and proud of it. No, not that wish-washy kind of person who couldn't take a stand on a particular issue. A genuine Centrist who believes that the root of many evils is blind faith in any specific ideology - particularly when it overrides fact and reality.
My view was that you had to look at each situation with new eyes and avoid oversimplification or over association with past events.
A couple years ago I took the Political Compass test and came out almost dead center.
The other day I took it an my score was about (-6.38, -5.49) right around Ghandi position -- did I change or did the world change around me?
Most of the questions that are now on the test are vastly different from what I remember. Nationalist questions of America always being "right" no matter what it does. Questions about Military Action compared to International Law, whether our Civil Liberties are being curbed by Counter-terrorism efforts, questions about the gay adoption...
All of these are taken from relatively recent headlines and topics. They didn't ask this stuff three years ago -- but now, because of a massive difference in the questions, in the position of the world - my answers put me in the deep left, rather than in the center.
Have I become an ideologue? Part of the Mary Scott O'Connor brand of "Angry Left?"
Or is there a difference between ideology and values? I've always had values that guided my life, and they've mostly been based on a sense of balance. But Ideology? Not so much.
My values have been the same as those of the Founding Fathers I always thought, that the key role of government is to protect us primarily from government's own tendency to encroach on our rights - and secondarily to protect us from each others tendency to do the same - both as individuals and corporations.
In my view, all corporations aren't bad - they have the potential to be - but they aren't automatically. It's only through a combination of government oversight to set and enforce public safety standards, consumer protections that don't bring an industry to it's knees, coupled with an alert an active populace who takes the initiative to vote with their dollars that responsible businesses flourish and irresponsible ones are rightly punished. I see government regulation as exactly as neccesary as other forms of law enforcement. Neither should be oppressive, but neither can we afford to do away with either of them completely.
Just as our three branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial, all act as counterbalances against possible abuses by one or two of the others -- our overall society has to balance between governmental, personal and corporate concerns. We have to have all three, and we have to protect ourselves from the potential abuses of all three, an authoritarian and oppressive government, individuals who are greedy and violent, as well as corporations who exploit their workers and dupe their customers with overpriced, unneccesary and/or dangerous products.
As far as I'm concerned, I'm still dead in the center -- I view both government, private individuals and corporations with equal amounts of hope that they live up to their potential and fear that they might not.
I don't believe in A magic bullet solution, that either government, the wonderful "free market" or individuals can face all the challanges before us on their own. It takes all three, working together.
But the world has twisted and contorted beneath that position. A tectonic shift has occured.
Now, if you aren't a total free-marketeer -- you're a dirty leftist commie.
If you don't think Manditory Minimums and Capitol Punishment are effective as deterents or have never been unjustly applied - you're a wimp and a pussy. You might as well put on a dress - Fag.
If you don't think the government should take each and every step possible to capture and contain terrorism, even including violating international law, the geneva conventions, U.S. Law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the U.S. Constitution - you're a traitor.
I used to not want to be labelled or Pigeon-holed. Marginalized. Stuck in a box that limited the validity of my ideas as being my own, rather than simply ideological talking points. I wanted my ideas and views to stand on their own merits. So I didn't want to be called - "Liberal". But that time has changed.
Glenn Greenwald has done some excellent work describing how being "Liberal" isn't about policy anymore - it's become a measurement of how strongly one supports - or doesn't support - one person. George W. Bush.
Leftists have been discounted - as MSOC was by the Washington Post - for being "too angry". Full of hate at Bush. Suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome.
I've never been one of these. Yes, I've been angry. I think justifiably so. If this Administration hasn't made you Angry, you're either deliberately not paying attention or a dullard. But I've never seriously thought that it was personally about Bush himself. I don't hate George Bush - he seems like a nice enough guy to pop back a beer with (if he'd admit to doing that on occasion) and catch a ball-game.
I oppose his policies.
I oppose bankrupting the nation with unneccesary and gratuitous tax cuts - in the middle of a War. I oppose abstinence-only sex education which has clearly been shown to fail for over 80% of those who "take the pledge" at preventing teenage sex. I oppose the criminal bungling, nepotism, cronyism, graft and incompetence that has devestated both Iraq and the American Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina.
It's his actions - and sometimes lack of action - that have made me angry, particularly when I think about how damaging they've been to the U.S., the World and the future.
I used to be a Centrist - I used to seek the middle ground because I didn't trust the extremes, either of them. But now, simply standing up for the "Rule of Law" makes one an extremist, simply expecting that the President is required by the Constitution to obey the law makes one part of the "Loony Leftist Society". A Moon-Bat.
So I'm a Centrist no longer - I'm a Fucking-A Commie-Pinko Liberal and Proud of it.
So Say We All.
Crossposted on Dailykos.