What am I? The Explanation of a Left-wing Liberal Feminist Socialist

Note: following is an essay I submitted last semester for my Political Science class

Would I describe myself as a liberal? Yes I would. I would even go as far as to describe myself as a Left-wing liberal feminist socialist. I believe that you should not be restricted by law from doing anything, providing your actions do not cause harm to others. In conjunction with this, I believe that the State should provide support, financial and otherwise, to those who are unable to support themselves through no fault of their own.

A person does not need to come from a particular part of the political spectrum in order to identify as liberal. During the South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate on 5 May 2011, current United States Congressman Ron Paul, while he is Right-wing, made clear his liberal position by stating that the laws against heroin, cocaine, and prostitution should be revoked. “The freedom to use drugs … is equivalent to the freedom of people to ‘practice their religion and say their prayers.’ Liberty must be defended ‘across the board … It is amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way … but not when it comes to our personal habits.’” Paul’s argument is that the majority would still not use cocaine or heroin if they became decriminlised (Gerson, 2011). It is the belief that people are more responsible and able to look after themselves than they are given credit for, mainly because the State takes away the chance for them to prove themselves through making laws and regulations which dictate how people are to live their lives. This is backed by being opposed to ‘Big Government’. People with the same political beliefs and values as Ron Paul are libertarian, or utilitarian liberals.

My own feminist beliefs are very much utilitarian. I have, and should have, the freedom to choose what types of clothes, shoes, and makeup I wear. It is my own happiness that matters, and it is having that freedom of choice that is the point of feminism, something which third wave feminism in particular is very focused on (Jervis, 2004). A woman being told that she is not allowed to wear revealing clothes, high heels, and stay home to raise a family because those things are all anti-feminist is just as oppressive as the patriarchical environment that feminism is supposed to be fighting against. Being a feminist is about having the freedom to be sexually empowered and being free to choose what is right for yourself, above the opinions and claimed rights of others.

On the other end of the the political spectrum, there are people like Sue Bradford. These people, rights liberals, are more in favour of ‘Big Government’, providing the State uses its power through laws and regulations to the benefit of the rights of the people, and therefore increasing the freedom of the people. During Bradford’s time as a Member of Parliament for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand from 1999 to 2009, she passed three Member’s Bills through Parliament for the benefit of the New Zealand people. These were: “… amending s59 of the Crimes Act so that children now receive the same protection in law as do adults; lifting the youth minimun wage to adult rates; and extending the length of time some mothers in prison can keep their babies with them” (Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, n.d.). Through these bills, Bradford increased the freedoms of the, often, neglected and forgotten members of New Zealand society. If a child in New Zealand suffers from child abuse, they are now free to have the offender charged with assault, and the offender cannot claim they used reasonable force. Young adults/the youth employees in New Zealand are now free to be recognised that they are just as capable at their job as an adult employee, and receive the appropriate remuneration for their work. Female prisoners are now free to bond with their baby, potentially creating a stronger relationship between mother and child.

Bradford “… [helped] bring about genuine, positive solutions to the unemployment, poverty, social and environmental problems which plague so many people and their communities in Aotearoa today”, and it is these problems which infringe on people’s ability to be free (Green Party, n.d.). This is where socialism blends in with the principles of rights liberalism. Unfortunately, there are always members within a society that are unable to support and provide for themselves. Where utilitarian liberalism is more focused on the happiness of the majority over the suffering of the minority (where the minority are the unemployed, the sick, and the elderly etc), the blend of socialism and rights liberalism is more about setting up a system which looks after the disaffected minority, who are often struggling against the rest of society through no fault of their own. This goes against utiliarian liberalism because it enables the development of a ‘Welfare State’ and encourages growth of a ‘Big Government’. While I do not favour ‘Big Government’ (especially in terms of who I am allowed to sleep with, what happens in my bedroom, and what I put in my body being regulated and restricted), I also do not favour small government, where people are bascially left to their own devices. I would much rather pay tax which goes to the support of the disaffected minority now, because there is a chance that in the future I may become a member of that affect minority, either through illness, inability to find a job, or some other misfortune, and the tax paid is my insurance that I will also receive help and support.

I am a Left-wing liberal feminist socialist. I believe I should have the freedom to make my own decision about how I live my life, who I live it with, and what I wear while I am living it. If something happens to me which means I am no longer able to properly participate within society, then the State should provide me with support until I am fully functioning again.

Bibliography:

Gerson, M. (2011, May 11). Ron Paul favors legalizing heroin: Texas congressman deservers first-tier scrutiny. Retrieved on May 13, 2011, from:

 http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Ron-Paul-favors-legalizing-heroin-1374192.php

Green Party of Aotearoa NewZealand (n. d.). Sue Bradford. Retrieved on May 13, 2011, from:

 http://www.greens.org.nz/people/suebradford

Jervis, L. (2004, Winter). The end of feminism’s thirdwave: The cofounder of Bitch magazine says goodbye to the

 generational divide. Retrieved on May 13, 2011, from: 

http://www.msmagazine.com/winter2004/thirdwave.asp 

Really? REALLY!?

So I’m not sure whether to call today (this morning at least) at win or not…

I actually made it to uni today, well in time for my first lecture. Unfortunately, I was at the wrong room. When it became apparent that no one else was coming, I checked the course details online.

Now armed with the correct room number, I arrived with about five minutes to spare. There were a couple of other students milling outside who were also supposed to attended the Political Science/Philosophy lecture. It would seem the room had been double-booked, as there was a Chinese lecture in progress.

Like me, these other students had also not attended the first lecture for Political Science/Philosophy on Tuesday. There had most likely something said about the double-booking then, but nothing had been emailed as confirmation, or to advice the students who had been unable to attend that lecture.

So my first foray into a Level 200 paper is not going as well as expected, but at least I made it on campus today. I’m really looking forward to my History lecture later this afternoon. The paper is titled Revolutions and Revolutionaries, so it should be interesting 🙂

I also have a doctor’s appointment beforehand, hopefully my medication situation will be reevaluated so I can shove the depression and anxiety gremlins back in their little boxes and keep them there.

Wish me luck!

An Animal Comparison

The courier man delivered an exciting package from Mighty Ape yesterday 🙂

The first book is Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihi, PhD.

I first became aware of this book during my Gender Studies paper at the beginning of last year. I wanted it back then, but time went by and I forgot all about it. My Sociology paper this semester reminded me about it, and I wasn’t going to let myself forget this time!!

It’s full of great tid bits of information, like how male giraffes prefer the company of other male giraffes, and how male ostriches will put on a much more elaborate mating dance for other male ostriches compared to those they put on for female ostriches.

There’s also an examination of the different types of family groups and coupling that goes on within the animal kingdom. Coupling doesn’t always mean the grouping of two in this instance, there are occurrences of pairs, triads, quads and more throughout the kingdom. There are also many instances of homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, transgender, omnisexuality, non-monosexuality etc.

This is the quote that first piqued my interest:

The scientist gasps and drops the binoculars. A notebook falls from astonished hands. Graduate students mutter in alarm. Nobody wants to be the one to tell the granting agency what they’re seeing.

A female ape wraps her legs around another female, “rubbing her own clitoris against her partner’s while emitting screams of enjoyment.” The researcher explains: It’s a form of greeting behavior. Or reconciliation. Possibly food-exchange behavior. It’s certainly not sex. Not lesbian sex. Not hot lesbian sex.

Six bighorn rams cluster, rubbing, nuzzling and mounting each other. “Aggressosexual behavior,” the biologist explains. A way of establishing dominance.

A zoo penguin approaches another, bowing winsomely. The birds look identical and a zoogoer asks how to tell males and females apart. “We can tell by their behavior,” a researcher explains. “Eric is courting Dora.” A keeper arrives with news: Eric has laid an egg.

Susan McCarthy


The second part of the exciting delivery was my very own copy of Animal Farm by George Orwell. After Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, this is my favourite book.

It’s a fantastic satirical look at Communist Russia, with Stalin and Trotsky being characterized as Napoleon and Snowball the pigs. They lead a revolution against the drunken Mr Jones of Manor Farm. The civilians of Russia are shown as the other farm animals.

If you haven’t read this yet, I strongly advise that you do. You won’t regret it.

Remember:

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

The Lure of the 360

I’m still hanging about, just have had much of my time taken up with Dragon Age II (thanks to J for my birthday), shopping, family gatherings and thinking about doing my set readings for University.

Everything is slowly getting back to normal following the shut down of the university due to the 22 February earthquake, Sociology and History f2f lectures have restarted, and Philosophy has set up lectures via “distance learning”. My Political Science paper doesn’t start back until after the mid-semester break.

And now it’s back to the killing of dragons (and other such evil characters).