Political Philosophy

I stand for equality and liberty.  As a citizen of the USA, I believe that all citizens should have the exact same rights as every other citizen and that those rights should be as expansive as possible, so long as not denied by the Constitution or clearly deniable by the State as being contrary to the Consitution or the public good.  Some people talk about “priviledges” extended by the State, but IMHO, there are few or no priviledges, as such is contrary to the egalitarian nature of the ideal polis.

As such, I overlap with, but am not identical to, libertarians, anarchists, communists, and especially utilitarians.  I appreciate the libertarians’ and anarchists’ zeal from freedom, but believe there is a legitimate function for a robust state–including to protect the rights of minorities.  I appreciate the egalitarian sentiments of communist theory, but especially in practice I have found it to be too heavy-handed and not respectful of individual rights.  I especially resonate with Mills’ Harm Principle (competent adults have the right to do as they please so long as they do not harm others), but am also turned off by his distrust of the common voter and his willingness to cede more power to the intellectual elite (e.g., the Electoral College as envisioned rather than directly electing a president by popular vote).

My stance, then, on some of today’s hot button topics:

Gay marriage: the marriage of GLBTQ people in no way harms the marriages or other rights enjoyed by the majority and this right should be fully recognized by the State.  What we have now is a Tyranny of the Majority denying rights to an unpopular minority.

Polygamy/polyandry/group marriages: the rights of consenting adults to live the lifestyle of their choice so long as it does not harm any children resulting from such unions also seems a no-brainer to me.  I’m the first to admit there are despicable things that have been associated with polygamy in the past, including the enslavement of women, but it seems to me these are a result of polygamy’s being forced underground.  If rigorously scientific tests showed that children of group (or gay) marriages were impaired, then the State would have a compelling interest in prohibiting their reproduction, if not their pairing–but as far as I am aware, no such study exists for either group.

Gun rights: it seems to me a tortured reading of the Second Amendment that allows unrestricted individual gun rights.  Hand guns in urban areas, in particular, are a public health menace and should be heavily regulated.  Guns that do not threaten the public well-being (in private homes for person defense, for hunting, in collections) should be reasonably regulated to prohibit their use for criminal purposes and to prevent their accidental discharge or use by minors.

God: American public places ideally should be free of religious monuments, symbols, artistic references, etc.  When they are permitted in tributes to historic origins of the law, etc., they must be open to all religious groups.  The free exercise of all groups’ religions must not be regulated so long as that practice does not harm the public good.

Drugs: competent adults should have unimpaired control over their own bodies, including the informed use of substances that are harmful to them, so long as they do not injure others in their intoxicated states–driving while intoxicated would be one example, as would neglect of a minor be another.  The State might reasonably restrict the use of intoxicating drugs, alcohol, etc., to private homes and sanctioned “shooting galleries.”

Abortion: a potential life is not equal to an existing life; as such viability is a reasonable (although admittedly imperfect) compromise between the rights of the unborn and the rights of parents–until viability, a woman should have unrestricted right to an abortion, while afterwards protecting the life of the mother should be the only permissible reason for an abortion.  Obviously this issue will need a major revisiting once science has developed an artificial womb such that all conceptions are theoretically viable when transplanted.

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