What I Believe

This started out as a comment at Soob, but quickly grew in length.

I did a very short post on this once before. Let me go into more detail.

Let me be clear: I am not a Republican. I consider myself an Independent. I have mostly voted Dem in the past. The first time I voted for a Republican for President was 2004, though if I could vote again, I would have voted for Reagan in 1984 (and Bush in 2000 – update). I was 18 and surrounded by liberals and communists. I had always had strong pro-national security beliefs and much to the horror of those all around me, I was OK with Reagan calling the Soviets the “Evil Empire”. I also had the pleasure of being denounced in front of a room full of people (mostly fellow travelers and useful idiots) as an American-stooge by a Pro-Soviet Afghan Communist in 1988 (a proud day for me).

As far as policy, I am future oriented. I have no policy nostalgia for small family farms or big manufacturing industry and their labor unions or other such things. I love reading history and exploring retro culture and I am a big early jazz fan (real jazz, not smooth jazz), but that does not carry over to policy.

I am for a strong national security but I don’t think the Dems are anymore. On national security, the Dems are the party of McGovern, not the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and JFK. I am not deluded by “yes we can” and “change, change, change” into thinking otherwise.

That all said, America must continue to develop and exercise its other elements of national power besides that of military (which needs to keep developing and advancing too). US diplomatic and intelligence capabilities are pretty bad considering the money spent on them. Also, US Influence Warfare capabilities are atrocious. Right now, the US is really the only western country willing act. The lesson in that is we have to keep our expeditionary capability…and we can’t count on “allies” for support.

I am pro-globalization economically (big yes on global free trade) and pro-strong international state system. I favor strengthening the state system, not continuing to weaken it.

I am anti-Global Governance. Global Governance institutions (and the movement itself) are mostly non-democratic, and do not serve to protect the fundamental rights of Americans and frankly other humans. Governance bodies are unelected non-democratic (and often anti-democratic, anti-American) bureaucrats often serving their own purposes and see themselves in opposition to to USA. It would be dangerous to invest to much of America’s and the world’s future in their hands.

I am pro entrepreneurial capitalism, pro-growth, pro-tech, pro-innovation, pro-higher productivity and progress. This is possibly the most important thing for the American System. The unleashing of human capital through entrepreneurialism (business, social, cultural, heh and political) will continue to make us economically and cultural rich. The rest of the world is better off for this too.

Domestic policy should be changed to increase, support and create incentives for this activity. This mean changes to the legal and financial systems. It also means a pension system not tied social security and long-term single employer employment. It also means a health care system not tied to a particular employer or type of employment (this does not mean government run national health care though). All Americans should should have a stake in and profit from the success of the American System. Also, the American K-12 education system is obsolete and needs to replaced with something best summed up as “vouchers, charters schools, and mass customized education for all”.

I am moderate on social issues with libertarian leanings. I am all “equality of opportunity”, not “equality of outcome”. Most government handouts and social programs do harm in that the create bad incentives and they don’t really accomplish their goals (other then making some do-gooders and politicians feel good about themselves). All of the “feel good” programs should be examined and if found lacking, abolished (and maybe replaced with something new or something like vouchers or a negative income tax system).

I was also raised Catholic and I tend to be a bit of a prude on moral issues when pushed. Mostly though I have a sort of libertarian attitude – “don’t ask, don’t tell”, and “if its weird do it in your house and don’t shove it my face”. Don’t mess with children though – they are off limits for indoctrination into the weird.

I am not gay but I have had gay friends and I don’t like the idea of them being pushed around or being denied normalcy. I may find homosexuality uncomfortable at a certain broad intellectual level, but not when interacting with homosexuals as direct real individuals. Love is hard enough to find in this world, I am not going to stand in the way nor support policies to do so.

I care nothing for elites or the eastern establishment. They do great harm to this country.

I am pissed off by the continued presence and influence on society by Marxists/Marxism and socialists/socialism under what ever labels they hide under. I don’t buy into “Global Warming” because the science isn’t there and the supporters all seem to be Communists or their contemporary useful idiots.

I don’t like paying taxes on wasteful things and bloated bureaucracies, but I don’t mind paying them for efficient government activities. That being said, the tax system is too complex, costs too much and has too many bad incentives and loopholes. I favor switching to a flat tax system for individuals based on either income or consumption. I favor switching to a flat tax of cash flow system for C-style Corporations (if we are still going to tax C Corps, that is). This can be revenue neutral, but will have the positive effects of costing less in compliance and regulation, and will reduce the distortion of economic activity.

There is more detail of course. This should give you an idea of where I come from though. I may update this or add links occasionally.

Updated: grammar and spelling fixes.

Update: If you think I am an Islamaphobe, read this including the comments.

Update: Here is a quick hit on Federalism.

Update: I am mostly in sync with the Tea Party principles (as I understand them).

16 Responses

  1. An excellent summary!

  2. I cut out the historical narrative because that might give away who I am to the couple of local people trying to figure that out!

  3. Wow, Purple Slog, this is great! I always wondered what your deal was. Now, I know.

    Are you thinking about running for office?

  4. When I was younger I wanted to.

    In college, I found that I really didn’t like those people who seemed to going into politics and government. That cooled me on elected politics.

    I had law school ready as a back up career path, if IT didn’t take after a year.

    I found I liked IT (the use and application of Computer Science to organizations) better then my university’s Computer Science program (which was orriented at creating future computer science grad students).

  5. You say “American K-12 education system is obsolete and needs to replaced with something best summed up as “vouchers, charters schools, and mass customized education for all”.

    –WTF??? – Vouchers etc just take public money away from public schools. Voucher schools are accountable to no one and are not the answer to improve the schools.

    What would improve the schools is PARENTS actually stepping up to RAISE their own children.

    Parents these days seem to either
    -over indulge their beloved children (w/ anything and everything material instead of moral & behavioral guidance)
    -or neglect their children.

    Why have the babies / children if you are not going to guide them into becoming responsible teens and adults? That is the responsibility of a parent and from what I see, most parents today are not stepping up to the challenge.

    When parents get back to actually raising the children they brought into the world, the schools will improve.

  6. milwaupaliukes2 : “What would improve the schools is PARENTS actually stepping up to RAISE their own children.”

    The above is the one part of the system that can not be addressed by policy. There will still be bad parents, and parents that don’t care. There will still households that are bad. Perhaps that could be handled partially by new-style boarding schools (which could be part of the education system), or by a different social services philosophy (which would be outside the scope of the education system).

    I think a big part of the failure of many family/home units, is that wrong-headed application of social programs that have created bad incentives that have led to the mess we have today. Much of the growth of Milwaukee’s little “gap” can be attributed to that. It will take a generation at least to clean up the mess.

    When I wrote of this above…

    “Most government handouts and social programs do harm in that the create bad incentives and they don’t really accomplish their goals (other then making some do-gooders and politicians feel good about themselves). All of the “feel good” programs should be examined and if found lacking, abolished (and maybe replaced with something new or something like vouchers or a negative income tax system).”

    …I was trying to address this briefly. To many government programs give incentives to not work, to not take care of your kids. If you are a marginal person already, this might tip you over into be bad a parent,,,and into a hard to get out positve feedback loop you.

    Milwaukee’s do-gooders are often to play for this postive feedback loop.

    Example: To many unruly kids disrupting school and getting suspended? Well, let’s have schools reduced suspensions (what?) say the do-gooders so the bad kids self-esteem is effected. Result: Teachers get frustrated and the non-disruptive kids are effected. And the smart kids sit bored wasting time in school until they can off to college, unless they have access to AP classes (why not let them take actual College classes).

    What I am proposing is not an attack on teachers. The public school system has been around 100 years, but that doesn’t mean it is the right the system for the next 100.

    When , I speak of vouchers, I don’t mean simply extending the current small voucher system in places like the Milwaukee.

    I am proposing system of education that “mass customized”. Vouchers are just the way for it to still to be publicly financed. The money follows the students. I don’t mean they are getting an envelope stuffed with money to take to a tutor. Essentially they a gov allotment that and educational service can be charged to.

    When I say charter schools, I don’t mean just privatizing all schools. That type of system, would resemble mostly what we already have.

    I am picturing a customized education plan for each student. Perhaps special students would go to schools much as they are now coupled with some work-study built in for those that it is appropriate.

    A variety of alternate schools could exists for troublesome students.

    And for smart kids, a variety of education programs could exists. Maybe you take an intensive math/science program during the day sponsored at a school co-located at the medical college for several months of the year, while meeting with a tutor and a small English study group in the afternoons. After a few months, you take a social studies intensive course at the public museum, while being tutored in Spanish and taking an on-line/distance intro to computer programming class

    What I am looking for is flexibility and customization (you have heard that from me before). Follow the link for the details:


    You are very right though, that none of this will effect the domestic gap areas we have in the USA.

    You wrote…

    “What would improve the schools is PARENTS actually stepping up to RAISE their own children. […]”

    …and I agree with all of that.

    People do live within the institutional framework that exists. People do respond to incentives. I assert that the problem is partially badly formed institutions and incentives.

    BTW, Since definitions matter, I am using this definitions for institutions:

    “Institutions are the humanly devised constraints that structure human interaction. They are made up of formal constraints (rules, laws, constitutions), informal constraints (norms of behavior, conventions, and self imposed codes of conduct), and their enforcement characteristics.” [Ref: Douglass C. North Nobel Lecture http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/1993/north-lecture.html ]

    Well this comment is too long. I did not mean to in the post of the comment outline how I would “fix” Milwaukee or other urban areas. I have been dancing around that.

    milwaupaliukes2, you have inspired me to write up something a bit more specific, it more direct, a bit more short-term How to Fix Milwaukee. This is a topic I have been dancing around on this blog at the edges only. I should address it head on.

    I will need two month or so to have something ready. I may make some related posts as I work through ideas.

    I would also appreciate any ideas you have.

  7. Here’s an idea:
    -mandatory birth control / sterilization for adults who have already proven they are unwilling / unable to take care of their current children and should not be given the chance to have any more.

  8. I don’t think that would pass constitutional muster.

  9. Words are one thing but the idea that anyone “likes” to pay taxes is at the very foundation of that which created this country, a dislike of taxes. As the stated by Ben Franklin, “But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” so, lets get out of fantasy world and come to terms with the FACT that the LAST 8 years have been a WRECK.

    So, words are cute but I would rather go with what I have experienced and seen with my very own eyes….Another 4 years with McCain in the white house is the create that which you seem to dislike.

    (More poverty, schools that do not work, and the continued WELFARE of BIG BUSINESS!) Why is it easier to blame those on the “bottom” while ignoring the FAILED economics of trickle down Reganomics?

  10. USGOV interferes to much with economic decision making and therefore distorts outcomes by choosing
    winners and perverting natural incentives.

    The proper role role is for the USGOV to provide a fair and predicable legal system, protect property rights, and provide/mandate open and transparent information for investors specifically and citizens in general.

    You may not like the modified form of capitalism practiced in the USA, but to increase USGOV control trough regulations and taxation will have only a negative effect.

  11. I’m reminded of Arabs who want to vote in the Muslim Brotherhood because Shariah promises them more fulfilling lives than the status quo.

    Oh well, nice to see that human nature is no different from Arabs than it is from Americans.

  12. […] 2010 by purpleslog I need to write these down and think some more about these. I am essentially in agreement with the […]

  13. Interesting:



    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich. …

    “We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

  14. Condi Rice:


    We all know the story, we all know the fiscal cliff, we all know that America can’t lead if indeed, our own fiscal and economic house is not in order. Indeed, everybody across the world knows that if a country loses control of its fiscal destiny, it loses control of its destiny. … But the thing that Europe needs most right now, and in fact the United States needs most right now, is global growth. If you could put on the agenda of the president of the United States a plan for global growth, so that this shrinking pie doesn’t exacerbate all of the political tensions out there, Europe would be helped, Japan would be helped, the United States would be helped. And it starts with reinvigorating the trade agenda.

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