Sunday, June 20, 2010

So am I Extremely Middle-of-the-Road?

I have had many labels placed on me during my life. I have been called a conservative. In fact, one man once described me as being "just to the right of Hitler." I, of course, disagreed with him. I’ve also quite often been called a liberal nut-job.

I don't mind being labeled. It is just interesting to me that I can carry so many conflicting labels, placed there by people trying to further their own agendas.

In actuality, it’s hard to pigeonhole me. To an ultra-conservative reactionary, I am a bleeding-heart liberal. But, to a bleeding-heart radical, I am a fascist! In reality, I can straddle the fence on many controversial issues. I can also hold strongly liberal views on one topic while being ultra-conservative on another. I take each issue separately, and decide on each using criteria that I feel applies specifically to that issue. And, when possible, I rely on reason more often than I rely on emotion.

As a public service to those who feel the need to stick a label on me, here’s a how-to guide describing my view on various issues.

Abortion -- I believe that elective abortion as a means of birth control is wrong. However, I also know that a fetus that is so young as to be unviable is little more than a foreign organ inside a pregnant woman's womb. Therefore, I believe that a woman should have the right to CHOOSE what to do about her pregnancy, as long as she makes that choice before the fetus becomes viable. Those who believe that abortion is murder should simply choose not to have an abortion, if it ever comes up. But to deny others the right to choose one way or another is a travesty of our American system that values free choice. (Ideology: left of center.)

Gun Control -- I believe that assault weapons and guns of mass murder should be outlawed for sale, manufacture, and importation. I believe that heavy restrictions should be placed on the sale of hand guns. (Ideology: left of center.)

Affirmative Action -- I believe that affirmative action, and its associated tenets, is probably one of the worst mistakes ever made by Congress. I believe that similar rulings made by federal court judges regarding forced busing, quotas in the workplace, etc., are similarly misguided. I believe a private employer should have the right to hire and fire whomever he or she wishes, for any reason. (Ideology: far right.)

Welfare -- Welfare should be "workfare" in that all able-bodied recipients should be put to work. In addition, they should be trained and given job skills, then sent through a placement program which will ultimately lead to their being employable, contributing members of society. (Ideology: right of center.)

Government -- I believe in the Federalist doctrine where that applies to everyone, such as in foreign affairs, domestic policy, and education. I believe in strong states' rights on issues that are more effective if handled locally, such as what speed limit to enforce. I don't believe that the federal government should create unfunded mandates. (Ideology: basically neutral.)

Prayer in school -- There has always been, and there currently remains, no ban on prayer in school. Every student, every teacher, and every administrator has the right to pray in school, (even out loud), as long as it does not interfere with the educational process. There is, and there should remain, a ban on organized prayer. I don't want any law or school policy dictating to kids how or when they should pray. (Ideology: left of center.)

Church and State – The framers of the Constitution built a wall of separation between religion and government. That wall should remain tall and firm. There is absolutely no place in public schools for religious indoctrination. There is no place in science class for the teaching of religious dogma such as Creation or Intelligent Design. The phrase “In God We Trust” should be removed from currency and license plates. The phrase “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. There is no room to display the Ten Commandments on government property. Religion should be taught in schools, all religions, from a historical perspective so that students can learn for themselves that religion is an antiquated notion whose time has passed. (Ideology: left of center)

Health Care – Health care should be a basic human right provided to all citizens equally by the government. For those who can afford it, they can opt in to a premium insurance plan that provides extra coverage if they wish. (Ideology: left of center)

Overall ideology -- Both liberals and conservatives believe in equality. The point of contention is what should be equal. It is said that liberals believe in the tenet of equality of condition; that is, the wealth should be spread around so that everyone has what he needs. It is also said that conservatives believe in the idea of equality of opportunity, in that everyone should have an equal opportunity to make it, or to fail. They must then live with their accomplishments, or lack thereof. I think these summaries are oversimplified. Economically, I tend to lean conservative, but with a nod toward the progressive ideals and ideas that prevent widespread poverty and lack of health care. (Ideology: slightly left of center)

In the end, I guess my conservative side balances out my liberal side, making me more or less "middle of the road," but with a slight leaning toward the left. But I'm not a centrist on most individual issues. When I do form opinions on an issue they tend to be strong, whether they are left-leaning or right-leaning.

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