The constant assault against the poor and needy has really gotten on my nerves. This eternal shell game of tax cuts and budget slashing to pay for them has destroyed our country from within even as we have waged war abroad in this War Against Terrorism. Frankly, I feel much more threatened by the former than the latter. When cutting off unemployment benefits to those who are struggling to find a job in a depressed job market is a popular option, it says something I don't like about us as a people.
Thus I did start blogging on political issues again, even though a part of me thinks the entire political enterprise stinks. So long as the corporatists are in charge of our country, we are only playing at democracy.
I have nothing nice to say about conservative politics, which is to say the modern Republican party as a whole. Nor do I feel all that cozy towards the Democrats. At least the Republicans are open about their agenda. The Democrats, because big money interests also have their hands deep in the jackasses pockets, are just as much to blame. What makes them particularly odious in my thinking is that they still talk as if they cared about the common citizen more than the fat cats. They are more hypocritical than their friends across the isle.
My political writings are just an extension of my overall liberal viewpoint. I like the welfare state, big government programs to assist the disabled, the needy, and the elderly. My idea of this huge safety net is in keeping with my religious humanism. The closer politicians come to that ideal, the more friendly I am towards them. The more they shill for the oppressors, the more I feel the need to criticize, regardless of whether there is an (R) a (D) or an (I) after their names.
Oh, yes, speaking of religion, that is another subject I deal with quite often in my musings. Again, my liberal mind freed me from the religious fundamentalism of my youth. Some might wish I would go all out and argue for atheism rather than muddy things up with my frequent confession to being friendly to religion as a concept.
In response I can do no better than quote from the first Humanist Manifesto's seventh affirmation:
Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant. Nothing human is alien to the religious. It includes labor, art, science, philosophy, love, friendship, recreation--all that is in its degree expressive of intelligently satisfying human living. The distinction between the sacred and the secular can no longer be maintained.I am a confirmed naturalist. There is no hint of supernaturalism in my thinking. So although I don't shun the religion label, I am as opposed to bad religious thinking as I am bad political thinking. In my mind they are two sides of the same coin. Or along with Protogoras I feel that "man is the measure of all things." In my mind both religion and politics should be practical matters, useful for the furtherance of the human race as a whole.
My journey to my current state of mind has been the subject of many posts. I am a bit embarrassed when I spend time on myself that way. I do it because it provides context for my opinions, and not because I think my life and mind are of great importance. I do it also because it provides an opportunity for fellowship with others who traveled down the same road I traveled, or at least one very similar. I enjoy that fellowship greatly, and anything I can offer that helps other along their way gives me a sense of purpose that keeps life interesting for me.
Sometimes I'm arrogant enough (I suppose that must be what it is) to offer my opinion on the current events of the day or some interesting and unusual news story. I can only excuse this habit by stressing my commitment to the free marketplace of ideas. In other words, I like to provide a stimulus for deeper and more critical thinking. It isn't so much a mission of mine to convert people to my exact way of thinking (the furtherance of free thought, however, is a goal of mine because I feel it is the best tool for human progress) as it is just to encourage people to think for themselves, to step outside the box of convention and tradition and look anew at the world and all that is in it in a new, bold light.
If I can cobble together these elements into an interesting weblog, one that others of like mind can enjoy and maybe even find useful, again I will have found an instrument, no matter how soft among the louder instruments, with which to join and play in the orchestra of life. So I want to do my part.
I have no idea what shape this blog will take in the coming months. Reader input is always welcome and helpful. I don't want to be accused of playing only a one-note samba, however I want there to be a consistency of purpose that provides a firm foundation for what I am attempting to erect. And what is that? Maybe just a gymnasium for the mind.
And with that note, the mission continues.