Saturday, May 1, 2010

My beliefs are rad

Obama gave a speech yesterday in which he insulted and denigrated Conservatives, and then asked for both sides to quit insulting and denigrating each other. Hypocrisy is nothing new in politics, nor is it something one side does any more than the other. But is this political spin, trying to reshape public opinion of conservatives into radicals, or does he genuinely believe his position is the mainstream and everyone else is the radical?

He said that he's concerned about the rhetoric of one side distrusting government or considering it inefficient or bad. I watched his speech in utter disbelief. There's a name for Republicans that trust government to solve our problems. That name is Democrat. His speech was about as stupid as me standing in front of a crowd and saying, "The problem with you Christians is you don't follow the teachings of the Buddha." How does someone as intelligent sounding as Obama seem to be so blinded by his own ideology that he not only cannot see the opposition side nor understand the justification of its existence?

He commented on a Tea Partier's sign that said something about keeping government away from medicare. Ok, so that is a little funny / ironic. That's sort of like asking to keep religion out of the Bible. But I'd imagine the person holding the sign is actually trying to say is that the government should not further alter Medicare from what it presently is and does. That probably doesn't fit on a cardboard sign on a stick as well, nor is it all that catchy in a protest chanty kinda way. Or, of course, maybe the person with the sign was just stupid. But in either case, the President using that instance to insult someone for a sound bite is childish.

I've heard a lot of liberals try and insult Republicans by saying things like, "If you're against Socialism, how come you use the Post Office, Social Security, Medicare, Public Transportation, Public Schools / State Colleges, Government funded roads..." etc. This is an argument based on pure demagoguery. It reminds me of the argument creationists use to say, "If we evolved out of monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"

The reason why Republicans are not against those socialist programs I mentioned, is because we're Republicans. There's a word for people that are against ALL socialist programs. That word is Anarchists. Republicans are not Anarchists. We believe that government should be as small as possible, while only providing the bare bones services that benefit the country. Now, you might say that also describes Democrats. And it does, but where that line is of what's beneficial and what's wasteful is different for everyone.

It's also interesting to think about what political party we ascribe to is influenced by what the country currently is. For instance, I'm a Republican because I think the government is currently too big. But if the country were to radically move towards the right--passed Republicanism and into the realm of Anarchy, I would have to become a Democrat at that point and argue for why we at least need basic law enforcement and roads. And in such a bizarre world, I might be called a Socialist by all the Anarchists for suggesting such a thing. Of course, I will never be a socialist, but to an Anarchist who doesn't know just how far to the left I would go, I could very well seem like one.

But for the most part, I think Moderate and Conservative Democrats are ok and not all that different from Republicans. Of course, I'm most definitely NOT a social conservative, and agree very little with most conservatives on social issues. That's probably more because of my religious beliefs. Conservatives are overwhelmingly also deeply religious(I'm one of the very rare ones that are not). As a side note, fiscal conservatism and social conservatism are radically different things--and even seem to ideologically oppose each other. For the life of me, I can't understand why they tend to go together in most people. Like, "I want government to stay out of my life, but I'm ok with people using the government to force their religious beliefs on others--as long as it's the same religious beliefs I value," and "I want religion out of my life, but I think government should tax and oppress us however a group of politicians see fit," seem to describe most people. These are radical combinations in my mind, but yet seem to be one of the two categories that fit the bulk of Americans. Libertarians are one of the few groups out there that are in nether camp, wanting to keep both out of our lives. In some ways, I'm more a Libertarian that a Republican.

I understand that being an Atheist makes me a radical. Not that I'm crazy or anything. In fact, my "radical status," has as much to do with what I believe as it does with what percentage of people believe something else. If half the religious people in the world were to convert to Atheism, I would no longer be a religious radical, despite the fact that I personally have not changed.

My point here(yeah, I get off on tangents) is that I don't have a problem with Obama for being a political radical. My point is that he's either trying to get the mainstream to reject the other side, or he's completely unable to understand the other side.

I'm able to understand Liberalism. On the surface, it sounds like it's about helping people, working for a cleaner environment, and building a stronger world. Who the hell would be against that? I would argue that Conservatism shares this goal, something Liberals would laugh at. I just don't agree that giving entitlements to people encourages them to work more efficiently. I believe the opposite is true, and decades of soviet rule has proven as such. People need to be challenged. It's unfortunate that Liberals like to think they've got the "caring market" cornered and that conservatives must be heartless bigots just because we've figured out free handouts don't always motivate people.

I do agree with Obama that people who listen to Glenn Beck should spend sometime reading the Huffington Post and vice verse. I've actually read a few articles there I agreed with. Most of the Huff Post is childish Republican bashing. Much of what Rush Limbaugh says is childish Dem bashing. But people really should at least listen to the extreme and middle views every now and then. Even if you don't agree with the other side, you can not understand what your position is unless you truly understand what your position is not.

I think this works for religion as well. If you don't understand the fundamentals on hinduism, buddhism, or islam, then you are not really a christian. Can you imagine the first time you ever fell inlove and thinking this was the person you'd spend the rest of your life with. Everything about her just felt right. Then after you break up, you think, "What the hell was wrong with me? She was horrible to me! Why did I put up with that for so long?" I've been there too many times. Sad to think that most religious people will only know and accept the first religion they're exposed to, think it's "the one" and never leave it no matter how silly or illogical it is. Bah, anyways.

Speaking of agreeing with Obama on a completely different topic, playing hardball with Israel might just pay off. If he can get Israel to stop construction in East Jerusalem, and hand it over to the Palestinians, then I think he'll be the first American since Dr. Martin Luther King, jr to genuinely deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. I'm really hoping he succeeds there. I don't know if he's playing Iran the right way at all though. I guess we'll see.

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