Sunday, July 10, 2011

Come Home, America!

I've recently added my name to hundreds of others (in the comments section) of a trans-ideological, multi-partisan open letter to President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress at the newly launched
"Dear President Obama and Members of Congress:

"The wars in which the United States is currently engaged–in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Libya–are harming U.S. national and economic security, degrading the standing of the United States in the world community, fueling hatred abroad for Americans and undermining the rule of law. These unconstitutional wars have been justified on false premises, and most recently in the case of Libya there was not even the pretense of a congressional declaration of war, making it an impeachable offense. We urge you to end the current illegal wars and start a national dialogue about shifting U.S. foreign policy away from dominance through military might, and toward being a member of the community of nations. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rules of Engagement

Good guidelines to follow for discussion of topics related to politics and/or current events with people who disagree with you:
1.) Give the other person the benefit of the doubt that they are arguing just as much in good faith as you are. Neither you nor they should assume that the other is the embodiment of all evil in the universe, or even “shills” for Big Business, The “Homosexual Agenda,” The Christian Right, Neo-Confederates, the Ku Klux Klan, the Conspiracy to Destroy Western Civilization, etc., etc. 

2.) Though you most certainly are entitled to express any opinion you wish to express, it is more helpful to your case when your opinion is actually based on some verifiable fact(s) of reality. To enter into any argument is to implicitly accept the laws of logic, of cause and effect. Basing your argument on appeals to emotion and feelings at the expense of facts and logic will be to simply expose your own ass to the other person and anyone else observing the discussion. 

3.) Be open to the possibility of learning something from the other person, even if their ideological disposition is diametrically opposed to your own. You may learn certain facts that you didn’t know previously, which is always a plus even if you don’t agree with the other person’s interpretation of what those facts mean or imply. You don't know everything there is to know about a given topic or issue, Mr. Smarty Pants.

4.) Political disagreements are rarely—if ever—a good reason to sunder long valued friendships and family relationships. There may be some exceptions to this rule, such as advocacy of genocide, slavery, or human sacrifices, for example, in which case said discussant is most likely a sociopath and so there may then be very good reason to be wary of any further association with that individual. But short of someone defending those kinds of ideas, political differences are no good reason to abandon relationships with friends and family that have long enhanced your life in numerous ways.

Happy arguing!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Conservative Analysis and the Libertarian Non-Moment

It’s painfully obvious that America is nowhere near a “libertarian moment,” Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch’s Hegelian, wishful “analysis” notwithstanding. James P. Pinkerton very effectively proves why at The American Conservative, though ironically not by his factual analysis (or lack thereof), but by trotting out all the half-formed impressions and shibboleths that continue to be all too typical of the unexamined assumptions of American politics. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Secession Day

Every Fourth of July (even though the Continental Congress had actually cast their votes for independence from the British Empire on the Second of July), Americans celebrate, whether they consciously recognize it or not, the idea of secession--or at least a historic event that was grounded in the right of secession as a fundamental political principle.

Here's to secession at every possible level--political, personal, spiritual. Here's to declaring your secession from all the many and varied kinds of tyrants of mind, muscle and soul.

Here's to freedom in all of its many dimensions.