This is mostly for me so I don't forget. It's very much U.S. centric because, well, s'where I am.
I was just talking about politics with a friend of mine and about where I stand on, you know, things. It started a few days ago when she called me (not unkindly, mind you) a libertarian. I'm not, but it got me thinking.
Political leanings seem to be something that, for the most part, people don't tend to clarify to themselves until they're confronted by someone else and are forced to take a stand; otherwise, what they believe is as much a part of them as their pulse. It's perfectly human, but there's something to be said for approaching a position without the knife to the throat.
I'm not sure why I feel the urge to do this, but these are Things I Believe. They all come from one source, really: The Bill of Rights.
I believe in, above all, Civil Liberties, and I believe that there's no such thing as their erosion - you either have them, all of them, or you don't. Anything short of those full and enumerated rights is wrong. Period. Along those lines, I believe that the purpose of amendments to the Constitution are to grant a person more rights, not to take them away. I believe our flag can be burnt to ashes if it's believed to be warranted.
I believe that hate crime legislation is dangerous - what's going through a person's head when they commit a crime is immaterial to the crime and to the punishment, and that a white man beating the shit out of a black man while hurling expletives at him isn't any more of a crime than him doing it with your mouth shut. I believe that public registries of sex offenders are inherently dangerous as well.
I believe in the free market until companies start abusing people, be them employees or customers, and I believe in the power of unions, not because they're effective necessarily but because their existence is an imperative created to balance the rather large mallet employers wield.
I believe in marriage between any number of people who love each other, though polygamy raises some rather interesting bureaucratic issues unsolvable by merely changing 'man and wife' to 'partner one and parter two,' and that withholding that right because of who a person chooses to share their bed with is bigoted.
I believe in education as the solution to 99% of this country's problems, and that public schools should be cathedrals. I believe in the National Endowment for the Arts. I believe in universal healthcare in principle, but I'll be damned if I know how to make it work in a country this large.
I believe in the separation of church and state to the point of getting god the hell off our money, out of our schools and away from our courts.
I believe in the second amendment and that firearms are symbolic and an extension of the rights of a person to protect their property; I also think they should be registered and that every single bullet manufactured or sold in the United States should be uniquely identifiable.
I believe that the patent system is royally fucked up, that Digital Rights Management is an abomination and that the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act is causing our culture to stagnate for the sake of a buck.
I believe that information is just information and that it's what a person does with that information that has moral weight. And speaking of morals, I believe that life begins with consciousness which, sorry, is nowhere close to conception. I believe in the right of a mother to do whatever she wants with her body, though I also believe that teaching people about contraception would solve a lot of problems in that area.
I believe that legislation 'for your own good' is idiotic - not wearing your seat belt hurts literally nobody but you. Likewise, I believe that recreational drugs aren't as much of a problem as the government does and that many drug laws are, frankly, draconian.
I believe in the American Dream, that I am a patriot and that, looking around, I'm just a little scared right now.