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Monday, October 27, 2008

My Case for Conservatism

To those of you who will indulge in the following, please know that I am not an advocate of John McCain, but you will soon see that I am conservative and have written this in an effort to further the merits of conservatism. I recognize that somehow conservatism has become an unpopular message, and I’d like to do my part to revitalize it. The following thoughts were retrieved from the deep, dark recesses of the pink matter between my own two ears, so if you disagree, please feel free to discuss your point of view with me. I will listen and be respectful as long as you assert your opinions without any of the trite rhetoric from the campaign trail. Let me know what you believe is right or wrong.

If anyone out there can convince me that Obama is not purveying a socialistic agenda, then I will gladly vote for him. If you cannot convince me otherwise, and you still support his proposals that are designed to empower the government to redistribute wealth, then please give me three specific examples of successful socialist governments, and I will easily rebut with three embarrassingly clear examples of such states that failed: Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Third Reich, and Castro's communist Cuba (the list goes on). Would any of you who proudly wave the flag of support for Obama trade your current life style for a domicile in one of those nations? Would you trade the current health care system for a socialized one where patients are forced to wait patiently for necessary medical procedures with wait times that can surpass a year? I proudly declare that it is the very capitalist, small government system, decried and besmirched by left leaning ideologues, that has given the citizens of this nation the freedoms they currently enjoy but are, in some measure, in danger of losing. Please, show me one example of any other government entity that can take responsibility and credit for lifting its citizens to the heights of individual fiscal prosperity and happiness. Show me one that at least permits its people the hope and possibility of true financial independence. Show me one that created numerous, prosperous jobs for its people.

The time has indeed come for the poor and lower classes of this nation to be reclaimed from the crutches and clutches of the big government advocates currently and previously in power. But the problem is that leftist politicians need the poor to stay poor, for a significant portion of their voting base is comprised of such. It is the system of big government and bleeding heart liberalism that engenders and furthers the dependence of the lower classes of this nation on the government. Their message does more, in the name of equality and fairness, to cripple the human spirit than it does to elicit its best. Their message of “tax credits” and stimulus packages is designed to deceive and buy those lower income votes. What would these politicians, Democratic or otherwise, do in the absence of those currently waiting on their hollow assistance? With their craft destroyed and their dependent base depleted, they would have nothing to do. They would lose the power they crave, the power for which they lust, and certainly they are loath to permit such an outcome. The framers of our nation designed its constitution to empower the people, not the government, but it is Obama’s explicitly stated desire to switch things around.

However, it is conservatism that invites everyone everywhere to shed the shackles of financial and moral poverty. It pushes the poor to be poor no more by extolling the virtues and merits of personal accountability and responsibility. It would not spare us from the consequences of personal failure and mishap nor would it deny us the crucial life lessons to be learned thereby. It urges us to look inward and to each other for the help we need to surmount life’s hardships, not to a government program. Conservatism still champions the American dream, the same dream by which Barack Obama went from humble beginnings to a successful life autonomous of any government organization. Unfortunately it is not Barack Obama but rather the principles of conservatism and capitalism that guarantee the possibility of a similar outcome for you and me. Sure, he can do it on his own, but his message is that you and I need him in order to have a “fighting chance.”

And it is conservatism that pushes us to rid ourselves of the chains associated with victimization. It inspires us to let go of circumstances beyond our control and to exercise dominion over the things we can control. It does not seek to pin the blame of personal failure on anyone else but the person who has failed; however, it still offers the promise of future triumphs that are independent of past follies.

When it comes to the sharing of wealth, conservatism abhors a system where charity is coerced by legislatively mandated taxation, but it inspires, encourages, and entices the individual to give selflessly. It wouldn’t rob us of the benefits of freely choosing to be charitable. It counsels those who have profited from charitable assistance to in turn give charitably to those still in need.

Furthermore, it is conservatism that begs us to live within our means and to stay out of debt, thus avoiding the pitfalls that produce nationwide recession and depression. It discourages the kind of pride that teaches us to hate those with more than us. Is it right to take points from the valedictorian’s hard earned 4.0 and give those points to the student who chose not to work as hard? No. But it is right to lift this nation’s lower wage earners by encouraging them to work and to strive for more, to aspire to improve their own situations, to help lift those around them. I do not deny the fact that many in this nation have enjoyed greater privilege than many others; however, the choice is equally shared by everyone to work hard, and the promise and opportunity of success are also equally shared by all. Conservatism asks us not to pray for rescue from difficulty but for the courage and strength to overcome it.

Conservatism would allow us all opportunities to make more on our own; it would not coerce parity through the exorbitant taxation of the corporations and higher bracket earners who already shoulder the vast majority of this nation’s tax burden.

This election cycle, though I will vote for John McCain, my vote is more against Barack Obama than it is for John McCain. I am voting to at least keep the opportunity for these conservative principles to stay alive. I only wish I had a candidate that truly espoused them.

4 comments:

Parker and Carly said...

I am so thrilled you've started a blog. Thank you for taking my tangled thoughts and putting them into words that I cannot!

-Carly

-emily- said...

HERE HERE!!!

Josh said...

Mush. I like what you have to say here and agree with so much of it. The person that comes to my mind with what you are saying here. Is Ron Paul. I don't know how much you have listened to him but each time I do he makes so much sense. He is all about shrinking the government, and interducing more capitalism. He believes in the Free Tax system, and bringing our troops home and strengthening our country with the money that we are sending over there right now. It seems that everytime I listen to our two current candidates I have no idea what they are talking about, to me it is a lot of flub. anyways...my wish is for new candidates. God Bless America. We need all of his blessings.

Holmes Family said...

Hey there Mush Mouth,

Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it. Let me jump in on some of this, not because I know anything but because I like to occasionally think about things.
I don't understand enough about different economy strategies to argue against capitalism, in fact I'm kind of partial to it as a US citizen.

I've inserted your comments in quotations.

"...please give me three specific examples of successful socialist governments, and I will easily rebut with three embarrassingly clear examples of such states that failed: Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Third Reich, and Castro's communist Cuba (the list goes on)"

I don’t know enough international history to comment on the successes and failures of Socialist governments but I think you run into trouble trying to argue those three examples as evidence of the failures of the broad umbrella of Socialism. It’s kind of like using David Koresh to argue Christianity’s failure (the list also goes on). You speak of two COMMUNIST (a branch of socialism theory) governments and a totalitarian dictatorship—all with very different methods. I refer you to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

"But the problem is that leftist politicians need the poor to stay poor, for a significant portion of their voting base is comprised of such."

"What would these politicians, Democratic or otherwise, do in the absence of those currently waiting on their hollow assistance? With their craft destroyed and their dependent base depleted, they would have nothing to do. They would lose the power they crave, the power for which they lust, and certainly they are loath to permit such an outcome."

Why do you assume Democratic leaders have such evil motives of keeping the poor, poor? Are you suggesting that those of a right-wing philosophy, by virtue of their philosophy, don’t crave the same power? That they really don’t want their jobs? Assuming that Republicans want to cater to the wealthiest citizens (their voting base), couldn’t we also say that they would never allow an equality of sharing in the country because they would lose the power they crave, and are loath to permit such an outcome?

"The framers of our nation designed its constitution to empower the people, not the government, but it is Obama’s explicitly stated desire to switch things around."

What explicit statements are you referring to?

"However, it is conservatism that invites everyone everywhere to shed the shackles of financial and moral poverty. It pushes the poor to be poor no more by extolling the virtues and merits of personal accountability and responsibility."

Why do you assume the poor are morally impoverished as well as personally unaccountable and irresponsible? We do a disservice to our fellow brothers and sisters when we assume that all poor individuals are that way because they chose to be. I refer you to an interesting book: Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and their Children by Greg Duncan, Aletha Huston, and Thomas Weisner. It is the report of the effects of a welfare to work program for working poor individuals and families in the city of Milwaukee. The book is written by three of the primary researchers contracted to create a randomized longitudinal study of the effects of the program. The program was created by a group of both liberals and conservatives whose hearts ached for the poor families they served, and who were displeased with state and federal welfare policies.

"It would not spare us from the consequences of personal failure and mishap nor would it deny us the crucial life lessons to be learned thereby. It urges us to look inward and to each other for the help we need to surmount life’s hardships, not to a government program."

How do you know that those experiencing life’s hardships have not exhausted looking “inward and to each other for the help,” or that they have someone else to look to for help?

I have a hard time understanding how turning to state or federal programs is not included in “looking to each other for the help we need.” Why wouldn’t we believe that federal leaders as well as local and state leaders would be committed to effecting this kind of positive change in the lives of others?


"Unfortunately it is not Barack Obama but rather the principles of conservatism and capitalism that guarantee the possibility of a similar outcome for you and me. Sure, he can do it on his own, but his message is that you and I need him in order to have a 'fighting chance.'"

Surely, you and I may be able to do it on our own (or maybe we have to look further to give credit to outside sources for our successes), but is it possible that SOME may indeed need someone on higher ground to represent their needs in order to have a “fighting chance?”

"And it is conservatism that pushes us to rid ourselves of the chains associated with victimization. It inspires us to let go of circumstances beyond our control and to exercise dominion over the things we can control. It does not seek to pin the blame of personal failure on anyone else but the person who has failed; however, it still offers the promise of future triumphs that are independent of past follies."

This is a great motto to live by. However, like the victim of sexual abuse, for example, the blame of some personal failures does belong to some other than the victim—that person that failed. The process toward future triumphs for this victim may prove unfairly difficult and may not ever be fully realized independently of past follies. Will it be fair for someone on higher ground to reach down and help? Let us not minimize or demean the experiences and feelings of others because we do not share them and therefore may not understand them.


"When it comes to the sharing of wealth, conservatism abhors a system where charity is coerced by legislatively mandated taxation, but it inspires, encourages, and entices the individual to give selflessly. It wouldn’t rob us of the benefits of freely choosing to be charitable. It counsels those who have profited from charitable assistance to in turn give charitably to those still in need."

I see how conservatism entices the individual to give for personal profit and benefit (less taxation), but how does it entice to give selflessly?

How is a left-wing government robbing us of the benefits of freely choosing to be charitable? Regardless of the rate that I am being taxed, I still can freely choose to pay tithing and fast offerings based on the cost of two meals, for example. Indeed, if I am more heavily taxed, the significance of that money may then become more to me—require more sacrifice and cause me to look more inward to be willing to give it. Isn’t this more the mark of selflessness?

Do those that received charitable assistance (like many of our friends in undergrad and graduate programs) from the federal government (WIC, Pell grants, Medicaid, or SCHIP for example) feel counseled by conservatism to give back charitably to those programs that could still benefit others?

I find it interesting that you have such optimism in the capacity of some to be charitable, yet such pessimism in others in their capacity to have integrity and work-ethic.

"Furthermore, it is conservatism that begs us to live within our means and to stay out of debt, thus avoiding the pitfalls that produce nationwide recession and depression. It discourages the kind of pride that teaches us to hate those with more than us. Is it right to take points from the valedictorian’s hard earned 4.0 and give those points to the student who chose not to work as hard? No. But it is right to lift this nation’s lower wage earners by encouraging them to work and to strive for more, to aspire to improve their own situations, to help lift those around them. I do not deny the fact that many in this nation have enjoyed greater privilege than many others; however, the choice is equally shared by everyone to work hard, and the promise and opportunity of success are also equally shared by all. Conservatism asks us not to pray for rescue from difficulty but for the courage and strength to overcome it."

Do you suggest that those who partake of government assistance are by definition undisciplined, without principle, and don’t want to live within their means and stay out of debt? Once again, why do you assume this nation’s lower wage earners don’t work hard, strive for more, aspire to improve their own situations, and to help lift those around them? While the choice may be equally shared to work hard (at least shared by many), the promise and opportunity of success are NOT equally shared. The system is such that only one can be valedictorian. We don’t equally value the varying contributions of society’s members. We more highly esteem those that generate the most money. We say that we value education, law enforcement, military protection, other community services, sanitation, the humanities, those that test and prepare the food we are about to ingest, etc. How do those that contribute in these areas stack up on the pay scale in our country? Are those individuals that make less money without aspiration? Must they necessarily aspire themselves out of their current job? Maybe they need to simply put in more hours than the higher wage earner. But do we want a society that solely promotes work for money or do American’s deserve to enjoy other things, e.g. time with family, church, community? Should every hard-working American be allowed by his country to garnish a living? Have enough to raise a family? Do we really value what we say we do or do we prefer to say, ‘Let the fittest survive,’ ‘May the craftiest exploit the most vulnerable for it is a free country?’

No, we shouldn’t pray to be rescued from difficulty. Yes, we should pray for courage and strength AND for a reality that our difficulty can be overcome.

Why does your outlook on conservatism only value charity and good works provided by the private sector and not the government? Do you have evidence that “hand outs” from churches and community organizations are “working” better than government programs? Is it possible that every needy individual can’t be reached by our noble, but often failing, intentions and efforts, and that the government can help fill in some of the “cracks along the road?”

Thanks for letting me hard case you a bit.

Yours truly,

Chris H.