A photograph of Jamie Nettles

Jamie's Pages

Liberal Politics

 

I'm a liberal. For several decades I consistently voted Republican. One day I decided I would start voting Democrat. Why? I decided I cared about the well-being of other people. It's that simple.
  • Shouldn't you decide based on the qualifications of the candidate, not party? The chances of any Republican or Libertarian candidate's views aligning with my own better than any Democrat's are vanishingly small. No Republican candidate who's views matched mine would win the Republican nomination. So there is not much point in my considering a Republican.
  • Aren't both parties the same? In a word, no. This is relativistic nonsense and an intellectual copout. Just suppose there was some difference between the parties, by some chance. Then an attitude that there was no possibility of a difference would guarantee that you would never look at any data indicating a difference and would be in fact blind to any difference. To say there is no difference is just a way to get out of thinking. In addition, failing to recognize difference would reward the bad and punish the good.
  • The best way to help other people is to help oneself, isn't it? Rationalization. No person who espouses this viewpoint ever started with the thought, I'd like to help other people, I know, I'll help myself—that's the best way to help other people. No, it's the other way around. The people who say this would really like to help themselves to their piece of the pie and your piece of the pie too, and justify it by saying it's really the best for everyone. If you want to be selfish, have the dignity to be honest about it.
  • We all know the government can't do anything right, don't we? Right, so let's get rid of our laws against murder, since we know the government will just mess up the enforcement of that law. One of the arguments I hear against government intervention is the joke "I'm from the government, I'm here to help you." Don't waste my time with this one. A joke is not a rational argument. I also hear mistakes government agencies make compared to the successes of private industry. However, if you listen at all, you'll discover that the criteria for success and failure for government and business are completely different. The criteria for government appears to be to succeed on the first try with no false starts and 100% performance. The criteria for industry appears to be that some company at some time succeeded, regardless of how many other companies failed, how much investor money went down the drain on the companies that failed, or even how many times the company that succeeded tried and failed before succeeding and how much money it wasted on ill-advised approaches and other projects that were complete busts. Anybody who works in private industry (as I have for 30 years) and is unaware of private industry's endless capacity for false starts, failed projects and stupid decisions, wasn't paying attention. Let's use the same criteria for measuring government and industry, the next time we compare their ability to fulfill desired goals. Let's also realize that social programs will probably not be perfect on the first try, anymore than any commercial endeavor would be expected to be perfect on the first try.

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith, economist (1908-2006)