Feb 24, 2006

Thoughts on being the liberal in the office...

I'm the token leftist in my office, and as such I do engage in debate with my colleagues regarding political matters. They range from centrist to right-wing, however, they're generally respectful of my views and are interested in learning my perspective. It's at times that I need to calm down (a trait I share with my brother), although I have to admit they do enjoy pushing my buttons for precisely this reason. I give them a good show.

One of the things I've learned is that it's simple to find common ground. My friends are all social libertarians, especially concerning drugs and sex. Hey, they're young (I'm in my mid-thirties, the office old fart). So, it's easy to rail against puritanism and ridiculous drug laws.

Similarly, I've found that a good sure-win topic is Medicare Part D. Everyone thinks it's absolutely abysmal. Another recent one was the UAE port fiasco; that had my right-wing friends bringing it up and shaking their head.

The war is harder to argue against. My friends seem to respect the approach; i.e. going in there and trying to reshape the Middle East is better than doing "nothing".

The one place I've absolutely clashed with them to the point of heated debate (not a fight, as we're all friends) is the death penalty. I'm against it purely for pragmatic reasons: I don't think it serves as a deterrent against violent crime, and the possibility of an unjust execution exists. However, usually I end up at the bar with three people asking me at the same time if I don't think child molesters and murderers deserve to die, and I usually end up putting on a show.

But all in all, it's surprisingly good-natured, and we get good discourse out of it.

If I only can find the time to get to dKosopedia and brush up...