Thursday, December 08, 2005

On being a political loner - a follow-up to last post

I thought I would explain my last post a bit more. I am going in to a bit of biography, a rarity for me.

Those who know me know that I have never been conservative about anything. In high school I wanted to save the whales. Given my high schools, that was some pretty radical stuff. (Whales are treif, who needed them?)

I was a convert to libertarianism in college. (I read Nozick.) I assumed that if we just allowed free enough trade, someone would figure out how to make money off saving the whales.

In graduate school, I took a hint from the neo-cons. I realized that there were some people who were not allowed to free the whales because people were trying to shove them in concentration camps, so we needed to destroy their maniacal leaders so that everyone can be free enough to figure out how to make money saving the whales.

There is no political position that seems to match how I feel. But there was also never anyone around who seemed to feel the same way as I did. My boss is currently a person who really thinks Churchill and Hitler are merely two varieties of mass murderer. Most of my colleagues think that both Saddam Hussein is a nice guy, and that it really is not worth saving the lives of people who are Kurdish or Shiite if it means taking money away from things that are important to them, like education, or if it means agreeing with a Republican. I think we do not have enough abortions on this planet. I like the idea of individual liberties extending to the economic sphere. I wish the government did not impose their values on me, and I wish it was legal to take drugs. I have voted for Republicans and Democrats, and I have few regrets about my decisions. . .

So I learned to put up with a lot of nonsense. While most of my colleagues learned that most of their friends agree with them, they never learned the value of a good debate. They never learned how to respectfully disagree with people who are actually different than them. I felt bad, but I frequently found myself reducing people to tears because they could simply not stand to listen to views that were so different then theirs. (Screw them, I say!) Most of my colleagues can do little more than recite party lines when it comes to their views. The Village voice and the Daily show are pretty much all they need to find out what they believe. The very idea of watching news, reading statistics, thinking about a social issue, etc, is foreign to them. They all have very knee-jerk responses. No one thought twice about the war. No one ever changed their mind. And no one ever puts their money where their mouth is. They all worry about how the state is going to help them, they complain about their lack of funding. No one can do enough to help them.

Now, conservatives are no better. But I am not surrounded by them. I never had to learn to defend abortions. But I am sure I can do so without the contempt that would drip forth from the mouths of those I surround myself with.

But I tell you, it is a lonely, but rewarding, existence. It requires one to work very hard, and at the end of the day you impress the only person who matters – yourself. There is no group of people you can turn to for support, or to even make sure you are right.

I never liked “campus conservatives” or the “Local Liberals” they all seemed like a bunch of losers to me, and they all had lines they were supposed to believe. If that is all I wanted I’d still be fanatically religious. It still saddens me that there are educated adults out there like that.


Shosh said...

Karl, I'm shocked by your autobiographical nudity (in a good way). You wanted to save the whales? Excuse me for a sec....
Just kidding. I had a poster of Pierre Trudeau in my locker in high school. And anyone who ever brings that up gets their ass kicked!
Anyway, you're notoriously hard to categorize although I put you as libertarian or something like one. Not that you'd care. ;) Have you really made people cry because of your opinions? Awesome! That's the best part of the whole autobiography! Encore! Encore!

bec said...

that was a great post. i may have to memorize it so i can recite it to my suicidally liberal to the point of no return biological family....