Why is it assumed that just because someone is an atheist, that they have to be a liberal? In essence, There are 2 sets of issues in politics. Fiscal and Social. That is at the extreme basic level..Money and Morals, if you can call them that. What happens if you have a 50/50 view with each of the major parties? What if you believe in low taxes and limited government? Well, then you are a Republican, right? What if you are an Atheist, but believe in low taxes and limited government? That does not make you a liberal.
I think that Atheists and homosexuals always think they have to align themselves with Democrats, because they are the opposite of "right-wing religious wackos"..To me that is not the case. I see most Liberal Democrats as a welfare mongering, hate spewing, illogical people. The party is generally filled with people with blinders on that think they have to oppose anything with an "R" in front of it. They think that all repulicans are going to overturn Roe v. Wade and impose religious rule on the country. I am sure there are those types in the Republican party, maybe more than we think..but, all in all, I doubt they could ever get anything like that through congress. So, you basically have to think about what issues are important to you, and what issues are likely to be pushed on the agenda. There is no perfect party for me..I have generally considered myself a Libertarian, but they have a few "planks" that are based in religion also..only difference is, they believe in personal liberty FIRST.
I guess most people choose which things are more important to them and align with those. Being without religion does not make me necessarily ANTI-religion. I could care less what people want to believe as long as they don't infringe on my rights doing it.
That being said, I choose to focus on Fiscal issues, and not social ones when I vote. Religion should stay out of politics. I am FISCALLY conservative, and SOCIALLY tollerant.!! I have gay friends, I have religious friends, I have preacher friends, I have minority friends. Strangely, I don't think I have atheist friends..at least none that claim to be...and none that really know I am. Only my family. I guess I am a closet atheist, but that is my business. It is no ones business what my beliefs are. I believe that being without religion is not a stance that I have to make a major part of my existence..I don't have to make sure others think like me..or make sure that I am an activist for the cause. To me, it is not a "cause", it is just who I am.
But, I most certainly am NOT a liberal. I believe that the current administration has done more to harm this country in 3 years than the previous bunch did in 8 years. I am also NOT a Bush fan, didn;t vote for him either time..he was a borderline Socialist himself. Thanks for listening and please don't consider this an attack on anyone that is a liberal. It is your decision alone, I just implore people to think and not just accept the "default" position..just because someone is a christian does not mean they are stupid in all aspects of thought.
They all have "universal" health care, but still have a survival rate from major diseases and surgery less than that of an american. Our health care in the USA is second to none.."free" of not. Nothing is free it is all in the massive tax rate they pay.
Also, I am not sure what "conservative" means in canada, but in america it represents a class of voter that is interested in smaller government, lower taxes, less government interference..Not Obama at all. The bad part of "conservative" here, is that they are generally also part of the "christian" coalition and want to tell people how to run their lives with bible morals. That is the part I do not identify with. There is no perfect party for a fiscally responsible atheist in america..sadly.
There is a lot of misinformation out there put out by the US lobby groups. I heard a debate last year at a prestigious forum between a us senator and one of our health care doctors. A lot of facts and figures were thrown out and there was no knockout punch delivered by the senator. I had to laugh when the pharmaceutical industry was saying Canadian drugs were unsafe. Just listened to a book about the duplicity of this industry by a former Editor of New England Journal of Medicine. There is no free enterprise there. Just money corrupting the research process and maximizing profit.
The company I work for has several branches in Europe. I work a lot with my counterpart in Netherlands, and you will find the deal there no bargan. His basic income taxes are SO much higher than mine that I can buy good coverage for less than the differences. Add to that the fact that they are now charged for 'insurance' coverage above the high taxes they pay makes it no bargain.
And VAT. He comes to US on business a couple times a year and buys clothing for his family because it's a lot cheaper.
Be careful about 'happiness' scores. Attempting to cross culturally quantify a pretty much undefined attribute is not very hard science (consider too that hunter gather groups often score well on 'happiness' with NO medical care, no secondary education, no government benefits).
Whenever I come to the U.S as well it is always a pleasure to get the cheaper alcohol without the sin taxes and probably that goes for all my countrymen. A few of us may bemoan the higher taxes as well like your Netherlands friend. But no provincial or federal party here could get elected on following the American model of health care and removing those extra taxes that pay for health care. There has to be something to that.
I'm glad you can get good coverage for yourself, but don't you worry about the people who are left out in the cold?
The odd thing is the overall per person health care costs are lower in Canada with an all inclusive system than the costs in a supposedly free enterprise system.
I recently saw a show about a country (can't remember which one) that studied both of our systems and came up with an even better model. So there is always room for improvement.
The confusing tax code is exactly why we need to go to a fair tax. That way ALL people pay their share..including illegal immigrants who currently get away with using resources that they do not contribute to..All people buy stuff..rich people buy more than poor people.
Also, 14% of Romney's millions contributes a lot more to our "government income" than 20% of a 30K salary. Especially when you consider that most people get their tax bill back at refund time..some will get back MORE than they contributed. Sound fair.?
there it is
I think it depends upon where you start:
Are you a Liberal because of your atheism, or
are you an atheist because of your liberalism ?
Liberalism reenforces atheism, and atheism reenforces liberalism.
That you find yourself in the political minority here at A/N is a result of your own dissociative inconsistency:
At the beginning you say:
“I see most Liberal Democrats as a welfare mongering, hate spewing, illogical people. The party is generally filled with people with blinders on...”
and at the end:
“Thanks for listening and please don't consider this an attack on anyone that is a liberal.”
I think you are a troll.
Defending Rush Limbaugh on A/N is not consistent with the acceptance of reason and measured thinking necessary to truly embrace atheism.
I too am an atheist who is also a fiscal conservative (Republicans are NOT fiscal conservatives). I support limited government that does not spend what it does not have.
A government that neither gets in my way, nor attempts to protect me from my own stupidity.
When I was much younger I considered myself a liberal (also considered myself a god believer). But then I began to realize that while liberals talked 'freedom' (as do Repub style conservatives), all they really meant was people 'freedom' to behave in the way that they (the liberals) approved. At the same time they were all for a government who 'took care' of people while limiting peoples' options, enforced a kind of correct-think, decided it knew better than you what to do with your money, and bought off people with all sorts of government handouts that the government cannot actually afford, 'paid for' with incredible, productivity destroying debt, and hidden by a sustained policy of currency devaluation.
I'm reminded of the cartoon where one pig in the barn is saying to the other '... and best of all, the food is FREE..'
Good points, but you seem not to have the same understanding of liberalism that I do. It is not an attempt to grab and coerce, but adherance to a social contract in which a collective is valued over the individual. I can see how that would be scarily repulsive to an individualist conservative of the Ayn Rand bent, but there's no getting around, except temporarily, the fact that we are a social species. We thrive collectively, and suffer individualist cheaters because they too add something beyond thier selfish intent as long as they don't become too prominent. Such conservatism has a valid place in a working society even when dogmatic adherance to its purity is locally harmful to the other individals it directly opposes. It's a part of the cost of doing business, like the brake on a machine that does nobody direct good while siphoning off collected energy, but without which the machine would accelerate out of control. It does seem a shame when conservatives are blind to the fact that they exist as a necessary drag on the system and instead identify with the engine, which is by definition progressive.
We are a social species and we do suffer from cheaters. In fact, evolutionary psychology and other research suggests that cheater detection are parts of our mindset (there have been experiments that presented a problem either as a cheater detection, or as a generic logic problem... people were much more successful at the cheater version). Even other primates have to deal with cheaters.
But pre-empting cheaters is not the same as viewing the (non voluntary) collective above the individual. History has shown that without being continually cut back, government becomes more and more intrusive, and more and more can be conveniently justified as 'for the public good', though actually it's really the whim of whatever group is in power.
There is a need for principle of law, but the problem is that the law should not, cannot be all things to all people. Once you've provided for national defense, and provide a trustworthy legal structure for citizens to defend their rights, person and property, you've pretty much filled the necessary role for government to play.
Beyond this point, the government gets into areas where it is not sustainable or justifiable, either financially or morally.
Is that how you define general welfare?
Jay H gives us his interpretation of history:
"History has shown that without being continually cut back, government becomes more and more intrusive, and more and more can be conveniently justified as 'for the public good', though actually it's really the whim of whatever group is in power."
But this has nothing to do with liberalism, because no liberal believes in bigger government for the sake of bigger government. What this observation of yours has to do with government is that humans have the unique human urge to improve the human condition, and most of us realize that government is the tool we can utilize to accomplish the improvement of the human condition, or, as you put it, “the public good”.
When government gets co opted by those who view its purpose as advancing some other condition, we then have conflict.
Right now, in our country’s history, liberals are struggling to return government purpose to improving the human condition from those who hold that the purpose of government is to improve the business condition.
Government becomes “more intrusive” when it begins to serve the interests of those who see the purpose of government as something other than improving the human condition.
It isn’t “cutting back” government that is necessary. Redirecting government is what is needed.
So much of our government today is operated to actually prevent the improvement of the human condition. Opponents fight health care for all, advocate war before diplomacy, work to improve the Corporate condition by eliminating rules put in place to protect the very environment in which humans and all living things must exist.
So much effort and money put to fighting the very idea of improving the human condition. Labels get hurled as epithets : “Socialist” “Marxist”
jay H is persistent however:
"Once you've provided for national defense, and provide a trustworthy legal structure for citizens to defend their rights, person and property, you've pretty much filled the necessary role for government to play".
Individual rights are advanced only when the human condition is improved, not vice versa.
It isn’t so much that we have to limit government to filling the bare necessities of life, it is that we have to overcome the conservative’s limited view of government.