Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Where I Stand

For anyone new to this blog, or just for my old friends who would be interested in seeing my views summarized, I offer the following list, without too many details:
ABORTION. I am negative on this option. It is only remotely justifiable in the first trimester. Unborn humans become legal persons, in my view, with the onset of brainwave activity. I favor wide open access to birth control for all people and generous adoption policies.
BIRTH CONTROL: A fundamental human right, and that includes for unmarried people as well. Any pharmacist who doesn't want to dispense birth control needs to find a new profession.
GUN CONTROL: I'm against it, generally. No, people shouldn't be allowed to own surface to air missiles or things like that, but within very wide limits I think people should be able to own whatever weapons they choose, with background checks prohibiting ownership to the mentally ill and known felons.
GAY MARRIAGE: I am for it. Period.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: A well meaning policy that has not done what its supporters had hoped. It should be used to give the talented poor a leg up, not just members of certain categories.
DRUGS: Marijuana should be legalized and taxed. The prohibition on other drugs is one I am more leery of removing, but I'm willing to listen to arguments either way.
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. I am strongly for it. No using the public schools as religious forums during class time. No officially sponsored prayer. (Before or after school religious study groups, prayer sessions, etc., are fine with me.) No teaching creationism in any form. No officially sponsored Ten Commandments postings. America is a republic, not a theocracy, and it must be kept that way.
SEXUAL CONDUCT: As long as everybody involved is an adult and everybody involved says yes, the state has no interest in private sexual conduct. (This includes prostitution, which should be state regulated as a health issue, and adult pornography.) Child pornography and sex crimes against children should be punished relentlessly.
DEATH PENALTY: Under very carefully delineated conditions, I think it should be permitted.
FREE ENTERPRISE: I'm all for it. This means no more corporate welfare, no more subsidies for Big Oil, no more using the tax code and earmarks to dispense favors to business. Everyone stands or falls on their own.
TRADE: Fair trade, not unlimited free trade.
UNIONS: They need to be strengthened and the limits the radical Right has imposed on them need to be removed.
WELFARE AND POVERTY: Everyone should have to do something--work, school, community service, job training, etc.--to receive benefits. The Earned Income Credit needs to be expanded. A real push to abolish poverty by 2020.
ENERGY: A major, Manhattan Project style push for energy independence, with an emphasis on hybrid cars and renewable energy.
GLOBAL WARMING: Vigorous action to reduce greenhouse gases is needed NOW.
SPENDING AND TAXES: Restore tax levels on the richest Americans to what they were in 2000. Keep the Estate Tax. Eliminate tax loopholes and tax havens for the wealthy. Cut government spending generally. Work to reduce the national debt. Cut the deficit.
CIVIL LIBERTIES: No violations of the Bill of Rights in the name of fighting terror. No warrantless wiretaps. No dictatorial authority to the president.
EDUCATION: Strong emphasis on improving PUBLIC SCHOOLS. No to vouchers. No to rampant standardized test mania. No to the so-called "No Child Left Behind" law.
ENVIRONMENT: Preservation and conservation in the great tradition of Theodore Roosevelt. Enforcement of all environmental laws.
IRAQ: Remove all American forces by January 2008. No more escalation of the war.
TERRORISM: All out push to restore order in Afghanistan. All out push to destroy Al Qaeda and other extremist outfits threatening us. Emphasize police and intelligence work in combating terrorism. No use of torture in combating terrorism.
AREAS OF CONCERN: Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Diplomacy must be emphasized. Talk to our enemies. No attack on Iran or North Korea unless in retaliation for Iranian or North Korean attack on U.S. or U.S. forces. Restore America's image throughout the world.
So there, in a nutshell, is what I think. Generally pro-life, pro gun, negative on affirmative action, pro death penalty. Am I a conservative? Generally for having the government butt out of private conduct. Am I libertarian? Pro economic justice, pro union, pro national health care. Am I a liberal? I like to think I don't fall conveniently into any category. I just calls 'em as I sees 'em.


Anonymous said...

You are "generally pro-life". Would you ever favor any sort of ban on abortion? (granted that it gives exception for the life of the mother/rape/incest?)

I would like to hear your thoughts on this. I am pro-life as well, but not in favor of banning abortion under any circumstances. Instead, preventing it through open access to birth control, comprehensive sex ed., etc.

Joseph said...

No, I don't think such a ban would be useful. Moral persuasion and, as you say, open access to birth control and comprehensive sex ed would be preferable.

* said...

J, why the estate tax, shouldn't people be able to pass down what is rightfully earned?*

Joseph said...

I guess it depends on your definition of rightfully earned. Money in estates is often sheltered and never taxed during a lifetime. Further, the ideological concept of the Estate Tax is to impede the growth of a heriditary oligarchy in the United States. (That was T. Roosevelt's thinking, if I recall.) The tax affects a very small percentage of estates and will generate $1 trillion in badly needed revenue over the next ten years.

I think Paris Hilton could scrape by on $250 million as opposed to $350 million.

pablo said...

Yes, and many of us "rightfully earn" a paycheck, but we certainly have no choice as to whether we pay taxes on those earnings.