Thursday, November 21, 2002

And Now for Something Completely Different

Okay, I'll spare you all the agony of wading through what will likely end up as a lengthy post: HokiePundit is going passive. I've been very busy learning, working, etc. lately, and just haven't had the time to blog. This is good in one respect, since I suspect that I ran out of brilliant and witty things to say a long time ago (circa February, methinks). I do enjoy writing, but looking at these last few months, I don't think I've written much of substance (and what I have needs some serious revision and rethought). What I intend to do is to write lengthier pieces, and this means that I won't be posting every day, or possibly even every week. I've got several pieces in my Drafts folder (yay Blogger Pro!) that I'm working on, along with a lot of other thoughts on which I haven't even yet begun work. Of course, I'm fairly unreliable on things like this, and it's very possible that HokiePundit may suddenly re-emerge next week with six or eight brilliant postings per day, but that's not the plan. I'd like to increase my input to the Department of Theology, which I've been neglecting lately.

When I first started blogging, there was (and still is) an awful lot I didn't know. I considered myself a Protestant, and viewed Catholicism with a lot of suspicion. By this, I mean that I thought that Roman Catholics were basically those people whose ancestors had been RC, and were just carrying on the tradition. The veneration of Mary was obviously idolatry, clergy were placing themselves in Christ's place, their view of Communion is what I would call cannibalism, saints could no more intervene between a person and God than could my French horn, and it wasn't as if any Catholics actually practiced what they said they believed. Well, I was obviously wrong. I still disagree with many aspects of Catholicism, but for a different reason. Protestantism is basically the idea that faith alone provides Salvation, while Catholicism seems to say that Salvation is essentially earned through good works. Both have a point, and both are also missing an equally great point. You can't have one without the other, and I would even say that both are the same thing when examined closely enough. As I've said before, religious practices need to be carefully examined and observed. Protestantism can easily lead to a lack of reverence, while Catholicism can easily lead to superstition and idolatry. I consider myself an Evangelical Anglican (though I'm about as disappointed as I can possibly be with the leadership of the Anglican Communion), and so I've got a little of the better and a little of the worse parts of each. The point is that we all see the problems in other people and ideas, while often remaining blind to our own. I still don't think that Mary and the other saints have any ability to intervene, but the idea of asking someone more capable than yourself to help you isn't a bad thing. I consider practicing Baptists, Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Pentacostals, etc. to all be Christian, and with largely the same hold on the Truth. Fighting over the minor disagreements between them is stupid, and ends up hurting not only ourselves, but those who have yet to hear the Gospel presented coherently and without back-biting.

I've also grown politically. On any given issue, I have a default position, which may change as I get more information. I'm opposed in principle to killing, but if it means preventing the death of another, then it's allowable.
Abortion: I despise abortion like no other issue. I fully believe that abortionists should be incarcerated and stripped of their medical licenses for violating the Hippocratic Oath. The only exception I'm willing to grant, and this uneasily, is when the mother's life is in danger (ectopic pregnancies, for instance). Rape is not an acceptable reason, since you're killing an innocent child in order to prevent inconvenience to the mother. Rape is obviously horrible, but abortion just compounds the horror and makes the victim into a murderer. Incest, likewise, is no excuse. I don't care if the child's family tree doesn't have any branches; it has as much right to live as someone of as varied ancestry as Tiger Woods (besides, when was the last time a member of a royal family was aborted for being too inbred?). Finally, even severe physical handicap isn't sufficient grounds. Stephen Hawking seems to have done well enough for himself. What's being advocated is essentially pre-emptive euthanasia.
Crime/Punishment: If you violate the rights of another (the Bill of No Rights is a good place to start to find out what these are), then you should be punished, disciplined, and corrected. I'm willing to support the legalization of at least weaker drugs, and possibly harder ones, so long as they're used on private property and aren't used to harm anyone other than the user. Thus, it's okay to smoke marijuana, but not to smoke and drive. Similarly, you can do heroin if you really want to, but if it means that your child is neglected, then the state may remove the child from you or force you to stop taking the drug. As for punishment, the ideal solution would be to deport them to anyone willing to accept them. I have no problem with Mumia Al-Jabbar (I don't care if that's how he spells his name or not) wandering freely in the streets of Paris, where he's an honorary citizen, so long as he's not in America. In the event that this isn't possible, convicts should either be incarcerated in prisons or shipped off to some isolated place where there is no law (since they obviously don't respect law) and allowed to fend for themselves. If incarcerated, prisoners need to work and help defray the cost of their confinement. While I fully support the use of deadly force in the apprehension of a suspect or convict if necessary, I can't bring myself to support the death penalty. Once confined, the convict is no longer a threat, and executing him is no longer acceptable, since he can learn nothing from this execution. Incidentally, though, I would support certain forms of torture or corporal punishment if it appeared that these would help deter crime.
The Environment: We've been given domination over the world and everything in it. This means that not only do we have the right to take whatever we need (not necessarily whatever we want, though), but we also have the responsibility to manage it wisely and see that it's not wasted. Wrecking the economy because we're afraid of a Doomsday scenario from unreliable data is not an acceptable course of action, but neither is depleting resources in order to maximize profit without putting forth some effort to renew those resources or at least create others (monetary resources don't count).
Rights: Animals do not have rights. What we call animal rights are in reality restrictions on our own behavior in order to discipline us to act as we believe intelligent beings such as ourselves ought to act. If I literally find it absolutely necessary to slowly dissect a living puppy sinew by sinew, then I have that right. In regards to people, I believe that we should all have the same rights, and no one ought to have ones not belonging to others. However, this needs clarification. I have the right to my property. You do not. I have the right to get married, but I do not have the right to have the government or a church recognize it (as a heterosexual Christian, though, I do have that privilege). I have the right to life, so long as I'm not actively threatening others. Similarly, I have the right to free speech, writing, and thought, so long as I'm not actively threatening the rights of others.
Church and State Separation: Don't even get me started.
Taxes: I oppose the raising of taxes unless absolutely necessary. The acceptable reason for raising taxes is that the government doesn't have the funding to carry out its mandate. Beyond that, the government has no right to the property of an individual. The government does not have a mandate to support the arts, end world hunger, or subsidize businesses unless by doing so they actively protect our country from foreign or domestic enemies, for example.
I'm sure I've left out several important positions, but so be it (for now).

I'm glad to know that we can always count on the Brits and Aussies to help us, and hope that they know that we'll be there for them as well. Canada and New Zealand appear to have grown complacent, and forgotten that they too carry the torch of liberty, and that it's their responsibility to help others. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, and while serving as an example to others, it's also constantly at risk of attack and will be conquered unless the citizens are vigilant. France, Germany, and the Benelux nations have grown nihilistic lately, and need to realize that their experiment, while possibly noble, has failed. The rest of Europe, Israel, Russia, Turkey, and many smaller states throughout the world are deciding whether liberty or authoritarianism are better, and we need to convince them that our way is the better way, instead of conceding defeat as we all-too-often do. Africa is a continent that is destroying itself, and I wonder what of civilization will remain if there isn't an intervention. With the arrival of the Europeans and their technology, Africa was brought forward several centuries in ability without an equivalent increase in discipline (we can argue all we like about the reasons for European advances, whether due to geographic location, being at an apogee while Africa was at a perigee, whatever), and thus actions while might formerly only have led to a few deaths or some wounded pride now lead to wholesale genocide. The colonial powers exploited these countries without building them up, and when independence came for them, they were unprepared for democracy and liberty. A sort of re-colonization might be necessary, and after a generation or two of people schooled in classical liberal theory and who have learned how a free society should operate, they could be safely left to their own devices and views (this re-colonization thing could quite possibly even be voluntary, as when the early Russians invited the Viking Riurik to rule over them).

For a free society, anything that doesn't directly violate the rights of others should be tolerated. If this isn't done, then no progress can be made. I've found that I agree with John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and Jesus Christ in their view of a perfect world, and think that this could be freely done, but that we're not nearly ready yet, and it's possible that even many centuries from now, we won't be. To transform ourselves, we need to pacify the rest of the world, by force if necessary. We need to make sure that everyone has certain needs met (to my mind, the American social contract requires that everyone at least have access to education, enough food to survive, and enough shelter to not freeze to death). Once we've done this, then we can move on.

I think there are a few simple rules to life:
-Love your neighbor as you would love yourself
-Love and obey God, since it was He who created and sustains us
-Leave things in at least the condition you found them, if not better (pick up after yourself)

I think I've said my piece. I intend to write more, but to summarize: HokiePundit is going passive, and will no longer be updated daily. I intend to still write, and I'd love to get involved with a political theory/current events group-blog. I really appreciate everyone who's been coming here and supported me, and I still read blogs daily (though I'm a bit behind in my commenting). This site will still be up and be updated, but you'll probably want to come once per week or so instead of daily (I'll let you know if this changes).

Let me know what you think.

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