My Manifesto
Marx I Ain’t


Welcome to my new column here at Toronto In Focus. Those of you familiar with the message board here at TIF probably know my handle. I’m a frequent poster identified by the pseudonym of justmyhumbleo, which is (of course) a slightly abbreviated and cyber-speak version of the old saw, “Just my humble opinion.” I chose this nickname because I didn’t want to have to keep re-posting the disclaimer that the opinions expressed in my missives were in fact little more than my own opinion. I figured that if it was in my identity, it would go just as well unsaid.

This has proven to be a slightly erroneous idea on my part. At one time, a fellow poster with whom I had disagreed, challenged me for not being humble at all. Well, he’s right. I am not humble in the approach I take to expressing myself. However, a closer examination of the phrase “just my humble opinion” will, I think, clarify that it is the opinion and not the opiner which is assigned the adjective of “humble.”

All opinions are humbled by the fact of their insignificance in the world. In other words, no opinion has more value than any other, so they are all humbled by their smallness in the great scheme of things. Of course, the opiner may have authority backing his opinion which gives it heft if not greater weight. For example, the president’s opinion about how to spend the government surplus was more likely to sway congress than the opinions of the entire fraternity of accountancy. Consequently, many of us received checks that didn’t equal so much as a week’s pay which was supposed to bolster the economy in some way without hurting necessary government programs. In my humble opinion, that was good politics but bad fiscal management.

Another problem that my moniker has advanced is the issue of gender. Since the i.d. is non-specific in this regard, I’ve been accused of being a whiner and so have been injudiciously compared in a derogatory way to a woman (by women) for this perceived failing. Well, it’s true, I like to argue. I enjoy rousing emotions and clarifying points with examples and analogies. I know what I think, and I always think I’m right. Who doesn’t? And when people pick-and-choose which of my arguments they think represent the totality of who I am, it annoys me to the point of giving birth to rebuttal.

I usually try to put humor into my tone, but sometimes this is read as sarcasm or worse – snottiness. When this happens, I feel that it is the problem of the reader, and not the writer. If you put a smile in the voice in your head that you use when you read, you’ll get a different attitude from my musings than you will if the voice in your head has a sneer.

As to what I think about the issues I’ll address, feel free to disagree with me on the message boards. Or if you prefer, email me your disapproval. I’ve been swayed before. Maybe I’ve overlooked something. It happens, and I’m not too un-humble to acknowledge it.

Following is a brief run-down of my basic belief system. Those of you who have followed along on the message boards will find this annoyingly familiar, like the gratuitous color commentary in the world series which is there for the benefit of the fair-weather fan.

1) I strongly support nine of the ten amendments with special emphatic support of the first. Actually, I support all ten, but I have reservations concerning the second.

2) I support the right to worship, though I don’t do it myself at all. I resent government interference in religion in all of its forms, and I interpret this touchy subject for myself on a case-for-case basis.

3) I resent religious arrogance.

4) I think the ideal “May my country always be right, but when she’s wrong, may she still be my country,” is noble. I think the ideal, “My country right or wrong,” is asinine. And I think that if you can’t tell the difference, you’re not trying.

5) I think symbols are fine so long as you recognize that they are symbols and not ideas.

6) I find ceremony boring, boorish and unnecessary for people with brains of their own.

7) Parenting is a privilege and not a right.

8) Ownership of inanimate property is a right and not a privilege.

9) Permission to work is a right except for in government (legislative, executive or judicial) where it is a privilege which can be rescinded. The corollary to this is “graft and abuse of office are unacceptable.”

10) The majority CAN be wrong even in a democracy. Don’t think that just because most people think a certain way, that this makes it acceptable.

11) Whoever said life had to be fair?

Well, that’s my manifesto. It’s what I try to use as the basis for all of my opinions. Feel free to check me against them as you read these postings in the future. As always, the opinions expresed are just my opinions and not necessarily those of the staff and management here at TIF.

Joe Humbleo

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