Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Republican Friend

Most of my friends are Democratic leaning. The vast majority will almost certainly vote for President Obama in the fall. And, as a rule, they despise most Republicans, the Republican Party, and what the Republican Party supposedly stands for.

I have a friend who works for the City of Atlanta. He once invited me to a cocktail hour gathering and introduced me as his "Republican friend". This has not exactly been a new experience for me. For years I've been that "Republican friend" to a lot of people. Apparently we're quite a minority among the upper middle class twenty something demographic.

The funny thing is, I'm not even a Republican. I've never registered to vote as a Republican. I've never even registered to vote. I just like to follow politics and am interested in public policy. I'm pretty unusual in that respect. It had nothing to do with my major in college (computer science) and isn't relevant to my job now (software developer). It's just an interest of mine that I follow very closely.

And the set of views I have toward politics and public policy is, for the most part, very libertarian. Many people like to proclaim that they are "fiscally conservative, socially liberal" but they either have no clue what that means or are lying to themselves. I don't. That's exactly what I am. I actually believe in small government.

That means I think we should end the War on Drugs and legalize marijuana, cocaine, and other prohibited substances. I also don't have a problem with gays getting married (actually I think the government should get out of the marriage business altogether). Nor am I particularly fazed if a woman decides to get an abortion (preferably non late-term). These kind of issues would normally put me squarely in the Democratic Party.

But I also favor lower taxes and flattening the tax code. I think corporations get a bad rap and that regulations on them should be a lot lighter. I also believe that Citizens United was the right call and that we have a Constitutionally protected individual right to own a firearm. I also think we should gradually phase out Social Security and Medicare, and drastically reduce the Federal government's role in welfare (which should be primarily a local issue).

This is why most of my Democratic leaning friends call me their "Republican friend". And it's quite revealing, in a lot of ways. Because you'll have a lot of people who proclaim (and many of my friends have done so) that things like gay rights, women's rights, and drug legalization are more important to them than things like taxes and regulation. But when they know all of my views, they still view me as more Republican than Democratic. Which means that they subconsciously believe that things like the economy and an individual's economic situation are more important than an individual's social and civic freedoms. Either that, or they say it so that they are politically correct but when the chips are down, they know what's really important.

So they'll actually listen to what I have to say. And when I make a good point, they can concede it because most of the times because when I point it out, it's not quite the same if some archetypal Republican who's either a racist redneck or an avaricious, rich WASP. It's not quite Nixon to China but it's a similar dynamic.

Anyways, I don't have a real point to this post. It's just something I thought I'd share. After all, that's why you're reading this blog, right?


  1. Interesting post, Jay and you do have beliefs that closely resemble mine. I would say that I hope you might some day reconsider your choice not to vote. It is, for myself anyway, the ACT of voting, the actual filling out and casting of the ballot, (or pulling the lever as the case may be), that matters, not who one votes for. It is a right and privilege that many around the world do not have and voting is my own little celebration of our freedom to have a voice, however small in the country.

    In any case, another fine post.

  2. It's always nice to find people that have the same views as myself.