and usually with an attempt at historical and economic context
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Reasserting Conservative Principles
When I say “conservatives,” I mean fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and national defense conservatives, all of whom have traditionally allied with the GOP, and conservatism is best represented by people who belong to all three types of conservatism.
Conservatives generally are, and should be, pro-life. Millions of babies, including whites and minorities, have been put to death in the womb, and some after they were born. This is a horrendous moral evil, and is disastrous in many ways. It desensitizes people to the kind of concern we should have for human life, and especially little life. When the president has opposed legislation that would require medical help for babies born after a failed abortion, we have an abominable example before us.
But beyond the profound moral failure that is abortion, it is also a costly economic fact. The generations that were supposed to pay for social security and medicare, etc. are largely not there because of abortion. And who knows what great discoveries and accomplishments are missing because the ones who would have made them are gone because of abortion. And how many mothers have suffered from having abortions? Isn’t it a denial of the “right to life” the Declaration of Independence asserts?
Conservatives stand for individual liberty. They are not willing to sacrifice their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the great government (fascist, socialist) program of the left, which calls for renouncing self interest, cheerfully “volunteering” and “sacrificing” as the government may direct, and giving up rights that have been enjoyed for over two centuries in America.
These include (1) the right to be born once conceived, (2) the right to choose one’s own medical care and insurance, (3) the right to have the benefit of one’s earnings without confiscatory taxation, and (4) the right to choose not to support any labor union, political party, “community organizer” group or other group outside the proper realm of government. Also, (5) the right to speak, publish, broadcast, or otherwise promote one’s own point of view, political or otherwise and to read, view, and hear whatever one desires, without any government interference or harassment.
And (6) the right to believe and practice religion or not, as one’s conscience dictates, and one’s preferences and convictions guide, while respecting the same rights of others. The (7) right of self defense, and the individual right to keep and bear arms must also be maintained and protected. And all the other rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, literally and definitely, not interpreted away by some collectivist authority. Conservatives insist upon, and are willing to defend these rights, confronting as necessary any who threaten them. These rights are not granted by government, but by God, and are not to be infringed.
As part of our liberty and constitutional rights, conservatives support free markets. We all know that free markets cannot mean perfect competition in many industries, but real competition and economic activity free from government control is the ideal. Government has the task of preventing and dealing with crime and abuse, and maintaining an environment which promotes free competition and trade. Government is not to take over or operate businesses in competition with the private sector.
Government ought to promote commerce and free trade by minimizing taxes and regulation. The free market has been shown consistently and in numerous examples to be the best economic form for general prosperity and freedom. No other system this side of the pearly gates comes close.
As suggested above, conservatives support limited government. Over the last seventy years or so, especially since the establishment of the Federal Reserve, then the New Deal, Great Society, etc., government has abandoned its constitutional limitations in many areas. American Progressivism promoted the idea of an activist government taking to itself the privileges of overbearing control of many things previously off limits. This peaked with World War I, but the activists tried to extend these controls beyond the war years. Warren G. Harding was elected largely because he opposed this, and the people were weary of Woodrow Wilson’s dictatorial control.
Wilson succeeded in making it a federal crime to criticize the government or the war effort. Harding’s first official act was to pardon Eugene V. Debs, who had been jailed for opposing a wartime draft.
In wartime, the government, with some justification, has sought to limit some freedoms, but usually went overboard, as in price controls during World War II. Some said that these controls worked well, but they worked well when the controlled price was in fact near the market price. Otherwise, there were unnecessary shortages. The gasoline shortages of the 1970’s were caused primarily by government price controls.
Conservatives believe in low taxes and responsible spending. It was said by someone that Republicans lost popularity when they “didn’t do what God put them on earth to do, that is, cut taxes.”
The Reagan tax cuts and later Bush tax cuts demonstrated their value, encouraging the 25-year economic recovery and leading to record tax revenues. Liberals pretend they can’t connect lower taxes to higher revenues, but the link is undeniable. Low taxes encourage economic activity, leading to higher employment, and more people paying taxes. Opposition to high taxes has two aspects, (1) the right of earners to keep their earnings, except for a reasonable amount to support legitimate government functions, and (2) the demonstrated value to the economy. Everyone prospers more when taxes are low. Liberals can’t stomach the idea of very wealthy people not paying extremely high taxes. But it’s not poor people who provide the jobs or take risks that move the economy.
If taxes get too high, people have a disincentive to invest and hire. People and businesses begin to close down or leave the country. Many people and businesses are leaving California these days due to overwhelming taxes and government control. Yet the state government seems unable to believe this. And they themselves are responsible, and also the people who keep electing the tax and spend officials. The United States, under Obama’s agenda, is heading down a very similar path. The difference is that the U.S. can print money and California can’t. But even the printing press can’t supply the need because it all has to be repaid somehow. Or not, if it isn’t possible. What happens then?
Conservatives support a strong national defense, knowing that all our rights and prosperity are subject to suppression if we can’t maintain our sovereignty and protect our people. “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!” Perhaps you have an opinion about the Obama Administration wanting to gut defense in terms of new weapon systems, and give up some missiles to hopefully impress Russia. And what about missile defense? I would much rather spend on military systems and war costs than socialized medicine.
I believe most Americans support these conservative principles to a significant degree. To defeat the leftists in elections, the ideas of conservatism must be articulated, and there must not be a presentation of a simply watered-down liberalism, i.e., “we can run this socialized leftist government better than the liberals can.” That’s the formula for assured defeat.
Conservative principles, if followed, would greatly improve our economy and restore trust in our government and financial system. Also, it would help us to at least appreciate what has made America a great nation.
The Obama Administration now owns this awful economy. The President’s popularity is sagging. That’s why he wants to rush through his health care and cap and trade plans, allowing no time for scrutiny or debate. Again, we’re likely to see thousand-plus-page bills voted on without having been read (and maybe not even made available), much less posted on the web for the public to see. That’s the game plan. Will they succeed? If so, much more is on the way, and these two things alone are enough to sink our economy for years to come. But they’ll get even with those rich people.
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.