Friday, October 24, 2008

The Conscience of a Conservative

I hate elections. It has been many years since I had any hope that those elected will take our country in a new and bold direction. I have seen too many years of "Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss." All politicians in our modern age are liars and all that I have ever seen would put the needs and desires of their constituency over those of the common US citizen. Instead of wasting this space telling you who you should vote for, I would like to take a moment to reflect on what I feel is one of the best works of political theory and one of the most overlooked blueprints for National greatness ever published. Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative. Take time to read it for yourself, and consider the message it contains. I have aligned myself with 1 party or the other my whole adult life (the old saying goes "You don't have a heart if you are not a liberal at 20 and you don't have a brain if you are not a conservative by 30."), but more than allegiance to any party, I now consider myself an Independent, aligned to a set of principles, not a party or a candidate. Many of these principles are set forth in Barry's book. I would like to share a few with you today.
1. The economic and spiritual aspects of man’s nature are inextricably intertwined. He cannot be economically free, or even economically efficient, if
he is enslaved politically; conversely, man’s political freedom is illusory if he is dependent for his economic needs on the State-
This is why Socialism is a failed experiment. Putting heavier political burdens (taxes) on those who earn more saps their will and desire to excel. Why work harder if the government is just going to take it away. And conversely, State mandated handouts (welfare) create an environment where hard work is not rewarded, so why work hard? If all Americans are to be given an equal chance as well as an enticement to succeed, we have to stop the silliness of punished those who do succeed and rewarding those who put forth no effort.
2. The Conservative is the first to understand that the practice of freedom requires the establishment of order: it is impossible for one man to be free if another is able to deny him the exercise of his freedom. But the Conservative also recognizes that the political power on which order is based is a self-aggrandizing force; that its appetite grows with eating. He knows that the utmost vigilance and care are required to keep political power within its proper bounds.- Government of the people, by the people and for the people is a phrase which modern politicians would love to sweep under the rug. Bigger government and more rules means more power for politicians and more money to make it all run. The proposed FY09 budget for the Department of Homeland security is $50.5 BILLION dollars. Of course, we need them, right? Before they were here, no one was in charge of keeping America safe, correct? Wrong. On the FBI's website, under "What We Investigate", they list International Terrorism, Domestic Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. They were established in 1908 and had an annual budget (as of FY08) of $6.04 BILLION dollars. Did the government cut the FBI budget when the Department of Homeland Security was started? No, in fact, it was increased. Then there is the CIA. We won't even discuss their budget. On their website, they say one of their primary missions is "Collecting information that reveals the plans, intentions and capabilities of our adversaries and provides the basis for decision and action.". Sounds a bit like what the FBI and Homeland Security do. Bigger government just breeds bigger government.
3. The framers of the Constitution had learned the lesson. They were not only students of history, but victims of it: they knew from vivid, personal experience that freedom depends on effective restraints against the accumulation of power in a single authority. And this is what the Constitution is: a system of restraints against the natural tendency of government to expand in the direction of absolutism.- Ah, the Constitution. A moldy old document that a bunch of old geezers (white, rich, Masonic slave holders if you believe modern history) cobbled together so long ago to shape the course of a new nation. Surely of no use to us today, right? Wrong again misinformed reader. In the Constitution, the Founding Fathers gave us the tools with which to either build and keep the greatest nation on earth, or to hang ourselves. Sections 8 and 9 of Article 1 specifically outline what Congress can and cannot do. Read it and you will realize that many of this nations most important decisions may have been in direct violation of these rules. Read Article 2 and you will see that the specific job duties of the President have been overstepped on numerous occasions! What we see in the White House today is nothing like the President our Fore Fathers imagined.
That covers just a few of the items that Barry talks about. I think in the coming days and years as our American situation grows more desperate, we would all be well served to take a long hard look at our country and decide if this is really what "We, the people" had in mind.

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