Friday, November 26, 2004

Making friends with mean people

Today I had to deal with someone I really really don't like. Someone who is overbearing, manipulative, reactionary, and in my opinion very shallow. I have managed in my life to get along for the most part with most people. The people who most people find annoying or irritating were usually the people I ended up making friends with. The people who were just "a little too much" or someone who many people say they could only take in "small doses" were usually the people I found the most interesting and wanted most to be around. I even thought Jar-Jar Binks was cute, and not annoying in the slightest (while Anakin with his "what does this button do" and "lets try spinning -its a cool trick" means of saving the day was utter B.S. that was incredibly irritating). So I am always caught by surprise when I encounter someone that really bothers me, who I really cannot stand, and who I actively avoid being around. Of course I know they exist, my grandmother is one of them, but the response I have to her is more based on personal history and less based on personality issues (though I certainly find her personal philosophy, values etc. detestable to say the least).

Then there was this other person I hung out with today (whose name I can't share) who is just really really awesome. Nothing seems to bother her. Someone being mean or disrespectful to her just completely rolls off of her. Meanwhile she's creative, optimistic, passionate, and just a really happy, cool person. I see people say mean things to her, and its like she doesn't even know that they are mean. And I am certainly not going to tell her they are. I don't know if it is an "ignorance is bliss" sort of thing or if she knows and just really doesn't care. Which makes me wonder why I care. Its not like that particular person mentioned above has any bearing or real impact on my life. Its not like I have to deal with them everyday, nor that I would ever take their comments with any seriousness. So why do I care if they are being disrespectful, underhanded, manipulative, or even mean?

So I hung out with someone today who seems to have the rare talent of being able to make friends with mean people, not care one bit that they are mean, and not only tolerate them but respect them in spite of it. So why is that so amazing to me? I guess I have this sense of equality that says everyone should treat others with mutual respect, and when some people don't its like they are trying to lower you -make you unequal by demeaning you. Of course they can't make you "unequal" with just their words -they can only lesson you to the degree that you allow them to. Ultimately they lower themselves with their behavior, and respecting them in spite of it might just be a way of lifting them back up again -of saying "welcome back to humanity, I hope you enjoy your stay."

Personality conflicts, and value conflicts I think should be the first things to fall away (be put aside) when serious work needs to be done, and yet they often seem to be the hardest issues to resolve. Obviously we can't leave either our values or are personalities at the door, but it would be nice if we could rank them substantialy lower on our priority list when we have common goals and needs that need to be addressed. I think learning to make friends with "mean people" could be a step in the right direction.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

If you can't beat-em...

AlterNet: Election 2004: The Progressive Morality

So I guess the Dem's approach to revitalizing their party is now going to be a revamped attempt at "our morality is better than your morality."

::sigh:: So what did I expect anyway? For all those self-described "progressives" to do what they've seemingly advocated for so long and leave morality out of politics. Yeah right suddenly a vision of the Women's Temperance Union comes to mind. Progressives brought us prohibition among other things. They have certainly never been above legislating morality.

This is like two giants arguing over who gets to eat the puny human who accidentally wondered into their midst.

Left: "We'll force our morality on America... Ours is better."

Right: "Yeah right we won the election we get to force our morality on America."

Giant to the Right of the Puny Human: "No I get to eat the human he's on my side."
Giant on the Left of the Puny Human: "But he's in a blue state damnit I get to eat him."

I kind of wish we could lock up all the Demopublicans up in a room somewhere and just let them go at it. Hey I know y'all guys can have California... go ahead fight out your little morality war, us puny humans will be over here living better without you.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

As bad as it gets... Hopefully.

Sermon: Living Under Fascism : Davidson Loehr

Okay I admit I've only encountered a small handful of the conspiracy theories out there, but this has to be one of the worst. Its one of the worst because it combines actual cultural trends, a strong rationalization, and as near to the ideology of most Democrats as I have seen, while convincing itself that it is the liberal side of a cultural war where the conservatives have won. Reading this as a libertarian actually made me feel dirty. It was just kind of gross. What's worse is that it came out of a UU church. This is the kind of thing I would have expected out of some random pentacostal church with too much money and time on its hands. Not a church that is mindful of social responsibility, reason, and cultural and political differences.

The author used a classic trick that fundamentalists like to use, and that is to take their own major political agendas and wrap them up with the idea that a failure of these agendas spells gloom and doom. In conservative christian churches that gloom and doom is anything from cultural decay to the apocalypse itself. Apparently in liberal and democratic leaning churches its the rise of fascism and with it the oppresion of discension, academia, individual rights, and intellectuals in general... oh yeah and the oppression of workers -how communistic is that?

I mean just imagine if you were a libertarian and favored privatizing social security, medicare, and public education. You believed free trade was a good thing and that taxation was legalized theft. This would come off as moralistic, self-delusional tripe. Typically in more fundamentalist (i.e. less rational) congregations this kind of thing would be presented before an election to convince the members of the great importance of x candidate winning the election, and thus the importance of turning out to vote. Apparently Austin Democrats need to hear this thing after an election. Maybe its their way of convincing themselves that their loss was somehow important, and not simply the "push-over" of a very meaningless, and irrelevant "push-over" campaign.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I got instalanched!!! I got instalanched!!! WoooHOOOO!!!! -

So I wrote this great article over at catallarchy called "A Rejection of Liberalism or Just the Left?" and it got linked over at instapundit. :::music playing::: :::"you should be dancin.... yeah! You should be dancin... yeah!":::

Just a warning to all those Democrats and those sympathetic to the Democratic party, I was being as characteristically undiplomatic in my views about John Kerry and the Democratic party as I always am.

Check out some of my archives if you don't believe me. My favorite was when I accused John Kerry of "fence-straddling wormism." That one always makes people think I'm Republican. Sorry guys this isn't about party loyalty (hard-core classical liberal over here thank you very much). I actually think John Kerry was a very very lousy candidate and that y'all have been behaving very badly this election season. Now you (the Dem's) probably weren't any worse than Republicans historically are, but honestly why set the bar that low?

So check out my article. Instapundit gets over 200,000 hits a day, and my article will hopefully direct a few thousand of them over to Catallarchy. WooHOOO!!!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Ashcroft Resigns

Ashcroft and Evans resign.

Ashcroft's critics cheered his departure. "We wish John Ashcroft good health and a good retirement. And we hope the president will choose a less polarizing attorney general as his successor," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "Mr. Ashcroft's legacy has been an open hostility to protecting civil liberties and an outright disdain for those who dare to question his policies."

Does anybody actually doubt the ability of a Republican administration to find somebody worse for attorney general?
I don't.

Actually I don't think John Ashcroft was any worse than Janet Reno. He just had a little more power in light of 9-11. I wonder what Reno would have done in similar circumstances. I mean think Waco, and Elian Gonzales. She wasn't exactly above violating civil liberties (among other things) to get what she wanted.

I think its time we got an attorney general who's not a power-hungry, statist, bureaucrat. I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Finally election day.

So its finally election day and somehow I really don't care anymore who wins. For the longest time I had this strong feeling that John Kerry winning would be a very bad thing. Not a "he'll ruin our country thing" so much as a "the democrats are gonna become a poorer party for it thing."

Then I was thinking about something the other day. I go to a unitarian universalist church in part because they tend to be very liberal (as I am) and are open to all different sorts of religions/beliefs -including my own (atheism). I was discussing the other day how everyone at my church always assumed that everyone else's political affiliation at the church is democrat, because its a "liberal church." What occurred to me was this would have been very much like church was when I was growing up.

My grandparents were baptist and so we went to many baptists churches. Given that those churches were typically in georgia and South Carolina I'd be willing to be that most people assumed that everyone else at the church were affiliated or at least sympathetic with the Democratic party.

I wonder how many churches there are out there that are still like that. Obviously Baptist as a denomination has changed substantially since then, and so has the Republican party. Many religious conservatives now favor the Republicans. That being said conservative southern democrats do still exist, Zell Miller is one of them. There are those old-guard Democrats that say "this was our party first and we are not going to be run out of it."

My point is why should I consider the Democrats the "party of the liberal" anymore than "the party of the conservative." Most leftists I do not consider to be liberal anyway. The anti-tech people, and identity politics people are certainly not "liberal" by any meaningful definition of the term. Mostly I have just wanted to see all those friends and acquaintances at church who strongly believe in the Democratic party and who are working hard to make a difference be forced to recognize that they've lost their party, that the party they are working so hard for isn't really liberal, and doesn't really represent what they want. I want them to see that they shouldn't succeed on a negative message but have to promote a positive message (something other than anybody but Bush) to win office and get the support of all those undecideds out there.

But alas I have to ask myself "what difference does it make?" Okay Kerry certainly is not the better choice for all of those soldiers and people in Iraq, and that is certainly a good reason to not want him to win. But I kind of think that my "liberal" friends should have woken up to see the party caving in a long time ago. There is no gurantee they will now, even after throwing all their support behind a bogus message of "we hate Bush, give us anybody else," and potentially seeing their believed solidarity fail miserably. Who's to say that will really sway them?

So beyond my belief that Kerry could worsen the situation in Iraq and thus expose more soldiers to increased danger I really do not care who wins. I certainly do not want to look at either candidate for the next four years, and I already cast my vote for Badnarik. The fact that all those self-proclaimed liberals joined the Democratic party is a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe its like all those Republicans trying to convince libertarians to join ranks with them in spite of the fact that we have contradictory views. Only the democrats succeeded where the republicans are mostly failing.