What's In A Political Name? 

What's In A Political Name? 
Posted by FoM on May 02, 2001 at 07:43:41 PT
By Joel Miller
Source: WorldNetDaily
What does a person call himself these days? I used to call myself a conservative. But whenever I say that we ought to legalize crack cocaine, some conservatives feel they'd be justified in introducing my hindquarters to the business end of the Second Amendment. Besides, as I see it, conservatives don't actually stand for much these days. Or rather, I should say, they do; conservatives stand today for whatever liberals stood for 50 years ago. Don't believe me? Fifty years ago conservatives hated Social Security. 
Now they defend it as if it were in the Constitution right there along with motherhood, apple pie and tax loopholes. Then I decided to call myself libertarian. But most of my friends instantly assumed that my secret motivation was to actually start smoking the crack cocaine I so wanted to legalize. Too many people think of libertarian like libertine -- so I should start having indiscriminate sex, driving too fast, doing dope and listening to Howard Stern. No thanks. Drugs should be legalized because the drug war is more dangerous to society than all the coke fiends in the history of the world. And if outlawing plants actually worked, I can think of far more annoying weeds to take care of first -- crabgrass, for starters. Besides, what right is it of mine to control what my neighbor wants to smoke, snort, swallow, ingest or inject? Also, as libertarian David Boaz admits, the word is "a clunky neologism with too many syllables. It probably wouldn't be anyone's first choice." Briefly, very briefly, I thought about tagging myself with the liberal label. Trouble there was that I was full of self-loathing within minutes and had to give it up for the sake of my mental health. To be honest, in fact, I'm not even sure that liberals should call themselves liberal any longer. The word took enough of a beating during the Carter years, struggled through Reagan, got a leg up with Bush Sr., but now, after suffering eight years of Clinton, looks as if it'll die a painful and lingering death. Like snakes eating their own tails, people who call themselves liberals are actively helping to destroy whatever value the word still has. Folks like California Gov. Gray Davis are, for instance, currently doing their level best to see that the term is listed in Roget's Thesaurus next to "political idiocy." There's always classical liberal, which acts as a pretty good alternative to libertarian. Historically, like libertarians, classical liberals believe in open markets and limited government. But most people don't know anything about history any longer and think that a classical liberal is Ted Kennedy abusing Brahms instead of booze. Giving up on that front, I thought that progressive might work. After all, I'm hip. I like things to keep moving forward. I'm all about progress. But then I realized that most people who call themselves progressive are pretty regressive in terms of what they want to do. They're basically just Bolsheviks on a bad diet. Their leaders are guys like Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader, and if you've followed these guys, you know what a winning team they are: a linguist who pontificates about economics and a consumer advocate too scared to ride in a mid-engine automobile. Oy vey! Other words are also troublesome. Take moderate. What's that supposed to mean? The major parties and the various ideologies stuffed inside their big tents are already tepid enough. Tell me honestly, can you get any more moderate than Orrin Hatch? Insipid is the next step, not moderate. People have recommended I call myself a constitutionalist, which would be fine, except Supreme Court Justice David Souter no doubt considers himself a constitutionalist, too -- and you know what a yutz he is. Independent? Please. Calling yourself an independent is just not calling yourself something else; it's nothing by itself. Sure there's a lot of almost laudable self-righteousness attached to not being a liberal, to not being a conservative. But what are you? Like Colombia's antigovernment protesters during the 1960s, they're Nadaistas -- "Nothingists." But I'm a Somethingist, at least as far as I can tell. In this greased-label-catching contest of modern-day politics, I just can't tell what I'm supposed to be called. So, I'm going to put it to you, the reader. What do you call a guy who believes the government shouldn't: tell us how to educate or raise our children; confiscate horrendous amounts of our money; regulate what we stick in everything from our gas tanks to our mouths; tell us who to hire and what our businesses can and can't do; decide how we should medicate ourselves; operate agencies that abuse people for how they decide to medicate themselves; operate bureaucracies that usurp the role of private institutions; subsidize both activities and companies that shouldn't exist by virtue of their lack of market value; and decide to prosecute businesses that exist "too well" in the marketplace (hint: think Microsoft)? In other words, what do you call a guy who believes the government shouldn't stick its nose into every corner of our existence, nitpick like an uppity relative and boss us around like a cross between a drill sergeant and school principal? But at the same time also: considers the traditional cultural values of Christendom to be superior to pagan culture; thinks that living the good life has more to do with having a wife, raising a family and making a stand than making a fortune; is convicted that if people read the Ten Commandments with half the enthusiasm with which they scroll through John Grisham's latest, American society would be far better off; maintains that conservatives, by focusing on life's narrow field of politics, ceded the rest of culture to social reactionaries; and thinks that forcing his views on others, however noble they may be, is not the way to see others accept these ideas for their own but, rather, thinks persuasion and building personal rapport with those who disagree is a far better method of conversion? Obviously, the conservatives usually respond by saying that the government should tell us what we can consume, vis--vis dope, and think that grabbing my money is fine so long as it goes to fund Republican programs. And they hate it when I insist that the cultural brain rot of the 1960s is basically their fault (or, more precisely, the fault of fundamentalist Christian conservatives who retreated from the culture in the 19th and 20th centuries). At the same time, the liberals usually say I'm too religious, snicker a bit and then promptly disagree with most everything else. Of course the government should tell you what to do with your life, your property, your freedom. After all, government knows best. Likewise, the libertarians usually say I'm too religious, snicker a bit and then promptly agree with most everything else. And then go back to snickering about me being too religious. Moving from the fringe to the rigor mortis-stricken dead center, the progressives think I'm an oppressor of the world's victims because I don't agree with them that importing shoes made in Malaysia is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust. The independents don't know what they think about me because most of them don't know what they think about anything. Meanwhile, no surprise here, the moderates say I'm an extremist -- never mind that some of these same folks think Bob Dole is also a radical. So, dear reader, got your label gun ready? I've got an archive going back to April '99 if you need a little more info before choosing. But as soon you're ready, shoot me a name -- other than one containing four-letters, please. Above all, I'm sensitive. Joel Miller is the commentary editor of WorldNetDaily. His publishing company, MenschWerks,recently published "God Gave Wine" by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. E-mail: jmiller worldnetdaily.comSource: WorldNetDaily (US Web)Author: Joel MillerPublished: May 2, 2001Copyright: 2001, Inc.Contact: letters worldnetdaily.comWebsite: Articles - Joel Miller 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 05, 2001 at 10:58:14 PT
Noam Chomsky
Hi lookinside, I read your question about Noam Chomsky and thought I'd post these audio feeds from Salon. Hope they help. Kapt will know more I'm sure but I knew of this one page.Noam ChomskyThrough numerous books and lectures, intellectual and linguist Noam Chomsky has chronicled the often bloody consequences of government/corporate control, and has a thorough understanding of oppression. The New Statesman calls him "The conscience of the American people." These recordings are taken from two lectures, "Class War: The Attack On Working People" and "Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind," both released by AK Audio.
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Comment #3 posted by lookinside on May 05, 2001 at 10:32:43 PT:
well said...
hmmm...i agree with everything mr. miller said, with the oneexception about christianity....too much evil has been donein the name of christ by "organized" beliefsare my own and i won't burden anyone with them...KAP..could you give me a couple titles by mr. chomsky? iread alot...might as well read something worthwhile...thanks...i resist labels, but "free human" covers what i strive toward...
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on May 02, 2001 at 10:17:05 PT:
How about..."Free Human"?
Normally I would take no umbrage at Mr. Miller - his brave stand against the WoSD will probably be remembered long after most of the antis are dust. But some things need to be kept in mind:One: The Libertarians were speaking out...and actively working against...the repressive drug laws of this country decades before the idea of drug law reform acquired its' relatively recent popularity. To paraphrase an old C&W song, Libbers were reformist...when reformist wasn't cool.Two: many of the people he has derided as 'losers' have made enormous contributions in the arena of protecting the 'little guy' against the corporate behemoths that look upon us as nothing more than either industrial units to slave in their factories...or grist for those factories. The car airbag that saved my life was fought tooth-and-nail by the big-shot automakers for years. Apparently, my probable death from accident was perfectly them. But people like Nader eventually forced the acceptance of such life saving technologies...and generally force those same big shots to play by rules that the Establishment would just as soon see scrapped in favor of Korporatusmuss Uber Alles.And if you want to understand why huge multinational corporations have had such a damaging effect upon the political life on this little blue planet of ours, I can't think of a better source than Chomsky; he's eminently readable, factually precise...and scarily prescient. (Point of fact: Chomsky was and is as unsparing of the twin beasts of Communism/Socialism as he is of Capitalism. He points out the worts and running sores of each. Hardly the actions of a 'Bolshevik'.)Mr. Miller should be a good deal more careful with his adjectives. 
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Comment #1 posted by J.R. Bob Dobbs on May 02, 2001 at 10:03:46 PT
>>considers the traditional cultural values of Christendom to be superior to pagan culture;  For someone who's very careful about defining his political labels in the article, Joel does throw the word "pagan" off fast and loose, much the same way that Rush Limbaugh would kvetch about "liberals" without defining the term.  Joel's obviously studied the drug war, and I laud his lucid writings. But don't stain it by offhandedly insulting somebody because they don't believe in the same concept of divinity as you do. That's disturbingly similar to a group of beer drinkers waging war on people for smoking the wrong plant matter... 
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