Independents and Bias
by, 08-28-12 at 04:53 PM (2511 Views)
I would like to pick a nit that has been bugging me for a while.
I have recently changed my lean from Libertarian to Independent. My reasoning for this is pretty simple. I just am not sure I fit the label Libertarian accurately enough to be comfortable with the tag.
I tend to be a right leaning moderate who favors small government with freedom-leaning social views and in favor of conservative fiscal policy. Pretty libertarian, right? Well I am also a conservationist environmentally, favor the development green energy and would like to see my culture become more responsible with its resources and ecology. I would rather save than spend, and I would rather conserve than use. I would rather be careful than clean up messes. I am not a flag shirt wearing type of patriot, and I don't like that Lee Greenwood song at all. I am against most abortion, but for the legalization of some drugs (though I do not use them). I am mixed about capital punishment, and have problems with the concept of unbridled capitalism.
Some of this just doesn't jive with the sort of Tea Party majority of modern libertarianism, so I have stepped out from under this label. And even though the libertarian umbrella is certainly large enough for me to stand under, I think I am far enough away from the popular view of the modern libertarian that I'd rather get rained on a little.
Now I do not hate these Tea Partiers. In fact I respect them. As I respect to a lesser extent the "occupy" folks. In fact this free expression is a core value for me. I might think the guy who sits in a tree for some political purpose is a fool, but I'll defend his right to be that fool.
So, I come to the nit I mean to pick.
I did not become Independent to hide behind some vaguery. In fact, I try to express my beliefs as clearly as I can. But I often hear (mostly partisan) folks lambaste those who are Independents for hiding their obvious left or right lean behind the vague title. Now I might give this criticism some credence when it is directed towards obviously biased folks who call themselves "moderate" but I still think the criticism is overdone.
In fact there is a logical error here. "Independent' does NOT mean unbiased or without a lean. On the contrary I think Independents can have very strong leans in one direction or another, sometimes TOO strong for a conventional label. And though some might use the label to conceal a lean, I think many of us are just trying to be honest that our particular combination of leans does not fit comfortably enough in one stereotype.
So next time you want to accuse an Independent of having a biased opinion please remind yourself:
We never said we didn't!
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