Privacy & Freedom
I would describe myself as an independent voter. Primarily a libertarian. I'll admit the libertarian party itself may go a bit too far. They don't believe in any government at all (just about). Technically, they believe the government should exist for a few specific purposes, but among them isn't to tax, which makes having a government pretty unlikely. Not that I'm a big fan of taxes, but you have to have some funding to do what needs to be done, like provide defense. The constitution party is another good open minded group. They too, get pretty wrapped up in interpreting the government's role to that which is explicitly stated in the constitution. So, maybe these groups go slightly too far, but they are 99 percent right.
Democrats: I generally agree with them more then republicans. Their general view is that they need to make decisions for you. People left on their own will make poor decisions for themselves and hurt themselves, so they need to be protected. They want to see good and happiness in the world. They can't stand to see anyone suffer, so they take the decision out of your hands so you won't get hurt and they won't have to live with themselves for allowing it. On the positive side, I think democrats respect people's freedom. They just trample on it in the name of trying to help people have better lives.
Republicans: Are more out for themselves thru making business profitable and helping the rich get richer. I guess philosophically, I should actually agree more with the republicans. On paper, they say they want less government. The real problem I have with them is that they pander to the religious right. They are willing to compromise their values and have lots of big government agencies that worry about controlling abortion, enforcing drug laws, controlling porn, etc. The republicans sell their values in order to get the votes. For their part, the religious folks go with the republicans, both because the republicans are willing to compromise their values, and because the republicans could care less about trampling peoples freedoms. Take the current elections. McCain didn't need to pick a VP that was more to the right of himself. The far right weren't going to vote Obama. Going for someone more liberal would possibly have caught more independent votes, but of course, he needed the financial support of those on the right. Cost him the election.
So what should the government do? Primarily to provide a military for our defense (not offense!) and pass laws that protect people from OTHERS. If someone is directly physically or financially doing harm to you and you have not consented to it, it should be illegal. Everything else, get out of my life.
Seatbelts: I have no problem with a law that says insurance companies can have provisions in their policy that says I'm not covered if I don't wear a seatbelt. Hospitals should be able to turn people away if they were injured without wearing one and can't pay out of pocket for medical assistance. Democrats want this sort of law because they don't want poor stupid me dying because I was too dump to put on a seatbelt. They wouldn't want hospitals or insurance companies turning me away if something could be done to help. The republicans on the other hand, just don't want the insurance companies or hospitals to have to spend money to fix my stupid ass. They don't want my employer to have to lose productivity because I'm injured, etc. I'd rather live in a world where people can make their own choices and mistakes, and then be responsible for them.
Drugs & Sex: I don't do drugs other then alchohol. I'm sure some drugs such as pot are pretty harmless. Others really ruin most people's lives. If you want to mess up your life, I don't think anyone should take your freedom away from you. That leads to those laws and arguments that are circular. We can't have drugs because it leads to crimes. What crimes? Why prostitution for one. And what is wrong with that? Well, prostitution leads to crimes such as drugs and robbery. Are the prostitutes robbing people? Well, not in Nevada or Amsterdam where it is legal. Its the street prostitutes that are robbing people for drug money. Well, actually, most of them are just prostituting themselves and people who are getting robbed from are getting robbed because they can't go someplace safe to pick up a legal hooker. I don't deny people are robbing for drug money. However, we already have a crime for that, it is called robbery. So arrest the criminals who are stealing rather then wasting all the police time spent on arresting people who worked for a living and choose to purchase drugs with their money. Just think of the resources we would have to put on finding thieves and how much jail space we'd have to house them if the prisons and courts weren't overflowing with drug addicts. Let the druggies use it until they hate their life so much they choose to seek help or OD. Oh and we can't have prostitution because it leads to disease. The poor innocent spouse who's hubby comes home with VD. Like he won't go to a bar and pick up a drunk chick and be more likely to have sex without a condom. The wife has a choice what sort of person she marries. If she wants that freedom, she needs to live with the consequences. If she marries someone she doesn't know well enough to have an open and frank discussion of his sexual desires, then she may have to pay the price for making a bad decision. At least here in America, no one forced her to marry. If you don't want to take that sort of risk, and you aren't willing to put the time and effort into the relationship enough that you really know with absolute certainty nothing is going on behind your back, then stay single and celibate.
Big Macs: Beyond the circular laws related to these topics, are the public good laws. We can't have our population wasted on drugs and dying of aids. So if you don't do drugs and are celibate, perhaps you don't care if someone else looses their freedom because it is in areas you don't care about today. What about tomorrow when they decide a big mac is not healthy for you to eat. Your poor wife and children, who will support them when you are dead? We've already banned trans-fats in the city where I live. Just about everyone has banned smoking. Don't come crying to me when you get a ticket for going below the minimal weekly exercise limits. Want to go skiing, sorry, too hazardous to your health. I know, you are reading this and saying this guy is crazy. They'd never force me to exercise? Go talk to someone from the 1950's and ask them if they'd ever imagine a world where you can't smoke. Everyone smoked, it was just like eating a big mac is today. You just went to the store, bought a pack without 300 percent of the price being a tax on the product, and lit up anywhere you wanted.
Telecommunications: Trust me, big brother is watching. This weeks outrage is over the NSA listening in on phone calls of US citizens calling from the middle east. Did we forget about the 'special rooms' that the government installed at the phone companies here in the domestic US. They were listening to everyone everywhere. Not just those abroad. And if they are intercepting land-line phone calls, you can bet they are capturing wireless phone conversations, wifi data communications, etc. If they don't think there is anything wrong with tapping the actual phone lines you can bet they don't think there is anything wrong with intercepting communications that are floating freely thru the airwaves. You think encryption will protect your privacy? While encryption might be enough to keep your neighbor, wife and maybe your ISP from sniffing into your private business, I guarantee you the government can break all commercial encryption in use today. So to bring this rant back to P2P file sharing. Don't assume because Bunzilla uses encryption in the data transmission that means you are safe to illegally share music files, videos, etc. They may not be arresting everyone today, because they don't want to let the secret out of the bag how much they are watching. Right now they are worried about terrorists and they want them to keep communicating in ways that they believe are safe. When the day comes that the terrorists are gone, be prepared for someone to pull up a list of every file you shared over the last 20 years and hand it over to the recording industry so they can sue you blind. Think of it as going ot the gates of heaven and St. Peter pulling out a list of everything you ever did wrong in your life.
All of that said: I don't smoke, don't do drugs, etc. and always wear my seatbelt. I'm not advocating any of these activities. For the record, I don't believe in illegal file sharing. If someone doesn't put a product out as "for free" then you have no rights to a free copy. Doing so violates the one thing I said should be illegal. You are directly financially harming someone by stealing their intellectua property. File sharing is for sharing what is truly in the public domain and for sharing content that you create and have ownership rights to. I've created the Bunzilla software and given it to you. You may not have the skills to create such works, but perhaps you are an attractive female who might want to take pictures of yourself in a bunny suite and share them with bunny suite fetish fans. Everyone has something of their own to contribute. Someday when I am old and my health is gone and I have nothing else to do with my lifetime of savings, perhaps I will want to pop some pain pills to relieve pain or for entertainment purposes. I'd rather not live in a world where I don't get that choice. Of course, I'll just get on a plane and go someplace where that is legal. Sorry for the rest of you folks who didn't pay attention now and who don't have that luxury. If they ever pass a law that says you can't leave without permission, I will leave before it passes. Pay attention or you might get stuck here.