On my skewed perspective on politics
I came of age during some of the most colossal inflation and highest interest rates that there ever, ever was. During my early dating years gasoline was a $1.50, back when $1.50 was real money. My first car got 7 miles to the gallon. I biked to see my gf 24 miles away. It was uphill. Both ways. I spent more time on top of my bike than on top of her, but she was worth it.
Interest rates went well above 20% - and I'm not talking about credit card rates - I'm talking about mortgages.
When I was 16 the price of Ring Dings went from 25 cents to 40 cents from one winter to the next. My wages went from $3.35 an hour to $3.45. Despite my blather about the Ring Ding Index to my boss, he refused to use this more accurate inflation measure for my age, and didn't bump my pay up to 5 bucks an hour. Result: I switched to drinking the free soda instead, and spent the next year depressed due to chocolate deprivation.
I grew to distrust the inflation measure. It seems to get perversely redesigned every couple years to not measure the things that cost me the most money. It didn't cover ring-dings in the 80s and it sure as hell didn't factor in the explosion of housing costs in the 90s. It really bothers me that the algorithm and the raw data for the inflation calculation are not published by the government.
Kids learn by example. When, the government started taking social security out of the wages of 14 year olds, despite the impossibility of them ever collecting a single dime back, they grew up understanding the primacy of theft and retaliated by copying music files around.
I dropped out of politics in the late 80s and 90s. That's because I was doing something constructive to make society better. I went into engineering, and worked on BBS's, Unix and the Internet. I had hoped if I could add multiple voices, in multiple languages, to the global conversation, the friction between peoples would get less destructive, and more creative.
What happened? Instead of building on a solid backbone like irc for chat - mega-millions were spent on two chat systems that didn't interoperate. People spend a lot of time talking to other people of similar views on slashdot.org. Bloggers read each other and not usenet news, usenet news users don't read blogs, AOLers only talk to other AOLers, almost nobody uses language translation services like babelfish to make friends overseas - and few in the print or broadcast media have crossed over to the Net - and very few on the Net have crossed over into print...
Yet, to be fair, I believe that the level of creative friction between cultures has increased over the past decade, and I'm glad of that.
In all that creative friction, I'd hoped that somebody smarter than I am would come up with THE answer to life, the Universe, and Everything. Ha. Fat Chance. They'd all rather play doom or solitaire. So now, damn it, I have to figure it out for myself.
So I wrote down some of my thinking below. It starts a little slow, but I hope you're roaring at what I think about Sex in Politics
The one thing I hope that's common across all cultures is the ability to laugh. I don't know who said it - but "Man is the animal that Laughs".
On Sex in Politics...
I'm for it!
It would be a far better world if more politicians spent more time pounding the flesh rather than pressing it. Every minute Clinton spent banging Monica Lewinski he wasn't screwing the rest of us or the world. Every time she knelt before that mighty cigar - she was a heroine.
Because - unlike most Americans - She could take everything a politician could put out - and swallow it!
Result - the greatest economic expansion ever - a massive decline in the murder rate - the biggest corporate party that anyone has ever attended - and something close to world peace was achieved.
Monica Lewinski deserves a frigging medal for all that.
After she stopped seeing the president, this country started going to hell.
I think Bush invaded Iraq because he's not getting laid enough. Maybe if we all faxed him the 5 messages a day we all get on expanding the size of our penis and on getting off-shore viagra - he'd get laid more often, or he'd get spam banned - any way that goes down, we all win. Let's try it and find out.
I hope that somewhere buried in the Bible Belt is a babe that believes that blow jobs are the path to bliss. Because I'm not looking forward to another five years of the Bush administration if the guy stays this tense and gets re-elected. I'm not looking forward to the next couple years with any kind of administration if I stay this tense, either.
On the multi-party system
My favorite sort of congress? A bitterly divided one. We had that through most of the 90s. I liked it.
I admire Europe for a multi-party system that extends all the way up into government itself. It strikes me as pointless to have a multi-party system that can't get into power, form coalitions, and make their own hash of things. It blew my mind that greens and libertarians haven't tried to team up in this country. Then I became I libertarian leaning green and understood that the medium is the massage.
We could use a few more rock stars
, professional wrestlers, doctors
in government. It would make C-Span a hell of a lot more interesting than MTV. Maybe MTV would become more like C-SPAN. I'd like that. Every time there's a close up of a particularly tricky guitar or piano part the trigger happy boys in the back room with Premier cut to something else.
MTV - never, ever, gets through two bars of one song focused on one guy. Why is that? Are they afraid that some starving musician like myself might learn something? But I digress. I was talking about Sex in politics.
I flirted with Libertarianism in my youth. I followed Ron Paul's 80s campaign closely, even attended a few rallies.
I remember: Ron Paul, in Philadelphia, having an argument about private coinage with a crank. In 1992 I still thought private coinage was impossible, but I bought into John Perry Barlow's Wine without Bottles. By 1994 I thought microtransactions would make it possible for the little guy to make money with their own printing press. I strongly supported cryptography (it was a felony then) while dismissing the Clipper Chip. By 1999 I thought cynically that we'd all be able to say what we wanted if we all sold advertising to each other. In 2000 PayPal came along. And holy cow, we suddenly had a private currency that actually worked.
Then they got bought by ebay. I think: the government should buy ebay rather than institute a VAT tax.
And still I can't get anyone to pay me a penny for my thoughts. Anybody want some beta eCash, cheap?
Ron Paul's back to being a republican now. It's really great to know that after flirting with multiple parties you can just join the one that gets you elected. It gives me hope for my own political ambitions.
I loved the Libertarian party platform in the 80s. Why? It was 13 pages long
. You could spend an early evening discussing all the principles in it, then (theoretically) kiss the bitch and take her to bed.
All the hookers hover around political conventions of the main political parties because all the people there of both sexes are too busy discussing fine points on page 2008 of the platform to work off any steam any other way with each other. This must be true. Hunter S Thompson told me. I could never afford to pay for sex. So I pursued parties with smaller platforms.
By 1990 or so I was saying that the Libertarians were pulling in the right direction. I believe in self determination and limited government - and corporate - intrusion into our lives. But I'd realized that despite my empathy for John Galt, if Ayn Rand had had kids Objectivism would have been still-born.
There's a lot to libertarianism I like, but I'm not a libertarian any more. Why? Well...actually, I didn't get laid the whole time I flirted with libertarianism - and that's why I'm not one now. I didn't learn until later in life that you could pound through the party platform before bedtime and resolve the rest of your differences horizontally. I learned that from a Republican.
On the Green party
I didn't pay attention to politics in the 90s - I was too busy working. By the late 90s I was actually getting laid regularly - and I didn't notice that Clinton wasn't until it was too late.
I did become a green for the 2000 election. Why? The Gore-bot looked like a borg. While touted as being technically literate, we were on opposite sides of nearly every technical issue, from the Clipper Chip to who actually invented the internet.
It was easy to be a green then - all I had to do was look out my window at the sea of smog that covered the Silicon Valley. Most days in the summer I could see Mt. Diablo - 60 miles away - and nothing but a black miasma in-between. I telecommuted as often as possible, but still I had to descend into that sea far too often for my sense of taste. And smell.
Nader lost - and it turned out that the Republicans had a quick answer to the smog problem - crash the economy, force everyone here on a H1B visa to leave, and raise the unemployment rate to 9%.
That cleaned out the highways and the air but good
. A brilliant move. I have to tip my hat to the Republicans, I never would have thought of cleaning up the environment that way.
I'm not a green anymore. Suggesting that market forces be used to save the redwoods didn't go over with the girls at parties.
What party do I belong to?
I'm a member of the opposition party. I am compelled to root for the underdog.
Why? I grew up near Philadelphia. Years and years of watching the Phillies almost
make it to the world series and being exasperated by the Eagles finding some totally unique way to screw up before reaching the Superbowl - really, really warps a guy. I've seen all the Rocky movies. I weep every time someone crys out "Adrian! Adrian! Adrian!". If I'd grown up near some town that actually had a multi-year winning streak, like Dallas, my outlook would be very different.
Most republicans give me the heebie-jeebies, but I did sleep with one for a year. I learned a lot. Lesson 1: Republicans have the most interesting sex fantasies. Lesson 2: My sex fantasies are a little more normal.
Democrats like Edward Kennedy give me the heebie-jeebies. I don't want to think about what kind of sex fantasies he has.
I liked Ron Paul, but I couldn't vote for him. I was too young. As I said earlier, I flirted with libertarianism, but never really consumated the relationship. Ron Paul got in bed with it, rode it all the way to dismal failure in the election, and then went back to being a republican. That's how twisted a republican sex fantasy can be - "Honey - I dreamed I was a libertarian - and I was so baaaaaad"...
Most recently, I voted for Nader, with some reservations. Reservation number 1: I like to live dangerously, and he took Covairs off the market. I always wanted to have sex in the back seat of a Corvair, or in a Gremlin with a full gas tank.
I used to be proud, fiercely proud, that not one candidate I've ever voted for has ever achieved political office. Lately I've thought this was my curse, my own personal superpower, that anyone I voted for automatically wouldn't get elected. I've thought about becoming a republican this coming election for precisely that reason.
I couldn't do it. I don't believe in superpowers. Curses yes, superpowers no.
This year, I registered Democrat. I've tried not voting - it didn't work. I've voted for third parties - it didn't work.
The only thing I haven't tried is voting in the primary against the party in power - and I'm pissed off at Mike Honda for not answering any of my emails. The guy has done nothing more for the technology district than smile and wave for the cameras. So far as I know he has never addressed any of the issues that concern technologists - but he better speak up this time - we'll be blogging....
If I still believed in bumper stickers I'd paste over the Saturn
brand on my car with:
I'm stone crazy - and I vote
If the Democrats actually win the next election I don't know how I will live with myself. It means I'd be partially responsible for whatever happens next.
Am I left wing or right wing?
I reject the Left/Right distinction. About 10 years ago I thought the Pournelle Political Axes
is a much better description of where most people stand politically. It looks like this
In recent months I've come to understand something Douglas Adams once said. Paraphrased: "As soon as you describe the true nature of the universe to enough people, it changes. Perversely." I try to draw myself on that graph now and it looks like shotgun pellets hit it.
I live in a county that leans so far to the left that standing upright takes effort. I'm to the right of so many people here that I forget that places like Indiana exist, where I would be flayed alive just for my pigtail.
I argue with people a lot, but I'm not sure what I really believe in. It's my father's fault. He's a lawyer. I learned late in life that the only thing he really believed in was a good argument. I enjoy a good argument. I go to parties and pick a side opposite the prettiest girl in the room just to watch every other wussy new-age male rise to defend her. I try to persuade her over to my side by sheer eloquence and and rigorous logic, and go home by myself every time.
I end up arguing about nuclear power with people that believe in Chakras and past lives.
What do I really believe?
I believe: that honesty is the best policy. Currently I'm honest to a fault. I told the DMV that I was having trouble sleeping - and now they want me to fill out 20 pages of forms explaining why I should still be allowed to drive.
I believe: That if I formed a church, ultimately I'd have to form a splinter sect.
I believe: That I have something to say. I don't know what it is until after I write it down and inflict it on others.
I believe: That I have millionth monkey syndrome - it's the biggest and most mis-diagnosed disease of this century, a lot of people have it, and the only cure is to rant, rail, howl at the moon, and blog