In case you mistake me for a liberal


Until my last couple of posts anyway, it was my impression that many readers assumed I was a liberal. After all, I’m an atheist; I vote Democratic or Green; I support gay marriage and abortion; I’ve been in an open marriage and even a group marriage; I favor socialism over capitalism; I left the most conservative state in the Union for one of the most liberal; and am a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Yet, the truth is that I’m not an across the board anything, and many of my values would be offensive to both liberals and conservatives. For instance…

I favor early euthanasia for those who are born so severely retarded that they will always require 24-hour care. When I worked in a group home with such people, I would see 50-year-olds sitting bent over and drooling on themselves while strapped into wheelchairs, and wonder why the hell we were keeping them alive. Likewise, I favor euthanasia for anyone whom, later in life, has an accident or illness that reduces them to such a state—people with advanced Alzheimer’s for example.

I think prison overcrowding could be reduced with creative punishments. Specifically, I would favor less imprisonment and more humiliation. For example, teenagers who were caught going down the street knocking out car windows could be placed in prominently located stocks while wearing dunce caps.

I strongly favor gun control, yet I own guns. Some are hundred year old single shot shotguns that don’t work, but I also have a couple of handguns that do work, and when Peggy and I go camping to a remote area, or hear a bump in the night, I get one out.

If people are on welfare, I think they should be made to give something back to society. Under our current system, they can go on welfare, never hold a job, and run up their welfare checks by parenting a  houseful of children whom grow up to be as parasitical as themselves.

I don’t support people who demonstrate against what they consider racism on the part of police. Sure, I think criminals have rights, and that all people should be treated equally regardless of race, but the only situation I see people demonstrating against that involves obvious abuse is the one in which the man was killed with a chokehold, and even there, I don’t see any evidence that he was a victim of racism. But the biggest problem I have with these demonstrations is that instead of narrowing the racial divide, they
re widening it.

My only objection to capital punishment is that the wrong person might be killed. Aside from that, I could work as an executioner. The first criminal I would like to kill is the Boston bomber. If he’s found guilty, I would be quite happy to hang the bastard upside down by one ankle in downtown Boston and leave him there. I would do it in warm weather so he would last awhile, and I wouldn’t let anyone hurt him (so he would last awhile). I’d just let him hang, and when he died, I’d throw him in the garbage.

I oppose late term abortions in the absence of a pressing medical need.

I don’t regard panhandling as having anything to do with “freedom of speech,” and I don’t regard groups of kids who block sidewalks while loitering downtown as having anything to do with “freedom of assembly.” Neither do I think that people have a “right” to sleep in cars in front of my house or camp along the creek across the street.

I hate Islam, my politically incorrect opinion being that the crimes of Islam far exceed the actions of fanatics—unless you classify the citizens of every country run by Moslems as fanatical. Bombs, guns, female “circumcision,” the isolation and oppression of women, the persecution of homosexuals and non-Moslems, and the absence of freedom of speech are prominent among the fruits of Islam in the lives of millions of Moslems. I see it as a barbaric religion, and would be  pleased if we didn’t have a single Moslem living in America. (After the recent murders in Paris, I planned to make a post consisting of cartoons about Mohammed, but Peggy asked that I not do so, it being the only time she ever requested that I forgo a particular subject.)

I don’t “honor diversity” (a common bumper sticker here) because the more diverse the diversity, the more likely it is to be divisive. It’s one thing to live next door to someone who speaks English and moved to America from a country that holds similar values, and quite another to live next door to a houseful of Moonies, a black family that hates white people, a house crammed to the rafters with non-English speaking Hispanics, or a bunch of Moslems who despise the West and practice Sharia law. One of the pluses of moving to Oregon was the lack of diversity, but what did I find when I got here but people with no experience of diversity promoting diversity.


I’ll stop here with the thought that I’ve made my point. I’ve often felt badly that readers viewed me as something I’m not, but at the same time, I couldn’t think what to do about it. What inspired the answer was a recent remark by a liberal reader: “From Mississippi, are you? Please do not come near my blog again.” I considered his remark so stupid that I thought he was joking, but when I realized he wasn’t, it brought up for me the anger I have often felt toward people who make a point of boasting about how unprejudiced they are, how much they honor diversity, and so forth, only to have them turn around and trash me because I have a Southern accent. 

I came here from conservative Mississippi because I believed that liberals really did have a better way, only to find that I was forever running into people who couldn’t wait to tell me what an undereducated bigot I was, this without them knowing anything whatsoever about my schooling or values. These haters of bigotry were so overflowing with bigotry that they figured they knew everything they needed to know just from hearing my accent or having someone tell them where I was from. Clearly, not every liberal is this way, but a great many are. I even had a friend tell me that she didn't want me to meet her husband because he would make fun of me because I was from the South. When you run into that kind of thing enough, it makes you wary of liberals, and so it is that my opinions have been formed. Not all, or even most, liberals are notable for their bigotry, but enough are that theyre prominent here in Oregon, often in high positions. I'll say more about this in my next post. 

18 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

You protest too much, methinks. In spite of your protestations, you sound like a liberal to me. And I find it far fetched that anyone ever thought you stupid or foolish. I've said it before but I think atheists are the bravest people I know. I'm going to reread your post and try to find something I disagree with. I need to give more thought to your comments about diversity. I wouldn't want to live next to anyone who didn't respect me or my property, but
something in what you say troubles me.

Elephant's Child said...

You would be very, very difficult to classify. Which is, for me, a big part of your charm. You don't accept very much (anything?) without question.

Paula Kaye said...

When I first started reading your blog I was sure you were a liberal. I am a registered Democrat but the furthest thing from a liberal you will find. I believe a lot of what the liberals believe: abortion is a woman's right to chose, public school education is okay, euthanasia should be legalized, Gun are not a right protected by the 2nd Amendment and etc. But I also believe in a lot of what conservatives believe: affirmative action should not be based on anything more than one's abilities, death penalty, health care should support a competitive free market, immigration, same sex marriage is NOT okay, etc. I oppose long term welfare, although I think there are those among us who might need temporary help. I support separation of religion and state but I also see nothing wrong with prayers or God in school or government buildings. I think social security should be protected at all costs but there are major changes needed. I don't believe all of anything. I put together what I am comfortable with believing and standing behind and that sums me up. Sometimes I have been known to change my mind. I think you and I are more alike than NOT. And if you lose friends because you are from the South then those are just ignorant people.

Lee Johnson said...

I don't think liberals or any other group vote in a cohesive block, aside from perhaps evangelical conservatives. I consider myself a liberal/progressive, but also agree with many of your statements in this post. That certainly makes me a bad progressive.

When the GMO labeling law was on the ballot measure in Oregon last year, I was apparently one of the few atheist I know who was against it. The majority made it pretty clear that it was assumed we all had the same opinion. I found the presumed uniformity odd, especially for something so blatantly anti-science.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've found that mostly the terms liberal and conservative are straw men used to demonstrate someone's political point. Few 'liberals' are liberal on all fronts. Same for conservatives. I'm generally more liberal than conservative but my beliefs are across the board on various topics due to my own personal experiences and the reading that I do.

rhymeswithplague said...

Liberals probably consider me as ultra-conservative but many conservatives consider me as far too liberal. Which makes me "middle of the road" I suppose, unless you define that phrase as meaning s wishy-washy, which I'm not, or at least hope I am not. I suppose I have always been a bit of a contrarian, which I often express as "When the whole world is advocating A, I usually consider the merits of B."

All of which might be construed to mean that I don't believe in absolute truth but only in varying shades of grey, except that, as you know, I do believe in certain absolute truths. I am a conundrum. I suspect that you are too.

BBC said...

I pretty much agree with you.

I don't think you can label me and I wouldn't sign up to any party that would have me as a member.

Call me a conservative liberal independent. Or a flip flopper, or just plain crazy. :-)

Joe Pereira said...

I'm pleased to know you don't like labels, Snow. Labels are the weapons of divisive fools

Snowbrush said...

"And I find it far fetched that anyone ever thought you stupid or foolish.”

When I first came here, my accent was so thick that I often had to repeat myself, and it wasn’t a cultured Jimmy Carter kind of accent either but more of a Southern redneck accent. Once a lot of people hear that kind of accent, the speaker instantly becomes a joke to them. That said, even in the South, my accent wasn’t the kind that would endear me to the upper classes. Think Bill Clinton compared to Larry the Cable Guy. It’s also true that I write a lot better than I talk. I’m the kind of person whom can be talking in a group, only to have someone else talk over me.

"same sex marriage is NOT okay”

You and Peggy. It’s rare that we disagree about politics, but this is one of the things that we feel differently about.

"I support separation of religion and state but I also see nothing wrong with prayers or God in school or government buildings.”

I couldn’t feel more strongly opposed to these things, and if they weren’t exclusionary enough in themselves, they very often come down to praying specifically to Jesus, which excludes not only atheists but all non-Christians. Also, in schools, it commonly doesn’t stop with prayers but includes postings—and even readings--of Bible verses in classrooms; an abundance of Christian hymns during assemblies and choir performances, especially around Christmas; mentions of God’s guidance of the nation in history classes and creationism in science classes; teachers saying “God bless you” to students as they go out the door after class; principal-led prayer gatherings around the flagpole before school; visits from local youth ministers during lunch; sermons during assemblies; a refusal to allow non-Christian religious people to voice their own views; and on, and on, and on. Since 9/11, there has been a large and ever-growing effort to introduce religion into schools in every way possible, making public schools into religious schools. My thought is that schools are supported by all of us, so they should be kept as non-sectarian as possible in order to include all of us.

"I don't think liberals or any other group vote in a cohesive block, aside from perhaps evangelical conservatives.”

I do, at least inasmuch as I would never vote for a Republican, a Constitutionalist, a libertarian, etc. I also think that where you have a person who is so deeply committed to one party or another that they give money and volunteer time, they probably do vote for that party and that party alone.

"Few 'liberals' are liberal on all fronts. Same for conservatives.”

I would just bet that if you showed up at a Democratic or Republican discussion group and took a position that didn’t coincide with the party line, you would run into a lot of disagreement and no agreement, and that if you did this very much, you would no longer be welcome. I think hardcore political devotees are just as consistently party-line as religious devotees.

"I don't believe in absolute truth but only in varying shades of grey, except that, as you know, I do believe in certain absolute truths.”

You speak, I think, of religious truths as being absolute, but even I absolutely believe in absolute truths. For example, slavery is NEVER okay. Having sex with a child is NEVER okay. Beating one’s spouse is NEVER okay. Targeting innocent people in war is NEVER okay. Many people would reduce morality to nothing nobler than cultural mores, but if it’s them who ends up being imprisoned or worse in some Moslem country because they said that Islam was no better than any other religion, I would guess that they would think they were being treated unfairly.

lotta joy said...

I find it humorous when people use labels, list their beliefs accompanied by labels, then say they are against labels. Labels are another way of keeping people lined up so we can choose one friend from line "A", an enemy from line "B", and choose whose blog to avoid because they belong to "C".

I speak in a very slow, "hillbilly" accent that people mistakenly "label" as southern and assume I lost 40 IQ points via my nasal twang.

I carry a gun and many people are wary of being in a car with me, because I must be a loose cannon.

When I'm derisively asked: "what is it you're afraid of?". "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING" I reply.

I have NO labels for you. You are a free to be living individual with thoughts, ideas, and ways of correcting problems that would be listed under many titles by the very people who pronounce themselves as open minded.

I'm just an old hippy flower child who advanced with the times and changed my attitudes to match the circumstances.

Oh, is there a label for that?

Snowbrush said...

"I find it humorous when people use labels, list their beliefs accompanied by labels, then say they are against labels.”

I do too. Aren’t all descriptive nouns labels? Isn’t “I” a label; “you” a label; “label” a label? How would we convey information without labels? Imagine what we would be left with if we took all descriptive nouns out of our language.

"Labels are another way of keeping people lined up…”

True, but they’re also a necessity in that they enable us to sort things out, ask questions, relate our experiences, and describe our understanding of the world. If you went to adopt a dog and there was no word for dog, you would be reduced to pointing. Or if you went to a doctor (and pointed at him, I suppose) while asking what’s wrong with ___ (and pointed at yourself), he or she couldn’t tell you because there would be no label for it. This whole idea that labels are bad strikes me as bizarre.

"I speak in a very slow, "hillbilly" accent that people mistakenly "label" as southern”

Well, if a guy (a label lover, he was) didn’t want me to come near his blog because I’m from the South, I wonder how he would feel about you if he learned that you sound like you’re from the South. Would that be sufficiently damning, I wonder, and would he have liked me better had I been from further north in the South?

(Sorry about your lost IQ points. Maybe you put them on top of your car, and they fell off and were hit by a truck).

"I carry a gun and many people are wary of being in a car with me…”

No shit! Maybe if you quit wearing your “Go Ahead, Make My Day” cap and took the part off your blog about how good you are at hiding bodies.

"When I'm derisively asked: "what is it you're afraid of?". "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING" I reply.”

Why not say that it’s them you’re afraid of and finger your trigger?

"I have NO labels for you.”

I’ll give you some if you would like. I think labels are grand as long as they’re accurate. Like if the name of the bread is “Ancient Grains” but it contains 99% bleached wheat flower, the label is a lie, but if it really contains no grain that isn’t ancient (ancienter than wheat, that is), then it’s a fitting label.

BBC said...

I often pack a gun also, and belong to the local black powder club, the mountain man stuff is cool.

What I really want is a backhoe. :-)

Snowbrush said...

"I often pack a gun also, and belong to the local black powder club"

Nothing like blowing someone away with a .58 cal Civil War era Minnie Ball and then burying them with a modern CAT. There's a modern movie about the 1873 Peacemaker in which the gun is taken from its Western film usage and put into a modern context. I was surprised what a difference in emotional impact it made (on me anyway) to see that gun used against people today instead of in the bloodless "Gunsmoke" and Italian Western way that I grew up with. Do you happen to know anything about that movie? I would like to see it again, but I don't remember the name.

BBC said...

I'm not aware of that movie.

I have a 50 caliber Hawkins rifle and a 50 caliber trapper pistol, both kit guns. And enough balls for a small war. I can also make black powder but it is pretty cheap here so I mostly just buy it.

All Consuming said...

"My only objection to capital punishment is that the wrong person might be killed." - well yes, that's the reason why everyone I've ever met who is against capital punishment is against it.

Whatever you are, we almost agree on everything so I guess that puts you left of centre or something. I only know the left folks are less likely to screw you over and seem to actually give a crap, whilst the right folks are all for themselves and would spit on a beggar rather than buy him a hot meal. Generalising? Just a bit hahaha. But it's pretty much true of those I've come across. Having said that the only thing we should really fear is the extremists, be they left or right or on Mars. And you certainly aren't one of those. I like what you are, and I like what I am, and that's good enough for me. I have had the odd shock with fellow bloggers, when I've realised that some of their views are wildly opposing my own. I use it as an exercise in tolerance because I genuinely like them as people, and hey, maybe some of my bleeding heart will spill over into theirs and make them lighter for it *smiles*.

lotta joy said...

Concerning the western Peacemaker, I think you would be DELIGHTFULLY surprised if you'd go to Youtube and type in: WHISKEY FOR MY MEN AND BEER FOR MY HORSES *video* by Toby Keith. Joe and I watch that video precisely for the Peacemaker versus modern day thug part towards the end.

Snowbrush said...

"'My only objection to capital punishment is that the wrong person might be killed.' - well yes, that's the reason why everyone I've ever met who is against capital punishment is against it.”

Many believe that violence is violence, so it’s no more right for the state to kill someone than for you or me to kill someone. It’s also claimed that, if the state kills people, it will validate killing as a workable solution in the eyes of the public, thereby decreasing the view that life is sacred. Ironically, here in America, those who oppose abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia commonly support execution, and vice versa. I’m the odd duck in that I support them all. My problem is that innocent people have sometimes been executed, so how is it possible to execute people without taking such a risk? Should we have two standards for guilty verdicts, one “beyond a reasonable doubt” and the other “beyond any doubt,” and require the latter in cases of capital punishment?

"Having said that the only thing we should really fear is the extremists, be they left or right or on Mars. And you certainly aren't one of those.”

I am extreme in my support for free speech except when it comes to nonconsensual acts like rape, pedophilia, animal abuse, or inciting violence, and this means that I am in total opposition to legislating niceness.

"I think you would be DELIGHTFULLY surprised if you'd go to Youtube and type in: WHISKEY FOR MY MEN AND BEER FOR MY HORSES *video* by Toby Keith.”

I promise to do it.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Wow Snow... It's frightening how many issues you and I agree on! Maybe it's growing up in the same neck of the woods???