Sunday, December 01, 2002

Hit or Miss?

Over at Dean's World I have been getting raked over the coals this holiday weekend, and I thought that you, my loyal reader, should see a little of the coloquy that is over there. But if you choose not to click, I present here some of the words I have laid on Dean's readers. Some thoughts on freedom for this Thanksgiving, 2002.
I must have failed to communicate properly. I decry the imminent coming of the social conservative groundswell. Personally I can think of nothing better than a return to states rights, so I can find a state to live in. That's why I moved to the Pacific Northwest in the first place. My own children go to religious school. That is my choice. I support Bush to keep my country and my people free.

I believe that Roe v. Wade was a mistake, and the federal government has no business meddling in the abortion debate. States should be free to pass laws that range fron allowing infanticide to a total abortion ban. I wouldn't want to live in either place, but you should be allowed to if you want.

But anyone who believes that those who espouse social or Christian conservativism will not be pushing their agenda hard as a result of the recent election missed something crucial that happened during the Reagan years. When the Sharks thrive, the Remora also grow strong. Reagan's popularity was reflected in boldness of action by those who would bring back the 1950s.

Don't get me wrong. I am a reactionary conservative, but I want to bring back the 1850s, with its more constitutional rendering of freedom and states rights, not the 1950s, with Eisenhower, HUAC, and the government testing people with nuclear fallout and LSD without consent.

But Dean, I never said, as you put it, "Bush is evil, Republicans hate liberty," because I believe that Democrats are even more evil, and truly hate liberty. What I do believe is that Bush is a politician, and a fundamentalist Christian one at that. We must expect him to use his power, and attempt to amass more of it, as well as to appease his base. Lovers of liberty face a Hobson's choice: vote for Republicans, or vote for losers. Either way, freedom loses. But the Democrats are no choice at all. Just imagine where we would be if Gore, Clinton, Mondale, Dukakis, Gephardt, or Daschle had been in charge on 9-11-2001. We would still be studying the "root causes of terrorism" and asking the Taliban for permission to investigate the "cowardly criminals" who had attacked us. And attacked us. And attacked us again.

Part of freedom is allowing others to have private practices that we might find abhorrent. There might well be states where women don't have the vote, alcohol is banned, polygamy is allowed, and, yes, slavery is extant. I don't know if anybody would live there, and the rights of slaves would have to be respected, but who are you to tell someone how to live their life. There is evidence that convicts being released from decades of incarceration, of whom we are expecting a bumper crop in the future, would willingly accept such a living arrangement. If I wanted to get a job from which I could not be fired, where my master pays all of the bills, in an ideal society, I should be allowed to do so. This may be far fetched, but as a matter of philosophy, I support the right of humans to pursue their own happiness in ways I may not agree with. You think I should be grateful that you will allow us to keep alcohol. I believe that citizens should have the right to their own life; to live it as they choose, including the right to end it when, where, and how they choose, given that they don't interfere with someone else's right to do the same.

What I admire about 1850s America is that the government left the people pretty much to themselves. You could build a house according to your own standards of construction. Grow whatever crops you wished. Buy whatever you wanted. Hire whomever you felt was qualified. Fire whomever you felt like firing. Rent your house to whomever you liked. Tell your secretary that she looks pretty today without giving her ammunition for blackmail against you tomorrow.

The truth is that the world I envision is not the 1850s or the 1950s, but the very best 2050s that we can fashion for my children and grandchildren to live in. I am a reactionary, not a time traveller. I want to bring back the good old days in the context of tomorrow.

Now, why can't we all just get along?
Of course, the comments and posts I am responding to above make this more of a debate than a rant. Click on over to Dean's any time for a good read. I hang out there a lot myself.