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Sunday, March 7, 2010

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A Response To An E-mail

One of the best things about writing a regular online feature is that I get to share my views and observations with the rest of the world, while at the same time becoming enlightened to the perspectives that others may have on the same topics. A case in point is the e-mail I received a couple of weeks ago that I am just now able to answer.
As I read the e-mail, I considered the possibility that others may have similar questions and/or concerned about my postings and my particular perspectives on political and social issues. As a consequence, I decided to respond to the e-mail publicly in order to both clarify why I write regularly (or irregularly as the case may be), and where my ideological perspectives lay (while assuming that the author did/does not want his/her name revealed).

Hi:
The reason I am contacting you about your blog is because I read a comment you left on the Detroit Free Press’s website regarding Washington’s connection to special interests and how it makes the average American citizen irrelevant to the political and voting process. After reading your comments, I traced your profile to your blog and started to read a few of your past postings.
First, let me say that I consider myself very much an active political conservative. And although you portray yourself as “nonpartisan,” I sense a decidedly leftist bent to your beliefs.
As an example I noticed that you seem to attack Republicans far more than Democrats, and Conservatives more than Liberals. Why is this? I believe in the free market, but not government interference with individual liberty. I believe in God and the power of prayer, and I believe that this country was founded on Christian principles. I also believe in closing our borders, promoting individual responsibility, and the power of hard work to change the lives of Americans for the better, and not government spending or mandates imposed on us by dictatorial public officials.
Please help me to understand where you stand.

P.S In spite of my questions, I find myself agreeing with many of the things your write about, especially as they relate to corruption of the political process because of the money-backed influence of special interests.

I concede that this is not an easy response for me to make convincingly given that most individuals tend to allow their passions, their emotions, and previously-held ideological beliefs to override their ability to reason. I on the other hand—at the risk of being labeled arrogant or elitist—believe that in order to see problems and prepare ourselves to make the necessary changes in order to make society better for all, we must treat our hearts like the enemy. In other words, the only way we can even consider objective analysis of a social or political problem is to leave our personal beliefs as well (especially so) our feelings at the doorstep of reason. Such personality influences such as emotions and ideological dogmas tend to cloud judgment, impair critical thinking, and most of all tends to lead to legislative gridlock in our states and nation’s capitals; this is how I tend approach my postings and my own observations, as I feel that Americans emote too much and reason too little.
In so much as your observations that I tend to have a bias in favor of left-of-center thinking, that may not entirely be a figment of your imagination; I am a former registered Democrat and born-again free-thinker. As such, many of the things that I believe have their basis in a mentality based on what’s in the best interests of all concerned. Overall though, I find way too much wrong with the policies of both Democrats and Republicans alike. To sum up my reservations with these particular established political parties, I find that Democrats are too liberal with regards to many social policies, while I find Republicans far too self-righteous and sanctimonious…and both way too hypocritical in many areas of their stated views on public policy vs. their actions.
I believe in pragmatic social and political policies, not policies which cater to a particular section of the voting electorate, reinforces some narrow-minded dogmatic thinking, or is based on someone’s interpretation of religious principle; I myself an agnostic, and believe that the doctrines of a particular religious tradition has no place in public policy.
Take for example the issue of gun control. Despite the reality of the lunatic fringe, I feel that it is the right of every legal and law-abiding citizen to own a weapon for personal protection. Laws to the contrary only empower criminals, who outnumber the police in many areas of the country. As a matter of reality, the police cannot be everywhere, and in most cases the nature of crimes committed tends to force most officers of the law into the role of post-activity investigators, not agents of prevention. It simply makes no legitimate sense to limit gun ownership and/or possession by those who rely on peace officers who cannot prevent most criminal activity to protect them.
I also don’t believe promoting unfounded fears that our children will somehow be ravaged by the failure to impose laws of questionable effectiveness. The best example I can cite are the no drug zones in and around our public schools. In order to get these ridiculous “exclusion” zones erected and enacted into law, those who promoted the idea played on the fears of the public that our children’s futures would be endangered and the public, which predictably bought into the propaganda, acquiesced. The only thing that have resulted from these zones are mass criticism, mandatory sentencing of non-violent first-time, even more overstuffed jails/prisons, and created discrepancies between urban and suburban schools “no drug zones” (where by the way, drug use is just as prevalent than in many urban areas). The upshot is that imposition of these “no drug/drug-free” zones tends to create a “no drug” area so large that the only end result is an overtaxed judiciary in many areas, and no higher level of safety for children in these areas given that most drug use/purchasing does not occur anywhere near a public school…and even if one happens to occur in said area, the location is usually incidental to schools. Simply out, its unnerving how people are quick to invoke the mantra of protecting our children in craft laws which simply fail to do just that.
If you opt to be a regular reader of my postings, you may take note that my observations tend to come with proposed ideas for policy solutions. Both my observations and proposed solutions may or may not utilize ideas from across the political spectrum; that they may be notions promoted by a particular political group of establish political ideology is incidental, as I like base solutions on the needs of people, not to validate someone’s ideological beliefs. Sometimes, I may op to think outside the spectrum, such as my belief that people should be either licensed or meet some tangible qualifications to bare and raise children. Yes, I freely acknowledge that this seems beyond the pale, but considering how both our children and our parents are turning out, its hardly too much of a social imposition. On any given day in any state in the union, you can see the results of bad parenting. Just pick up a newspaper or turn on any local or national news broadcasts. Social service organizations, government institutions, and local judiciaries are overwhelmed with trying to undo the effects of parents who simply take the time to procreate, but not raise children…and the children who often go bad because of it. I have often made the statement that its insane that you need a license to drive a automobile, to install plumbing, or to even cut hair…but anyone can legally have a child, including those who are little more than children themselves.
Anyway, I hope that I have answered your question(s) about my blog. I invite anyone to feel free to write my blog if they have questions, of just wish to sound off…unlike others, I don’t censor.

3 comments:

  1. Beyond, I am the writer of the e-mail, and I would like to thank you for responding to me in such a professional manner. No, I do not agree with everything you post, but you definately give me food for thought.

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