The only person who has no biases is the person who has no opinions whatsoever. I need hardly point out that I am not this person. Indeed, when it's been suggested that I have hidden biases, my general response has been: "Hidden?" I've always assumed they were perfectly obvious, if seldom obviously perfect.
The last time I tried to organize these premises was about five and a half years ago, but it was more a statement of cultural values than of political stances. And inasmuch as my traffic has increased by dozens in those sixty-odd months, it may be that you, Gentle Reader, might not be quite sure where I stand on Issue X. It is the purpose of this piece to clarify that stand, if not necessarily for your benefit, certainly for mine.
- I am a Democrat, though lately what this means mostly is I am not a Republican. I've voted for the occasional GOP candidate, although it's almost always been because the Democrats ran someone I found wholly unacceptable. Let it be said up front that I did, in fact, cast a ballot for George W. Bush in 2004; were he eligible to run again in 2008, I don't think I'd do it again, unless the Democrats were to nominate John Kerry again, and I would vote for a marmoset with brain damage before I would vote for John Kerry.
- I persist in the notion that the Bill of Rights says what it says it says. The first two Amendments allow us to worship (or not to) as we please, to own and operate firearms (or not to) as we please, and to speak as freely as possible. Should you wish to abrogate any of these rights, even on a temporary basis, you had better have a damned good reason. (Hint: you don't.)
- I oppose any and all manifestations of so-called "identity politics," the pernicious notion that putatively-aggrieved groups have, by dint of said grievances, the right to special consideration by government, and by extension the right to special consideration by everyone else. The Constitution recognizes one group: We The People. Anything else is just politics, and not good politics at that.
- I believe that House districts should be as small in area as possible and, to the extent possible, should not overspill existing governmental boundaries: county lines, city limits and such. Iowa has taken the lead here: the Iowa Code "provides that districts shall not be drawn to favor any political party, an incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or any other person or group, or for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group. To ensure compliance with these requirements, the Iowa Code provides that data concerning the addresses of incumbents, the political affiliation of registered voters, previous election results, and demographic data other than population head counts not otherwise required by federal law are not to be considered or used in establishing districts." It's time to follow the lead of the Hawkeyes.
- The entirety of the tax code needs to be thrown out and reconstituted under two rules: it is not the function of the tax system to enforce social policy, however seemingly beneficial said policy may appear, and it should not be necessary for the average taxpayer to hire an expert every year to comb through the minutiae of the code.
- There is a practical limit, and not a particularly high one, on how much accommodation can be made for a person who, accidentally or intentionally, cannot cope with a given situation. Oversimplified example: it is perfectly all right to make some aisles at the arena wide enough to allow wheelchairs to come through; it is unreasonable to demand that the National Basketball Association allow for players in wheelchairs. (For one thing, they can't dunk worth a damn.) Perhaps closer to reality: if your religious beliefs oppose chemical forms of contraception, perhaps you should have picked some career other than pharmacy.
- I will shed no tears if Roe v. Wade is ultimately overturned, and should it happen, I will not complain if some states choose to restrict abortions. And if some other states choose to permit the practice, I will not complain about that either.
- "Let us sit down and reason together" has no relevance when dealing with people for whom reason isn't an option: militant Islamists, the government of North Korea, people who follow Cindy Sheehan around.
- The government can, indeed must, insure equality under the law. However, it cannot insure equality of results, and if you're the sort of person who is upset by this fact, you should add your name to the list in the previous item.
There are, of course, other things I could say, and at some point you should assume that I will.
(Inspired by the example of Joe Goodwin, who might agree with me on one or two of these things, maybe.)
23 April 2006