Monday, November 13, 2006

What I believe in

UPDATE BELOW:

From the looks of it, many of you would consider me to a conservative with a slight libertarian ting. For the most part, you're right - I'm not a liberal by any means, more liberatarian if anything, but I'm far more conservative than anything else. What does this mean? Here's a few points I stand on:
  • First and foremost, I believe Jesus Christ came to Earth and died for our sins so that we as falliable humans may come closer to God and be forgiven of our transgressions against Him.
  • You can worship/not worship whoever/whatever you like - or not. That's OK with me. However, I think atheists are complete fools for actively rejecting a higher diety. But that's just my opinion.
  • I think it would be a good thing if gun safety training was given to junior high kids, and marksmanship taught to high schoolers.
  • Private property rights are one of the foundations of our country and should not be messed with.
  • I am pro-life. That means abortion should be outlawed, and the state should not have a death penalty. Taking another's life is not permitted unless in self-defense or in war, regardless if you are a doctor performing a "procedure" or the government.
  • Our tax system should be inverted - more tax receipts should go to the county level and less to the federal level. However, I'm OK with getting rid of most taxes anyway.
  • When a politician votes to send troops to war, his/her children/nearest relatives of service age should be sent first.
  • Marijuana should be decriminalized (lower penalties). Those pushing meth and heroin should have their kneecaps shot off with a .45.
  • We should reinstate the county farm program. Destitutes should be put to work earning their keep as wards of the county.
  • Free trade is a nice concept, and efficiency and low prices are a good thing, but our country needs to protect its own vital industries, such as manufacturing and food production.
  • A person may be a homosexual, but no special rights should be afforded him/her. Civil unions are acceptable, as they are considered to be a contract between two adults.
  • Term limits should be imposed on all legislative and Congressional representatives.
  • You can't have the First Amendment without the Second protecting it.

That's it for now. Blast away!

Further explanation on the politicians' relatives going to war: The basic concept is that the politician who is voting for war should know full well the consequences of such war, including losing loved ones. I'm not advocating a conscripted army; I'm saying that chickenhawks like Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc should seriously understand the loss of loved ones before sending them out to the battlefield. While these guys did not vote for the war, they were the ones advocating it. Instead of staying insulated in their cushy offices in DC, they should know the realities of war, including potential loss of family members.

16 Comments:

Anonymous JSN said...

I would like to live in a society where prisons are closed because they are not needed.

I know this makes me sound like a Republican but I would not mind living in a society where the government is so small that Grassely and Harkin have to share a coathook.

When my sons were in grade school I had them take a gun safety class because I knew kids that age were very interested in guns and I wanted them to know how to handle them safely.

Term limits suggest to me that we don't trust the voters to know when to throw the officeholder out.

What do we mean by war? We have wars against cancer, poverty, drugs and terrorism(a tactic). We won the formal military wars in Afganistan and Iraq and the governments we were at war with no longer exist. Is what we have now a war or tribal and religious conflict?

It will be interesting to see other responses are to your list.

11:45 AM, November 14, 2006  
Anonymous Dorf said...

Great list. I agree with a lot of what you say there.

Term Limits: I agree with jsn, in theory. However, incumbents generally have such an advantage in raising funds they are usually pretty hard to beat. So the dude/dudette with a huge cash advantage can drown out the new guy. So until that is fixed.. (can it be?) I say term limits.

I'm for the Death Penalty. However, I want to make damn sure the person is guilty. I want to be 1000% sure of guilt, with multiple witnesses.

Now, I would be for getting rid of the Death Penalty if we could force them to do backbreaking hard labor so they die a twisted and broken criminal. :-)

Personally, I am a pro-life guy, however, I know you will never be able to ban it totally. So I suppose I could live with abortions during the 1st trimester, but I would like to see a huge effort to reduce them and push for adoptions.. that kinda stuff.
No decriminalized weed for me, hippies! :-) Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but isn't one of the main reasons for not making it legal is the fact that you can't really get a... how’s a good way to say this.. a "Blood Alcohol" level test for impaired drivers?

Doesn't it stay in your system for so long that you can't tell if you just smoked a joint 10 mins ago or yesterday?

I respectively disagree with your politician/relatives to war thing. It's an all volunteer military, and it's a pretty well educated military. They know the potential risks when they sign up.

Besides, making that a rule would cause politicians to make choices based on emotions, rather then what needs to be done, I don’t think we need that.

Again, as always, great post!

2:27 PM, November 14, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Dorf wrote: "Now, I would be for getting rid of the Death Penalty if we could force them to do backbreaking hard labor so they die a twisted and broken criminal. :-)"

I agree - make 'em scoop hog poop for the rest of their natural lives!

6:43 PM, November 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very interesting list, and it shows a lot of intellectual consistency which doesn't usually crop up in the average stances on these subjects. For instance, pro-life people often support the death penalty.

Draft the Bush twins, I say.

Drugs are a medical problem, and should be treated that way, by doctors not cops. Heroin was legal and sold over the counter in many patent medicines prior to about 1904. Then the Pure Food & Drug Act passed requiring labelling of ingredients, the sales of those drugs dropped dramatically--without law enforcement getting involved. The majority of addicts were middle class housewives, but they weren't causing any social problems because the could buy their fix very cheaply, and heroin doesn't cause the physical degeneration that, for instance, alcoholism does. One of the founders of Johns Hopkins Medical School was a morphine addict all his life--and one of the most famous surgeons in the country for his skill.

Advertising for drugs, including cigarettes and alcohol, should be banned, but not the drugs themselves. Every country that uses capital punishment for drug crimes has very definite drug problems. So even the threat of death won't stop certain numbers of addicts.

Meth is more challenging because of how strung out people get, but I saw two or three close friends from small town Iowa who were shooting it in the early 1970s. They all quit on their own without being busted. One had gotten hepatitis from dirty needles. He went on to become an alcoholic and died in his 40s.

People who become addicted to dangerous drugs like meth could be medically intervened instead of legally intervened (that is, arrested.) Meth and other addictive sales could be restricted to people with prescriptions identifying them as addicts, but allowing them a clean legal supply at cheap prices and requiring them to have regular meetings with drug specialist doctors. Incarceration in drug treatment facilities, not jail, could be a last resort.

The profit from drug sales at reasonable prices would fund free medical care for all medical problems for everyone in the nation.

4:07 AM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cross posting from my earlier comments on MJ and drugs in general:

What is unfortunate is that much of the “ditch weed” and wild MJ that the DEA, narc task forces and military (in violation of posse comitatus) are destroying in the Midwest and Iowa and Missouri in particular are the seed stocks and genetic storehouse of the hemp strains going back hundreds of years. These were developed over centuries from our first colonists to as late as WWII when the government asked farmers to plant hemp. These idiots are destroying the plants and aren't even making an attempt to save the seeds. The genetic material is being lost forever. Years of careful breeding of plants to acclimate and adapt to our climate and soils such are being lost out of sheer ignorance and hysteria. It's like something out of the middle ages. It's a worse crime than all the dope smoking throughout the ages combined.

As for the rest of the drugs. I'm more frighted of the drug police than I am of the drug users. We have been fighting the so-called war on drugs for a century or more now with no success but the loss of Freedom and Liberty has been catastrophic. Return drugs to their pre-drug war status and the problem is much less complicated as you aren't involving the police and the courts and the government. Not only that you wouldn't have SWAT teams breaking into innocent citizens home's and killing them with impunity on a shockingly regular basis. Don't believe me? I dare you to read this entire report. Not just the summary - The entire report.: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6476

Re-decriminalazation is an idea whose time a come again. Get the government and law enforcement out of it. It's hideously expensive. It obviously doesn't work since we've tried it for over a century now with no success. The only thing it has done is raped Liberty and Freedom like nothing else in our history.

Not coming from a doper but from a non-drinker who doesn't even consume coffee.

6:55 AM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous jsn said...

A report I found on the web stated that in 2002 there were 159 deaths where marijuana was the only drug involved. The breakdown by cause of death was overdose(2), suicide(35), accidental/unexpected(53) and all other causes(69). Not all such deaths are reported and the authors estimated that the total number of such for the nation was less than 600 per year. When one consideres the very large number of persons that use marijuana the risk is very small but it is not zero. My view is that risk of death by chocolate is larger.

8:33 AM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JSN,
Please explain and/or try to give the report address.

There has never been a reported death in history, worldwide, from marijuana, so a report listing 2 deaths from overdose--if it makes any sense--must mean that someone overdosed on a legal drug and MJ was the only illegal drug found in their system.

The unique MJ drug test problem Dorf refers to can also confuse results for MJ use. Since testable MJ can persist for days in the body, results can show MJ in accident or other victims even where they may have last smoked a week or more before their accidents or deaths.

The key is what level causes impairment. A drug war-asskissing bureaucrat can make the bare statement that MJ was found in the victim, giving the false impression that it affected the victim's judgment in some way--that they were under the influence at the time of death/accident--when by any reasonable standard they were not.

So your subjective, unscientific impression is closer to the truth than what "the study has shown."

12:56 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Dorf said...

I just don't think we need more ways available for people to get wasted and cause damage to people around them.

Now if you are high/drunk and you kill somebody, and the penalty is death/life in prison. Then I can be for some decriminalization.

But as it stands now, the penalties are far to lenient. You can't make MJ legal until you fix that, IMO.

1:09 PM, November 15, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

Mango said:
"A very interesting list, and it shows a lot of intellectual consistency which doesn't usually crop up in the average stances on these subjects. For instance, pro-life people often support the death penalty."

I know this will be hard to wrap your brain around, but I am pro-life but also support the death penalty.

And I am guessing I will remain that way until the unborn child in the womb starts raping and killing people before they are born. In which case, I will then support limited abortions....

3:07 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Dorf said...

They need to do a Saddam Pay-Per-View hanging. $49.99.. I'd pay.. Hell, they could probably pay for the war that way. :-) That's my kind of death penalty.

3:42 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous jsn said...

The CDC has reported 23 deaths from an overdose of cannabis in a twenty year period but they did not give any details. There are other reports of deaths 93(2), 94(2), 95(1) and the two in 2002 in the report I mentioned earlier.

Cannabis and cannabinoids have very low acute toxidity so there is doubt about these reported deaths. The following report claims the deaths were caused by the airway being blocked by vomit. This is also a common cause of death when there is an alcohol overdose. I think in such deaths are classified as drug or alcohol deaths in statistical studies.

www.urban75.com/Drugs/drugdope.hml

In any case marijuana is not a significant health threat.

7:28 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous Mango said...

Here's what I saw on the site you listed:

"The acute toxicity of cannabis and the cannabinoids is very low; no-one has ever died as a direct and immediate consequence of recreational or medical use."

12:48 AM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“I just don't think we need more ways available for people to get wasted and cause damage to people around them. “

See, that's the problem. Criminalization and the Drug War has done nothing to alter or have an effect on the availability of intoxicants that people may obtain to get wasted with and cause damage to others. Before the imposition of drug laws one could walk into the local drug store and walk out with any type of opiate or amphetamine in the place and we didn't have these sorts of problems with crime. Oh, we had the segments of society that used intoxicants and much of the research as indicated that that number has actually remained the same regardless of the legality of said intoxicants. Some used recreational, some became addicted and some died as a result just as they do now but we didn't have to spend trillions of dollars on the problems and we didn't sacrifice our LIBERTY on some alter of saving people from themselves. Now if people get out and are intoxicated and under the influence of drugs you arrest them just like you do drunks. However, if you re-decriminalize the pressure you will take off of the legal system and law enforcement will be enormous. Money will be saved and also very importantly you will de-fund criminal gangs. The profit motive will be gone. Drug uses will switch over to cleaner, safer pharmaceutical grade drugs which will also negate some of the really bad effects we have seen with such drugs such as meth. Crime will drop precipitously as the price of their intoxicant of choice would be quite reasonable. Most importantly police4 resources could be diverted to their primary job – peace officers. They would no longer be quasi paramilitary stormtroopers fighting some sort of ill defined endless war against the citizenry. The Liberty raping laws that have been imposed in support of the Drug War could be repealed.

Liberty is more important than saving people from themselves. Liberty is more important than undefinable “safety” from drugs. One only needs to look at our Revolution to see how precious our Liberty is. We give it up because “someone might do something while high on something and hurt someone”?

Yeah. Ok. Remember that when you're pulled over at the next drug checkpoint roadblock or you're getting grilled by a policeman about where you've been and where you're going and the rest of the 20 questions during a traffic stop while he's trying to trip you up. Remember that while he is pressuring you to search your car. Remember that when the narc squad is flying over your farm in their helicopter at treetop level looking for pot plants scaring the cows and wildlife and invading your privacy. Remember that when the local narc task force gets the address wrong and raids the wrong house (or through a bad tip) 4 am and kills you or you kill one of them thinking they are there to rob you. Try to remember that when you're dead or sitting in prison for accidentally killing a cop. Oh and don't worry the cop who shot you or your family member won't be charged. It was just an accident. Think that doesn't happen. I dare you to read this report – not just the summary – the whole thing:http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6476

Re-decriminalization is an idea whose time a come again. Liberty is worth it.

12:41 AM, November 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberty and responsibility two areas in which we need to revisit. I don't think anyone would have a problem with with the potheads liberty if they were responsible and out of our back pockets. When the government will have to fund treatment programs, work programs and welfare programs. When people take reposiblity when they hurt others and not bill me when they hurt themselves then we can talk equally about liberty. For now the stormtroopers aren't busting down my door, no one except a crop duster is flying over my house and from my cop friends out here they don't waste to much time on drugs, you know where there at and who is using.

While I agree you can't win a war on drugs its like winning the war on picking your nose. Until responsibility is switched back to the user i would just as soon keep things the way they are.

10:26 AM, November 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“When the government will have to fund treatment programs, work programs and welfare programs.”

Which you can use to justify almost any intrusion into people's personal Liberty. Hey that greasy cheeseburger is going to drive up health care the government funds. Hey if you get high you aren't going to work and go on welfare. And there is the trap of socialism and the government getting their hooks into society. By footing the bill and providing funds to people you are essentially giving them a reason to assert control. If you return the government to it's Constitutionally confined mandates you no longer have this issue. If you wish to continue to have Liberty and some form of Socialism to take care of those who refuse to take responsibility for themselves then you will have to accept that you are going to subsidize unacceptable behavior.

In any event those treatment programs or other programs would be far less expensive than the incarceration and other aspects of the Drug War that we are waging now.

Again, we've already done this before pre-criminalization pre-welfare state pre-socialism. It worked better and we had more Liberty and less crime and a much smaller less intrusive government on all levels.

1:07 PM, November 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll post a letter the late and truly great man we just recently lost -Milton Friedman - wrote to Bill Bennett in 1990 when he became Drug Czar. For all the good it did of course:

An Open Letter to Bill Bennett
by Milton Friedman, April 1990

In Oliver Cromwell's eloquent words, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" about the course you and President Bush urge us to adopt to fight drugs. The path you propose of more police, more jails, use of the military in foreign countries, harsh penalties for drug users, and a whole panoply of repressive measures can only make a bad situation worse. The drug war cannot be won by those tactics without undermining the human liberty and individual freedom that you and I cherish.

You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are a scourge that is devastating our society. You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are tearing asunder our social fabric, ruining the lives of many young people, and imposing heavy costs on some of the most disadvantaged among us. You are not mistaken in believing that the majority of the public share your concerns. In short, you are not mistaken in the end you seek to achieve.

Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you favor are a major source of the evils you deplore. Of course the problem is demand, but it is not only demand, it is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels. Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; illegality leads to the corruption of law enforcement officials; illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law forces so that they are starved for resources to fight the simpler crimes of robbery, theft and assault.

Drugs are a tragedy for addicts. But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society, for users and non-users alike. Our experience with the prohibition of drugs is a replay of our experience with the prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

I append excerpts from a column that I wrote in 1972 on "Prohibition and Drugs." The major problem then was heroin from Marseilles; today, it is cocaine from Latin America. Today, also, the problem is far more serious than it was 17 years ago: more addicts, more innocent victims; more drug pushers, more law enforcement officials; more money spent to enforce prohibition, more money spent to circumvent prohibition.

Had drugs been decriminalized 17 years ago, "crack" would never have been invented (it was invented because the high cost of illegal drugs made it profitable to provide a cheaper version) and there would today be far fewer addicts. The lives of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent victims would have been saved, and not only in the U.S. The ghettos of our major cities would not be drug-and-crime-infested no-man's lands. Fewer people would be in jails, and fewer jails would have been built.

Columbia, Bolivia and Peru would not be suffering from narco-terror, and we would not be distorting our foreign policy because of narco-terror. Hell would not, in the words with which Billy Sunday welcomed Prohibition, "be forever for rent," but it would be a lot emptier.

Decriminalizing drugs is even more urgent now than in 1972, but we must recognize that the harm done in the interim cannot be wiped out, certainly not immediately. Postponing decriminalization will only make matters worse, and make the problem appear even more intractable.

Alcohol and tobacco cause many more deaths in users than do drugs. Decriminalization would not prevent us from treating drugs as we now treat alcohol and tobacco: prohibiting sales of drugs to minors, outlawing the advertising of drugs and similar measures. Such measures could be enforced, while outright prohibition cannot be. Moreover, if even a small fraction of the money we now spend on trying to enforce drug prohibition were devoted to treatment and rehabilitation, in an atmosphere of compassion not punishment, the reduction in drug usage and in the harm done to the users could be dramatic.

This plea comes from the bottom of my heart. Every friend of freedom, and I know you are one, must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence. A country in which shooting down unidentified planes "on suspicion" can be seriously considered as a drug-war tactic is not the kind of United States that either you or I want to hand on to future generations.

Professor Friedman, 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics, now serves as Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. This letter appeared in the September 7, 1989, issue of The Wall Street Journal. Reprinted by permission of Professor Friedman and The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Co., Inc., 1989.

1:16 PM, November 17, 2006  

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