Conservative values and the Liberal centrist: An enigma or dogmatic confusion?
Those of us who maintain we have conservative values, find it hard to reconcile what today’s liberal centrists now insist they have had all along. From a political viewpoint this would be an economic understanding that says government appetite must be defined by the limits of its basic charitable (entitlement programs) and financial requirements (justifiable bureaucratic needs) and a clear definition as to how exactly each of these things must be weighed against the constraints of the other. And with that, begins an argument that cannot be won on either side. Why?
For starters, the constitution, from any conservative viewpoint, makes no provisions for giving the federal government any authority to establish entitlements for anyone who is not being illegally restrained by other individuals or groups of individuals. The only ‘exception’ would be if the state government where the restraining takes place is acting in a manner that will infringe on the remaining states ability to freely conduct normal state business, and because of this gives that state some unfair advantage over the remaining states. The federal government then has a duty to step in and function as the representative of the states whose rights have been infringed upon.
The conservative says it is the states who give the feds any power other than those narrowly defined in the constitution which necessarily must be the job of the federal government. Mainly, the responsibility to maintain a militia for the purposes of protecting the citizens of all the states from invasion from outside the union of states, and to maintain a legal system to protect the citizens from unfair practices by the states in conducting legal commerce from other states or other countries. The federal government also regulates and maintains a postal system for the benefit of all citizens to have the ability to communicate across state lines and between different countries. Provisions for a federal communications board were drawn by congress to regulate phone service, a federal transportation board to regulate forms of transportation. And a veterans affairs department to regulate the care and concerns of the federal military retired members, there is also a federal trade commission to guarantee the equitable conducting of business between states and foreign governments.
The liberal centrist believes that the states are not capable of conducting business with each other without regulations which permit the feds to control every facet of its citizens life. The finite difference here is in no way as finite as it might seem. Conservatives do believe the states are perfectly capable of maintaining fair legal equity in their business with each other and must be limited only if the equity is unfair in some way that only a federal department or board of regulation is needed.
With the development of the preceding information which is obviously, at this point in the history of the United States, incomplete because there have been so many additions and expansions of the various departments now contained under the umbrella of the federal government it must be argued that the need will always exist to expand and add new programs and departments and therefore the federal government should, rightfully, have the power to do these things without the sanction of the various states.
This argument is at the core of the liberal school of thought. After all who better to see the problems presented by the republic of the various states than the federal viewpoint?
And it is this argument that brings out the passion of the conservative’s stance of ‘Not so fast here.’
To begin with, the conservatives argue, giving the feds the power to supercede the states in matters of expansion, most particularly as concerns entitlements, whether wanted or not by the general population, leads to the duplication of effort that creates mountains of data maintenance and needless bureaucratic expansion.
Almost every student of government can point to at least one of these bureaucracies of inefficiency. The one which jumps to mind immediately to a good many conservatives is the Department of Social Services. Is there anyone who can say they aren’t aware of this model of absolute incompetence foisted upon the American people?
First, Social Security was designed as an added low cost insurance to help those people who didn’t have the kind of job that would allow them a comfortable retirement at the end of their working career. Almost everything that could go wrong with a government program has gone wrong with this. When it was designed and set in place, there were approximately thirty active workers to a single retired worker to establish the contributing base needed for the program. Second, the funds presumably were to go into a trust fund that was kept only for the those people who reached age sixty-five.
Well that didn’t happen. At some point, the congress decided there was so much money in that trust that they could borrow from it and somehow replace it down the line.
but that didn’t happen either. There were so many other wonderful things congress decided they could do, the money never got put back. Now, to add to the problem, there are only three people working for every person who retires, so there is no trust fund. Yet congress still spends the money as if it were entitled to do so. Any business attempting to do this would fail almost immediately. But not Congress. They keep adding programs on top of programs, confident that they can create enough taxes and fees and penalties for failure to pay, etc., etc. to somehow turn the sinking ship into a real carrier for their personal benefit.. That hasn’t worked, and will not work.
Now add to this a myriad of other entitlement programs, all with the same kind of mentality of congressional ineptitude, and you have an inkling of why, up to the point of George W. Bush’s end of office the national debt was over 1.4 trillion dollars accumulated debt from the very first administration, (George Washington, for those of you unable to remember your history lessons) to the retiring George Bush.
And yo, the people did shriek at the horrible deeds of their governors. Okay, okay, I’m sure you get the picture. This is how wrong a federal government can go because they begin to believe they can do everything for the people. Well, not really.
The new federal government, under Barrack Obama, in less than a year and a half, has managed to take that national debt of 1.4 trillion dollars and actually increase it almost tenfold. Exactly right, if you guessed thirteen trillion (13 trillion dollars.)
Not one plan has been submitted to pay for all this except a slogan headed by the phrase, "We are going to redistribute the wealth." This is how our liberal-centrist friends are absolutely certain they are going to pay for all of these things which will ‘level the working (playing) field for all of us. Oh, wait, I forgot about the national debt. Remember, that trivial thirteen trillion dollars. That will be only, let’s see, divide by twelve, carry the two, drop the... oh gosh! Somewhere around five billion dollars a month or so... or is that a day??
So here’s the real point, all government is costly, but, a government that is removed from the problems of everyday citizens (Americans), is not only costly, it is dangerous for the exact reasons that come with the poor decision making because of the lack of knowledge, and because, when you send elected officials thousands of miles away to carry out the wishes of your state you will more often than not get the kind of corrupted thinking that has been going on in Washington DC for the last one hundred years.
Collective government, or statist government or socialist government, whatever term you wish to call it, renders a mishmash, hodgepodge form of majority-rules government that in the end forgets that the most important thing in the framework of a republican system of government is the individual. All men are created equal— not with the same amount of money, not with the same brains, not with the same brown, or black, or yellow, or white skin, not with the same intelligence even— but, with the same rights as everyone else including the right to fail, to decide for oneself how to make a living, or not, but, free to choose whatever direction he or she wishes to travel, or not. That is what makes this the greatest country in the world.
And that is precisely why the founding fathers chose the system of government we have. They certainly did not intend for the government to provide anything for which every individual, with hard work and perseverance could not aspire to for themselves. Show an American someone who must depend on everyone else, even when they were born with the same tools, and the American will do everything he can to teach that person how he should be using his own tools. Once that happens the American instinctively gets out of the way so the other can sink or swim.
There is not one social government that has succeeded. Think about it.
D. Kenneth Ross
June 7th, 2010