These are the rants of an anonymous Left-leaning Libertarian. Libertarian views are generally socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I view George Bush as the anti-Libertarian, he is socially conservative and fiscally irresponsible. Unless you are a very wealthy person, religious fundamentalist, or a racist redneck, I cannot understand why a person would support George Bush.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Think outside the box: A psychological/philosophical difference between the left & right.

There are many differences between the right & the left . . . but let me bring up a very high-level psychological/philosophical difference that I have noticed: The left-wing tends to look at all the evidence and consult experts in order to reach a logical conclusion. The right-wing tends to already have their conclusions and looks for evidence and experts to support their pre-existing view.

Granted, this itself is a broad generalization and there are many exceptions on both sides. But let me give a few examples by looking at a few issues.

Global warming/climate change: The left-wing largely believes that there is climate changing occuring and that is due in part by man made greenhouse gases. This view has come into being over many years of scientific research by scientific experts. Although this issue has received a lot of attention in the last few years, the science behind climate change goes back many many years. There has been over 20 years of study of this issue. The right-wing has been dismissive of this issue. They don't want to believe it, so they seek out what ever evidence & experts they can find to dismiss the issue.

So what is behind this? Well . . . it is the grand-daddy of all dogmatic issues: religion. Most religion basically say "Here is the book of what is true. Don't bother trying to examine the world and try to reach logical conclusions, just believe what is in this book and do what it says. And if you want some 'scientific' support, then just seek out the evidence & experts that agree with this book."

So many people on the right have picked a religion and dogmatically stick to it. They do the same with their politics. Fundamentalist Christians, Jews, and Mormons all tend to be right-wing. They just believe what they are told and stick to it no matter what. Even Muslims were strong backers of the Republican party back in 2000 before the Bush administration started killing so many Muslims. Religion is the backbone of much of the current conservative movement. Most of the big polarizing issues can be tied to religion. Gay marriage?. . . fundamentalist Jews, Christians, Mormons, and Muslims all hate it due for religious reasons. (Never mind that Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality.) Abortion . . . fundamentalists Christians, Mormons, and Muslims all oppose abortion for religious reasons. (Oh . . . Jesus never said anything about abortion either.) Even the Iraq war . . . if you really probe the views of the minority that still support the Iraq war, you'll see that they still support the war largely due their view of it being a war against Islam . . . a religious war. (Who was that 'prince of peace'?) I know that the Bush administration denies that this is a 'war on Islam' . . . but if you look at the few remaining war supporters, it is clear that the reason they support the war is because they view it as a war on Islamists. Fundamentalists Jews, Christians, and Mormons all support the Iraq war with this rationale. The sad/ironic thing is that this stupid war has strengthened the Islamists. Only after the Iraq war began did the Hamas Islamists win the Palestinian elections, the Muslim brotherhood Islamists gained seats in Egypt, and Ahmedinijad won election.

The powers of denial and rationalization in hardcore conservatives are amazing. Despite the Iraqi Survey Group finding nothing, a very large proportion of conservatives still believe there are unfound WMDs hidden in Iraq or that they were shipped off to Syria. (Never mind that this is completely illogical . . . if they really had WMDs, don't you think they would have used them by now?!?!) With the climate change issue, many conservatives have finally come to agree that climate change is occuring and that it is at least partly man-made . . . they now just think "So what?" So why don't they turn against the people who had been telling them for years that "global warming is a myth"? No respectable conservative will (publically) defend racism these days . . . yet they still support/admire people who defended racism until the bitter end (Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Joseph Smith, Trent Lott, etc.). The cognitive dissonance is amazing. If Ann Coulter was true conservative, she would shut up and get into the kitchen to start cooking for her husband & kids (I know she has neither . . . that is my point.).

An exception to this view are the big biz conservatives . . . they are just happy to go along with all the social conservative crap in order to keep getting their tax cuts & regulation cuts. One big irony is that the hardcore laissez-faire capitalism conservatives have been able to get these fundamentalist religious zealots to go along with their laissez-faire policies. Because when you really thing about it, laissez-faire capitalism is basically an economic version of evolution by natural selection . . . something the religious fundamentalists do not believe in! But even the laissez-faire capitalist conservatives suffer from denial & rationalization. If we continue to follow their policies, America will eventually become bankrupt due to endless budget deficits.

Think outside the box: California should split in two

Occasionally I have ideas that are big & impractical . . . but they should be considered. I am going to label these my 'think outside the box' posts. They are big & difficult but should be considered.

My first will be this: California should split into two. Northern & Southern California often have very different views on issues. And when those differences flare up, the idea of having California split into two states gets mentioned. I think this should happen. It should take place in a time such as now when there is no big issue that is currently in the headlines so it can be done peacefully and calmly. Many people have often said that California is ungovernable. It is just too darn big, has too many constituents, has too much in-fighting, etc. I agree. So let's do it.

But here is my ulterior motive . . . California will then double its Senate contingent. California is a massive state with a huge population and a huge economy. Yet due to historical artifact (or a 'bug' as I call it) in the American constitution, we only get two senators like every other state including such sparesly populated states like Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Splitting California in two would at least help rectify that massive injustice just a little bit.

So lets split in two now. Let's do it before the next North/South California battle flares up.

Lindsey Graham's amazing "5 rugs for 5 bucks!" gaffe

When on a recent staged photo-op in an Iraqi market with John McCain (who's presidential bid is rapidly collapsing), Lindsey Graham happily said "I got five rugs for five bucks!" That statement is so offensive, that I decided to count up a few of them:
1) The whole point of the photo-op was to show normalcy in Iraq . . . well, people desperately selling their belongings to stay alive is hardly normalcy. Five rugs for five bucks shows just how desperate the poor Iraqi people are.
2) Lindsey Graham's home state has been suffering horrible job losses in the textile industry. Lindsey Graham's joy in buying cheap textiles made by exploited foreign labor is a slap in the face of the people he is supposed to represent.
3) The rugs Lindsey bought were Islamic prayer rugs. The right-wing went ballistic over Nancy Pelosi wearing a scarf during her recent trip to Syria (never mind that Laura Bush and Bush advisor Karen Hughes did the same . . . hypocrisy is the right-wing way), so why are they not upset about Lindsey Graham's purchase of Islamic prayer rugs? Did Lindsey buy one rug for each of the five times he will pray to Allah each day as per Islam.
4) The McCain/Graham market outing was a huge tax-payer funded boondoggle that involved 100+ soldiers, Blackhawk helicopters, Apache gunships, snipers, etc. Five rugs for five bucks? No. Lindsey Graham paid five bucks, but the U.S. tax-payer subsidized his purchase with hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is the standard faux-conservative strategy . . . privatize the profits while socializing the risk.
5) As is typical, any American attention is trouble for an Iraqi person, place, or thing. The next day, that market was attacked by snipers.

Well it is nice to see that McCain & Graham got really pummeled for his cheap stunt. McCain got caught parroting bogus right-wing talking points while on right-wing media. So McCain tried to defend those talking points with this tax-payer funded stunt . . . and all he did was make matters worse. The 'straight-talk' express has been stuck in reverse for a while now.