Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April's Views in 30 Questions and Answers

I found this questionnaire on a blog authored by a self-proclaimed Libertarian whose entire worldview is exactly the opposite of anything related to liberty.  Anyway, I thought I'd go ahead and answer these questions myself.  Some of the questions read like they were written by 12-year-olds, but it's kinda fun, anyway.  Feel free to share your responses in the comments.
1). Do you believe in God?/What religion are you?
No.  I used to, as sort of a childhood American default, and went to church sometimes, then briefly ventured into the world of evangelical youth groups, gradually stopped going to weekly meetings, then gradually just stopped thinking that "God," at least in the Christian way I understood it to be, made any sense.  The notion of a omniscient, judgmental creator does feels incredibly, well, made up.  Not to mention other notable objections about heaven, hell, Leviticus, slavery... I mean, the list goes on.  And I'm not just trying to pick on Christianity.  I have the same complaints about practically all organized religions that I've encountered.  As far as which religion I was: Episcopalian.
2). Do you believe in an afterlife? What do you believe happens when you die?
I don't know if I believe in an "afterlife."  If there is such a thing, I don't think it would involve human-looking, slightly transparent images of ourselves, but probably has something to do with energy that doesn't die.  But really, I don't know.  I'm hoping reincarnation is real.  That sounds the most fun.
3). Are you proud to be from whatever country you are from?
Since I had nothing to do with where I was born, I feel a little ridiculous claiming to be "proud" of it.  I'm more likely to be proud of my smaller communities and our accomplishments than those of the entire nation, the vast majority of which I have little to no practical connection to.  And anyway, no, there's not all that much to be currently proud of, in terms of what the US is all about right now.
4). What is your view on gay marriage? Homosexuality in general?
I'm increasingly more frustrated as time goes on with questions like this.  The clearest answer I can give is: Some people are gay.  Get the fuck over it.
5). Do you think sex before marriage is okay?
Marriage is a human-created institution and has nothing inherent to do with sexual behavior.  I used to be hung up on it, when I was around 15 or so, but that was largely the fault of the aforementioned evangelical experiment.  I quickly got over believing that it mattered whether or not people were married before they had sex.
6). How do you feel that sex education should be handled in schools?
By teaching it to students without bias or misinformation.
7). Do you want to get married and/or have kids?
I’m married, and we probably want kids to happen at some undetermined time in the future, but not just yet.
8). Do you think any drugs should be legalized? Do you think there should be an age for drinking?
Legalize marijuana, because it's stupid not to.  And 21 is a fine age for drinking legally, in my opinion.  I know many do it earlier anyway, but I don't see a benefit to lowering the age to, say, 18 or 19.  For what purpose?  If it could be demonstrated that it would lower the rates of alcohol consumption, alcohol poisoning, DWIs, etc., then I'd be for it.  I'm either unaware of any compelling evidence to that effect, or there isn't any.
9). Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?
I don't advocate forced childbirth, so I'm pro-choice.  Also see this.
10). Have any opinions about year-round schooling?
Hmm, haven't looked into it much.  Sounds like a good idea, in theory.
11). What do you think about prostitution? Should it be legal?
I'm no fan of prostitution, but it's pointless to criminalize it.  Like abortion, it will (and so obviously does) happen regardless of legality, should, in theory, be victimless, and causes more harm to its participants when criminalized than it would if it were legal.  Prostitution, and the problems leading to, and resulting from, prostitution and some other kinds of sex work would decrease tremendously in a gender-equal society.  That should be the problem we focus on; in the meantime, we need to ensure that the human rights of sex workers aren't violated, and that they are safe.  Legalization of prostitution is one way to move forward there.
12).  Do you think men today are too “wimpy” and need to “man up”? How do you feel about gender roles as a whole?
I wish I could just pee on this question, because that would be more expressive than any words I could say about the absurdity of the very foundation of such a question.  No, "men today" are not "too" "wimpy" or "need to man up."  People in general should be responsible folks who help others and act compassionately and non-violently.  This is not just the responsibility of men.  And socially- and legally-enforced gender roles do nothing but harm all genders.  The pursuit of happiness is a pretty popular right here in the US, isn't it?
13). Do you think there should be an age to get tattoos/piercings without the consent of a parent?
18 is fine.  I mean, it's an arbitrary age restriction, really, and the assumption that people under 18 would make regrettable decisions about ink on their bodies by default is silly, especially considering the ridiculous tattoo decisions I made at 18 and later.  Truthfully, I think that post-high school is a good time, and 18 corresponds with that pretty well.  I'm sort of meh about age restrictions in general.
14).  Do you believe in aliens?
I think it would be arrogant to write off the idea that there are other life forms on other planets.  But hell if I know...
15). Do you believe in regrets? Do you have any terrible ones?
Do I "believe in" regrets?  Huh?  Since regret is an actual thing, then I would have to "believe in it," wouldn't I?  As far as my own regrets, nothing sticks out in my mind as particularly terrible.
16). What do you want to happen to your body when you die?
Hmm.  Maybe something similar to what Nate did on Six Feet Under.
17). How about that cloning stuff?
I... don't know?  Another thing I haven't really bothered to form much of an opinion on.  
18). What is your take on people who self harm (cutting, burning, scratching etc etc.)

I'm not about to judge people who self-harm.  Clearly, though, the desire to self-harm is an indication of a problem that should be addressed, and with compassion.
19). Do you think high schools should give out free contraceptives?
I definitely believe that free contraception should be available in school clinics.
20). What do you think about plastic surgery?
It is not inherently bad, but the reasons many people choose it are.  Not necessarily because of the people making the decision, but because of social pressures causing insecurity that propels a person to make such a drastic decision.
21). What do you think about the death penalty?
I am adamantly opposed to capital punishment in every single circumstance.  Besides being a barbaric method of punishment, the system is clearly flawed.  For the State to murder even one innocent person is far too many.  And I don't believe that any person has the right to determine when another person should die.
22). Do you say your country’s national anthem/pledge of allegiance when it is said/listened to?
I kind of like the National Anthem, but think that reciting a pledge of allegiance is a gross display of blind nationalism.  Requiring it of school children is especially gross.
23).  What do you think about thinspo?
I had to look up "thinspo," but now that I know what it is, ack.  Back in the day when I had a LiveJournal that I updated regularly and participated in the LJ community, I lurked on some of those Thinspo pages... at that time, called "pro-anamia" (pro-anorexia and bulimia).  The place where these people are, personally, is really just terrifying.  The only thing these communities inspire people to do is to further destroy their bodies and health in pursuit of weight loss.  
24). Euthanasia – Your thoughts?
I watched a documentary called Right to Die a year or so ago, and it was haunting in all the wrong ways.  I don't want to say I'm opposed to someone choosing the way they will die, but the thought of it is deeply disturbing to me since watching this film.
25).  Do you think violent video games should be banned?
I'm wary of "banning" entertainment-related things.  I won't play violent games on principle (stomping on Koopas and shooting fireballs at Bowser totally don't count), but I can't really get behind the idea that we should outright ban such games.  It supports a violent society by glorifying and accepting violence, but it doesn't necessarily cause it.  
26).  Which do you think should be taught in schools: Evolution or creationism?
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why any student should be taught "creationism" with the intention of claiming it is the way human life happened.  Evolution should be taught in science classes, obviously.  Creationism has a place in religion classes, philosophy classes, and others; religion has no place masquerading as science.
27).  “Illegal” downloading – Yay or nay?
Owning music that was obtained without paying the artist or company responsible is theft.  That's not to say I don't do it (I sure as hell can't afford to actually buy Photoshop, for example, even though I've almost always had the latest version...).  I think, given the nature of technology, that it's about time we consider other options in terms of how we pay for media.  Anyway, things like Rhapsody are pretty great, and cheap, for access to nearly unlimited music.  I guess, when it comes down to it, I buy things that I really appreciate, as often as I can.  I buy music from local artists and pay Rhapsody to stream whatever else I want.  But I illegally download Lady Gaga and XTC albums to put on my mp3 player.  I guess I don't feel that bad about it.  But I see why I should.  Moral dilemma, aaaugh.
28).  Do you think zero tolerance policies are effective in achieving their objectives?
Generally, not really.  Many punishments that result in such policies tend to bypass the spirit of the related law and wind up unfairly punishing people for otherwise innocent things.  Like the kids who get suspended from school for having a Swiss Army Knife in their car on school property.  I mean, come on.
29). Do you feel as though women should be able to walk around topless like men? Why or why not?
In a perfectly egalitarian society, there wouldn't be a problem with both men and women having exposed chests in public.  But since breasts on women are highly sexualized in society (and their primary function, breastfeeding, actually found to be repulsive by so many folks), it's probably not a good idea.  In short: yes, women *should* be able to walk around topless, but enforcing such a freedom would probably not work out so well in our current social climate, realistically.
30). Do you think the internet should be censored?

What?  No.

What about you?