RE: How and when did your political orientation develop?

I don’t know what I am or how I got there/here.

Libertarian/Voluntarist is close to the right label, I suppose. Maybe a better one is “iconoclast”.

I try to work out simple rules to live by. Things like:

  • Voluntary interactions are always preferred over coercion.
  • Judging people by the color of their skin is always immoral.
  • Initiation of force is always immoral.

Things like that, anyway.

The complication inevitably comes that, frequently, those can’t be taken as absolute. I’m not an anarchist. I believe there is a role for government, and government necessarily involves non-voluntary interactions. 

One way of saying it is to draw an analogy based on the respective burdens of proof in civil and criminal court cases. The higher burden of proof (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) required in criminal law seems to me a good way of describing if a government action is warranted. Too much advocacy, in my mind, contents itself with the “preponderance of evidence” standard. If a proposed action delivers 51% benefits and 49% harm, we go for it. We build monuments to niftiness that way.


Been a while since a gay marriage discussion came up. My opinion remains as it ever was: As a cultural/social matter, I don’t see why anyone has any interest in someone else’s preferred manner of fucking. It makes no difference to anyone. The only exception, and this is the basis of the idea of marriage in the first place and the reason that “marriage” as a concept is universal, is that heterosexual unions have the potential for creating new people. Therefore, those unions are of general interest to the society as a whole. Those unions have a consequence beyond the individuals involved. A society has a motivation, uniquely, to nurture, support and protect those unions.

As a matter of law, I think we’ve managed to make a complete hash of this. Not only do I think Obergefell v. Hodges is just plain bad constitutional law, I think it came at a curiously stupid moment. The clear trajectory in the state legislatures at the time was in favor of gay marriage. Given a few more years, a majority of the states representing 90%+ of the population would have gotten there. I think the SCOTUS got too far out over it’s skis, so to speak, on that one. And in the process, actually harmed the cause of gay marriage. 


Back on topic: In recent years, I’ve found myself less and less interested in politics and far more interested in history, archeology, evolutionary biology, and psychology. The Bronze Age fascinates me, as does the Roman Empire. 

Back to “iconoclast”, if there is a sure way to get me to look up, it’s for everyone else to look down.

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