Sunday, March 28, 2004

Ten-Plus Commandments of Liberalism, er, Progressivism

I. Free speech is for everyone but those whose views I don't like.

II. There should be no restraints on personal behavior, except for smoking. (Corollary: People should be forced to save energy, but you can't take away my SUV.)

III. Death to tyrants, unless they tyrannize in the Middle East or Cuba.

IV. Terrorism is bad, defending against terrorism is worse. Someone might get hurt.

V. Corporations and profits are bad, but I love the things I can buy because corporations are motivated to make profits. (Corollary: Let's stop "exporting" jobs, but let's keep importing Guccis and Manolo Blahnicks.)

VI. Health care in the U.S. is terrible, but I can't name another country where it's better.

VII. People shouldn't be forced to act against their own interests, but they should be forced to make bad investments, like participating in Social Security and Medicare.

VIII. The U.S. stinks, that's why so many people freely choose to move here. (Corollary: And that's why I live here even though I said I'd leave the country if Bush were elected.)

IX. Sexual harassment and lying under oath are bad, except when the lying harasser is a Democrat president. (Corollary: Jefferson was bad because he owned slaves and was therefore a hypocrite about freedom; Clinton wasn't bad even though he was a hypocrite about seeing to the faithful execution of the laws.)

X. War is bad, although I have nothing against the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War II. (Corollary: Iraq is just like Vietnam, except that we won the war, deposed the tyrant, and are rebuilding the vanquished nation -- having lost 99% fewer American lives in the process.)

XI. Libertarians and conservatives are mean-spirited because, unlike me, they don't want to use the coercive power of the state to subsidize my favorite social programs. (General rule: Recourse to the coercive power of the state is good when it's for "progressive" values, bad when it's for conservative values.)

XII. It's wrong to tell people how to live their lives, but urban sprawl is so ugly that we really ought to make people live closer to urban centers (where they can afford one one-fourth as much housing). (Corollary: See Commandment II.)

XIII. Christian conservatives want to impose their values on the rest of us. (Ha. Unlike fascists, communists, socialists, and "progressives.")

XIV. Capital punishment is bad; abortion is good. (Conservative version: Capital punishment is good; abortion is bad.)

XV. Taxes are the price we pay for (my "progressive" version of) civilization.