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Why I’m not a liberal

Posted by Chance on August 2, 2015

I plan on doing a series of posts, why I’m not a liberal, why I’m not a moderate, and why I’m not 100% conservative, and finally, why I’m a libertarian.  I just don’t want people to think I’m picking on the liberals.

There are many reasons I’m not liberal, but I wanted to focus on two.  Liberals, when it comes to social issues, really aren’t that liberal.  When it comes to economic issues, liberal philosophy is either based on, or at the very least encourages, envy.

Concerning social issues, in many ways, liberals are like the Puritans of early America or, in some ways, the confederacy.  Many argue that the Puritans did not really want freedom of religion for everyone, they really just wanted it for themselves.  Similarly, some argue that the southern states pre-Civil War didn’t really want states rights, they wanted rights for themselves to own slaves.  They thought every state should have slavery.

I see the same thing today with liberal philosophy.  What turned me off of liberalism in college was the idea of politically correct speech.  The liberal attitude toward speech was protecting people from being offended rather than supporting people’s right to offend.  Today, many of the liberal persuasion are as judgmental of those believing or behaving differently than how they think people should live, for example, family size (the Duggars) and health lifestyle choices (trans-fat bans).  The idea that self-righteousness and judgmentalism are exclusive to the “religious right” is flat out wrong.

Also, liberals beliefs in positive rights come into conflict with negative rights.  They support abortion rights, and they think others should be forced to accommodate that, via workplace insurance or simply forcing doctors to perform abortions.  They support gay marriage and they believe others should be forced to celebrate that.  In my view, forcing others to do things against their conscience is the opposite of liberal.  This isn’t to rail against liberal philosophy (although I am staunchly pro-life), it’s that modern liberal philosophy is not that liberal to begin with.

My other, main issue, is the philosophy that impacts primarily economics, but other areas as well.  It’s the idea of comparison and the idea that wealth is a fixed pie.  If I hear liberal politicians and talking heads, I’m supposed to be concerned with how much money the CEO of my company is making, and how big my neighbors house is.  Here we are, in the richest nation of the world, of all time, and we are supposed to be concerned with what someone wealthier than us has.  I’ve blogged about this before.  We are concerned with the “top 1%” of America in wealth, when really, anyone making $35,000 annually is the top 1% of the world.  Look, this doesn’t automatically negate the point that liberals make, but I do have problems with envying or hating on the wealthy when most of us are wealthy in a global sense as well.

Part of this belief comes from the idea of wealth as a fixed pie, that if my CEO makes millions of dollars that’s less money for me.  But the whole reason I have a job is him or people like him starting companies. And, whenever I make a transaction, the person I made the transaction with and myself are better off, otherwise we wouldn’t make the transaction.  Yes, we live in a more advanced version of the trade and bartering system, but at it’s core, that’s what we are doing.  A couple of centuries ago, many of us were planting crops and hunting for food.  Now, most of us have smartphones.

So, liberal social philosophy is, in some ways, not liberal enough for me.  And, I refuse to arbitrarily set moral standards on wealth that makes me look good and everyone above me look bad.

 

Posted in Philosophy, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Some people like adulthood, some don’t

Posted by Chance on July 31, 2011

I like adulthood much more than I liked childhood.  Adulthood has a lot of responsibilities, but I like the freedom that it offers.  I like making my own choices – if I want to go to Arby’s for lunch I can go there, I don’t have to ask my parents.  I can eat cookies before desert, and I can stay up as late as I want. I can also choose, to some degree, how to spend my own money, although I still have to pay my mortgage and feed my family.

That being said, I have to face the consequences for my choices.  I can stay up late, but I’ll be tired for work the next day.  I can eat and drink whatever I want, but I know that has some consequences health-wise.  That is the nature of adulthood.  To some extent, I have external factors governing my decisions, i.e the bank that loaned me money for my house, my employer, but I have much more freedom now than I did as a child, and I don’t have an active force preventing me from making those decisions, I will just face the consequences later, as opposed to a parent or guardian.

I think there are a large contingency of people who don’t like adulthood, or, they want to be the parents for other people.  These people want to ban smoking, or tax fast food, or tell us how exactly how we should spend our savings.  Let’s look at the fast food tax – this is the antithesis of adulthood.  When I was a child, my parents didn’t let me eat happy meals for every single meal, and even if that was affordable, they still wouldn’t have done so because I needed more balance in my diet.  As an adult, they don’t tell me what to do, I make my own choices and pay the consequences later.  The fast food tax, and similar ideas, tells me I’m not responsible enough to make my own decisions, that I need discouragement from making the wrong choices.  For people who are on board with such an idea, I have two words.  Grow up.

Posted in Culture, Politics | 2 Comments »

Should conservatives sound their trumpets?

Posted by Chance on July 30, 2010

One of the annoying things in political debates is when conservatives/libertarians are accused of not caring about the poor.  Whether or not their policies are helpful toward the poor can be a valid debate, but I don’t feel the evidence is there to support the charge of “not caring.”

Unfortunately, this puts the low-tax/free market sort in a bad position.  Do we answer this charge?  Could doing so make our opinions seem more valid.  In Matthew 6 Jesus talked about not doing your good deeds to be seen by other people.  This would seem to discourage bragging about giving, even if it is in a collective sense.  Also, it can be counter-productive; instead of talking about ideas, conservatives and liberals are in a contest to see who gives more.

When it comes to economic policies on the whole, I don’t know if private giving matters to liberals.  They believe the best way ( or even if not “best”, at least necessary) to help people is through governmental means.  Also, I’ve found that if people want to believe that conservatives are generally mean people and don’t care about others, they will continue to believe so no matter the evidence to the contrary.

When it comes to the pro-life issue, however, I believe highlighting efforts apart from the governmental arena is important.  I think it is important for pro-lifers to show that they truly care about both woman and child.  Why Planned Parenthood is a shining example of taking care of the least of these and Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not “playing fair” is beyond me.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to motivation.  We hate being depicted as mean, so we offer evidence that shows otherwise.  I don’t think this is a good reason; I don’t believe in image maintenance.  However, as in the pro-life issue, showing care for others in a visible way may be very important.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Types of people that annoy me

Posted by Chance on July 30, 2010

In blogging, I run across different types of people.  It has been enlightening meeting different types of people with different ideas.  Typically, people who have different opinions don’t annoy me too much, but certain characteristics I see.  Today, I’m going to focus on my “own people” if you will.

The Republican homer. The term “homer” is borrowed from sports fandom, in which someone believes their sports team can do no wrong.  These people will take to task the Democrats for out-of-control spending and running up the national debt.  However, when someone brings up the Republicans, they will talk about how that was different, or how it wasn’t as bad, etc…   While sometimes nuances are important, they will find everything they can about why it was “different” when Bush was in office.

Why does this bother me?  For one, someone debating ideas wastes a lot of valuable time simply defending their team.  If they talked more about their ideas and less about their party, they would be so much more effective.  Also, any idea or belief is less effective if you do not apply it consistently.  If you hate big spending, don’t be afraid to mention that Bush spent too much.  I’m not saying that someone has to say something bad their own party every time they talk about the other one, but if someone brings your own party to task for the same things you are talking about, don’t be afraid to agree with them.  The goal is ideas, not defending your team.

For the second type of person…  In an episode of the Simpsons, Marge is trying to get into this exclusive women’s club.  Her initiation is almost at hand when she has to take her family to dinner.   Before the dinner she’s telling her family basically not to do this or that to embarrass her, such as asking Lisa not to talk politics with anyone.

The apologist apologizer (apologist is someone in apologetics)is what reminds me of Marge in this episode.  The apologizer is someone who is mostly conservative or at least leans to the right, but has a lot of liberal followers.  This person is always apologizing to his or her liberal friends for the conservative ones.  They feel that they always have to pipe in, in the event that a conservative says something to harsh.  The good thing is that they are always trying to build bridges with their liberal friends, but at the same time, it is as if they reluctantly bring their conservative friends to the dinner party, and they are always afraid of what the conservative is going to say to ruffle the feathers of the liberal ones.   I don’t enjoy going to this type of blog any longer.

Posted in Culture, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Who are the least of these?

Posted by Chance on April 2, 2010

My two year old son, compared to most people, is pretty helpless.  Physically, he has no ability to defend himself.  As far as sustenance, he can open the fridge and grab whatever is in there, but that’s about it.

Even more helpless is his one year old sister.  She doesn’t even have the strength to open the refrigerator door.  She just started walking a few weeks ago.

Our son, despite being a physically inferior being, can still try to impose his will on his sister.  A major part of our job is making sure he doesn’t beat up on her when she takes a toy.  We do this so that he will not physically harm his sister, and also because he needs to simply learn not to beat up on people.   When we discipline, we try to do more than simply preventing him from hitting her.  We try to discipline out of love and use these instances as a teaching lesson.   The fact that we don’t let him beat up on his sister doesn’t mean we love him less, although we do try to affirm our love to him while disciplining him.

Even though our son is, in a sense, the “least of these”, there is still someone smaller and more helpless than he is, someone we teach him not to harm.

The reason I bring this up is that there is a Christian pro-choice argument floating around.  The argument is that the typical women considering abortion are scared and with few resources.  By not letting them have abortions we are not “loving” them.  In many ways, these women are indeed the “least of these”.   But involved in this decision is someone who is even more helpless.  I believe as Christians it is our role to help and defend those who have no voice.  I don’t use this comparison to trivialize the decision;  I don’t want to equate wanting a toy to abortion.  Where the analogy comes in is that just because someone is weak and helpless doesn’t mean we should ignore the needs of those more helpless than they are.

Also, when it comes to the abortion issue, it goes beyond telling a woman “don’t do it.”  If we meet someone in that situation, we should do all we can to help out and show Christ’s love.  Getting involved in this issue is simply more than voting pro-life, but taking initiative by getting involved in issues that help out poor expectant mothers.

Posted in Christianity, Politics | 3 Comments »

Liquor Wars in Colorado

Posted by Chance on March 29, 2010

Currently in Colorado only 3.2 % beer is allowed in grocery stores.  Many people want this law repealed, so that grocery stores can sell full strength beer, wine, and other forms of alcohol.

Naturally, liquor store owners don’t want this to pass because they fear it will put them out of business.

Here’s the thing.  Government shouldn’t exist to provide an artificial advantage to one business over another.  Out of the multiple reasons to outlaw full strength alcohol in a grocery store, providing an economic advantage to liquor store owners should be the last, yet it seems to be the one argument keeping things the status quo.

A free market works best when it is allowed to provide what the customers want, and jobs are a natural side effect from this.  If people are so concerned about liquor store owners, why not take their logic to the extreme.  Why not outlaw deodorant sales in grocery stores, causing deodorant stores to crop up, giving people an opportunity to own and operate deodorant stores?   Why is that crazy but not our current system?

Posted in Capitalism, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Partisianship may save America

Posted by Chance on February 22, 2010

The Star Wars prequel trilogy is not the greatest series of films, but they are vastly underrated in their depiction of how power corrupts.  In Star Wars II there is a scene in which Anakin and Padme are talking about the Republic.  Anakin discusses how the Republic is slow to take action, and he wishes one person was in charge to make things happen at will.  In Star Wars III, we see this realized as Senator Palpatine becomes the galactic Emperor.

Many times we identify with Anakin’s point of view.  We want government to act, to quickly solve problems.  When we talk about a good politician, we want someone who reaches across the aisle to get things done.  There have been many times where I have been dismayed by the lack of change in our government and how partisanship prevents things from getting done.

However, as my political beliefs have become more libertarian in nature, I have actually started to prefer a government that does much less, and this is accomplished many times through divided government, that is, the legislative and executive branches belonging to different parties.  When we have divided government, fewer things get done, such as laws that affect our everyday lives and regulations that impact businesses, and less of our money gets spent.  When these two branches belong to the same party, government grows massively.  This is true regardless of which party is in power.  Many limited government conservatives hated the amount of money Bush spent from 2001 to 2006 and were glad to see spending slow down somewhat when Democrats took after the 06 election.   Ideally, the government would follow the Constitution much more closely, but when it doesn’t, divided government is the next best thing.

Don’t get me wrong, change is sometimes an essential thing, and there are things I want changed now.  It took massive change to end slavery and grant equal rights.  As a pro-lifer, I want things enacted that extend rights to unborn babies.  In general though, I think a slow acting government is a good thing.  When I evaluate a politician or administration, passing more laws and giving themselves more power are not high on my priorities. I want a President who doesn’t have grandiose ideas for shaping America but simply does their job of defending the Constitution.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

An issue I have with liberalism, Christian or otherwise

Posted by Chance on January 27, 2010

I think many Christian liberals have their hearts in the right place when it comes to helping the poor and so on.  But after a particular sermon I heard at my church, I realize the wrongness of a certain attitude that I perceive when I have talked to some of them on the blogs.  They see “rich people” as “somebody else”.

The idea of the sermon is that we see God’s stern warnings toward the rich and think “whew”, those richies better watch out!  But here’s the issue, most of us are rich.  Maybe not compared to the rest of America, but definitely so in comparison to the rest of the world, and the rest of time up until now.

To illustrate this point, the pastor visited the website http://www.globalrichlist.com/.

Seeing the rich as “other people” is not a problem exclusively experienced by liberals, I think all Americans do it to some degree. But for liberals, it is a more foundational issue of their philosophy – class warfare, us vs. them.  It’s the top 90th percentile against the top 99th percentile.  For the Christian liberals it can take a more scary and self-righteous tone.  To the Christian left, many times the rich people are seen as the bad guy.  Jesus directs his stern warning toward these “other people”, not at us.  One blogger I used to visit stated that “wealth is evil”, which is comical considering he owns a computer and a house, something beyond the reach of many in the world.  Let me guess, the amount of wealth you have is fine, but much more than that is evil? I’m so glad that God informed you what the right amount of money is.

This doesn’t invalidate liberal philosophy; there are still problems in this country related to economic issues, such as the job market and rising health care costs.  Just because we live in the most prosperous nation doesn’t mean these should be ignored.  But I think it is important to have a philosophical perspective informed by the reality that really, just about all of us are rich.

Posted in Christianity, Politics | 2 Comments »

At the center of the health care debate, and the economy

Posted by Chance on August 28, 2009

Kat linked to a great article in which the CEO of Whole Foods lists some great steps toward health care reform.

But the reason why these steps won’t be embraced points to the fundamental philosophical differences at the heart of this debate.  Some people trust the individual, some people trust government (and no, they are not necessarily the same).

Government has decided, apparently for our best interest, that it must tell us exactly what insurance we must buy.  If you just want insurance for catastrophic events, too bad (although that’s really what insurance is for in the first place).  This may get worse:

…every American would be required to buy health insurance.

And not just any insurance: to qualify, a plan would have to meet certain government-defined standards. For example, under Section 122(b) of the House bill, all plans must cover hospitalization; outpatient hospital and clinic services; services by physicians and other health professionals, as well as supplies and equipment incidental to their services; prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, mental health and substance-abuse treatment; preventive services (to be determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Preventive Services Task Force); and maternity, well-baby, and well-child care, as well as dental, vision, and hearing services for children under age 21.

Imagine if this pertained to cars.  You want a Chevy Cobalt or Toyota Corolla, but instead you have to buy the BMW.  Then people complain about how expensive cars are and how the free market has failed.

Or, as Kat has noted in the above-linked post’s comment section:

…I (and several others) have likened the current state of health insurance to having your auto insurance pay to put gas in your car and have your oil changed. I think that’s an apt analogy, as is having your homeowners’ insurance pay to replace lightbulbs and have a yard crew mow your lawn.

Mackey of Whole Foods goes on to list other possible reforms, such as allowing people to have high-deductible Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), abolish laws preventing people from buying insurance across state lines, and basically other things that have worked well in probably every area of the free market.

But again, many won’t buy off on policies that involve less government control and more power to the individual; many will only support policies that give more power to the government and consequently, restricts what choices the individual has.

We see this with the stimulus/TARP bills passed by the last and current administration.  Instead of cutting taxes (even if temporarily during the recession) to allow more money to flow into the economy, people want more money to go to the federal government, and it decides how best to spend the money.

So we have the two opposing philosophies.  One centered on freedom and one centered on control.  One centered on the individual and one centered on government.  And I don’t see government solving a lot of problems.

A note:

Now, don’t get me wrong:  I must issue this caveat because any time I talk of freedom some commenters start getting nervous.  Just because I talk about freedom doesn’t mean I’m talking about anarchy.  Sometimes  people get confused.  I mention the validity of people protesting the amount of taxes and what they are spent on and all of a sudden I don’t believe in taxes at all.  The individuals must have rules so that they can’t hurt other people.  But I think there is a very visible line between the government protecting people from hurting each other vs. the government deciding what is best for everyone.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Filling in the gaps in the free market system

Posted by Chance on June 29, 2009

Grocery stores are an example, for the most part, of the free-market system at work.  If I want to shop for groceries, I have the choice of Wal-mart, King Sooper’s, Safeway, Target (the Super ones), or Albertsons.  In my 8 or 9 years of grocery shopping, food costs have not gone out of control.  They have increased, but they seem to follow inflation somewhat.  I don’t know the stats, but that’s my experience.  I think most people agree that they would rather have private grocery stores provide food as opposed to a central government office.  Long food lines as seen in the Soviet Union show the results of a planned economy.

However, even if the free market provides lower prices and more options, there will still be some people who simply can’t afford food.  However, there are programs to address this, such as WIC and food stamps.  In a way, this can be seen as a compromise or best of both worlds; the free-market system is allowed to work to produce low prices and high quality, but certain programs are in place to ensure that people get to eat.  I’m not saying the current system is perfect; people still have it rough, but there is not a large amount of the population starving.

What we don’t do is totally revamp the way grocery stores are operated and have the government run them so that everyone can eat.  However, this is what we want to do with health care.  Now, I can understand why we treat health care differently.  Health insurance premiums have been sky-rocketing for some time.  However, the medical and insurance companies are already some of the most regulated industries in the country, so it seems unfair to blame failures on the free market when that particular part of the market is not that free.

Now, I know many liberals will think this is a convenient argument, “if only the market were more free, then everything would be alright.”  But so is the argument “if only government would do more, if only there was more funding.”  So what do we do?  Well, let’s look at the pattern of other industries and other government departments.  For instance, with public schools, we spend more and more per pupil, yet see diminishing returns.  Meanwhile, people are gobbling up the chance at Charter Schools, schools that are still publicly funded yet offer parents some choice, mimicing the market to some extent.  The service, even at Wal-Mart, is far superior to the DMV.  I’ve never spent an hour at Wal-Mart waiting in line.  If I don’t like my experience at Wal-Mart, I can go somewhere else.  Wal-Mart is open on weekends.  The DMV, on the other hand, has no motivation to help me out.  Sometimes they are only open four days in the week; why stay open five, am I going to go to another DMV?  Other areas of technology have brought us rapidly improving products at dramatically lower prices; your iPod has much more hard drive space than many earlier computers the size of your bedroom.

My point is, in many areas of the free market, we see improving quality at lower prices (there are exceptions, such as oil, but a limited good will have a high price in any system).  The ones that are heavily regulated and/or funded, such as our school system and health care, we see higher and higher prices for diminishing returns.   Furthermore, the lowest employee at the DMV holds way more power over my life than anyone I will meet at the grocery store.

Posted in Politics | 10 Comments »