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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Conscience of a Libertarian:

At first, I was going to call this post, "I now have man-boobs," but ultimately, I thought that would be oversharing. Also, I felt it would be sadly apropos to make a reference to one of the most prominent Republicans of the last century. I decided to do that as an example of how depraved an overwhelming majority of the leadership of the "conservative" wing of American politics has become. I doubt very seriously that Goldwater would even recognize the Republican Party today, and ultimately, his most worthy heirs aren't in the GOP, but rather in the fractured Libertarian Party. While I don't agree with everything former Senator Jeffords believes, I too find myself alienated from the party I once called home in my younger years. This is a problem that has been building for years, but stubborn as I am, I still looked for positive things to say about the mainstream of that party because of my agreement with their stance on fiscal matters. Well, as the last few years have demonstrated, any talk of their fiscal responsibility is laughable at best. As for the rest, well, that's the reason for this post.

The depth of my philosophical differences between my views and my former home, the GOP, has become increasingly obvious. I find the increasing element of extremism and fanaticism among the new "mainstream" Republican Party disturbing on a variety of levels. Perhaps most relevant to today's political climate, I strongly oppose "enhanced interrogation" on 8th Amendment grounds, as not only is that "cruel and unusual punishment", it rises to the level of government-sponsored torture, which is a far more serious offense. Also, it's a clear violation of the habeas corpus rights of prisoners, and of the Fifth Amendment, yet the GOP mainstream considers this acceptable when our government didn't even treat Nazi war criminals as poorly. Certainly, the public opinion of these depraved individuals was no more positive than modern public opinion of terrorists, yet we held to our more noble ideals back then. Instead of lowering ourselves to their level, we held fast to the calling of our better natures. I am sickened to see that we have become that debased in the 62 years since, and I have no doubt that, if they are looking down on us, our departed ancestors are turning in their graves.

Another example of my philosophical differences between the mainstream of the Republican Party is the recently-overturned Georgia law that prohibited all sex offenders from living within 1000 feet (305 m) of playgrounds, churches, schools, bus stops, public parks, and other places where children congregate. Can you think of a single place outside of Montana or Alaska that would fit those criteria? I'm in favor of protecting children, but these draconian measures seem more than a bit counterproductive, not to mention unconstitutional. There's that pesky 8th Amendment again, and for all their bloviating about the Bill of Rights, that's one amendment they by and large are determined to ignore.

To those who read this blog, it should not surprise you when I say that I am not a liberal in the modern sense. However, I have come to realize through conversations with a liberal Northern Democrat I know the fundamental differences in how he and I view the world. Even when we agree on issues, it is often for vastly different reasons, though those differences are most likely to occur in matters of governmental fiscal policy. So while I'm not likely to align myself completely with the Democratic Party, I'm much more likely to give them a chance, because the modern Republican Party is something I find frightening and alien to the greater American values, and a complete affront to the ideals laid forth in the Constitution and its amendments. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm starting to see parallels between modern America and Germany during the 1930s, and that scares the hell out of me. Also, it hurts me to see this happening to a nation once seen as a bastion of hope and liberty. I want America to be great again, but that will not happen as long as the reactionary wing of the Republican Party has power.

On a lighter note, and I use that term very loosely, I'm including a link to a YouTube video, one that was one of my father's favorite music videos. Since embedding has been disabled for this video, I'm including the link instead. Enjoy.


LET'S TALK said...

I you wish to embed this video on your post here is a Google site:

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Thanks, but I think I'll respect the expressed wishes of the artist. :)

Candace said...

Great post, MC. I couldn't agree more about the descent of the Republican party. I'm not a Democrat, btw, but an Independent. However, the last Republican I voted for was Nixon. We don't have to register with any party here in Texas, but I hear that in other states more and more people are leaving the two main parties to register as Independents. Anyway, until the Repos get their act together, meaning get rid of the Fundies' and fascists' control, it will be a cold day in hell before I'll vote Republican again.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Candace, I may find myself voting for some Republicans in local and non-legislative offices, but in Senate and judiciary elections, I plan to look like an ass. I say that because, frankly, it doesn't matter what the treasurer or State Auditor or agriculture commissioner believes outside of the purview of his or her office. I just care about whether or not they're qualified and capable of doing the job.

In Alabama, that's one of the saner things about how we vote. During primary season, you choose the primary you want at the poll. No registering with a party, no hassle, they just ask you which primary you want and you get the appropriate optical scan ballot. But if I had to choose, I'd go with the Libertarian Party or I'd go independent.

Lizzy said...

I've been saying this a long time - the people that are in office now are not Republicans. They are something else entirely.

I think, and hope, that in the upcoming election, this country will be ridding itself of their kind.

Great post, MC.

Candace said...

MC, I should have said ... the last time I voted for a Republican PRESIDENT. Sorry.

Lizzy - very good point! These aren't really Republicans anymore.

1138 said...


These People are Fascists.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Honestly, 1138, in my darker moments, I find myself wondering when people will start being rounded up and put in "enhanced internment camps." The only real difference between what the government did to innocent citizens of Japanese descent and what the Germans did to Jews was that our government did not engage in wholesale murder and torture. The GOP leadership is taking the wrong lessons from history. Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco were cautionary tales, examples of who not to emulate instead of who to follow. In summation, I totally agree with your characterization of the current leadership of the GOP. At the local and even state level, there may still be some good members, and I have a great deal of respect for the few mavericks that exist at the national level, but the rest... to hell with them.

Lizzy said...

Love the new look of your blog. I should change of these days.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Thanks. The biggest issue behind the switch was the news feed. I had been wanting to put one on this site, but I realized what kind of headache it was going to be to switch to the new template type. Finally, I just bit the bullet. :)

Snave said...

Sorry to get in late on this one. I do have a developing set of man-boobs, but what I mostly wanted to say is that I think you are a person of reason. I believe people of reason aren't going to buy any party line 100%. I am in total agreement with you about Goldwater... if he was around today, he would be appalled to see what the GOP has become.

I've been seeing the USA-Germany 1930's parallels for about the last 10-15 years, but I don't believe it has become pronounced until just recently. Of course given my left-wing bias, I would be looking for evidence to support my theories that the Bush administration is borderline fascist in nature. While you tend toward libertarianism and have had ties to the Republican party in the past, you probably have tended to take a more objective look at such parallels. Then again, because of your intelligence and reasoning, you're noticing some things lately too... and because someone such as you is noticing some parallels, it makes me think I may not be as paranoid as we think we am! Heh!

Of course you know enough about me by now to know that one of my primary fears about the modern Republican party is its use of religion to get votes, and the way the Bush administration is pushing to weaken boundaries between church and state. Thanks for earlier illuminating me about the general Mormon stance on mixing church and politics; even with all my exposure to the LDS church here in NE Oregon, I never knew that. It leads me to believe that when it comes to matters of character, Romney might be a pretty decent leader, even if I disagree with most of his politics and even if I think he has tried to move farther to the right than he really is, in order to court evangelicals... I dread Giuliani for his belligerent approach to foreign policy, and I dread Huckabee due to his recent Iowa ads describing him as a "Christian leader". I have actually begun to think McCain might not be as bad as those two could be. And I'm thoroughly glad Thompson just doesn't seem to be catching on at all.

I can handle a more moderate Conservative candidate who doesn't wear his religion on his or her sleeve. In fact, I may actually vote for Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, who lives about an hour from here and who has proven he is sometimes able to break away from the Dubya Bush line. He has done enough good things for Oregon that unless the Dems come up with someone who I tink can actually get more things done, I'll happily give Smith my vote... and he happens to be a Mormon. It is something lots of people don't know about Smith, because he never makes a big deal out of it. More power to him. He has, at times, voted against drilling in the ANWR, and he is currently trying to put through some kind of thing I need to check on, about making it a hate crime to add extra taxes onto a person's bill because they are gay? I don't know who would push for a tax on gay people, but I guess Smith wants to be sure such a thing can't happen. Smith has spoken out against the Iraq war/occupation, but he has continued to vote to approve funds. But you know, because he is who he is and because I respect him, I have to take a step back and think "he might know something the rest of us don't"...

I suppose my long-winded point about Smith is that he is not a part of the GOP's reactionary wing. By being more of an independent-minded person, he shows some integrity, even if he can't always "walk the talk" about Iraq.

I guess I am leaning toward Edwards or Obama at this point. Obama made a good point the other day about not letting lobbyists have so much power in Washington, DC. Sounds good to me. I don't know how it could ever be accomplished in our current system, but it's a good thought, anyway. There is still a lot of time time figure out who really stands for what.