same rights as humans of similar I.Q.

4) Race Equality:

If I think Chimps and Gorillas ought to have “human rights”, do you really think I’d be for differentials inside the human community?

I had a hard crush on a Chinese girl in high school. She was my date at the 10 year reunion. One of my nieces married a Hispanic guy and I spent about 1/2 my time from 4 years old to college at my closest friends home where most things were in Spanish. (He spent about as much time at my home, so learned to drink tea with his pinky out ;-) My “motorcycle buddy” was as black as the ace of spades and one of my kids is dating a person of mixed African ancestry.

Do I think “the races are equal”? Not at all. Equal in rights, yes. But very different in details. Blacks have longer legs (that I really admire in CatWoman movies ;-) and sprint better. Whites have shorter legs, but more lungs, so do better at long distance running and swimming. Asians have a flexibility and speed that’s startling. But I glory in our differences. Some tall, some short, some fat, some thin, some white, black, brown or even pink. What would Santa be like if a skinny guy? Could “Satchmo” have been as impressive as a pasty white guy? I don’t think so. So I embrace “Aunt Jemima” as a success in her own right (and would be happy and comfortable having pancakes in her kitchen) just as I embrace Mohamed Ali as likely the worlds greatest boxer (but would be more comfortable with George Foreman at the grill… he smiles more ;-) I would not expect a 120 lb Asian to be as interesting in the ring as either of them, but was quite happy with my dentist’s skill level at taking care of a wisdom tooth. (Don’t know if he was Japanese or Chinese… I was a bit drugged and don’t remember ;-) I’d not have been ‘thrilled’ at George Foreman removing the same tooth, though I have no doubt he could have… just doubt that he could have left the others in place ;-)

In short: I don’t endorse or embrace any form of “special treatment” by race, but also don’t find any reason to not enjoy all our differences. I spent a night in a Navajo owned hotel in the middle of nowhere Arizona (at the far end of the Grand Canyon. If you can, drive out to where the bridge crosses the far end. The hotel just over the bridge on the north side.) My strongest desire was to find a way to spend a month living with them, there. The “centeredness” just oozed from them, and from the place. The connection to the land that I could never have. Couldn’t act on it though. But I’d still like to find a way to experience the culture for a longer period of time. It is our differences and special uniquenesses we all ought to be enjoying. I can’t jump worth a damn. White Mans Disease. Basketball with a mandated ‘short fat white guy’ component would be ‘no fun’…

So, in short, while I don’t see any way for government mandated ‘preference’ to work; I also love our diversity and revel in it. My expectation on ‘race mixing’ is just that, like ALL other species, ‘hybrid vigor’ will be (has been?) the result. I’ve encouraged my kids to just ‘be happy’ but if they can, be a bit ‘diverse’ in their experimentation too…

5) Environment:

Left to their own devices, companies will pollute and destroy the commons. Just a historical fact. We need to prevent that with viable and valid regulation.

Left to OUR own devices, we will consume and destroy the open spaces and commons. Just a historical fact. We need to prevent that and set aside some lands that are forbidden from human consumption. I’d personally advocate for about 1/2 the planet surface. We can do that without too much difficulty. Even 20% would be better than what we do now. (I don’t think they ought to be all ‘managed’. Part of the essence of nature is NOT being managed… we have a tendency to ‘love to death’ our wild places with too much ‘management’…)

The present GMO push is a hideous assault on the gene pool. It will end badly. (Already has, really. Corn genetics are already polluted in the source pool in Mexico and we’ve got several classes of “super weeds” showing up all over. Bt corn likely damaging bee colonies and perhaps screwing up US too, along with making super bugs…)

At one time, 20? years ago, I was a member of Friends Of The Earth and contributed to Greenpeace. I don’t any more, mostly due to them straying from their original focus. That, and the political BS is just too high these days.

6) Economics:

I am dead set against Socialism, but NOT because I do not agree with the goals. I’ve studied it, and generally agree with many of the DESIRES. Education for all. More equal access to capital. Limitation of privilege. Common humanity demands access to medical care for all. (Heck, I’d extend it to my animal friends, too, given my desires).

So why don’t I embrace it? ONLY because humans are prone to a particular pattern of failure that is (so far) inevitable. Greedy power hungry folks parasitise government and turn it to their self interests. We are seeing that now in the UN and in the EU. Basically, it is antithetical to human freedom and liberty and “ends badly”. It fails to achieve it’s stated goals.

For some reason, recognizing that historical failure and being willing to hold my wishes in check due to ‘reality constraints’ causes True Socialists to want to jump all over me and call me ‘right wing’. They just can’t accept that “I want what they want”; but just realize their method is doomed to failure.

I’m no fan of Capitalism. It causes some folks to become obscenely wealthy and have disproportionate power (despite often not being all that smart, and often due to being an Evil Bastard with poor morality). Yet it works. The simple reality is that it has done more to improve the life of more folks, and their liberty, than any other system.

So I’m a “reluctant capitalist” and remain open to a ‘better way’ (but only once it is DEMONSTRATED to work and be stable more than one generation in some little test country somewhere… which sadly means I can never live in it…)

Sometimes there is no satisfactory solution.

7) “Progressive” Taxes:

My favorite “thought experiment” tax is a very simple system. Tax rate is set at 20% of “all income above the mean”. In this way, by definition, the 1/2 of the population that is not winning pays nothing to play the game they are losing. The 1/2 that are winning fund the game. The risk is that the 1/2 that get ‘stuff for nothing’ will vote for themselves more stuff. So it will only work where the rate can not be raised EVER or where the max ‘tax’ is limited (say, to 10% of GDP).

Unfortunately, since politicians have shown they can’t bear to leave tax rates alone, and the population has shown they can’t stand to not be bribed by free stuff and class envy, nor see the fairness of the system; this desired tax system won’t work in the real world. But it’s what I’d like to have. If it could be safeguarded from change.

8) Sex:

Anything you want, with anyone who is a ‘consenting adult’. I’d lobby for making the age of consent 16 (or even 14 for those under 18… basically a ‘teens with teens’ rule. Or maybe a ‘no more than 4 years difference’ rule until 21?) One, two, three, dozens. I don’t care. Not my problem. Not somewhere the government ought to be involved.

9) History:

The Progressive Era did many great things. Really they did. We were so far ‘around the bend’ into “free market capitalism” and had Robber Barrons pretty much with free run of the place. There was a real need for some ‘countervailing force’. So at that time, having Unions able to bring them to the table to get things like a work environment that didn’t put you are risk of death rather than spend 10 cents on safety, or work hours less than ‘all waking time’, and abuses like The Company Store priced to insured indentured servitude by other names; all good things.

Similarly, having universal suffrage was likely the right thing to do (even if I’ve had my doubts after the last election ;-)

Anti-trust laws and the trust busting was needed. If you don’t do it, you enter ‘fattest wallet wins’ land, and end up with ONE person who owns everything and sets all the rules. It’s just a matter of time and effort.

The only problem, really, was that ‘all things in moderation’ was forgotten. They headed off into ‘income redistribution’ and ‘big government’ and ‘third way central planning’ land. Turned “education for all” into “indoctrination for all”. But along the way, we did pass through a wonderful era of increasing education and enlightenment. Just didn’t stop the process at the middle balance point…

My Right Wing Biases

I’ll make this a shorter list.

1) Guns:

I’m a hard core 2nd Amendment guy. “Countervailing power” to tyrants and all. Don’t particularly like the idea of everyone waking around “packing”, but the simple fact is that we didn’t have as many things like mass school shootings when folks COULD pack. (In my home town, there were guns behind just about every door. Heck, you had ‘shooting teams’ that competed at some schools. Never heard of a ‘school mass shooting’ then …)

So this, too, falls a bit into the “it works” bias. “An armed society is a polite society” is true. While it might make you queasy to walk down a street full of folks with a gun or sword on their belt, it has two good effects. First off, you likely would avoid going to places with real risk. Second, WHEN a ‘bad thing’ starts, it rapidly ends. So they start much more rarely. You just don’t get a lot of ‘shooting in anger’ at police stations and gun ranges. Like it or not.

Besides, it’s really fun to shoot tin cans ;-)

2) Religion:

Folks ought to be free to practice what they want that doesn’t hurt others. Generally, it’s a positive force in civilization. I have a preference for the Buddhist and Judeo-Christian forms, but Hindu has some merit. I’ve looked at Sikhism and find it well thought out, moral, and I’d be very attracted to it if I didn’t have to learn Yet Another Language. Islam “has issues” with intolerance of others and violence toward outsiders and women. As that ‘hurts others’, sorry, just can’t embrace that. But if you want it in your own country, go right ahead. Generally helpful for some folks, so I’m not strongly against it; just worried about the ‘hard’ forms of it. New Age isn’t quite so high on my list of ‘good ideas’… and much of it ‘has issues’ too. Oddly, having looked in some depth at Druidism, modulo the human sacrifice, it wasn’t all that crazy. Ditto the ancient pantheon of Rome, Greece, and Egypt.

Atheists, I understand. Really I do. The problem is that it slowly decays into moral relativism and leads to a whole host of bad outcomes. Were it more ‘long term helpful’, I would be more positive toward it.

Why is this ‘right wing’? Well, really it isn’t. But embracing the stereotype of ‘right wing’, I’m not 100% equally tolerant of everything, so that must be a ‘right wing bias’ ;-)

3) Marriage:

Sorry, it’s 1 man and 1 woman. Get over it. ( I could be talked into ‘more than one’ spouse provide all parties agree to it and none are under 18 or 21 ish.)

That said, I’ve got NO problem at all with folks wanting a ‘civil union’ of any collection of folks they care to assemble. Just don’t call it a ‘marriage’. I’ve been in some ‘complicated’ relationships (some involving more than 2 parties). I’ve got no problem with “Two Moms” or “Bob and David” being a ‘couple’. Hey, I’ve slow danced with a gay guy, ok? So yes, “Bob and Dave” ought to have the same ability to visit in hospitals, have a ‘civil union’ and share benefits.

Where’s the problem with Marriage? Traditional religious marriage is a ‘three way’. Man, Woman, and God. As several rather important religions follow the Bible and it specifically says ‘homosexuality is a sin’, kind of hard to have a ‘sin’ in ‘holy matrimony’ with God… So just call it a ‘civil union’, have your ceremony, fill out the ‘civil union’ license and go on your honeymoon. No problem. I’ll even give you a present, throw rice, and dance with whomever is designated the ‘bride’… Just don’t force other folks to have their holy ritual broken.

4) Liberty.

Leave me the hell alone. Don’t take my stuff. Don’t have the government do it for you. Don’t draft me, or my kids, nor spy on me. Have the police knock politely on the door, with a search warrant (paper, physically signed by a judge). None of this ‘no-knock’ and ‘warrentless searches’ or ‘self issued searches’. Besides, you might catch me while I’m ‘cleaning my guns’ and catch a bullet before I know you are police.

You ought to be able to say anything you want.
Me too.
Even “hate speech” (that’s an oxymoron, IMHO). The counter to ‘bad speech’ is more speech. Freedom of speech MUST exist for speech you find reprehensible. Otherwise it isn’t really freedom of speech, now is it? (As I learned that from Noam Chomsky, I’m not really sure if it is ‘right wing’ or ‘libertarian’, but as ‘the left’ is pushing for ‘hate speech’ prohibitions for things they don’t like, and vilified Noam for it, I think it belongs here ‘on the right’.)

I ought to be able to make my own booze, grow my own pot, heck, even add a room on my own home; without government involvement or ‘permits’. Heck, I remember a time when you could own your own cannon and make your own bombs and it was legal. (One farmer friend has a great story of using dynamite to blow up an old concrete cistern on the farm… it involves having it slip out of the hand at an inopportune moment. Don’t worry, he tossed it into the hole in time. They liked to ‘launch stumps’ too ;-)

(Personally, I don’t really see that as ‘right wing’, more libertarian, but as ‘left wing’ tends to mean ‘collective’ and is strongly associated with police states in history – Stalin and the National Socialists – I figure it belongs here).

I’d even go so far as to abolish drivers licenses and license plates / registration on cars. We didn’t always have them and things don’t seem better for the DMV doing what it does.

5) Unions and Professional Licensing.

It’s just a scam. Having a choice of ‘certified’ as in CPA vs ‘bookkeeper’ works just as well. Having Union Bosses taking my money to buy political favor only helps the bosses and the politicians. No problem if YOU want to have a union, just don’t make a ‘closed shop’ where I have to join the union to get a job. And if I want ‘Old Mable’ down the street to cut my hair, don’t see the need for a ‘beauticians license’ or union card. Reputation and malpractice law works better.

6) Government:

The less of it the better. Under 10% of GDP TOTAL would be best, IMHO. It was that way once, and things were better then. As Republicans have also become “Big Government Loons”, this is likely more a Libertarian than a ‘right wing’ position. But compared to the Democrats, it’s ‘right wing’.

In Conclusion

I’ve likely left a few things off. Frankly, I don’t remember what all are “right wing” and “left wing”. I long ago decided I was just “middle of the bird” and had things that worked, and things that didn’t. One that clearly doesn’t work is ‘Big Government’ of any form. Having more ‘Central Planning’ is worse, though.

Generally I fall into the “Social Liberal / Fiscal Conservative” camp, but with a strong emphasis on personal liberty and small (microscopic) government. Mostly I just want to be left alone and to leave everyone else alone.

I like all sorts of people and don’t ‘put them in boxes’ very much. I’ve had a ‘crush’ on a pretty woman from just about any race or mix of races you can think of. Never saw the reason to not like any of them. I’ve had close friends from all sorts of races and cultures. People are far more alike than different. I’ve had “white christians” that I’ve despised (as they were mean SOBs) Mostly I just like nice folks and don’t like mean folks. Everything else comes second on the list. (though some groups have shown themselves predominantly mean, and I think it’s quite OK to “learn and generalize”.)

I like to ‘experiment’ and think others ought to be free to try that too. “This life is not a dress rehearsal. Take BIG bites!” is one of my favorite mantras. So I learned that a guy’s skin doesn’t please me like a gals does. Fine. I also learned that ‘stubble’ is icky, so shave more when expecting a ‘date’ with the Mrs… so it wasn’t all wasted. It’s my body, and my life, so not your problem.

But above all else, I’m tolerant of other folks being at liberty too. As long as it does no harm to others, I really don’t care what you do. I’d not care about ‘gay marriage’ but for the way it hurts the religious (who invented the whole thing anyway, so have some kind of ownership rights). I’d be peachy with Islam, were it not prone to violence and subversion. Even with that, I’ve got no problem with individual Muslims. Pretty much every one I’ve met has been an ok person. (Though there’s plenty of evidence on the nightly news for the other kinds…) IMHO, the only legitimate role of ‘government force’ is to prevent willful harm of one group by another. That includes poor folks taking rich folks stuff via taxation…

“Live and let live” works for me. I just wish it did for those in power and those voting…

So does that make me “left wing”? Or “right wing”? Or “Middle of the bird”? Or just a mess?

I don’t know.

Just know I’ve never felt good about telling other folks how to live their lives (though willing to offer advice if asked, about what is known to work well) and ask the same courtesy in return. Sadly, that seems less and less available…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Human Interest, Religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Wings, Feet, Beak, Middle of the Bird

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith: I you are right wing as well as left wing, does this mean you are the whole bird? ;-) pg

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    Maybe a rattle snake,”Don’t tread on me”. Wings not permitted! pg

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    I like to think of it as “heart of the Eagle”, then again, the claws and beak are on that line too…

  4. BobN says:

    Your personal Philosophy is worthy of burn offerings!

  5. hillrj says:

    EM. you sound really sane. How about another idea… Universal suffrage is not a good idea. Esp for young people. It is now accepted that human brain not fully developed until 25 or so. Thought experiment goes like this… Society exists in the future only if children are cherished. Therefore only people committed to future generations should vote. The only group committed to future generations are grandmothers. Men are out by definition. Mothers are out, because maybe too young and distracted. Leaves grandmothers as only logical participants in elections. I think this is biological also. My brother-in-law said that he had never seen my sister so happy as on the day her eldest daughter delivered her first grandchild. In fact, the rolls should be restricted to grandmothers who have daughters.

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    @hillrj; Voting age of 21 – 25 sounds fine to me but the grandmother thing I don’t see. I don’t remember grandmothers as having better wisdom then anyone else. Actually very few people have any real wisdom before they reach 30 years of experience. pg

  7. Another Ian says:


    There is an “out of India” approach to third world aid that starts with grandmothers as I recall.

  8. EM – seems a good set of attitudes, with the underlying principles of What Works whilst allowing as much personal freedom as possible. A society run on these principles would be very good to live in. To make it work, though, you’d need the adults to commit to that and for the kids to be educated (indoctrinated?) to both accept it and to know what the results of different societal underpinnings are. Somewhat like that old sci-fi book by Van Vogt, “The World of Null-A”. Justice in such a society would also likely be quick and possibly bloody, if the crime warranted it.

  9. jeremyp99 says:

    Excellent. I concur with much of what you write. Very good :-)

    As for mushrooms, if they make you pukey or farty, these are the answer – psilocybin truffles.

    Dunno if you can get the in the good old US of A.

  10. philjourdan says:

    Most of your left wing positions are not left wing. Nor are the antithetical to the right wing. What they are is the pilloried exhortations of rabid radicals trying to demonize the opposition. Indeed, while a few on the list of left tendencies are firmly opposed by the religious right, virtually none are opposed by the conservative right. But that funny thing called Alinskyism – lie about your opponent and make it stick.

    Actually, I find most of your left positions to be in direct opposition of the left when they are off teleprompter and merely spewing their own thoughts (shallow as they are).

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    1) It is not about left or right; btw you know this classification originated during the French Revolution, which originated itself after “lenders” realized they ought to take all the money and power from monarchies and church, and to achieve that goal, they invented and are continuously inventing ways to convey all private and local owned assets to their pockets.
    2)Women issues: Divide and conquer. This is to divide the basic cell of society: Family: Read “Brave New World”, “they” need “gammas”
    3) Abortion: Murder, Malthusianism.
    4)Contraception: Malthusianism
    5)Drugs: “Soma”, call them either pot or benzodiazepines, or anything: Make “gammas” feel “happy”, “distracted”(attention away from themselves), in one word: every time dumber slaves.
    6)Environment, “sustainability”, etc.: Humans are too SMALL, too microscopic to be able to make any detectable change in the environment, just “proxy” contamination (like you throwing your trash in the middle of your living room)
    7)Sex: Prevailing ignorance (lack of knowledge) what does it mean: Libido is the highest energy our bodies manufacture, it can be spent carelessly or transformed into science or art or in a higher energetic body which surpasses death limit. Here it works the laws of THERMODYNAMICS: In order to achieve higher energy levels, to increase “pitch”, you have to save energy: Morality is thermodynamics. Anything of value is get through effort, negentropically. Of course you can ignore the laws and happily ruin your life.
    Nature´s laws are simple but hard to follow. Liberty, freedom it is the characteristic of the warrior, not of the slave.
    My dear E.M., we are giving our assets, our most dear values, our lives to the bankers, to our owners.

  12. adolfogiurfa says:

    The law of cause and effect will come in our help: Those areas of the world where it have been violated natural laws the most are currently being the first ones to be “fixed” by nature: It is all about the proper or improper transformation of energy. Don´t get surprise!: Like attracts like.
    Just ask ourselves: Where does an unlawful arrangement of individuals, like a cancer tumor, lead?….Evidently to the DEATH OF THE BODY or, at the best, to the destruction of such an arrangement by the self defenses of the natural organism.
    So do not let yourselves be self-deceived: We are witnessing the unfolding of these processes in the “FIRST WORLD”

  13. R. de Haan says:

    E.M., I think you should never justify yourself for a bunch of people who deliberately confuse religion with science, who replace facts with lies and who take the moral high ground to undermine our entire civilization. Screw them all.
    We have a lot in common E.M and I think the regular visitors of your blog know excactly who you are. It’s an honor to know you and I enjoy every article you post on your blog.

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    One last word: It has been happening since WWI. I am remembering what I heard, several years ago from Swami Tilak, a hindu swami and physicist, referring to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina: “What do you expect of a city where there are more divorces than marriages, and where there are more abortions than births?”
    These processes take a little of time to be obvious, but not so much as the geological ones.

  15. Richard Ilfeld says:

    I am interested in the reason you have tried to explain yourself — which I consider the BIG CURSE of Political Life, and the primary reason society is more congenial when large swathes of it can be shielded from politics.

    People who pass through life without thinking, except perhaps of how to advance their own situation at someone else’s expense, assume that if they know your views on one topic, or for that matter just your race, age, gender,and ethnicity they know everything about you. They will then relate to you on that basis, and neither conversation nor action can shake their opinion. Sadly, as we have the ability to have far too few relationships in our short lives, we must abandon these folks as hopeless regardless of what good quantities they possess. This is harder when they are relatives, as the upcoming holiday will remind many of us.

    Absent this CURSE, anyone who read even a fraction of what you had written here over time could draw the obvious conclusion without your explanation being necessary.

  16. Rob L says:

    Basically a rationalists manifesto – apart from perhaps some squeamishness about eating pets – would soon be sorted out if you lived on a farm :).

    An interesting test case for your views is health care; private or public? US spends something like 15% of GDP on healthcare yet has worse average life expectancies than the rest of the West that spends about 8% on socialised medicine. Also most bankruptcies in the US arise out of medical expenses. Suggests that pragmatically socialised medicine is the better solution.

    Similarly how does your world view accommodate the seemingly increased social stratification and reduced social mobility that it appears to be evolving in the US. There is a trend towards the hollowing out of the middle class and the reduction in availability of skilled blue collar jobs that can lift talented or diligent individuals from poor backgrounds up (due to off-shoring and automation). So is non-intervention by govt (no progressive taxation) and not limiting the rise of a Rentier class a long term sustainable solution or is it going to lead to revolution or a dystopian status quo as already high US Gini coefficients rise to dangerous levels? I note that the Walton family has net worth equal to the poorest 90 million people in the US – a statistic that is almost beyond parody.

    Your feelings re Atheism seem unsupported to me, it seems likely that all of the unproductive time and money wasting efforts that go into supporting religion in combination with the irrational behaviour that it leads too in the US and throughout the rest of the world are are far more of an economic drain than atheism.

    US atheists are stigmatised and mostly politically invisible but throughout the world atheism is very positively correlated with wealth and intelligence, both for countries and individuals. Not surprising when it tends to produces more rational behaviour and more productive life choices, though it may foster a more hedonistic worldview (the only rational raison d’etre for an atheist) and reduce birth rates it also tends to push people to work harder to improve their standard of living. In my experience of UK and New Zealand dickhead-level moral relativism is endemic within only a small group of politically active left wingers that also happen to be in many cases atheists – but are frequently religious too. They posture, preen and manipulate to extract money from the productive sectors and accrete power (all revolutionaries and most campaigners harbour aristocratic aspirations) but the vast majority of atheists get on with their lives in more productive pursuits in the private sector. The US is a weird outlier in terms of average religiosity vs GDP, perhaps because religion only thrives in the absence of other welfare systems (suggesting that actual belief isn’t that strong), but wealth is strongly correlated with atheism in the US too.

    I would be viewed as right wing by most people outside of the US, but it does seem to me that there are some big problems that purist right wing or libertarian policies lead to in our world – and those issues can in some cases only be dealt with by methods that come from the left wing answer book. Sadly and perhaps uniquely in the West the political discourse in the US seems to be too polarised and corruption/(campaign financing) too pervasive permit pragmatism.

  17. Zeke says:

    James Oglethorpe obtained a charter to bring settlers to the New World. The King of England granted he and about 8 other governors land in Georgia and his vision was to bring those suffering in debtor’s prison, or those who had no work, to the colonies so that they would be able to lift themselves out of poverty.

    His charter was a wise and good plan. He said that there would be no slaves, and no rum, and that there should be freedom of religion, . It happened that he also did not think there should be any enormous possessions of land.

    As you can see, Georgia rejected his wise counsel, and the consequences were very great for our nation. Libertarians are certainly entitled to make their case for rum and slaves – or the equivalents of these issues today. But the love of many will grow cold in these circumstances. Love for liberty, for personal labor, and for each other.

  18. My right wing friends can’t understand why I listen to “Left Wing” PBS. I guess I am a “Liberal” when it comes to social issues.

    “Abortion: Women ought to choose, each as they prefer. The “involved” male ought to have about as much involvement in the abortion decision as in the relative time involved in the pregnancy. So figure one minute. I make that about enough time to be informed after the fact…

    Contraception: Women ought to choose, each as they prefer. Not my place to be involved. (Though the spouse ought to tell me if she decides to suddenly stop ;-)

    While I agree with you, I would add that the federal goverment has no right to be involved in these issues either. These issues should be “……..reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (Tenth amendment to the US constitution).

    Furthermore while women should be free to make these choices to the extent permitted under state laws they should have no expectation that someone else will pay for the services.

  19. 2) Drugs: “I think they all ought to be legalized. What business is it of anyone else if I want to play with my brain?”

    While I have never tried any of the substances you mention I totally agree that they should be available through legal channels. I would like to see something akin to the way alcohol is permitted in Pakistan in the 1960s. While living there I could get one bottle of spirits and 24 bottles of beer per month as long as my “Certificate of Alcoholism” was up to date.

    When hard drugs were available through one’s doctor in the UK our addict population was miniscule compared to today. Too bad a handful of doctor’s got greedy, leading to prohibition similar to what exits in the USA.

  20. Gallopingcamel – if drugs were legally available from a pharmacy then (a) the stuff would be pure, (b) the Government could tax it heavily and still be cheaper than street price and (c) drug barons would be out of business since smuggling would not pay. Cuts a lot of problems. The current system does not seem to be winning. I smoked pot when at college and occasionally after, but couldn’t get natural unadulterated stuff so stopped over 30 years ago. Somewhat similar problem with tobacco for me (I still smoke) in that I’ve found only 1 brand without additives, and all the others give me sore throat and coughing. If I can no longer get that (Fleur du Pays, for those interested) I’ll just quit anyway. Judging by the tobacco problem, the government stamp (and tax) might not guarantee purity of the drugs, though.

  21. John F. Hultquist says:

    I must be a bit older than you. I grew up poor, in a small town, all white, all English-speaking. Some Catholics, mostly not. So you and I have lots of background differences. Recreational drugs were nowhere around, so no experience there. While growing up, hunting put a lot of meat on the table – white tailed deer, squirrel, and (sorry) rabbits. Oddly, though, like you, today meat is mostly chicken and fresh pork.

    For a long time now I thought about the term “marriage” as you have expressed it. Then I remembered about growing up and the meaning of the word ‘gay’. Kids that had fun, laughed a lot, and enjoyed life were said to be gay. It changed. The word and its meaning have moved on. So, I voted FOR the Wash. State Referendum 74 – we’ll move on – by taking the issue away and off the image laden nightly news. Currently, my idea is to treat the ‘joining together’ concept like we do with autos. Get one and pay a small fee to register with the State and they send a plate to go on the rear. They don’t care if it’s a pink Cadillac or a black F250 4X4. The marriage issue is a distraction from serious problems. So, sadly, another good word lost.

    On the GMO (foods) thing, I tend to not be as concerned as you – but I have not been very active in looking at the issue. Those two things are related.

    Otherwise, we agree on a surprisingly large number of things – considering the great divide of our formative years.

  22. Ben says:

    I tend to agree with most posts you ever put up and I do with this one as well my one area of disagreement is really on the input of the involved male in abortion.

    If the male has no say then he should have no legal obligation of child support.

    If child support remains a legal obligation then the father needs to have a valid input as to the fate of the baby.

    As it is now men have to take responsibility for actions taken in the bed room as they happen and women get to “choose” to be responsible or not for the next 9 months regardless of the choice (adoption,abortion or keeping it). 2 people get drunk and have unprotected sex one has to live with the consequences no matter what and the other gets to decide for both of them seems kinda unbalanced.

  23. Ben says:

    I also do not care about GMO issues.

  24. John Robertson says:

    Balance and sanity generally support each other. I need both wings to fly. I have noticed the labels keep changing and are usually changed by the devious. My values are similar to those you outline and its seems to me neither of us are driven to control the lives of others, those I deal with who lust after power, are usually unbalanced. A tax on do-gooders works for me,105% of their gross should do us all good.Or boots and tar& feather, either way works as I have concluded all do-good types destroy what they claim to be helping.The road to hell being paved with good intentions is very true, and I’m mostly an atheist. The idea of compulsory civic service might work as those who want to rule& regulate the rest are unfit for power, most of us are aware that power demands great responsibility , and avoid positions of authority, especially as too many of them are unnecessary or damaging to the social good. So those in their right mind avoid civic duty and only the nuts and axe grinders seek to serve, maybe politicians by jury selection is the only way to avoid the circus and degradation that running for office has become. As my opinion of govt and its minions continues to sink I find myself torn between cleaning my guns more often with stockpiling ammo and gritting my teeth and running for office.I fear I am no-longer sane.
    What we are doing at govt levels will not work, in my opinion of course, and logically the path ahead requires me to choose, do I prep for social collapse or do I stand up for what I believe in?In an age where free-loading thro govt power, lying and corrupt practises are normal what is the sane approach?Technologically I can fix most anything, given time, but I can’t fix stupid. And 37 yrs in the work force has taught me, recognize stupid early, do not try to fix, profit where possible. Cut and run asap as stupid is contagious . With marriage being stolen and debased by govt, it no longer means anything so I want my marriage license money back, with compound interest.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    Just a quick note (as I have to make dinner… I’m the “house husband’ ;-)

    For those wondering about my need to ‘explain myself’: It’s not that.

    I’ve just decided to stop taking rocks over ‘being right wing’ by ‘outing myself’. Basically, I’ve become a bit more comfortable with just ‘telling the world’ things like “I DID inhale”.

    To the extent it has a ‘purpose’ (other than letting y’all get to know who I am a bit more precisely) it is just so that when some Turkey decides to toss the “Right Wing Nut Job!!!” label at me, I can just quietly answer with a link to this posting. Then ask THEM how many of their “kids” have “two mommies”? ( I have ‘a few’… it’s a long story not yet ready for the general public. NDA type things and all… Heck, I only let ‘my kids’ know a couple of years ago. But the short form is “I didn’t just talk the talk”…)

    So for those ‘followers’ who thought me a ‘kindred spirit’ of Right Wing Conservativism: I hope I’m still an OK friend as a ‘tepid conservative’. And for those politically driven rock tossers, I hope they realize how stupid they look. (And for me, I am happy to now be ‘out’ as a more or less middle of the road guy with an eclectic mix of attitudes.) Furthermore, I hope that my list of beliefs lets some other folks realize that it IS NOT a black / white or left / right world. We all have a mixed bag of ‘issues’, and that’s OK. Fine in fact. Joyous and makes life more interesting.

    To some extent, I hope it helps folks feeling ‘peer pressure’ to ‘toe the line’ to just tell their ‘peers’ to go stuff it. IT IS perfectly fine to be an NRA member AND inhale AND want lower taxes AND want women to control their own lives. (Or all the exact opposite too!) So just go tell the “only one box” folks that we all have our own little box, that WE get to design and decorate just to suit us. Others are welcome to admire it, but not to demand changes to it. And they need to go back to THEIR box and leave mine alone.

    BTW, I’ve been contemplating my ‘rant moment’ above when I pointed out I like to eat “mean” animals and made noises about mean trolls being a bother… Do you think it would be too over the top to make a posting of a recipe for “Pulled Tough Mean Troll”? ;-) It has a ‘certain charm’ and is nagging at me… but I could see some ‘fallout’ issues… ( “Dress being careful of the gigantic gall bladder on the liver. Troll is just FULL of bitter bile and it must be cut out without nicking it or everything will taste bad. A long slow roasting in a moist environment is the best way to soften the hard tough parts. Spices, especially strong and hot ones, are best to cover some of the sour and sulphurous tones to the meat. Be especially sure to remove the ‘stink glad’ that they regularly nurse… found near the tail…”) So ‘what do you think’? Should I go for it? ;-)

    At any rate, I have dinner to make, so I’ll get back to the other comments ‘in a while’… but I’m not being ‘pushed’ into this by any need to ‘justify myself’ or ‘explain myself’. Just a desire to ‘push the envelope’ a tiny bit…

  26. p.g.sharrow says:

    “How to Prepare a Mean Troll For Dinner”

    It brings a Smile to my face.8-) LoL pg

  27. “Similarly, having universal suffrage was likely the right thing to do (even if I’ve had my doubts after the last election ;-)”

    While “Universal Sufferage” may be a fine thing, we have made a mockery of it. Presidential elections have turned into billion dollar affairs lasting more than 18 months, dividing the people and distracting high officials from their task of managing the country. It may be time to consider real democracy. Let’s choose our representatives in the same way that we select juries. As each representative would be limited to one term there would be reduced opportunities for systematic corruption and no need to waste time or money on getting elected or re-elected.

    Representatives chosen by lot would be responsible for appointing officials from their own ranks to serve as President, Vice President and so on.

  28. Chuck L says:

    E. M. I’d say my views and yours are 95% congruent. I am pretty much of the mind that I don’t much care what other people do as long as they don’t interfere with or bother other people. I think the political correctness is a plague and is used by some people and political parties to stifle free speech. I also bemoan the wimpiness that has begun to pervade our country. Anti-bulllying is all well and good until you run into a person or country that doesn’t give a $hit about being a bully or not. I also fear mightily a government that attempt to insert itself into all aspects of its citizens’ lives and thinks it knows better than its citizens

  29. John Robertson says:

    Mean trolls and PETA vegans , when the collapse comes of course. Stockpile salt before the do-gooders ban it.

  30. Zeke says:

    On balance, we might make out just as well with a jury style selection for public office (:

    It might not be quite Constitutional to bar the ones that do want to run for office. But perhaps a trial by molten metal is not strictly prohibited. (:

    (I do feel grateful for the handful we have that are doing the right things, all in fun.)

  31. omanuel says:

    Thanks, E.M.Smith, for explaining yourself. Many of us here share some left-wing and some right-wing values – because we tend to think independently.

    My main concern today is mostly libertarian: Blocking the 1945 plan to eliminate constitutional limits on national governments by establishing a totalitarian, one-world government under the United Nations.

    I seriously believe we were endowed by our Creator (Reality, Truth, God, Spirit of the Universe) with certain unalienable rights to

    _ a.) Govern ourselves, and to
    _ b.) Institute new government to protect
    _ c.) Our other Divine and unalienable rights to
    _ d.) Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and to
    _ e.) Abolish any government that becomes destructive of these ends

    I believe George Orwell knew in 1948 that science was already corrupted and warned us of a totalitarian government that would be obvious to us by “1984”

    I was asleep in 1984 and did not see the danger that had engulfed us until Climategate emails exposed fraudulent global temperature data in Nov 2009 and official responses since then confirmed that these were the product of a tyrannical, one-world government.

  32. jim2 says:

    I am in broad agreement with you, EM.
    Some differences:
    Even Hayek advocated for a safety net to maintain social stability. On the benefits side I would incorporate all welfare, social “security”, medicare, etc. into one department – the Welfare Department. It would be a safety net – the rich would get nothing from it. On the tax side, I would set up an incentive system. If you make nothing and can work, you get minimal benefits. If you get a part time job, the government gives you less, but benefits plus salary would be more than without the job. If (truly) disabled, there would be more generous benefits, but you wouldn’t be living in luxury. Your benefits would also take into account net worth, with 2 million in an IRA or equivalent exempted. It would require bureaucracy, but not as much as now.

    As far as alcohol and drugs go, I don’t use any of it. I had a “problem” with alcohol and to a lesser extent drugs. They beat me up for a couple of decades and I couldn’t stop until I found a 12 step program and a Higher Power, whatever that actually might be. That being said, I am with you on legalizing all of it. The current approach has …
    1. Contributed significantly to the police state we now have.
    2. Caused people to be thrown in jail when they shouldn’t be there.
    3. Cost me money in the enforcement effort, to include jail expenses.
    4. Created violent drug cartels.
    5. Caused the more creative among us to manufacture legal variants of the common recreational drugs, some of which are much worse than the originals.

    I told my son that if he marries, he needs to like everything about the woman in question – physically, mentally … everything. If he brings home a woman of color or not, I will be OK with it. But if there is anything you don’t like about your spouse to be, it has the potential to drive you batty after 20 years, so pick wisely.

    On a related note, something else that costs me unnecessary money is unwed mothers and their spawn. I know it would be kind of messy, but men should be required to support any children they sire. It should be enforced with penalties including garnishment and jail time. Any couple who has a child outside of marriage should be declared married by common law. There are just too many irresponsible people out there and I strongly believe a child needs to develop in an environment with a mother and a father.

    Religion of any kind needs to be kept separate from the government. I never knew what a great concept this was until the Islam thing came to my attention. We really need to get the Constitution out of the dirt and the Fed out of just about everything else.

    On the environment, as an ex-chemist, we do need the EPA and OSHA. But they need to be controlled. IMO, the EPA is a good example of why socialism is bad. At this point, they are unilaterally making binding law. That has to stop.

    Agree that unfettered capitalism is bad, but so is too much socialism.

    So, IMO, we do need government regulations, but they should be targeted and simple, but not too simple, to hack Einstein.

  33. jim2 says:

    Also, we have a grandchild that has been diagnosed with Aspergers. My wife says I’m a lot like her. I don’t like being touched, other than in special situations. Being around too many people is stressful for me. We have arranged our schedules so I have a chunk of alone time to recover and re-center. So, I guess I can’t say I’m amiable.

  34. Chuck L says:

    Regarding political correctness, great article in the Wall Street Journal on censorship on college campuses.

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