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Showing posts from 2008

What I Want is Freedom

The best I can do is be true to what I value. I value education, the mind, reading, writing, etc. I value my personal freedom -- and equal freedom for others. (Unfortunately, "freedom" can be "from" or "to" and I am a "from" sort of person. Freedom from people / authority matters to me.)

Am I a "capitalist pig" in theory? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean I personally care about money, power, or anything material. I care about my family, my students, and my community. You don't teach at a university seeking wealth, and most freelance writers aren't wealthy either.

My "fight" (when I have the energy) is against limits on my choices.

It is the fight against the state of Minnesota telling doctors off-label uses of medication is illegal. I wrote a 50+ page paper on the subject after the doctors here informed me I couldn't take the same meds as in California due to state laws.

It is the fight against federal offici…

Political Isolationists

This morning I was listening to an interview with Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart. A few hours earlier, I had been reading the Washington Post online, skimming reader comments on the Detroit automaker mess. There, online, were prime examples of The Big Sort and the results of political isolationism.

"Progressives" seem to truly believe that Republicans "hate the working class." Not just some Republicans, but every Republican. Of course, this is absurd, since many Republicans -- including political leaders -- come from the working class. In fact, Bishop pointed out during today's interview that Republicans are overwhelmingly middle class while the "progressive" wing of the Democratic party tends to be richer, better educated... and isolated.

In some ways, this isolation is unavoidable. Academics must live near universities. Universities tend to be located in urban centers. T…

European Attitudes

CNN and other news outlets are reporting that Europeans prefer Obama to McCain by a 5:1 ratio.
CNN: Cafferty File

Why do we care do much about European opinions? These people don't have a single popular leader in their own nations. France's president is below 30% in the polls, Number 10 is (ironically) between 10 and 20% favorable, and even Germany, with a decent economy, doesn't give majority approval to the chancellor.

So, these are relatively unhappy people, politically. They are beyond cynical — they're just plain unhappy.

Part of the problem is that when you have a parliamentary system, the leaders in power seldom win leadership posts with a clear majority. You can cobble a parliamentary majority together with a 30% plurality and a dozen smaller, usually more radical, political parties. The end result is that no one is content.

But, there is a larger reason: their systems, which they resoundingly claim are better than the U.S. system and our economic model, have p…

Downside to 'Conservative'

The downside to being a classical liberal (or libertarian, or whatever you wish to use) is that you find yourself grouped together with social conservatives by liberals who don't know any better and with socialists by conservatives who don't have a clue.

I am not a social conservative, at least not in most ways. I am definitely not a socialist.

Why people can't understand something in the middle is beyond me. Why do so many people the world to be "right/left" or "fundamental/atheist" in nature? What's wrong with complexity? Nuance? Questioning?

Reality is Not Liberal

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias" seems to be a common response to complaints of liberal bias in the media and academia.

Let us state the obvious: reality has no bias... how people react to it does.

We hate suffering, especially the closer it is to "home" and our own situation. But, hating suffering does not make "reality" liberal. In fact, it makes reality absurd, cruel, and indifferent to human emotions.

Floods, fires, famines, diseases, and other disasters have no political agendas. How we react to them does.
Rhetorical flourishes that try to naturalize political beliefs are silly. If one political or economic model were "natural" and inherent in humanity, why has it not dominated? In fact, the only "natural" order I can see is that people try to protect themselves and their closest group -- regardless of what political or economic model might work at a given moment.

Reality is unpredictable. It requires flexibility.…

Money well spent?

From the University of Minnesota, a public institution supported by lots of tax dollars (and money from hard-working parents):
UMN News (April 2008) MINNESOTA PHOTOGRAPHER CRAIG BLACKLOCK has been named senior fellow by the U's Center for Spirituality and Healing. As a fellow, he will support the center's ongoing research and education in optimal healing environments (the use of nature and art to promote healing in health care facilities). Blacklock's work, inspired by the north shore, is now featured throughout the center and the Medical Center's Transitional Care Unit, UMTC.What? We have a "Center for Spirituality and Healing" while many professors are quick to judge various Christian believers. I just wrote about my disgust with funding any religious group on campus, only to be reminded we have an entire center dedicated to what seems like New Age nonsense.

I don't understand how people so opposed to Christianity and Judaism tend to embrace N…

Student Groups

I realize there might be good reasons for universities to host "student government" organizations. I'm sure there was a time when these groups dealt with serious issues, especially if they questioned wasteful spending and demanded quality professors, facilities, et cetera. However, we now have student organizations galore, many of which have no academic value and others that merely serve to segregate students.

At my ideal university, absolutely no student funds (tuition or "fees") would be used for any organization with a religious affiliation. None. If these organizations want to form, on their own, and do their own fundraising, fine. They can also pay "facilities fees" for meetings on campus that might require staff (moving chairs, emptying trash after, and such things all require labor and cost money). We don't need (and I don't really want) Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelic, Jewish, or Muslim organizations receiving any support fro…

Returning to Blog

I realize having a dedicated “political” blog is a risk, since some people are bound to be offended. However, there are things that need to be said by as many people as possible. We need to speak up in the name of freedom. We need to defend true liberalism. This is a response to the “Nanny State” mentality that tries so hard to protect us from all risks.

This first post is merely to relaunch this blog. Much more will follow when I have the time.
I did relocate some older posts and have now reposted them to this site. I am not going to repost all older blog entries, though.