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Archive for the ‘foreign policy’ Category

Bona Fides, Beliefs and Values

with 2 comments

Several entries ago I said I would outline and discuss my values, beliefs and bona fides. For those of you across the river, the definition of bona fides is “a person’s honesty and sincerity of intentions” and/or a person’s legitimacy, I.E. credentials. Outside of my profile and blog header, those that read my blog entries may not know where I stand, or what values I have. At this point, I think I have to make them known so there is an understanding, particularly in regards to issues I discuss.

Life – Pro Life.

Marriage – Marriage licenses by the government should not be called marriage licenses, but rather civil union licenses. Marriage is a rite and sacrament before god, and the government should keep out of it. The purpose of the government license is for property rights and other legal affairs that do not pertain to marriage as prescribed by the church. To that extent, the government of any state may decide to grant civil union licenses to whomever they chose (and some do) based on the sensibilities of their population, but churches are free to decide who gets married in their respective religion without regard to what the state does, and without interference by those (or the state) that oppose the churches views and doctrine.

Government – As small as possible, as low taxes as possible. I’d settle for the abolition of the IRS, and institute a consumption tax, so long as all other federal taxes go away.

Guns – Any law abiding citizen has the right to keep and bear arms if they chose, for whatever reason they choose.

Foreign Policy – Let’s see: We dole out foreign aid to people that hate us (a panoply of pan-arabic countries), support countries where only our economic interests are served (Saudi Arabia, China), but whose governments we abhor, we try to democratize countries where it either will not work, or there are not the necessary forces to make it happen by itself, and we allow politics to influence military decisions, as well as policy decisions, and in either case it leads to disaster. For instance, we pander to the Saudis because of their oil reserves, even when they personally finance terrorists that kill our citizens and soldiers. They are the epitome of back stabbing SOBs, and if we were both moral and smart, we’d divest ourselves of these people by developing our own oil reserves in ANWR, off shore and anywhere else here. Can’t do that. The enviro-terrorists in this country won’t let that happen. In fact, they hate any idea that involves current technology, instead promulgating windmills and non-existent means of energy, whereby putting us back 100 years because they don’t want the intention of polluting our environment to exist. I will continue this later with Energy, but you get the idea. Our values that we bring to politics and foreign policy lack a moral backbone. I think it is ok to help countries where the people are unduly suffering, but even there we get it wrong. While it is ok to invade Iraq because Saddam was a despot, it is not ok to invade the Sudan because of a despot. More people got shit hammered in Africa than in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran, combined. The shame of it is that Kofi “the feckless wonder” Annan, did next to nothing for his home continent. Of course that is de rigueur for the UN, which is the Organization of Feckless Peoples or OFP. It is more important to have good intentions than to accomplish anything. So, after our great Middle East democratization tour, what do we do now? We need someone in charge that has a strong moral compass. That does not start trouble, but does back down from it necessarily. We need someone where actions and results matter more than intentions by themselves, and results matter more than anything. Passing the same cup of piss around and calling it chardonnay doesn’t work anymore.

Immigration – Legal immigration is good, illegal immigration is bad. We need to punish the companies that hire illegal immigrants, deport when we can, and change the process of immigration to streamline it, and enforce it better.

Energy – For electricity, go nuclear, for transportation, drill here, drill well, and drill all the time. In spare time, look for other energy sources.

Religion – First, everyone has the right to believe as they wish, at least in this country, for now. For me, there is one truth and that is we are god’s creation and in that context, there are things you can do, and things you should not do. There is absolute right and wrong, and having opinions is fine. Judgement comes with the final exam.

Philosophy – I have always believed in an objective philosophy that there is right and wrong, and that facts are facts. I think this is why I like objectivism so much. From Ayn Rand:

Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.

In my heart, her arguments and statements ring true as anything I have read. Even so, she and I would disagree on a couple things. One, she was pro-choice. I am not. Two, she was an atheist. I am not. For me, my goal on a philosophical level has been to try to combine and rationalize Objectivism with Christianity. The problems I have had with Christianity, particularly my Anglican and Catholic background, is that it tends to be collectivist in it’s interpretations, and has become suitable to those whose philosophies are what I would call theo-socialist. Part of this is that both Anglicanism and Catholicism are steeped in tradition and orthodoxy. To quote Barbara Tober, “Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening.” Emphasis on group, as it implies collectivism. To be part of a group, you have to give up something. I have yet to find a group where I agree with everything, but I find it difficult to follow doctrine in any group if I do not believe it  or in it. I liken it to having to eat a shit sandwich. In Collectivism, everyone has to take a bite, some more than others. So in a sense, my beliefs in libertarian and objectivist ideals are to minimize the shit sandwich eating escapades, particularly from the culinary expertise of those outside myself. So, in the context of Ayn Rand’s statements of Objectivist ideals, I try to exercise them with the moral rules set forth through my religion, for which there are but three commandments: Love your god with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind, love your neighbor as yourself, and honor your father and your mother. A reduction of the original 10, but it covers everything just the same.

Background – Born and raise on Long Island, lived there until 2002. My father was the son of Italian immigrants, and my mother’s family background was much more diverse, with immigrants from England and Ireland in the 19th century and Danish and French Huguenot immigrants from the 17th century. There even is some native american thrown in along the way.  Culturally, I grew up being exposed to an Italian-American experience. My father was fluent in Italian, but only spoke it when spoken to in Italian. Up until the 8th grade I attended Episcopal parochial school. Do not compare this with the current iteration of the Episcopal and Anglican Church, but more like Anglican Catholic. High Mass once a week, The Book of Common Prayer of 1928 and the Hymnal of 1940. Very strict, but without brothers or nuns. I attended W.C. Mepham HS after this, and went on to get a B.A. In American History and minor in Biology. In between then and now, I have had many different kinds of jobs and work, and it’s too much to list and discuss, but only to say that I have a lot of experience in different things, and an eclecticism that serves me better now than then. For the last 14 plus years I have worked in the information technology field, and I have since received a M.S. In Information Systems. I am Married, and I have 5 children. Outside of that, I like to ride my motorcycle, lift weights, and some point soon, start practicing Aikido again. I also like to Blog…

Thank you for reading this blog.

Written by James Lagnese

August 16, 2008 at 10:57 am