Minnesota Liberal

Friday, September 10, 2004

On a more philosophical note...

After a day and a half of typography forensics debate... let's take a step back from the everyday frustrations of being a liberal in this crazy Faux News world. Instead, I want to talk about the philosophical reasoning behind my political beliefs.

I believe that government is an important part of our society in maintaining security, health, transportation, education, civil rights, labor, and trade. I believe that those who have been blessed with the success this country offers should bear more of the financial tax burden, thus allowing those with smaller incomes to find relief.

Many conservatives would argue that government should be small and not interfere with our lives. But what is small? Where is it okay for them to interfere and when is it wrong?

Was it wrong when courts ruled it was unconstitutional to discriminate against women? minorities? homosexuals? Of course not.

They would argue that we should pay very little in taxes? How little? 2%? 5%? They don't know.

Many Republicans say that don't want their money going to pay for someone else's education or health care... even though they also enjoy the priledges that come from those taxes being paid. The better educated children are... the more productive and innovative they will be in the work place, the more successful businesses will be, and better products will become available.

The more we privatize and individualize our society... the more difficult we make it for a large portion of our society. But as a collective... we have the resources needed to increase the probability of success for everyone.

I recently had a conversation that made me think very hard about what I believe and why.

My libertarian friend Jon said to me,
"You know what I want? I want the right to fail."

Jon believes that our system of government is flawed because it spends so much money and effort trying to ensure that everyone is a success. He thinks that we should forget about those that can't make it on their own. Survival of the fittest.

I wanted to punch him in the face. I felt this anger because Jon is a very successful advertising/art student at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design). I felt this anger because Jon has never been homeless, starving, without health insurance, without a computer, without hope. I felt this anger because he was spitting on the pain and suffering that millions of people in this country face every day.

Jon thinks that government should only operate on a local level. (Say one candidate represents a couple thousand people). Jon also believes that our two party system is a joke. He thinks that we shouldn't be voting for a candidate unless we agree with that candidate on 90% of the issues. (He believes that currently most voters only agree with Bush or Kerry on about 2 or three issues). What Jon doesn't realize is that he will never be happy unless he is representing himself. Everything is a slippery slope. There shouldn't be a federal government. There shouldn't be a state government. There shouldn't be a county government. Etc. You get the idea.

Jon is just an isolationist contrarian. He exists for only two reasons. To benefit himself. And to tell others they are wrong.

I hope one day Jon fails. Because maybe then he will realize why I care so much about his being successful. Jon's success could very easily affect my own.

Sorry if this posting doesn't completely make sense. I have a lot floating around in my head right now and it is hard to make sense of it all.

I hope to discuss these topics and issues further in future posts.