Friday, December 30, 2005

A Question

I once had a long discussion with a friend of mine about if there were any issues where we'd agree with George W. Bush. In the end the only thing we could come up with was 'white slavery'.

But thinking about it he supports chain gangs in prison, so he's not against white slavery. I'm thinking possibly he supports women's suffrage, although it seems a little unlikely given that women don't vote for him. The other possibility is that he believes child trafficking for the sex trade is wrong, and that's certainly a possibility.

So I thought I'd turn it out to the commenters. If you're the kind of person who disagrees with George W. Bush on everything, then I'm wondering if you can you think of anything where you might agree. It has to be a wider issue, not a specific example - I think I'd agree with him that his daughters should be free from the threat of rape, but I'm not convinced he'd widen that out to the rest of the female population.

EDITED TO ADD: I realised that the reason that I posted this immediately after the Naomi Klein quote wasn't clear to anyone who wasn't inside my head. The reason the left needs to move beyond George Bush, is because making fun of George Bush is like shooting fish in a barell with a rocket launcher. I have fundamental philosophical issues with the Democrats, and Labour and the Greens. It's easy to get distracted by the Bush's and Brash's of this world into not articulating those differences. My point was to point out the bogeyman aspect of Bush. But of course that's kind of lost when I don't say that.


  1. Anonymous4:38 pm

    Here's just a few for starters:
    *distance running ( untill he stuffed up a joint or something and had to cycle)
    *eating meat
    * aprreciating country music
    * not wanting Gore to be president
    *not having proper jobs
    * we both used to like drinking alcohol too but he had to give it up

  2. But those are more preferences than issues. I was wondering if there's any political issue where I'd agree with Bush. I'm not sure country music is a political issue

    Possibly not wanting Gore (or Kerry) to be president is.

    I imagine, but I could be wrong that your meat eating and Bush's meat eating come from slightly different places, I don't imagine factory farming is a preference.

  3. Anonymous10:43 pm

    Um, I think Bush is a complete arsehole but I don't think I'm in any way a nicer meat eater than him. Animal husbandry is pretty yukky all over and you have to kill the animals before they go on the table. Or get someone else to, which is what Bush and I do.
    What Bush does that I emphatocally disagree with is kill humans, heaps of them, often in more inhumane ways than Tegels get dealt to.

  4. I actually wasn't talking about the ickyness of animal husbandry (not being a vegetarian myself). More the ickyness of factory farming. Not even necessarily for the animals themselves, but for the environment, and for the people who eat the meat.

    Things like standard use of anti-biotics & hormones don't do anyone much good, except the profit bottom line of those who use them. Likewise (according to Al Franken) George Bush is very fond of industrial pig farming. In small/mixed farms pig manure is used for fertiliser and doesn't cause much environmental havoc (although free-range pigs aren't that good for a fragile environment, they're very good at rooting up developing foliage), in large scale pig farms the pig effluent causes rather large environmental problems.

    I don't imagine that you have a political commitment to indusial farmers, and I know you're not on the side of the farmers and meat processers when it comes to the workers. George Bush is.

    And I still don't think meat eating is a political issue. Although it's possible you and George Bush (and me) might find some common ground on animal rights (although there'd also be a lot of uncommon ground).

  5. I think that we'd "agree" on the pornography issue, but of course he calls it obscenity and I call it harmful to women, cuz I believe that good stuff, like erotica can exist and he'd probably see that as also obscene. SO I don't really agree with him on that, we just both don't like it. And he okayed stem cell research. I agree with that. It's strange in any case because anything I would "agree" with him on I probably have totally different analysis and understanding of then he does.

  6. Anonymous11:39 am

    Your distaste for George W Bush is an example of projection.

    Because he has been seen to be correct on issues you disagree with over and over again rather than admit that you might be wrong you transfer this into Bush hatred.

  7. I'm not arguing that environmental damage isn't a political issue. I said that I thought that animal rights is a political issue.

    But not eating meat is a political *action* (for some people who do it) not a political *issue*. It is also an individualistic action, and I don't believe that individualistic actions change much. I believe shopping isn't a political issue. That I'm not going to end sweatshops by not buying t-shirts from China, or end factory farming by buying free-range eggs, or save the environment by recycling. I agree with you about the environmental damage of domesticated animals, but I don't believe that the only, or even the best, action to take in response to that is to not eat meat.

    I do wonder why individualistic actions are held up as the main solution when it comes to environmental and animal rights issues. I have some theories, that I may write about some time. But as someone who generally has the opposite view (I believe that the only time people have made any difference is when they have come together and organised, and that except under very limited circumstances what you buy or don't buy isn't going to change the wolrd) I do find it puzzling.

  8. Maia I'll never understand why bright folks like you don't realize that we all agree on most significant issues.

    Disagreement is usually on the means and NOT the end. There are exceptions like abortion or stem cell research where there is "real" disgreement, but in most cases most of us are in the same boat: Here are things you and I and GW agree on:

    Basic principles of democracy - people should choose their own leaders.

    (cf theocracies or monarchies.)

    Basic principles of human rights should apply to everybody. Bush believes in more exceptions to rights than you or I do but they are rare (e.g. Guantanamo detainees) He does NOT apply those exceptions to 99.9 percent of the population. You and I apply them to some people (we'd both agree murderers should have their liberties curtailed).

    Helping those in need is virtuous.

    Religious tolerance and freedom.

    The list is endless. I'm coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that clear thinking, bright people like yourself simply apply fundamentally irrational "political" analysis to the pressing issues of our time rather than doing what you should - finding BETTER ways and writing about that rather than just bashing the short sighted and superficial but sincere knee jerk conservatism of the American political landscape.