Issue-by-issue

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.

9 Responses to Issue-by-issue

  1. SLC says:

    Mr Levy leaves out the most important issue, namely 100% support fo the the State of Israel. On a scale of 1 – 10, i give that 100.

  2. SLC says:

    Hey, Rudy sounds great to me. He is the most pro Israel politician among those being considered (although McCain is pretty close).

  3. Alon Levy says:

    Hey, I followed an issue list. If I could choose my own issues, there wouldn’t be anything there about gun control or seatbelt laws.

    But since you asked:

    Israel/Palestine: the United States funds Israel to the tune of 2 billion dollars a year given with no strings attached. It can and should use that to press it to withdraw from the West Bank and recognize Palestinian independence, or at the very least negotiate a peace agreement, preferably one that’s more enforceable than the Oslo Accords (8).

  4. I find it hard to say how much I care about hate crimes.

    I care a great deal that they happen. It’s not just the assaults themselves, it’s the continual threat of violence that stops people from living normal lives. Gay bashing is a good example. The thugs who would beat up a gay couple for walking down the street are enforcing the less vehement prejudices of a homophobic society.

    On the other hand, I don’t special hate crime laws are a good solution. Better to have dedicated hate crimes police task forces that specialize in infiltrating supremacist groups, supporting victims to testify against their assailants, etc.

  5. SLC says:

    1. I believe that the amount of aid is 3 billion/year.

    2. The so called Palestinians already have a state. It is in Amman. Ariel Sharon was correct in his autobiography in this regard. He should never have allowed King Hussein talk him out of that position.

    3. Allowing a second Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza would be nothing but a haven for terrorists of all stripes.

    4. The State of Israel needs a strong leader, like Uzi Landau or Avigdor Lieberman who will take no crap from the so called Palestinians.

  6. […] Some Issues Alon Levy has decreed that anyone that reads his blog do this political issues meme. Seeing as i haven’t really done a meme yet, andthe fact that i enjoy Alon’s writings, i figured i’d give it a shot. See below: Abortion: Pro Choice. I think people have right to decide what to do with their bodies, including anything inside. I don’t believe that fetuses are soulful, feeling, intelligent beings, and therefore do not view abortion as murder. I do not claim to know when that magical non-person/person line is crossed with regards to devopment, but i think that if a potential mother decides to abort a baby, for whatever reason, it is her choice alone and only she is going to live with the consequences. Private School Vouchers: To be honest, i am quite ignorant on this issue, so i cannot really give my thoughts on this. I went through public school myself, and i can’t really complain too much. The only private schools i can think of are all religious-based, and i don’t really believe they’re much better than public schools. From what i’ve heard, they’re usually worse. […]

  7. Alon Levy says:

    On the other hand, I don’t special hate crime laws are a good solution. Better to have dedicated hate crimes police task forces that specialize in infiltrating supremacist groups, supporting victims to testify against their assailants, etc.

    Ah, as far as I’m concerned it falls under the rubric of counterterrorism. The hate crimes I’m less comfortable with special enforcement against are the spontaneous ones, those committed by a lone homophobic nutbar.

    The other suggestion, supporting victims, is something different, of course. It’s something I support for a more general class of crimes, including not just hate crimes but also rape, child abuse, domestic violence, and other crimes whose victims often suffer from psychological trauma that makes it very difficult for them to testify or even report the crime.

  8. […] But more importantly, the libertarian schema leaves out issue emphasis. My list of positions on issues would shed no light about my political tendencies without the accompanying priority scores. This is especially important for libertarians, who arose as a group in opposition to the New Deal rather than Prohibition, who often found themselves defending fascism in the Cold War, and who are now likelier to vote Republican than Democratic. By the way, it’s not just an American phenomenon: the German Free Democrats are now solidly allied with the Christian Democrats rather than the Social Democrats. […]

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