I’ve avoided putting out any sort of statement regarding my political ideologies because, frankly, I don’t want to defend them. In my mother’s household, any form of arguing was punishable, so I never developed the innate desire to defend or attack. But I’m a grown man now, and quite honestly, I think I’ve learned the difference between debate, arguing, and fighting. This isn’t any of those; it’s just a confession. If you agree with them, then great, you’re my echo chamber. If you disagree with them, then great, you have an opinion of your own. It’s a big world, and it takes all kinds.
With that in mind, here are some thoughts on where I stand.
I am a human. I have basic rights that should be protected at all costs. No political or economic entity should infringe upon, bar access to, or take them away from me. I should have full reign to do with my own self as I wish, assuming I am of sound mind and am fully informed of the risks and rewards of my decisions. In other words, show me what could happen, but keep your laws off of my body.
If I take my lifestyle to the extreme edge and fall off, that is my own fault, not the fault or responsibility of anybody else. Failure is its own punishment, and if I fail to learn from that, I do not deserve to continue existing. I do not, however, have the right to risk anybody else’s life or person, nor do I have the right to restrict their pursuit of their own basic rights. Nobody has that right; not the electorate, not the elected.
I should be able to own and build weapons and firearms for self-defense, and should be able to use them to defend myself and my property. I do not have the right, however, to attack someone else unless it is the act of self-defense. It is my attackers’ own failure to observe my rights that will bring about their own punishment. Should those in my household or my community come under attack, it is my right and my duty to come to their aid and protection from those who seek to harm them. The definition of aggression is that of an unprovoked act against me and mine, and any act of aggression carries the risk of my defense against same. Should an aggressor fall to my defense, I should not be held liable for their failure.
A person has full reproductive rights. Full rights. If a woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy, it is her sole right to decide. It is her sole right to choose the time and the licensed medical provider to perform the termination. If a man or a woman chooses to sterilize themselves, it is their sole right, after informed consent, to enter into the surgical procedure. If a person is fully-informed and fully aware of the risks, then they should have access to these services.
If a person seeks contraception, they should have full access to it. Sex is an activity that we, as consenting adults, do. It’s necessary for the survival of our species. I acknowledge that. But in our current situation of overpopulation and stretching of public resources, it makes more sense to allow people to choose to avoid reproduction. Our society is big enough; we got this. Now let people make that decision on their own without prohibition or religious morality infringing on their rights. If teenagers, who are figuring out the game on their own amongst themselves, need contraception, then by all means give it to them for free. Our culture needs fewer teen pregnancies. If abstinence-only education actually worked, then this wouldn’t be necessary; but the numbers are in, and it’s proven that no teenagers are listening. Instead, they go into the field without armor or training, and one shot is all it takes to destroy three lives. Stop letting this happen.
A person has full rights over what food or drugs they ingest, even if they are addictive, provided they are educated on the risks and rewards. The social scourge of regulated narcotics is the result of limited access and supply; if production is criminal, then only criminals will make them, and anybody seeking them out becomes a criminal. Eliminating the crime allows more availability, and market competition will ostensibly lower cost and reduce the need for addicts to steal in order to pay for their addiction. Removing the idea that someone is breaking the law prevents them from thinking, “Well, I’m in trouble now. What’s a little more trouble if I steal to pay for it?” The war on drugs is a failure, and has done more harm than good. However, wholesale dropping of the drug laws has the downside in that there will suddenly be more addicts, certainly more within our own families, but I feel the more blatant visibility of the downsides of addiction will be a strong educator to the rest of us on the risks of addictive behavior. Over time, we’ll return to the equilibrium that was disrupted by the formation of the first anti-drug laws at the turn of the 20th century.
Some people in our society feel that they have reached the end of their useful life, that they have moved beyond the zenith of their existence and are in the downward slide to the grave. That instead of waiting for the end, instead of marching excruciatingly towards the uncertainty of their future, they want to end it on their own terms, in their own time, of their own choosing. That is their sole right. To prevent someone their own determination of will (in anything) is to rob them of their dignity. I know that you want to keep them alive, that you want to offer them hope; you cannot be faulted of that. But it is their decision, ultimately, not yours. If they choose to perform the act of suicide themselves or if they wish to seek the assistance of a medical practitioner to do it quietly, quickly, and clean, then that is their decision.
Corporations are not people. Corporations are made up of people, but the entity they comprise should not have the same political rights as I do. I do not have 50,000 brains steering my path through the market, nor do I have a few billion dollars in capital assets with which to make purchases. To allow corporations the same rights of free speech and political access that I have will render the playing field grossly uneven and block my rights to same. I personally cannot make a $50,000 contribution to a political campaign to have my own voice heard. The recent Supreme Court judgment stating that corporations have protected free-speech rights should be overturned on appeal. Corporations are not people.
People of all economic levels should be prompted and inspired to rise up from their current economic and social status and elevate themselves to a higher class. That is the crux of the American Dream. The rules of the game should be equal and fair to all, and should sustain the poorest above the baseline in their own struggle for survival. The poor should pay less in taxes so that they can make a dignified living. The rich should pay more and carry more of the fiscal weight; with great wealth comes great responsibility. But don’t make their burden too heavy, though, or they will seek greener pastures in a more pliable country. I came from the bottom class, but currently I am middle class. I’ve seen how the other half lives because I’ve been there. But now that I earn more, I expect to pay a fair amount of my own income to support the lesser of us in this country.
I do feel that a person’s economic status is their own fault or reward, though. If you want to earn big, you earn it through hard work. If you want to descend to subsistence living, that is your own decision, too. But what if you are unable to rise above? What if you are genuinely unable to work? Then you require shared assistance. Currently, I am in my mid-life; I am able to work, I am mentally capable, and I can physically function in the workplace. I can earn a living. But I have a lot of family who survive only on Federal assistance. They cannot work. If Social Security is canceled, if the Veteran’s Administration were abolished, if state-based assistance were to dry up, then they would be out of doors. They could not survive. I, personally, do not make enough to help my family on my own; that is where the shared burden of public assistance through taxes is necessary.
The governing body should be shouldered with the duty to watch, regulate, and set standards. Regulation is necessary. It protects our resources. It mandates that all entities, private, public, foreign, and domestic, observe the limits on their consumption and waste and abide by all rules to ensure that the environment is not destroyed and that human life is not damaged. No company should be allowed to buy their way out of compliance. Standards are to be set up to ensure all corporations, companies, and customers are speaking on the same terms. This includes standards for weights and measures (a solved problem), and standards for education (a current battlefield for ideology).
Religion has no place in politics. This is used time and time again as a weapon by the religious to bludgeon those who are not among their own flock. Countless incidents of moral codes being put into regulation have occurred, and it needs to stop. I am not a Christian. I have not been one for two decades. My moral compass hews to a different pole, but my social aim is still just as true. Don’t decry my direction and call it a sin, then force my hand by passing laws that I must obey. In doing so, you are robbing me of my own will and stealing my chance at a dignified life. I am heterosexual, but if I should choose a homosexual lifestyle, who are you to prevent me from entering into a public commitment with a loved one? If I should choose to bed down with a woman in exchange for money instead of time, who are you to call me a sinner and a criminal? If I choose to gamble away my entire income, who are you to stop me from learning my own lesson? Keep your ideologies off of my life.
I do not claim to be internally consistent. To the thinking person, some of my claims here show clear rifts between them. They are my ideals to hold, yet not even I see all the cracks and bandages. It’s a beautiful mess. The gist of it all is that the tyranny of the masses should have no hold on me or my life. In some sense, I’m a staunch individualist; in another sense, I acknowledge that I am a part of this whole called Society. I have rights, but I also have responsibilities.
I don’t know where any of this puts me on the political spectrum. Somehow, I feel this labeling isn’t my responsibility; it certainly doesn’t interest me. Since I have no choice but between the two propped-up parties in modern American politics, I traditionally ally myself with the Democrats in that they have a stronger sense of social conscience. But the Republicans also have a strong sense of individual liberty, but not as much as the Libertarians, of course (who I probably ally with more than the Democrats, although they’re never going to succeed as an accepted party, at least not in my lifetime). I’m not an Anarchist, I’m not a Communist, I’m not a Socialist, nor a Marxist, but I understand that there’s a level of shared burden.
I want the game to be fair. I want to know that if I actually do work hard, I can actually succeed. I want everybody to understand that their status in life is theirs to master. I also want everybody to understand that there are those who need a hand to lift them above the rising tide. I will help as much as I can, but otherwise I have my own life. Leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone. Deal?