Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - December 1, 2013
Brian Gongol

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Where do you stand, politically?

As the holiday season is now officially underway, there are going to be lots of get-togethers with family, friends, co-workers, and people we don't even really know all that well. And even though we're not supposed to talk about religion, politics, or money in polite company, it's getting next-to-impossible to avoid all questions about politics.

I've been battling for a while with the right answer to where my politics lie. "Fiscally conservative and socially liberal" isn't exactly right...and "libertarian" is far too subject to misinterpretation by the other party.

So I'm going to try a new answer, understanding fully that it's an experiment that may not go well. My new answer is this: "Open-minded conservative."

To me, that means a few things: I think this description separates the "open-minded conservative" from both the reactionary (who never wants to change anything because change itself is somehow bad) and the mindless lemming (who can't wait to hop on board the next passing bandwagon, no matter how flighty). To be sure, some of the latter will scoff at the notion of being an "open-minded conservative" and call that an oxymoron. That's because they're lumping all conservatives together with the reactionaries. It's unfair -- and, ironically, profoundly closed-minded and prejudicial.

We owe it to the people who follow us to constantly try to improve our world, but to do so in a way that respects the thought that went into the ideas that were accepted before our time.

Also in the news this week

Business and Finance Why call anything a "tech company"?
An intriguing argument that technology isn't really a distinction anymore

Science and Technology A high-friction road treatment is preventing crashes in Cedar Rapids

Socialism Doesn't Work Your property is not your own
Not when New York City changes mayors. The new boss wants to squeeze property owners into doing what he wants done with their land by jacking up tax rates if they don't. Politicians need humility, competence, and curiosity. Lacking humility, they become too eager to tell other people what to do. This behavior -- telling people that they will be taxed punitively if they don't use their property in the way the government wants -- is no different from telling an auto mechanic who specializes in foreign cars that he will pay a higher income-tax rate than one who works on domestic cars, or that a surgeon will pay a higher rate of income tax because the government wants her to be a general practitioner instead. At its root, there's very little difference whether the government is taxing your labor or the stuff you buy with your labor (including vacant land). But if the people in power don't like what you're doing with your labor (or the fruits thereof) and they can choose to punish you for it, we should all be uncomfortable with that.

Business and Finance Swiss voters reject legal limits on manager pay
There are plenty of business executives who are paid far more than the value they create...but that's something for shareholders to fix, not politicians

News Scotland is quite seriously looking at going independent
September 18th next year is the big vote

Business and Finance Illinois may at last have a fix for its huge state-pension crisis
Higher retirement ages, smaller COLAs, and more room for individual success or failure all look to play a part

Science and Technology Bill Gates on the problems he's currently trying to solve
"I am a devout fan of capitalism. It is the best system ever devised for making self-interest serve the wider interest. [...] But capitalism alone can't address the needs of the very poor."

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