Thursday, July 12, 2007


Articles of Faith

In a previous blog I displayed an exchange of e-mail between me and my conservative acquaintance R. I've never met R and I don't know much about him. He was introduced to me by an old friend from Graduate School at the University of Illinois. R has turned out to be a formidable debater for the conservative side of several issues. I will have to call R an acquaintance. My conservative opponents H and M I have to call friends. I know them and I worked with them at my last place of employment.

It bothers my conservative friend H that he is unable to convince me of his side or position on an argument. He was unable to persuade me that I should enthusiastically support the exploration and drilling for oil in ANWR. He couldn't understand why I would accept the proposition that we import a lot more petroleum than we should and pay a lot more for it than we should and yet would not support the proposition that we need to drill and extract petroleum from ANWR. He dismissed my argument that we should instead devote money and effort to developing and building new facilities for generating power that don't rely on fossil fuel and don't exhaust megatons of CO-2 into the atmosphere each year.

R was also bothered by my refusal to accept the argument for drilling in ANWR. Of course, to him, I am just another liberal that he sometimes converses with in internet chat rooms. He finds liberals to be persons who ignore facts and statistics. His positions on drilling in ANWR, on opposing universal (free) health care, etc., are, in his words, based on facts and statistics.

I don't know anything about R's chat room liberals. I know about three conservatives: R, H, and M. My opinion is that they tend to be short-sighted, looking to the immediate future (present shortage of petroleum, etc.) and not the more distant future (need for alternate energy sources because the world is running out of oil). On some issues I think they are completely unrealistic. They say the same thing about me on some of the same issues.

H tried to irritate me by quoting from the odious Ann Coulter who pronounced that liberalism was like a religion. Being a professional conservative, Ms Coulter has to bash and insult liberals and do it in a way that generates a wide audience for her work. Rather than express indignation at the presumed insult, I wrote H that I agreed that many of my liberal ideas are matters of faith. I believe that all members of a society, or of our society at least, are entitled to good medical care. There should not be a price on someone's life. I think that entitlement is just as solid as the right to police protection, fire protection, property title protection, a stable monetary supply, and protection against foreign terrorists. I can not justify any of these rights or entitlements on the basis of statistics. I believe that there are more important things than profit. A business is not only tolerated but supported by society because it provides a useful or necessary service, not because it makes a profit for some investors. I believe that the primary responsibility of a manager of a corporation or other business is to the public, including the employees and customers of the business. Responsibility to the investors is secondary. These are things that I believe. Some of them are heresy to conservatives. In that sense, I accept the verdict that liberalism is like a religion. So also is conservatism.

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