Why I'm Not Green

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TSO makes an interesting point in this post regarding the need for balance. He suggests that some of us might benefit from a swift kick of cynicism while others would do well to inhale the gentling spirit of the "Resurrection People."

For some reason it brought to mind one of several reasons I'm not out and out green. Apart from the pro-abortion platform, my chief difficulty with the green party is the somewhat naive belief in the perfectability of humankind. TSO comments that the "Resurrection People" tend to have forgotten the importance of fallen human nature in much that surrounds us. If the resurrection people have forgotten it, the green party never knew it.

Much of the green platform is as idealist as I was at 17. And that is, perhaps, a very, very good thing. Young people probably should be idealistic because it is on the bare shreds of that idealism that the ski their way into the cold territory of advanced maturity.

However, I can't position myself to vote for a neo-Rousseauian political philopsophy that denies the fact that some people will simply choose to do wrong and that not everyone is interested in seeing that all people do well and have sufficient means to support a decent standard of living. (And by that I don't mean to accuse any group--and not any identifiable single individuals. Suffice to say that I know from personal experience that there are some people whose very existence is made better by knowing that there is an underclass than can be oppressed at will.) There are some people who simply do not will good for themselves or for anyone else. To predicate a philosophy on a utopian vision of everyone giving up excess and surrendering their benefits for the sake of the poor is idealist, but not particularly leadership material.

To continue on TSO's point however--I like the presence of extremists at both ends of the spectrum. (While I may not care at all for the extremists themselves or for the bulk of their philosophy.) Extremists tend to keep ideas flowing and surfacing--sometimes very good ideas. Anti WTO groups are good to remind us that while globalization has the great potential for good, misuse, abuse, and lack of policing is likely only to lead to further oppression.

Extremist views are rarely rational on all fronts, but there is within some of the extremes the germ of something worthwhile. Sometimes an idea is transferred from the very fringe to the heart (for example--Slavery is immoral and evil--this wasn't mainstream thought at all). And that transference redounds to the good of all. So while I prefer to stay somewhere in the middle with no pronounced views on much of anything other than issues of life (I frankly don't know enough to decide whose economic policy is best), I do appreciate hearing from the sidelines--hearing from those who are aware that power can be abused in any number of ways. Sometimes these far-flung views help us to more carefully identify a personal "political center."

Later clarification: I don't seem to be able to say quite what I mean on this issue, so I'll try again. Extremist notions should probably never be embraced, but they should be considered, modified, and adopted if they have merit. I could never embrace the entirety of the PETA philosophy. And yet some of what they have to say has considerable merit and should be taken out of it radicalist framework, adopted, and set as a goal for the entire community. (I frankly haven't found any merit in groups whose extremism is related to hatred. This is one of those times when I thank God for the freedom of speech and assembly so I can readily identify who I want to avoid and pray for in the future.)

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I got a kick out of this Dayton, Oh. paper's retrospective on William F. Buckley & National Review:

"...As I kept reading the conservatives, Buckley, more than anyone, made it fun, if everlastingly confusing. One way to phrase my problem: Here we had William F. Buckley Jr. and John Kenneth Galbraith (the prominent liberal economist and writer and frequent debater of Buckley). Both were brilliant, breathtakingly erudite, colossally well-read, and unmistakably decent in their motivations. Yet they disagreed on all the great issues of the day. One promoted one collection of policies to make the nation and the world peaceful, free and prosperous. The other promoted a dramatically different collection, with the same goals. Either that, or Buckley and Galbraith were both half right. That is to say that in their life's work the accumulation and dissemination of political and economic insight they were both mediocre." - Martin Gottlieb

I could never embrace the entirety of the PETA philosophy.

Oh, I don't know, outside of their views on eating meat, wearing leather and fur, bullfights, cockfighting, dog racing, foie gras, horse riding, hunting, fishing, their basic views on the nature of lower animals, the relationship between animals and humans, terrorism, hmmmm... come to think of it, I don't think I could embrace it either.

Vamos al toros!

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 5, 2004 10:44 AM.

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