Pontification, Ho!

This meme’s been making the rounds…

Abortion: I’m conflicted on this. I believe that it happens far too often, for a variety of reasons. I believe that snuffing out even a potential life is a matter not to be taken lightly, but to be approached with great fear and trepidation. I despise the doctors who have gotten rich turning it into an industry.

But I also believe that yelling for laws against it does jack-squat to address the root causes, which include:

  • Rape
  • The social stigma attached to unwed pregnancy
  • Irresponsible sex
  • Asshole boyfriends who pledge their undying love and then are out the door as soon as they hear the word “pregnant”.
  • Health complications
  • The complexity and expense of adoption
  • Poor education about the possible complications of abortion

These, and others, are the issues that need to be addressed if the abortion rate is to be reduced. Legislation isn’t going to help.

The Death Penalty: Also conflicted on this one. But I think I’m in favor of it at least in the case of murder. One can make a solid case that the state has no more right to deprive a person of life than any individual has; but I think someone gives up that right when they choose to deprive another of life.

Prostitution: What you do with your body is your choice. It should be legal, period. If it were, private organizations would spring up quickly enough to regulate it.

HOWEVER: The mere fact that prostitution is so common is a sad commentary on the sexual health of our society. I do believe that someone who has devoted themselves to the study of the erotic arts should be able to charge for their services, just like any other artist, masseuse, or therapist. But the fact that you can make drug money just by selling a quick fuck or BJ doesn’t say much for our culture.

Heinlein says it well in Glory Road:

“You have an expression, ‘the oldest profession.’ Here–and in all other known worlds–it isn’t even the youngest. Nobody has heard of it and wouldn’t believe it if he did. We few who visit Earth don’t talk about it. Not that it would matter; most people don’t believe traveler’s tales.”
“Star, are you telling me that there is no prostitution elsewhere in the Universe?”
“The Universes, my darling. None. […] But this oddity of Earth is not odd in it’s own context. Any commodity is certain to be sold–bought, sold, leased, rented, bartered, traded, discounted, price-stabilized, inflated, bootlegged, and legislated–and a woman’s ‘commodity’ as it was called on Earth in franker days is no exception. The only wonder is thinking of it as a commodity. […] Not only is whoring unknown elsewhere, but it’s permutations are unknown–dower, bridal price, alimony, separate maintenance, all the variations that color all Earth’s institutions–every custom related even remotely to the incredible notion that what all women have an endless supply of is nevertheless merchandise, to be hoarded and auctioned.

(Final emphasis mine)

Alcohol: is a wonderful thing. Should be enjoyed in moderation. Should not be controlled.

Marijuana: Doesn’t agree with me, but I understand many find it quite pleasant. Far less unhealthy than ciggarettes. Unfortunately, seems to either inspire stupidity or attract stupid people (Note: there are exceptions. I don’t consider any of my friends who might be reading this to be stupid.) Having liqour and tobacco be legal and weed illegal is rediculous.

Harder Drugs: What you put in your body is your own business. No amount of legislation will keep people with low self-esteem from destroying themselves some way or other. The “War on Drugs” is a racist, classist, multi-billion dollar fiasco that accomplishes nothing but putting money in the pockets of criminals and the cops paid to bust the criminals, while criminalizing thousands who are doing no harm to others. It’s an evil symbiosis where it’s in the interests of both the Feds and the drug kingpins to keep the war running indefinitely, no matter who gets caught in the crossfire. The only workable solution to the drug problem is full legalization.

Gay Marriage: Marriage is a religios/cultural institution. There’s no reason for the government to take any interest in it one way or the other. I’m not for civil unions or legalizing gay marriage; I’m for taking the government out of the marriage business completely. Let people draw up any civil contract they please, and call it what they like.

Illegal Immigrants: We have plenty of space. I’m sick of the endless cycle in this “melting pot” where one generation emigrates to America and then promptly starts discriminating against the next boat to arrive. Despite the Anti-Americanism seen so many places in the world today, we are still seen as the place where anyone with the will to work hard can come and realize their dreams. Let’s not squander that image.

Smoking: Stinky (except for cloves and pipe tobacco), and I haven’t enjoyed it when I’ve tried it. I don’t mind if others do it around me though. Laws against smoking in private restaurants and clubs are insulting. There’s plenty of room in the market for both smoking and non-smoking venues.

Drunk Driving: First of all, driving while drunk is a damn stupid-ass thing to do. That said, drunk driving is a red herring. I know people who drive better drunk than a lot of the yuppie assholes I commute to work with every morning. The problem is not drunk driving, it’s bad driving. I don’t give a shit why you’re driving like a retard, I don’t care if its alcohol or other drugs or your medication or the fact that your having phone sex with your girlfriend or that you are old enough to remember where you were when Lincoln was shot: if you can’t drive safely, you should be taken off the road.

Cloning: Has great potential.

Racism: Is stupid. Should be (and WILL be) defeated through education and positive action by individuals, not through government intervention.

Premarital Sex: Dunno, never tried it. I suspect I’m in the minority when I say that sexual compatibility, while very important, is not one the most important aspect of a good relationship. If you’ve read my pervious entries on relationships, you know I don’t put much stock in compatibility, so I don’t see premarital sex as a necessary test to determine whether someone is marriage material.

Religion: is fascinating to me. Despite being an agnostic, religion is far too important a part of society for me to ignore or sneer at. I believe that in the best circumstances, religion can be a greater force for positive change on both an individual and a societal level than any other institution. Of course, it can also be an equally negative influence.

War in Iraq: Arguably a good idea from a long-term strategic point of view. Defintely a good idea from a humanitarian point of view, but I don’t hold that as a sufficient reason to go to war. My final opinion will rest on whether, after a decade or so, it has had an overall positive effect on the region. It was badly handled though, and war is always horrible. It remains to be seen whether the outcome is less horrible than if we had not gone to war.

Bush: The lesser of two evils in the 2000 election, by a small margin. But that’s not saying much. May still be the lesser evil in the 2004 election, perhaps by an even smaller margin. Not an idiot, but very much a political animal. Not the worst president we’ve had, and certainly not the best. Will not be voting for him.

Downloading Music: We stand at the cusp of a paraigm shift in how the music business works. When we emerge things will be a lot better for both artists and fans (and a lot of record company execs will be job hunting); but for now it’s going to be an ugly mess for awhile as obsolete business models fight tooth and nail to stay dominant. Ultimately, any business model that’s based on controlling somehing which can’t be controlled is doomed to failure.

Legal Drinking Age: Birth. A teaspoon of beer is good for colic. Children raised in homes which treat alcohol as a normal part of life generally don’t get wasted and do stupid things like drive while drunk or drink “Lite” beer when they get to be teenagers.

Porn: Is sadly undeveloped as an art form (translation: most of it is unsexy crap). Shouldn’t be regulated by the government as the government has proven itself utterly incapable of keeping it out of minors’ hands, let alone doing so while respecting adults’ first-amendment rights.

Suicide: Is a tragedy.

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  1. Ya know, I am to the left of you I think, but I agree with at least 75% of all this. Much of it strikes me as not being political so much as simple common sense.

    1. An observation: I wonder if one of the biggest differences between a libertarian and a liberal/progressive/leftist is that the person of the Left wants to codify common sense into public policy?

  2. I agree with most of what you said.
    What I like more than anything, is the way you said it.

    1. I’d agree with that!

  3. You think there’s still social stigma on unwed pregnancies? I don’t see that.
    The problem with hard drugs I think is the same as with drunk driving, it impairs people’s judgment (and makes them violent) and they are a danger to others.

    1. You think there’s still social stigma on unwed pregnancies?

      I wasn’t talking about the gossipy, sneering form of stigma – I’m talking about the many girls who are still given that simple choice by their fathers – either lose the baby, or get out of my house. Sometimes because they (the fathers) are ministers or occupy some other ostentatiously moral position, and can’t bear the shame; sometimes just because they are (or think they are) high society and think it would reflect poorly on them at the country club.

      The problem with hard drugs I think is the same as with drunk driving

      Very true; unfortunately, drug laws aren’t stemming the tide of drug-induced violence any better than drunk-driver laws are eliminating alcohol-induced highway fatalities. I believe the only thing that’s going to keep people from being a danger to others is the only thing that ever HAS worked in the past: others choosing to be responsible adults and restraining them from causing harm.

      1. huh?

        Maybe we should define what you mean by “drug induced violence”.
        In my experience, I have *never* witnessed a person get violent on illegal drugs. I have heard it happens with angel dust (PCP), but I don’t know if that is a normal experience even for that drug.

        When people refer to violence in regard to drugs, I have always understood it as refering to the violence in the black market trafficking of the drugs, not the drugs themselves.

        1. Re: huh?

          I can’t say I have a lot of personal experience with it, but when I say “drug-induced violence”, I’m talking about that phenomena where a belligerent asshole becomes even more of a belligerent asshole when their judgement is impaired by alcohol. I could be wrong, but I imagine that alcohol is not the only substance to have that effect.

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