Voting for Democrats

Some of you will likely be shocked by that subject coming in an email from me. That's right. I voted for a Democrat. You may be asking what it takes for me to vote for a Democrat. Okay. Here it is:

Four elements are required for me to vote for a Democrat. They must *all* be present or my vote goes to the Republican. Even wrong-headed Republicans are preferable to Democrats under most circumstances. That's because I am a conservative and Republicans at least tend in that direction (I know that's a simplification and that there are problems with the Republican party. It frustrates me, too, but at least the Republicans are only questionable whereas the Democrats are actively destroying things I hold dear).

  1. The Republican has to piss me off. That means that the Republican proves him or herself liberal. In my case, we have a Republican who repeatedly called for gun restrictions and ran ads that had a lot of emotional appeal, but only by being unbearably stupid and fear-mongering.
  2. The Democrat has to oppose partial birth abortion. This requirement can be weakened to requiring that the Democrat has to at least match the Republican on abortion, but really, I just want to make sure that a ban on partial birth abortion is in the works.
  3. The Democrat has to at least match the Republican on gun control. No contest on this one. Since my Republican was actively calling for stronger gun control and the Democrat wasn't, it wasn't a tough call to make.
  4. The Democrat has to excite me with at least one of his positions. My Democrat is actively pursuing the local monopolies (you know, the phone, cable and electricity bunch). The Republican allowed these companies to regulate themselves. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Since this is an issue the Democrat actually advertised, I'm hopeful that it will at least enter the public conscience.

Well, there you go. I hope you're not too shocked. As you can see I have two hot-button issues and the rest is just general conservatism. Sure I hate corporate subsidies, but that's not enough for me to abandon Republicans for their baby-killing, soft-headed, gun-grabbing opponents.

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7. November 2000 10:15 by Jacob | Comments (0) | Permalink

Gore Scares Me

It should be no surprise to any of you that I do not like Al Gore. It will be no surprise if I tell you that I will vote against him in the coming election. What may surprise some of you is that if the current election were between Clinton and Gore, I would chose Clinton and be grateful of the choice.

I'll explain. Clinton is absolutely shameless in his pandering to his special interest supporters. He rewards contributors richly and he lies to every constituency in order to maximize their support for him. The payoff for his pandering has been easily seen. Where else can you find groups ostensibly advocating women's rights vigorously defending a man who obviously had improper sexual relations with a subordinate woman? It isn't even as if there is any question of whether it happened.

But Clinton is just a hypocrite pursuing personal power and we have become inured to finding this out about our politicians. Some of us even believe that it is a good thing to have politicians who will lie for us and to us and gather as much personal power as possible just so long as they support our individual causes.

Al Gore is certainly a hypocrite pursuing personal power. His lies have become embarrassing to the point that he has to make jokes at his own expense in the middle of a political debate with his opponent. And unlike Clinton, at least Gore seems to have some control over his own urges and a healthy paranoia of personal failure.

What makes Gore so much worse than Clinton is Gore's deep seated faith and devotion. I find this aspect of Al Gore more than disturbing. His faith and devotion is, I believe, more dangerous to our country than any threat we have faced in our nation's history.

Okay, I phrased that deliberately to make a point. Most of you are probably thinking I'm talking about Gore's religious convictions and his fidelity to his family. I'm not. My problem with Al Gore is that he has a deep seated faith and devotion to human experts. Al Gore truly believes that handing our affairs over to experts would be a great boon to human existence.

This belief shows itself in all his policies and proposals. For Gore, no problem is too small to ask an expert. And the most scary thing of all is that Al Gore considers himself the man to choose what experts we should give ourselves to. Al Gore openly laments the atomization of our decision making processes. That's sci-speak to say that he doesn't want individuals making their own choices.

In an interview with Nicholas Lemann of the New Yorker, Al Gore said that he is a proponent for "distributed intelligence". Sounds like he trusts us, doesn't it? Fortunately, Lemann followed up. And it turns out that what Al Gore is really saying is that he wants society to parallel process all our problems under the authority of a central processor. He uses computer analogies that if put into policy will lead to the federal government defining a problem, handing pieces of that problem to "distributed intelligence" (experts) who will give their solutions back to the central government to choose the best solution to distribute universally for implementation. Federal control over every aspect of our lives is not to be avoided, but encouraged.

You can see this in his policy positions and proposals. I mean, once you strip out the blatant bribes (prescription drugs for all seniors regardless of need), what is left is a man who thinks, truly believes, that the federal government in conjunction with professed experts can and should make our choices for us. Education problem? Hey, we have a union of experts here who will take care of it all. We don't want to give any power to individuals who might ignore the advice of experts! Parents cannot be allowed to chose the education of their children. Terrorist threats? Hey, we'll let the experts in law enforcement and our military tell us what they need to wipe out terrorists. Never mind that their recommendations would require a, uh, softening of certain privacy provisions in the constitution--at least we'll be safe or at least safe from terrorists. Dirty environment? Hey, we have a whole group of environmental experts who will protect our lands in our own best interests. We couldn't possibly allow property owners to make decisions for their own land. While we are at it, we'd better make sure that more land is directly owned by the federal government so that we can deny everyone use of that land--you know, for the future use and enjoyment of that land. Never mind that the future use and enjoyment of that land will be given only to elite crews of the activists who supposedly have our interests in mind and not their own.

The problem with belief and devotion to experts is that there really is no such thing as an absolutely authoritative expert. Anybody who utters the phrase "experts agree" has had no dealings with professed experts. Experts don't agree. Furthermore, experts change. Using experts as the foundation for your decisions is a sure way to waft on the winds of every theoretical change. Experts once believed the world was flat. Experts once believed that gravity was a law. Experts once believed that bleeding ill patients allowed the bad humors to leave a patient so that health could improve. Experts once believed that evolution is a gradual process. Experts once believed that life is fragile and only possible in a very careful and narrow band of conditions.

Experts now believe that you cannot control your sexual behavior. Experts now believe that diversity is a first-order good--that you should pursue it for its own sake. Experts now believe that racism can be best combated by ending racial profiling in police forces, but encouraging it in academic recruiting. Experts now believe that guaranteeing unarmed victims will deter crime. Experts now believe that removing all guns from a society will make women and the elderly safer. Experts now believe that educating children against prejudice will better prepare them for the future than reading will. Experts now believe that computers in the classroom will better prepare children for the future than critical thinking skills will.

Or, at least, that's what Al Gore's experts believe and I didn't even get into his environmental experts--get into the details of those if you want to know real fear.

Al Gore will give us policies with unevaluated costs just to follow his experts. He will give us a rudderless government with a guiding principle that government is good--the answer to all our problems.

I am sick of so-called experts trying to dictate to me what I can and cannot do. Part of this distaste comes of belonging to a religion that just over a century ago was threatened with absolute destruction and confiscation of all our land and belongings by an arrogant federal United States government (lead by Republicans, actually). You might think that it is a good idea to give government unlimited power to pursue terrorists. You may think it is a good idea to give government the power to take kids away from parents who refuse them the latest medical treatments based on religious beliefs. But I emphatically do not. Centralized government has never, in the history of the world, shrunk it's own powers without bloody revolution. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where the centralized government started out so weak that it has taken over two hundred years to get to the size it is now. But if we are going to ever get a grip on our freedoms, those freedoms must be asserted before they are given up--because after is way, way too late.

Please don't misread me. Centralized government is necessary to society. A free people require a centralized government to remain free for reasons I won't go into here. But an unrestrained centralized government has never, ever, been the boon to prosperity and freedom it has promised.

My religion teaches that God has a plan for our salvation and that the plan gives us moral agency and requires a savior to atone for the sins and mistakes of us all. My religion teaches that Jesus volunteered for the position--to be the sacrifice by leading a perfect life and paying for our mistakes and sins. My religion also teaches (and this is my point) that Lucifer, who was second only to Christ among the children of God, proposed an alternate plan. Under Lucifer's plan, God would get rid of that pesky moral agency given to all of us and put Lucifer in charge. Lucifer would see to it that we all lead perfect lives. Not one of us would be lost, and of course, no sacrifice would be needed. And at the end, God would give Lucifer all of God's glory for he would have earned it with his salvation of all mankind.

Lucifer was cast down for his pride in assuming God's authority. He was not allowed by God to be the expert to guide us all in the paths we should go. A role that God himself refused to take. We have our moral agency as a result. We have the power to chose our way. And we have the right given to us to discover for ourselves what is right.

Al Gore believes that he knows better than everyone else how people should live their lives. Which, by itself isn't all that bad and may actually be true. But his pride and arrogance lead him to be a small reflection of Lucifer when he attempts to take power for himself to force others into those paths he believes are correct.

Again, don't misread me. It is important for us to exert power over others to prevent them from really damaging others around them. But Al Gore is not proposing the prevention of damage from one person to another. Al Gore is proposing that he direct our lives with his governmental authority. It is bad enough having Clinton gather from the many to give to the few. It is quite another to allow his predecessor to choose our course for us in the things that we do. As well-meaning as that may be, it is also arrogant and it is also wrong. And he should never be given the power to do so.

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12. October 2000 13:14 by Jacob | Comments (0) | Permalink

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