I think I’m a dark purple politically.
I agree with the core conservative principle of a weak national government that stays the hell out of our private business except to protect us from each other where we can’t work things out ourselves. I also agree with fiscal conservatism – I want tax cuts and the government only doing what it does better than we can do ourselves – build roads, standardize schools, some social services, etc.
I am very socially liberal, but there are some exceptions on sexual issues and on some aspects of the abortion debate. Otherwise, I’m a hippie pinko greenie-weenie I suppose. I’m much less comfortable than most conservatives are on in-vitro fertilization (which leads to hundreds of thousands of destroyed embryos, which are for some reason completely ignored by the so-called Pro-Life movement). I’m a big supporter of the liberal viewpoint on the environment – for me, that falls under the government’s job of protecting us from each other. Protecting me from your pollution and you from mine, as it were, because the alternative is the rich and powerful piling garbage on top of all of us.
Unlike liberals or conservatives, I’m strongly anti-war. I’d say that currently liberals are feebly anti-war and anti-violence in a patchwork way. As far as I can tell, conservatives are almost always pro-war and, frankly, pro-violence as I define it. But listening to, say, Obama and McCain talk about “national security”, I find that I’m distant from both of them in my values.
I do agree with the general liberal principle that taxes partly function to re-distribute wealth in a society. The boot-strap millionaire is our most enduring myth, and one of the most profoundly false. The wealthy benefit from society far more than the poor do, through no merit of their own whatsoever in almost all cases, and some mechanism needs to also push in the other direction.
I’m in favor of the total dismantling of the US military on every level (part of what I mean by “anti-war”). I think that at most we should go back to state militias, which was the Founding Father’s most likely intent with the Second Amendment anyway. Then, if our society decides to go to war, or we want to intervene in a place like Darfur, we send our state militias. I think this would go a long way to reduce the amount of bombs we drop on innocent civilians on the other side of the planet, or the number of right-wing dictatorships we prop up in the developing world. The gun-nuts could have their guns (they already do of course), and we could feel safe from foreign military threats, but our ability to be the world’s bully/police force would be curtailed – which I think is a good thing.
(I already know how popular that idea is – that one probably doesn’t even count as purple, but some other color. What color is Christian ethics? Because I basically get my position on war from Jesus and the prophets.)
I think that liberals have been right on almost every social conflict in our country in the last 100 years. They were right on child labor and labor laws in general, on unions, on sexism and racism, on education and social services, on safety regulations and environmental protections. They have been right again and again, and I think that should count for something. In every one of these conflicts, the conservative side stood for children in factories and no protections for workers, for mysogyny and disenfranchisement of women and minorities, for segregation, against equitable education, for abandoning the poor to the whims of the market, for unsafe products and work environments and for the destruction of the environment for profit. I think that counts for something too.
In some cases, like drugs for example, both liberals and conservatives were wrong, and I think our overcrowded prison system swelling with non-violent drug offenders should tells us that we’re still wrong on that count.
I also want to say that conservatism has been “right” in that it provides a necessary counter-balance to the extremes of the liberal position. I’m not saying we should only have liberals, I’m just saying that if we had no liberals, we’d have no society that we’d currently recognize. (Well, we’d recognize it in history books)
Right now, I think that liberalism has totally betrayed itself in a massive act of cowardice and that conservatism has gone insane. The Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility and balancing the budget. The Republicans are doing all in their power to increase the authority of the federal government to imprison without cause or explanation, to spy on us without warrants, and to torture with impunity. How did this happen? Are there actual small-government conservatives out there somewhere? Or real-life fiscal conservatives? Have they been scared into hiding by the neo-cons or something?
For some reason I have politics on the brain right now. It must be because I keep being told how important and exciting this Presidential election is. I’m pretty sure its actually neither, but who am I to decide?