Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Arlo Guthrie is a Republican?

Well, technically, he apparently is. He also has a blog which he occasionally updates, the most recent occasion being last week on 07/21/09 with 2 Cups Of Coffee or My 2 Cents (the permalink to the individual post isn't working as of this writing; but also right now that post shows up at the link, which is to arlo.net.)

I stumbled on this via a post by Ron Radosh at Pajamas Media (Hey Arlo! The Times They Are A-Changin’ 07/26/09) who quoted from this interview with Deborah Solomon, Just Folk New York Times 07/21/09, the same date as Arlo's post. Radosh is one of those former leftists who has spent most of his life being a former-leftist rightwinger warning any one who will listen about the dangers of The Left. The work of those folks is typically pretty dreary. That one post of his is a good example of why. He was snarking about Arlo's having become a Republican: "Anyway, Arlo, congratulations for your courage in telling the world about your political affiliation. Should you prepare for some contentious moments during your next concert with Pete Seeger?"

But if you read Arlo's own post, dated five days before Radosh's, you might wonder if he's saying he's become a Republican as a gag. Does this sound like a typical Republican to you?

So what was up with [with the Republicans] interfering in matters of who can marry who? That's a big invasion into personal freedoms and liberties. Those who try to control our personal lives are not only not for traditional Republican values, they're not even really for American values. The way I view it, the state has no business in the house let alone the bedroom. The way I would resolve the current controversy would be to insure that secular marriage be open to anyone. And that religious marriage not be infringed upon by the state - to marry or not as their traditions permit. Both religious and secular marriages would be acknowledged as it is now. That, to me, should be the Republican position.

He does say some things more along the "libertarian" line. He makes a couple of comments that sound like they come from an alternative-medicine advocacy position. Some of those people are no-regulations-for-business Republicans, so maybe that influenced him. One of the things he says is, "The march has already begun around the world to outlaw the use of natural medicines - vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other plants so that you will become a criminal and a law breaker when you try to care for your own family in your own way."

I don't want to see such things that are actually useful and healthy banned. I do want to see them better-regulated. But many substances that people actually use as medicines are sold as "food supplements" and therefore don't have to go through FDA screening for their medicinal value. And I haven't seen new consumer reports on this lately, but quality control on herbs and food supplements in the past has been pretty bad. I doubt this improved much over the eight years of the Cheney-Bush administration.

The whole concept of "alternative medicine" is flawed. There is medicine that works, and medicine that doesn't. The effectiveness of an "alternative" treatment can be tested and verified just like those of "conventional" medicine (aka "allopathic medicine", "school medicine", etc.) It's a more than legitimate goal of the government to protect people from patent medicine scams.

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