My Political Standpoint

After a recent (17.06.95) posting to talk.politics.european-union that was somewhat misunderstood, I have decided to write down a list of "basic political positions" which is share. Should anything like that ever happen again, I can point the don't-know-satire-if-it-kicked-me-in-the-ass-heads here, to recalibrate their common-sens-o-meter.

I herewith decree to be

Liberalism in the old-fashioned 19th-century sense (as I understand it) is based on an apprehension of the liberty (and, as a consequence, responsibility) of the individual.

The green movement (in Germany, I don't really know how it manifests in other countries) has the severe problem of gathering anti-capitalist (cf. further down) and pro-socialist (ditto) viewpoints. IMHO, the long-term survival of the ecosystem is of utmost importance, but can't be guaranteed by mere laws and regulations. Instead, ecologically sound behaviour must be made more attractive (i.e., cheaper) than ecologicall unsound alternatives.

To quote Oscar Wilde on a related matter:

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
It is my understanding that (electric) power generation is the most basic prerequisite of any econonmy. Clean power generation must be at the center of every ecologically sound economy. Diffuse and intermittent power sources need large amounts of materials (solar panels, wind generators) and backup systems (storage batteries, kinetic storage) to work; centralized, high-gain, continuous power generation can be made much more efficient, secure, and cheap. The amounts of nuclear waste generated by a nuclear power cycle that uses breeder reactors and fuel reconstitution are quite small; the main arguments against such a cycle are based on the fear of plutonium and other potential-bomb-material being made available. IMHO, that fear is unfounded; the danger of terrorists aquiring one or more of the ca. thirty thousand ready-made bombs is much more severe. Why would anyone be so dumb to try to build a bomb (not an easy task even when the materials are at hand) when stealing one that is guaranteed to work is so much easier?

pro-bicycle, contra-internal-combustion-engine-powered personal transportation
While I have a license, I don't own or drive a car. There are a few reasons for it; the least being the ecological factor, more important the idiocy of owning a car in the center of Berlin, the biggest my fear of accidents. To clarify: I don't fear to get injured or killed in an accident - Andi once told me I biked ``like a madman'' through Berlin's crowded inner city traffic, totally oblivious of any dangers -, but I fear to injure or kill someone else. When driving a 'cycle, the risk to harm other people is minimal; when driving a car, the risk is substantial - one moment of carelessness suffices. For some unfathomable reason, I don't value my own life very high; but I have a great fear of harming others.

pro-choice, contra-abortion
Yup. Having to abort a fetus a usually a sign of bad planning in one of the parents. Better to not create it in the first place. But when it is necessary to abort, it should be easily possible.

Forbidding drugs of all kinds only sponsors organized crime (ex: prohibition and the birth of the American Mafia), increases the drug-related health risks (ex: methanol-induced blindness), and adds the lure of the forbidden fruit.

IMHO, capitalism is the "freest" systems of regulating economic behaviour that exists, besides being the "default" method of human trade. Attempts to impose other systems are doomed to fail.

Everyone should read the (german translation of a) collection of his essays, "Praktische Ethik", especially the foreword that describes the (what I would call) intellectual fascism still rampant in Germany. While Singer might not be right in all his views, said points can be argued from the axioms he uses, and those axioms are mostly sound. Most anti-Singer-demagogues don't argue against his argumentations, but against their consequences; this is IMHO idiotic.

As in, contra-state-control, pro-minimalist-state. A state is usually less efficient than its privately-owned free-enterprise counterparts. How to avoid the creation of quasi-state-like monopolies and trusts is a different problem, as is the enforcement of contracts, basic human rights, and environemnt "taxes".

That one's obvious. The nation-state is a mindset of the last century, it should be part of the trash heap of history.

That one's obvious, and should be a matter of course.

contra-speciesist, pro-animal-rights
Less obvious, but a necessary consequence of the preceding point. A few days ago, I read an article on anti-speciesism (esp., on giving rights to apes) that had a nice contra-argument to the "only humans can have rights" position: since our legal systems are willing to grant rights to beings that are not even alive (or have a physical presence), let alone have any intelligent of their own (namely, companies and trusts), there should be no problem in granting rights to beings that are obvioulsy alive and somewhat intelligent!

Anti-quote (from the Britannica article on animal rights):

If St. Francis of Assisi was the greatest friend of animals, René Descartes, the French philosopher, was perhaps their greatest enemy. He believed that animals had no souls and that, as thinking and feeling processes in his view were part of the soul, animals could feel no pain. Further, Descartes concluded that animals were mere machines. He and his followers marveled that these "mechanical robots," as they called them, "could give such a realistic illusion of agony." Late in the 18th century, the English jurist Jeremy Bentham phrased the matter differently: "The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

To me, the worst thing about killing animals is that it is so unneccssary and inefficient (as a way to feed humans). Human nourishment via vegetables, milk and eggs is easily feasible. (Without the latter two, it it still possible, but you have to be much more careful. Since one cow produces enough milk for two dozen people, and a hen doesn't consume huge resources either, there is no real reason to live without those two consumables.)

Oh, ere I forget: Tuna is not an animal. Whenever I staz at my mother's house to for cat-sitting (i.e., with myself cooking), the cats get ecstatic as they (try to) get their share from in my dinner, which surely contain 150g of tuna. (For some reason, my mother manages to prepare her fish in ways that are unsuitable to catdom. I wonder why?)

I come from a family that, to borrow Scott Christensen's phrase, is "composed almost entirely of the classic non-emotional northern European stock". As a result, I loathe emotional outbreaks, possibly because I can't cope with them very well. (As another result, my chances at successful breeding aren't that high - not that I care.)

That one's an obvious consequence of being contra-nationalist. Some kind of superstructure is necessary to guarantee a stable political/economical environment. In Europe, that's the EU.

pro-english/german/french-as-default-EU-languages / contra-esperanto-as-a-EU-language
Anyone out there who can't read and write one of {English, German, French}? Why not?

Esperanto's grammar might be nice, but a language is 99% vocabulary, and that is too unregular for me. Eurolang or something else based on English vocabulary might have better chances.

But that is, of course, part of the ordinary post-political correctness, no?

Any good reason why I shouldn't be?

pro-Unitarian (contra-Paulian, pro-Islam)
IMHO, Paulus was the first and most important of the "false teachers" we were warned about. The whole idea of trinitarianism is ludicrous. Islam nearly gets it right, but botches it by being too tightly coupled with arabic customs. Reading Bukhari's collection of hadiths, one can get an impression of what Islam might be; looking at the newspaper shows how it has ended.

(No, I don't believe in a God, but if I did so, it would a single, non-personal, law-giving one. Or maybe a Zen god, who only looks for style of execution, not content ;-)

People who believe that The End Is Near (TM) have no motivation to hold value-conservative ideals (preservation of resources / variety of the gene pool/ the environment) and are prone to irrational behaviour (witness Jim Jones, David Koresh, or that recent Japanese sect). Talk of self-fulfilling prophecies...

Any questions? Mail me.
This page was last changed on Jul 17 1995, 21:31 by Comments and corrections welcome.