Way back when, when I broke down and joined Facebook, it asked me to state my Political Views. So I wrote “Irresolute Left-wing Libertarian.” And now whenever I come across that tidbit, I still smile and nod in agreement. If I am forced to think about politics or, more accurately, social policies, I generally come down on the left side of the spectrum. I remember having arguments with my older brother when I was still in Grade 2 or 3 where my position was that money was bad and a ridiculous way to do things. As I got older though, I have come to the conclusion that people are at once too stubborn and too independent, and too herd-like and too mindlessly drone-ish for any sort of socialism to work very well. In addition I also personally don’t ‘like’ people all that much and would generally prefer to get my own way too much for me to sign up for the Marxist wagon. Ask me about switchbacks someday. All that and the concept of class warfare is a bit of an odd duck to me.
And later, in my late teens, I read a bunch of what I now know to be ‘libertarian’ novels. And I liked them. Look after yourself and others look after themselves and we will all get along. Shit’ll get done and idiots’ll get shoved off to the side. Seemed simple and pretty darn sensible. I still carry a lot of that. Of course your average libertarian these days seems to be a gun-toting, anti-government paranoid. That’s so not me… And healthcare is a good thing.
I think, when, as I said, I am forced to, I come down as a believer in Benevolent Totalitarianism with an armed populace and very, very harsh violence laws. Checks and balances people… it’s all about checks and balances.
That said I am not yet crazy nor arrogant enough to believe my views are any more sane than a confirmed Marxist’s or those of the Staunchest Libertarian. So I like to work in the system I have and believe in it as much as I can. So far it hovers relatively close to the ‘least harm’ zone. And I don’t think about it overly much. That makes it all better.
But still, I follow along with people of all stripes (still have a soft spot for the gun-toting libertarians…at least in a book) and live with one of those aforementioned Marxists, so I do find myself reluctantly contemplating the dangers of complacency more often than I would really like. And so when I was reading an interview lately with author Stephen Brust — a confirmed, card carrying, left of left, worker’s part socialist — just check out tidbits like this from his site for confirmation — and I come across the following question & answer, it really makes me smile.
VENTRELLA: Do you think there is a place for a third party in America?
BRUST: I don’t know. I’d like to start with a second party and see what happens after that.
— An Interview with MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA
I know here in Canada we technically have a 3 (or more)-party system but really, the moment an NDP government gets elected they start racing to the center, and the Conservatives aren’t much better. And, when I (reluctantly still) think about it, the U.S. is worse. The party differences are so small in actual policy as to be almost impossible to explain to any non-American (when was the last time that either party spent less than 500 billion on defense?). So when I read a quick quip like Brust’s, I laugh first, think about a bit and then share it with my friends as a bit of reality check. And to remind myself that thinking isn’t such a bad thing.