These are questions taken from this interview with Christina Hoff Sommers. I like them because I think they’re a very good rubric for the finding out where someone falls on the liberal/conservative spectrum. So to prove that I am not a conservative, I guess, here are my answers to these questions.
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Abortion. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?
Pro-choice, excluding late-term abortions (unless the late-term abortion is medically necessary for the mother’s life). Although I think the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” terminology is very flawed and designed in a way to confirm pre-existing biases. “Pro/anti-abortion” are much better terms to use since that’s actually what the debate is about, not vague terms like “choice” and “life.”
Should states be able to impose their own restrictions on abortion or outlaw it altogether?
I’m on the fence here. I totally understand the argument for state over federal government legislation, and I understand how wary people are to give the federal government more power. That being said, Roe vs. Wade is already passed, and I think it would be a disaster to overturn it now.
Gun rights – Are gun laws currently too restrictive or too lax?
Too lax. I don’t think you should be able to pick up a gun from Wal-Mart, is all I’m saying. With that in mind, though, I don’t think lenient gun policy is what leads to the USA’s scourge of mass shootings compared to other countries. There are first-world countries with high rates of civilian gun ownership that don’t have as many mass shootings, so while I do think that our laws could be more demanding, that has more to do with gun safety than stopping murder sprees which are a far more complicated issue.
Should the average American be able to purchase an “assault rifle” like an AR-15 or AK-47?
Unless you have a really good reason, in which case you probably aren’t an “average American,” I don’t think so.
Should people be allowed to carry concealed weapons with a license?
The 2nd Amendment says they can. There’s not much arguing to be done there. That being said, “being allowed to” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have higher personal and legal standards for how we conduct ourselves with and around guns.
Should people be allowed to carry concealed weapons into public university classrooms, such as in Texas?
I guess . . . This seems like less of an argument about what’s technically allowed, which this is, and what is necessary. Once again, there isn’t much a conversation to have about the law, because the law says this is okay. But there does seem to be a conversation to have about why someone would feel the need to bring a gun to Intro Psych class. That’s a pretty legitimate question.
I guess you can say, “It’s to protect us from school shooters,” or something. But a.) people severely misjudge what their reactions would be to high-stress situations like being in a school shooting, so anyone who brings a gun to class thinking they’re going to be a hero on the very rare chance of someone trying to shoot the place up seems more egotistical than anything else. And b.) technically, you don’t need a gun to stop a school shooting–it only takes a handful of people to take down an armed gunman just through sheer numbers–it’s just that people understandably freak out when stuff like this happens and don’t have thoughts like “statistically, we could just rush this guy and most of us would probably be fine.” I’m just not really seeing how adding more guns to a situation like that, in the hands of people who don’t have high-stress combat training, at that, would make it better.
Health Care – Are you in favor of or do you oppose Obamacare?
I would have been okay with Obamacare had it actually been what it set out to be. And so would most Americans, actually. Did you know that the majority of US citizens liked and supported the majority of ideas behind Obamacare, but as soon as the surveyors slapped the Obama-label on it, suddenly they were super opposed? Fun stuff.
All that being said, it really got cut to pieces and turned into a weirdly convoluted system that didn’t provide socialized health care as much as it just forced people to pay for a certain kind of insurance, which would be fine except for the fact that not all health professionals accepted it, which is what you would expect if the government required you to have it. And some of the doctors who did accept it weren’t the best or were over expensive even with insurance. It really just didn’t work out all that great.
Would you be in favor of the United States moving to a single payer system?
In theory, yes. In practice, though, this kind of system has proven successful in countries with far smaller populations than the US, with citizens that have far different health issues than the US. America, right now, is really shitty at generalized health care and really good at specific things, which is why those specific things are so expensive. In countries with more socialized medicine, it’s usually the other way around: great general medicine and sub par specialized care. Americans, though, have more issues that require specialized care, so you’d really have to do some kind of utilitarian computations to figure out if taking the hit to specialized health in the future would be worth it. You could make the argument that it would be because better general medicine would prevent more specific issues from arising, but you could also make the argument that it wouldn’t help all that much. So I’m on the fence.
Middle East – Were you in favor of the invasion of Iraq?
I was in first grade, so I had no opinion of it back then. In retrospect, however, I would have been in favor of it had we gone about it in a much better way because things were pretty bad over there. But we did not go about things in a better way. We went about things in the worst way possible.
Was it a mistake?
Yes. It further destabilized the region, which is the opposite of what we wanted to happen.
Should the United States withdraw its forces from the Middle East? Iraq, Afghanistan, etc?
No. It would further . . . further destabilize things. We should have less, but not a total withdrawal.
Are you in favor of military strikes on ISIS in Syria?
I would be in favor of military strikes on ISIS. The only issue being that the drone striking the US is doing currently is either in borderline or overt war crime territory because “ISIS” apparently means random people–some of them children, some of them American citizens–who are just around and maybe might be near some terrorists maybe.
Are you in favor of a Palestinian state?
I think that’s a problem Israel and Palestine should work out without my or the opinion of the US government being relevant.
If they do acknowledge Israel’s right to be a country, then would you be in favor of a Palestinian state?
I really don’t care what they work out, I just want them to work out something. I like Israel. It’s one of the few non-shitty places in that entire region as far as human rights go. They’ve probably got the Palestinians beat in that regard. That being said, Israel is a developed country that can take care of itself that the US (for some reason) still gives millions and millions of dollars to every year like it’s some third world nation that needs the money for golden rice and and buildings made out of something other than animal dung. The guy in charge of it is a war monger who breaks out in hives any time anything resembling a compromise in the perpetual fighting is brought up, as were the guys before him. And the Palestinian leaders are just as war mongering and unwilling to make even the smallest of compromises to achieve a peaceful resolution to the never ending conflict that can be boiled down to “but my ancestors” and/or “[insert some racist comment about the Jews/the Palestinians here]”. This conflict is stupid and petty, and it will be the thing that aliens point out to justify nuking our fucking planet.
Should the United States torture known terrorists to prevent future terrorism?
No. Torture doesn’t work. If if worked, you’d at least have an argument, but it doesn’t.
Should we close Guantanamo Bay?
If it was just a prison for terrorists that we didn’t want in American prisons, I’d be okay with it. But it being a weird, James Bond villian-esque torture lair where we detain people without trial and torture them even after everyone knows that they aren’t terrorists and/or have no more information (Look it up.), with the literal reason behind that being “well, we’ve spent a long time doing this, so we can’t stop torturing them now,” that is not okay.
Am I right to equate third wave with intersectional feminism?
Feminism is weird. There are four waves now, apparently. Maybe that’s what intersectional feminism is.
Can your brand of equity feminism (equality feminism) co-exist with intersectional feminism?
It’s fine to have different schools of thought within a group. That being said, Christina Hoff Sommers-brand equality feminism doesn’t jive well with the identity politics obsessed intersectional feminists. So I don’t think you could follow both schools at the same time or do something that would make both schools happy.
For second-wave or equity feminists, what should be the current focus? What is left to do?
Women in America not only have equal rights, but they have it actively better than men in many areas (health care, life expectancy, job prospects, job retention, education, general literacy, etc.). With that being said, the only real thing to address in an American context is social attitudes, which can really only be addressed on a personal basis, not with the wide sweeping authoritarian quotas in every field known to man that many modern feminists seem to want.
Women have challenges specific to them that are fine to address, but talking about them in terms of “oppression” is just disingenuous and not helpful. Having problems sometimes does not equate oppression. Feminists need to ditch talk about the patriarchy conspiracy taking away women’s rights, which is patently false, and spend more time on things that are helpful: encouraging women to go into certain fields (not enforcing quotas within those fields, mind you), raising money for police stations or forensic science researchers to come up with faster/easier/more accurate means to work with rape cases, promoting individualism that inherently operates against personal or cultural stereotypes, and providing means for families to have a better work/life balance. If they were smart, they would also address issues that are specific to men in order to become a more balanced movement, but given the derision that even reasonable feminists treat men’s issues, that’s unlikely.
If you want to talk about feminism overseas, it’s a different story. But you hardly hear an American feminists whinging about the imaginary wage gap talk about true misogynistic oppression, so I’m just going to give up on suggesting that.
Has modern feminism ruined the accomplishments of the feminist movement?
It’s definitely damaged the name of feminism, but it’s a little difficult to do damage to basic rights gained. No anti-feminist is going to a court house asking them to repeal the equal pay act or women’s right to vote.
Does rape culture exist in America?
No. And if it does, having a rape culture is pretty okay.
How big of a problem is misogyny in American society?
I don’t know. In America, I seriously doubt that there are huge numbers of any overtly hateful and bigoted people. Are there people with some old-fashioned ideas about gender roles? Yes. But that is not inherently misogyny. Are there people who catcall women? Yes, but if that’s what you’re labeling “misogyny,” that is a grievous overstatement and misuse of the term.
I’m sure there are people in the US who hate women because they think women are just inherently hate-able, and I’m sure most of them wouldn’t actively call themselves misogynists. I’m also sure that they are an overwhelming minority. There are men who hate women. There are women who hate women. But there are also women who hate men, and men who hate men. Is the mere existence of these people an indictment against the entire society in which they live? Is that enough to say that the society is misogynistic or misandrist? I don’t think so.
Should the United States increase the minimum wage to $15/hr?
I think the minimum wage should be increased to a living wage depending on the state. Bob from North Dakota doesn’t need a $15/hr wage to live comfortably. Tom from Denver probably does. Ideally, minimum wage jobs would just be things teenagers had to make some extra money. Ideally, they would just be populated by people whose main goal was to move up the ranks for their own sense of personal achievement. That is not how it is though, and we do not make policies based off of how something ideally would be.
Most people with minimum wage jobs are people who need to live off of that paycheck, and a tax-paying adult who works a full work week at a usually unpleasant job shouldn’t then have to go home and decide what bill they’re going to be late on that month because their paycheck isn’t big enough to pay rent and electricity. Would this decrease the number of jobs? Possibly. The CEO of Wal-Mart could give every employee a $15 wage and it wouldn’t make a dent in his bank account, he just doesn’t want to do it and uses lay-offs as leverage. So the people wanting a living wage are not the ones you should be getting mad at in that particular situation.
Should public universities be tuition free?
I just think people jumped the gun here. Would it be cool if public universities were tuition free? Sure. Is that actually feasible? Maybe in some states, probably not in others. But people really skipped the step in between that I think is important. Public universities should be affordable. Let’s get to that point first. And once that is all worked out, then we can start talking about making some of them free upon admission on a case-by-case basis to make sure schools don’t suffer huge departmental cuts as a result. This all-or-none talk is a good way to get nothing done.
I also think we should actually tell people what private schools give good financial aid. The idea floating around that only public school is attainable for poor people is stupid. I don’t pay tuition. I go to college for free, minus the cost of books and airfare. I go to a private school. So instead of chasing a possible pipe dream of making public colleges free, I think we should spend some time improving primary education so that low-income students can have a good enough academic background to apply to and receive generous aid from private schools as well.
Should we raise taxes on the wealthy?
Should a store such as a flower or cake shop be allowed to refuse service to a homosexual couple for religious reasons?
I’m really conflicted here. On one hand, discriminating against people as a business owner isn’t cool. I think it makes you a dick, and I don’t know why people would want to give you money if you actively discriminated against them. At that point, buy a cake off the internet, because why would you give money to someone who doesn’t like you? Even so, private businesses can choose who they want to serve, and I think it’s creepy and weird that the government can go up to people and force them to do some benign thing under threat of the law. It’s weird that The Man can force an old Christian couple to bake a cake they don’t want to bake. I’m not the only one who thinks that that is questionable, right?
I’ve also wondered who this applies to. Would the people defending a Christian bakery also defend a Muslim bakery that didn’t want to serve someone they thought was “sinful?” That’s still religious freedom, after all. What would happen if a Jewish bakery refused to serve a Muslim, that’s what I want to know. Who wins the Oppression Olympics there?
What should we do with illegal immigrants currently living in the United States?
If they’re working and don’t have a criminal record (pretty much if they’re a contributing member of society), I think they should be given some path to citizenship, a worker’s visa or something along those lines. If not, deportation. I think the current system we have for providing paths to citizenship is very flawed and convoluted, and while I don’t think it should be “easy,” I also don’t think a Mexican wanting to immigrate legally should have to wait eight years just because the paperwork is still being processed.
That being said, I don’t think they should be allowed to vote. That just kind of doesn’t make sense. In the end of the day, they aren’t citizens. We shouldn’t treat them like shit, but they shouldn’t be afforded all the privileges of citizenship just because they’re here. Japan didn’t give me a pension plan and a voter ID because I showed up one day and got a home address. We need a more responsible immigration policy that doesn’t reward criminal behavior but also doesn’t criminalize people whose only “criminal” act was moving out of a shitty country to be a productive member of society in a better country.
What is your opinion on Black Lives Matter?
I get why it exists. Media sensationalism is a bitch. But it’s built on a falsehood, has a tendency to turn thugs into martyrs for the cause, seems to be encouraging anti-white sentiments that can even get violent, and is apparently under the impression that anything black people do in the name of activism is acceptable. Not a fan.
Should we continue or end affirmative action?
Continue it for low-income people, get rid of it for race/gender.
Should Edward Snowden be pardoned?
Yes. Obama’s treatment of whistleblowers is very authoritarian.
Should the US allow the death penalty?
No. It isn’t a violent crime deterrent, it kills innocent people, it costs more to give someone the death penalty than to feed and clothe them for the rest of their life, and it generally comes across as state-sanctioned revenge more than “justice.”
Should marijuana be legal for recreational use?
Do you support free trade or should there be restrictions to protect American workers?
Free trade, but with incentives for companies to stay in-country.
Do you consider yourself a religious person?
I’m an anti-theist, so no.
Can one be moral without a belief in God?
Agree or disagree: Labor unions are a big reason that manufacturing is shifting overseas?
What do you think of Breitbart?
It is the conservative Huffington Post.
Milo Yianopolus is considered by many to be alt-right, though he has denied it. Do you think Milo is alt-right?
No. He has some very overtly liberal ideas, doesn’t agree with the alt-right’s racial purity notions, and has stated on many occasions that the right needs to give up the social conservationism that the alt-right indulges in. “Alt-right” has, at this point, become something that liberals call conservatives as an even more “hard hitting” character attack. The only reason they call him that is because he loves to troll people.
Why did Donald Trump win the election?
I don’t think Donald Trump “won” as much as Clinton lost. Trump didn’t get anymore votes than a Republican candidate has usually gotten. Mitt Romney got around the same number and lost to Obama in a landslide. All this talk of “white backlash” doesn’t make much sense: the people who gave him a very tiny boost were white former Obama voters and women/minorities. Clearly, white people going out in droves “because racism/sexism” wasn’t the cause. It’s just that people didn’t go out in droves to support Clinton like they did for Obama.
The news’ constant talk about how Clinton was definitely going to win in a landslide probably didn’t encourage her supporters to go out and vote since they saw her winning as a given. Also, no one really enthusiastically supported Clinton. Her entire campaign, and the campaign of all of her most staunch defenders was “Hey, she’s not Trump!” That doesn’t really give people anything to go off of. Not to mention that she did a swell job at insulting all the people she needed to vote for her in order to win. Bernie Sanders supporters? A bunch of sexist bros who hate minorities. Working class voters? Idiots who are obviously going to go out and vote for her by default. Women voters? People who she clearly doesn’t even have to try to get the support of because vagina. Trump supporters? Deplorable humans. Her entire campaign turned into, “Why haven’t you just handed me the presidency yet, you fucking Neanderthals?”
Should America do more to support climate change policy or is it hurting American businesses too much?
I support reasonable measures and policies to combat climate change and encourage cleaner energy with the warning that those working in non-renewable energy fields should be trained to work within renewable energy fields to avoid massive job loss. Doing this will make us less dependent on foreign oil/coal, make the environment healthier, and provide a new job sector to work within. These are good ideas even if you don’t think climate change is a thing. Also, corporations have proven that they’re totally willing to dump noxious waste into water that people fucking drink if it saves them money, so I don’t care all that much about “hurting their business” in that regard.