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Sometimes I Wish That It Would Rain Here

Monday, February 25, 2008

political affiliation

while adjusting some privacy settings on facebook, I noticed the profile spots for Political Views and Regilious Views. political is a drop box with pre-specified options, while religious is an open-response text box. this alone is cause for interest. are political views more pidgeonhole-able or easily classifiable? are the facebook creators more worried about offending someone by excluding their religion than their politics? then I saw the specific options listed for Political Views:

Very Liberal
Very Conservative

wow. I really had to read it twice. the only one that's actually a part is Libertarian (I don't think there's an Apathetic party, as I suspect it might be a little oxymoronic).

however, this is troubling at a deeper level. what if I'm morally conservative (e.g. against gay-marriage and abortion), but I believe in expansive governmental social programs like welfare and public health care? is that moderate? to me, it sounds both very conservative and very liberal, just in different ways. this sort of polarization is really neither helpful nor healthy, but, I think, is quite damaging. it seems like just the sort of thing against which John Stewart railed on Crossfire several years ago. trying to put political views on a single axis like this not only makes it difficult for me to express my identity (something that facebook should help me do), but it really reinforces this obfuscation of the complexities of our current political situation.

...or you could just be libertarian.

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  • I never noticed the separate libertarian option before but it's pretty amusing (in a sad way). I'm guessing they mean the libertarian party and not "civil libertarian" or simply an advocate of liberty.
    Isn't the libertarian party's platform basically one of traditional conservatism though? I guess they're just not considered conservative anymore because of the religious-right and their legislation of morality which isn't libertarian in any sense of the word.

    By Anonymous Aaron, at Friday, February 29, 2008 9:57:00 AM  

  • Facebook reads your blog:

    By Blogger Sam, at Friday, March 14, 2008 9:47:00 AM  

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