Friday, January 25, 2008

Politics & Life

I'm not a very political guy for the most part, by predisposition as well as by profession. But in an election year like this one, politics is on my mind more than usual.

I saw a car the other day with two bumper stickers. One said "Pro Life" and the other expressed support for a particular Republican candidate from 2004. I'm not sure that's quite consistent.

See, I think pro-life should mean more than just anti-abortion. I'd say I'm pro-life, but that phrase doesn't mean what it should, so I'll say I'm in favor of letting people live. As a person who is in favor of living, I think we should abolish the death penalty, if for no other reason than even the best legal system will occasionally convict an innocent person (and there are lots of other reasons). That just seems obvious and consistent.

I'm in favor of living, so I think we should have stricter gun control. You want a few hunting rifles - fine (hunting=feeding your family = living). But there's no need for semi-automatic assault rifles. And please don't try to argue that we all need to be heavily armed to protect against government intrusion - as Martin Luther King Jr. showed us, there are better ways to oppose bad, oppressive government than violence. It gets back to that whole "in favor of life" thing.

I'm in favor of living, so I think we should prefer diplomacy to combat when it comes to international relations. That's all I'm going to say about that.

And then there's the economic part of it all - neither the socialist big government nor the capitalist big business really supports living... Distributism does - I've mentioned that before, and probably will again (but not in this post).

So I'm having a difficult time finding a party or candidate that says this sort of stuff. Instead, we get "pro-life" Republicans who are enthusiastic supporters of the death penalty and in bed with the NRA... or Democrats who think abortion is a perfectly reasonable medical procedure.

It's almost enough to make me want to run for office...


Kim said...

Ward for '08!

Kim2 said...

Dude, you know I can't let you get away with this line: "or Democrats who think abortion is a perfectly reasonable medical procedure."

I was with you whole heartedly until that last bit babe! Granted, the Dem's on the whole are more pro-choice than the GOP, supporting free birth control and the like. However, you show me a Dem who's REALLY like you portray and I'll give it you, but I'd be hard pressed to find anybody who'd equate abortion with an appendectomy.

You know I have about 5 more pages in me on this topic, but I'm running late to register to vote, oddly enough, and then meet you! Can't say I'd vote for you, cause I just might have to run myself! :)

Kim1 said...

Now we're talking!
Two Wards for '08!

Mark said...

Gee Dan, why not pick a controversial topic next time? :)

My critique is that you seem to be implying that owning a gun and having/performing abortions are morally equivalent (or at least close). No way! Now shooting someone with a gun - particularly if that someone is completely innocent and defenseless, yeah that's about equivalent. But last time I checked, nobody is lobbying congress for the Right To Shoot People. (I can hear the chants now... "Keep murder safe and legal!" "Don't send murder into the back alleys and black market, keep it accessible to all who need to stop somebody from interfering with their life!")

I have no interest in owning an assault rifle (or any firearm for that matter), and while I can't fully understand it, I can accept that some people would want to own one responsibly (i.e. not killing people with them).

Even the death penalty - which I am not advocating either - shouldn't be in the same realm as abortion, because at least in those cases the person being killed was tried and convicted of doing something to "deserve" the punishment.

I wish there were no political parties at all, because as you point out, it seems like something is always being compromised. As an independent, I just have to look at the issues most important to me and go with the one closest to my beliefs.

The Dan Ward said...

Hey, thanks for the comments everyone!

For Kim2 - I'm not saying anyone thinks abortion is trivial. Nobody thinks it's good, fun or no big deal. I'm just disagreeing with the assessment that it's a reasonable medical procedure (except for when it is, i.e. to save the mother's life - which gets back to the whole "in favor of living thing")

Mark - You're right of course that owning a gun is nothing like having an abortion. The point I was trying to make was simply that the same underlying principle ("in favor of living") leads me to these positions... which are not all morally equivalent of each other. They're just sort of thematically related. Enthusiasm over high-powered / automatic weapons (i.e. Heston's "my cold dead hand" line) just doesn't seem consistent with an "in favor of living" stance. Same with the death penalty.

I'm probably more of a libertarian than anything, and don't like the idea of government intervention in general... but one thing the government should do is provide for the physical protection of its citizenry's life and property. Thus, police, fire, & military are all government roles. And the legislature is exercising legitimate power when it limits the spread of bazookas, pipe bombs and AK47's... and it strikes me as funny when "pro-life" politicians oppose gun control laws or actively push for the death penalty.

Dad said...

Hi Dan: oooh, this is going to be tough..... I liked what you said and believe in your heart, as well as Kim 2 and your brother Mark.... I admire and am proud of all you for your views defending what being 'pro-life' really means....and now after all these years of me 'feeling alone' being an 'Independent' and thinking I raised two Republican sons (may the Democrat gods forgive me) and disliking politics and the way most politicians think and behave, I suddenly see and hear that you two guys (not Kim2, although I respect her views as well because I respect her), I now find I am not so alone after all..... good job guys, you both handled that controversial football well.... I'm proud of both of you.... Dad