Generally I don't get that interested in blog tags, but this one seems like it could be interesting. I started blogging in April of 2005, about half a year after I helped "reelect" George Bush to his second term. For those who read my blog now, it's pretty obvious that my ideas have changed substantially since that time. Unfortunately part of this change happened in that six months after the election so it's not possible to see the evolution in its entirety. But regardless, there were significant changes outside that time period as well.
The Problem with Conservatism-This was my first blog post and so I think it reflects on the motivation behind the creation of this blog. Inititally my idea of the blog would be that it would be primarily a blog opposed to religion and the "values" that social conservatives hold. This focus probably had a lot of to do with the fact that I lived in Texas at the time, and was continuously exposed to Christian messages and "arguments", whether it was while I was driving on the road, reading the official editorials of our campus newspaper, or just walking around campus. Nearly everyone I came in contact with wore the badge of social conservatism with extreme pride, and for me it represented nothing but cultural backwardness and a whole list of "-isms". In this post I specifically target 'social conservatism' and omit discussion of economic/political conservatism. This was to be something that I would change later on, but at this point the blog was primarily to attack social conservative arguments and its main pillar, Christianity. An interesting note is that in this post the only political advice I give the readers is to "vote Democrat", which seems very naive looking back on.
Is Socialism Superior to Capitalism?- In this post I pose the question as to whether socialism is superior to capitalism. This idea was rather blasphemous for me at the time. Throughout most of my life I had been very patriotic and so accepted, somewhat blindly, that because the U.S. had a capitalist system that it must be necessarily the best. But this was not because I viewed inequality and class domination as good, it's just simply that previously the whole notion of 'class' was foreign to me. In the good ol' jingoistic days of my thinking, my nationalist feelings lumped all Americans together in one big community. The thought that our leaders wanted something different than the people seemed absurd. I mean, hell, we were all Americans right? Our nation is a force for freedom and democracy worldwide, right? And if our leaders cared about such ideals, then how poorly could our internal system be constructed? However, this post marks a significant change in my thinking. I still cared about the collective welfare of ALL American people, but I was coming to the realization that capitalism was not about people working together to improve their lives. The idea that we weren't a single group with the same interests was critical to my initial socialist leanings, which were more nationalistic in origin perhaps then they were for the reason that socialism is more just, is able to sustain democracy, and may be the only system capable of protecting the planet's environment. The thoughts contained in this post and comments by me were fairly uneducated at this point. I was simply interested in the topic. The majority of my other posts maintained to be about religion.
The Media-A Tool of Propaganda- This post was written right after I had watched a documentary based on Noam Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. In the documentary Chomsky puts forth his Propaganda Model, which explains right-wing, corporate bias in the media in terms of structural economic causes. This documentary and book marked a significant shift in the focus of this blog. This changed my thinking from believing that progressive change could come naturally fron discussion and the eradication of irrational religious belief. I was now more concerned with the impact that the media played, which pandered more to corporate and government interests than it did to religious interests. I started seeing this blog as more of a vehicle to circumvent the bias in the media, and began seeing capitalist control of media as more threatening to postive change than to what theists happened to believe. My blog would necessarily take a more political tone from here on out.
To the Christian Left-This blog post was directed towards progressive Christians. It was basically a call to work together towards changing society for the better and putting the rather unimportant (in terms of daily life) issues regarding whether or not there's an invisible, magical being in the sky off until a time when we've got nothing better to argue about. This post really marks a shift in focus because here I'm calling on progressive Christians to unite in opposition with leftist atheists to oppose the entirety of right-wing politics whereas just a couple months before I was calling on fiscal conservatives to unite with atheists against religious belief. This shift was mostly due to the experience I had at an anti-war rally in San Francisco a month before, which I wrote about. In this post I write
Yesterday I saw many people who could see through the bullshit that not only the adminstration puts out, but also the bullshit the media puts out. And many of these people were not atheists. And I identified with these people and felt like we were a group of thinking, concerned citizens even though I knew they probably believed in a magical sky daddy or two. See, what I've come to realize is that there are many aspects of having a realistic outlook of the world. Some of us see through the religious bullshit very easily, but then we are still fooled by the non-religious crap that we were indoctrinated with at the beginning of our lives. These things, I believe, include strong feelings of jingoism, a strong commitment to free market capitalism and the associated economic belief that both the rich and the poor "earn what they get", as well as the inability to see that the corporate-owned media is, without exaggeration, essentially propaganda. However, there are some people who see the latter stuff very early in life but still believe in the ridiculous religious stuff.
From here on atheism and attacks on religious would take a backseat to discussions based on historical events ignored in the media, contemporary media bias and criticism, and anti-capitalist discussion. However, this should not be taken that I think atheism-oriented blogging is unimportant. On the contrary, I think the elimination of blind religious devotion and its associated control on thought is of paramount importance to the creation of a citizenry capable of effective political action. My personal preferences in posting had just shifted away from this.
The Progressive Popular Front- This post and idea is very recent, but I think it also marks a significant shift in my outlook. Before August, my real-world political activism was extremely limited. I was seemingly content with reading books,learning some things, and then throwing a couple of them up on this blog. Political activism would have been fairly hard for me to do before this also, as my political beliefs were changing fairly rapidly that I didn't know if my thinking would stay stable enough to get involved with real-world activities. However, in the past few months my guilt at not participating more has come to weigh heavily on me. Additionally, my political views have changed only in details for about a year now, giving me the comfort of having a stable and somewhat "tested" outlook on the world. What good am I doing if I sit at home and read about socialist politics and history, U.S. opposition to democracy and human rights, and media issues while our world goes down the shitter? So I've decided to become more active in politics and try to change society for the better. While I am still a dedicated socialist, I am oriented my efforts around more short-term goals like universal healthcare, election reform, etc. Some people on the left will accuse me of being 'reformist'. That's fine, although maybe I should address this claim. In my opinion a socialist revolution is like jumping a creek. The act of jumping to the other side surely requires strategies outside of the official political avenues (general strikes, dual power structures, etc.) but reformism is the walking up to the edge of the creek before you jump. People cannot be instantly lifted to a higher political conciousness. I think (in the absence of major disasters) it has to be gradual. We must work to transform society little by little, with the newer society producing people capable of transforming it even more. But with this being said, I should make it clear that the extent of my 'reformism' is basically the support of Green politics. Anything less than that is not fighting for worthy change at all in my opinion.
But back to topic, in this post on the Progressive Popular Front I propose an organization which I hope will be able to make progressive changes in America, perhaps bringing the United States to the level of the other advanced Western countries. I've set up a new blog here with this purpose in mind.
Okay, thanks for reading, now to tag 5 other people. I choose:
1)breakerslion from Confusion of Ideas
2)Mookie from Meme Processing
3)Parge at the Environmental Atheist
4)DT from Drunken Tune
5)Beep Beep from Beep Beep It's Me