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Left Turn Only

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Member since: Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:45 PM
Number of posts: 74

Journal Archives

"Liberal" Is Not a Dirty Word

Of the many colorful words that come to my mind when thinking of conservatives, dumb is usually not one of them. In fact, the way in which the rhetoric of the political right targets the mainstream's thoughts and slips away without anyone seeing a source to shoot back at is a constant source of amazement to me. A good example of this is how so few Americans in a recent poll knew next to nothing about the Affordable Care Act except the lies promulgated by the Republican think tanks; this stealth rhetoric is responsible for qualifiers such as "tax and spend" and "bleeding heart" that are on the lips of most Americans when the word "liberal" is brought up. While everyone knows that President Obama has increased the national debt more than anyone before him, few people seem to know that President Reagan, the conservatives father figure, increased the national debt more than all the previous administrations combined by initiating the largest military build up the country has ever seen in times of peace. And, while we were at war during the Bush years (and we won't even get into the efficacy of those decisions), cutting taxes while spending those prodigious amounts of money, which doubled the debt once again, was a strange form of economics, to say the least, but the American people castigate Obama for wanting to raise taxes back to levels before the Bush fiasco. The point of all this is that no one is calling the Republicans "spend and spend" conservatives, and only liberals get a derogative name tag.

The adroit verbal maneuverings of conservatives have to be admired even beyond the economic arenas with the "bleeding heart" label, which elicits feelings of disgust toward those on the left. Notice how it is a bad thing to take an active interest in the disadvantaged in our society but a good thing to say "I've got mine, now, you get your own." In today's political climate, candidates have no qualms saying they are conservatives, while others are bending over back-wards to prove they are not liberals. And, while the cut-throat politics of capitalism have to be as far from the the teachings of Christ as a Satanic ritual, even most Christian groups are proud to call themselves conservatives.

The main difference between conservatives and liberals in not how much money each spends, but what the money is spent on. Should we cut money on Welfare and Social Security programs while we spend billions on corporate welfare? The true strength of a country comes from within, and I do not believe the market place can or will solve our deepest social inequities, but please forgive me -- I'm a liberal.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Mar 31, 2013, 12:10 PM (3 replies)

We Must Believe in Magic

The economics of capitalism appears to be predicated on an ever-increasing number of consumers through growing populations, opening new markets such as Asia, and developing new consumer products that people cannot live without. Is it just me, or does this line of thought bring to mind the metaphor of the periodic mass suicide of lemmings? No matter how you look at it, growing populations and selling more and more needless consumer products is going to catch up to us like a bad hangover. If fixing the Great Recession is dependent on the global-economy dream of the corporate elite by making all of the world's economies more like our own, wouldn't that be similar to taking a stiff drink to quell those not-so-pleasant feelings the morning after a good party?

Americans waste (even by conservative estimates) thousands of pounds of resources per person every year. Billions of pounds of things like carpet, polystyrene, food, chemicals, and other resources annually end up in landfills (if we're lucky). In addition, even more waste is produced by industry in the making of all those precious items. And, when you stop and think of all the electronic items, batteries, etc. that we all discard during our lives, each of us has a very personal involvement in the garbage and pollution produced in this country and around the world.

This seems hard for many to grasp, but, believe it or not, all the resources we waste and consume are not being continually replaced by god, and the earth really does have a limit to how much pollution it can absorb and recycle. Obviously, we cannot turn back the clock, so we need an economy in which everyone can contribute where a balance is struck between realistic needs, available resources, and inevitable waste production. Instead of producing so many products that end up in landfills, we need to be producing jobs in all kinds of research to expand the knowledge of human-kind, which will produce benefits in health, food production, energy, infrastructure, housing, etc.. Also, expanding scientific knowledge for no apparent immediate use other than the understanding of the earth and the universe could provide more than just jobs. Having everyone gainfully employed on a sinking luxury ship is only good while the party lasts. All the air, water, food, shelter -- everything that keeps industry and ourselves alive -- is provided by the living systems of our planet. As the Biosphere II fiasco in the 90's had shown us, science and 200 million dollars could not even produce a three-acre living system to keep eight people and some animals alive for two years.

If we are to rise above our lemming-inspired leap of faith, we must coordinate our hard-earned intelligence and technology toward real solutions. Earning money to stay alive is a concept developed by humans; and, since we created the system, we can alter it to fit the reality of the world we live in. It is time to stop trying to pull rabbits out of a hat and accept the fact that to take more than can be given even goes beyond our own laws of physics.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Mar 24, 2013, 10:20 AM (1 replies)

Notes from Above Ground

To those of us who seem to hold the word faith to a much more stringent definition, there is a tendency to stay away from the anesthetizing effect of any concretely designed religion. But, just as there seem to be certain individuals that are more prone to become drug addicts, some people have to have religion to stave off the umbrage of mortality. Believing in everlasting life and the idea that there is a centralized form of celestial government within or without the myriad universes can be a comforting thought (as long as you lead a circumspect life and remain politically correct); however, it appears that people either have this "gift" of faith or they don't.

It's obvious that I am not one of the faithful. I have this stubborn tendency to require, at least, some very strong circumstantial evidence before I can believe in something. Now, I realize that the devout feel the evidence supporting their beliefs is strong, so it would seem that the difference between believers and their counterparts must lie in their respective perceptions of what constitutes evidence -- something that will not be easily changed in an individual.

Actually, I have the utmost respect for truly religious people when they're not trying to effect government, which correspondingly effects all of us. The self-sacrifice, control, and inner peace of true believers is most admirable. On the other hand, when people in this country proclaim to be Christians, while knowing little about the religion, I cannot help but view these "faithful" with derision. The fact is most people would not want to live in a Christian society, so let's cut the pretense. We are not "one country under God." In fact, if there is a god, I seriously doubt that He/She (or whatever) would care about a political entity like a country. When Romney lost the election, did that mean that God supported the political ideologies of Obama, including drone strikes that accidentally kill innocent civilians (oops!)? Or better yet, did God support Romney, but He just wasn't strong enough to beat Obama? Face it: there is no deity involved with countries; they are created and destroyed by human hands.

And what about on a personal level? Women's rights, religious freedom, and sex before marriage are all things that are not in tune with Christianity. How about the great American institution of divorce? The next time someone you know marries someone who is divorced, be aware that both people are adulterers under Christian values. When people begin to pick and choose what they want to believe in a religion, they can no longer say that they truly believe in that faith and have, in reality, created a new one.

To people like myself, faith is a word that should be used sparingly. I am not an atheist because it would be just as large a leap of faith to believe that there is no god as to believe there is one -- both require evidence that I am not capable of acquiring. Religion, if accepted at all, is a personal experience, and that is the way it should remain. We must maintain the wall of separation between church and state that Thomas Jefferson spoke of, and it should never be brought up in an election or influence the laws of our country.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Mar 3, 2013, 11:36 AM (5 replies)
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