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Archive for the ‘libertarianism’ Category

I’ve been open about criticising Stacey Campfield. Apparently there are quite a few people who view him as a sort of Robin Hood Man of The People type guy. A folk hero. There’s a bit of an ode to Stacey over at David Oatney’s, where Campfield is likened to Jesus, of all people. A crucifixion analogy is employed.

Imagine my surprise to read this comment left by David Oatney this morning:

As I recall, you aren’t a conservative-you are a libertarian trending toward the large L. That being the case, you are hardly in a position to call my fellow conservative Catholic “laughable at conservative politics.” He is by far more conservative than you are, so if you want to get technical, he has a much greater right to lay claim to the title.

He doesn’t represent you because you aren’t an East Tennessean. The reason we like Stacey is because he stirs the pot and makes the forces the so-called “moderates” to listen.

Most importantly, Stacey does the right thing. He has something called a Christian conscience. That does tend to significantly alter the way that you do things.

It’s that last bit I want to talk about. The bit where Oatney implies that by criticising Campfield (and probably by being a stinky Libertarian) I am without a “Christian conscience.” I am so angry about this that I’m not quite sure what word to type next. I cannot believe that anyone feels they have the right–in direct contradiction to Jesus’ teachings in the Bible–to question my faith based on my politics. To suggest that I am NOT a Christian because I don’t travel in their circles is heinous.

I honestly don’t know what to say. I really don’t. I will say that this scares me deeply. Is this the direction we’re headed as a country?

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Stacey Week continues with this profile in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

“They don’t like to talk about ideas. I do,” Campfield said in an interview. … Campfield says most of his legislative proposals come from reading or listening and then thinking.

Great. Just great. The State House is now Campfield’s personal frat? His own personal platform? I would again point to the oath of office he took, and how it talks about not doing harm or abridging the rights of Tennesseans.

So why do I care about a legislator who doesn’t represent my district? Glen made a good point when he raised that question over the weekend. These two articles explain why I care.

Being an elected as a representative is supposed to mean that an individual is a trustworthy safeguards of the interests of his constituency. No, he isn’t going to agree with every constituent on every matter, but he should at least be considerate of the needs and desires of his people.

Campfield is a very public symptom of the problems within our current representative democracy. He is in the Statehouse NOT to represent the people of his district but rather to be known as some sort of maverick philosopher. I’m glad that he is spurred to action by “reading and thinking”–all evidence to the contrary–but that’s not the purpose of a legislator.

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Yesterday was Hitler’s birthday. I can only assume that one of our employees in the statehouse decided to honour this ‘special occasion’ by nicknaming a blogger of German extraction ‘Kleinhitler’. (There you go, ACK. There’s your stupid hotlink.)

Glen Dean informs me that I need to lighten right the heck up because I take this stuff ‘way too seriously’. David Oatney informs Anne that it’s okay for a public employee to tease someone like this because Campfield and Oatney have ‘broken bread’ with Kleinheider.

I guess I just have a different idea of the definitions of ‘tease’ and ‘funny’ and ‘horrible monster who slaughtered millions of people and ignited a global cataclysm.’

I joke about a lot of things, and I think–all evidence to the contrary–that I’ve got a pretty healthy sense of humour. But there are things that my sense of decency prevents me from seeing as a punchline. Hitler is not a punchline. Calling people ‘hitler’ as a joke destigmatises the horror of Adolf Hitler’s crimes. It turns that hideous monster, that foul butcher, that odious slime into an innocuous urban legend of a thing. It removes Hitler from that special place of evil example where he’s been kept all these years and allows him to move among the ordinary. It downplays his crimes against humanity by treating them as nothing more than footnotes in his biography.

Pardon me for not finding any of this particularly funny. Especially when it’s instigated by someone who is a public SERVANT.

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I believe in guns because of Jim Jones. I believe in the ineffectuality and haphazardness of government because of Jim Jones. I believe in being a Discerning Believer because of Jim Jones. One of the more fun things about ideas is being able to trace the growth of one of your deeply-held beliefs to the source. I’ve been able to do that more in recent years as pop culture digs up “nostalgic” events from my childhood.

Last week’s American Experience documentary on Jonestown unearthed the source for a lot of my politics. How does a Mennonite from Indiana fold a belief in Gun Rights and Individualism into her faith? And why would that be so important? In my case the answer can be largely distilled down to two words. Jim Jones. (more…)

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