What am i trying to achieve?
I am not sure yet, but I am pretty sure there are a couple things that I hope will emerge.
One is a general philosophy and belief for how we, as humans, can progress. My thoughts, observations, and internal analysis and application of the works of great thinkers of the past all seem to be circling a central theme. One I could write about directly today, but I wouldn't do it justice as it is not fully developed yet. In this way, this blog is an exploration and journey towards developing that idea.
Another goal is to provide a place for me to broadcast my thoughts to others in hopes that I, in the very least, provoke some thought. I have always had a perspective that was slightly different than most, and typically when taken to its logical end finds a way, no matter the listener, to disagree to one degree or another and sometimes offend. Mostly, I think, because I do not hold true to any one philosophy or perspective, nor do I subscribe to any belief that one has to always agree with even oneself. I normally don't :). At least never completely. Plus, I don't take things for granted that others hold as concrete truths. And for me, having an impact, specifically an inspirational one, is chief among my own life goals.
The biggest goal is to have an outlet for the thoughts that occupy my mind all night long, and to be able to have the freedom to release these thoughts without fear of personal judgement.
I am presently fighting a life threatening disease, and because of this there is a sense of urgency in the above mentioned goals. I remain optimistic, however my prognosis does not agree. So while I believe I have the rest of a normal lifetime to develop these thoughts, there is still a justifiable fear that I do not.
My politics are pretty simple. I am a moderate. Relative to today's political environment I would be considered leaning left, however, not for the reasons most would think. I believe in a government that balances individual freedoms with social progress.
I love the ideas brought forth by Ayn Rand, that selfishness and egoism can be a good thing if done with respect and the assumption that others do, too. But I also see us as a small system in a very large world that is only significant in that we are part of a larger developing system, and therefore, I view selfishness only as a tool that can be used, oddly, as a tool for social good. A very conservative view.
I also agree with a free market, insomuch as government should not own or be affiliated with capital ventures or groupings directly. However, I do believe that the government has a responsibility and obligation to regulate these capital ventures so that a) those who do own the venture are free to focus on that and nothing else (selfish is good if the rules of the game are managed by a third party) and b) an objective, outside party will insure that the venture will not cause harm. Right now we are not doing that. Contrary to some folks' claims, there is no "strangling" of businesses and the economy by big government, and those who are called "job creators" actually are NOT that. This concept has been proven wrong time and time again.
The concept that greed and free market alone can progress us further is a fantasy created so that the common human votes for corporate freedoms instead of individual protections. The State needs to not influence corporate decisions directly, but create a playing field that works best for the society that the capital venture is feeding on. Don't worry. It may make it more difficult for the company, but the executive staff get paid a lot to make it work in any environment. Stop handing them easy scenarios that harm the public interest.
We need to raise taxes on everyone, and we need more social programs to provide more basic needs while lowering risk thus encouraging small business growth and innovation. And our leaders need to start asking more of people, not placating them into self righteousness, anger, and ignorance.
We are in the biggest and most potent democracy in human history and yet it is hard for the people to hold themselves accountable for our representation. Some think we are no longer represented and we do not live in a democracy. Wake up! We do live in a democracy; we are just fucking it up by whining about those we hired to govern us. And money controls politics because we allow it to influence our vote, period. What do you think the politicians do with the money given them?
The American citizen needs to be held accountable for America's actions domestically and abroad. In addition, I believe partially in Mill's idea of public versus private. While I myself am not a utilitarian, I see the reason behind allowing the banning of certain public actions in the name of public indecency AS LONG AS the government does not ban them in private unless they harm others. This allows individuality, freedom, and the chance for social progress in the form of living experiments.
So that means...
I am pro-abortion. Sorry, a fetus is not yet a human in my eyes. Therefore, there is no harm to any one but the person who is pregnant, who is electing for the procedure, therefore the State has no right to interfere. And there is empirical data showing the positive effects in society after abortion has been legalized.
I am pro homosexual marriage. Again, not something the state should be able to prohibit. And as for the churches performing the marriage, well that is between them, the couple, and God. The State shouldn't be able to force the church to marry homosexuals. Let's keep it separate, shall we?
I am pro legalization of marijuana. I don't particularly get a whole lot from the drug, but as far as protecting people from harm, booze and cigarettes cause much more harm than pot. Get the facts... then get over it.
I am a proponent of more state power in order to create more experimentation with our laws. This is the type of "competition" that I support. Competition is a good and necessary thing, but it doesn't always have to be about money, and when we force it to be, bad things can happen.
That being said, I am supportive of federal power for gradually applying laws involving personal freedoms, but the federal government should not push non-moderate changes. States should have the freedom to be very progressive or very conservative, but the federal government needs to change slowly.
In addition, I believe in the federal government right to create laws based on commerce and the economy, and the federal government should have more regulation, taxation, and economic stimulus.
I believe in social healthcare, and the arguments against it are weak, cherry picked, and generally misguided. When money dictates treatment, we have a serious problem that is greater than any negative point about social healthcare. And I am all for "death panels" or at least what the ignorant were mistaking the term for.
I feel that the republican party has embraced a paternalistic agenda in order to gain power so they can push their free market, no regulation goals. I also feel that most members of the party do not realize this, because the party has also embraced the idea that the end justifies the means, so honest discussion is not necessary. I call them the neo-reps, because they are no longer the republican party to me and do not represent conservative views. The leadership is off its meds and becoming increasingly dangerous to this nation and the world. They are leading good people to their own slaughter. I am serious. History be our teacher.
I feel the democrat party has not risen to the challenge. They are too afraid to stick to their principles, too specific and disorganized to push a unified theme broad enough to encompass everyone in the party, and too busy trying to play both sides of the aisle, desperately covering that vacuum the neo-reps left when they abandoned their posts.
I DO NOT endorse the idea of a third political party.
I feel that, despite an appropriate amount of criticisms, President Obama has been the closest thing to an outstanding executive that we have seen for a long, long time. He is moderate, compromising, educated, capable of abstract application to real situations, tolerant, patient, and organized. I also feel the behavior of other government employees and civil servants towards him have been counter-productive, childish, and disheartening. He could be potentially one of our best presidents -- if we stop wasting him. And no, I don't think he should do more. The executive branch shouldn't have more power; we just need to provide it with a functional legislative branch.
I believe that the supreme court is stepping across the line. However, I also am not alarmed about it per se. There is always an ebb and flow, and right now they are originalists, lean right, and champion supreme court power to strike down legislation (which is not granted to them anywhere except in their own past judgements). This is only dangerous if it continues and we have an uprising. I hope Obama will, in his second term, have the opportunity to appoint another member and even the match up.
When I vote, I typically vote democrat. When the general belief in this country flips to left of center, that may change. But right now, despite having a democrat president and these ridiculous claims that our policies are socialist, we are leaning so far right, our lips are almost in the dirt. Either side, when to that extreme, gets unstable and morally questionable.
I believe the Occupy Wall Street movement is a necessary step in citizen awakening. They successfully changed the conversation. However, I feel that the pressure for them to pick specific issues, solutions, or actions is exactly what it doesn't need. Advocacy groups are great for that, but OWS was about speaking out for all Americans about how the process, and discussion, has gotten away from us. And as a result, the class divides have gotten out of control, which throughout history usually leads to (not so pretty) revolutions.
It's not about the issues, it's about how we are handling the discussion of such issues. Otherwise, it can't be something that can represent the 99%. Unless, of course, one believes that we can find a single solution that will fit for everyone, and we should push that solution on everyone, even the unwilling, for their own good. Which is EXACTLY what the problem is now... so don't do that.
I also believe that the president (and governors and senators) should be vetted by the public not just on character, but on understanding and knowledge of anthropology, philosophy, psychology, HISTORY, and foreign affairs. It should be the hardest prerequisite list in the world. Based on that I find Obama qualified the GOP candidates not qualified.
I make an exception for the representatives in state and federal houses. They should represent the public and their general views more closely... that is to say, most folks do not have knowledge of those subjects, and that should be represented as well in our government body.
my religious and philosophical beliefs...
I am agnostic. I believe that there is no plausible way for a human to know anything absolutely, and therefore to not question the existence of God is to fool yourself into thinking that not only you know something absolutely, but that people you don't even know who sat down and wrote some books know as well. Today we have something similiar, it's called the internet. And as sure as I am that many will read this and disagree on many of my points, I am sure that most of the crap I read on the internet is bullshit. I take it all in to provoke thought and gain perspective, but I certainly don't take people's beliefs on their word.
I love religions, though. I find them beautiful and meaningful, despite the poor representation of them by their worshippers. I have often been disappointed by a so-called religious leader and/or advocate.
I also believe that atheism is a religion, not a position against religion. It takes just as much faith to believe there is no God as there is to believe there is. The negative argument is not a viable logical solution, so saying there is no proof of God is the same as saying intelligent design is right because evolution doesn't explain xyz.
I believe that at a very micro level there are infinite systems at play, and at a very macro level we are part of a larger system among an infinite number of systems. I believe that we will continue to "evolve", but through technology, and that just because we will be consciously making changes to our biology and augmenting with manmade items, does not make it any different than the evolution of the brain to reach a point where it can store information. It's difficult to see on an everyday basis, but I believe humankind is not very far from single cell organisms relative to the entire spectrum of what could be.
I am still working on my ideas about consciousness and identity. In general, I do not believe in a soul, but view each 'individual' as a collection of memories and stored information.
I feel that spiritually we should all make an attempt to connect to this world consciously, because we already do subconsciously. We, as a species, need to realize that being prejudice is part of being an animal, which we are, and understand that our true ability lies in being able to simultaneously be prejudice and logically understand empathy and the idea that we are made of the same stuff.
Empathy is the key to unlocking our potential as a species.
I have some not-quite normal views on racism and prejudices. I am still developing it in my mind, but it plays a role in my general philosophy.
Ultimately, as far as religion from the point of view of every day behavior, the best way to live is some odd combination of selfishness and the realization that we are insignificant, but we as a species can be something great. Weird, right?
Well hopefully I can explain it better as I, myself, continue to explore, learn, and blog.