My Right Wing

Posted: December 16, 2009 in The Hardline According to Ren

“But I thought you were, like, really liberal?”

“No, I am a raging pervert, there is a huge difference…”

The time has come for this entry, and it is one I have been pondering for a long, long time. 

That’s right’ yall…sometimes, on some things, I might look left but I lean to the right.   Sure enough, it might make me dizzy on occasion, but there it is.  As Mulder would say- The Truth Is Out There…

So, yeah, since I feel like a Catholic in a Confessional, I might as well roll with it. 

As most of you know, I’m a libertarian, somewhere in that strange no mans land of political BS.  On a social/personal level, I lean way to the left.  Freedom of Religion for all, Pro Gay Marriage, Legalize Weed, I do not care what people who are of age and are consenting do in their bedrooms or other locations.  All people deserve the same basic rights and freedoms.  YeeHaw Freedom of Speech and Expression.  More money for good educations for youth, and a right to a fair trial should mean exactly that, regardless of wealth, race, gender or sexual orientation…yep, I am down with all that.  All of it. 

In other ways…well, hang on to your shoe strings for a minute. 

Ahem.  For those who get the reference- I am a hawk, not a dove.  People who think cutting our investments into the military (and all the programs that go towards taking care of our soldiers, past and present) is a good idea best stay the hell off my lawn.  Guns, why yes, we have the right to own those.  Death penalty?  Not used enough IMHO.  Why we are dumping millions and millions of dollars into helping other countries when we have millions and millions of jobless, homeless, starving people in need here pisses me off and makes no sense to me at all.  I believe the social welfare programs we have in the country need a serious overhaul…yes, people need help, and I am all for helping them.  Leeches, however, need to get salted.  Government strangleholds on industry not only make companies move overseas, but also fuck with peoples ability to earn a decent living.  It pisses me right the hell off that my tax dollars make sure freakin’ criminals have libraries, computers, better medical care than 3/4 of the non-criminal people in this country and cable television.  The Medical Profession needs to be reigned the hell in.  And if some crazy ass person (or people) out there thinks they have a right to blow up buildings, planes, trains, subways, churches, schools, government offices, whatever, well then, they should probably expect that the repercussions for such actions will in fact be dire…because if you let people get away with that crap once…they will just keep doing it.   People who call vets baby killers should be flayed.  People who sit around and do nothing other than bitch about how much the United States sucks should, oh, one, thank the United States that they have the right to do that here then go try protesting   Myanmar or Somalia, or write news articles in Russia, or rally in the streets in China. 

In fact, if you took out a lot of the godbaggery, sexual policing, homophobia, racism and sexism out of the Republicans….I just might be one. 

Scary, eh?

  1. Rachel S. says:

    I must say that I am shocked, SHOCKED to find gambling going on in this establishment!

  2. I’m just slightly amused that the photograph is of a hawk’s left wing…

  3. People who sit around and do nothing other than bitch about how much the United States sucks…

    I’m a left-leaning person on most things, but anti-Americanism bugs the crap out of me too. I view being born in the United States as a good thing in its own right, for example. One that not enough people recognize. I recognize it as such because I didn’t have it, I guess.

  4. Caroline says:

    I’m fiscally conservative and always vote Tory. And one thing that pisses me off about people knowing that? Some Americans (and so far it has only been Americans) assume the Conservative government over here is the same as your Republican. So I get a lot of shit off Americans, particularly on Twitter. Think some people need to learn the difference between socially and fiscally conservative.

    I totally don’t get the gun thing 🙂 But you look damn good with a gun.

    I like this post. People shouldn’t assume. Kills me when people assume I’m Liberal or Labour. Kills me.

  5. Dead_Vladimir says:

    I’m horrified. ;p

  6. rootietoot says:

    well, yeah. (polishes Harriet)
    Especially the whole death penalty/guns/leeches thing.

    I don’t have issues with the medical industry as much as I do with the legal industry that has built up around it.

  7. Erik says:

    Agreed with almost all of your post: sensible views. There may be a disjuncture, however, between your libertarianism and your militarism. Most libertarians,whether of the left or right, want to reduce our investment in the military. Most would agree with you that we have an absolute moral obligation to take care of our servicemen and women and our veterans, and that we need a strong defense. Libertarians generally resist, however, the aggressive global stance that puts our troops into multiple theaters of operations and engages them in long-term armed nation-building. You object to foreign aid: well and good. Per Dambisa Moyo and other critiques, foreign aid is structured in ways that tend to promote bureacratic elites and suppress indigenous economic growth. Most foreign aid, however, is not intended to “help” other countries in disinterested even if misguided ways but rather is deployed as an adjunct to our militarized geopolitical stance. The top five foreign aid recipients are: Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt and Colombia (remember the war on drugs!). US foreign aid, whether or not we like it, pales by comparison to military spending. We spend about 20 billion annually on aid as against 1.5 trillion in military spending. And the 1.5 trillion figure does not take into account a lot of heath care, military aid, veterans care etc which is subsumed in non-military budget line items. To put this into perspective, the US is responsible for almost 50% of global military spending, while we are low-to-mid pack among developed countries in per capita foreign aid. This is not an argument to increase foreign aid but rather to attend to proportionality. We can easily take care of our service personnel and families and maintain a strong defense while cutting military spending — if we are willing to restrict our nation-building and world-policing activities (three cheers for “Team America: World Police”).

    • rootietoot says:

      The thing about Libertarians is that we’re rabid individualists. One may wish for stronger military, another of us may be quite pro-life, the point is that like any political party made of human beings who try to think, it’s not one size fits all.

    • Ren says:

      We also appointed ourselves “policemen of the world” via political stance long ago…

      WWI comes to mind. And we have stuck with it ever since. If we are going to do it (whether we should or not is a whole different matter) then we should do it right….\

      And rootie is correct, Libs are a varied lot.

      • Carson D Carson says:

        Yeah. Not exactly a job I really think we’re all that good at to be honest. Plus I think we’re taking far too much shit for it. While I still think we need a strong Navy, Marine Corp and Air Force, I think we should be pulling back the Army to defend our own borders. Let’s get our own house in order. If a country really wants our aid, make them ask for it and ask nicely.

  8. rootietoot says:

    I think the one thing Libertarians agree on is that we pretty much don’t agree with anyone, but we disagree more with Dems and Reps that we do with each other.

  9. Erik says:

    Libertarians are indeed a fractious lot but do stand for something or some things beyond disagreement. Chief among those things is a strong inclination to limit the power of the state. Right libertarians, whether politicians like Ron Paul or think-tankers like the Cato Institute, tend to converge with left libertarians in rejecting the national security state. World War I supports their argument: powerful, heavily militarized nation states conducted a ruinous war resulting in 15 million deaths, the near-collapse of European civilization, and the rise of Communism in Russia. Moreover, the list of rights and freedoms given above – which carve out a generous domestic civil society space free from state interference – does not easily fit with a view that our government ought to regularly launch military interventions abroad, engage in nation-building amidst violently resentful populations and in other ways attempt to fulfill some version of a global manifest destiny. Many patriotic conservatives and liberals as well as libertarians think that this path leads to international chaos, national bankruptcy and an inevitable erosion of our freedoms.

  10. Erik says:

    “R” as in Republican? I have not entirely given up hope for the Republicans, who talk like the party of small government when they are in the minority, but unfortunately when they accede to power they tend to out-Democrat the Democrats.

  11. Erik says:

    P.S. Must disclose that in my professional life I do business with both parties. My organization and I had good relationships with the Bush White House, and we have continued them with the Obama White House. Whatever my personal politics – which seem quite close to yours despite some differences regarding geopolitics – my first commitment is to advancing an organizational agenda of cooperation between faith communities (including atheists), social entrepreneurship and grassroots youth and community empowerment.

  12. Well…I can understand being a political gadfly, though from what might be considered a diametric opposite.

    I’m pretty much a far, far Lefty… in, Democratic Socialist, pro-affirmative government, pro-union, antiwar, beyond New Deal Lefty who thinks that the Democratic Party is way too conservative and who supports such things as single payer/nationalized health care, government-aided direct relief for working and poor folks, and other such goodies.

    And yet, I find myself being more of a libertarian on most social issues, especially concerning sex and sexualty. I tend just as much to reject the “national security state”, mostly because it distracts recources that would be far more useful fixing our tattered infrestructure and aiding those less financially well off.

    Maybe its because I’m a sucker for independent slutty, sexy women, or maybe it’s because of my socioeconomic status as a working-class Black man….but traditional right-wing libertarianism just doesn’t do much for me. Maybe it’s because conservatism in general is for me totally hooked up with Southern-style White supremacy and defense of slavery (a la Jessie Helms and David Duke), or it’s because that most libertarianism tends to be reduced to rich White men defending their right to defend their economic privileges….but my personal history does tend to pull me pretty far to the Left.

    Nevertheless, I tend to be a lot more independent in my thinking than most, since I tend not to follow any ideological thread, but simply picks and chooses the best out of a diverse thread of progressive ideologies and applies them to real life.

    Obviously, this leads to some strange situations, since most people I know and befriend happen to be classic liberal Democrats who generally share most of my views, but tend to stick with whatever the Dem party line seems to be at the moment. I left the Democratic Party nearly 20 years ago and became an Independent (now a Green Party member), and I still hear it from particular folks in my family who can’t fanthom that you can acturlly be to the left of the Democrats and not be a right-wing Republican. If I had a dime for every time I’ve been called a “Republican tool” by members of my family due to my independent political standing, I’d have enough money to actually VOTE Libertarian or Republican.

    But I’d agree with the consensus: Libertarians are indeed a varied lot, not to be nailed on the same cross. The same can be said of righties, lefties, and other political gadflies. The more, the merrier.


    • Erik says:

      Anthony, I think you have nailed the weak point in the libertarian, small-government philosophy — which like you I find attractive but incomplete. There are human needs that are not addressed by the free market, and there are justice issues that are not resolved via downsized government. I believe in social entrepreneurship, and I look to an energized and empowered civil society – community organizations, service agencies, faith communities, youth groups and others – to impel positive change. Living as I do in New Orleans (and also part time in Washington DC) I have been changed by the storm and the subsequent revelations of the haplessness of governments and the effectiveness of the grassroots. And also about the persistence of racism, structural and otherwise. There is a school of socialist libertarianism – Noam Chomsky is its best-known exponent – but after the bitter history of 20th century statist ideologies I am not ready to sign on to any sort of socialist rubric. And I would happily trade Noam Chomsky for Jack Kemp, whose eulogy in the Nation magazine pointed out that he hoped “to forge a ‘radical Republican Party’ that was worthy of African-American support.” I do not think Michael Steele has gotten it anywhere close, but I am somewhat heartened by the joint stumping of Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich for education reform.

      • Funny you should mention Noam Chomsky, Erik….at one time in my past I was pretty much a disciple of his….until two things happened: I grew more than a bit tired of professional activist Lefties in general who have no respect for how working folk actually feel; and Chomsky outed himself as a rabid antiporn MacKinnon/Dworkinite and slandered Larry Flynt for attempting to contribute to an antiwar, anti-Bush group. (Not that Flynt doesn’t have his good and bad points himself, but to crack on a group trying to do some good just because you don’t like their sexual content?? Lame.


        • I’ve never been a fan of Chomsky, and ironically, that goes back to when I was a much more far-libertarian-leftist than I am now, back in my outright anarchist phase.

          At the time, I saw (and still see) Chomsky as basically an apologist for Marxist-Leninist states, even if he supposedly opposed this ideology in theory. The unforgivable point to me was when he revealed a soft spot for outright Maoism back in the early 1970s, later acting as an apologist for the Khmer Rouge, until the reality of the Cambodian Holocaust was simply so undeniable that he was forced into considerable back-peddling on that issue. (I know its par for the course for Chomsky fans to deny he ever had done this, but after reading an essay by an extremely knowledgeable Cambodian scholar pretty much nailing Chomsky on this, I’m convinced that Chomsky did cross the line into outright apologetics for the KR based on an incredibly misguided version of anti-imperialism. I’ll dig up the reference for this essay if its of interest to anybody.)

          Because of Chomsky’s weak spot for a kind of hegemonic authoritarian leftism (running totally contrary to his stated libertarian left views), it didn’t surprise me at all that he easily moved toward outright MacDworkinism when lobbied by the APRF crowd. And his references to “The Hustler” and general cluelessness about the issue (as well as lack of cultural literacy) revealed in the “Price of Pleasure” interview and elsewhere I think say a lot about the blind spots in his scholarship.

    • Similar to Anthony in general orientation, though presently not that far to the Left. Nonetheless, I lean toward wanting a society with a strong socioeconomic safety net, which I think is ultimately necessary if the very idea of individual freedom is to mean anything for the vast majority of the population. If wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few, and hence financial security and needs like medical care are out of reach for much of the population, the capacity for exercising freedom of choice becomes very limited for most people. On the other hand, those who wish to create a kind of nanny state (or worse) to supposedly equalize power relationships end up destroying basic individual freedoms by handing off far too much power to the state and authoritarian social movements.

      The kind of growing nanny statism and outright social conservatism of much of the political left, or what passes for that these days, is absolutely abhorrent to me. The ongoing anti-porn and sex work meme, calls for freedom of expression to be “balanced” against other rights, the increasing cozying up to reactionary religious figures (both Xtian and Islamic) by some sections of the left, types of anti-consumerism that cross the line into a kind of hairshirt, self-denial-for-its-own-sake ideology, “individualism” being used as a curse word, and like nonsense are all examples of this trend. I recently had an internet debate with an anti-porn feminist who, it turns out, condemned not only porn, but casual sex in general as “mutual exploitation” no matter what degree of enthusiastic consent on the part of both parties. It unfortunately doesn’t even surprise me to see such extreme social conservatism associated with a generally “progressive” politics these days.

      That level of disgust with where I see so much of left/liberal/feminism going puts me thoroughly in the Libertarian camp on a lot of issues, but the devotion on the part of so many self-described Libertarians to an antiquated “laissez-faire” capitalism that promises nothing but the worst kind of wage slavery and poverty to the overwhelming majority of the world’s population (not to mention environmental destruction) pretty much keeps me out of that camp.

      Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t want individual autonomy to be crushed by too-powerful state (or quasi-state social movements) or an out-of-control market, there seems to be very little political space these days.

  13. Where is Heart, Pony or Sam to say that Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner or the porniarchy made you say all of this?

  14. In fact, if you took out a lot of the godbaggery, sexual policing, homophobia, racism and sexism out of the Republicans….I just might be one.

    Yeah, you’d be the *only* one!

  15. Roy Kay says:

    Heh. I started calling myself a “Conservative Republican” back in the 60’s when “Conservative Republican” meant anti-Communist, anti-nannystate, pro free-enterprise perspectives. In reading “The Conservative Mind”, By Russel Kirk (good reading is only for the historical perspective), it became clear that I wasn’t a “Conservative”, though there is much that I would like to conserve.

    Things I didn’t want to conserve were racial bigotry; religion; limitations on women’s (and men’s) rights; sexual repression whether for number of partners or sex of same, drug laws (and now wars).

    I can certainly see the benefit in anti-trust, preventing corporations from becoming defacto states. As much as I value militarily realistic defense – and sometimes adventurism – I don’t particularly like the Military-Industrial Complex. I’m not thrilled at all with proliferating Federal police forces; these serve to advance a police state.

    Executions? Maaaaaayyyyyyyyybe. But I can’t get very Rah! Rah! about them. Not saying here that there’s aren’t people I would gleefully kill, but as a major public policy thrust, I think it does make society a harsher place.

  16. Erik says:

    This has been a great colloquy. Kudos to Ren, who started it all, Roy Kay, rootietoot, iamcuriousblue, Physio Prof, Anthony Kennerson, Caroline et al. Contrary to reports, lively political conversation — with ideas, not just shouting! – is with us yet.

  17. Not shocked, already knew all this!

    Ren, are you against the health-care bill? I’ve noticed lately that the political lines seem to be drawn on either side of it.

    • Carson D Carson says:

      I don’t know about Ren, but I personally and for it *IN PRINCIPLE* but against it *IN EXECUTION* For me it comes down to this:

      Is there even *ONE SINGLE PERSON* in this country that has read, and undersstands every single aspect of this bill? I’m sorry but it’s too large and convoluted, and so full of bloat, it will take years to fully understand and fix.

      • Dead_Vladimir says:

        so true

        it’s a joke

        Fixing healthcare a must
        in a 21st western society no excuse not to have a system that works

        but this bill, my god….it’s like fiing a broken leg by cutting it off and sewing ona broom and telling the person they are the 6 million dollar man now

  18. Eli says:

    There are aspects of US politics that continue to baffle me, such as how gun ownership is championed by the political Right… Over here “the Right” tends to be in favor of police state style invasive government, because they want limited freedom and strong law to enforce their idea of morality!

    I score very low on authoritarianism on the political compass. I believe people should generally be considered responsible adults by default, until they prove themselves otherwise. I think it’s better to err on the side of more freedom, less restriction, and more charity. I believe that issues are best handled at the lowest level capable of doing so, and that the duty of the higher levels is to facilitate doing so for the lower levels, and to take up the slack if the lower levels fail for whatever reason. Take orphans for example; relatives will generally do a much better job raising them than state institutions, and society providing them with some logistic and/or financial support will be much more economical too. But ultimately, someone has to take responsibility, and if there are no capable volunteers then the responsibility does fall to the state, no matter how much it sucks at it. And it *will* suck at it – unavoidably.

    (As an aside, I don’t quite understand why libertarians would think letting the state enter the war business is a good idea. The state will unavoidably suck at that, too – considerably more than half of the states involved in wars end up losing, don’t they?)

    It seems to me though that there are a lot of “pseudo-libertarians” around (present company excluded of course) whose libertarianism consists of avoiding all social responsibility. They claim to be against a big government nanny state, but by consistently undermining the ability of the intermediate levels to deal with issues they make sure that the state is the only agent left to take responsibility for anything. Their “libertarianism” is merely selfishness; they feel they ought not to have to contribute in any way to the maintenance of society. Their biggest concern is that someone, somewhere might get some benefit or handout while being “undeserving” or “unworthy” (which is codespeak for “doesn’t share my morals in every detail”). So after they made it impossible for grandma to take care of the orphan, they’ll complain about the large state orphanages being expensive and inefficient and how they “shouldn’t have to pay” for them because… just because. I don’t feel I have anything in common with that kind of libertarianism.

    • Carson D Carson says:

      What you have to understand is libitariaranism taken to fullest extreme is Anarchism. There does need to be a balance and therefore a government.

      • rootietoot says:

        any form of government taken to it’s fullest extreme is unacceptable.

      • rootietoot says:

        Just because I call myself a Libertarian doesn’t mean I am desirous of anrachy. I imagine someone calling themself a Democrat isn’t by default wanting a wholly Socialist society, either. Some may, as some Libertarians may be closet anarchists. Be careful about painting with a broad brush.

      • Roy Kay says:

        The problem with anarchy is that it invariably degenerates into some form of government.

      • Eli says:

        I like Kropotkin-style anarchism. Anarchism doesn’t mean people don’t form communities, or that you’re being oppressed because the neighbors will try to prevent you from peeing in the well. 😉

        But clinging to isms to the exclusion of the real world doesn’t work too well. Government does work when applied circumspectly in the appropriate situations. Usually a sign that all else has failed. Like, one wouldn’t need regulations if sanity prevailed, but it often doesn’t…

  19. octogalore says:

    Kudos, Ren! I know it took courage to write this.

    My politics are quite similar to yours, and I have the same reasons I wouldn’t register as a Republican.

    I could (and did, as you know) vote Republican when the Democrat on the other side appeared too far left in terms of economics. Many social issues are at heart economics issues. To take one example: abortion. If Roe were for some reason overturned (and so far, 11 S.Ct. Justices appointed by Republicans haven’t made that happen, so I don’t think it’s likely), the states in which abortion was legal pre-Roe would still have it, so the issue would become access to funds for transportation for poor women: a money issue. Whereas, if the Dems put forth some version of Stupak, abortions then get more expensive for poor women that way too. Basically, if the economy tanks, social issues suffer too. If small businesses aren’t overtaxed, more jobs can be created for those who need them, and with those jobs comes health coverage.

  20. Ren says:

    well, octo, we have seen what happens when folk like us talk politics…

    • octogalore says:

      Yup. But in retrospect, no regrets here. Finding out who your friends are is always a good thing. All my liberal actual-friends are still friends, the others? Never really were. Life is too short, and all that. Even my mom, whose dad was a member of the Socialist Party of NY and who didn’t fall far from that tree, was aghast at the “what happens when folk like us talk politics” discussions.

    • Amber Rhea says:

      Yeah, funny how that works out… ugh

  21. FW says:

    I saw Glen Beck on Jay Leno the other night, and right before I changed the channel because I hate them both, Beck who I already knew identified as a libertarian said something like “trying to get libertarians together is like herding cats” in that it can’t be done. So true. I’d call myself a McWilliamsian LIbertarian which is very much different than a Randian Libertarian, for example.

    And I agree with all but one tiny point in your post above, the reason jails have all that stuff, when they have it, isn’t to coddle prisoner’s – it’s to make the rest of the world not feel too terrible for locking up drug sellers and users, prostitutes and the mentally ill and other people who shouldnt’ be classified as criminals. Until they free the people who shouldn’t be locked up anyway, I’m all for making everyone pay to give them libraries and antibiotics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s