Shots Across the Bow

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The Best of All Possible Worlds

Repuke. Repugnican. Conservitard. Pessimist. Closeminded. Programmed. Brainwashed. Mindless.

Just a small sample of the names I've been called for voicing my opinions. I guess the assumption is that because I disagree with the basic premises underlying liberalism, I must be a dyed in the wool conservative, and therefore deserving of scorn and abuse, until the hopefully soon day when I "see the light", and change my wicked ways.

Well, I've got some bad news for y'all.

There's not a chance in hell of me ever embracing the liberal point of view, for reasons I've explained before. I'm a small government kind of guy, a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution, a fiscal conservative, and a social liberal.

The republicans do not automatically get my vote, particularly now, as they seem to have forgotten their roots. (Patriot Act I and II, Medicare expansion, massive deficits, unchecked governmental growth, etc.) The best thing I can say for the Republicans is that they are marginally better than the Democrats. Both parties are entirely too interested in telling me what I can and can't do on matters that they have no business messing with. Both parties believe in spending as a cure to nearly everything. And the candidates of both parties are willing to say anything, promise anything to get my vote, without the slightest intention of delivering.

But I don't blame the parties or the candidates. They are just a reflection of the electorate. They'll give the people what they want, regardless of whether it's a good idea or not. A democracy is only as good as the people who vote, and Americans have, in large part, lost the qualities that make for a high quality electorate.

The electorate must be informed on the issues. Most can't name all of the 9 democratic candidates for president. Most are not willing to do the work it takes to actually learn about the issues and the candidates, and base their decisions either on party loyalty, or 15 second soundbites they hear on the news while waiting for Leno to come on.

The electorate must be pro-active. The only way to know where a candidate stands is to challenge him. When the chance comes around, go meet the candidates and hear them in person. When Clark came to Knoxville, very few people took the chance to go hear hinm speak. I'm guessing maybe 150 people turned up at the rally, and this is a guy who has a very good shot at winning the nomination or being the VP choice for whoever does get it.

And most importantly, the electorate must be willing to put aside their own needs and wants and vote for what is in the best interest of the country. And that's where we really fail. We've become a nation of voters for sale, giving our vote to the guy who promises the most. "Ask not what your country can do for you..." is a dead issue. Elections are all about which candidate promises to give us more stuff. We ask our leaders to take care of us, and they will; all it costs us is a little freedom, a little autonomy.

Listen to the campaign speeches of our candidates. They all concentrate on what they are going to give us. Health care, lower taxes, more medicare, pork barrel projects for the home folks, it's all about what they can give us. The problem is that the government can't give us anything, unless it takes it away first!

So where does that leave me? Do I join the rest of the lemmings and vote for the guy who promises me the most stuff? At least that way I can enjoy the slide into decadence comfortably. Or do I do what I can to try and at least delay the inevitable decay that has doomed every democracy the world has ever seen? And if I do fight (y'all know me; I wouldn't be here if I wasn't going to fight) who do I fight with? Who are my allies? I'm not a Republican, not a Democrat, and certainly not a Green. The only party that comes close to what I believe is the Libertarian Party, so I may end up running with them.

But while I'm sorting that out, I want to take a few weeks, and talk about what I believe to be true. One thing I've learned while writing this blog is that the act of writing things down helps bring them into focus. Organizing your thoughts into sentences and paragraphs helps to reveal hidden incomsistencies, and evaluate ramifications you'd never considered before. Doing it in a public forum like this one increases that effect, as I'm sure y'all will be quick to let me know when I make a mistake, or when you disagree with an assumption or evaluation. And that's good, because as I've written before, you can't learn anything from people who agree with you.

In the process, I hope to put together a picture of my Utopia, my perfect society. While I still believe that America is the greatest country on the planet, unlike Dr. Pangloss, I believe there's always room for improvement.

So, I guess the best place to start is with government. What's its job? What do we want it to do, and more importantly, what do we want to forbid it to do? Do we want the government to take care of us, or allow us to care for ourselves? Do we want the government to protect us from each other, or protect us from ourselves? Is the government responsible for providing a safety net, or should that be left to private sector organizations? We haven't even considered the rest of the world yet. Are we isolationist or globalist? Free trade or protectionist?

All of these decisions must flow from the basic principles embraced by the society, so I guess I really need to hammer those out first before I can go after the shape of my government.

So, off the cuff, here are a few core principles to kick around for awhile.

  • Individual privacy is a primary right. The government has no right to infringe on that privacy.
  • Every person has the right to the maximum freedom possible. Government has no right to arbitrarily restrict that freedom. The government must prove that any such restrictions are required to ensure maximum freedom for all. Any restrictions are subject to regular review.
  • The vote is a privilege that must be earned, not a right. Criteria for earning the vote should be transparent to age, sex, race, etc.
  • The sole national purpose of government is to act to maximize the personal freedom of each individual citizen.
  • The sole international function of government is to defend the nation against all threats to its security.
  • Not only should there be a wall of separation between church and state, there should be a wall of separation between the economy and the state.
  • Personal responsibility is the cost of freedom. People will be held accountible for their actions.

OK, that's enough for now. Let's hew on these for awhile, and see where they take us.
Posted by Rich
84.5 miles • (10) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

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Hey, Rich, I'm curious. What is the significance of the '84.5 miles' topic category?
Posted by SKB  on  01/02  at  03:02 PM

Hey Rich, if <b>"Individual privacy is a primary right. The government has no right to infringe on that privacy."</b>

How do you square that with <a href="" rel="nofollow">this</a>?

Seems like about a million or more individual invasions of privacy by your beloved administration in what was once called in the old <b>Free America</b> a legal "Fishing Expedition". Or this more in the War on the Noun?
Posted by Jo Fish  on  01/02  at  11:04 PM

Largest percent of taxes go to the military. Dont hear many conservatives bitching about military spending.
Posted by  on  01/03  at  09:39 AM

Um, wouldn't restricting one's right to vote be an infringement of "maximum possible freedom." Get thee back to the trailer park and examine thine own logic, Sir Amway.
Posted by Buck  on  01/03  at  09:59 AM

SKB 84.5 miles is the distance I drive to work each day. It's when I do all my best thinking. (I was wondering how long it would take somebody to ask that question...*grin*)

Jo, it's easy to square. It's completely wrong and a violation of basic principles of freedom as far as I'm concerned. Readers of this blog know that I am against the Patriot Act, versions I and II, and will stand against any legislation that compromises my rights based on some alleged security benefits. As for the "beloved party" crap, remember this?

"<i>The republicans do not automatically get my vote, particularly now, as they seem to have forgotten their roots. (Patriot Act I and II, Medicare expansion, massive deficits, unchecked governmental growth, etc.) The best thing I can say for the Republicans is that they are marginally better than the Democrats. Both parties are entirely too interested in telling me what I can and can't do on matters that they have no business messing with.</i>"

Anonymous, since I consider national defense to be one of the government's few areas of responsibility, it makes sense that defense would represent the lion's share of the budget.

Buck, think a little deeper, and RTWT. "Maximum possible" and the specification that restrictions must be justified and regularly reviewed means that I know that there will have to be restrictions, so pointing one out in an attempt to show contradiction is foolish.

A better question you could have asked would have been why limiting the electorate is necessary to ensure maximum freedom for everybody.

I'll answer that question in full later, but the short version is this: The relationship between the government and the electorate should symbiotic, not parasitic.
Posted by rich  on  01/04  at  02:08 AM

I'm interested in this "wall of separation between the economy and the state". Could you elaborate on how that would work?

Who prints money? How does the military buy stuff? Do police officers get paid? I have lots more questions, but it would probably be best to just let you explain what you mean.
Posted by Hellbent  on  01/04  at  09:05 AM

Rich, I suspected that's what 84.5 miles meant, at least the drive to work part. That's a LONG commute.
Posted by SKB  on  01/04  at  10:28 AM

I have to disagree about your separation of church and state.

The Constitution talks about an approved church (a la Church of England). Our Founding Fathers were deeply religious men who recognized that our freedoms came from God, and the People lent some of that power to the state.

It does not matter by what name you call Him, be it Yahyeh, Jehovah, Allah, Vishnu, the government must never forget that the ultimate power comes from our Creator. To forget that would unleash a destructive force upon ourselves and this country.
Posted by Mark  on  01/05  at  10:51 PM

While it is true that the Constitution does not feature the words "Separation of church and state", and that many of the founding fathers were deeply religious men, it is also an indisputable fact that they kept all references to such spirituality out of the Constitution.

Their purpose was to create a secular government, one supplemented by a religious culture. While that culture may be fading now (an arguable premise), I don't believe that means we should start to mix what they so successfully separated. If we need more spirituality in our lives, a position I agree with, it cannot come from the state, but must come from the people.
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