Tag Archives: politics

What’s in a Label? Too Much Dogmatism!

16 Jan

I am getting real tired of people saying that there are only two types of Republicans today – RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and Conservative Republicans (where they mean Tea-Partyish Republicans).

Who has the arrogance to declare that they know how to define what a real Republican is, and that if one doesn’t toe the line on the full set of values held by the far right, one cannot be a real Republican – and especially not a conservative.

I am going to assert that, in general terms, anyone whose overall values lie to the right of “center” can claim the title of conservative, and anyone whose values put them to the left of “center” can legitimately claim to be a liberal.

And if I want to say that I am a climate change agnostic, that says NOTHING about whether I am, on balance, a liberal or a conservative.  If I want to say that I favor the XL Pipeline, that says NOTHING about whether I am, on balance, a conservative or a liberal.  If I am pro-choice, with or without constraints, again that says NOTHING about whether I am, on balance, a liberal or a conservative.  If I am in favor of private gun ownership, that says NOTHING about whether I am, on balance, a conservative or a liberal.

That said, if we suppose that people whose OVERALL leaning is to the right of “center” are likely to be Republicans (or at least vote Republican), and people whose OVERALL leaning is to the left of “center” are likely to be Democrats (or at least vote Democrat), then we come to the simple conclusion that neither Democrats NOR Republicans are going to believe the same things about all issues.  Both parties allow for a large moderate (some might say “reasonable”) group of people who have worked through issues and find the party thought-police to be repugnant.

For those who want to berate anyone in their political party who does not believe exactly as they do on all issues, I say – “GET OVER YOURSELVES!  Yes, Virginia, there ARE such things as moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats, and they have just as much right to the Republican and Democrat labels as you have.  In fact, the moderates probably outnumber you.”

Now – that said – if the actual Republican Party or Democratic Party leadership wants to officially define the qualifications for being a member of their party – what you can and cannot believe about every controversial topic in our culture, and perhaps say that they don’t want your vote if you differ on any one topic — then let them do that, and let’s watch what happens.

Go ahead and disinvite participation in your party and its elections if your members won’t toe the line on every controversial issue.  Probably what would happen is we would, indeed, wind up with a third (or even fourth) political party – let’s call it the Moderate Party – or how about the Freedom Party – freedom to believe as we reason, and to form association with those who are not consumed by dogma – freedom to disagree with members of our own party on serious issues.

So – maybe we have this third party thing all wrong.  Forming a third party out of a far right group would only serve to dilute the Republican vote, and would put the Democratic Party in control for the foreseeable future.  However, if we energetically form a new party out of the “middle” – the Moderates – and could instantly pull maybe a third of voters from each of the current mainstream parties, the newly formed Moderate Party becomes a contender from the get-go.  And it is not so much characterized by intolerant dogmatists as by people who know they must give a little to get a little – a pretty reasonable stance, given the variety of deeply held beliefs across our great nation.

Done ranting.

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What Is Equality? [Insight from Thomas Sowell]

9 Jan

From the pen of Thomas Sowell, well-known black conservative economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  Strongly excerpted here from a piece titled “The ‘Equality’ Racket”, posted at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/the-equality-racket-6f48e3209f.html

[Start excerpt – brackets and bolding are mine]

. . . . [T]he predominant political meaning [of “equality”] in practice [is] where economic “disparities” and “gaps” are automatically treated as “inequities.” If one racial or ethnic group has a lower income than another, that is automatically called “discrimination” by many people in politics, the media and academia.

It doesn’t matter how much evidence there is that some groups work harder in school, perform better and spend more postgraduate years studying to acquire valuable skills in medicine, science or engineering. If the economic end results are unequal, that is treated as a grievance against those with better outcomes, and a sign of an “unfair” society.

The rhetoric of clever people often confuses the undeniable fact that life is unfair with the claim that a given institution or society is unfair.

Children born into families that raise them with love and with care to see that they acquire knowledge, values and discipline that will make them valuable members of society have far more chances of economic and other success in adulthood than children raised in families that lack these qualities.

Studies show that children whose parents have professional careers speak nearly twice as many words per hour to them as children with working class parents — and several times as many words per hour as children in families on welfare. There is no way that children from these different backgrounds are going to have equal chances of economic or other success in adulthood. 

. . . [S]ome people buy the idea that politicians can correct the unfairness of life by cracking down on employers.

But, by the time children raised in very different ways reach an employer, the damage has already been done.

What is a problem for children raised in families and communities that do not prepare them for productive lives can be a bonanza for politicians, lawyers and assorted social messiahs who are ready to lead fierce crusades, if the price is right. . . .. . . .

Equality before the law is a fundamental value in a decent society. But equality of treatment in no way guarantees equality of outcomes.

On the contrary, equality of treatment makes equality of outcomes unlikely, since virtually nobody is equal to somebody else in the whole range of skills and capabilities required in real life . . . .

What may be a spontaneous confusion among the public at large about the very different meanings of the word “equality” can be a carefully cultivated confusion by politicians, lawyers and others skilled in rhetoric, who can exploit that confusion for their own benefit.

Regardless of the actual causes of different capabilities and rewards in different individuals and groups, political crusades require a villain to attack — a villain far removed from the voter or the voter’s family or community. . . . The media and the intelligentsia are also attracted to crusades against the forces of evil.

But whether as a crusade or a racket, a confused conception of equality is a formula for never-ending strife that can tear a whole society apart — and has already done so in many countries.

[End Excerpt]

The More Things Change, . . . .

28 Mar

“How easily men satisfy themselves that the Constitution is exactly what they wish it to be.”

— Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1845

If he could only see us now.  Treading on the Constitution is not a new phenomenon, just one that seems to be gaining momentum.

On Evil

19 Mar

“Know what is evil, however much worshipped it may be.  Let the man of intelligence not fail to recognize it, . . . because it cannot . . . hide its core;  slavery does not lose its infamy, however noble the master.”

— Baltasar Graciàn, Spanish Jesuit (1601-1658)

Not a new thought — rather, a timeless one, as demonstrated by this 400-year-old proverb.  Very similar instruction found in the Bible.  Be vigilant in identifying evil for what it is.

On Mixing War and Politics

19 Feb

From the pen of Dr. Thomas Sowell, my favorite writer – an excerpt from a recent column of his titled “Another Galling Betrayal”.  The entire column can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/another-galling-betrayal.html

Excerpt:

. . . .

If we learn nothing else from the bitter tragedy of the war in Afghanistan, it should be that we should put an end forever to the self-indulgence of thinking that we can engage in “nation-building” and creating “democracy” in countries where nothing resembling democracy has ever existed. . . .

F.A. Hayek said, “We shall not grow wiser until we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.” Nothing is more foolish — and immoral — than sending men into battle to risk their lives winning victories that are later lost by politicians for political reasons.

That started long before the war in Afghanistan. Vietnam was a classic example. Years after that war was over, the Communist victors themselves admitted that they lost militarily in Vietnam, as they knew they would. But they won politically in America, with the help of Americans, including the media — as they also knew they would.

The war in Iraq was more of the same. American troops won that war but our politicians lost the peace. Terrorists have now taken over, and raised Al Qaeda flags, in some Iraqi towns that American troops liberated at the cost of many lives.

How did this happen? It happened much the same way it happened in Afghanistan. We insisted on trying to create a “democracy” in the Middle East — a place with a history going back thousands of years, without a single democracy.

[End of excerpt]

“You can fool . . . .” Quotes

1 Aug

All of us have heard the saying, variously attributed to Abraham Lincoln or to P. T. Barnum,

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

Less well-known is this quote from George W. Bush,

“You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

But my favorite, and the scariest for us in the Age of Obama, Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner, is this from James Thurber (from “The Owl Who Was God”),

“You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.”

More Wise Words from Our Founding Fathers

3 Jul

Below are some excellent thoughts from our founding fathers regarding the role of God in retaining the nation’s freedom and blessings.  These quotes were included in a blog piece by Mark Alexander, titled “Liberty – Endowed by Whom?  The Eternal Bequest”.  The entire column can be found at

http://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/liberty-endowed-by-whom-the-eternal-bequest/

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.” –George Washington

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” –John Adams

“May every citizen … have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of the declaration recorded in the Bible, ‘Him that honoreth Me I will honor, but he that despiseth Me shall be lightly esteemed.’” –Samuel Adams

“This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.” –Benjamin Franklin

“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.” –James Madison

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among parchments and musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the Hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” –Alexander Hamilton

“But where says some is the king of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. … [L]et it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.” –Thomas Paine in Common Sense

 

Beautifully said – by all.