Mar. 24th, 2012

fidesquaerens: (Default)
Is this really such a surprise?

Read more... )

Also, this may explain while I'll be staying home in November, and why I find international politics more interesting than domestic ones.

My politics can be a bit complicated sometimes. On social justice/economics issues I tend to be liberal and value social justice over private charity. That means I have my doubts about the free market's ability to solve things, and given a choice between private charities and mandatory govt. spending that's actually efficiently done I'll choose the latter. That's because I believe very firmly that we only have those rights we have the ability to exercise, and capitalism as it's practiced today means that the wealthy - often not because they're better people, but because they're lucky - have more of the good things of life than the rest of us.

But I also recognize that governments often aren't all that efficient, that they tend to impose a one-size-fits-all approach, and that it's good for people to actually help each other voluntarily. Meaning that while in general I recognize a strong state that can redistribute the wealth as necessary (only when the market doesn't do a good enough job at that to meet peoples' basic needs), I also don't think it's the cause for every social ill.

On moral issues I recently described myself as a traditionalist, and that's true. With some important quantifications, of course; I think homophobia, racism, and misogyny is deeply immoral and I know people a few centuries ago weren't that enlightened. But I think that various traditions (religious or otherwise) are significant and inform our values in important ways - as it should be, IMO. That makes for some rather odd results like my disapproving more of casual sex than gay sex full stop. In any event, whatever I think about sexuality, family values, drug + alcohol, and the like, I tend to think government should be as neutral on those things as possible. It's the government's job to make sure that I (and each of us) can live according to our values as much as possible. People as individuals should then work out what those values are, individually and socially but not through fear of govt. compulsion. So my "culture wars" issues really don't affect my politics all that much...

The truly interesting thing is that I often took the questions differently than I think it was meant. For example, one question stated: It's a sad reflection on our society that something as basic as drinking water is now a bottled, branded consumer product. I disagreed with that, not because I think that would be sad if it was what was happening but I don't. Wherever bottled water is available there's almost always decent tap water as well, virtually for free, so people who buy bottled water are buying something other than water. (Status? Convenience?) It's not the commodification of basic resources so much as the commodification of status symbols, which isn't any great surprise. But I'm sure selecting that gave the computer quite the wrong impression. Sometimes I think about these things too much, honestly.

just for fun - Lehrer's  )

H/t Dan Fincke. (He has a really interesting discussions of various limits on the quiz going on in the comment section.) You can take the quiz here.

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