James and I were talking a week or so ago about doing a joint-post, or some responses to each other on what we believe. It all centered around FEE, something I will post about as soon as I feel that post is ready. James went ahead and took the initiative. This is my response to ‘What it means to be a conservative‘.

People who know me now may have a hard time figuring out where I fall on the political spectrum. In High School it wouldn’t have taken more than a few minutes to figure out that I am a liberal. A flaming, left-wing, hippie, tree-hugging liberal. I align myself as a Democrat, I am blue, I am from Vancouver, I live in Seattle, and I am proud of every ounce of it. I am also an Economics major, and am not afraid to admit there are problems with liberal ideas. There are problems with conservative ideas as well. When I got to college, I found it hard to explain myself as a liberal, when everyone heard and saw me questioning so many of what I said I stood for. Think of my as a Stephen Colbert of sorts (though no where near as funny); I act conservative out of parody.

I managed to find a good quote from Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at University of Chicago about what it means to be a liberal.

1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others. This is at the very heart of liberalism. Liberals understand, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed, that “time has upset many fighting faiths.” Liberals are skeptical of censorship and celebrate free and open debate.

2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support the civil rights movement, affirmative action, the Equal Rights Amendment and the rights of gays and lesbians. (Note that a conflict between propositions 1 and 2 leads to divisions among liberals on issues like pornography and hate speech.)

3. Liberals believe individuals have a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion expansion of the franchise; the elimination of obstacles to voting; “one person, one vote;” limits on partisan gerrymandering; campaign-finance reform; and a more vibrant freedom of speech. They believe, with Justice Louis Brandeis, that “the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.”

4. Liberals believe “we the people” are the governors and not the subjects of government and that government must treat each person with that in mind. It is liberals who have defended and continue to defend the freedom of the press to investigate and challenge the government, the protection of individual privacy from overbearing government monitoring, and the right of individuals to reproductive freedom. (Note that libertarians, often thought of as “conservatives,” share this value with liberals.)

5. Liberals believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual. It is liberals who have championed and continue to champion the rights of racial, religious and ethnic minorities, political dissidents, persons accused of crime and the outcasts of society. It is liberals who have insisted on the right to counsel, a broad application of the right to due process of law and the principle of equal protection for all people.

6. Liberals believe government has a fundamental responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. It is liberals who have supported and continue to support government programs to improve health care, education, social security, job training and welfare for the neediest members of society. It is liberals who maintain that a national community is like a family and that government exists in part to “promote the general welfare.”

7. Liberals believe government should never act on the basis of sectarian faith. It is liberals who have opposed and continue to oppose school prayer and the teaching of creationism in public schools and who support government funding for stem-cell research, the rights of gays and lesbians and the freedom of choice for women.

8. Liberals believe courts have a special responsibility to protect individual liberties. It is principally liberal judges and justices who have preserved and continue to preserve freedom of expression, individual privacy, and freedom of religion and due process of law. (Conservative judges and justices more often wield judicial authority to protect property rights and the interests of corporations, commercial advertisers and the wealthy.)

9. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, for without such protection liberalism is impossible. This, of course, is less a tenet of liberalism than a reply to those who attack liberalism. The accusation that liberals are unwilling to protect the nation from internal and external dangers is false. Because liberals respect competing values, such as procedural fairness and individual dignity, they weigh more carefully particular exercises of government power (such as the use of secret evidence, hearsay and torture), but they are no less willing to use government authority in other forms (such as expanded police forces and international diplomacy) to protect the nation and its citizens.

10. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, without unnecessarily sacrificing constitutional values. It is liberals who have demanded and continue to demand legal protections to avoid the conviction of innocent people in the criminal justice system, reasonable restraints on government surveillance of American citizens, and fair procedures to ensure that alleged enemy combatants are in fact enemy combatants. Liberals adhere to the view expressed by Brandeis some 80 years ago: “Those who won our independence … did not exalt order at the cost of liberty.”

Since James started with what he didn’t agree with, I’m going to be more positive and say what I DO agree with.

Item one is the most essential part of being liberal. Accept nothing. Question everything. Are we really under terrorist threat? Is global warming real? Does it hurt to be eco-friendly, even if it isn’t? Is Obama a good choice? Is McCain a good choice? Should the free market prevail? Should a mixed market prevail? Is history correct? What’s the other perspective? Question. Question. Question. There is no right answer but the one you believe 100%, you don’t think something half way; or you shouldn’t. If you want to invade Iraq, be 100% committed to the cause, if you want to be environmentally friendly, then do it, discuss it, practice it. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is too soon to be discusses, joked, made fun of, honored, praised, blamed, debated, or talked about. America is, in theory, a beautiful democracy, and we were intended, nay required, to debate. If you are a liberal, don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you are a Muslim, don’t be afraid to talk about it, if you are conservative; don’t be afraid to talk about it!

In concurrence a good man once said: “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislation? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.” (Henry David Thoreau)

Second, Geffoery states the other most important aspect of being a liberal. Tolerance Acceptance. I’m going to amend him here. I can be tolerant of a cold, I can tolerate rap, and I can tolerate traffic. I need to accept and respect other people. If I meet a Republican in a dark alley, we should be able to discuss (ITEM ONE) and then AGREE TO DISAGREE. I may think A, you may think B, and we are both allowed to think what we wish. Ideally we should discuss and arrive at a median C. That’s how the system is supposed to work. Perhaps I am borrowing too much from Aristotle here, but the middle is often the best road, and I whole-heartedly believe that. Socialism isn’t the answer; Anarchy isn’t the answer, but a healthy mix of both! I think many liberals fail at this key point. Our answer isn’t always right, on that note their answer isn’t either. It’s a battle, a constant struggle to improve and advance, but people are remarkably resilient, they will get better. But no one will get ahead if everyone is beating everyone else down. I agree with competition, I don’t agree with discrimination. To be liberal, you must be open to being wrong, being right, and not knowing.

Item three goes with what I was saying above. Liberals must discuss, debate, but we must also act. Once we decide that global warming is a problem, and then we work to fix it. If blacks in the South are being wrongfully denied their right to vote, action must be taken. Everyone has a duty to express their opinions. If you have none, fine. If you are still deciding, great. If you are silent, leave. It is perhaps the most Un-American thing you can do. Do you realize the United States, while originally an escape from religious persecution, became the first federal constitutional republic? Borrowing from lessons of the past, American’s founded a country not based on a common language (though by de facto it was English), not a common ethnicity, not a common religion, but a common political belief. America exists to be political. I’ve struggled with the issue of voting. I feel that not voting is wrong. A denial of the freedoms given to you. And I would never advocate apathy in voting. However, I must respect your decision, I ask you to reconsider, but if ultimately you choose your voice to not be heard via a vote, so be it.

Question. Question. Question. Government, liberal or conservative. Obama or McCain, question everything. That’s al I’ve got to say on 4.

Liberals defend those who can’t defend themselves. This is the first item I can say really doesn’t agree with a conservative. A libertarian or conservative would say “I earned it, it’s mine,” or “They can defend themselves, they are just lazy,” or some other equivalent. They are right; sometimes. But not always, and less common than they’d like. The funny thing about some conservatives is that they had a poor background, and feel that if they can make it, so can everyone else. Well, I have a very sad truth for everyone. The American Dream is a lie. I can’t be a NBA basketball player, I can’t be an artist. The idea of the dream IS true, work hard, believe in yourself, and you can achieve your full potential, that society will let you achieve… A single mother who can work through college, and have 2 kids, and work 18 hours a week, works harder than any person I will ever know, and I respect you more than any CEO. But not everyone can do this. Luck, medical problems, money, assistance, location, color, and many other factors play into it, and many arise from social inequalities. A single mother who is still working 18 hour days, with one kid, may never be able to make more than $30,000, and will struggle until their death. They are working harder than you or I ever will (and I am going into Law). We (liberals) need to speak for this woman who can’t speak for herself. Society tells her she is worthless because she doesn’t own a BMW, have 2.3 kids, and doesn’t live on a street named after a tree. We tell gays they are worthless because they can’t have ‘families’ as we define them. We tell blacks that because they are darker, that they are worthless. All of this is simply untrue. So I am declaring right now, right here: No one is worthless, no one is better than anyone else, as a person. Bob may be a better CEO than Janet who is a better painter than Nick who is an asshole, but a better accountant than John. But as people, as fucking human beings, they are all the same. That is what liberals mean when they say we are equal.

Government isn’t the end-all-be-all answer. Socialized Medicine? Maybe, I am still discussing this one. But the idea, and the promotion behind it, cannot exist outside of a mutual care. John Locke believed we enter into government via a social contract, sacrificing some liberty to protect our rights. The debate is where the line should be drawn. A wise friend said to me: “The best way to determine whether or not anyone knows what they are talking about in relation to politics is to ask them this: What do you think the role and function of government is?” Tie, you are a genius. I will answer this.

The role and function of government is to promote the general protection of the entire group’s rights, and to promote the advancement of society as a whole.

In my world, this is what government is for. This is where welfare, social security, unions, labor rights, abortion rights, civil liberties, and everything else comes into play. The FDA (though in need of reform) protects the food I eat, and I know that chicken is chicken, period. There is no ‘snake oil’ unless I want snake oil. Unemployment can help me while I look for a new job (and everyone I know has never ‘cheated’ this system, and genuinely used it to live while they ACTIVLY searched for work). The list goes on. I do not want the government to pick my job for me, or force anything on me, but I know that if I stumble, I can have some help getting back on my feet, so I can walk again.

When everyone walks, everyone wins. It’s that simple. You may disagree, but a class that has all 3.5’s is better off than a class with all 1.0’s and a single 6.0 raising the average. In the first class, there is more prosperity, more happiness, more innovation, than one where the top guy may have ‘the life’ but no one else can contribute, and he ends up having to deal with their problems in the long run.

I believe in God. I have a faith, and my faith has changed over time. But in the end, I believe in, pray to, and respect God. But I also respect Allah, Yew*h, Buddha, Shiva, what have you. My God is my God, and yours is yours. Since politics involves everyone, and God is individual, keep them separate. Jesus stated (roughly) that we “take no part in the world”, or, keep religion out of politics.

The rest is pretty self-explanatory. The government, following the role I described above, should never violate (in my opinion) and of those items. If you are denying a group their rights, that’s wrong. If the courts fail to follow the legal procedures, that is wrong. If the executive doesn’t uphold the just and proper laws, that is wrong.

A few people may ask me, how can I firstly advocate disagreement and compromise, then call various things wrong? Well, in short, I don’t think the world is 100% subjective. Though I feel our perception is more-or-less subjective, and different things are different for different people, nothing can be 100% subjective. Why? If one person’s perception is that something does not exist, while another’s is that it does exist, there can be no compromise. Something can’t half-exist. This is an extreme, but it makes my point that there would be a chaotic and infinite combination of subjections. I don’t want to get into this too much, but there is a line. There’s a point where something is wrong. That is when it violates the ‘rules’ of the social contract, or the Constitution, or your religion, or whatever rules govern your life. I believe in an objective perspective of many things, and liberty/freedom/rights is one of them. It is wrong for people to needlessly suffer. Period.

James went on and on about his various beliefs, and that’s not how I role (no disrespect to him). I like to be as concise as I can, and talking about my beliefs on issues isn’t the same as what it means to be liberal. However, if you want to know what I feel on something specific, ask me. According to rule number one, I’d love to discuss it with you 🙂

…. winter distances.

It is 2:30AM, and I have just finished revising what might be the best writing I have ever done. Strangely enough this isn’t coming from a business class, a class on computers, a class on politics, or anything else one might associate me with. Rather, it is the product of a philosophy class, where I wrote a paper on Plato, and whether or not living the just life is a worth it. What did I have to say? Well, where do you think I fall on that issue?

Many of you may or may not know, I am staying in Seattle this summer. There are several reasons as to why I am doing this, some are good, some are bad. Simply put, I like Seattle, Seattle is far less dramatic than Vancouver. I have a place to stay, and friends to hang with, and a job that I enjoy. Why not stay in Seattle? To all at home: I will visit, or you can visit me. Trains are cheap, planes are reasonable, gas is absurd. Pick one, and we’ll work something out.

I find a sort of happy calm writing in the dead of night. Classes are gearing up to end, and papers are due left and right, but in this I have a chance to have a bit of fun in my education, and a bit a creativity. Tests and quizzes, lectures and readings, these don’t allow for any sort of expression, beyond a certain limit. Papers, essays, drafts, revisions, these all allow me to say what I think, right or wrong, and have it evaluated, considered, even loved, or perhaps loathed. When I enjoy a paper, when I take pride in my production (suck it Marx), I remember why I am putting myself in debt for college.

As for the year as a whole, I will have to give it a B-. There is nothing about the year that I hated, and nothing to complain about, but even though I trodded through it, enjoying the moments that presented themselves, there were instances of failure, and the average fell. Classes have been amazing so far. Before I sign up for classes, I ask around, I google, and I RateMyProfessor every possible class I might take. Nothing could make my money (or rather my parents money) more wastefully spent then a poor professor. English is a subject I have always had a love-hate relationship with. Some years she treated me well, and I her. Others she was full of spite. English 120 was and will forever be the last course I will take in that subject. I am glad it ended the way it did. The affair will be remembered mostly as a sweet fling, and I will always wonder where that woman (the English class) is, and how she is doing. This is thanks to my wonderful professor Tara Der-Ye……. I’ll look up the proper spelling later. Again, I entered into a class with a subject I had long held reservations on: Biology. This is a science that I, despite my previous aspirations of dino-digging glory. My professor made that class worthwhile, interesting, and was a good guy. Thanks Jack Vincent! Music History started well, middle-ed full of fear, and ended well. Thanks Quinton Morris, you made the class interesting, if not challenging. History, same story (Lizabeth Johnson). Math, math is an interesting story. Davis Doherty, you are responsible for making me remember everything, and doing it well. Dr. Alex Barchachat (That’s probably not spelled correctly), you are an interesting case. You are the only professor I took on with a negative rating about you. I’d have to say that I have no idea what anyone was talking about, you are a great professor, if not a little quirky:) You can present math in such a way, that anyone will get it, and your accent only makes everything better, and slightly hilarious. Thanks! I can continue to rant, but I think the point is clear, I came to SU because I wanted to know my professors, or at least have the opportunity to do so. I believe that SU has provided that to me. Thank you.

Life in Seattle is everything one would dream it to be. Fun, expensive, eccentric, crazy, progressive, caffeinated, and wet. I love Seattle, the quirks, the buildings, the attitude, everything. That is partially why I am staying. I have made friends here that I can count on, talk to, and have fun with. At the same time we can discuss politics, philosophy, economics, GTA, women, cars, computers, coffee, and even corn sex. That is friendship, and I do expect us to visit somehow this summer. What more can I ask Seattle provide? Seattle did provide me, briefly, with one girl. One interest. One little spark. I was thankful, and took note. In the end, it didn’t quite work out. It’s a shame in some ways; you never get tired of that nervous feeling that you get. The anxiousness that overcomes the way you talk and act, and that no matter how well you may speak, or how clam and adjusted you act, you lose to it, and act like a fool. Butterflies some call it, knots in the stomach, anxiety, nervousness, whatever name it goes by; of it I never tire. To feel like there is something about that person to learn, a mystery to solve, is something underrated. When you walk away from a person smiling, and into a room of others, who notice you smiling; that is when you had a good day. That is a crush. Even though it changed into a friendship, thanks, I think it best you exist in ambiguity, but you deserve some credit; it is always good to be reminded of how a crush feels, and to make a new friend.

Can she (Seattle) provide a better life than current? She could pay better, but salaries go up, wages inflate, and people get promoted. Life goes on. I will be working part-time in Network Services, part time at the Help Desk. If you asked me at the right time in my life, I might say that this is my dream job; working on networking issues, messing with routers, learning subnets, using VLANs, filtering MACs. Now, it is just a hobby, but one for which I will get paid, no complaining there :).

I have written a lot, and killed 30 minutes of sleep I had planned on taking, but my poor blog had been neglected far too long. Good Night!

SNAKES!,HUSKIES!,INSANE!

April 13, 2008

#! /usr/bin/env python
# filename : blog.py

# Introduce variables
def time(x): None
def content(x): ‘Tons’ * int(x)
def work(x): x * wage;return x;
def updates(blog):

x = time(12)
y = content(5)
z = work(18)

Alright, jokes aside, the above summarizes my lack of regular content. I’ve been working the same amount as last quarter (about 18 hours), taking some classes that require a bit more reading than before, and generally being busy. Not to complain, all these things are good things, thus far, and my last quarter of Freshman (Sophomore.33 if you’re being technical), year looks like it will continue to be enjoyable.

As is pretty obvious with the above statement, I am working on learning python. I figured that it would be a good language to start with, being one that exists and runs on every platform known to man, is free, and is supposed to be simple, clean, and efficient, a notion I rather enjoy 🙂 . I’m not super-master-programmer at the moment, but whatever, I’ll go as I please and have fun with it. I’ll move onto PHP and MySQL (JUST THE BASICS), and maybe play around with getting my website back up and running to do something useful; what I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.

Life itself has been an interesting ride lately. My family, though I love ’em, is one of the most dysfunctional, insane families around, and everything that happens is dramatic somewhere down the line. I do, however, have YANON (Yet Another Niece or Nephew; That’s the last computer joke, I promise), Shel(l)by. That makes me an uncle the (somewhere around) 14th time over! Hoorah! Celebration! I haven’t seen the baby yet, but Seattle University doesn’t seem to want to let anyone have any breaks during Spring Quarter; I’ll get to you when I can sis! The social has been going well; I’ve seen James more in the past few weeks than I have in a while. I probably have a roommate for next year too! Provided he doesn’t transfer (Read: Defect) to UW. Matt is cool, and he hates his current roommate; that of which I resemble very little, so all should be good. No women these days, but oh well.

Academically life isn’t bad. My Philosophy class is taught by Dr. Van Hollebeke, who does an excellent job of lecturing, discussing, and otherwise teaching a (what could be boring) topic early in the morning; I’ve yet to come close to falling asleep, rare in a class at 10AM. Business Calc (Don’t judge, math isn’t my thing), is going pretty well so far, I have Dr. Alex, same as last quarter. Although people say his tests are killer, I enjoy him, and think he is an excellent math professor. Sociology might be more interesting than I had expected, the professor knows what she is talking about, and has a sense of humor; more than welcome in a 2-hour class.

I moderated the World Trade Organization for WASMUN ’08 Friday and today. My Chair Alex, was awesome, and very fun to work with. Our secretary Aledia was also very fun to work with, it’s too bad she had to leave us half-way through Saturday. Overall I’d say Alex chaired the committee very well, and the three of us (all being econ majors) had a good time. I’ll staff for WASMUN next year as well, and I will try to continue to be active in the SUMUN program here.

With THAT being said, Chicago was awesome! The city was amazing, the people were amazing, the team was amazing, and the actual ChoMUN committee and conference was amazing. Being a Grand Duke of Russia was simply beautiful! The wars we caused, avoided, and instigated were more than enough to quench my thrist for Pre-WWI wars and colonial influence! I will rule the world someday :P, even if it IS only via a MUN function.

I’m going to sign out now, but before doing so, I will recommend that everyone take an hour to go outside and enjoy it. Even if it is raining, it’s still good to get out 🙂

Goodbye, World! (For tonight)

Dedication

February 28, 2008

I’ve decided to be a better geek. This means I need to focus my energies one at at time.

This month I will be doing coding.

Next month I will work on a Mag Stripe reader.

Etc. Etc.

PYTHON!

February 27, 2008

I am teaching myself python. I’ve gone too long without knowing a proper language (QBASIC doesn’t count), so I am learning python. Thanks to all the free documentation out there, and, here is my first program that does something:

# filename : area.py
def areasq(l, h):
global sqarea
sqarea = l * h
def areatri(l, h):
global triarea
triarea = .5 * l * h
while True:
shape = raw_input(‘Hello, what shape you do want to know the dimensions for?’)
if shape == ‘triangle’:
print ‘Oh, that’s nice’
l = int(raw_input(‘What is the length?’))
h = int(raw_input(‘What is the height?’))
areatri(l, h)
print triarea
elif shape == ‘square’:
print ‘Oh, that’s nice’
l = int(raw_input(‘What is the length?’))
h = int(raw_input(‘What is the height?’))
areasq(l, h)
print sqarea
print ‘I am sorry, that is not a shape that I am familar with.’
else:
break

I was trying to use a while, if, break, and def statements, and I think I did alright. I’m sure the code could be cleaner, maybe by putting the input section into a function, but it works! I’ll keep the internet updated, if anyone wants to follow the process of a geek learning code 🙂

A long time coming…

February 18, 2008

We all make promises we can’t keep. New Years Resolutions in vain, and Lenten pledges that we break on Sunday, Tuesday evenings, and whenever most convenient. I said I would update twice a week, and then life got busy. Once you miss one update, it gets worse from there. I haven’t been entirely dead, I have a few drafts that I started but didn’t feel that they warranted a full post. Regardless, I apologize…

Winter Quarter is better than Fall Quarter. I gave an overview of classes already. Music History is officially insane, but still cool. Math is going well, and Bio isn’t half bad. Grade-wise I feel even better about my classes, and next quarter I will finally be able to remove Philosophy and Math 130 from my evil schedule, hopefully. THEN, I will be nearly done with University core, and move onto Business core. Yay, right?!

Valentine’s Day came and went as it usually did. Nothing spectacular. I put something that (I thought) was cute together. I suppose she liked it, so that’s good. Other than that, it was just a day. I spent it aloneish wandering around, hanging with various people between their dinners, and grabbing some coffee. I will avoid the standard women rant, this time around.

This weekend, 3 days of awesome, was the weekend of OSUMUN. SUMUN attended, so be default, so did I. I represented Libya in the Security Council, and was the ‘Voice of Africa’. We eventually moved on to a topic of insane proportions, as I put in one of my speeches, the world was blowing on the embers of World War III. I wanted a war, and I got one 😛 . Libya also took the most Pro-Western stance it has ever taken. I didn’t win any awards this time ’round, but those who did deserved it, and frankly, it was the most fun I’ve had on SC. I think my AU experience may have been better, but it is close.

I will draw this to a close. My social life, minus women, is going well, academics are fine, and my car still works. Nothing to complian about! XOXO World!

Once, when I was young…

January 11, 2008

Many many moons ago, I would sleep with the covers over my head. Always. I can’t explain why, but I felt safe, and I could not sleep without the feeling of something over my head. I can only sleep with my hear outside the covers if I’m with someone else. Not in the same bed, but the same room, tough I don’t mind same bed either.

Isn’t it funny how, no matter how old we get, or how much we change, that there are still things about ourselves that are a part of us. T’aint it funny that, I, 228 moons old still need to have a blanket/pillow over my head? Oh well. So it goes.

So it goes…. So it goes….. That’s a wonderful phrase. And the first to know where it comes from, wins a prize. Maybe. But yes, so life goes. Classes are well I am currently (not) reading for Bio, so I can be semi-prepared for class tomorrow. My roommate just came in too. I plan on going to sleep before 3:00 this time, napping before math tomorrow, and then napping after work, doing some HW early, and making Sunday the lazies day ever. Good plan no?

Classes are good, after a week at least. Pro and Con list following:

  • Biology
    • Class is only 50 minutes
    • My only class on Thursday
    • Prof is funny
    • Not too much reading
  • Math
    • Prof is hilarious
    • Class isn’t too long
    • all girls (mostly)
  • Music History
    • Crazy Prof
    • Hilarious Prof
    • Cool subject
    • Free symphony tickets

I must win at class-picking or something. Work is also good. Changed my hours to be less crazy-long, but I work all but Wednesday now. Oh well, trade off. Money is always good, ya know what I’m sayin’?

I need to beat Cult of Personality. Or else. Must. Win. Guitar. Hero. I.I.I ! I will ONLY beat this game on expert, and nothing else. I promise.

Good night for now.