Laugh in the face of labels. Shudder in the face of stigmas. This is me. I have to have to most convoluted beliefs and opinions most people have seen, because everything seems to conflict. I've written about not being pigeon-holed politically before, but it bears repeating. Not out of resentment or frustration, but rather out of wonder for my own peculiarities. Not that I'm narcissistic or anything. Surely not!
I have some very outspoken friends - a large number of whom call themselves liberals. I have some conservative friends as well, lest anyone think I'm not equal-opportunity with my friendships. Admittedly the slant is more liberal, since many of my beliefs skew that way, but...I have to say there are some extremists there that scare me a little bit. Partially because we can't afford to pay for the things they want done.
For starters, I don't believe the government should be as involved in people's lives as they are, although I do think they need to get their collective butts kicked for not getting involved where they should be. I'm tired of government being asked to take care of our every little need, because that means they control those things. I'm not big on being personally controlled by my government. My existing as a person should not be mandated by legislation that takes away my freedoms, or even my responsibilities. On the other hand, I think business should be very strictly legislated in order to protect the public. That's where government is vital and necessary.
You should never be allowed to operate a business if it interferes with the personal rights of human beings. Whether than means sweatshops, chemical spills, or sexual harassment from your boss. Again on the other hand, you should be allowed to run a business that conforms to the laws, and that should also mean the laws of economics. If you can't make a go of it, then your business should be allowed to die. Period. No corporate bail-outs. No tax loopholes that allow you to keep your money off-shore. If you do business in a country, then you pay the taxes that apply to that country. Businesses do use the services provided by government, such as roads, even if it's only so that their employees can make it to work, but quite often businesses get deliveries or have personnel using those roads in the regular course of business.
Yet again there's a conflict, because too many regulations make it impossible to run a business. We're lucky in Canada compared to the U.S. I pay $60 every 5 years to have a registered business, and I file my taxes. That's it. Everyone I've talked to in the States has said it's a nightmare to run a business now because of the bureaucratic red tape. You spend too much time doing paperwork, not enough time making your business profitable, and so you end up filing still more paperwork to declare bankruptcy.
Of course, the paperwork that's being imposed is simply government headcases doing make-work projects to justify their positions and paycheques. Government is very good at getting mired in the details, rather than seeing the big picture. Everything is minutely analyzed to the point where nothing gets done. It's the big advantage corporations have over government, and why corporations are now running governments. They have the ability to act on a moment's notice. They have decision-making power, and they have financial power, and the government has neither. Nearly every government in the world is in debt, and they can't even decide what brand of toilet paper to use for the White House without forming committees that take a year and $5 million to finally settle on the issue. And in a place with so much crap floating around, they go through a lot of toilet paper.
When discussing this sort of thing, politics always rears its ugly head, because business is politics whether or not it's government. They have their missions and mandates, their policies and peccadilloes. Talking about business often leads to discussing political affiliations, too, which makes very little sense to me. For one thing, I don't see any political party out there that really knows a damn thing about business. I don't care if they're Republican or Democratic, liberal or conservative.
Supposedly the Republican party wants to get rid of 'big government,' but they have no problem using big government to get their contracts or bring in bills that are to their advantage. They use big government to confuse people, and they hide behind it. Without big government they would have no bail-outs or tax loopholes. Less government would mean more control by the very citizens they're bamboozling to get their own way. Pretty much any environmental issue will give you the perfect example for that.
The Liberal party wants to give money to everyone, and get rid of big business. Well, as previously mentioned, we can't afford to give money to everyone. It's just not possible. As for getting rid of big business, that's when you lose the competitive marketplace and suddenly everything is run by a monopoly government that can charge you whatever it wants for services rendered. Antitrust laws are in place for a very good reason. If you think Microsoft has a heavy hand in your computer now, imagine what it would be like if they hadn't been forced to separate into multiple business entities around 2001.
I'm kind of like that with Google, to be honest. Sure I use Blogger, my home page is set to Google Canada because I'm always doing research, and I occasionally use YouTube. However, there is no way I'm switching my browser to Chrome from Firefox because I feel they already have too many hands in my business and pockets. That's a whole other issue, though, and concerns privacy stuff I intend to write about in a full article in the near future. It's still disconcerting when you see how they sniff out your interests and display the ads that relate to the searches you've been conducting, and the contents of your e-mails.
Sadly, the privacy issues with the NSA are only the tip of the iceberg, and most people have no idea how bad it really is. There are ways around using subpoenas that are the result of international cooperation in the realm of espionage. Yes, it sounds paranoid, but when I do write the article you'll see where the loophole is, and why it's really so easy for anyone in government to get any data you've ever sent through a computer. So, even though big tech companies are cooperating with the government and giving out our information, even if they didn't the information is readily available. It's rather fascinating actually, and since I have no real worries about what I do online, it's not a huge deal for me in that respect. It's just a pisser, is all. Nothing is private, and it's not just big brother government watching you. It's every big company, too.
Admittedly it's not really on an individual basis, unless you get flagged for some reason, and the data sniffing software that Google uses to direct their AdSense program isn't read through in detail by human eyes. Not that I'm aware of anyway - except of course when it gets handed over to someone who is very interested in the things you may have been saying.
What's truly funny about the battle between liberals and conservatives is that in a lot of ways they all want the same things - just in different areas. Conservatives want less interference in certain external freedoms, like gun control and business. Liberals want less interference in personal stuff, like who gets to marry whom, and what a person can do with their own body. Both sides want less interference in the sense that they just don't want to be told what to do when it's something that's important to them. Hey! Me, too. The real issue is hypocrisy. It's when people don't seem to think others should be allowed the same choices that they're allowed.
For instance, heterosexual conservatives are free to marry the partner of their choice, but they don't want to allow gays or lesbians the choice when it has absolutely nothing to do with them. It does not cause mass hysteria or vengeful acts from religious deities of any kind. If you want proof, look at Canada. 9 years and counting for marriage equality. We haven't blown up, and we're generally considered one of the best countries in the world when it comes to our international reputation.
Poor people are told they can't have birth control, or they shouldn't have children because they can't afford them, or they're denied access to abortion, or that they should be spreading their seed as much as possible. There's no agreement about 'what poor people should do' when it's not even anyone's business. Sure, I completely understand why people don't want to pay other people to have kids. If the welfare system is being abused, I have a serious problem with that myself.
I'm fine with certain people who need welfare - up to a point. Disabled people, people who are truly looking for work and can't find any, people who can only get part-time, people who can't afford to work because it costs more money to be employed than what they make in their paycheques. Yes, that can happen. Try living on minimum wage with one child going to daycare that costs about $600 a month - no subsidy, no welfare - and then having to pay for transportation to get to and from work. Monthly bus passes are getting expensive (it's close to $90 in Hamilton, Ontario, and in Toronto it's more like $200 if I remember correctly), and buses don't go to some places, which means the expense of a car. Monthly insurance of $200, gasoline for around $200 a month, repairs on a vehicle that's probably really old. I remember not being able to afford a decent car, and the repairs alone made it worth looking into buying a new one on payments of $300 a month. Then there are student loans.
Then there's the flipside; the people who take advantage of liberal largess. I don't like the term 'welfare queen,' because it implies it's only women who are milking the system. Well, think about it for a second. It's usually the women who raise the children - yes, still, in this modern day and age, men seem to think they can shoot and shimmy out the door. So, is a woman with a child milking the system more so than a man who has no responsibilities at all? You can't tell me they're more deserving of help than a single mother. Never mind the mother, even - let's look at the innocent kid who needs to eat. They have no way of getting out there to help themselves, so they need to be looked after, whatever the situation happens to be.
I do think women on assistance should be required to use birth control if they want to continue getting assistance. They shouldn't be in a situation where they can keep pushing out young'uns just to get their monthly cheques. Men don't have that advantage/loophole with the welfare system. And the fact is, you just can't tell people not to have sex. Never mind that it's a violation of rights and freedoms. You simply can't stop people from doing it. Like your teenage son or daughter, for example. They're actually less likely to go out and have sex if they've been properly educated on the subject. Look to the more advanced societies in Europe if you want proof of that. Average age for 'losing virginity' is around 18 there. In America it's closer to 12 or 13. The U.S. has some very prudish notions when it comes to everyday sex, and the tighter the reins are held, the more determined the horse is to get the bit between its teeth.
When I talk to a close friend of mine who I've mentioned before as being somewhat conservative, I still manage to surprise him a fair bit when I bring up something I'm actually very conservative about. Things like government stuff. I really don't want them in my personal business, treating me like a child who can't decide what's best for me. I was indoctrinated into the seatbelt law, and that's fine with me now because I feel naked without one, but I do understand why people don't think it's the government's business if you're a fully-grown adult. The only possible exception to that would be the debatable point that maybe in an accident you can retain better control of a vehicle if your head isn't thrust through the windshield at the time. I'm not sure what the statistics on that would be, but it might be a consideration. I wear mine because I don't want to die, and statistically speaking you're safer with it on. Sometimes they can kill you, but it's usually the other way around.
The really big thing I'm more conservative about is my personal self-sufficiency. I want to live on my own property, doing whatever the hell I want to, as long as nobody is being hurt by my actions. I want to be able to have my own garden, and subsist on solar panels for my power usage. I do not want to be connected to the grid if I can help it. I want my own well, and a septic tank for my own bodily waste management. I do not want to pay for those services (other than hiring the honey wagon, because...shit stinks) because I won't need them. Why should I pay not only the service fees, but the taxes that go with them, when I can get free water on my own damn land? Why do I have to pay an extra tax if I get a wind turbine, because it stands above the land out in the middle of nowhere? Who is it bothering? Would they be happier if I were adding more coal smoke pollution by using their power sources? Well, of course they would, because they've got their hands in that pie. But would my neighbours really prefer that if they actually thought about the consequences of more pollution rather than less? Are the 'aesthetics' really so important to them?
I guess what it all boils down to is greed. Every single thing I've talked about in this post is an irritation that is somehow started by greed. Politicians make more (and convoluted) laws because they want to stay in power and get more money from lobbyists. I see the NRA buying congress, and gun control laws (mild ones to close loopholes only) get tossed out because the vote has been bought and paid for, with no regard for what the majority of the population wants. How is it greed for the NRA, rather than them fighting for personal freedoms? Simple. Where do they get their money from? People who buy and sell guns. Follow the money trail. Always.
That applies to every single person in the world. What they do with their money tells you everything you need to know about them. If they donate to certain causes, you know they either believe in those causes, or they're buying something from the PR or the connection. You have to see where their other money goes to determine that, and the sources for their own income. Generally with politicians it has nothing to do with where their heart is. In the regular population it most often does. Where do you think I donate my money? Well, I bet anyone who's read my blog for any length of time can tell you it probably has something to do with animals (not to mention the pictures and donation links I have on the left side, which are actually two of the places I donate to when I can). There's one other ferret place, actually, which is closer to me geographically, and where I'll be getting my next ferret very soon.
As much as I might rant about women's rights, and things having to do with people, I generally write about those things because they're a lot less painful for me to talk about than abused animals. I avoid animal abuse stuff usually because it devastates me, but that's where my money goes. It doesn't go to feminism causes. I'm independent in that way, too. I do not need to be a part of a group of women in order to bolster my ability to fight for my personal rights. I think it's pretty clear to my readers by now that I'm perfectly capable of doing that by myself, and I'm just one of those people that isn't usually disrespected in that way. They can either tell by looking at me, or it takes only one look from me, for them to realize they're not going to get away with it. Not even banks mess with me when I want something done - and that includes the ones I've dealt with in the U.S.
So, I'm a bit of a conundrum or enigma for people if they try to define me by political affiliation. For that matter, the politics aren't the same in Canada, so it wouldn't apply here anyway. The way I look at things in life mostly has to do with whether or not something is anyone else's business, and whether or not it makes any damn sense. People dealing with me in person don't generally see the more passionate side of me that comes out in my writing. In person I can have the ultimate poker face, and 'the logic is undeniable.' I don't argue from a source of emotion, and haven't for years, which can be very frustrating when it comes to romantic relationships (for the men I get involved with anyway - they hate it when I get reasonable and logical). For that matter, I don't spend much time arguing with anyone - even online. If people don't agree with me, that's fine. Not arguing doesn't mean I agree with them.