Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Hard-Right Conservative?

I recently read an article in which my state representative was described as an "extreme right-wing conservative." Now she is a staunch conservative, but even she breaks rank on some very important issues. I think it is disingenuous how the media throws these labels around, especially in election season, without taking issues other than abortion, taxes, and gay marriage into account.

I suspect that many of you out there suppose me to be a hard-right conservative. I disagree. In fact, I would describe myself as a "moderate conservative" (80% conservative with one-fifth cup moderation--20 percent). I can name some issues right now on which I don't agree 100% with the conservative base.

1) The Death Penalty. I tend to be moderate, middle-of-the road on the death penalty. Although this seems to be a difficult position, it really is not. I think the death penalty should remain on the books as law, but it should not be used frequently. I don't think every murder should be under consideration for the death penalty (I see a difference between a Charles Mansion serial killer--who should die, and the husband who in a rage strikes at his wife, causing her to fall down the stairs and die--this is very brutal, and in cases like these, life in prison would be sufficient). The extenuating circumstances of each case and whether the homicide was premeditated--1st or 2nd degree murder--makes all the difference, and the same penalty cannot be ascribed to every case despite the variances in the crimes. The death penalty should only be reserved for the most horrendous, evil cases. And this extends to terrorists, both those who carry out attacks and those who are planning attacks but have yet to carry them out. Islamic extremism is a scourge upon society, and it is a national security risk to even let an Islamic terrorist remain alive in prison (this is the only circumstance in which I find it justifiable in every case to kill the purported terrorist).

2. Sex Education. Sadly, I must part ways with the religious right on this issue. While I feel that abstinence should be at the forefront of all youth education on this subject, I feel that it is detrimental to leave out the teaching of "safe sex" (birth control methods and condoms). It is a fact that even with "abstinence-only" teaching, most teenagers succumb to their natural instincts and have sex before marriage--around 70 percent of teens. And those that take abstinence pledges are more likely to have oral or anal sex instead of intercourse. Because of this, I think teens must be given all the facts on this issue. Abstinence can be at the core of teaching, but birth control methods need to be mentioned (just in case that urge is too strong, or that girl in the miniskirt is just too tempting). I am very much against abortion, and many abortions could be prevented if people used sound methods of birth control (that's why I don't understand the religious right's opposition to comprehensive sex education--it would prevent abortions). The U.S. has one of the highest murder (i.e. abortion) rates in the world. The Netherlands has one of the lowest rates--the Dutch also use birth control more than Americans. The ABC method currently being promoted in AIDS-ravaged African nations (Abstinence, Be faithful, Condoms only if A and B fail) should also apply to our nation's education standards.

3. Guns--I am a strong supporter of the right to bear arms, but at the same time, I would probably vote for the assault weapons ban and the addition of safety locks on guns. At the same time, I am strongly against the litigation brought against gun stores and gun companies for crimes committed with certain types of guns. I also am a strong believer in concealed carry, as I think it makes society as a whole much more safer and reduces crime--it gives citizens the right to defend themselves while scaring criminals from committing crimes. I would hope that I could get at least a grade of "B" from the NRA, and hopefully they would still endorse me. What do you think?

4. Gambling. Another issue where I disagree with the religious right. Gambling does cause debt and breaks up families, but this is a matter of individual responsibility, and we can not ban something just because of the bad choices of some individuals. Gambling brings in a lot of taxable revenue, money for schools, and jobs and economic growth into local economies. The good outweighs the bad, I think, and the freedom to gamble should supersede the possible negative consequences of someone's personal decisions (should we ban all alcohol and return to prohibition just because some drunken men beat their wives and drunk drivers kill innocent people)?

5. Gay/lesbian recognition. I don't entirely disagree with the religion right on this issue (I agree with the religious right on abortion and gay marriage). While I disagree with their lifestyle, I think that gays and lesbians should have the rights to access their partner's medical records, have joint insurance benefits, and be able to speak on the other's behalf in medical and legal proceedings. Of course, this must be limited somewhat, because I oppose gay marriage as detrimental to the bedrock institutions of our society, but giving these options to gays in the form of "domestic partnerships" or some other designation outside of marriage would be appropriate. Even Dr. James Dobson of "Focus on the Family" has recently come out in favor of this moderate, reasonable stance--for gay unions/domestic partnerships, against gay marriage.

6. Evolution--Let me just say that I'm Catholic, and I believe in evolution somewhat and that the Christian belief in God can go hand-in-hand with evolution. I think evolutionists have done a poor job by trying to leave God out of the equation (I don't think the earth's 6 billion years old--more like 10 or 15 thousand years old). The theory of evolution should be taught in classrooms in a very objective way. Holes in the current evolution theory should be taught and discussed, and alternative theories (such as intelligent design) should be mentioned but NOT taught. This isn't about teaching the Bible in the classroom, it's about examining scientific evidence, critiquing it, and looking at alternative evidence. Science isn't perfect and we should be prepared to examine all the evidence and not try to ignore obvious problems in current evolutionary theory and the opposition to it. Having said that, attempts by school boards and politicians to downplay evolution or ban it entirely are also ridiculous. The classroom is an open forum. And I believe that evolution and the Christian belief in creation can co-exist (In fact, I personally think they're both compatible).

I could probably continue with some other issues (such as my support for prescription drug re-importation, expansion of generic drugs, and government-run, full health plans and insurance for low-income Americans only) but this sufficiently shows where I digress with my party. I am firmly for lower taxes, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, for tort reform, free-markets, increased privatization, strong foreign policy (unilateral if need be), and anti-affirmative action. Overall, I am more conservative than moderate, but moderate enough not to be just a hardcore conservative. Hence, I'm a "moderate conservative."

1 comment:

Jordan Moats said...

What about the immigration issue?