Reason Vs. Emotion

I grew up with a very logical father whom I adore(d). That, combined with some natural brain wiring has always made me prefer the logical side of the mind. Still, I always had more empathy than my dad, and I discovered it made a huge difference in life. We are not an island, it is good to have some ability to interact with others on an emotional level. I went through some very bad sections of my life, however, that were characterized by my total abandon of reason in favor of emotion and feeling. Every time I have allowed myself to lead totally with my emotions, despite my logical side, I have always ended up in trouble, turmoil, etc., be it psychological, financial, or some combination.
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The Sky is Falling! Everyone Vote!

I often point to history to discredit doomsayers, support arguments, and generally vet various arguments and statements. In the interest of consistency, I have to call out the “this is the most important election ever” crowd, and even more so, the “defeat Obama at all costs” crowd. Is the sky really falling? Is it really the most important, life-or-death-level election ever? Will the country really not survive another four years of this administration? Is reactionary voting the right idea? Does that really work? Is the “most electable” guy really worth having? Will it really be any better? These questions, and more, must be asked and answered. So here goes.
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No More Parties for Me, This is Serious

I have left the Libertarian Party.  No, I have not left because I have changed my political position or philosophy, I have left because I realized a big part of the problem with our representative democracy is political parties themselves.  For a long time I have been voting third party, knowing that the current political parties are both corrupt, and are scarcely different in any important way. My line of thinking was that a vote for a third party was a vote against the status quo and a vote for someone who’s political leanings were far more close to my own than what was being offered by the two mainstream parties. I often was criticized for “wasting my vote”, and not employing strategy by not supporting a party that had a chance to win. I always argued that a vote for the status quo was a waste since, at best, it was a vote for the lesser of two evils, guaranteeing the perpetuation of evil among our representatives.
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The Problem with the 2%

Ok, this post was inspired by SUFA’s very own Charlie Stella. It occurs to me that, while this is a political site, we are addressing problems that reach beyond politics, and that some things other than politics are involved in the philosophical discussions we have here. I will be doing two posts along this line. This first one will address the super-rich specifically, and a second will be a more general discussion of issues in our country and culture that are not, in fact caused by nor fixable by, the government or any specific political action, at least not exclusively.

I find it productive in any debate to recognize and accept the truths of your opponent’s argument. If you simply throw the whole argument out, then you damage the credibility of your own, and come off as not listening because, well, you really aren’t. That sort of dogmatic approach will not win over anyone, and it destroys the learning process that debate can, and should, be all about. In most of Charlie’s arguments, there is a reference to the problems of the 2%. While I do not have a philosophical issue with inequality of wealth, I do see where there are major problems caused by some of the most wealthy, and I recognize that, all else being equal, the one with the most capital has a MAJOR advantage.
Jon Smith Begins Discussion on the 2%

Victimless Crime

This is another installment of the differences between Conservative thought and Libertarian thought. One of the big weak points that libertarians have is their stance on drugs and sex and various other vices. Libertarians have been too vocal about those issues for political expediency, and opponents have capitalized on this quite frequently, throwing in a question about drug laws or decency laws and grabbing the sound bite version of the answer. The answer always spells doom for any garnering of support from the conservative camp.
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The Path to Safety is Always the Path to Destruction

“People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

Benjamin Franklin (paraphrased).

This is more than just a political statement. This applies to individuals and societal culture as well. The fear of pain or death destroys the thinking mind, leading to decisions of short term gain that lead to long term destruction. Why is this? Because the violent mind is not always rational, because the fearful mind is never rational, and the power handed over in the name of safety will always attract the corrupt. [Read more…]

Separation of Business and State

Yea, I know this one is not in the Constitution either. But maybe it should have been. The US has a long history of government interference in business and, perhaps even more so, business influence over government. It is one of the main areas of corruption in our government, and while it is worse than it used to be, it is not new. As in the previous article, the main philosophical reasoning for keeping business and state separate is the separation of power. Wealth is power, so is authority. Combining those two is a major magnification of power, and as we all know, power corrupts. Even if an individual can resist the corruption, the fact that a position of such power is available will attract corrupt people to it like flies to syrup.

Our government handed out land to rail companies nearly two centuries ago, they initially backed corrupt CEOs by sending troops to put down worker strikes rather than have the companies be forced to deal with worker demands. More recently they have abused imminent domain to hand out land to companies and handed over billions in taxpayer funds to bail out companies deemed “too big to fail”. All that in addition to consistent subsidies to various companies like the modern railroad companies and corporate farms, massive overspending by the military and other government agencies, and a host of other handouts and tax breaks done with backdoor deals in exchange for campaign support, perks, and perpetuation of power. [Read more…]

The Importance of Separation of Church and State

I am going to do a few pieces on libertarian versus conservative thought. This is not a bonafide series, but I do want to cover some of the key issues that separate conservatives and libertarians philosophically, and explain why I embrace the libertarian viewpoint over the conservative one. One of these issues I run into the most is the idea of separation of church and state.

Most conservative thinkers agree that government should stay out of religion, but are often less concerned about the other way around. You Constitutionalists out there will likely point out that the term “separation of church and state” is not in the constitution, but in a letter between Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Association. Indeed, a true separation is not possible, not if you include all belief systems in the umbrella of “church”, which I think was the intent. It is impossible because being without religion is, in effect, its own belief system with its own standards of conduct. All people on earth operate with some sort of belief/thought/moral system, so it cannot be removed. Furthermore, removal of the right to have certain beliefs or practice certain beliefs simply because one is an elected official is a violation of the First Amendment, and more importantly, the individual rights of persons in government. [Read more…]