My 2022 Political Weblog

     These are my rambling musings about American politics. They're in no particular order nor have I spent a lot of energy avoiding overlapping ideas.


     Not One Republican - 2022 January 13

     Not one Republican officeholder objecting to Biden's victory have objected to their own winds, on the same day, on the same ballots, using the same election system.

     Well, let's think about this one. Were there any elections where the rampant cheating that Democrats did showed up on the Republican side? Were there any elections that mysteriously found thousands, never mind hundreds of thousands, of consecutive Republican votes at three o'clock in the morning? Were there any elections where there was overwhelming Democrat support, like two-to-one ballot ratios, where the Republican ended up in office? Were there any elections where the Republican candidate didn't campaign at all, maybe because he couldn't pronounce a full sentence, even from a telepropter, and still took office?

     Maybe that's why not one Republican was "complaining" about the election process. Maybe it's because the Republicans weren't the ones cheating.


     Nuclear Power and Libertarians - 2022 January 10

     I recall an interesting conversation I had in a circle of libertarians at Stanford when I was a graduate student there in 1980. This was just after Three Mile Island and the nuclear power industry didn't have the long safety record it has today. The question was whether people should be able to control a nuclear power plant even if there were no problems, perhaps even to prevent construction of a new plant in a reluctant neighborhood.

     My purist-libertarian friend was insistant that the pure-libertarian position was clear. There was no public remedy to prevent a private company to build their own private nuclear power plant on their own private property and the only legitimate remedy a concerned population has is recovering losses after some kind of bad event.

     I was a bright and quick person back then and I snapped back, "What if a person fired a gun into a crowd and didn't shoot anybody? Nobody got hurt, but shouldn't the crowd use force to prevent the shooter from doing it again?"

     To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie in "Alice's Restaurant" there was only one of two things my friend could have said. He could have come back, "Hmm. Maybe you're right," which wasn't very likely and I didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have insisted on the purity of his absolute-private-property libertarian position, which is what I expected.

     Instead there was a third possibility I hadn't even counted upon and he asked me a question that surprised me. "Where did you get that one?" It appears the notion of thinking of one's own examples was foreign in his political thinking, even though he was a smart person, a Stanford graduate student.

     That made me wonder. I naturally used my own mind to come up with my own examples and I expected others did the same thing, especially libertarians whom I think of as people who think for themselves. I remember finding Murray Rothbard's heralded libertarian vision Man, Economy, and State soft and squishy and sloppy compared with David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom that turned me on to libertarian thinking in 1975. While I still feel libertarian thinking and libertarians who think are the clearest thinking people in politics, I was hoping they thought more for themselves and relied less on spoonfed formulaic rhetoric.


     Conservatives and the Bible - 2022 January 8

     I run into conservatives who support their belief in our American values claiming they come from God and Jesus and the Bible.

     I can respect their religious beliefs without sharing them. We can keep faith and still base our values on science and reason.

     Most Bible-quoting conservatives are pro-life on abortion. But here's the funny thing about most people who say their beliefs are based on the Judeo-Christian Bible. Right at the beginning, barely after the word (bray-shees, written with the vowels) in the Book of Genesis, Chapter Two, Verse Seven, is a clear position on abortion. From King James, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. First man Adam becomes human when God breathes life into him and I agree with Talmudic scholars then and now that this clearly delineates a position that fetal life is less than human until first breath. In fact, I'm told religious Jews go a little further in that a baby who dies in the first month after birth is not mourned with the full human-death ceremony.

     My own opinion is not based on Bible authority and I'm not staking out an opinion on abortion in this section, only that the Bible takes a clear-enough pro-choice position that anybody claiming to follow it would have be either pro-choice or neutral (if there are other parts of the Bible with different views on the subject, parts less fundamental than the five books of the Torah, less primal than Genesis) on the current abortion debate. I'm not saying pro-life proponents are inherently wrong, only that any claim they make lacks Biblical authority.

     Actually, I believe most people who cite sources for political views never actually paid much attention to the actual sources they cite, including those citing Biblical authority without actually reading the Bible. I have nothing against pro-life adherents, only against those claiming their values come from a source they haven't read or don't understand.

     I use the abortion issue as a litmus test of self-claimed Bible adherents actually reading and understanding the source they claim for their morals and values. If they claim to get values from the Bible and they're pro-life on abortion, then they're not getting their values from the Bible.

     I know pro-life abortion adherents who are not hypocrites in this way because they don't claim Biblical support. One fellow told me he believed in the sanctity of human-fetal life based on post-Biblical science. "We've learned a lot about unborn children since the old days." My beef is not with pro-life people, just people who attribute that belief to a document that opens with the opposite opinion.

     I have another beef with those citing religion against Darwin's theory of evolution or any other rigorous science. The Bible says God created the world in seven days, seven of God's days whatever that means, and created all the life on this planet along the way. Charles Darwin gives a reasonable explanation for how that may have happened.

     Are they inconsistent? Isn't it possible that God's work happened in a scientifically-explained way? Maybe our most advanced science is a tiny view into the mind of God. Maybe we can enjoy our science and religious beliefs together. I'm bummed that folks in the religious community seem to have created a division when none really exists. If I were a religious person, then I would enjoy science as a greater understanding of God's glory rather than a refutation of religion.

     It's a shame when people are looking for a fight rather than looking for a way we can all agree on the greatness and beauty of the world we live in and whoever created it.



If you like what you read here (Hah!), then here are my other American-issues essays.

Today is 2022 January 21, Friday,
14:10:22 Mountain Standard Time (MST).
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