Political Musings

2001-04-21

I've been thinking a bit lately about something I haven't thought about in some time, namely politics. I'm not sure what's triggered it, since over time I've become less and less interested in political matters, to the point where I've considered writing an essay entitled "In Praise of Apathy" (which I still might do sometime). Partly it might be some reading I've been doing of late, namely Yevgeny Zamyatin (Russian writer of the late teens and early twenties) and Langston Hughes (Harlem Renaissance poet) -- Zamyatin was a Bolshevik turned individualist and Hughes seems to have been a communist sympathizer. Partly it's my continuing experience with the mind-bending meme known as open-source or free software, which in some respects is almost socialistic (the leader of the Free Software Foundation coined the phrase "copyleft" to describe his ideals in opposition to the intellectual-property rearguard that uses copyright as a figleaf for some questionable practices). Partly it's my own continuing evolution away from most things Randian, or at least from what I call the Randian Right.

In any case I find myself moving farther and farther to the left politically. When people ask where I stand, I tend to say that I'm a moderate left-libertarian. I'll be damned if Zamyatin and Hughes don't have some important things to say -- that whole humanist strand in Marxism (or, more generally, on the left) is valuable, I think, especially because humanism is something that many on the right lose sight of, to their detriment. My sympathies are still strongly libertarian (I'm not quite ready to the join the Objectivist Statists movement :), but I find that I just don't get worked up anymore about government activities that are not rights-violating, such as parks and libraries and roads and such (maybe it's because I'm a heavy user of such things -- well, I don't use the roads much, but I do use the bicycle paths). Unfortunately musings such as these make me feel even more homeless politically than ever, which feeds my apathy to some extent. <sigh/>


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