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Ask the Patriarch 145
What are your personal views on current issues today?

from: Nick

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I have been reading many articles on your site for the last few days, and I must say I have enjoyed reading your responses. You articulate your responses so well. It's also nice to know that there are more like me who use logic and empirical evidence to arrive at their answers.

Anyway, after reading a lot of the content on the site, I haven't really seen anything written on the man behind the website. I'd like to know what some of your personal views on current issues today. Subjects such as abortion, the war, globalization...you know, all the heated subjects...or any subject that is important to you personally.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

The Patriarch replies:


I am generally of the opinion that I expose myself too much on this site - too much of it is about me... me... me! I am concerned that I use my personal experience too often to make a point. Perhaps you asking me to expose myself more suggests that I am mistaken.

I do tend to avoid some subjects about which I feel strongly because I don't want to detract from the central issue of promoting agnosticism. While I did recently write a piece on Milton Friedman, I don't want my libertarian leanings (for example) to make socialist agnostics feel unwelcome here. The site is about agnosticism, not economics and politics.

Still, I have written about some of the "heated issues." As I mentioned in the previous Ask the Patriarch, the lack of an effective search function may have been why you have not found these articles.

Abortion has been discussed many times in the Ethics section. To summarize my position: as long as those who oppose abortion demand a total (or near total) banning of the procedure, then I will support full and free choice by women.

Same sex marriage is another heated issue that I have consistently supported on this site. I see no reason why gay people should not have the right to tie themselves to one person for the rest of their lives as heterosexual people do.

I have not written directly about "globalization," but my belief in free markets should indicate where I stand on this issue. In my opinion, the anti-globalization movement stands for a grab-bag of incoherent and anti-democratic positions which will destroy hope of economic and social advancement in the undeveloped nations of the world and will undermine the economies of all other nations. North Korea and its Juche ideology represents the epitome of anti-globalization thinking. For a fairly good layman's understanding of the real and beneficial impact of globalization, I recommend Thomas L. Friedman's "The World is Flat." Get the updated and expanded 2006 edition.

As to the war, I already indicated my dissatisfaction from an ethical viewpoint in Reflection 55 with the way in which the war is being conducted.

I would remind you that there are two military actions going on in which the West is involved. The first is the war in Afghanistan which has the support of the United Nations and NATO. Given that the previous Taliban government sheltered and supported the Al Qaeda leadership, the Taliban are guilty partners in the 9/11 attacks and the fight against them should continue until they are destroyed, and the Al Qaeda leadership along with them.

With regard to the war on Iraq - I am of the opinion that Saddam Hussein should have been overthrown in the first Iraqi war, a justified war due to Iraq's unwarranted war on Kuwait. That not having occurred, he should have been overthrown under Clinton's presidency when he was caught red-handed in a plot to assassinate the previous President Bush. In either case, the current incompetently conducted operation would not have occurred. In any event, regardless of the strong belief that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, without evidence that he was about to use such weapons, this war should not have been entered into until the Afghanistan situation was resolved. This action has unnecessarily prolonged the Afghanistan operation by diverting resources.

However, the fact that some agnostics might emphatically disagree with me on one or more of these issues does not make them any the less agnostic.