Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Survey of Personal Principles

What makes me 'conservative?' I appreciate the stabilizing effect of custom, and the 'hard disciplines of solitude and community,' which make me anti-utopian and sometimes tough-minded about 'individual responsibility.' What makes me 'liberal?' I believe deeply in the Rule of Law, equal protection under the law, and in spreading the benefits of civilization to ALL citizens who are asked to live in it, so that health care, education, equal access to jobs, and dignified living conditions are CIVIL RIGHTS (not necessarily 'human' rights, but I need to review Locke and Hume to make that distinction). I also believe strongly that the separation of church and state--by which I mean the separation of state and any judgment about individual life styles that doesn't harm others--is crucial to making the American experiment work. I do not believe in violence as a tool for change (though I'm quite fine with loud expressions of outrage and civil disobedience!) I believe that national borders no longer guarantee 'security' so that I believe we must be active players in international politics, economics, societal exchange, and unavoidable military conflicts (i.e., I'm a globalist who now knows we need to fix the sins of globalism, which have contributed to outbreaks of ethnic nationalism/bigotry around the world, including in the USA.) I believe that although we can't always get what we want, if we're vigilant, we can get what we need.

(I recommend an occasional brief survey of one's principles. Do they make sense when written out? Do they cohere? Do they express room for growth or change? A little exercise to keep one honest.)

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