Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Truth and Consistency

I Don’t Carry Water

It appeared to me the other day, and a reader commented on the fact, that I may seem inconsistent in my views on some issues. One reason for this, in my opinion, is that I don’t, as Rush Limbaugh would say, “carry water” for any one party or even for one ideology. True, I lean right on many vital issues, like defense, the economy, and on the issue of gay marriage; but I lean left on issues like the environment, stem cell research, social engineering, and gay rights. This mixture means that a far-left or far-right person will not find comfort in my views. They won’t have a “home” as they would with Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham or Ann Coulter on the far right, or Keith Olberman, Al Franken and Stephanie Miller on the far left.

Nobody Owns the Truth

It’s even more than this though. I stand for truth, which can be confusing, and even inconsistent. No one party or ideology owns the truth. I know that Bill O’Reilly tries to do something similar. What he does is to seek balance. He says, as does the whole FOX network, that they are “fair and balanced.” I am not fair and balanced. On some issues there are shades of grey, so it is important on these issues to be fair and balanced. For example, the Iraq war is one such issue. I am for the war in Iraq; you may be against it. Therefore, it’s important that I, as a blogger seeking truth, present both sides of the issue, or at least be open to the fact that I may be wrong. I will seek your comments showing why I am wrong.

Other issues are black and white, though. Like demagoguery, in my opinion. Saying Bush lied about Iraq is just false. He said the same things all the Democrats were saying at the time, based on the best information they had. They believed, like Bush, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and so on. Bush might have been misled. But, he didn't lie. Black and white.

My Inconsistent Feelings about Democrats and Liberals

One issue where I know I seem inconsistent is my feelings about Democrats and liberals. On this matter, there are some areas of my judgment of them that are appropriately “grey,” and other areas that I feel are “black and white.”

click to show/hide the rest of the post


I have been consistent in saying that I believe true “classical” liberalism and progressivism are philosophies that have some merit. If a liberal or Democrat really believes in these views, they are just disagreeing with me on some very important issues. I won’t demonize them for this. I can admit that they are patriots, love America, and want good things for the world. We just disagree on how to get those good things.

I’ve also been consistent in my opposite feelings about liberals and Democrats, though. I don’t feel that most of them today are “classic” liberals and Democrats. I look around at the Democratic Party of today and see only liars and charlatans, demagogues of the worst order. There are no FDR’s or Harry Truman’s or John F. Kennedy’s. Instead, you have the demagogues Teddy Kennedy, Al Sharpton, and Charlie Rangel, to name a few. The only honorable Democrat I see who is prominent is Hispanic New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a man who should be president one day. Barack Obama seems almost honorable, in the fact that he is only slightly demagogic. You can hardly escape being a demagogue in the Democratic Party of today, so even he must tow the party line on some of their dishonorable positions.

What about the Party faithful? Most pundits don’t hold “the people” responsible for the views of their leaders. I am not so forgiving. I hold Iraqis responsible for the leaders they allow to lead them, like Saddam Hussein; I hold North Koreans responsible for keeping Kim Jung Il in power; just like I hold Americans responsible for ousting the British when we had our revolution, and in recent history we have elected George W. Bush to lead us, and now we’ve voted for the Democrats to lead Congress. We are responsible for the leaders we choose and support, and for those we throw out.

So, I hold people in the Democratic Party responsible for the views their party espouses. Since the Democrats are demagogues now, the Democratic Party faithful are culpable. I accept that their leaders are telling lies, which they swallow; yet, I believe they are still culpable, because it is up to every citizen to investigate political matters independently of their leaders.

Democrats have gotten to the point now where they take what is said on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, or on Bill Maher’s show, or David Letterman, as truth, without question. They also are indiscriminate about their sources. They believe in the conspiracy theories of charlatans like Oliver Stone. They trust demagogues like Michael Moore. So, Democrats and liberals of today are guilty of not doing their homework and of being naïve.

Are Democrats and Liberals Good People?

Again, I am not so forgiving as other pundits. I believe if Democrats and liberals apply due diligence in coming to their conclusions, whether they be anti-war, anti-Iraq war, gay rights, anti-Bush, or whatever—then I can respect them. If, however, as I see all too often, Democrats and liberals merely parrot what they’ve heard on the shallow shows, like The Daily Show et al, then I believe they are shirking their responsibility in a democracy. A democracy can thrive only if its citizens are well informed and exercise sound judgment.

Why am I so tough on liberals? Because lives are at stake. Liberty is on the line. Our way of life is in jeopardy. We’d better be right about how we handle the war on terror, for example. I don’t want Bill Maher deciding for America what we ought to do about Iraq.

I will seem inconsistent because one day I’ll be talking about the good intentions of Democrats, and the goodness of “classic” liberalism and progressivism, and the next I’ll be slamming the Democrats, liberals and progressives of today for their demagoguery.

Truth Travels

I will seem inconsistent too because, simply, I seek the truth. Again, one day the Democrats will be proclaiming truth, and the next day the Republicans will be speaking truth. Neither party and no ideology owns the truth. The truth just is.

So, Republicans will not see me carrying water for them. Democrats, liberals and progressives will not find me seeing them as purely good people if they support demagoguery. Members of both parties, however, can find a home with me if they join me in seeking the truth, wherever it lies.

My Only Consistency is Seeking Truth

Of course, I agree that I don’t own the truth either. I present my version of it. On the other hand, I feel I am gifted with being able to discern the truth on many issues. Many of you will dispute me on this. You may be right, and I may be wrong, but that’s how I see it.

I see my consistency. I seek truth, period, wherever it lies. Yet, since truth travels, this leads to an appearance of inconsistency. I can’t help this. I will continue to call things as I see them, and you, my valuable readers, will do the same.


click to hide most of this post



8 comments:

Matt said...

An interesting, informative and helpful blog. Thanks...

Phil said...

Thanks Mr Rock for clarifying your thoughts, I understand that they are difficult things to articulate at times and you have done a good job.

Now that we understand more of your ideas, it just raises more questions (the quest for more and more knowledge, thats what makes us human, and as an aside I'm sad to say it is a declining trait in humans from our societies). I hope you dont mind me using you as my insight into your nations politics (other sources prove less astute). too many of the worlds problems revolve around U.S influence and debate of these issues goes nowhere when it is based around bush bashing. Cultural sensitivity is a requirement for Americans in dealing with their foreign affiars, but also the world when debating and dealing with Americans.

So therefore,I disagree with a load of things you say, but unlike many people who disagree/hate the conservative right wing America I am begining to understand your beliefs and reasoning. Fascinating stuff.

Phil

Phil said...

Also if you dont mind Mr Rock,I have another opinion to share. I have noticed that a lot of your thoughts have revolved around Iraq in the last few weeks. you have been posing questions like
''What do you want to happen in Iraq? How can we achieve what you want there?''
From an outsiders perspective and in my opinion only this is whats going to happen... The U.S are going to give up on Iraq. Just like they did in Afghanistan, You have left the rest of the world to tidy up your mess in Afghanistan, you may still have a prescence there, but it is minimal, and the work being done by those there may be 'good' but that doesnt mean to say that Afghanistan has improved in any way shape or form from regime change. Unlike American Politicians the world learns from past experience and is now just waiting for the U.S to give up on Iraq. Then the world will go in and try and do their best to stop the humanitarian disastor created by your hasty retreat. There of course will be talk of policy and aid and developement and democracy by the American Government, but its just that, talk.

But thats a worse case scenario, hopefully this will not happen. Maybe bush will actually put policy in place to help these people who he has liberated. It would be quite unprecedented, and would help him leave on a good note.

SGT DUB said...

Rock, good blog, truth and honesty are what should be sought when electing our officials. Oklahoma, on the surface is contradictory. The state has a majority of Democrats registered, yet the state on national levels votes conservative, which usually puts the Repbulicans in office. Our present Governor Brad Henry is a Democrat, that garnered almost 70% of the vote this month for his second term. I have said it and have heard it said that we think he is just confused, that he's a Republican and not a Democrat. But he exihibits the old school Democrat values and actually seeks what's best for our state. We need more leaders like this. I've told you before, each person should be judged by their actions and values, many you mentioned today can be judged and are labeled as such. Again, black and white. Let's keep this going and make a difference in the way we elect the next group. Keep it up.

Rock said...

Matt, you said:

An interesting, informative and helpful blog. Thanks...

Thank you so much for your kind words, especially coming from the person who is himself the author of such beautiful blogs (which I just visited).

Rock said...

Phil, thanks for your as-always thoughtful comments. You said:

the quest for more and more knowledge, that’s what makes us human, and as an aside I'm sad to say it is a declining trait in humans from our societies.

Even when I was growing up in Munster, Indiana there was a kind of anti-intellectualism in America. This is not something I like particularly, which is why I admire intellectuals like William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal in politics. I don’t quite reach their level, but I appreciate it and try not to talk down to my audience. Of course I try not to do the opposite, either—I won’t try to impress anyone with my knowledge. Here, too, I just try to tell the truth. Some things I know, and some things I don’t. When a simple word will explain things exactly, it’s better to use a simple word. Still, I enjoy reading and talking with intellectuals. I guess Kipling has it right, in that we should all be able to “walk with kings but not lose the common touch.”

I hope you don’t mind me using you as my insight into your nation’s politics (other sources prove less astute). Too many of the worlds problems revolve around U.S influence and debate of these issues goes nowhere when it is based around Bush bashing.

Despite the fact that I am an iconoclast, I do feel that I have a certain perception into American politics that is rare. I sometimes feel like Cassandra, speaking the truth but not believed by anyone—that is, until I started blogging, where I did find people that see things as I do. Or, that are at least open to listen. I respect people who disagree with me but who are open and can express why they see things differently. Yes, this makes us human. I’m glad too that you and others might want to start getting beyond Bush-bashing.

Cultural sensitivity is a requirement for Americans in dealing with their foreign affairs, but also the world when debating and dealing with Americans.

You are so right. This is one of our failings as a nation. We are provincial. We can’t be this way anymore, as you can see in Iraq. We need to be culturally sensitive in order to win wars, and hearts and minds.

So therefore, I disagree with a load of things you say, but unlike many people who disagree/hate the conservative right wing America I am beginning to understand your beliefs and reasoning. Fascinating stuff.

Thanks so much. I’d be interested in hearing about the things you disagree with me on. I have hard time understanding how the world can see America as anything but good, but obviously this isn’t so in much of the world. I think it would be informative to hear how others see us. So please do share how you see things about conservatism and America, etc. You might be right on some things, and get me to see this, who knows? Or, vice versa.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

Rock

Rock said...

Sgt Dub, thanks again for visiting and commenting. You said:

Rock, good blog, truth and honesty are what should be sought when electing our officials.

Thanks Sgt, I appreciate it. Just don’t be too honest—with your friends that is, or your family, but you know that.

Oklahoma, on the surface is contradictory. The state has a majority of Democrats registered, yet the state on national levels votes conservative, which usually puts the Republicans in office. Our present Governor Brad Henry is a Democrat, who garnered almost 70% of the vote this month for his second term. I have said it and have heard it said that we think he is just confused, that he's a Republican and not a Democrat. But he exhibits the old school Democrat values and actually seeks what's best for our state. We need more leaders like this.

I’ll second that. I’ll take Democrat Joe Lieberman any day over Republican Lincoln Chafee.

I've told you before, each person should be judged by their actions and values, many you mentioned today can be judged and are labeled as such. Again, black and white. Let's keep this going and make a difference in the way we elect the next group. Keep it up.

Thanks Sgt. You keep up the good work too, and God bless.

Rock

Rock said...

Phil, you said:

From an outsider’s perspective and in my opinion only this is what’s going to happen... The U.S is going to give up on Iraq. Just like they did in Afghanistan. You have left the rest of the world to tidy up your mess in Afghanistan, you may still have a presence there, but it is minimal, and the work being done by those there may be 'good' but that doesn’t mean to say that Afghanistan has improved in any way shape or form from regime change.

I may have to agree with you on this. I think Rumsfeld may be to blame for this. He has been ingenious in creating a lighter and more mobile armed services, but in doing so he has left us “thin” in our coverage. We didn’t have enough troops to start two wars and finish them both. How do we solve this problem? I don’t know. We don’t have the draft anymore. Instead, we call up our National Guard and lengthen tours of duty to keep troop levels up, but still this is not enough. McCain thinks we need more troops in Iraq, and we probably should have had more in Afghanistan, even after the initial war was over there.

Unlike American Politicians the world learns from past experience and is now just waiting for the U.S to give up on Iraq. Then the world will go in and try and do their best to stop the humanitarian disaster created by your hasty retreat. There of course will be talk of policy and aid and development and democracy by the American Government, but it’s just that, talk.

Again, you may be right, unfortunately. It’s hard to maintain a war effort for a long time in a democracy. We now have been in Iraq for as long as we were in Vietnam. Americans, unfortunately, want quick results.

But that’s a worse case scenario, hopefully this will not happen. Maybe Bush will actually put policy in place to help these people who he has liberated. It would be quite unprecedented, and would help him leave on a good note.

I hope you are right.

Thanks.

Rock