I was reading this blog by my brother today, and he mentioned a political quiz that matches your opinions on specific issues with the current field of candidates for the 2008 presidential election. I started to answer the questions, but became quite frustrated at having to state my views on a particular issue with one of five choices: no opinion, agree, strongly agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. So, here are the answers I would have given in the questions were open ended.
Abortion is a woman’s right — I would never have called it a ‘right’. Though I do feel that it’s not the governments place to determine appropriate medical treatment. The decision should be between a woman, her doctor, and anyone else she chooses to involve in the process.
Require companies to hire more women & minorities — No, companies should be allowed to hire the best person for the job, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnic background etc.
Sexual orientation protected by civil rights laws — Yes, to the same extent as religion, race, etc.
Teach family values in public schools — Whose Family Values? This sounds to me like an effort to use the school system as a means of indoctrinating children.
Death penalty — The death penalty is immoral, especially given the imperfections in the legal system.
Mandatory Three Strikes sentencing laws — This sounds like it would be effective at getting repeat offenders off the street, but I have my suspicions. Making something mandatory generally means there’s no reason to think about the particular case in question. I would rather judges and juries decide what the best sentence is.
Absolute right to gun ownership — Absolute? I’m not sure I believe in the “Absolute” right to anything. I do however believe in a very broad interpretation of the Second Amendment. It was written to ensure the people would be able to defend themselves against their government, should the need ever arise again. The only way the people would have a fighting chance is if they are allowed to arm themselves.
More federal funding for health coverage — The government doesn’t really do anything well, do we really want it involved in making life and death health care decisions? I really think we should get rid of managed health care and outrageous malpractice suits. Go back to the days when people paid for a doctors visit with cash and were charged the market rate for Tylenol dispensed while in the hospital.
Privatize Social Security — While I think the Social Security system is disparately damaged, I don’t think having the government turn it over to private investment firms is the best way to fix it. Isn’t that fascism?
Parents choose schools via vouchers — It would be a better solution than forcing kids to continue attending classes in a failing school system, but the government needs to get out of the business of educating (indoctrinating) children.
Replace coal & oil with alternatives — This definitely needs to be done, but I don’t see where it’s the government’s place to do anything about it.
Drug use is immoral: enforce laws against it — This is actually the question where I gave up on the quiz. My response to this statement would be yes, drug use is immoral, and no we shouldn’t be enforcing laws against drug use.
Allow churches to provide welfare services — They aren’t allowed to now? My church provides has one of the best welfare programs anywhere in the world. Any member in need can get their mortgage and utilities paid, and even a pantry full of groceries for almost nothing (you do have to pay 10% of your income, but if you’re unemployed 10% of nothing is nothing). However, I assume the question pertains to giving government funds to churches to administer government welfare programs, and I do have a problem with this. Mainly because it violates the establishment clause of the constitution. Any church selected to dole out government funds would have the explicit endorsement of the state. I’m not sure you can send someone to a church to get their government handouts without many of these people assuming the welfare comes from the Church and not the state.
Decrease overall taxation of the wealthy — Not just for the wealthy but everyone.
Illegal immigrants earn citizenship — I oppose this. I am all for immigration, but we shouldn’t encourage people to break the law to get into this country, by rewarding them with citizenship.
Support & expand free trade — I support this. I’m not a very devout capitalist, but I think it’s currently the best economic system around. It usually works best when the government government doesn’t interfere.
More spending on armed forces — As with most things I don’t think more money is the answer. More judicious use of the funds that are available is a better solution. As cool as the F-22 is, how much do we really need a new fighter jet? What potential enemy has the military technology that would counter the F-22’s capabilities?
Stricter limits on political campaign funds — I wasn’t sure whether this meant limits on how much someone could donate to a campaign or limits on how a politician is allowed to spend campaign contributions. I’ve heard the argument that campaign contributions are a type of political expression. One voices his or her support for a candidate or party by donating money. This makes a lot of sense to me, and as a type of expression I think it should be protected and unfettered by government restrictions. I don’t believe the same right applies to corporations and don’t believe corporate entities should be donating money to campaigns. I also have no problem with the federal government imposing limits on how a candidate can use funds, as long as the rules apply equally to all candidates.
The Patriot Act harms civil liberties — It most certainly does. It undermines rights guaranteed by the constitution, in the name of security. I think Benjamin Franklin said it best, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Replace US troops with UN in Iraq — Presumably this means, replace US troops with UN TROOPS in Iraq. I’m all for bringing home the US troops from Iraq, but I wonder what troops the UN would send there in place of US troops. If this means, hand over US Control of the war in Iraq to the UN, then I would oppose that. I don’t like the idea of US troops fighting under foreign (i.e. non-US) flags. And if the question means exactly what it says, and the UN would move to Iraq while the US is pulling out it’s troops, I’d have to say I just might support that.