[Never finished. Begun April 12, 2002. By Wil C. Fry]
Over time, any man or woman will almost definitely change his or her opinions about nearly everything. This is also the case with me. In the short amount of time during which I have lived, I have modified my thoughts on religion, love, politics, education, law enforcement, liberty, war, sex, morality, and many other subjects, some of which will surely overlap at some point.
On the subject of politics, which arose in conversation at my workplace this very day, many have questioned me regarding my political standpoints and beliefs. Some of these beliefs are surprising to some, shocking to others, laudable to still others, and right to only a few, perhaps only to myself.
Therefore, I will set out to list and partially explain some of my political standings. In some cases, I will list the history of my beliefs and how they have changed. Keep in mind also that the tenets listed here are temporary, and should I live a long life, they will surely change again.
Some super-educated imbeciles will advocate the propaganda that these beliefs will “improve” with learning, and that all completely educated people cannot help but hold the same truths to be self-evident. This, I must admit, is partially true, but only if personal experience is included under the heading of “education.” Some beliefs however, can never be fully right, since each person brings their own unique experience into the arena. So it is with me, and with my beliefs.
◊ OVERVIEW: MY POLITICAL VIEWS
According to most current idea systems, I suppose my beliefs cannot be classified under one labeled heading. Surely, at one point in my life, I was fully in what is called the “far right,” a capital of conservatism, a storehouse of old-fashioned, cold-hearted thinking. However, I then began to slide to the other side, based on many personal experiences, events which not only changed the course of my life, but changed my political views as well.
No matter how far I slid to the “left,” though, I always maintained certain conservative ideas. An honest political “expert” will admit that there are more groups of thought in the world than merely “left” and “right.” Many, though, still use a simple-minded chart to differentiate between conservatives and liberals.
I have also seen those who propagate a circular chart, showing that extreme right radicals and extreme left radicals will eventually begin to share some basic beliefs.
This, I believe, is closer to the truth, especially if my own views are taken into account. In my case, there would be lines crisscrossing the chart from side to side, and the circle would probably be a sphere instead, with many lines around the surface of the three-dimensional object.
In fact, my views on specific issues do not seem to make sense to either side in the battle. Instead of my middle-of-the-road views attracting both sides, or helping to make peace, I am attacked by both.
For instance, with the currently-popular abortion issue, I do not fall into either the “Pro Life” or the “Pro Choice” category. Yes, at one point earlier in my life, I was profoundly Pro Life. While I have never been Pro Choice, I have seen and felt things that cause me to lean in that direction.
I do not believe, nor can I understand how intelligent people believe, that a fetus is merely “part of a woman’s body,” which leads to the popular claim that women “should be able to do what they want with their bodies.”
Of course I believe that women should do what they will with their own bodies (which makes me sound liberal, in and of itself), but I do not believe that a growing, unborn baby is part of that body. I believe that a fetus (embryo, whatever) is an entirely separate entity, with its own soul, mind, feelings, etc., that only inhabits the woman’s womb for a relatively short time — which, in turn, sounds very conservative.
In the course of my life, though, I have come upon circumstances that make a strong case for abortion in some cases. In the same way, I can also see that euthanasia has its place as well, which will surely cause the Far Right to hate me.
This is only an example, serving to show how I have wavered between two points. It also causes me to feel that people are ignorant when they cleave exclusively to one side or the other, based on emotional turmoil, tradition, scientific evidence, or other foundations. Surely, every human being is both a feeling and a thinking individual, and therefore should include all parts of the argument when making their own decision.
In my own experience, anyone who cleaves exclusively to one side of this argument or the other seems to find some kind of loyalty to that viewpoint, and is not easily swayed. They come to believe that their side is right, the other side is wrong, and when humans began thinking in these terms, they can become fiercely combative when challenged by an opposing viewpoint, even on issues much simpler than abortion.
◊ MY VIEWS ON…
I have already mentioned part of my view on abortion, so allow me to go into more detail.
I have seen sonograms of tiny fetuses inside their mothers’ wombs, and the babies do not appear to be going through previously-believed evolutionary stages, such as growing, then losing, a tail. Separate heartbeats can be detected*. Doctors have measured electromagnetic activity in the brains of these fetuses.
(* All “scientific” evidence used in support of my beliefs is what I believe to be “scientific” evidence. Since this is not an attempt to convince anyone of my beliefs, merely an attempt to explain my political views, I have not taken the time to provide sources of this evidence. It shall suffice, then, that I have seen the evidence, and believe it to be true at this time.)
All of this convinces me that the babies are indeed babies, and not merely masses of growing tissue. However, I have seen no conclusive evidence that the fetuses immediately become a separate entity upon conception, so I cannot say for sure when I think the individual life begins.
Pro Lifers have said that abortion takes away the new person’s chance of succeeding at life. A Pro Choicer would say that it is the mother’s duty to decide what chance at life the baby may have, and whether or not to terminate that life. Again, I believe that the truth falls somewhere in between these two extremes.
What if the baby is sure to be born into a “bad” situation?
Pro Lifers say that there are thousands of would-be parents on waiting lists at adoption agencies, unable to have children, and not enough children to go around for adoption purposes. Pro Choicers say that it is the mother’s choice whether she wants her new child to be put up for adoption, not knowing the qualifications of the would-be adoptive parents.
Here, I will overlap my viewpoint on government corruption and bureaucracy, by saying the most of the problems with adoption are government-related — poor organization, lack of foresight, and over-intrusive Federal laws.
On this issue, though, I can understand both sides, to some degree. Perhaps it should be the mother’s choice, since it is she — and not the adoptive parents — who will have to endure the pain and expense of child-birthing. Also, it is the biological mother who more fully knows the medical and physical condition of her child.
On the other hand, many (if not most) of these mothers are extremely young (based on current American mores), and perhaps are not mature enough to make that decision.
It should also be considered that many of the would-be adoptive parents are sterile. Perhaps there are viable reasons why they cannot reproduce. Religiously-speaking, is it possible that God Himself has intervened, not allowing them to reproduce? Perhaps He does not want them to have children.
Evolutionarily-speaking, it is possible that these parents have some genetic defect that is on its way out of the human gene pool, and needs to be pruned for the safety of the entire human race.
As you can see, I have considered many side of this issue, and still, I reside somewhere in the middle of the curve.
Without revealing too much, let me also say that I have had some personal experience with this issue also, and so I can understand at least some of the emotional consequences of such an action.
◊ Capital Punishment
Capital punishment has been called “inhumane,” which I find laughable. By very definition, “humane” is “having the feelings and dispositions proper to man; kind; benevolent; tender, merciful.”
In other words, “humane” means to do that which humans do. And humans kill one another, unless I have misread history and current events.
Also, the definition of “proper” must be called into question. Is it “proper” to put another human to death, even after he or she has been convicted of a horrible and appalling crime?
Is it merciful? Perhaps not. But allowing that person to walk free is certainly not merciful to the victims of these crimes. And keeping the criminal locked away for life is definitely not “merciful” to the taxpayers.
This is a simple matter of mathematics: every criminal in a prison must eat, be clothed, have medical attention, and so on — our “humane” laws decree it. So, if some of them are not put to death, or set free, then taxpayers are footing the bill.
I will not hedge on this issue — I believe that capital punishment (just a nice term for “death penalty”) is acceptable in many circumstances.
Some will say this is heartless and cruel, and I will respond by saying that crime is heartless and cruel, and humanity demands a fitting response to these crimes.
For those who fear that innocent inmates may be put to death, I respond that this is not a problem with capital punishment, but a problem with the justice system. If an innocent person is put to death, it does not mean that the death penalty is inherently wrong, it means that the court accidentally sentenced an innocent person to the death penalty.
This is one place where I agree with the term “bleeding-heart liberal.” Life, with all its trials an tribulations has convinced me that a person cannot (and should not) survive, if he/she is so unbalanced as to contain only compassion, without the ability to grit his/her teeth and live with some difficult decisions.
Life, while inherently beautiful and transcendent, is difficult. Apparently, it was meant to be that way. Thus, humans need to accept this, move on, and realize that not everything we do can be easy and comforting to everyone.
However, just because I believe the death penalty to be a plausible form of punishment (and deterrent), does not mean I believe in “witch hunts” or that any Federal Government should have complete power.
With proper due process of law, as afforded by the American constitution, we can be relatively sure that most convicts are rightly convicted. This again overlaps onto another subject — that of our court systems.
Checks and balances are very important, in keeping our system honest and upright, and we have to learn to accept a small percentages of mistakes.
Humanity is not perfect — I have yet to meet a person who is.
I am willing to live with a small percentage of error — anyone who cannot accept this will soon develop a major psychoses.
By no means do I wish for innocent people to be incarcerated or put to death, but if it happens, it happens. This is one of those subjects where I turn to bleeding-heart liberals and say, “Get over it — grow up.”
On this subject, liberals will say, “But killing the murderer can never bring the victim back to life,” and of course, they have stated the obvious*.
(* Stating the obvious is one of my pet peeves, although I have learned to live with it. When someone says, “It sure is sunny outside,” I feel this is a very unnecessary statement, unless they are describing the weather to a blind person, or teaching a child about basic words and weather.)
Putting a murderer to death, after due process in the court system, was never intended to “bring the victim back to life.” It is intended first, I believe, to satisfy some inherent need for revenge that all humanity retains. Second, it is intended to prevent such crimes in the future — once the murderer is dead, they cannot possibly kill anyone else. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it is intended as a deterrent to other people who consider such crimes.
Here is another subject for which I could be called a “moderate.” Republicans, or right-wing radicals, are accused of not caring one whit about the environment, of pumping untold tons of pollutants into the world ecology without regard for the consequences. Democrats, or left-wing liberals, are accused of caring more for trees and bacteria than for the plight of the human race.
Both are true, I guess, to a certain extent, but the ongoing rhetoric from both sides is tiring and unproductive.
I have to agree with liberals that the world ecology is important, and should be studied, cared for, helped, and kept in a healthy balance, which is good for all life. On the other hand, I agree with Darwinian theorists who hold to the “survival of the fittest” ideology — if one species is no longer “fit” to survive in the continuing evolution of our planet, then maybe it is time that species is purged from our gene pool. And I also agree with conservatives who say that humanity is the most important species, and should be protected above all others.
The problem here lies in tying all of these ideals into one belief system — at least, it seems to be a problem for most people. This is easy for me:
Protect the environment for the benefit of humanity.
How simple is that? Don’t protect the environment for the benefit of the environment — that shows a lack of concern for human culture and society. Instead, realize that we are human, and should worry most about ourselves — but this requires that we care about the ecology — since we live in it.
Endangered species, while perhaps on their way out of the gene pool, can be kept and bred for the education and extended knowledge of the human race.
Ah, Sex! That wonderful act by which humans can derive a supreme, unequaled pleasure, by which two people can create a new life, and which has been ignored as a genuine raison d’être.
Remember, I am here discussing political views.
I personally do not believe that any government should legislate unharmful morality, although in this I think I am in the minority.
If there are to be laws, then these laws should be for the purpose of protecting the citizenry, not for confining them, controlling them, or stifling their expression, even in the arena of sexuality.
Homosexuality — a hot topic in these times — is considered “wrong” or “evil” in the eyes of many religions, especially the more conservative of faiths. This, however, is irrelevant in a political arena. If you, personally, believe it is a sin, then keep yourself from engaging in such practices. When asked for your opinion, feel free to state that you believe it is wrong. But stray far from judging another human being for practicing what they believe to be their right.
If two men, or two women, wish to engage in sexual congress with one another, the law of the land should not prevent this, as long as the act is consensual, and is not causing physical harm to anyone else.
When religious or conservative people claim “it is not natural,” this does not phase my belief, since it is irrelevant in the political arena. Automobiles are not natural, but who can argue their importance in modern society? Computers are not natural, but have they not tied the people of our world together, made data storage and manipulation simple and fast, and proved to be a learning tool that is qualitatively better than many others? Chemically-produced medicines are not natural, but have they not saved countless lives and made the quality of life better for many humans and other animals?
“Statutory Rape” is another politico-sexual term that I call into question. All the legal definitions of this break down into one simple fact: the government has decided that sex is okay only for people above a certain arbitrary age.
This is not an isolated incident either; the government has decided that innumerable activities are only “okay” beyond arbitrary age limits: drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, voting, joining the military, driving an automobile or flying an airplane.
This practice — of setting arbitrary ages for activities — is not valid, in my opinion, and nowhere is it more obviously wrong than in the case of sex.
Unless I am mistaken, each state in the United States of America has the authority to set its own arbitrary age for consensual sex between two people. In some states, the minimum age is 18; in others, the age is 17 or 16. Many other countries have no minimum age. Some states take the ages of both sexual partners into account, and mandate that the partners cannot be more than so many years apart in age.
If a man is eighteen years old, exactly, and his sexual partner is only one day short of eighteen years of age, then this act is illegal (depending on local laws). If he would wait but one single day, then the two could have sex with the permission of the law. To my mind, this is only insanity, illogical, confusing, senseless. I use redundant terms here to express my strong belief that arbitrary age-setting for any mandated morality is wrong.
Will the 17-year-old person have significantly less maturity than the 18-year-old? Especially if they are only one day apart in age?
I think not.
On the subject of sex education in public schools, I side with liberals and conservatives.
Because of how we are designed, both physically and emotionally, I believe it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children about sex, as early as possible. However, because of our national fear of talking openly about sex, many children in previous generations grew up with great confusion about the subject, and only learned from their friends, or from bad experiences, what sex really is.
Because of this, the public school system bravely stepped up to bat, beginning to teach children about the biological aspects of sex, the consequences of poorly thought-out sexual encounters, and so forth.
I do not see how this is wrong, considering that sex is extremely important, not only to the survival of our species, but to emotional well-being, the stability of future relationships, and for physical pleasure.
If conservative parents fear that their children will learn too much about sex from the government-controlled schools, then it is time that these parents educate their children on the subject. Teach your children about the beauty of sex, the purpose of sex (propagation and pleasure), the possible variations of the act, and that it is not a “dirty” or villainous thing.
Sex is, in fact, a very natural thing, a necessary thing for so many species.
And different people will be ready for sex at different times.
◊ Government Control
There are many sub-categories under this heading, but most can be handled together, in a general sense.
… [I left a large space here, hoping to write more later]
◊ Summary of my political beliefs
A fetus is a separate human, not “part of a woman’s body,” but I can foresee certain circumstances in which a woman should be allowed to kill her unborn child.
It can be a successful deterrent to future crime. Putting a convicted murderer to death will prevent that criminal from committing future crimes, make other people consider their actions carefully, cut prison housing costs, and rid the human gene pool of those more prone to thoughtless violence. Get over it.
Protect the environment, but do it for the benefit of humanity.
The government should not mandate morality, especially where “immorality” will not cause harm to other people, nor should the government set arbitrary ages for engaging in specified activities.
It should be the responsibility of parents, but too many parents have shirked their duties for far too long, and so the schools have stepped in. In my opinion, since sex is one of the most important things in life, if not the most important thing in life, it can never hurt to have too much education and experience.
Any government will… [unfinished]
Edit, 2016.01.16: My above position on abortion has been superseded by my 2016 position paper on abortion.