The Future of the Grand Old Party

 

There has been much debate within the conservative movement about what to do moving forward. I believe that if the Republican Party is to be viable at all it must make some serious policy positions changes that would actually realign themselves with the small government, Constitutional federalism that they claim to support. Now, I want this to happen because I am a libertarian who does not think the 2-party system will ever allow a third party voice. They control the media, the funding, and the debates. The rules will always change to prevent the Libertarian Party, Green Party, Constitution Party, or any of the other parties that have valid thoughts on the proper position of government. In order for a third party to gain any control the entire Constitution would have to be modified to allow proportional representation.

Anyway, that’s off subject. In order for the GOP to be viable they need to actually do what they say and change policies to reflect their philosophy. These few things I think would help:

  • End the federal war on drugs. Any conservative can easily say “I think drugs are bad, I wouldn’t want drugs legal in my state, but it is not a federal issue. If those hippies in Colorado want to smoke pot the federal government shouldn’t take money from my state to stop them. Let each state deal with the consequences.”
  • Introduce real immigration reform. Free markets means free movement of goods, services, and labor. Work to end the ridiculous process for citizenship and simplify the whole process to allow those who want to work to work within the system
  • Stop talking about marriage. Social issue does NOT equal government issue. The “sanctity of marriage” is not being damaged by it, if you think your love for your spouse is being damaged by someone else’s love then you have personal issues to deal with. Also, if you somehow think that gay marriage will equal pedophilia, beastiality, or whatever you need to really think things through, there is a huge difference between consenting adults entering into an arrangement and an adult trying to marry a non-consenting child, animal, or object.
  • Disobey the 11th commandment. Reagan’s 11th Commandment (Thou shall not speak ill of another Republican) is stupid. If someone says something batshit crazy the GOP should pull funding and call them out for it. Stop circling the wagons in the name of party unity.
  • Actually be small government. That means military cuts and ending crony capitalism. Stop bailing out favored industries, stop subsidizing, stop building bases across the globe, and start actually practicing what you preach.

I think the first four would go a long way to actually helping the GOP be a viable party again that might somewhat reflect libertarian principles, and that’s all I can really hope for. These moves would actually attract younger voters, female voters, and immigrant voters. The era of the old white man running the government is coming to an end, the GOP needs to stop being neo-con corporatism light. If people want big government they will go with the Democratic Party, if they want small government right now they will stay home because the Republicans don’t actually offer a real difference. You can support social conservatives and still not ask for government interference in the bedroom, you can support business without subsidizing it, and you can support a strong national defense without invading every nation which creates more enemies.

Quick Book Quote

A quote sent to me from one of my partners. It is from the book “The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss.

“It is easier to understand if you think of it in terms of music. Sometimes a man enjoys a symphony. Elsetimes he finds a jig more suited to his taste. The same holds true for lovemaking. One type is suited to the deep cushions of a twilight forest glade. Another comes quite naturally tangled in the sheets of narrow beds upstairs in inns. Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, loved, and finely played, to have at last her own true music made.

Some might take offense at this way of seeing things, not understanding how a trouper views his music. They might think I degrade women. They might consider me callous, or boorish, or crude.

But those people do not understand love, or music, or me.”

the perks of being a wallflower

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On the recommendation of an amazing friend I read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. I’d never read it before, though I wish I had, particularly when I was in high school, though I wonder if my conservative self would have made it through the pretty innocent sex scenes in the book. I somehow doubt it.

I really enjoyed it for two reasons. First, it’s a pretty good book with some interesting insight into “wallflowers”, something I think accurately describes me from time to time. It is much easier for someone like me to sit and observe a situation instead of becoming involved. I certainly think a certainly level of observation is necessary for an introvert like me but it is easy to get lost in that. Life is to be lived, not watched. I struggle with this constantly but I find it getting easier as I get older and am able to cast off any stupid social concerns.

The second reason I enjoyed it is the important one to me. This is a book that is important to a friend of mine and she even sent me her copy in the mail to read. It was filled with highlighted passages from her reading and it gave me a glimpse into her personality… it was a bonding experience, almost intimate to read this and see what was important to her. I am someone that often gives away my books with notes written in them, but I give them away for two reasons: I think the person could benefit from it or the person is important to me. I feel like I received this for both of those reasons and for that I am very grateful.

Magical Refocus

This last weekend two people who are dear to me and I decided to eat some mushroom that had psilocybin in it. I’ve done this a few times in the past with limited results, most times I feel next to nothing and feel like I just wasted $15. I did have one really good trip at Burning Man this last year and really that encouraged me to try it again.

This weekend trip was great. Like most drugs the greatest benefit for me is learning about myself and shrooms are a great tool for that. I have really settled in on the fact that drug use for me is an intimate experience and I prefer to be alone or with a small group. I also tend to like darker environments, well lit places tend to hurt my eyes (physiological or psychological?) but mostly I just feel anxious. I feel much more comfortable laying down in a soft place with low lights and my thoughts. Some people take shrooms and enjoy laughing and talking, that’s great for them but not for me. I do think that with the right people and mood tripping could be an incredibly sensual and intimate experience for people who love each other to share, hopefully I get to really dive into that in the future.

Anyway, I really did some analysis into myself to look at my own prejudices and what I want in the future. I feel much more refocused to work on my writing and am starting on that tonight. By coincidence a image came across my Facebook feed yesterday as well that really struck a cord and I’ve included it below. I feel like my book is really starting to get some structure in my mind and I’m excited about the future. Hopefully as I write I will actually be able to hash out some of my ideas and spend some time proof-reading and refining. I never proof-read and I constantly find errors in my writing, it works for a blog because I do this for me and I don’t care, it won’t work for a book though.

On Open Relationships

I feel like the first thing I need to state is that open-relationships and polyamory are two different things. The former deals with sexual behavior while the latter is matters of intimacy, love, and partnership. Many (most?) poly families are closed and sex only occurs within the group of loving, consenting, adults.

While being in an open relationship is about freedom of sexual play the emphasis for me is on the freedom, not the sex. It is the freedom to be yourself, act as you wish without harming others, and enjoy the bond you may experience with another person. It is living your life without someone else putting restrictions on your behavior so that you aren’t concerned about identically behaving in a way that would cause the other person to be jealous (or worse, intentionally behaving that way and working to cover it up).

It really is much more about trust and communication than anything. Sex can be a fun and safe experience without emotional attachment. It can be an ego boost, an adrenaline rush, a surge of pleasure without making a big deal about it.On open relationship acknowledges that and also states that you trust the person to be honest about their attachment and communicate with you about what happens.

I’m not a one night stand type of person but it’s nice not to feel restrained if an opportunity and desire presents itself. Maybe I have too much of an emphasis on freedom, that is certainly possible, but the idea of preventing someone from doing something they enjoy because I might feel jealous (an internal emotion that only I can control) seems unfair. I practice open relationships because I want freedom and I want freedom for those I love. I don’t want any of my partners to feel doubt or question whether they should act based on what they think I might think. I want them to enjoy life to the fullest and I want to do the same.

Post Script: I realize that neither polyamory or open-relationships implies group sex as is implied in the picture, I just kind of liked the picture and thought it might catch an eye or two.

Poly Communication – My Story This Week

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Getting a little personal here…

It’s been a bit of a hectic week on the relationship front for me. Many people know that I call myself a polyamorist, which I am, but there is a big difference between subscribing to a philosophical ideal and actually living your life that way. I’ve been seeing two girls for a while now, both of them had been aware of each other on a philosophical level but there was never really any details discussed. That changed this week.

There was not an attempt to deceive or anything like that, it is just that the specifics had never really needed to be discussed. This week was time to end that and I talked to both of my partners about the other one. It went really well and communication really is key. There were the normal emotions but for the most part jealousy was not an issue. The information provided in The Ethical Slut and other poly resources really helped me out with these discussions to make sure everyone’s needs and desires were met.

It was an exhausting week, I’m very much an INTJ and between my relationships, work, and the holiday season I feel tired… satisfied, but tired. I’m happy though. My relationships are going great and I have found two incredibly, independent, and intelligent women who provide me with friendship, intimacy, and love. They have not met each other yet due to geographic distance but I hope that will eventually change. Polyamory is proving to be the right relationship choice for me at this point in my life.

Post Script After talking to my partners it appears I have view things a little more smoothly than they do. This is not surprising, I admittedly tend to be bad at understanding or noticing emotional issues. It’s better than it used to be but I’m still learning and growing.

The Ethical Slut Part 2

I finished “The Ethical Slut” today. In the end it was incredibly good and it is now the book I would recommend most for anyone interested in reading more about relationships and love. It appeals to all types, including monogamist relationships.

My monogamous friends may get great value from the discussion of jealousy and communication, as well as a greater understanding of polyamory. Reading more about how people with different lifestyles view the world is beneficial, particularly when many see open relationships as some sort of assault on monogamy. Poly people know and love that monogamy will be around for a long time, it is a legitimate and amazing relationship setup. It just isn’t for everyone.

People who are interested in opening up their relationships or may be interested in polyamory will also find the courage and information needed to try new things. You never know what you really like unless you push outside your comfort zone. This book may provide support for that.

Polyamorist’s (such as myself) can gain better discussion points and valuable practical advice. It’s also nice to occasionally feel like we aren’t crazy. All in all it was a great read that is easy to comprehend and quick to get through. If someone was interested in reading it I’d gladly give them my copy to enjoy.

From the Ideal

So I had a conversation recently with someone who really made me think about how I think. I guess I’ve taken for granted my own thought process and never really articulated it much. This conversation allowed me to harness how I think and gave me the inspiration to vocalize it.

Basically, I very explicitly start with the Ideal after asking myself a question or two. This process was talked about in my post about becoming a vegan (which I suck at but I’m trying). I ask myself what the ideal situation would be and then begin to bring that ideal closer to reality.

To give an example. In an ideal world for me people would always be naked when climate allowed. I believe this would remove social judgement  improve people’s views of their own bodies, help eliminate the over-sexualization of the human form, and provide greater artistic inspiration for people. I think much of the problems that come about are due to suppression of our bodies.

Well, I don’t live in a world where nudity is the norm, so I work with what I’ve got. That means an interest in visiting nudist environments and events, as well as (ideally) having friends that I could be nude around. Even in the pretty liberal crowds I run with the idea of just hanging out and watching a movie naked with your friends is pretty extreme (or maybe it isn’t but nobody has brought it up yet). Until I get to my ideal I act as I can (nude in my room) and encourage conversation and actions to change the social norms.

So, that’s my thought process in a nutshell. Take an ideal, figure out how close you can get to it, and stay there as much as you can.

Anarchist Soldier

I am a soldier. After September 11, 2001 I joined the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division as an infantryman. I served in both Afghanistan and Iraq in varying capacities and ended with an Honorable Discharge in the fall of 2005.

I am an anarchist. I believe that it is morally wrong to use violence against a peaceful person and monopolizing violence into the hands of only a few does not minimize the harm from a moral perspective or a practical one.

These two identities are not contradictory and I think it is harmful for the liberty movement to demonize and verbally attack soldiers and police officers. They are individuals who can be talked to, reasoned with, and shown that the best way to protect family and friends is to end aggression. That is what most soldiers want, to protect those they care about. Unfortunately protecting from threats and joining the monopoly of force has become so linked that it is difficult for most people to conceive of defense without a centrally planned, tax-based military.

There will always be a need for protectors, people to step up and tell an aggressive force that they shall advance no further. Something I have learned since my time in the military is that I can still protect those I care about, and even be part of an organization dedicated to that, without the government. In fact, the government acts as a bureaucratic mess that prevents soldiers from protecting as efficiently as possible. The government entrenches us in unnecessary wars, puts soldiers in positions where violence is necessary to save their lives but does nothing to protect their family, and provides them with equipment that is often years behind what is actually available. The best way a soldier can protect his family and friends is to leave the military and come home.

I understand the more vocal anarchists criticisms of the military and soldiers. It is true, individuals are responsible for their actions. It is true that many soldiers have committed crimes and should be held responsible. It is not true that every soldier should be categorized and demonized for the actions of a few.

Even if it is intellectually consistent to demonize the military it is very simply a bad tactic. Soldiers will protect their own and are trained to view the world in very stark “us versus them” terms, it isn’t ideal but it is the reality. If liberty activists really do want to shift the world towards a more peaceful place they need to convince soldiers, as individuals, that the best way to protect the lives of those they love is to opt out of the military and honor their oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic”. Their oath is not to a president, a commander, a war, or a corporation, it is to the Constitution and they can be made aware of that.

Peace will come faster by convincing the military to put down its weapons than to call them murderers and make enemies of them. Ron Paul realized this and the military supported him financially, and they will support the liberty movement all the way to anarchy if we treat them as individuals.

The Ethical Slut

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I started reading “The Ethical Slut” this week after having it recommended to me many times over the last few months by several people (one of which is the amazing author of Multiplicities of Love). So far, I have really, really enjoyed it. The authors have said things in the first few chapters that I’ve really been thinking for the last few years but express it in a much more coherent way. When you really start to analyze their argument you find that it is revolutionary but it is really logical and based in reality.

The authors attack the old paradigm of looking at sex and love, and encourage people to explore the type of relationships that work best for them instead of defaulting to societal pressures. It is a very individualistic and libertarian view. As is often the case they are working to claim words that were once derogatory and embrace them in a positive light. In this way “slut” loses it’s negative connotation and becomes “a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you”. It is an inspiration to be yourself.

I may in the future have more to say about this book as I go through it but what really stuck out to me at this point is the “What We Believe” section, because these are things I believe as well.

  • You are already whole: you don’t need a relationship to define or complete you. The only thing in this world you can control is yourself and the fundamental sexual unit is one person. Adding more people may be fun and intimate but it does not complete anyone
  • Starvation Economics: This is something I’ve discussed many times with a dear friend or two, it’s the idea that sex, love, and intimacy is a finite resource. That if you give love to one person you do not have it to give to another or it somehow loses value. There are real limits on things like time, money, and energy but love does not conform to normal economic principles.
  • Openness can be the solution, not the problem: New sexual relationships and introducing new love into your life is not necessarily an attempt to avoid intimacy with your partner. Many people find that having an open relationship improves intimacy with their primary partners

The authors then state that this is what they believe and it is up to everyone to come up with their own beliefs based on what works best for them. I agree with both the beliefs stated above and the encouragement to find out what works best for each individual. It is only when we analyze, experiment, practice, and live our beliefs that we can find people that share our values and create intimate relationships.