Reasons to hate meSo I finished the last post, and started making my usual rounds of the various lefty blogs I enjoy (I should set up a blog scroll, but, you know what, I had a blog scroll on my very first blog, and none of those fuckers ever linked back to me, so scroom, and none of them will read this blog or comment on it either, so scroom again), and I got over to Bottle o' Blog (oh, Google the URL your damn self, I'm tired) and was reminded, once again, of the War on Christmas.
Which reminded me, once again, that I've been meaning for months or weeks, now, to do a post on All The Issues That Make My Fellow Liberals Wish I Was Dead:
1. I like Christmas. I think it's very cool. I'm not a Christian, am not even particularly religous (although I have articles of faith, at least one of which we'll get to on this list because it also pisses off my fellow liberals no end, the tiny minded little fuckers), but Christmas is what the Winter Solstice Holiday that every human culture has always celebrated was always called in my childhood, and that's the word I have the strongest, most positive associations with. So I say "Merry Christmas" on my own time, and in my house (and in SuperGirlfriend's house) our holiday celebration is, and will remain, Christmas, despite the fact that we are about as secular humanist as you can get, and we are both educated enough to know that even if Jesus ever was born, it wasn't anywhere near December 25th. We make Christmas cookies, we send Christmas cards, we put up Christmas decorations, we will goddam well have a Christmas tree.
Now, at work, on the phone with participants, I say "Happy Holidays". I do not do this to placate Bill O'Reilly, who is a colossal tool (although he probably doesn't actually have one). I do it because there are a great many jackasses in the world who damned well will take offense at me if I tell them "Merry Christmas", and while in my personal life I have only two words for those people (and those two words are not "Happy Birthday"), on the time I sell to my employer, I well endeavor not to piss off the people who supply the funds that eventually trickle down into my paycheck. (I also try to occasionally make vague, truculent, rudimentary gestures towards keeping my job, because, you know, we have this big apartment now and I have to pay the rent here.)
But on my own time, I say "Merry Christmas", and if that pisses anyone off (and I imagine it will, at some point), well, there are many people who get pissed off over how I choose to wear my hair, too. I think people who get exasperated over such things badly NEED to be exasperated, hopefully into fatal aneurysms. So I wear my hair long and I say "Merry Christmas", and that's enough about that for now.
2. I hate affirmative action. I know, I know, as a white male I have no right to say this, and it automatically makes me a racist and I should just give up the futile effort at fooling anyone and go put on a sheet with a hood. Well, fuck anyone who thinks that way, and fuck everyone who thinks that you can somehow fix racism by reversing it and then institutionalizing it. If the Federal government is going to be in the business of redressing social inequity... and I have no problem with that as a basic concept of government... then instead of creating laws that force people to take race into consideration with every personnel decision, they should be trying to create and model policies designed towards making such processes as color blind as possible.
One thing I've yearned all my life to see made illegal is the horribly medieval, utterly useless ceremony of the 'personal interview'. There is no necessary or desirable purpose to it. We now have the technology to test any candidate for any position at an impersonal distance, and anything that might suddenly crop up when this man or woman first shows up to actually do the job that actually bears on their ability to do it well would be legitimate cause to hire someone else. The personal interview doesn't give a potential employer the opportunity to evaluate a potential employee for anything that matters, what it does is, it lets your new boss sniff your crotch and test your asskissing abilities. Eliminate the 'personal interview' and you will eliminate 80% of the bias in hiring practices right there.
Let the Feds establish some kind of Fair Employment Testing standards. Some kind of standardized exam for every job that employers can use to evaluate your work skills and aptitude. Sure, they can also look at your experience and what past employers may say about you, but what they don't get to look at is your gender, your age, your race, your relative pulchitrude, how long your hair is, how stylishly you dress, or how well you cast your eyes downward and simper/chuckle at their lame ass jokes.
Let the Feds also set up means whereby interviews can be conducted entirely online. Yeah, this will place an emphasis on certain skills (like literacy, and articulation) but the personal interview simply puts the emphasis on other skills (like grooming, and groveling). I'd rather give new generations of job applicants a reason to learn how to spell, construct smooth sentences, and type quickly, than continue conducting seminars on how to provide slick, completely insincere answers while 'dressing appropriately'... which for men means professional, and for women means 'sexy but elegant'.
Bottom line: Affirmative action is racism; I dislike racism. And if Aaron Hawkins were still alive, he'd be coming for me with a table knife right now.
3. I intensely, and I mean INTENSELY, loathe abortion. I am pro choice... but only grudgingly, because I believe that, ultimately, it's not my decision to make, and individual human beings who happen to possess wombs should have the freedom to choose what transpires within their own bodies.
But, still, I hate abortion. Passionately.
4. I'm not sure about gun control. I'm still up on the rails about it. See, I hate guns, absolutely. Yet... our forefathers seemed to feel that individual ownership of weaponry was an essential component of individual liberty and social freedom... and I am not sure they are wrong.
I intensely dislike the idea of anyone anywhere being able to walk around with the power of life and death over me, or people I love. Yet, at the same time... the idea of giving all the boomsticks over to the authorities makes my hackles crawl. Would it make cops safer? Yeah, but... well, we don't draft cops in this country; they sign up for the job and last I heard, nobody advertised it as being 'safe'. I'd be happy to pay cops more and equip them better; I'm not sure I'm happy with the idea of seeing to it that they are the only people on the streets with guns.
Beyond that, it's extremely impractical. There are millions of guns in circulation. Gun control laws are not a magic genie; most of the people that society feels shouldn't carry guns are criminals already.
I've already come up with a solution for this; I wrote it up on a much older blog. I called it 'gun insurance'. Maybe I'll go back and dig it up again.
I also think our Constitution pretty unequivocally denies the power to pass any laws in regard to gun control whatsoever. I'm hardly a strict constructionist of the Constitution; in fact, I feel it's a deeply flawed document... but it is the Owner's Manual of the United States, so I do feel we should pay some attention to what it actually says.
Whatever the case, in the end and at this point, I'm just not sure about gun control.
4. I cannot support 'hate speech' and 'hate crime' legislation.
I deeply loathe many of the more extreme consequences of absolute freedom of expression. I abhor most exclusionary hate speech, and there are kinds of porn that will make even a filthy jaded old Internet pervert like me blanche... but, nonetheless, I think that the essential concept of freedom of expression requires that we tolerate ALL forms of expression. Letting any authority decide which speech is acceptable and which isn't... nuh uh, that's a bad road to start walking on. So when you start pointing out certain types of extremely distasteful speech and levying fines and even jail sentences on people simply for speaking their minds, well... I think you've left the Freedom Trail and are heading towards despotism. At a fairly decent clip.
Similarly, I feel that when you set aside a certain type of crime as a 'hate crime', what you are doing is criminalizing a person's thoughts and feelings, rather than their actions. I cannot support that. I don't mind 'criminalizing politics', whatever the hell that means. But criminalizing speech, and criminalizing thought... that troubles me deeply.
5. I believe in intelligent design. I really, honest to Whatever, do. I think the universe around us is simply too complex to have 'jest happened'. I think it's an artifact of some sort. What sort? I have no idea, any more than I have the slightest frickin' clue who or what set the whole thing in motion, or whether there is any greater purpose to existence than just existing.
I do not believe the idea of 'intelligent design' qualifies as science, but on the other hand, it mostly doesn't qualify as science because religious people think they KNOW who designed the universe, and 'scientists' feel just as certain that nobody/nothing did... so no one is trying to do any research into it. I understand my 'faith' in intelligent design is just that... but instead of having one side rather smugly say "Well, it's the absolute truth, and we know all the details because they're in our Bibles", and the other side just as contemptuously declare "No, there is no Higher Intelligence, that's all childish superstition, we KNOW the universe just 'evolved' over a course of billions of years as a progression of various random chemical interactions"... I'd like to see actually unbiased people who know something about how the world really works, really looking into it.
It's been said many times before, but I will say it again, because it's always worth repeating these essential truths: atheism is in every way as much a leap of faith, or an organized religion, as Christianity or Buddhism or anything else. Insisting that something DOESN'T exist takes as much arrogant gall as insisting that it does. No human being I am aware of understands how the universe around us works, or where it came from, or where it's going, or even, for the vast most part, where it is and what it is doing right now. We don't truly comprehend time, or space, or matter, or energy; our most brilliant researchers are waving a couple of lit matches around in an infinitely dark cavern of ignorance.
We have to keep trying to find stuff out. Embracing the ignorance and making a virtue of it, as the ultraconservative Christian right wants us to do, is absolutely deranged, but it's nearly as addle-minded to simply say "well, those guys we don't like believe in something, so we're going to laugh at it and pretend that we know it isn't true, when we actually do not know any such thing, because we haven't bothered to do any real research or experimentation on it".
I, personally, believe in Intelligent Design... in a vague sort of way. I don't insist anyone else believe in it... but I do get annoyed when all my fellow liberals insist that the entire concept that the Universe 'just goddam is', is the only acceptable thing for a truly enlightened and rational being to believe. The truth, at this point, is that no one knows for certain a single frickin' thing about the actual nature of the Universe. And if we can't agree on that and move forward with open minds, we aren't going to ever learn anything.
So, there you have it: a punch list of reasons for all true blue, red blooded liberals to hate me and want me off their bus. But, you know, I still loathe Bush and conservatives and Republicans and want us out of Iraq right goddam now, so maybe I can sit in the back, if I promise to be really, really quiet...?