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.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's About Time I Said This...

By now, anyone reading this blog knows a tiny bit about my political beliefs. I say "a tiny bit" because we often think we know such things about people when we really do not. Instead, we insert our emotions into our perception of others and usually distort their beliefs to fit our perceptions. Who knows? We might be right in our assessment but it's equally true that we might be wrong.

One of the problems, of course, is that we are often wrong about our own political beliefs. Sounds hard to do, right? But it's true. Let me give you an example.

My brother was, for many years, more bigoted than I could believe. I do not think he has changed and, in fact, he hasn't. What he has done is hide his bigotry by aligning with those who vocally denounce such feelings. He still hates, or makes fun of, anyone who is not white, not straight, is handicapped, or is "different" in any way from him. The only thing he has done is "join the chorus." That is, he registers as, and usually votes, Democrat. It does not change who he is, it just gives him a "lamb suit" to wear.

He even acknowledges his old feelings without remorse of any kind. For instance, he voted for Obama while telling me he neither trusted, nor liked, black people (he did not use that phrase but a pejorative one) and, in fact, didn't even like Obama for that reason.

Throughout my life I have known people like my brother; worked along side of them in every job I ever had, met them in social contexts, dated a few, even married one once. Some were ashamed, in a way, of their personal prejudices, some felt justified in them but most hid them when they thought it necessary to do so.

Most people these days think conservatives want to undo civil rights, to oppress blacks, women, and minorities. I don't think any of it is true. I think conservatives want to restore something called personal responsibility and something called self reliance in this country.

When I was in my 20's, in the Navy, and in southern California, I began to dig into politics, to think about it. Most of my friends were liberal and a few were quite radical about it. The culture around me encouraged liberalism. But what I noticed was that most of these people were concerned about the government intruding in their lives. They wanted equal treatment for minorities and women. but they also wanted more freedom to do as they pleased without Big Brother looming over them. That's pretty alluring to a young man like I was at the time. Especially since I was in the military (which is like living alongside Big Brother). It sounded good, it sounded right. But that's not what it became. Government became more intrusive as the liberals began to take charge and we became less free to do as we pleased. In other words, liberalism brought more of what I thought liberals opposed.

This has always confused me... Ronald Reagan once said "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me"... I like to think I have remained the liberal I was in my twenties by being conservative. That is, I still believe in the freedom of the individual. And not the omnipotence of government.

I may be more libertarian than I thought.


Tom Sightings said...

You've pointed out an interesting phenomenon -- that hate and bigotry resides not in a political party, but in a person's heart. And there's plenty of hypocrisy to go around. But I don't think "most people" think conservatives want to undo civil rights, etc. Just liberals (and, yes, the media) think that.

Anyway, for the record, I'm a liberal from the 1990s. Which means, I guess, that I'm more liberal than you are, but nowhere near the cutting edge of wherever so-called liberals are going today. But doesn't it all come down to this issue -- I want to be free to do what I want, but I don't want my neighbor to be so free that he can burn my house down, and if my house does catch fire, I don't want to have to be so self-reliant that I can't call the fire dept.

Douglas said...

Tom, I also tried to point out that it generally (there are exceptions) does not reside in ideologies. None of us, I think, is all liberal or all conservative; we pick and choose the ideas we agree with. But we also try to align with organizations or ideologies that suit our peers and make us feel accepted.

Joanne Noragon said...

Ronald's trickle down opened the door to oligarchy. Nixon sans Vietnam and a black kernel of self righteousness would have been a good president. Eisenhower was powerless to stop what he set in place. I skipped the Kennedy's' their tenure was so brief and almost obliterated. I see America as a great rolling team, moving east, moving west. Who has the ball? What's the score? Great spectator sport; putting a vote in the box every year is the price of admission.

Inspector Clouseau said...

Very interesting analysis, Douglas. Eliminating the portions of it which refer to your personal feelings about those close to you, I probably agree with about 65% of what you have to say.

1. The portion with which I most significantly disagree is the singular or domimant role of ANY segment of society in the purported decline of our nation. I think that all parties, however denomiated, bear equal responsibility. I also think that decline is just part of the deal if life, in the same way that our bodies decline and we lose the ability to do certain things as we age.

No "empire," "entity," "group," or "society" ever remains on top of its game forever, or indefinitely."

2. Before I move on, I must note that because of some personal responsibilities on my end, I have not been able to visit your blog with the frequency with which I would like. You often have some very insightful observations about society and the human condition. I noted a quote at the top of your blog whic caught my eye, starting with, "Everyone carries a part of society on their shoulders..."

I did a Tiger Woods fist pump after reading that. I did not realize that it would become relevant in this discussion to follow.

When things go wrong or decline, we're ALL complicit, and we're all wrong to some extent.

3. Let me ask you this question, were we a MORE responsible nation, as a whole, when minorities and women did not have equal rights? Many commentators of today would have us return to the 1940s and 1950s, to the days of old. Were we a more morally responsible nation. Ah, how about returning to the late 1920s and into the 1930s. Were we a MORE morally responsible nation then?

4. I would submit that in times past, life was SEEMINGLY simpler and less complex. However, siginificantly due to dramatic advances in technology, we KNOW and are EXPOSED to more detail about what is going on, and it is difficult for our antiquated brains to process it and handle it. We long for the seemingly more simplistic days when things were more localized and personal, and arguably "better."

My solution to the purported decline of our nation, and this seemingly lack of personal responsibility? More libertarianism. Eliminate government at all levels and in all forms. No governmental entities to advance any segment of society's interests.

Eliminate Congress and other elected officials who collect money from various interests to do their bidding. Let's cut it all out, and based on our past experiences, start aner, from the beginning once again.

We need new ideas, new solutions, new approaches. We are not the same nation we once were. No one group now currently has the solution to any of this.

Will we descend into chaos if we eliminate government in its entirety? Perhaps, for a while, just like the French Revolution. But then a ridiculous sort of order will arise. Many historians claim that the rigidity and totalitarianism following the French Revolution was worst than that which preceded it. A wide pendulum swing.

Quite frankly, I do not think that the United States is a solution oriented society, if ever we were. I think that we yearn for an earlier simpler day which we perceive as "better," depending on our personal preferences, or we seek what we WANT based on what WE value, and our personal sense of RIGHT and WRONG.

Let's just collectively agree to eliminate government, start over again, and see if we can improve it this time.

Douglas said...

Inspector, you wrote:

"Let me ask you this question, were we a MORE responsible nation, as a whole, when minorities and women did not have equal rights? Many commentators of today would have us return to the 1940s and 1950s, to the days of old. Were we a more morally responsible nation. Ah, how about returning to the late 1920s and into the 1930s. Were we a MORE morally responsible nation then?"

It's a wonderful argument, but specious. It also introduces a "straw man" No one I know is advocating a return to any time in the past so arguing against that is to be drawn into a trap. I know you, as an attorney, understand these debate tactics and I am surprised you decided to use this one.

We disagree, as you know, on scrapping the Constitution in favor of some promise that a new one will be better.

Joanne, oligarchy? You mean like the Kennedys and/or the Clintons? You do recall that it was LBJ who, after campaigning against it, escalated the Vietnam War? You do know that the horrendous presidency of Jimmy Carter led to the easy election of Reagan?

I am not sure you understand the term "oligarchy." I am almost certain you have a huge misunderstanding of Nixon... whose only positive was engaging China. You forget he spent lives and treasure on the Vietnam War for four years and then settled for terms that were readily offered 4 years before. You forget that he instituted wage and price controls which, I think, led to the economic disaster under Carter.

T.C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T.C. said...

Language bigots in Quebec hide their xenophobia behind the argument that it's 'to protect the culture.' "It's not racist to..." they will say as they advocate for the curbing of freedom of expression. It's asinine and defunct intellectualism.

Funny. Never knew suppressing one group; making the individual submissive to the collective, to extoll another was enlightened protection of that group.

It's all paternalism in the end and we pay for it through less civil liberties.

StartingYourBusinessTodayAdvisor said...


I noticed that you did not address my contention that ALL segments of our society and ALL citizens, regardless of political party or affiliation, are responsible for the current state of affairs in our country. Any thoughts?

Douglas said...

I would say, "not all...just a significant minority (a majority of voters)."