There's been a decent amount of introductions around here lately, and it's made me realize that I never actually said much about myself in my first post here. The first thing I notice when reading it is that I was wrong; the link to Brittany Turner's column still exists. The second thing I notice is that the column, in retrospect, looks like the first step towards Brittany's ill-fated run for Town Council, the one that led to any number of accusations that she "stole the election" from one of the candidates by allowing the other one to win.
But I digress - this isn't about Brittany. Or the stomach-lurching world of political intrigue, either.
So in the interest of people understanding a bit about what makes each gadfly here tick, here's a little bit about what makes this gadfly tick.
To put me in the pigeonhole which is all anyone really cares about, I consider myself a geocon. I like the idea behind the term crunchy con, but honestly it reduces the philosophy to a sound bite that sounds like a criminal snack. I'm conservative in that I recognize the value in conserving things that can't easily be replaced, like non-human life, real human love, and the money we all work hard to earn.
In New Paltz this generally allies me with environmentalists and puts me at odds with social liberals, because I make it my priority to speak for those without a voice (like trees, animals, and children) and figure the rest (of humanity) gets more help than it deserves from our government. I'm more than happy to spend tax dollars on programs to help these disadvantaged groups.
There are social institutions which have no value and should not be conserved, like any that are clearly making life harder for a section of the population for no good reason (by enslaving them, denying them the right to vote or marry, or some other clear violation of good sense). Outside of such glaring cases, I believe that human beings have the right to make choices to govern their lives, even if their choices are poor.
Of late I've been interested in how authority works in our community, be it the many police departments, the school district, or the various bodies writing laws that are intended to alter our behavior in one way or another. Unlike environmental issues and political discourse, it's an area that fails to get much attention.
My rules of engagement are to be civil even when exposed to a viewpoint I find offensive, to keep an open mind to the probability that I'm wrong, and to learn from it when I am.