Pragmatic Idealist

I was doing one of my daily Technorati ego surfs when I noticed this new blog, which says that it will match up bloggers of various political stripes and have them debate, Iron Chef style, for the edification of the masses. After which they’ll be judged by whomever the judges are on their style and delivery and whatnot. No word on whether there will be fabulous prizes, although I somehow doubt there will be.

What interests me is not the “Iron Blog” concept, which I think is a little shaky; one has to wonder what the advantage of going to someone else’s blog to snipe and argue is when one can just as easily do it on one’s own site, without the artificial restrictions imposed by rules — i.e., freeform venting which is what makes blogging so much fun in the first place. Especially if there are, in fact, no prizes involved.

No, what interests me is that whomever it is running the site has created two blogrolls, one for lefties and one for righties, and I am located on the right side of the blogroll. Anyone who reads the site on a regular basis should find this amusing, given my open disdain of the GOP and my kneejerk (and not entirely fair) mental classification of conservatives of any stripe as people who primarily wish to rationalize their own fear and greed. The reason I suspect I’m on the right side of this fellow’s toteboard is that that he lumps libertarians with conservatives, which is a correct pairing, to the extent that functionally speaking your average libertarian’s goal of being left alone dovetails into the conservative’s goal of dismantling government so no one can stop their nefarious plans for global domination.

A lot of my personal opinions dovetail with libertarians — I too wish to be left alone and encourage others to leave other people alone as well — so I suspect this is why I’m on the right side of that blogroll. But this is not the same as saying that I am a libertarian. Without getting too much into detail about it, the reason I’m not a libertarian is that it’s a political philosophy that can function only if the average person wants to let other people do their thing, and the fact is most people don’t. That’s because most people don’t trust other people to be smart/honest/noble/whatever enough not to screw things up for the rest of us.

The reason for that, alas, is that most people aren’t smart/honest/noble/whatever enough not to mess things up. People are often dumb, greedy short-term thinkers who don’t give a crap about you as long as they get theirs, or they’ve got their eye on a long-term plan for global domination for their god and/or ideology. Frequently they’re both, which is a lot of fun to deal with. Now, I’d like to think most people will do the best thing given time, education and the opportunity to look at things long-term. But simply as a matter of experience, it’s nice to be able to rein them in from time to time. I’m not an optimist when it comes to people and their behaviors. So no libertarian cookie for me, I’m afraid.

My politics are neither left nor right in any consistent fashion; I’m not conservative, or liberal, or libertarian, or whatever. Chart me on a traditional political map and the only real conclusion you’ll come to is that I need medication for my multiple personalities. I like to think my politics are on the “z” axis, which is defined by idealism — what we’d like to believe people would do — and pragmatism — what we need to have people to do so that the country is a reasonable place to live. The real world is rather more in need of the pragmatic approach at the moment, and I’m fine with that. I’m an idealistic pragmatic (and on my good days, a pragmatic idealist). No wonder I write science fiction.


30 Minutes

A quick note that doesn’t have anything to do with anything: Back in the day (which you can read as 1998/1999, when I started babbling through the Whatever), I always tried to impose a 30-minute time limit on whatever I was writing here, partly as a writing exercise but also because, you know, I have work to do. Now, as anyone who spends time reading here knows, my actual success in sticking with a 30-minute writing session has never been entirely good — I do tend to run on — but for the month of May, I’m going to try incorporating it back in. It’s very busy month, and the alternative is to take one of my famous mercurial hiatuses while I bust through other writing. But I don’t really want to do that; I’ve been enjoying the Whatever quite a bit recently. So we’ll try the 30-minute thing instead for May and see how it goes.

And now I’ve wasted five minutes explaining the 30-minute plan to you. Tick, tick, tick.

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