This may shock some readers I debate with, but I have more in common with them than they may realize.
I consider myself a moderate. By that I mean that I find that whenever debate about politics happens, I frequently find my views tend toward the middle of the road. And while I do favor many policies that appear to be of a progressive viewpoint, I usually do not favor them for the same reason that folks of a liberal bent do.
I basically have three principle beliefs that I tend to follow. The first is that the government should stay the hell out of everybody’s business unless they have a damn good reason to interfere. The second is that I care more about the end results than ideology. And the last is that I am principally interested in protecting my own interests and those I call my own.
A lot of people might not realize that, seeing as how usually when I get into an argument in the comments section, it is with either a Conservatives or Libertarians.
The way I see it is that the difference is not so much the underlying philosophy so much as opinion about the details.
I believe the Founding Fathers had a great idea about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I think that was the cornerstone at the beginning of our society. And I think that it’s important to view that phrase in the order it was written. “Do whatever you like, so long as you don’t infringe on the freedom or safety of others.” Your right to make money are not more important than your fellow citizens rights to liberty or basic safety and health.
I believe that while the current health care bill was an improvement, more comprehensive reform is probably needed. I am fine with either a nationalized system like Canada, or a strongly regulated system like Germany. Don’t care which, both are valid. But free market health care clearly didn’t work, just like free market firefighters didn’t. Making sure that people can get healthcare costs some money upfront but gives us more productive workers, which in turn helps us economically.
I believe that we shouldn’t bother spending money testing welfare recipients for drug use. In the places it has been tried the testees test lower than the general population, and the state winds up actually throwing even more money down a hole for no benefit. And more to the point, whats the end effect when they do catch someone? They don’t miraculously stop needing to eat because they have taken drugs. Desperate people will resort to crime. We will pay for those folks one way or another. Either help them get by financially, or pay more for police, prisons, and the fallout from their victims.
I believe we shouldn’t have the death penalty in this country. Not because I have any moral qualms about executing dangerous criminals. I think our society’s resources have a better use than keeping folks alive who have made it plain that they will harm us if we let them. I object to executions because our legal system doesn’t exactly have a flawless record on separating the guilty from the innocent.
I believe that people and entities that make over a million a year should pay more in taxes than they do now. Taxes are at their lowest point for the wealthy since the fifties. And while excessive taxes can curb economic growth, that will only happen if companies do not have enough left after taxes to expand. Right now corporations have record profits, but not enough customers. They won’t hire new people when they don’t have more people to buy their stuff. Raise taxes and use it to fund infrastructure projects. You get to hire people for the projects, who will then buy stuff encouraging the companies to expand to meet the increased demand, creating a cycle that expands the economy rather than contracts it.
I believe that we should be reducing government spending. You can’t keep reducing your income while increasing you expenditures without expecting something bad to happen. That’s not to say that we can cut our way into solvency. Nor do I think we should panic and just start cutting everything. There are places we can trim the fat, and we should go for them. I just think we should make sure that any cuts won’t have a an obvious negative consequence.
I believe that large corporations have gained too much influence over our government to the detriment of all of us. I don’t think more regulations on them will actually hurt us economically, and in fact might curtail a lot of the excessive behavior that got us into the current financial mess we are in.
I believe that one of the defining moments of our country’s foundation was when a large corporation got a bit too much influence over the government, and set things up to it’s liking over the people’s expense. I seem to recall an awful lot of people taking on the trappings of the outcome of this mistake fairly recently in fact. I’d just like to think that we can fix our current mess without resorting to measures as drastic.
I believe that the folks arguing over politics have a hell of a lot of principles in common with each other and are getting worked up over the niggling details.