14 May 2022

Who I am, and am not

For anyone who may somehow be unclear on this point, I am not a representative or spokesperson for any organization, ideology, political party, etc, and I've never intended this blog to play any such role.  I speak only for myself.

The blog represents my own viewpoint on all the issues I post about.  The left-wing consensus or the right-wing consensus may or may not agree with my own position on this or that issue, but that's about them, not about me.  I used to refer to myself as "leftist" or "liberal" because there were far more issues on which the common left-wing view aligned with mine than issues on which the common right-wing view did, while some common right-wing positions -- global-warming denialism, rejection of evolution, general disdain for science, undermining of the right to vote, hostility to abortion rights and same-sex relationships -- were so repugnant to me that I could not imagine ever voting for their party.

There have always been a few issues where the right-wing stance was closer to mine -- gun rights, immigration, and Israel being the main ones.  That made no difference to my interest in writing about them.  Blogging for me has always been about expressing what I myself think about things, not about supporting or representing a "side".  So the occasional commenters who rebuked me for going astray from Correct Thought on such issues were committing an irrelevance; they were accusing me of deviating from something I was never trying to conform to in the first place.

Over the last couple of years, the left too has embraced a growing number of positions that are completely repugnant to me (discussed here, here, and here) -- so much so that I'm reaching for the point where I can no longer imagine voting for the Democrats either.  More recently, I have been horrified to see how many cartoonists and bloggers on the left (who embrace freedom of speech when the right wing wants to censor things) have been sneering at and disparaging freedom of speech* as a value since the news of Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter broke.

I can't do that.  I have principles and values I adhere to regardless of which "side" happens to agree with me in doing so in a given situation.  I won't twist myself into a pretzel defending something when one "side" supports it and then opposing the same thing next week when the other "side" supports it.  My approach is thus similar to that of organizations such as WoLF, which has been criticized for sometimes working with conservative groups.  They have an agenda and are willing to work with anyone who will help advance that agenda, without regard to whether it's the left or right who agrees with them on a given issue.  This is principled pragmatism rather than blind loyalty to one "side".

On freedom of expression of opinion, as a blogger, I have no choice but to be an absolutist**.  It must apply to everybody, even to the most repugnant, or it means nothing.  Yes, to right-wingers, left-wingers, religious fundamentalists, militant atheists, racists, blasphemy, "hate speech", radical feminists, pro-transgender activists, communists, Nazis, everybody.

Seeing the left embrace the woke madness, I can really understand now how the moderate, sane conservatives must have felt when so much of the Republican party went crazy for Donald Trump.

With both major parties now supporting things I absolutely cannot vote for, and third parties being a waste of a vote, I find myself -- for the first time I can remember -- at a loss for how to participate.  All I can imagine doing is looking for candidates of either party who represent movement back toward the sensible center.  But I simply cannot vote for a candidate who supports banning abortion or suppressing the black vote or inaction on global warming -- nor for one who supports Frankensteinian "gender-affirming" surgery and hormonal treatments for delusional minors, or negativity about "whiteness" in the schools, or grooming kids with perverted gender-ID gobbledygook (and telling them to lie to their parents about it).

In the long run, I doubt that this situation will persist.  There's some evidence that most voters are not as polarized as the current narrative would have it.  Eventually even the leaders and activists on one side or the other will broadly question and then repudiate the various lunacies their own camp has embraced***, reining in their own extremists, instead of just relentlessly yammering about how awful the opposite side is.  I think that's more likely to be the left -- they have less lunacy (though the gap is narrowing) and embraced it only recently.  But at this point I'm open to whichever one shows the more promising signs.

Until then, I (along with, I suspect, a growing chunk of the American people) am "politically homeless", as the saying goes.  I will continue to speak only for myself, as I always have, and hope that those who feel the same way will find encouragement here.

*As always, I use freedom of speech to mean expression of opinion or artistic expression, not to include behavior such as threats, "doxxing", harassment, etc.

**Those who think using comment moderation on a blog is an example of censorship, please read this (scroll down to the paragraph beginning "Aside from that"); also read this.

***Biden's repudiation of "defund the police" in the SOTU was a start.

[Comments closed -- this post is for information purposes only, to provide clarity about where I personally am coming from, and isn't intended to provoke discussion.]