Stentor has a meme about his positions on various issues American pundits think everyone should care about (and I mean everyone, not just Americans). Here are my positions, together with a number between 0 and 10 next to each issue indicating how much I care about it.
Abortion: given what we know about human consciousness and sentience, it’s irrational to give fetuses rights, except possibly so late in the pregnancy that it’s medically impossible to abort. The government shouldn’t restrict abortion on demand, and it shouldn’t impose mandatory consent or notification laws on anyone (10).
Private school vouchers: at $25,000 per student and with results that are no better than these of public schools with the same student bodies, private schools are such a waste of money that it’s a travesty for the government to support them (6).
War on Iraq: since Iraq was flush with WMD, the invasion succeeded with no civilian casualties, and the country was stable by 7/2003, the war was an astounding success (10).
Hate crimes: it’s not up to the government to legislate any morality, including the leftist morality of oppression. Besides, how is killing someone for being gay any different from killing someone for looking at you the wrong way (5)?
Same sex marriage: maybe one of these days I’ll understand why anyone needs government sanctioning of marriages. But until the government gets the hell out of marriage, any group of N adults, say with N <= 6, should be allowed to marry and receive full benefits of marriage (9).
Freedom of information: a state that can keep secrets is a state that can commit atrocities without anyone knowing. One of the best guarantees against fascism is an ironclad requirement that the government be transparent at all levels, including the entire intelligence community except for ongoing undercover operations (9).
Torture: torture is on the one hand ineffective, and on the other great as a way of pretending to care about terrorism. Supporting torture therefore is weak on defense (7).
Gun control: subtracting gun murder, the US has barely more crime than other Western countries, which implies that private ownership of handguns contributes to crime (3).
Drug policy: marijuana and hashish are less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, both of which are legal (although the US does impose a puritanical age restriction on both, especially alcohol). Other drugs are more dangerous, but criminalizing them is doing more harm than good (7 on pot and hash, 4 on everything else).
Protesting at soldiers’ funerals: if you have a problem with freedom of speech, you should look into what a great paradise the Soviet Union was (4 on this particular aspect of free speech).
Death penalty: it doesn’t deter crime, it actually increases the murder rate via brutalization, it doesn’t give the victim’s relatives closure, and it doesn’t even save money. It’s time for the US to join the civilized world on this (8).
Immigration: if countries do fine without border controls at interstate or interprovincial boundaries, they’ll do fine with border controls at international boundaries, too (9).
Flag burning: Americans have a national obsession with flags that would be prime-time comedy if it weren’t used to restrict freedom of speech (10).
Seatbelt laws: since when is it the government’s role to tell people not to kill themselves (1)?
Three strikes laws: whoever came up with the idea that three petty thefts are worse than one aggravated sexual assault, or that life sentences for people who commit three petty thefts are a real deterrent, needs to be committed to an insane asylum (7).
Americans with Disabilities Act: yes, it’s an unfunded mandate – just like forcing businesses to take off their “whites only” signs (3).
Healthy Forests: I wouldn’t mind giving the logging industry more power if it were necessary (which it’s not), if the people who wrote the bill had the guts not to give it an Orwellian name (1).
Indian Trust Fund Case: the entire way the US deals with Indian reservations eerily reminds me of South Africa under Apartheid. That trust money disappears is really the least of the problems native Americans face (1).
Labor laws: given that Britain has less unemployment than the US with a PPP-adjusted minimum wage of $8 an hour, arguments against increasing the minimum wage look divorced from reality (8). In addition, the absolute right to unionize is part of freedom of enterprise: an entrepreneur has the right to create a business and not be kicked out by a lynch mob or a predatory monopoly, and workers should have the right to collectively bargain and not be fired (6).
Climate change: I invite everyone who says climate change isn’t real, will be good for the world, or is too expensive to fix, to put his money where his mouth is and move to Dhaka (8).
Clinton impeachment: I didn’t give a damn when it was ongoing, at which age I thought oral sex meant kissing, and I don’t give a damn now that I know it doesn’t (0).
Assisted suicide: if your moral system doesn’t support complying with someone’s genuine wish to die rather than continue suffering, you should look into revising your moral system (7).
The 2008 Presidential Election: I’m supporting Feingold/Warner, but lately it seems the Democrats are going to nominate Hillary Clinton (say, with Warner as VP) and lose in a landslide to whoever the Republicans nominate (I’m predicting it’s going to be Giuliani).
Who is your favorite politician or public figure at the national level: if Paul Krugman counts, then Paul Krugman. If he doesn’t, then Russ “I voted against the Patriot Act back when Bush was popular, too” Feingold.
State level? I really don’t know much about New York State politics, so I’ll go with Eliot Spitzer.
Local level? I suppose Eliot Spitzer counts, too, given his focus on prosecuting NYC firms.
Who is your least favorite politician at the national level? James Dobson.
State level? if Hillary Clinton counts, then Hillary Clinton. If she doesn’t, then George Pataki.
Local level? for a great city, New York’s been remarkable at producing crappy politicians. But the worst of the bunch I’ve heard of is Al Sharpton.
Who did you vote for in 2000? I was 12, and there was no election in Israel that year.
Who did you vote for in 2004? I was 16, and there was no election in Israel that year (and I lived in Singapore anyway; Israel has no absentee voting, unless you’re an embassy official).
Who would you like to see win the White House in 2008? Russ Feingold.
Which political party do you identify with most? The Official Monster Raving Loony Party. It used to be the British Liberal Democrats, but they decided to self-destruct last year.
Which political topic interests you the most? religious fundamentalism. Counting only issues on this list, abortion.
Which political topic interests you the least? since there are thousands of political topics I don’t even know about, I’ll restrict myself to this list, in which case my answer is seatbelt laws (since the Clinton impeachment is outdated).
I tag everyone who reads this. I don’t have enough readers to be picky.