I have spent a lot of time during the last political season, actually it was more than a year, being involved in discussions online with people of various political persuasions. It has been interesting but I am frankly glad it is over.
Now I limit myself to CU and an occasional post just to keep my hand in at NU and DU. But in the last year to eighteen months I posted and also lurked a lot of boards from far-left to far-right to just plain far-out.
I also got on lots of email lists, to various throwaway email accounts of course, and I also utilized the IGoogle features to get a lot of political stuff, left and right, to be available whenever I log on to IGoogle.
I also was in online chat for different radio program hosts like Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes. I refused to pay for any access as I did not want to support any of these people financially.
I learned a lot. This post is not intended as a survery of the beliefs and habits of the left wing, but is just a few random notes on my travels.
Two things that never cease to astonish me about the people on the left is how many of them believe:
1. That they should be supported financially by others (through the means of government of course).
2. That people should be monitored and their speech controlled by the government.
These are oversimplifications of course, but they point to a truth, that many on the Left see government as a nanny state that exists to take care of them.( And my God, some of them seem to be on the Internet all the time!) Most of them also want the nanny state to be the only means of protection, i.e., they want the populace to be disarmed. My take on it is that they are weak and helpless so they want everyone else to be weak and helpless. And their support of gun confiscation does not astonish or even surprise me.
The nanny state of course wants to limit speech, in classifying anything critical of their agenda as Hate Speech. I know that there are hate crimes, and I believe that these crimes, and in fact all crimes, should be punished, but to add the 'hate' aspect of it is unnecessary and has the potential for much abuse.
What conservatism means to me is freedom and self-reliance. What I got from my year or more of political engagement with those on the left is an uneasy feeling when I consider actually having to live in the society that they seek to bring about.