A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Some philosophical ruminations

So, my brother sent out the blog link to a bunch of his friends (strongly liberal across the board, I think), many of whom check the thing out (thanks!). A day or two later, he send this:

The preliminary word is in. People don't think you're a libertarian. They think you're a conservative. How do you feel about that?

Ack! I've been exposed! Must spin, must spin. Oh wait, no. I hate spin. Here's my response:

I think it all goes back to my childhood... oh, wait. This isn't therapy.

Okay, really. Unsurprised. A friend of mine who has commented on the site and is a die-hard conservative thinks that I just might qualify as a conservative, but he still has his doubts. I'm definitely more conservative than liberal at this point. And I'm probably not really a libertarian. I'm not sure I actually want to be, since the official libertarian party was opposed to the War on Terror. I just very much am NOT a Republican or a Democrat at this point, and I like the concept of libertarianism-- limited government interference and the williness to let people do what they want provided it doesn't break the law or damage anyone else.

Mostly what I am, I hope, is someone who tries to listen to all sides, and is willing and able to find the strengths and weaknesses in those various sides. Ambitious, I suppose, but I really detest that much of the left is completely blinded by their hatred of Bush and unwilling to even consider that anything the Republicans do could be good or helpful and that much of the right is blinded by their belief that just because more people voted for them they don't have to listen to anything the other side has to say. Admittedly, at this point I am more disgusted by the left than the right, but I really, really wish someone still gave a damn about the middle. I know a lot of regular people do-- why the hell don't any politicians, pundits or other media people?

Which is why I hope some of your liberal friends do check in from time to time (one has already left a post on the Schiavo thing) even if they do think I'm too conservative. Democracy is at its best-- hell, people are at their best-- when their is an exchange of ideas and the various perspectives on issues are presented. We need to be willing to admit when we are wrong and to credit the other guy when she is right. Is that so frickin' hard?

Dialogue, bro. We need more dialogue and whole lot less pissin'. Way too many pissing matches going on these days. Makes the place stink and it doesn't accomplish a damn thing.

One of my hopes for the blog was to provide me with some balance, too. I think I have over-compensated with conservative viewpoints lately, which was okay since I was coming from pretty far off on the left, but now it's time to find some common ground and some equilibrium. So, I want all viewpoints. I want discussion. I want to breakthrough the "Ah, he's a liberal/conservative, why would I listen to him?" that seems far too rampant in our society. Brian is a good example-- he only reads liberal blogs, so he only hears what he already knows. There's no growth there, no chance to maybe see things differently. It's a great big echo chamber.

Consider it a challenge-- if you and your friends find me to be too conservative, make the case for the alternative(s). What am I missing? Where is my logic flawed? How else could this problem be approached?

Dialogue. We need a whole lot more dialogue these days.

Okay, my secret is out. Libertarian Librarian is just terribly alliterative, so I had to go with it. I am, however, still waiting for my "Vast Rightwing Conspiracy" badge. Probably got lost in the mail. But, then again, back in my far left moonbat days, I never got my "Reagan is the Anti-Christ" button, either. I'm not really a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian. Please don't hate me for my unpigeonholeability. Embrace my nonconformities and then try to convert me to your side if you wish, or perhaps just consider some alternative perspectives and dismiss them as the rantings of a delusional archivist stuck in the basement too long.

Whatever you wish, folks, but let's dialogue-- there's already a nice stream going on the Schiavo comments section, though it is currently exclusively populated by liberals. John, get in there! Ah hell, maybe I'll try a salvo or two.

A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends. ~Balthasar Gracian


Hey, two comment in one day. gotta get back to work. But...

HEY! I never got MY "REagan is the anti-Christ" button, or my "Far Left Moonbat" T-shirt. To whom do I complain? How did you rate? GOSH!

Yeah dialogue. I'll argue till the cows come home. Don't get me started.

Too late. Now you did it. Andy'll tell ya.
Your comments in the philosophical ruminations leave slightly..... disturbed. I've been trying to put my finger on why, and I think it has to do with the thing you and I discussed on the phone once a while back. You seem so comfortable existing in political and philosophical no-mans-land, and I am so uncomfortable there. Your desire and passion is the constant search for the perfect dialectic. Your religion is the purity of that dialectic. BUT, I do not know what your belief is.
Dear Mr. Costello:

1) You seem to be quite permanent for such a temporary personality.

B) Please note I also never received my Reagan in the anti-Christ button.

iii) I welcome all semi-rational dialogue and better. I have no, none, zero, nada tolerance for trolls. So far, you do not appear to be a troll. Though since you are a friend of my brother's you are already on super secret double probation. Watch yourself, mister.
Dear Mr. Montag:

1) I exist in a political no-man's land only because today's politicians are nit-wits and ninnies. And I believe that there are a surprisingly large number of others out here in this oh-so PC incorrect no-man's land. Actually, from what I've been able to glean, it must be getting rather crowded. Perhaps I will be able to start a game of Euchre soon.

B) I do not believe I am in a philosophical no-man's land. I do love the dialectic, this is true. But my philosophical ruminations post was more to why I was doing the blog in the first place, not an attempt to present a personal philosophy on life.

I whole heartedly believe that a free exchange of ideas can be only to the good-- which is why the Churchill/Summers situation got my goat (anybody seen him, btw? Gray, short hair? No? Drat.). But that belief is certainly not the basis of my world view, nor would I in any way characterize it as my religion. Though I do like to write in a florid prosaic manner that makes me sound sophisticated and cultured.

iii) As to what I believe. I believe both the Democratic and the Republican parties are at least partially unhinged at this point in time. I believe that this is rather disturbing since this moment in history may well prove to be a very, very critical one in many respects. I believe that if Jimmy Smits' character, or Alan Alda's character, on The West Wing were actually running for president I would vote for them in a heartbeat over virtually any major public figure of either party (though that comes with the caveat that I haven't seen the last three or four episodes). I believe that convenience has taken some of the joy out of life, rewarding us with more time but less idea of how to spend it wisely.

I believe in the soul... the cock...the pussy... the small of a woman's back... the hangin' curveball... high fiber... good scotch... that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap... I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

Oh wait. That last part was Crash Davis in Bull Durham. Not bad, though. Not bad at all.

I do also believe that I am tired. And so I shall retire to bedlam.
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