Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My First Poll- On Me

By Utah standards, I've usually considered myself quite liberal. However, I have liberal friends who think I am way to conservative on some issues. For example, I opposed the Iraq War, but favored the surge. I disagree with Obama's middle class tax cut because of it's effects on the deficit. Even so, I welcome a little insight into how I am perceived. Am I a liberal? moderate? conservative? or undefinable? I would appreciate your vote one way or another.


Anonymous said...

I would call you "reasonably liberal" with the emphasis on reasonable because you are so good at articulating your thinking for the positions you take (both liberal and moderate).

I know many people think that liberals are generally better are supplying the data and logic behind their positions, but my experience is that liberals are as good at spewing blind dogma as conservatives are. That's why I enjoy reading your posts and the comments you share on other reasonable forums (I don't read comments on sites that are too polarized).

bekkieann said...

I have been reading your blog here and comments elsewhere for awhile. In my opinion, you lean to the liberal, though you don't seem to simply take the party line. And your arguments are always well-reasoned, honest, and measured in tone. Sometimes a welcome voice of reason amidst the cacaphony (a quality I wish I had more of).

Obi wan liberali said...

bekkiean and david, I'm glad I am sufficiently unsure of myself that I won't take too much stock in your kind words and think myself wiser than I am.

However, I had a liberal friend berate me the other day because of my lack of adherence to the liberal line. It kind of set me back. Do I need to change my name to "obi wan moderati"?

I live in Tooele County, a county that is traditionally democratic, but conservative democratic. Even in my own community, I find myself more liberal than the norm. But when liberal friends find my lack of adherence to the "party line" to be disconcerting to them, I seriously wonder where I am on the political spectrum and I appreciate any feedback. I appreciate anyone who votes, because I really do value opinions on how I am perceived.

just-commenting said...

Personally, I would be disappointed if people were able to pigeon-hole me and predict what my position on any matter would be. It would seem to be an indication that I had stopped thinking and analyzing each issue on its merits.

Of course, context is important, but it should never be the overriding consideration. What someone else thinks is the best position has very little bearing on the position that I take.

I have felt that to a significant degree, you have also been willing to see more than one side of an issue.

Dogmatic jingoism and lock-step thinking is not a unique characteristic of either right or left, and in fact, seems to be the rule at EITHER extreme of the spectrum, whether it be political or religious.

Obi wan liberali said...

Good points J.C. I often get frustrated that people pidgeon-hole me, but even so, I find it useful to see how I am perceived relative to my peers.

I don't get up in the morning and wonder "what does a good liberal think" and therefore, some of my more dogmatic political allies sometimes seem frustrated with me, like I'm only a "lukewarm" liberal.

When I ride the bus home, I periodically find myself in a political discussion where I am the lone dissenter. And for good or ill, I've never been shy about expressing my opinions.

Cliff said...

I think if were to call out a freak or two once in a while and give'em a public spanking, you might find more prestige among us really vile liberals.:)

Cliff said...

For example OW, J.C. said "Dogmatic jingoism and lock-step thinking is not a unique characteristic of either right or left, and in fact, seems to be the rule at EITHER extreme of the spectrum"

Thats bull. And there are many studies to prove it. Conservatives ARE predictably in lock step. Liberal rarely are.

So try this. Tell JC YOU ARE FULL OF SH-T, then defend yourself and bury the loser! :)

Obi wan liberali said...

Cliff, if J.C. was full of shit, I would have seen him at the meetings. ;) Ultimately, my goal is not to make someone look bad because of their bad ideas, but to make their bad ideas look bad through careful scrutiny so a better alternative can be approached. I guess that makes me an IDEAlist.

Just an FYI, J.C. is highly educated and quite level-headed. Calling him out because we might disagree on a particular issue would deprive me of his wisdom, just as calling you an a-hole would deprive me of yours. And heck, I can use all the help I can get.

The other day, a fellow atheist friend of mine and I were hanging out at our favorite watering hole downing beer and scotch when a young man, a son of a minor league televangelist joined us. We bought him drinks and discussed politely the implausibility of the positions he held so firmly and passionately. We left friends, and we left him with some things to think about. I could have called him out, got into a bar brawl and had the bouncers kick us out. But no, we left friends. That is how I prefer things.

Cliff said...

Hi Obi Wan,

I find that "highly educated and quite level-headed" people will defend their statements when challenged.

I took his equivocation as disingenuous, uninformed and frankly insulting to progressives.

Its your choice how to respond.

I don't agree with the nicey, nicey approach. Maybe he will go away, but that is typically not my experience on OneUtah. Frankly, I don't see much right wing representation here.

I fear you suffer from a common ailment among progressives, that conservatives (and I don't know if JC is...) are like us and will employ reason and respond to kindness and tolerance.

Sociological studies dating back to the seventies do not bare this out. in fact, it is well-established that conservatives operate from a paradigm closer to tribal loyalty than progressive independent thinking.

Those same studies also indicate conservatives (a nice word for authoritarians) respond more to authority and fear.

I can see how your liberal friends may worry about you. Perhaps you are in denial about how destructive the recent conservative renassiance has been.

I do not believe the average conservative has taken full responsibility for what the Republicans have wrought on the world. I believe that is because they hold loyalty above independent thinking.

As you know, many republicans are capitulating and registering as democrats in record numbers.

My mission Obi wan, is to root out the hard cores and decapitate them in a way they understand.

So lets agree on this; I'll break'em and you build them back up with love and affection. Together , maybe we can bring American back to sanity.

Cameron said...

Cliff, you're a moron if you think what you do over at "One Utah" (That's the biggest joke of a blog title on the entire bloghive) is breaking down hard core conservatives. One Utah is nothing more than an angry liberal echo chamber that attracts conservatives who like to argue. There is little to nothing constructive going on there. Which is fine. But don't pretend that you're some warrior liberal out decapitating "hard core conservatives".

just-commenting said...

I had to laugh out loud when the irrational rantings from "Cliff" proved my point and that he cannot see that in himself.

When I want to make a point and promote a cause, I have found that civility, even when I vehemently disagree with someone's position, is much more effective than belligerent abrasiveness.

I hear the same jingoistic bombast from Cliff as I hear from the red-neck idealogues at the extreme right. When the facts will not support their opinions their speech degenerates into name calling, the same distasteful practice that spews from the Rush Limbaughs of the world.

When I wish to promote a liberal agenda, I certainly do not want such hot-heads as Cliff claiming to represent my positions and destroying the credibility of good liberals everywhere.

Obi wan liberali said...

You know, I'll leave it at this. Anyone who knows me and has read my posts on my blogs knows that I have taken on the most controversial and sensitive issues imaginable in our culture. But my intent has always been to enlighten, not to offend. I want to engage with reasonable people and test their tolerance for ideas that might seriously challenge their world view.

But I have never ascribed to the idea of purposely offending people. I am knowledgable enough to know that I don't know everything. Therefore, I reserve judgment on people and acknowledge that even the village idiot may have something I can learn from.

I love Cliff's passion and his determination to make a difference. But Cliff will never plant a seed in someone to reconsider their world view. He may feel good about himself that he effectively berated someone less intelligent than himself. Cliff and I agree on 90% of the issues we care about. But I choose to act within a certain decorum. It comes from the way I was raised. My father, who served in the legislature for many years, taught me that basic courtesy pays dividends, and discourtesy compounds interest that is hard to overcome.

Hey, maybe Cliff's tactics will work. Maybe mine are naive and not really a part of the acrimonious century we seem to live in. Maybe, I'm a dinosaur who survived the cretaceous, flying around our Holocene epoch entirely out of my league. But I've been hardwired to act differently. Soaring in a high-minded fashion may not make sense in our tertiary hair-dominated world, but this metaphorical sauropsid will still seek the high ground and the perspective granted by elevation. It's who I am and what I am about. Take it, or remove me from your favorites.

Anonymous said...

Having read from you and Cliff on many occasions I can easily see that the two of you agree on much more than you disagree and that your approaches are vastly different. You may humbly believe that there is a chance that Cliff's method might be more effective than yours, but I'll bet that Cliff is the only reader here who would actually believe that.


I'd just like to add my perspective on One Utah from what you said. I believe that the owners of One Utah really wanted to create a forum that would promote dialog across the spectrum. After all, they have invited me, Paul Mero, and Frank Staheli as authors (none of whom is ever likely to be accused of being a liberal). Unfortunately the contributions of some (like Ed Firmage Jr.) have the tendency of cutting off any contribution from reasonable conservatives so the forum is dominated by unreasonable conservatives and liberals (both reasonable and unreasonable).

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