The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Politics and Us

I didn't watch the last McCain-Obama debate. Well, I did watch the first question. After that, I decided I had seen enough. After all, neither candidate actually answered the question. I have seen enough political debates to know that candidates do not really answer questions but use them as springboards to launch talking points. Sometimes the points are related tangentially to the question, I suppose, but they rarely go to the heart of the issue or provide any real insight into the candidates' policies or plans. Besides, I have already decided who I won't vote for.

Isn't that what US politics has become? Figuring out who to vote against or, at least, not vote for? Some call that "voting for the lesser evil." I get a kick out of the so called "undecideds" the media talks about and the candidates are supposedly targeting.
The campaign has been going on for over two years now, how can anyone really be undecided unless he/she has been comatose until a week ago. Are there really people who pay no attention at all to politics until the last few weeks? Oh, I can understand not paying much attention to the city council race in your town up until the last few days but this is the presidential campaign, for Pete's sake. [Quick aside: Who is Pete and why do we care about him anyway?]

I was raised in a lower middle class family with conservative parents. So, naturally, I went liberal in my late teens and early twenties. At one point, I was fairly radically liberal. But time and circumstances (and my persistently analytical mind) moved me toward a conservative point of view. I guess I fit that old saw that says:

If you aren't liberal at age 20, you don't have a heart.
If you aren't conservative at age 40, you don't have a brain.

"Conservative" and "liberal" have become insults in the last couple of years. While "moderate" has become the thing to be. I don't know, I think "moderate" means you are afraid of offending anyone by actually taking a side. My ex-wife used to get angry at me for arguing for both sides of an issue. She objected to my strong sense of objectivity. My current (and future, she warns) wife objects to my lack of desire to make a decision. She's wrong about that, I make decisions all the time. I just don't care about what we eat or where we eat, or what movie to watch, or any of the little things in life. I figure those things tend to take care of themselves. And they do.

What worries me most about this presidential election is that we have become more and more divided and emotions are getting stronger. That scares me. It portends chaos and unrest. The intensity of emotion pushes the unstable to action. And, trust me, there are a lot of unstable people out there. Timothy McVeigh was unstable, Osama bin Laden is unstable, and there are a heck of lot of other unknown (at this time) unstable people who may feel that whoever wins the election is the Anti-Christ. The extremists among us are lauded and praised. These are dangerous times, folks, very dangerous. And this election, regardless of who wins, won't reduce that danger.


Michael said...

I watched all the presidential and vice presidential debates. As you pointed out well, they hardly answer the question. I guess the answers will be obtained by witnessing their actions should they attain four years of residency and employment in the White House. I am anxious to see what Obama will do with regards to the pressures of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, India-Pakistan, Russia, China, Israel-Palestinians, and, of course, the financial crisis, but even more excited to see Joe Biden, Steven Chu, Paul Volcker and Hilary Clinton aid him in doing so. They appear to be a very, very strong team.

I like the way you think. I would be liberal if I was old enough to vote. Conservative doesn't seems to be the path for me or many of my friends right now. I wonder if that will change. But yes, I don't like the people that sway in the middle politically.

And I don't like making decisions about little things. It feels unnatural and as you said, they naturally take care of themselves.


For Pete's sake. St.Peter apparently. I always thought it was Peter the Rabbit for some reason...

Douglas said...

Michael, if you check back and see this. I would be interested in your comments on Hong Kong and China politics. Are they still separate, politically, and is there concern about China one day taking all autonomy away? Maybe I should email you regarding this?

Michael said...

The simplest way I can sum it all up is by saying that the keyword in The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong of the People's Republic of China is Special.

Are they separate politically? Yes and no. In terms of sovereignty, Hong Kong is officially part of China, but according to the agreement Mao had with Margaret Thatcher, Hong Kong will run its own government and from there, run everything else under a different set of laws from China's. This is what we call "one country, two systems". We belong to China, in times of war, for trade and other foreign relation-related issues, but Hong Kong has its own currency, its own capitalist economy, and its high degree of autonomy. There are many activists that take action here and Hong Kong has its own politics to deal with. All in all, it is quite separate from China. Minus the foreign relations and defense systems.

Is there concern about China taking all autonomy way? A big, fat yes. There was, there is and there will be for many years to come, continuing on in to this century at the least.

As of now, China is still dealing with Tibet. To China, it is said that Tibet was always a part of China, while it was a lot clearer and less controversial when Hong Kong was transferred into sovereignty as it was a former British colony with pretty much international agreements involved. China is powerful, but Hong Kong will not be prone to attack that soon. The status of Hong Kong is about as good as China can get it without removing its autonomy altogether. Hong Kong is waiting.

And is also watching. With Tibet, it doesn't seem like either side will win the debate until one gets aggressive (Buddhists or Communists. I wonder which one...)

With Taiwan, China has signed deals to trade but some people say that Taiwan is close to becoming a second Hong Kong, together with Macau, the third Special Administrative Region.

There's an awful lot for the eye to see when it comes to China. China's like an octopus, reaching in all directions. But is it actually awful? Is the removal of autonomy that bad?

For Hong Kong, yes. For Taiwan, yes. For Tibet, yes.

China thinks otherwise. I don't understand why, though, but I would bet on greed.