Monday, November 27, 2023

Where I stand on things

The idea for this blog began, like, five years ago.  It all started when a guy I used to be friends with and I had arguments on Facebook.  Basically, the way I somewhat jokingly put it, since I didn’t believe the current practice of capitalism wasn’t the bestest, most perfectest thing in the universe, I was just a dirty socialist who wanted to use the dark arts to resurrect Stalin.  At some point I realized that many of our disagreements stemmed from him just assuming my position on matters.  I didn’t agree with him, therefore I must think X, when in reality I’d often think Q.  And I didn’t fully understand his position on matters, but a large part of that was him refusing to tell me, even after I repeatedly asked him to.  Admittedly, part of why I wanted to nail down some of his positions was so I could point out any contradictions I could find.  I figured all of this out about the time he unfriended me.

Of course, part of why my positions on things aren’t easy to understand is because I don’t hold to some grand philosophy which dictates my views.  I know a couple of times he’d call me something like a, Ramsey-style neo-socialist, or something, and I’d have Google that to see what that even meant.  And often, I’d have to look up the explanation to see what it meant.  Decades ago, I noticed that people were rarely just X.  They were often X, subsection 3, paragraph VII, or whatever.  Which isn’t so bad, but often the X, 3, VIIs will see the X, 3 VIs as “The same as Hitler.” It seems so many disagreements – especially amongst those you’d think would be allies – are just battles over minutiae. 

So I’ve pretty much abandoned trying to explain myself in some neat, little box with fourteen layers of description.  Instead, my … ideology I guess, is summed up with stuff that would fit on a bumper sticker.  Which is probably annoying in that instead of having a solution for a specific problem, I’m more likely to wonder why that problem exists in the first place.  Or, I’ll want to solve some other problem that, two or three dominoes later, solves or greatly reduces the original problem. 

I’ve spent some time trying to explain that better, only to get more and more in the weeds or just sounding pretentious, so let’s move on.  These are the bumper sticker sayings that best explain my views on … life in general.

No ideology is perfect.

A sad moment was when I realized my former friend was an ideologue, because I view ideologues as … basically idiots.  The way to defeat an ideologue is to show that their ideology isn’t perfect.  If there was a perfect ideology, it would obviously be perfect and there wouldn’t be any questions about it.  No such perfect ideology exists, therefore, ideologues are defeated.  No matter how great your ideology is, there is a flaw in it that you conveniently overlook.

A year or so ago, I came up with the idea that in the Race of History, backing any ideology – be it capitalism or Catholicism – is backing the wrong horse.  The Racetrack of History is littered with dead ideologies, from feudalism to the Ancient Egyptian religion.  Why should the horses still running have a different fate?  I’d say it’s better to back the racetrack, the bedrock of reality.

And yes, I realize how stupid it is of me to say my ideology is that no ideology is perfect.  That’s the flaw I’m overlooking.

People are people.

I don’t care what skin color, gender identity, sexual identity, whatever identity you have, humans should all be treated like humans.  Admittedly, some humans are assholes, and I do my best to avoid/ignore them.  And while I will say I hate some groups of people, what I mean is I hate their ideology.  If pressed on the matter, what I really am is often just confused and saddened that so many people can’t see how idiotic/repugnant their ideology is: Flat-Earthers and Trump supporters, for example.  If they changed their ideology and stopped being assholes, I’d no longer hate them. 

Meaning is where you find it.

I think it was back in my college years, one day I was thinking about clones and wondering at what point in the cloning process could you “abort” the clone.  My clumsy answer to that evolved my stance on abortion.  I did write a blog a couple years ago with some of my thoughts on abortion, which explains things a bit more.  But the point of this is that my understanding of a real-world issue was changed by me probably thinking about the plot of some mediocre scifi story.  It’s often the little, personal, things that change us the most.

A rising tide lifts all boats.

This is basically my economic philosophy.  Would this policy help the poorest not be as poor?  Good.  Would this policy make the richest even richer?  They don’t fucking need it.

Probably a lot of people readily agree with that, but for those who don’t, let me give you an example.  I’m a writer with ebooks for sale.  For people to buy my ebooks, several dominoes need to fall.  They have to read English, have an interest in the types of stories I’m telling, have access to the internet, and to have enough disposable income to buy my books and enough free time to read them.  The people who have to work 80 hours a week just to buy food, even if they’d love my books, can’t afford to buy them.  So if the minimum wage was raised, that would increase the number of people who could afford to buy my ebooks.  And if I made enough money from my ebooks sales, I could afford to buy things I wanted.  All of which would make for a stronger economy. 

Do not knowingly harm others.

Our technology is evolving faster than our laws that govern the use of that technology.  Thinking about this, I realized that either we’ll continue making more specialized laws that will likely be outdated by the time the politicians get around to voting on them, or we could try simplifying our laws to broadly cover situations.  I wondered what the broadest, most simplistic law there could be, and I came up with: Do not knowingly harm others.  I thought that was a pretty good answer, until I started thinking about it.  What actually counts as harm?  Big things like murder and rape are clearly bad, but what about hurting someone’s feelings?  Years ago, an ex-girlfriend broke my heart.  Yes, that’s a part of life, but she did it in a way that left scars that, honestly, still haven’t healed.  She chose to do some things, even though a reasonable person would know I would be hurt by them.  If this law was in effect, could I take her to court?

Art is never finished, only abandoned. 

That is a line attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci.  And as a writer who’s read a story forty times and will still occasionally find a typo, I think that’s a perfect description of art.

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