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Old 06-22-2004, 02:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Any deeply conservative atheists around?

I'm interested in the correlation between religion and political preferences. Being an atheist myself, I've been described as very liberal. It makes me wonder if an atheist whose morals and self-restrictions stem from one's own perception of what is right and wrong could see things from a conservative point of view.

What are your thoughts on gay marriage, abortion, gun control, prostitution, marijuana, other drugs, euthanasia? Are you against all of them? What are your reasons for such opinions?
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Old 06-22-2004, 03:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm an atheist. While I consider myself a libertarian, on the liberal/conservative spectrum I'm definitely more toward the right.

Gay marriage - For. It's fine for churches and other private organizations to oppose it, but it's none of the government's damn business.

Abortion - Morally against it in general, but it does have legitimate reasons (rape, incest, harm to the mother, etc.) and declaring what those are is none of the government's business.

Prostitution - I think it was George Carlin who said "Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal?" I agree with that.

Marijuana - I don't like the stuff, but it's pretty harmless. I don't see a reason for it to be illegal. I just wish pot smokers would say "It should be legal because I like to get high!" and not "It should be legal because hemp is a great material for..uhhh...rope and paper and stuff!" As if they give a flying fuck what rope is made out of.

Other drugs - Hmm.. Kind of divided. I like to think in black and white, "all or nothing". I don't like the idea of the gov't saying "Okay, these drugs are good and legal. But THESE ARE BAD. Consume them and it's OFF TO JAIL FOR YOU!". Also, what people put in their own body should be their own business. But then again, the idea of freely available PCP or Heroin is rather scary, too. You could say that anything that is highly addictive or makes people prone to violence should be illegal, but you could also interpret that to mean alcohol. Drugs are tricky.

Damn, that list makes me sound like a flaming liberal! But I'm economically very far right. And when it comes down to it, the government doesn't do a very good job of stopping me from smoking a joint or screwing a hooker if I so desire. But they are quite adept at stealing a third of my income to give it to people who are too lazy to provide for themselves, and that really gets under my skin. So that's why I lean toward conservative. It's closer to matching my interests.
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Old 06-22-2004, 03:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by irseg
I'm an atheist. While I consider myself a libertarian, on the liberal/conservative spectrum I'm definitely more toward the right.

Nothin' but a freakin' Pagan Hippie........good job.
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Old 06-22-2004, 04:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Are there any atheists who are SOCIALLY conservative as well as economically?
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Old 06-22-2004, 06:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't believe in any spiritual anything.
I'm deeply conservative, economically and politically.

I think there's a wrong-headed trend to politicalize the personal evident in our society. I see that as nothing but self-serving power-mongering - another form of the pervasive "me-ism" we see all around us. I do understand that political realities will move in this direction. It is divisive politics.

As far as my own views on social issues:

I oppose marriage as a concept for everyone. I'm in favor of contractual relationships between people, period.

I'm all for abortion. I don't see any good reason for having children. There's the biological imperative, of course - and that's hardly going to change based on my own personal views. I figure I'm not king of the world and so my views about this aren't very important.

I think prostitution is a problem from which nothing good issues. I accept the will of the people as decided by our representative processes on this and other social issues.

Marijuana and other illegal drugs do no one any good. I don't see a reason for sanctioning their use. I put alcohol in the same category. However, as I stated earlier, I don't have any interest in or desire to impose my views on anyone else and so I accept the will of the people as decided by our representative processes on this.

Guns are good tools. I am all for them and all for their responsible regulated use. Euthanasia - people have a responsibility over their life and their death. Suicide is a human right, IMO.

In general, I think our society and most human societies are swamps of vapid nonsense. I suppose that's because we are shallow and easily manipulated. I figure it's things like organized political power, law enforcement, and strong militaries that move history along in some progressive way. Individual human beings, for the most part, have no insight or interest other than self-interest.

I'm impressed we do as well as we do. I think it's the forces of repression within us and in our social organizations that keep us from descending into personal insanity and thieving, murderous anarchy.
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Polling data shows a correlation between party identification and regular church attendance. This suggests that pure belief is less important than the social and practice aspects of religion.

===

1. We ought to define conservatism before we get too much farther into it. Hal has asked about social conservatism, and I think we all sort of know what that means. Wikipedia defines it briefly like this:

Quote:
Social conservatism is a belief in traditional morality and social mores and the desire to preserve these in present day society. While its opponents argue that such beliefs are outdated in the face of cultural change, the proponents of social conservatism argue that "modern" values are vapid and corrupt.
Sure, it's vague, but it works.

2. Why is atheism thought to be incompatible with conservatism, particularly social conservatism? I think of social conservatism as a religious phenomenon. Strong social conservatism is grounded in the acceptance of certain moral absolutes that atheism tends to inherently reject. It's hard to believe that sodomy is universally wrong without some kind of argument from design or intentionality. "God intended it to be..." or "the world is designed that way." Atheists don't believe the world was created with a plan or a intent (they don't believe the world was created at all!) So, although atheists might have firm beliefs about social issues, they tend to regard them as arbitrary, and not necessarily universally applicable.

3. Libertarianism is a wild card, as it tends to either be socially liberal by ideology, or to be de facto socially liberal on a number of issues by rejecting a government role in their regulation. I have a libertarian friend who's a strong social conservative, but who would agree with many social liberals about the government's role in regulating certain behaviors and practices.

4. A socially conservative atheist would have to find secular justifications for their beliefs. I might say that an ideal society would limit freedom of speech when it might damage children or families. I might say that gay marriage ought to be discouraged because it undermines society (or whatever).

5. I would be interested to meet a socially conservative atheist, just to see how they came by their beliefs. It would be relatively easy to imagine one who converted away from religion, but retained conservative social views about family and such. Much more interesting would be an atheist like myself who never claimed a religion, yet was socially conservative.
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scipio


5. I would be interested to meet a socially conservative atheist, just to see how they came by their beliefs. It would be relatively easy to imagine one who converted away from religion, but retained conservative social views about family and such. Much more interesting would be an atheist like myself who never claimed a religion, yet was socially conservative.
Hmm I'm with you on that one - I'd like to find out someone truly like that. I've found a lot that are close but as you've stated, were converted or what not.
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Old 06-23-2004, 01:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Not what you're looking for, but it does relate to your search for a correlation between religion and social politics - I'm Catholic and relatively socially liberal. It's pretty safe to call me a libertarian, however I shy away from claiming a title for myself to avoid presuppositions regarding my beliefs on any subject.

From your list of issues, the only which I would define myself "conservative" regarding are abortion and heavier drugs. And I'm even borderline regarding heavier drugs - I'm more "not sure" than anything else. As it was pointed out earlier, that's a tricky subject. But I'm for gay marriage, for legalized and regulated prostitution and marijuana, for heavier gun control (it should be hard to get a gun, however guns should not be unavailable), and I see no reason why a person in suffering can't choose to end their own life. I may not agree with it, but it's their life, not mine. Thinking out loud, perhaps it would be good to have some sort of psych evaluation for people who wish to do so to make sure they're in full mental health, just like is done for any other life altering procedure such as a sex change.

Most importantly, while some people would disagree, I don't think my opinions on these issues go against any official views of the Catholic Church. Even the decree against birth control was specifically stated as being reversable and not final, hence believing otherwise is not "un-Catholic," only a different interpretation of what it means.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is, if there were a strong correlation between religion and political belief such as I think you're implying, I would be very unusual. As it is, I know many Catholics who feel relatively similar to how I do. Believing in someone's right to do something is completely seperate from thinking it's a good idea to do it.

I will certainly concede however that there is most certainly a correlation between FUNDAMENTALIST religions and political belief. Sorry if I offend anyone, but you don't have to be an atheist to recognize fundamentalists - of all religions - are fucked up.
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Old 06-23-2004, 05:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm a pretty liberal atheist, but there are certain things i do frown upon, such as favouring creationism over darwanism (to use a generalisation for evolution), religious schools e.t.c. While i am perfectly content with religion in society, it's a valuble part of it afterall, i just feel that teaching kids religion and only religion as the stem of their upbringing will leave them somewhat out of touch in a world that is increasing moving away from relgious icons and fundaments in modern society.

But, as for the original questions:

Gay Marriage - go for it, i've got a few gay friends, i don't see anything wrong with it.

Abortion - no problems with it, i have a close friend who had to have an abortion. The baby would have destroyed her life, and it's own because she would have been unable to properly care for it at her age. I don't think it's fair to force mothers to carry the baby to full term if they don't want to, because invariably both mother and child will suffer as a consiquence.

Gun Control - i'm very anti-guns, i feel they have no place in society except in the hands of law enforcment and properly authorised personell. You give a weapon that has that much power to anyone who isn't properly supervised, and the potential for abuse is huge. After seeing the dumblane massacres and other similar incidents here in Britain, i'm glad guns were banned. I would prefer not to live in a country such as america were guns are freely available, i just don't feel safe.

Prostitution - a grey area for me, i'm not for it, i'm not against it, just slightly in the middle.

Cannabis - legalise and legislate, put the same controls on it as you would alcohol and tobbaco and i have no problems.

Other drugs - as someone who has used a fair few drugs myself, i have mixed opinions on what to do with them.
Items such as cocaine and heroin i would keep illegial. The addiction potenital is still far to great. Things such as LSD, ecstacy and other psycotropics i would make legal, but still under heavy legislation. Speed is an ambigious issue, i'm not too sure on whether it should be legalised or not. I do like the stuff, but i've seen it do nasty things to people, and i'm not sure that society would have much to gain from legalisation.
Drugs such as painkillers, sedatives and other prescription drugs i would keep as that, prescription.

Euthenasia - yes, i am for this, but only for termanilly ill patients and people with severe mental problems (incurable sevre depression) who have made it clear they want to die, and have been properly analysed by SEVERAL trained mental health proffensionals and associated doctors.

As with most things in life that society frowns upon, complete legalisation is not the answer, but legislation to properly control and monitior issues is required.
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Atheist liberal myself, and stevie pretty much has the same beliefs I do.
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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art, you are an absolutely fascinating individual. based on the above manifesto, i believe that may be the highest compliment i can pay you.

and this...

Quote:
Originally posted by ARTelevision

In general, I think our society and most human societies are swamps of vapid nonsense.
... is priceless.

taken collectively, people are pigs with thumbs.
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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gibingus, thanks.

I think a further explanation of my views on this would be relevant to this thread. I know Halx is interested in the reasons behind why we think the way we do about the questions he posed.

Here it is:

My previous entry needs to be supplemented, I think. It was posted in response to a specific set of inquiries and I wanted to give my zero-level thoughts on human nature – that’s what’s behind my conclusions and not any moral or ethical beliefs. I don’t enshrine any of those. I endeavor to be realistic and pragmatic and to keep my philosophical thinking grounded in experience.

The social views inside me are not founded on any religious beliefs – because I have none. They are based on my view of human nature. The previous entry highlighted the problems I see operating in individuals that require strong internal and external repression to manage effectively. I should add that the positive aspects of human creativity, ingenuity, and our ability to subsume our childish desires in the pursuit of some greater good is laudable and evident in human history. That’s behind the progress of human history as well - but in my view, not so much as the necessary repression by self, society, government, and military power.

It’s not common for repression to be cast in a good light these days. That’s why I’m writing this. The focus is typically on how important expression – as in “free expression” or “freedom of expression” – is to our lives. Expression has its place but it is not the be all and end all of existence and especially social existence.

The be all and end all of social existence – i.e. getting along in a positive and constructive way with other people – is repression.

The mechanisms of repression within us are strong – typically stronger (fortunately) than our mechanisms of expression. Hence, I suppose, all the emphasis on expression – since we do so little of it compared to what we repress. The anarchic spirit, the Id, the unconscious, or whatever term is used to describe human egoistic and antisocial tendencies, is vast and powerful. It is only by means of repression that we manage to survive at all.

These internal mechanisms are reflected in even greater degree by our social institutions, which exist primarily as repressive formulations and influences. Without them we would be an uncivilized bunch of brutal savages and live in states of thieving murderous anarchy.

So this homage to repression is just that. I acknowledge the great need for human repression; I value it; and I observe that, in the long run, it is far more important to us than our tendency toward expressiveness.
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:21 AM   #13 (permalink)
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While I agree repression has it's uses, claiming that a fully expressive human is an animal is a misunderstanding of how animals act.

Animals are extremely repressed by their internal rules. They follow patterns way more than humans do, and dislike changes much more.

While repression is useful, expression is what makes humanity interesting and possibly immortal (as a species).

Repression is a virue like mortality is a virtue. By killing off life, it allows life to grow and change. By pruning expression, repression allows humanity to grow and change. But death is not more important to life than life is.

Halx, you are looking for an always-atheist who is not only personally socially conservative, but believes that government should regulate social conservative values onto the population. The problem might be pretty simple.

Not that long ago, hell probably today, it is a tenant of the extreme social conservatives that atheism itself is evil and should be repressed. Someone who is raised to be athiest has parents who have probably been persecuted for their beliefs or lack thereof: this probably won't lean them towards being raised socially conservative. And reconciling "I think everyone else should be regulated, except for me" when the majority of the country wants to regulate your belief system out of existance... that's some serious cognative dissonnence.
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Old 06-24-2004, 06:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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i'm digging art's take on this. what really impresses me is that he is a self-professed conservative, but he is open-minded. (although once you make up your mind, man, it's made) open-minded conservatives are a very rare breed these days. we need more of them to get past these partisan pissing matches and get around debates where, as art has contended elsewhere, serve to merely ossify the already polarized positions in play.

his stance on repression is a great contribution to the discussion. organized religion is essentially a vehicle of repression, developed as an alternative means to control behaviors in societies under absolute rule. many of them are threat based - if you don't do things our way, you're going to suffer now and in the after life.

the religious right is really a small segment, but nearly all of them vote, making them a very powerful voice in selecting candidates and shaping policy.
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yakk.. I don't follow you at all. Please explain that a little better.
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 06-28-2004, 06:21 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm a political moderate who leans slightly towards the left. I can readily see the sense and nonsense in both sides of an argument to the extent that I can play devil's advocate for positions I don't agree with for the sake of having an interesting discussion. I often challenge the other guy's statements from several different angles, some apparently ludicrous, just to find out how well he has thought his position through and to get a sense of whether the ideas are his own or whether he is simply parroting a politician, priest, or pundit.

Although I was raised in the Southern Baptist church, I do not consider myself either Christian or religious, nor do I believe that all good stems from the Judeo-Christian belief system. I may be provincial in many ways, but I have studied far too many other religions, esoteric and mystic belief systems, and psychological theories to believe that any one religion can lay exclusive claim to the core principles of ethical behavior and self-discipline. I am not an atheist because I think it presumptuous to claim that the existence of a Supreme Being has been conclusively disproven. Moreover, I have personally experienced the presence of an "other" whom the mystics and the devoutly religious call God. I am inclined to believe this is a natural psychological phenomenon rather than a supernatural one, but I'm keeping my options open pending further evidence.

Gay marriage: If they're consenting adults and they're playing house anyway, they may as well have a legally binding contract that protects the interests of both parties. Who does it really hurt?

Abortion: It's very difficult for me to think of a fetus as anything other than a human being. I suppose it's all right if the fetus hasn't gotten past the stage where it's just a clump of cells, but I find the idea of jabbing sharp objects into a semi-developed brain in order to kill the fetus barbaric.

Gun control: It seems pretty cut and dry to me that the individual citizen has the right to bear arms in order to defend himself, his family, and his property against crime and the prospect of tyrannical government.

Prostitution: In my opinion, anyone who would frequent prostitutes instead of forming an intimate relationship with another person is in dire need of counselling.

Marijuana: I smoked it for thirteen years until I simply lost interest in it one day and quit. I don't recommend it to anyone, but I don't think that its use creates any major societal problems either. For me, it falls into the category of what someone does in private is his own business.

Other drugs: I had a little problem with crystal methamphetamines for about two months a few years back and became so disgusted with myself that I ended up packing a suitcase and leaving the state on a Greyhound bus to get away from the scene. I've seen that shit turn my friends and family members into amoral, irresponsible, self-serving, freeloading idiots. Not only do I not want to see it legalized, I want to see it completely removed from the face of the earth.

Euthanasia: I believe that the individual, and only the individual, has the right to decide if he wants another person to end his life under certain circumstances.

Hopefully the foregoing was reasonably thorough, but if it wasn't and if you can't infer the rest from my posts, I enjoy playing twenty questions and will answer any you may have.
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Halx
Yakk.. I don't follow you at all. Please explain that a little better.
Apologies.

Strong Social Conservatives are, generally speaking, people who want the government to enforce a way of living and a system of ethics. There is a right way of thought, and a wrong way of thought.

Athiests have historically been part of the "wrong way of thought".

Very few people are willing to hold a belief that condemns themselves. If you are a Strong Social Conservative Athiest, you can't simply parrot the standard reasoning of the fanatics on that side, and would have to come up with your own that justifies your own beliefs while condemning other beliefs.

Those that share the majority of the Athiests beliefs (other Strong Social Conservatives) find the Athiest's own belief (in the lack of a god) one of the things that government should repress. This reduces any social support for the Athiest's beliefs.

Lastly, the Athiest would either have to be blind to the past persecution of Athiests by Strong Social Conservatives, or might suffer problems with cognative dissonence.

No clue if that is more clear. And, as with most arguements, it is more of a set of rationalizations rather than a rational conclusion.
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Old 10-09-2004, 02:47 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hehe I just found this post when I was doing a search for something else.

Quote:
What are your thoughts on gay marriage, abortion, gun control, prostitution, marijuana, other drugs, euthanasia? Are you against all of them? What are your reasons for such opinions?
Gay marriage - Don't care to much. I don't like the idea of gay couples adopting all that much, but I know there are some gay couples that would make great parents and some hetro ones that would make horrible ones. Based on the number of factors that make a good parent and all things being equal I'd put a hetro couple 'above' a gay one (and I've had gay friends agree with this idea) in terms of adoption.

Abortion - I think as a whole it cheapens the value of life, even if it helps my political ideals out by having less welfare babies born. Rape, incest, fine flush the kid, but if you are too stupid to keep your legs crossed you live with it.

Gun Control - Stupid idea, that has been proven to promote violent crime not curb it.

Prostitution - Don't care if its legal or not, I'm never going to pay for it. I don't find anything wrong with it.

Marijuana - Again I don't care if you are a pot head, but if you are a lazy pot head on welfare then I care. Smoke what you want but don't make me pay for your kids and your medical care.

Other drugs - Same thing as MJ. Do it, but when you are a half starved semi insane shell of a man, fucking starve to death on your own and stay out of my hospital.

Euthanasia - Don't care except it should NEVER EVER be a doctors choice or recommendation, it would be very easy, especially in an overcrowded crappy socialist type medical system to ‘promote’ the idea in order to save money.

Being a conservative has nothing to do with religion in my book, its about what make sense and what works with human nature. Good intentions of liberals mean nothing when it leads to more suffering and less progress. Most of the above issues are ‘non issues’ to me (except maybe gun control). They are things which should affect other people without having a huge effect on society. I’d support a government which allowed all of the above (except again gun control) if they upheld the ideas of free enterprise, self responsibility, and limited government powers over the individual.
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Old 10-09-2004, 03:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I would say I am conservative. And I would say I am an atheist.

Gay Marriage. I don't how allowing my best friend who is gay or anyone else who loves some one to get married hurts or somehow lessens the mean of my marriage to a woman

Gun Control.... Means hitting what you aim at. The only thing that matters in gun control is the 2A. The 2A is a individual right. What part of shall not be abridged do you not understand?

Drugs... Well a lot of people I grew up with are dead now due to their drug problems. But I don't think that the government should say these drugs are ok but these drugs are bad.

Prostitution... I would never pay but I don't see how it hurts me if you want to and the other party is willing.

Abortion.... Women have a choice end of story.

I guess in the end most people would say i am a libertarian. I find I have more in common with the conservatives as I cannot stand for what the liberals stand for. Like the fact that the government is there to give you what you can't get for yourself. And the whole the government is you mommy or daddy thing drives me crazy. No on has a right to tell me what to do so long as I cause no harm to other people.

Above all else I believe in the constitution.
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Old 10-09-2004, 03:22 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Gay Marriage - I don't find anything all that wrong with it. For *most people who are against
it, most of their views stem from some religious view of how men and women should be, inter-
act, what have you. There just doesn't seem to be anything wrong in the fact that if two guys
or two ladies want to get together and consumate themselves, then they should be allowed.
For the most part, marriage is just a set of vows, that ethically, you should follow.
Who decides what's ethically right, or why you should stand by those values, is an entirely
different post, and one I shall never get involved in.

Abortion - No and Yes (but more No.) I understand alot of progressive views stating that
abortion is good under certain terms, one of those being, what if it was on accident (the
shallowest arguement), it was rape (a strong case for abortion) or a few other things that
I really can't think of right now. But the truth of it is that as soon as the egg is fertalized,
and the cells inside it start to multiply, there's life there, no questions asked. And that's
where I feel wrong about ever aborting people.

Gun Control - Seems to work for the entire UK, why not try it out here?

Prostitution - I have no opinions on this.

Marijuana - Nothing good nor bad comes from this, but from a legal/illegal standpoint, it
seems better to leave it illegal. Having it legal would make prices drop dramatically and
would make it to easily accessible to people (although it's really not all that hard to get it
these days anyway.) I do think that people who are caught using it should be less severely
punished for their use of it.

Other drugs - Not legal, ever. Most are way too freakin dangerous and making them legal
will only hurt more people than keeping them legal. These people should definately be
punished for their use of it.

Euthanasia - It's a person's own choice whether they want to go or live. I'm more for it
when people are old, very sick, or other things. If you still have a life to live for, this should
not be an option.

And it seems that Art knows about hive mind theory, or just a coincedence.
People by themselves are pretty stupid, mainly because it's infinately difficult to possess
enough knowledge to make yourself a truely gifted human. I'm always for the philosophy
that if you study, well, philosophy and/or logic, you'd be able to at least seem like a much
better person, or at least wiser. I'm not very good at expressing opinions, at least in
words, or without spending two hours talking it out, one of those repressful folks Art speaks of.
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Old 10-09-2004, 03:53 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Here's what I see here: Atheists generally have the same view on social issues: If it doesn't hurt me or infringe on my personal liberties, then I am OK with it. I would generally consider this a liberal view. This is not typical of a conservative opinion at all.

The only element that would cause any of you to consider yourself conservative is your opinions on the economy and government itself.

I know it's just semantics, but I don't see how any athiest who believes in personal freedoms would align themselves with the conservatives of the media and government who would sooner deny these same freedoms.

Honestly, to me, these personal freedoms are WAY more important than my taxes.
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Old 10-09-2004, 05:32 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halx
Here's what I see here: Atheists generally have the same view on social issues: If it doesn't hurt me or infringe on my personal liberties, then I am OK with it. I would generally consider this a liberal view. This is not typical of a conservative opinion at all.

The only element that would cause any of you to consider yourself conservative is your opinions on the economy and government itself.

I know it's just semantics, but I don't see how any athiest who believes in personal freedoms would align themselves with the conservatives of the media and government who would sooner deny these same freedoms.

Honestly, to me, these personal freedoms are WAY more important than my taxes.
this is one of my central conundrums from this election cycle. The personal freedoms are so much more important to me than anything else - so far it's been impossible for me to understand how it could be otherwise for people.

and yet many socially liberals put other things first. I try to understand, but I fail.

for what it's worth, i think the 'liberal' candidate is more interested in balancing the budget - which is my biggest non social issue. It's sure a complicated election, somehow...
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:53 PM   #24 (permalink)
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There are a lot of ways to look at this about freedom.

Halx correct me if I’m wrong but I think you work in the porn industry (at least that is what I’ve gathered in various threads). Now you hear ‘conservatives’ talk about how evil porn is yadda yadda, but with a Republican house, senate, and Whitehouse has anything changed for you? Are you unable to work? Have you been arrested? Most Republicans don’t really care about this anyways, its no more a conservative ideal then Peta is a liberal one.

Or lets take it from another angle.

I have sexy maybe 3 hours a week these days. Some weeks more, some weeks less, but over all its not a great hunk of time. I work on the other hand 8-5, 5 days a week. I’m working for me, and I am working for my family. If the government takes out more of my check I am effectively not working for what is important to me in those hours it takes to earn that money. Its another form of slave labor that you owe the state no less then the Egyptians owed time to the pharos. You talk about freedom but what takes more from you, the fact that you can’t smoke pot legally or the fact that the government takes close to 50% of what you make when you work in state, income, sales, gas, property, license fees, and other taxes? It’s a lot easier to cheat with sex and drugs then it is to cheat the IRS.

Liberals think you are not responsible enough to own a gun.
Conservatives think you are not responsible enough to smoke a joint.

Liberals think the state is more important then you are.
Conservatives think the state owes you nothing.

We are really talking philosophies not issues here, and it really has nothing to do with the upcoming elections.

If John Kerry wins I’ll place a wager that when he leaves office, marijuana will still be illegal, prostitution will still be illegal, gay marriage will still be a state issue, guns will still be legal, and euthanasia will still be illegal. The reason is they are majority issues. A majority of the people don’t’ want these things to be legal or in guns case illegal, and as such he will do nothing to change this.

Most conservatives are not members of the religious right despite attempts to portray us as such. Issues like abortion and gay marriage are media blips attempting to create a situation of ‘Us vrs Them’, without getting to the heart of the arguments.
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:59 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
gibingus, thanks.

I think a further explanation of my views on this would be relevant to this thread. I know Halx is interested in the reasons behind why we think the way we do about the questions he posed.

Here it is:

My previous entry needs to be supplemented, I think. It was posted in response to a specific set of inquiries and I wanted to give my zero-level thoughts on human nature – that’s what’s behind my conclusions and not any moral or ethical beliefs. I don’t enshrine any of those. I endeavor to be realistic and pragmatic and to keep my philosophical thinking grounded in experience.

The social views inside me are not founded on any religious beliefs – because I have none. They are based on my view of human nature. The previous entry highlighted the problems I see operating in individuals that require strong internal and external repression to manage effectively. I should add that the positive aspects of human creativity, ingenuity, and our ability to subsume our childish desires in the pursuit of some greater good is laudable and evident in human history. That’s behind the progress of human history as well - but in my view, not so much as the necessary repression by self, society, government, and military power.

It’s not common for repression to be cast in a good light these days. That’s why I’m writing this. The focus is typically on how important expression – as in “free expression” or “freedom of expression” – is to our lives. Expression has its place but it is not the be all and end all of existence and especially social existence.

The be all and end all of social existence – i.e. getting along in a positive and constructive way with other people – is repression.

The mechanisms of repression within us are strong – typically stronger (fortunately) than our mechanisms of expression. Hence, I suppose, all the emphasis on expression – since we do so little of it compared to what we repress. The anarchic spirit, the Id, the unconscious, or whatever term is used to describe human egoistic and antisocial tendencies, is vast and powerful. It is only by means of repression that we manage to survive at all.

These internal mechanisms are reflected in even greater degree by our social institutions, which exist primarily as repressive formulations and influences. Without them we would be an uncivilized bunch of brutal savages and live in states of thieving murderous anarchy.

So this homage to repression is just that. I acknowledge the great need for human repression; I value it; and I observe that, in the long run, it is far more important to us than our tendency toward expressiveness.
This is exceptionally dangerous thinking based on what I would contend is a false premise: human nature is to savagely steal and murder.
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Old 10-09-2004, 07:32 PM   #26 (permalink)
Pissing in the cornflakes
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpieCunningham
This is exceptionally dangerous thinking based on what I would contend is a false premise: human nature is to savagely steal and murder.
To deny this is part of our nature is to invite disaster.
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Old 10-09-2004, 07:38 PM   #27 (permalink)
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We do seem to have a perverse penchant for inviting disaster, now that you mention it, Ustwo.
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Old 10-09-2004, 07:40 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
We do seem to have a perverse penchant for inviting disaster, now that you mention it, Ustwo.
Darwin does work in mysterious ways.
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Old 10-10-2004, 12:26 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I guess we're just fundamentally different. My boss often gets on my case because money doesn't seem to motivate me. I'd sooner shrug off busywork in favor of undertaking a new creative project. Piece of mind is more important to me than how much I am being taxed. And you're right about none of these issues being changed by the time Kerry ends his term, that's why I'm not voting for him. Besides, it's not about acheiving the goal, it's about progressing towards it. A vote for a conservative government will surely nudge the slider away from the goal.

Your distrust in human nature comes from witnessing, over the course of your entire life, friction between cultures. This is caused by overbearing, imperialistic or religious governments. I support a government that is neither. There is a reason why the US has a very big ego and that is because we are a self-made country. We had a revolution to become who we are. What we're doing now in Iraq and Afghanistan is not helping anything.

Forgive me, but I see the favor of money over personal liberty to be quite petty. Unfortunately, that's how most people think nowadays and that's why the two most powerful political parties who are seemingly the only two that matter, and they would sooner shit on civil liberties.

So, you spend most of your day working... that is ultimately your choice. However, all species on this plant work. It's survival. Lesiure is what sets mammals apart from the rest, and *excessive* leisure is what sets humans apart from the rest. Furthermore, it's frequently emphasized that to do well at work, you must take care of your home affairs first. Conservatives would like to limit the capacity to which you are able to do that.
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Old 10-10-2004, 06:23 AM   #30 (permalink)
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I think for most people who are religious, their God to at least some extent informs their moral world view. I would agree with Halx that religious people are more likely to believe that certain moral standards should be enforced over society, whilst - if you believe in no God or no cosmic implications of social actions, it is much easier to have a philosphy of "do what you will" - as long as no one is harmed by your actions.

Personally, I do believe in God, but I don't really follow any organised religion - although recently I have been really interested in the historical reality of Jesus - and I seem to be the furthest left of anyone on this board. The person I thought of, in relation to the question, was Lenin - who was an atheist, and although he was a communist, he believed in the kind of social conservatism I think you are referring to.
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Old 10-10-2004, 07:45 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halx

Forgive me, but I see the favor of money over personal liberty to be quite petty. Unfortunately, that's how most people think nowadays and that's why the two most powerful political parties who are seemingly the only two that matter, and they would sooner shit on civil liberties.
I don't favor money over personal liberty, I see them as part of the same. Yes I choose to work pretty hard over all, but I personally think I am lazy. I could do so much more with my time if I stopped playing video games, posting on tfp and the like. I don't see people having a right to my labor and by saying they do I feel someone is infringing on my personal liberty. If I came to you and said, 'For the next three months you will be working my farm and if you don't you will be jailed' I would guess you would feel your personal liberties have been pretty shat on, and I feel the tax system does just that.

Most non-religious conservatives like myself are closer to libertarians in viewpoint. I think libertarians make a mistake when it comes to national defense, but other then that I think they have a solid world view. Most of the 'big' conservative vrs liberal issues are unimportant to me.
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Old 10-10-2004, 09:10 AM   #32 (permalink)
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The first thing I thought of when I saw this thread was "national socialists".

In modern usage, "conservative" is used almost interchangeably with "religious" anyway. Bush's platform appears to be pretty much equivalent with right wing Christianity, so I will never vote for him, while right wing Christians are almost compelled to.

I don't really think along partisan or "liberal/conservative" lines myself. Perhaps other people would consider me liberal in a broad sense. I'm apparently about the only atheist in existence that opposes gay marriage - I have no ethical problem with homosexuality but I'm not fond of the idea of the government legislating a new definition of a traditional institution. One of my little quirks.

Prostitution I sort of waver on. I can't see a lot of positive things coming out of it, to be honest.
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Old 10-10-2004, 11:48 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
To deny this is part of our nature is to invite disaster.
That's meaningless. I could say the exact opposite and it would have as much validity.

Art's post is dangerous because he places higher value in repression than expression, pointing to expression as the method of savagery. I see savagery in either extreme. It takes a balance of expression and repression to achieve society. To deny this is to invite disaster.
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Old 10-10-2004, 03:40 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irseg
I'm an atheist. While I consider myself a libertarian, on the liberal/conservative spectrum I'm definitely more toward the right.

Gay marriage - For. It's fine for churches and other private organizations to oppose it, but it's none of the government's damn business.

Abortion - Morally against it in general, but it does have legitimate reasons (rape, incest, harm to the mother, etc.) and declaring what those are is none of the government's business.

Prostitution - I think it was George Carlin who said "Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal?" I agree with that.

Marijuana - I don't like the stuff, but it's pretty harmless. I don't see a reason for it to be illegal. I just wish pot smokers would say "It should be legal because I like to get high!" and not "It should be legal because hemp is a great material for..uhhh...rope and paper and stuff!" As if they give a flying fuck what rope is made out of.

Other drugs - Hmm.. Kind of divided. I like to think in black and white, "all or nothing". I don't like the idea of the gov't saying "Okay, these drugs are good and legal. But THESE ARE BAD. Consume them and it's OFF TO JAIL FOR YOU!". Also, what people put in their own body should be their own business. But then again, the idea of freely available PCP or Heroin is rather scary, too. You could say that anything that is highly addictive or makes people prone to violence should be illegal, but you could also interpret that to mean alcohol. Drugs are tricky.

Damn, that list makes me sound like a flaming liberal! But I'm economically very far right. And when it comes down to it, the government doesn't do a very good job of stopping me from smoking a joint or screwing a hooker if I so desire. But they are quite adept at stealing a third of my income to give it to people who are too lazy to provide for themselves, and that really gets under my skin. So that's why I lean toward conservative. It's closer to matching my interests.
My opinions on those matters exactly, except I am agnostic. i did attend a Catholic High School if that helps Halx.
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Old 10-10-2004, 10:13 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I'm pretty much an agnostic, and consider myself conservative. I oppose gay marriage, oppose gun control, support abortion (I think the government should not only pay for abortions for poor people, but give them a cash incentive to abort). I oppose prostitution (other than marriage), I kind-of support pot legalization, I REALLY support decriminalization of pharmaceutical drugs, but oppose the legalization of things like heroin. I support Euthanasia.

Gay marriage: I think we've gone too far into the "normalization" of homosexuality. Homosexuals should be able to do whatever they want, but they should do it in their own bedrooms, and not in public. Of course, I find heterosexual PDA pretty gross, too. If they want to form partnerships, fine, but marriage? Please.

Gun control: We need to scrap it ALL. Everything from the National Firearms Act of 1934 on.

Prostitution: While the cash for sex thing doesn't bother me, the exploitation of women does. I've seen too many pimps who deserved to die.

Abortion: Abortion is Good. It should be encouraged for people who don't really WANT kids. I support cash incentives to poor people for them to abort, paid for out of tax funds. While that may seem nuts, it's far cheaper in the long run to abort and give the former "mother to be" $300 than for her to have the kid and it end up in the system. As the song goes: "only stupid people are breeding".

Marijuana: well, if it weren't for the stupidity it tends to encourage, I'd be all for it.

Other drugs: the legal drug market is screwed. When people in pain can't get the meds they need because the DEA is being, well, the DEA, that's just plain wrong. Heroin, et cetera: Nah, don't legalize it, if there are other, legal alternatives that are far better for you. If you can go and get a script for morphine, who needs heroin???

euthanasia: If you want to off yourself, fine by me. If you want help, that's OK too. There are too many people on the planet already.

After running through all this, I don't feel very conservative, but I'm often told I'm psychotically conservative. Go figure.
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Old 10-10-2004, 10:54 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I tend to vote liberal because I don't trust man's basic nature. I'm for strict environmental legislation, for example, because it's been shown that corporations do what is in the interests of profit. Not in the interests of society.

My city is a big superfund site because corporations dumped their waste all over their land, and in our river.

It may be that some are social conservatives because of man's base nature (if I understood that point correctly). But I tend to believe in more regulation for the same reason.

I wouldn't say that I love big government - having a balanced budget, and paying down the debt should be a top priority. And there are lots of places I would cut the budget - rather than increase taxes. So not convinced the standard stereotypes apply.

In a belated attempt to get this back on track, I would say that my agnostism leads me to wanting to keep the environment clean (to stay on that issue). I think people's belief that Jesus is coming back leads them to not care a whit about what sort of world we create for our grandchildren. That could probably tie to social issues as well.

Who cares if gay marriage is going to be looked at in 50 years like inter-racial marriage is looked at today? No one is going to be here, right? Is that too big of a stretch?
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:23 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatin
Who cares if gay marriage is going to be looked at in 50 years like inter-racial marriage is looked at today? No one is going to be here, right? Is that too big of a stretch?
Take a time machine and go a ways back, maybe several decades, maybe a century, maybe a couple centuries. If you asked the people of the past about interracial marriage, they might not be too into the idea, true. But if you asked them about gay marriage, I doubt they would even understand the question or take it seriously. They would just give you a big WTF? Even the civilizations that tolerated homosexuality to some degree.
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Old 10-13-2004, 01:12 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I'm a far-left liberal atheist.

It surprises me too, actually, that there are people who are socially conservative but not religious... I tend to think that prohibitions against prostitution, abortion, gay marriage, and drug legalization come from our Puritan heritage, and people who have no strong religious feelings would not consider bans on those to be legitimate.

Gay marriage: Marriage should never have entered the government sphere, but now it's tied into the legal system and as such everyone should have the right to marry whoever they want.

Prostitution: Prostitution should be legalized, because that would enable it to be regulated in order to maintain the health and safety of sex workers. Most of the current problems with prostitution arise from the fact that it is a black-market activity.

Abortion: Women have a right to do what they like to their bodies, and there's no reason to consider an unborn fetus a living entity from a moral point of view.

Gun control: The second amendment was written for the purpose of ensuring that the government could not make itself the sole controller of the nation's firepower, and use that power to take away the rights of the citizens - a noble goal. But it was written in a time when the most advanced weapons were muskets and hunting was a necessary part of survival. Now, unfortunately, weapons technology has advanced to the point where private citizens, without owning nuclear or biological weapons, can't stand toe-to-toe with the government any more. Since weapons are not a necessary part of life any more, the risks posed by having private citizens own deadly weapons is too high for the tiny benefit they provide as a safeguard against tyranny.

Drug legalization: Drugs such as caffeine, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol should be placed on an equal footing - any minor harms that individuals can do to themselves with these drugs are that individual's choice. Where the use of these impact others (second-hand smoke, driving under the influence), their use should be punished. Harder drugs that have more serious consequences to the individual should require the individual to become educated about the consequences and pass a licensing test, much like driving, in order to partake of the substance.
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Old 10-13-2004, 02:38 PM   #39 (permalink)
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I am a life-long Agnostic. Athiesm is to me as untenable as any religion, due to the ignorance of man. But as for the root question of how one can have socially conservative views as the result of personally constructed morality versus that installed by religion, I think there isn't much difference between Agnosticism and Athiesm.

Personally, I consider myself to have certain strongly conservative social views, as well as some strongly liberal ones. However, being agnostic I think adds a layer to how these views translate to political positions. That is, agnosticism is centered on the acceptance of ignorance as being greater than knowledge...i.e., as mortal humans, what we can ever know will be an infinitely small portion of all knowledge that is, and thus, we must accept that anything we think we know may well be proven wrong around the next bend, so to speak. In dealing with questions in which we can not hope to fully comprehend, such as the existance of gods or the meaning and purpose of the universe, it is merely expressive of our ignorance to claim that we can know authoritatively any answers to these questions.

Now how does that affect my politics? It leads me to a very libertarian approach on social matters. Personally, I would not commit or endorse abortion on the grounds that it may well be what its detractors claim, the murder of an innocent life. However, I condoned the taking of innocent lives by supporting the various wars over the last decade that I have, from Bosnia to Afghanistan, since I know all to well that innocents are killed in war. I volunteered to be part of the killing machine at 18 and served in it quite willingly and supportively (and still support it today). I supported those wars because in my estimation, the cost was worth the resulting benefits. I might have been wrong but so far, I've not come to that conclusion. I don't know when life starts, or whether we have souls, or are just complex amalgamations of space dust. I may choose not to personally support abortion, but until I have greater knowledge about it, I can not in good conscience prevent someone else from doing since I may well be doing more harm than good as a result of my emotional resistance to the act.

On many issues, I have a similar approach. I have never wanted a prostitute, but I support legalization. I have never smoked a joint, but I support legalization. I have never owned a gun, but I support legalization That doesn't mean I don't support regulation, though.

Economically, I have drifted from the libertarian perspective, but not on religious grounds. I have merely seen that there are things better done as a society than as individuals. Perhaps it is as some would state, a selfish desire for the highest quality of life, that leads me to this conclusion. But again, this is not a result of my agnosticism, merely a result of a deeper look into economics.
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Old 10-13-2004, 02:50 PM   #40 (permalink)
Tilted
 
Where are the log cabin rebuplicans?

I agree with the overwhelming majority above, pretty liberal I suppose and a lifelong non-believer.
Are there any log cabin rebublicans out there? I am fascinated by gay support of a poltical party that seems to want to have nothing to do with them. This seems the ultimate contradiction in values.
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