Saturday, June 10, 2006

My Quiz's Answer Key

I’d like to thank everybody who took the time to take the How Similar Are You To Me test. I thought the results were very interesting, in that most of my readership fell somewhere in the 70% range. But, I suppose that was to be expected, given my unique set of issue positions and my rather lonely stance that morality is all a matter of individual opinion. In case anybody was wondering why they scored as they did, I figured I’d post an “answer key.” This answer key should give a substantial insight into my ideology, and perhaps provoke an interesting debate.

Here are the answers, in question order.

1. “Abortion rights?”

I strongly support them. I believe the right to abort a fetus should be unlimited and absolute. I support no restrictions on the procedure, including ones with respect to age or “term.”

2. “Gay Marriage?”

I strongly support it. Indeed, there is not a single good argument to be made against gay marriage. The objections are all rooted in the Bible, which isn’t to be trusted on matters scientific, historical or rational.

3. “Death Penalty?”

I staunchly oppose it. The system is terminally fallible. People (a great number of them) have been exonerated while sitting on death row waiting to be executed. Even one innocent being executed would be too much.

4. “School Prayer?”

I strongly oppose it. Prayer is a meaningless and irrational activity. There is no God with which to communicate. As such, praying is just talking to yourself – an activity with no measurable benefit.

5. “Legal Euthanasia?”

I strongly support this. And, I don’t limit my support to terminally ill individuals, either. If a man stubs his toe, and he can’t live with the pain, he should be allowed to be euthanized, if he so chooses. It’s called bodily sovereignty.

6. “Gun Rights?”

I support them. However, I also support background checks, including at gun shows. The types of restrictions that I oppose relate to safety locks, licensing, weapon bans, mandatory training courses, etc.

7. “Free Trade?”

I strongly support it. I also oppose linking human rights to free trade deals. The global community should be one huge marketplace. With that, the lowest priced, highest quality goods will prevail in the end. Higher prices and lower quality will fall by the wayside.

8. “Foreign Aid?”

I oppose it in almost all cases. Countries should stand up on their own two feet, not be dependent upon other countries. Foreign aid is simply huge-scale welfare, and I oppose welfare on all scales.

9. “International Interventionism?”

I strongly oppose this. What goes on in Iraq, Kosovo, Vietnam, Rwanda, Sudan, etc. is none of the United States’ business. The US military should be used strictly for pursuing direct US interests.

10. “Leaving Iraq Immediately?”

I strongly endorse this. The Iraq War was a mistake the likes of which we haven’t seen since Vietnam. George Bush should pull all the troops out immediately. Then, he should issue a global apology for starting a war based upon false pretenses. Then, he should resign.

11. “Welfare?”

Strongly oppose. Already covered in the Foreign Aid response.

12. “Public Health Spending?”

Strongly oppose. There is no “right” to healthcare. Healthcare is a service – a service one must pay for with money. It is not the government’s role to dole out healthcare to the citizenry; it would only give the government more leverage to interfere in people’s lives.

13. “School Vouchers?”

Strongly oppose them. They undercut the public education system and rob it of needed funds. Moreover, vouchers also are often connected with religious schools, which teach misinformation.

14. “Strong Public Education System?”

Strongly support. This country depends upon having an intelligent citizenry. With strong education, bad ideas will perish and religion will be exposed. Without public education, religious schools likely would gain influence.

15. “Arctic Drilling?”

Strongly support. I have one concern with respect to oil: Ending our dependence upon the Middle East. Only when we are oil-independent will we be able to leave that whole region to its own devices. This relates directly to my isolationist position.

16. “God?”

Nope.

17. “The Supernatural?”

Bullshit.

18. “Ghosts, Haunted Houses, Possession, etc?”

No more rational than the Tooth Fairy.

19. “Objective, Generally Applicable Morality?”

It does not exist. Morality is a coherent term only when taken in the context of “to me.” Outside that individual context, it’s wholly incoherent.

20. “Morality Can Be Divorced From Opinion...”

Never. Morality IS an individual’s opinion. To say, “Action A is immoral” is really to say, “In my opinion, Action A is wrong.” Morality cannot be divorced from opinion because morality is opinion.

21. “Like George W. Bush?”

Yeah, right. Bush is quite possibly the worst US president ever. Certainly, he’s the worst of the last 100 years.

22. “Like Penn and Teller?”

Very much. I agree with them almost 90% of the time. They are unfailingly rational, logical, science-minded and irreverent.

23. “Government that governs least governs best?”

Absolutely.

24. “I believe some things without hard evidence...”

Never. Without hard evidence, everything is doubtful. Hard evidence is the only method by which real knowledge can be attained.

25. “It is appropriate for government to protect me from myself.”

Never. We’re adults, not kindergarten children. The government must never protect us from ourselves. Similarly, the government must never enact laws that are “for our own good.” That, too, would be an element of the “nanny state,” which I so strongly oppose.

11 Comments:

Blogger Drunken Tune said...

I find it odd that you believe in the necessity of public education, yet loathe public welfare and healthcare. "T]his country depends upon having an intelligent citizenry. With strong education, bad ideas will perish and religion will be exposed. Without public education, religious schools likely would gain influence."

Isn't public education, by that logic, the same as welfare? If we're to be totally free of governmental intrusion, we should be also free from government-sponsored propaganda. The government sets the guidelines, makes the tests, and controls what our children learn. Government-sponsored welfare and healthcare seem lesser compared to indoctrination into the state’s philosophies. The Constitution says nothing about guaranteed education, health or wealth.

Even if we have no right to education, health or economic safety, it seems to me that it’s something we deserve. I'm glad that you think that public education is a must in a failing democracy such as ours, yet the obsession with the "nanny state" many people have dismisses the government's purpose for the past 70 years. The government has, since the Great Depression of the 30's, kept many above the poverty line and provided security in cases of economic chaos. At dire times the government sells goods at a purposeful loss to spur the economy’s growth; the private company brings the price up or doesn’t lower its price. In a real government “by the people, of the people, for the people”, the government is us! We’re all in the same boat, part of the same exclusive golf club, and we pay admission and get a few benefits from the club. Too bad this isn’t our government today. Today, the government is full of the rich, the powerful, the white Protestant male with a business in the Cayman Islands. It sure doesn’t represent you or me.

I don't see it as governmental intrusion when people get a tax break and a check from the government when a flood destroys their houses. Of course, today's government does care what we do; its attempts to outlaw marriage to homosexuals, stop the right to have an abortion to any woman, and bring back prayer in schools seem much more important than a poor mom with two kids, three jobs, and a crummy apartment getting a check from the government once a month.

Let's make a pact here and now: we agree that we're not going to reconcile our differences on public welfare and healthcare, and instead crush the insolent Christian fanatics that are trying to turn our country into a theocracy! Then, we can work out how everything will operate. We’ll band together and form something of VOLTRON-like power. Who's with me?!

Besides that, we agree on just about everything else. I’m glad I can comment and not have my thoughts censored by you, unlike some person we’ve both had a confrontation in with. You’re open to debate, to discussion, to true Enlightenment principles. Perhaps with enough evidence, once of us is willing to change our viewpoint. Thanks. Your quiz was fun to take!

7:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Allie D. said...

I support public healthcare for the same reasons I support public education. An intelligent citizenry and a healthy citizenry are equally important. When I see the amount of money that is being wasted in this country on healthcare that could be going toward actually caring for poor, sick people, I am more in favor of it all the time. We spend twice as much per person in this country on healthcare than do countries that cover everyone, and yet in this country millions of children go without health insurance, not to mention some 30 million adults. People without any health coverage usually wait until they are very sick before seeking help, which means more money must be spent to fix them. Money that comes from hospitals or our of our pockets. An unhealthy society is less productive and that affects us all, not just the sick people. If one can see the benefits of spending public dollars on schooling people, then one, I would think, would surely see the benefit in making sure those same people are healthy enough to put their tax-dollar funded education to use.

Other than that, we pretty much agree on everything else. :)

2:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Geo said...

I too, am at odds with your dislike of public welfare, and for good reason. I'm British but lived and worked in the USA for ten years as a software engineer. I'm back in the UK now solely because this country's NHS allows me to stay alive!

While in the USA I became ill and unable to work, eventually I lost my job and my medical insurance. After spending more $50K of my own money, I decided that coming back here was the only thing to do. My weekly medication bill would exceed $300 in Florida; here, it's free. In my opinion the USA desperately needs an NHS (National Health Service). Other than that, I agree almost entirely with your sentiments.

Sadly, I must mention that the current rise of religious fervour in the USA seems to be spreading here. Our government has decided that anyone willing to pay half the cost of building a school can virtually dictate how the school will be run and what the curriculum will be. Already, wealthy religious freaks control six schools in the UK. I have posted about this in my blog and signed a petition sent to Bush's buddy Tony Blair, unfortunately - although not as bad as Bush - he's a kind of half-assed Christian so therein lies some of the problem.

Generally speaking, the UK is much more secular then the USA but the current trend is worrisome, Myself and others are doing what we can to oppose this divisive policy but so far it doesn't look too good.

10:59 PM EDT  
Blogger GhostRose said...

I agreed with most of those, except the stuff about ghosts. I only believe in them because there's too much evidence for it, and so many people have seen a ghost.

10:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your idea of a minimalistic government, but cutting support to outside countries is just stupid. That's how WW2 got started cause the US didn't care what Germany and Japan did.

8:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous marc said...

another super-shallow american - Just how many more can that country fit inside it's borders...

3:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Woozie said...

...so many people have seen a ghost.

So many people have gotten high too :)

9:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Mark Hall said...

You can't be isolationist and support free trade.

2:45 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"morality is all a matter of individual opinion" and genetics...no?

"I only believe in them because there's too much evidence for it, and so many people have seen a ghost. " There is no evidence for ghosts lol! If there is please refer me to at least one example.

Tom.

4:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Bruce said...

The thing about health is that no matter how well you take care of yourself, you are still vulnerable to disease (unless you are going to live in an isolated bubble for the rest of your life). Disease is often something that is imposed on you by others no matter how much you try to prevent it. That is why it benefits the individual if everyone else has adequate health care. The more people who are able to receive adequate health care, the fewer people who are out there waiting to make you sick. Unless of course you think you are immune to all disease?

12:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Seven_Solitudes said...

I only differed in that I don't support public education. Period. Public education's history is a testimony of wretched failure, and I have not a single reason to believe that tossing more money into the machine will somehow correct its doomed trajectory.

(Of course, I am not a libertarian, but an anarcho-capitalist, so....)

To Mark Hall: Free trade and isolationism go hand-in-hand. Do you not recall the farewell advice of Jefferson?

3:48 PM EDT  

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