thomas m wilson

What do I believe?

September 14th, 2008

Would you like to characterize my political position?

Here’s something to go on.  I believe that unions help out the workers and provide needed balance to the greed of the rich.  I believe in the supreme importance of education as a light to shine into a world of dangerous ignorance.  I believe that there is an important discrepancy between the probing and educated voices of academics in universities and the ambient noise made by the mainstream media each day.  I believe that you should not derive your system of values from the advertisers book of dreams.  I believe that, due to its political quietism, postmodernism is the handmaiden of consumerism. I believe that our natural urges to eat sugary food come from our ancestor’s lives on the African savannah and that today we have to discipline ourselves to avoid these foods.  I believe that through practice you can rearrange your neural networks and become good at most things, and this includes meditating on love and peace.  I believe that our sedentary Western lifestyle is not what our bodies were designed for, and that we have to disclipline ourselves to move our bodies more.  I believe that part of citizenship should involve bioregional consciousness of the place you call home.  I believe that if you are going to eat meat in Australia it is environmentally irresponsible to not buy kangaroo.  I believe that if you buy goods made in first world Western nations you are also buying built-in trade unions, health insurance for workers, and many of the other things we value in the West as part of the package (and if you buy them from elsewhere, like China, you’re not getting those built-in features).  I believe that social capital, trust between people, is the glue that keeps a society together.  I believe that, because of the link between caring adults and exposure to good attachment figures in early childhood, we need to pay workers in day care centres more money if we want to live in society with more compassionate voters and more social capital.  I believe that because of the human propensity to compare, there are more stress hormones eroding perfectly good nervous systems in more inegalitarian societies.  I believe that politicians and beurocrats in positions of power have a vested interest to perpetuate the impression that they are in control of the way society is going, but that the reality is that, on the major trends, they are not and that social inequality and environmental destruction is on the rise.  I believe that this is the make or break century for the human species.  I believe that global oil production will peak, food prices will spiral upwards, and that there will be a significant economic recession in the coming few years.  I believe that most of our environmental problems can be fixed easily by rearranging the taxation system to tax environmentally destructive activities while reducing income tax.  I believe that we must provide more slack (build more autonomous units of energy and food production) in global and domestic systems in order to avoid a seventy car pile up on the highway (a cascading catastrophe) if something goes badly wrong somewhere along the line.  I believe in the virtues of frugality, as practiced, for example, in the few years after the second world war in England.  I believe that politicians are human beings and that they are susceptible to being shamed and influenced, sometimes more and sometimes less, by the actions and words of those that protest in the name of the environment and social equality.  I believe that because of our ancestors living in information-poor environments where it was an advantage to have a herd mentality, today most people acquiece to commonly held beliefs.  I believe in the unforced force of the better argument.  I believe in the virtues of being a gentleman, being kind, educated, compassionate, aware of one’s cultural history, curious about the very different cultural histories of others and the natural histories of other species, and being measured in one’s criticisms.  I believe in the importance of family planning in the developing world to prevent the increase in the number of failed states.  I believe that the twentieth century Western world has brought some good things, for example less physical violence, modern medicine, libraries full of books, and the mobility of the bicycle spread to millions of people.  I believe that the twentieth century Western world has also brought bad things such as the legal position of a corporation as a legal person, the conversion of ancient sunlight frozen in the form of fossil fuels into greenhouse causing gases, the conversion of urban citizens into eco-illiterate feed-lot cattle in terms of the amount of knowledge they have of the origins and nature of the food, water and energy they rely on each day for life, and plenty of loneliness for all those people in their little boxes.  I believe in the importance of being grateful and giving thanks for the good things in life.  I believe in the importance of play and laughter for mental health.  I believe that play and laughter (not to mention wider reflection on society) need lacunaes of idleness in which to flourish, and that a society obsessed with material wealth and time urgency discounts the importance of these lacunaes of idleness.  I believe that the wonders of the ancient diversity of species of non-human life on planet earth, the Creation, are a great source of spiritual reverence.

What do you think?