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When will we see 'mostly liberal" in the Weekly?

Original post made by Bill, Professorville, on Mar 23, 2007

The March 21 Weekly has an article called "The online opinionator". It contains this fragment:

This story contains 48 words.

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Comments (12)

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Posted by Liberal??
a resident of another community
on Mar 23, 2007 at 8:24 pm

It is because of the area we live in and the nature of journalists. The presumed standard is "liberal", so you can assume if there is no modifier, it is a "liberal" ( however we define that nowadays) viewpoint.

Frankly, I am finding more and more often that opinions that support the old-fashioned liberal notions of freedom of speech, equality of opportunity, freedom of religion, one person-one vote, due process, etc are more and more often being termed "conservative". It is very scary, I think I am turning into one of "them", because if I don't know how they classify themselves, I find myself agreeing more and more with people who call themselves "conservatives"!!

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 23, 2007 at 8:51 pm

I'm inclined to agree with you, but I hope to see more responses.

Perhaps the writer mentioned "mostly conservative" because in Palo Alto, that is newsworthy, whereas "mostly liberal" is "dog bites man".

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2007 at 10:10 am

Most of my opinions used to be onsidered liberal.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Same here, Walter. I stood still in line with that horribly liberal JFK, and without moving have become a right winger! Same ideals, different label.

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Posted by SkepticAl
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 25, 2007 at 10:39 pm

so let me get this straight - your views haven't changed in forty-five years and you wonder why that's conservative?

I'm not saying the underlying *values* should change with time, but if new circumstances, new knowledge, and new realities don't trigger some new opinions, then... that's pretty conservative.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2007 at 6:34 am

My view that we are all equal under the law and that the law should rule over passion has not changed into the new age of just do it if it feels right. My belief that our rights are balanced with our obligations has not changed. My belief that actions have consequences has not changed.
I write this on the same computer that runs AutoCAD 2007, WordPerfect and a suite of engineering programs, all uses only dreamed of when I belonged to Homebrew Computer Club and listened that night to two kids named Steve play Fool on the Hill on the Apple one. Progressives have not progressed from the warped world view of Marx and Mao.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2007 at 11:20 am

It never occured to me that establishing basic guiding principles and beliefs automatically is "conservative". So, if I believe in freedom of speech, equality of opportunity ( not to be confused with equality of outcome) for all regardless of race, gender, etc, representative government, the freedom to work and live wherever you can find work and shelter regardless of your gender/race/religion/sexual orientation etc, the freedom to worship, or not, how you choose, and other basic principles for my whole life, I am automatically a conservative?

Does that mean a liberal is someone who changes his/her principles? How often do you need to change your principles to be considered a liberal?

In dictatorships around the world a "conservative" is someone who wants to keep the dictatorship, and a "liberal" is someone who wants freedom of speech/democracy/human rights. Once the government changes to reflect the liberal ideals, I guess wanting to keep it that way turns the liberal into a conservative, and those wishing to take it backward into liberals, since they are the ones pushing for change.

I agree with Walter. I don't think conservative or liberal has anything to do with whether or not your principles change. I think it is a definitional challenge.

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Posted by SkepticAl
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 26, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Wow - If you guys are responding to me, you totally, - totally - missed the point of my prior post. A quick reread? I *don't* suggest the underlying values or principles should change, but it seems to me that over the decades people might learn something that causes a shift in opinions about issues. I may have overstated it or assumed too much with the label "conservative," when I meant a broader idea - but what I'm getting at is... don't you ever change your mind?!

e.g. - You might be in favor of capital punishment. I used to be. My principles haven't changed much, if at all, but there has been plenty of evidence to show how unjustly the death penalty has been implemented. The underlying *principle* for me values saving innocent lives more than killing murderers, so without changing my principles, I used available information in shifting my opinion and my position.

e.g. - Forty years ago, there was no debate about gay marriage or even domestic partners. Given that there are decades of research now to shatter many myths and debunk many critics, we are seeing a huge shift in this country, albeit a slow one. People are sticking to their core principles regarding equality, but based on available information and exposure to the issues and people involved, many people have learned something that is gradually changing their opinions about these issues.

Anyone care to offer a (non-sarcastic) example of an actual shift in opinion? (Please, nothing like... "I used to think Democrats/Republicans were half-way intelligent, but now I see they're not even that smart").

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Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2007 at 8:55 am

I do think society, even round here, is changing with the times if that is what SkepticAl means. As an example, back in the 70s, when two people living together without getting married was called "living in sin" the argument went that what was the importance of a piece of paper saying you were married, it was the love and commitment that was important. Nowadays, the argument for gay marriage is the complete opposite. The piece of paper, the rights that the piece of paper gives and the respectibility it brings, is what the gay community wants. The love and commitment are not enough, civil union is not enough, marriage is what is wanted and by any other name it is not enough. In many ways the hippy love children and the gays of today are very similar types of people. They are well educated, middle class, deep thinking people. Yet, the things they strive for are the opposite.

It is clear to me that this type of thinking is actually just the same thing under a different guise. Both want to break with tradition and step out to change the world. It is now perfectly acceptable for people to live together, buy a home, raise children, etc. etc. without marriage. I would like to ask if these are the people to whom gay marriage is so important when for them it seems to hold no importance at all?

This shows me that my opinions, whatever they be, are not the ones written in stone which is important. Society changes. What was frowned upon a generation or two ago is now so acceptable that the tide has turned and the exact opposite is what is wanted. There will always be a group who will try to change the world, and sometimes that just will happen.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2007 at 10:13 am

Has the death penalty been applied unevenly? yes - I would apply it to everyone convicted of first degree murder. Have innocents been executed? Highly unlikely, because if there were one demonstrable occurrence within 50 years we would be hearing about it drumbeat.
I will take the blame for an occasional innocent being executed if the antis will take the blame for the 40% of all murders that are committed by convicted killers released after their inadequate sentences. Their victims are almost all innocent, plus being deprived of process.
As the "assault weapons" silliness goes another round it is time to revisit the original question that the ban was designed to suppress - why was Purdy released 7 times from arrests for violence? Lest you say this opinion is one of senility, it was formed back when Douglass and Warren were turning criminal justice into a Simon lSez game with Chessman at all.

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Posted by SkepticAl
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 28, 2007 at 9:10 pm

don't want to turn this into a death-penalty forum, but there's ample evidence of people being rescued from death row as they awaited execution for crimes they didn't commit. Not surprising that we don't see lots of time and energy expended on cases try to redeem people after execution, since the person invovled is now, um... dead, and unable to participate with any investigation or appeal.

But Walter, the question was, has anyone here ever changed their opinion about something? Were you so right, so perfect, so enlightened from the very start? If in the past 20, 30, 40 years, you've only learned new information that reinforces your opinions, doesn't that suggest anything to you about your mindset, or your sources, or your potential hubris?

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2007 at 10:48 pm

It suggests that most of the arguments for social change with the exception of equality under the law were foolishly counterproductive.
Most of the death row releases are for reasons not associated with guilt, just with gimicky Simon Sez procedural questions.
The victims get no appeal.

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