If you've stood on a soapbox long enough, there's the chance that what you were saying then is not necessarily what you are saying now. One purpose of this exercise (others will manifest themselves) is to acknowledge those disparities, and either somehow reconcile them or bask in their harsh light. Maybe both.

How have your political views changed since you began blogging?

There's a slight but definite shift rightward, though I tend to attribute this more to disillusionment than anything else. (More precisely, you could describe me as having gone from "not as far left as David Horowitz" to "not as far right as David Horowitz.") As one of the hated Baby Boomers, I got plenty of exposure to the do-your-own-thing ethic of the 1960s, and I am simply amazed at how it has been perverted over the intervening four decades: Person A's own thing is now deemed superior to Person B's own thing because B refuses to be immersed in A's cultural milieu, and there are enough A's out there to demand that the power of the government be used to suppress B. If this seems improbable to you, you haven't seen a university "speech code" lately: their sole purpose is to define Protected Individuals, with penalties prescribed for anyone who upsets them. I have always believed — and nothing in the past forty years has come close to dislodging this belief — that if your self-esteem is dependent on the government and on cultural organizations telling you how important you are, you aren't that important: you're just another pathetic barnacle clinging for life to the Ship of State, and should you be scraped off the hull, you will scarcely be missed.

Are you a Conservative or a Liberal? Or are you one of those other l-words?

I refuse to sit still long enough for a word to be attached. I am very much a traditionalist, though this is due less to fondness for tradition than to dismay at the fruits of its abandonment. And despite my willingness to tilt at various political windmills in this space, I consider myself largely apolitical: I resent bitterly the contemporary notion that everyday life and politics are utterly inseparable. "I am not an activist," says Steph Mineart, and I don't blame her one bit:

I hate politics. I know — I write almost constantly about politics and show up at the statehouse and city-county council, so that doesn't seem correct, but it's true. I really don't enjoy politics at all, and would rather have nothing to do with it. I really wish my entire involvement in politics was showing up to vote once a year. I find the whole process excruciating; the arguing, the ass-kissing, the public speaking, the obvious lying and animosity. Ugh.

But I don't really have any choice in the matter. As a gay person in a red state, I have to pay attention to what's going on and to act because it has a direct impact on my personal life in so many ways — legally, financially, safety and security-wise.

Government has grown so far beyond its original mandates (and Constitutional restrictions) that just about all of us are under attack in some fashion, though clearly Mineart faces greater — certainly more organized — threats than I do, and in no way does she deserve them.

Beyond that, I have a great deal of trouble coming up with a reason to identify with the umpteen gazillion interest groups that constantly fight for the national attention: you can't have a workable Us vs. Them motif if the pronouns shift with every single issue. The Constitution, as I've noted before, "begins 'We the People'; there are no qualifiers or subdivisions." The two groups to which I do pay dues generally have enough sense to keep their focus narrow.

What's the short version of what you believe?

Oddly enough, Frank Portman sets it down better than I do:

I'm not any religion myself, but for the record, I'm pretty sure I believe in God. It's just a feeling I have. I can't prove it, but since when are you supposed to prove a feeling? God is the only situation where they expect you to do that. (Though I have to say, the universe seems so flawlessly designed to be at my expense that I doubt it could be entirely accidental.) Even if I didn't believe in God, though, I'd probably say I did just out of spite. To irritate people like my mom who think believing in God is tacky and beneath them. They're wrong about everything else; chances are they're wrong about that, too. Plus, God embarrasses people. Which I totally enjoy.

He wasn't referring to my mom, specifically, but otherwise, this says it pretty well. If I lean a bit more toward the Christian ethos than to others, it's simply that I am persuaded as to its value, especially if it's kept out of the hands of those who would use it for political purpose. Not that this is easy.

How do you justify your views to those who do not share them?

I feel no compulsion to justify my views to anyone. I see no reason that everyone should agree with me on everything, and indeed I would be greatly surprised if anyone did, but should you insist that your input is vital to my worldview, you can damn well start paying some of the bills around here. I'm willing to entertain lots of ideas on this site, but it remains my site, and if you find that fact particularly hard to deal with, feel free to GYOFB.

Why are you answering this?

Because Venomous Kate asked me to, and she's one of those women who can talk me into things. Usually. (I haven't tested this premise extensively, but I'm thinking that it's probably a good thing that we're about 400 miles apart.) It's not that I object to being talked into things by women, exactly, but I am occasionally embarrassed by the porosity of my defense mechanisms.

If there were no attention to be gained by answering this, would you still have the same answers?

Of course. As Popeye the Sailor once said, "I yam what I yam," and he wouldn't have been any different had he been spilling his guts on spinachspot.com.

The Vent

#526
  24 March 2007

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