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 reas