My stance on politics
After long and hard thinking about politics, I have come up
with a political philosophy. It's a short philosophy:
Ideology is bad.
I dislike ideologies in all forms: liberal, conservative, libertarian, whatever. Right at the moment, I think that the liberal/conservative divide is the single most harmful thing about American politics. Politicians don't seem to care about solving problems, they only want to know whether a particular idea is liberal or conservative, and then, presto, they are for/against it.
Ideologies are an excuse for people to avoid thinking. Once people adopt a political philosophy that has all of the answers, they stop thinking and start rationalizing. I find it difficult to take anybody's opinions seriously when it is clear that they started with the answers, and then worked backward to select facts that would support their views, and
ignore facts that don't. Most people declaiming their opinions succeed primarily in convincing me that they are too stupid to understand any
viewpoint other than their own.
In short, if you want me to take your opinions seriously, you will have to convince me that you in fact understand both sides of an issue.
Overall, I don't like people assuming that one opinion locates me at some point on a liberal/conservative scale-- I've never seen a logical reason why my opinion about, say, gun control ought to have some ideological correlation with my opinion about birth control. I'm not a liberal. I'm not a conservative. Mark me down as "other."
That's the major part of my political philosophy: thinking good; ideology bad.
For more of my opinions, the following points summarize my politics:
- Ditch the ideology, and tell me the facts.
- Freedom of speech is important.
If there's one single point which is key to my political beliefs,
it is an emphatic belief in free speech. Freedom of speech (and writing,
and art) is critical to the free exchange of ideas, and any society
that does not allow the free exchange of ideas will slide into totalitarianism.
Yes, I do know the arguments against hate speech, against child pornography,
against allowing terrorist to recruit on the internet, against several
other good reasons that free speech shouldn't be unconditional. I understand
and sympathize with them. But if anybody is given the power to decide
that some particular form of speech is forbidden, this power is simply too easy to abuse. Or, to phrase it differently:
Pay attention to the words you say when you try to curtail speech of people you don't like: they are the same words you will hear
when others take away your right to speak.
Freedom of speech is so important to me, that for a while I was
considering listing this as the only political view I have. However,
as somewhat less important subjects, here are the rest of my (hard thought-out)
- Technology is a tool for solving problems. (I'm in favor of appropriate technology: that means the technology that is appropriate to the problem.)
- Prosperity is better than poverty.
Or, to quote the campaign of a former president, it really
is "the economy, stupid."
- We have a nice planet here, let's not destroy it.
- Democracy is good.
said that democracy is absolutely the worst form of government,
except for all the other forms of government which have been tried.
From these main points, you can pretty much triangulate my views on other subjects.
One more thing: Wanting something to be true doesn't make it true.
- Some rants
- Think the problem is with the system? That can be solved. Here's a better way to count ballots: Approval Voting.
- More about Approval voting
- John Scalzi explains why, liberal, conservative, or libertarian, he hates
your politics. I probably do, too.
- Here's a page of discussions and critiques of libertarianism (Some of which I agree with, some I don't, but it's iconoclastic and interesting.)
- On the other hand, Harry Browne's Seven Never-to-be-Forgotten Principles of Government is a clear and concise explanation of libertarian thinking on why less governent is good
- Steven Dutch at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay clarifies how "thar" is The World's Most Toxic Value System, and is responsible for much of the world's poverty and social problems.
- DumbScientist argues People Who Argue to Win Annoy Me (he advances the proposition that it's much more valuable to discuss things in order to learn. Ruth Welling says something similar
- Some more stuff can be found on my Quotable Quotes page.
- Back to Geoffrey Landis's home page.
copyright 2002,2003 by Geoffrey A. Landis