Welcome to the personal political/cultural blog of yours truly. I am Louis Ward, a student of politics and American society. The purpose of this blog is to document my own eternal education about the world while simultaneously providing a soapbox for me to pronounce my own beliefs and thoughts on the subject. There are many things that I care/am curious about; my plan is to write on them here these next few months and years. It’s my hope that you tune in occasionally for the show.
So to start off pronouncing my beliefs…
"The truth is rarely pure and never simple."
-- Oscar Wilde
When I proclaim, to people’s general disbelief, that I am not a "liberal," the expected and logical next question is usually, "Then what are you?" A fair enough question, I suppose. Though, I must say that I dislike having to label myself as anything at all, not least of which because people tend to not like sharing a label with me. However, it is a reality of the world we live in that people like simple words and phrases so that they can understand something, even if the words cannot begin to explain the complexity of the subject; so I am taking this time to explain my political leanings as simply yet accurately as possible.
If I call myself a "conservative," as I have on numerous occasions, I find a most unwelcoming family. I have been told repeatedly with much emphasis that I simply cannot be a conservative American if I am not also a Christian. I think Jesus was a great guy, but I'm not converting simply to claim rights to a title, especially if it doesn't exactly fit me anyway. Taking "conservative" in its modern American context, I do have conservative tendencies, however. I am a secular traditionalist with mid-western views on family matters and romantic relationships. (I am for gay marriage because I see it as beneficial to both gays and society if their relationships and families are recognized. I see no contradiction in being both pro-family and pro-equal rights, others do.) I also think that government should be allowed to observe that a majority of Americans are Christians, as long as it does not do so in an exclusive way. But, even besides gay marriage, I have differences with modern conservative thought. For example: I am opposed to ethnic/religious profiling when it comes to security. I do not believe the ACLU is anti-Christ. And, I, having seen/experienced the hate speech that tends to fill it’s void, think that "political correctness" is more often than not a good thing, as long as its not being enforced by government.
If I am not conservative, then I must be liberal, no? Apparently not. As a liberal, I should theoretically support racist affirmative action and well meaning socialism. This is not the case. Make no mistake; I am for the liberal values of free speech, feminism, and environmental protection. But these issues a liberal does not make. For one thing, I am opposed to both
the artificial constraints of the right and the social engineering of the left; society should be allowed to follow its own natural course, with no interference. For another, I am an ardent capitalist and believe that for a people to be free, their markets must be so.
Ignoring "communist," "socialist," and "Marxist" for obvious reasons, I find myself called, by those who have bothered to read this far, a libertarian. I can certainly see where someone would get this impression. An issue close to my heart is ending forever the immoral Drug War. I’m for privatizing Social Security. I am for the enforcement of the Second Amendment. I believe current laws violate the privacy of our citizens.
I would be tempted to accept this far from shameful tag if not for one thing: islamofascism. I am no right-wing chicken little, but I know a threat and evil when I see one, and islamofascism is both evil and a threat. I take a rather aggressive stance on foreign policy, though not nearly as unilateral and anti-world as President Bush. I supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, only wish they had been executed better and with more planning, and would be receptive to more righteous war -- a very non-libertarian stance.
I was, for a period, tempted to take the name of "neoconservative," but my domestic sensibilities are too strong to just offer a huge "meh" in place of them. I, for one, mean it when I say "give me liberty or give me death." Government is a huge threat to individual sovereignty regardless of terrorism.
I'm fond of "classical liberal," in the tradition of the enlightenment, but 18th century foreign policy isn’t something I would like to brag about having.
So, obviously, the current political landscape in America does not provide a party for which I can vote all my principles. Therefore, while not exactly being a “centrist,” or particularly undecided, I am somewhat independent of party-based politics. But I have managed to find a philosophy to call home: neolibertarianism.
I thought up the word “neolibertarian” independently, but a Google search reveals that other beat me to the punch. However, the search also reveals that a consensus hasn’t been found on a conclusive definition. This, for the time being, allows me to use it as I wish.
For my purposes, being a neolibertarian means that one tends to favor small government, federalism, and individual privacy in terms of domestic policy, American activism, liberalization, and moral leadership on the global stage, and free-market capitalism and personal ownership in regards to economic matters.
Perhaps I can convince someone, somewhere, that my way of thinking is the best. Probably not. But this will still be a worthwhile experience.