09 October 2010

Left-leaning quasi-social libertarian.

aka My Political Identity, Part II.  Here is my original post on the topic.  I've changed since then, so here's another post on politics.

It's impossible for me to talk about my political identity without discussing my political background.  Doing so would probably lend me to more criticism and misunderstanding then I think I deserve, especially from the far-left folk I care most about.

My family is primarily Libertarian, though they vote Republican because they prioritize economic issues over most social issues.  Their perspective is such for really good reason.  My family is from the Soviet Union.  I've been taught the horrors of a Communism and Socialism since I was a young child.  One story particularly sticks out.  My mom recalls sitting in a classroom as her teacher spoke of the merits of Communism.  The teacher told her of how, when the country is Communist, she would be able to enter a store and pick up anything she needs without worrying about money.  My mom glanced at her worn shoes, thinking of how she could use a new pair, and how great Communism would be, because then she'd be able to do so.  Later, she realized that, if she was shown this store, she'd grab more than just the one pair of shoes that she needs, because that's human nature.  Another story that has always shocked me was an anecdote about how med-school required students to talk a semester off to work on a farm due to government policies.  Such tales have made me very critical of leftist thought.

Both of my parents are immigrants who built their lives from nothing, and are now upper-middle class.  My mom is a doctor who immigrated as a single mother of two children, lived for a while with an income of zero and on welfare, but succeeded in passing the necessary exams and pursuing a career as a neurologist in the United States.  Although she was lucky that she had already completed med-school in Russia, become an MD in the US was not an easy process: she spent months reading medial texts and looking up every other word in the dictionary because she had never used English medical vocab before.  My stepdad started his first enterprise when he was sixteen years old and an international student in Detroit.  Although he never earned a college degree, he now owns a very successful small business that he started.  Thus, the spirit of enterprise and praise of fiscal independence has always been important in my family, and fiscally conservative views were always viewed in a positive light.

Thus, I am primarily libertarian.  With a few exceptions, I have liberal social views and conservative political views.  My exceptions are as follows:
  1. I am uncertain about my views on abortion, except in cases where the life of the mother (or the infant?) is in significant danger.  PLZDONTKILLME, I just have yet to find a convincing argument for the morality of terminating a pregnancy that doesn't also imply the morality of infanticide, the killing of certain mentally disabled folk, or the killing of other living people.  I am fairly certain, though, that abortion should be legal, even if it is immoral, because of the right to property.
  2. I am not a proponent of an open-border immigration policy.  I am an immigrant from overseas, and my family is very anti-illegal immigrant.  I don't share their views, either, and I believe I am rather independent when it comes to my views on immigration, although I agree with Democrat perspectives rather than Republican ones.  I completely disagree withe Republican techniques, such as the patrolling of borders and the deportation of individuals.  Patrolling the borders really doesn't do anything other than prevent the endanger the lives of people and destroy border communities.  Similarly, deporting undocumented individuals does nothing to solve the overall problem, especially when explicitly racist systems like the one in Arizona are created.  I think there's no doubt that the government and business are at fault for the existence and the persistence of undocumented immigration form Mexico.  In the past, businesses would bus Mexican folk to the US because they needed cheap labor.  These businesses continue to hire undocumented immigrants very low wages.  Unfortunately, our government discriminates way more against immigrants than it does against businesses, and there are no systems in place to prevent businesses from hiring undocumented folk.  If these systems were put in place, undocumented immigration would become impractical, and the demand for labor would become obvious, and legal systems of temporary and permanent immigration from Mexico would be set up.  These systems would also assure that immigrants will be paid legal wages, and the whole system will be better for everyone on both sides of the argument.  (All this being said, I do approve of the Dream Act.)
  3. While the former two represent my exceptions to socially liberal views, this one is my exceptions to fiscally conservative views (although this does border on a social issue, as there's no clear line between social and economic questions).  I think the government, ideally state and federal, rather than local governments, should do everything they can to fix racial segregation in education and improve schools for poor folk, especially poor people of color.  This is a huge problem that cannot be addressed at local levels, and there's no excuse that such horrifying differences in education continue to exist today!
I say I am left-leaning not because my views stray that far from a libertarian perspective, but because I am very radically left-leaning on my political views, while I am more moderate, although still right-leaning, on my economic views.  Also, social views typically matter to me more than conservative views, so I tend to vote Democrat.

By quasi-social I hope to indicate the distinction between social- and individuals- libertarianism (and, as a result, social- and individual- anarchy).  While individual libertarianism is based on individualistic, objectivist philosophies, primarily that of Ayn Rand, social libertarianism (and anarchy) is about communal, supportive environments with limited government.  Although I definitely prefer social libertarianism to individual libertarianism, I hesitate to say I am a social libertarian, because this often implies libertarian socialism, which often implies social anarchy.  Although I think social anarchy is awesome, although I sympathize with socially anarchist perspectives, although I think social anarchists are doing more today to help oppressed people than anyone else in today's society, I am not a social anarchist.  Rather, I believe a socially anarchist society can be best achieved or approached not through leftist practices, but through libertarian and fiscally conservative measures.  I do, though, envy the community anarchists tend to have. -sigh-
To the radical anarchist asking a Republican to dance - Andrea Gibson, Say Yes (I think).

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