I've been asked how various right-wing groups can live with their beliefs. That has the same ring to me as "How can people still be against cancer when it helps people lose weight?" So let's go over my beliefs and how they mesh with the current political structure. (I have my own theories of how the left-wing proponents can believe their beliefs.)
I'm a "libertarian" in today's political spectrum. Actually, a libertarian hates government on principle while I hate government for what it does. I point to disease, poverty, and hate to justify my claim that the moral fabric of government is wrong, but "libertarian" is close enough to suit me.
Social issues: The right wing is totally wrong on these. People are people and should make their own choices. Marriage is a legal institution, more than a religious rite, and same-sex couples should have access to the same opportunities. Women who want to end pregnancies should be able to do so without government interference. People who want to use drugs that don't bother anybody else should be able to do so without government interference. You don't have to like it, but that's no excuse for meddling. The right wing doesn't agree with me on these issues, but methinks America's founders were clearly on my side. (Let me ask, by the way, how liberals feel about airline security and drunk-driving laws? Are you on the same side of those issues?)
The left wing is somewhat wrong on social issues as well. The right to have something or to do something isn't the claim that somebody else should pay for it. Government funding for abortions is wrong, for example.
Foreign policy issues: It is not the business of the United States to be the world's policeman. The federal government maintains a military to protect us, not to tell other people what to do. If there is sufficient popular support for a foreign entity, a country or a revolution, then let those who support it politically also support it economically.
Religion: That's an easy one for me as I'm not afflicted by the God gene. Religion is a personal, private matter and government has no business in it. I'm sorry the pledge of allegiance was corrupted in 1958 with religious overtones (that extra "under God" phrase that doesn't belong there) or that it's on our coins and dollar bills ("in God we trust" instead of "E Pluribus Unum). I'm sorrier there's a growing influence from people who are afflicted to promote ignorance in our schools and policies.
As an aside, I see no conflict between biblical study and science. A book written 3500 years ago summarizes the world's creation. I think they did a pretty good job, actually. Ask yourself this: If you with all the science you know had to write a creation story similarly accessible 3500 years ago, then how much different from Genesis would it be? God created the world, it says, but it was up to us to figure how it all happened, and we call that discovery process "science." Whether that science is some godly vision or some random mix of particles is a debate for the theologians, but there is nothing ungodly about science and evolution. That's completely a fabricated controversy.
Corporate Economy: Expansion of government into business is nasty and destructive. The usual pattern is the government regulates some industry, for public good they claim, while somebody gets fat kickbacks, it turns out badly, so they blame the victims and get more regulation. It was the stock market in 1929, energy in 1973, banking in 2007, and health care in 2012. An ongoing theme is corporatism, the government "getting in bed" with corporations in various ways and then screwing them out of their livelihood when something better comes along. The military-industrial complex lost to the stimulus packages. It's all bad and it should all go away.
Social economy: The whole concept of social welfare is completely wrong. It's wrong at the primary, moral level, the whole Robin-Hood ideal that generosity is best when done with somebody else's money. It's wrong at the economic level, that giving people money to remain idle encourages them to work. It's wrong at the societal level, we've trained our poor to expect payment for staying that way. The argument that cancer is good 'cuz it helps you lose weight is better than any of the arguments for social subsidy.
Productivity: "The business of America is business." America was its best when it got stuff done. I don't mean banking or stock trading, I don't mean commerce or horse trading, I mean making stuff. We were the world's source for just about everything and it was great. Much of what we're living off of today, in the worldwide acceptance of our currency and in the good and services we still have, comes from that era and its attitudes.
Health care: I don't care what it costs, we shouldn't subsidize health care with public funds. If a majority feels health care should be paid for, then there's enough sentiment to do it privately. I belong to a mutual "society" for car insurance and we can do the same for large-scale health services. In fact, unregulated health care is both good and cheap.
So what's the choice in 2012? The economic damage of the left wing is far and away the biggest problem in Washington. All the right-wing idiocy may be worth thousand of jobs, but not the millions that our democrats have cost in addition to whatever idiocy was extant in 2006. This is the first-and-foremost problem in the United States today.
The Tea-Party movement has been vilified by left-wing pundits. The Tea Party movement conducted itself with dignity throughout, as far as I could tell, never diluting their smaller-government messages with right-wing rhetoric about religion or family issues or with left-wing social or freedom issues. They picked their message and delivered it proudly.
America: America is about doing more with less government, state instead of federal, local instead of state, and private instead of any government. The America we strive for has only one federal tax, fair, equal-amount tax for anybody allowed to vote. Any two people who get the same vote pay the same tax, period. An America to be proud of has federal government limited to military defense, border control, and interstate courts. Money would have to be managed in a way that the government can't spend more than it receives.
What do we do with federal agencies like transportation, interior, forestry, and so on? We make them self-sufficient with their own fees in the expectation of moving them to private enterprise or state control. Examples: The Federal Aviation Administration lives off of a tax on aviation fuel so no outside money is spent on it. The national parks should charge enough to make their ends meet and it's tough if I have to pay $1200 for my annual pass. Gasoline taxes are a meaningful way to pay for interstate highways and, with the advent of electronic technologies like E-ZPass, tolls aren't the time killers they once were.
What do we do with federal functions like drugs, education, energy, medicine, and housing? They go away immediately. If states want to take over those functions, then that's fine, but there's no federal mandate for any of these things, the tenth amendment prohibits them anyway, and they're costing us a lot.
The same goes for any federal program that redistributes income or bails out anybody. Disaster recovery is similarly a state-only function if government is going to do it at all. We're supposed to be grown-up people and we have insurance to deal with it. If the insurance companies don't keep their promises, then we have courts to deal with them.
What if an even-handed tax just isn't enough for national defense? There are two ways to deal with it, neither entirely satisfactory. One approach is to stick the individual states with an increasing responsibility for defending our country. That might include coast guards and military bases. Another is to institute a single, clearly-limited federal sales tax on goods and services, perhaps a value added tax (VAT) limited to ten percent (10%). I'm much more comfortable with a consumption tax than an income tax for two reasons. First, it taxes people when they spend the money so it encourages saving and investment. Second, people who consume more tend to get more government service than people who don't, often in ways not accounted for in usage fees.
The America we strive for should limit states as well. I believe states should be limited to sales taxes and usage fees, no income taxes, no corporate taxes, and no estate taxes just like the federal government. There are some social programs that states and cities can provide, services for mentally-ill people and homeless shelters come to mind, but these should be limited to people who really can't work. I'd like to see those move to private charities who will be both more efficient and more compassionate.
Environmental resources should be property and managed privately. My air and water deserve the same protection from pollution as my yard and I have a legal claim against those who pollute them. Those rights can be bought and sold as easements for property owners. I don't think managing environmental issues as property will be easier than our current system, but it will be fairer, more stable, and more prosperous. A simple rule of thumb is that incremental pollution should be priced in proportion to those affected and to existing pollution, so it costs more to pollute a crowded area that's already polluted.
The mindset that people who are successful ought to be punished should go into the same Stupid-Ideas bin as the medieval notion that the smartest and most scholarly people should be chaste and have no children. The concept that less-successful people, or unfortunate people, have a claim on others because of their success is equally bad. Compassion and charity are fine when it's your own money, but they're the heart of evil when they involve taking from somebody else with some kind of smug satisfaction.
Ron Paul is the obvious choice for America. If you don't think so, then you probably don't like America very much. You like our jobs and our prosperity without liking what it takes to get those things. If you still want to stay here, then the right thing to do is to keep quiet about politics.
The Obama presidency is horrible for a lot of reasons. Canadians make fun of us because we don't know who their prime minister is. Now we don't know who our president is. We know his brief, visible trajectory as senator and president gave us new levels of nasty government and evil corruption. We also know his changes, not Bush's, have made millions unemployed and tens of millions underemployed. History of other socialized medical efforts tells us his health care plan will deliver less care for higher cost, not good for sick people.
Mitt Romney isn't the best person for the job, but he made money in business. Isn't that the best credential a person could have for president? Even if he does bring a resurgence of religious-right idiocy, which I don't expect or support, isn't that small price to pay for the economic recovery we're not going to get with today's democrats in control?
Today is 2019 April 19, Friday,
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