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Drug War rant for David Brin

I wrote the following in response to an entry in David Brin's blog in which he wrote:
All the rest -- every other type of conservative -- from free-marketers to libertarians to efficiency freaks and budget balancers, all the way to nativist border-watchers -- all of them stew under Rove’s Big Tent, simmering and unhappy over a litany of betrayals, holding their noses against the stench, yet staying inside out of loyalty to that single word. “Conservative.”

...

Dave, if the GOP reforms itself, I will go back to opposing them with honor and respect. (And occasionally rooting for this or that issue.) But this ain't Barry Goldwater's party anymore.
Rob, Pointing to Dean & Pelosi just doesn’t cut it. First, what are their actual crimes. Can their WORST traits even be compared with the BEST traits of the Cheneykleps? Besides, the proof is not in party posts, but in actual policies.


...


All I can tell you is that my own personal and totally subjective statement is that Dr. Strangelove is THE greatest motion picture ever made. Hilarious and terrifying and sad. I adore the poignant sensation when watching the crew of the B-52, SIMULTANEOUSLY rooting for them and admiring them (as the ONLY admirable characters in the film) while also hoping they will die...

Also an added fact. DS belongs on the short list of SF stories that genuinely changed the world.


I vote libertarian. Outside of elections I try, with too little success, not to think about politics. I agree with every plank in the Libertarian Party platform, and that bothers me. It seems too air-tight. I hate getting into a discussion in which everything I say will simply paraphrase some section of the already-exhaustively-articulated LP catechism.

I don't like one-size-fits-all belief systems. I don't like to think of myself as a ditto dude. So I try to avoid political discussions in favor of topics with less clearly worn rhetorical ruts.

I try to keep a lid on my raving, inner ideologue. He's boring. His rantings contain no unexpected content and thus no substantive information.

My DNC-supporting friends from my school years certainly consider me a "conservative," but I don't hold my nose and sit under Uncle Karl's big stinking tent. I wouldn't get within a stone's throw of that putrid palace.

But I won't throw in with the Democrats. I won't bother with any moral equivalence arguments. I don't take a balanced view. I blame the Democrats for the horrid excesses of the Drug War. This comes as a shock to some DNC supporters, but a Democrat-controlled congress under Tip O'Neal brought us the federal mandatory minimum sentencing that has filled our prisons and fueled a frenzy of new supermax construction.

Sure, the moral impetus may have originated with cultural conservatives, but the Democrats have gone to heroic lengths to not let the Republicans paint them as "soft on crime." No mainstream politician from either party can go wrong, at least in their own minds, by demonizing stereotyped dope fiends and giving blank checks to the panopticon singulitarians.

I could go on, but I won't. Suffice it to say, "That's my issue." Democrats and Republicans agree, at least in public discourse, that prohibition works, honors the Constitution, and must continue no matter what the cost. Untrammelled cognitive liberty remains just too dangerous. Until either party finds a shred of backbone and moral decency and stops the "orgy of imprisonment," I say, "A pox on both your houses."

You say that the Republicans stink worse than the Democrats. I don't dispute you. Dog shit smells worse than cat shit. Still, I'm not ordering any cat shit. And I'll be dipped in it before I vote for, much less finance, prohibitionist Democrats.

And yes, Dr. Strangelove rules, though I think Mandrake, as well as the bomber crew, counts as an "admirable character."

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
low_key
Aug. 26th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)
Wait...Why would you be considered conservative? I'm a Yellow Dog Democrat, and I never thought of you as conservative.

I've come to associate the term almost exclusively with social issues rather than fiscal responsibility. That could be my mistake here though...
kmo
Aug. 26th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Wait...
Why would you be considered conservative?

I make a distinction between the set of all problems and the set of all problems best addressed by government action.

I have been banned from two LiveJournals; those belonging to rillifane and vyoma. rillifane, necon appologist, banned me from her journal when I mocked her support of the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq. vyoma, advocate of the grand public sector solution, banned me from his journal when I posted a link to his publically accessible post about how the government should force fast food resturants to buy gym memberships for fat poor people to the libertarianism community.

Red state so-called "conservatives" who encounter me in on-line political contexts consider me a red diaper doper baby liberal, and blue state so-called "liberals" who encounter me in a political mode write me off as a far-right nut job for my free-market let-them-eat-cake-ism.

People who encounter me face to face in my clean-shaven, tie-wearing Stealth Meastro manifestation probably think that I believe whatever they believe.
prester_scott
Aug. 26th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC)
Re: Wait...
Point of order: rillifane is a he.

And he is an arrogant ass. But you knew that.
kmo
Aug. 26th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC)
Re: Wait...
rillifane is a dude? Really? That's hilarious!

Based on this user pic...



I always mentally inflected his stuff with a female voice.
low_key
Aug. 26th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC)
Re: Wait...
Huh...I guess I always thought you were more liberal because of your social stances.

Guess we pick the issues that mean the most to us. :-)
kmo
Aug. 26th, 2006 05:37 am (UTC)
Re: Wait...
"Social" issues represent the area in which the modern notion of "Conservatism" has pulled actual conservatives very far from their conservative core principles and helped flip the whole left/right liberal/conservative dichotomy into bizzaro land.

Other reasons why I count as a conservative:

I oppose so-called "hate crime" legislation. "Thought crime" sums the concept up more honestly.

I absolutely do not buy into the "men are evil - women represent earth-mother-wisdom-incarnate" dogma. I generally take a rather dim view of feminism that moves past the point of advocating "equal pay for equal work."

I think welfare has destroyed the black nuclear family and encouraged single-motherhood with government assistance and absentee fathers for two generations of black families in this country.

I think the nuclear family arrangement with pop as the bread-winner and mom as the home-maker works out pretty well, produces good results for children and society, and while not suited to everyone's constitution and temperment, deserves an elevated position over other, non-traditional arrangements. (Which is not to say I oppose gay marriage. I don't think the government should recognize or have anything to do with anybody's marriage. I don't think Christian conservatives in northwest Arkansas should have to recognize the living arrangement of two homosexual men as an instance of marriage as traditionally understood in this culture, though I don't think said conservative Christians should have the right or power to tell that gay couple how to structure their affairs.)

I do not support reparations to living black people for the lingering injustices resulting from slavery.

I don't think that socialized medicine represents a very workable or attractive solution to the inadequate access to healthcare we face in contemporary America.

These positions represent a solidly conservative political orientation.

The Drug War and the type of social engineering it advocates represents a very liberal orientation which used to turn off old-style conservatives. The fact that prohibition sits as securely ensconsed in the "get government off our backs" party as it does in the "get government into everything" party's governing ideology just goes to show how far the neocons and Christian Reconstructionists have dragged conservatives from their traditional positions. In that regard, I very much agree with the positions David Brin articulated in the quoted essay.

And here I'd gone and resolved not to waste my time talking/writing/thinking about politics.


uminthecoil
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)
Re: Wait...
"And here I'd gone and resolved not to waste my time talking/writing/thinking about politics."

heh...glad you did. these comments and replies were every bit as curious as the post:)

for my part, I'm afraid that too many of my own views, suspicions and opinions, etc are so often 'way out there' that it prevents me from effecting any real productive political dialogue...glad you're work'n it though :)
kmo
Aug. 26th, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC)
Re: glad you're work'n it though :)
Thanks, man.

Still, looking back at the opportunity, I wish I'd spent my first night with email access at my new house writing about gardening, entheogens, parenting, the story of the adorable kitten in our home whose life hangs by a thread... just about anything other than a libertarian Drug War rant.

I've got in my head to do a C-Realm podcast, and I've resolved to keep politics out of it. Can't do it if I let the stuff dominate my mental meanderings.

Still, I'm glad my rote thrashing proved useful to you.

Stay well.
low_key
Aug. 26th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Re: Wait...
I will agree with the core principals problem. I listen to a liberal talk radio host who's dad ran with Goldwater, and she says her father wouldn't recognize the party today.

I can see your point about hate/thought crime, but I think the moment you harm someone simply because of it becomes a special little sunbeam all it's own. (I have to admit though that the potential for misuse is staggering.)

Actually I'm more extreme than you on that, I don't even believe in the pay gap myth. Check out Warren Farrell. He has a pretty good explanation as to why men "make more" (Work longer hours, more willing to give up a home life, more willing to take jobs they hate, more willing to stay with jobs they hate, more willing to take dangerous jobs, more willing to relocate, more willing to get degrees in less fulfilling fields of study for the sake of money, etc.) The whole "men make more" argument is a big load of stinking bullshit once you actually look at the numbers, how they are gathered, and where they come from.

I don't know, I personally think the outsourcing of good paying manufacturing jobs had more to do with the destruction of the nuclear family (Black or otherwise) than welfare. Welfare was a symptom of the problem...Now corporate welfare on the other hand I think should be eliminated (almost) completely.

But I digress...The nuclear family was done as soon as companies stopped paying enough to support the nuclear family. When the bottom line became more important than company-employee (and vice-versa) loyalty, the nuclear family was dead.

"I don't think Christian conservatives in northwest Arkansas should have to recognize the living arrangement of two homosexual men..."

I understand that this is not the stopping point of your statement, but it's the crux of the problem. If you don't force recognition, you can't enforce protection or rights. Two men or women who can't get the recognition of marriage can be together for 10 years, but the second one of them is in the hospital a blood family member can bar access to the partner out without any recourse or protection.

And as long as any government agency issues "marriage licenses", you have to call a homosexual union a marriage for the sake of legal recognition and protection.

Never been big on reparations either. Although I remember when I was a little kid there was this little old lady on the news who was like 114 and was a slave when she was a child...she should have gotten something.

Socialized medicine may be ugly, but she's the only girl at the prom that will put out for everyone.

Can't argue with the social engineering stuff. I really didn't awaken to politics until...1998, 1999... Before that I was in fairly blissful ignorance, although he little I did know lined up nicely with the Democrats. (Even while I was in the military, caught lots of shit for that.)

For the most part, I like talking politics with any person who actually talks. (See http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com for the group I can't really talk with.) Agree, dissagree, or otherwise. As long is there is some sort of sound reasoning behind the argument.
kmo
Aug. 26th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Wait...
And as long as any government agency issues "marriage licenses", you have to call a homosexual union a marriage for the sake of legal recognition and protection.

I agree, and since, as a culture, we're not down with that program, I'd like to see government get out of the marriage business all together. Forcing people to recognize something they consider a sick parody of a sacred institution as legit gets us back on the "thought crime" track.

KMO don't play dat.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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