Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ted Cruz and the Art of Machismo Politics

     The more time that passes, the more it is evident that Senator Ted Cruz is the anit-politician. I do not say that as a compliment to Mr. Cruz, but as a recognition of it being a character flaw of the man. Polical skill has recently become a parahia on the Right among some conservatives. But political skill is how ideas, both conservate and Leftist ones, are transformed into public policy. No idea can be advanced in a representative republic without those representatives having political skill to guide them through a purposely complex process.
     One of the core tenets of political skill is being able to bring others who oppose you at least partially over to your side. A politician can not do this if he causes his fellow legislators to have acrimonious feelings towards him. This is true of the members of the other party, let alone members of one's own party. Mr. Cruz has not only turned off Democrats in the Senate, but also members of his own party. Not exactly a skillful way of advancing ideas to becoming policy.
     Ted Cruz seems more interested in the feel-good politics of "standing on principles," rather than actually achieving the end goals of those principles. It is what I call machismo politics. It can also be characterized as the puff-out-your-chest style of politics. Machismo politics does not follow the tenets of good political skill, i.e. coalition-building, but rather focuses attention and energy on the show of strength, instead of the hard work of winning minds and hearts of your own party as well as some members of the other.
     Mr. Cruz's favorite tool of machismo politics is the government shut down. This tactic has never worked to actually achieve the goal or purpose of the respective shut down, but it makes Mr. Cruz and his followers feel good. They can demarcate themselves from those who are not as morally superior in the other party, as well as in their own party, without ever having to face the consequence that their "standing on principle" has actually hurt their cause.
     The recent flap about funding for Planned Parenthood is a good example of a situation, that left to his own devices, would have seen Mr. Cruz shutting down the government. This would have had a two pronged effect. One, it would have taken the focus off the harvesting of organs by Planned Parenthood specifically and the abortion issue in general, which is a fight that conservatives are winning. Secondly, a shutdown would have placed focus on the actual shut down for which Republicans would have been blamed. Making the election of a Republican candidate in next year's presidential election less likely, and therefore making the defunding of Planned Parenthood less likely.
     But this is the other facet of machismo politics, the instant gratification that is gained by its practitioners by doing "something" now and not having to engage in the heavy lifting of implementing a longer term strategy. Politics is a tough business. One is constantly engaged in the convincing of others that your ideas are better, or at least worthy of consideration. Standing on the floor of the Senate and calling people liars and making public pronouncements that members of your own party are inextricably linked to the worst aspects of the other party, is not leadership politics, but machismo politics. And machismo politics is destructive, not only to one's own party, but to the nation as a whole.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Yin and the Yang of the Trump Tax Plan

     Presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled his tax plan yesterday, and unlike his plan for immigration or anything else, it actually had quite a bit of detail. Unfortunately that detail was a combination of populous pandering and commandeered shop-worn ideas of recent conservative thought on the subject of taxes. So I am in the position that I disagree with the former of Mr. Trump's plan, and agree with the latter. In other words, it may surprise some of my regular readers, I find myself at least in partial agreement with Donald Trump.
     I will engage in analysis on the dichotomy of my opinion on the Trump tax plan by first expanding on the parts of his plan with which I agree, and then follow it immediately with a counter part of his plan with which I disagree.
     The lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% is an idea that every Republican presidential candidate supports, and would indeed incentivize American business to remain in America and create American jobs. However, Mr. Trump's insistence on "punishing" business by taxing (read: tariffs) over-seas profits would mitigate the positive benefit of lowering the tax rate, and may quite possibly cause an economic downturn as the Smooth/Hawley legislation did that was signed by President Hoover in 1930.
      The Trump tax plan calls for the reduction of tax brackets from the current 7 or 8 to just 4. This simplification of the tax code is again something that every Republican presidential candidate supports. However, the manner in which Mr. Trump revises the current tax system puts more of the tax burden on fewer tax payers in order to garner him populous appeal with the middle-class. Mr. Trump has suggested just the opposite of what will make this country economically strong, i.e. narrowing the tax base instead of widening it.
     Under the Trump plan the top earners would pay a lower rate, but would pay a larger percentage of the total tax burden. Currently, about 38% of people pay no federal income tax at all, under the Trump plan that would increase to around 50%. This means that those who are paying taxes will necessarily shoulder more of the burden. And many of those are business owners who will be less likely to hire workers. Not to mention that every study that has been done on tax cuts clearly shows that cuts in the middle and the bottom have very little stimulating effect on the economy. Cuts at the top end, according to the studies, provide the biggest shot-in-the-arm to economic growth.
     Mr. Trump does call for the repeal of the inheritance tax (death tax), but again, all conservatives, and most certainly all the Republican presidential candidates, are in favor of this. The Trump tax plan is designed more to garner support for the candidacy of Donald Trump than it is to implement a pro-growth, fair tax system that this country desperately needs. His plan perpetuates and augments the current system which has the top 5% of wage earners paying 70% of the federal taxes in this country. This is not only a dis-incentive to growth, but it is inherently unfair and not conservative. But then coming from a man who was a Democrat up until 10 minutes ago, I am not surprised.


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Boehner Resignation and the Radicalization of the Tea Party

     Since Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced his retirement at the end of last week, I have listened and read the cacophony of criticism against him, and the joy his resignation brings to some of the more extreme aspects of the conservative movement. Not that Mr. Boehner has been a great Speaker, but nor has he been the failure that some in our Party have tried to cast him as. I think in judging Mr. Boehner's performance as Speaker, one must recount the demands of conservatives from before the Republicans were given the majority in the House of Representatives.
     The group that many see as the true conservatives in the party is the Tea Party. At its inception in the early part of 2009, when it was germinated by the words of Rick Santelli of CNBC, and spawned by the extreme actions of the new president, the Tea Party was about restraining federal spending. The name was an acronym that represented the words Taxed Enough Already. I supported the Tea Party and its goals of reigning in government spending.
     Most conservatives will tell anyone who will listen that the Republicans were given the majority in the House in the 2010 mid-terms specifically to repeal ObamaCare. But the even larger issue at the time, for anyone who is interested in an accurate recounting of history, was the out-of-control spending by the federal government. The annual budget deficit was almost one and a half trillion dollars, with no end in sight. And President Obama and his Democrat majorities in both houses of congress were hell-bent on letting the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2011, which would have meant an immediate tax increase for 99% of working Americans.
     In steps John Boehner as the newly elected Speaker of the House with a comfortable Republican majority in that body. Over the next four and a half years Mr. Boehner and his Republican caucus saved the Bush tax cuts from expiring, thus helping 99% of Americans to keep more of their own money and removing another threat to the economy from a president who seemed committed to destroying it. Mr. Boehner and his majority also did exactly what members of the Tea Party, et al were screaming for them to do, i.e. they cut the budget deficit by 70%, and cut federal spending the most any congress had since the Eisenhower administration.
     The two aforementioned accomplishments should have been enough to at least garner Mr. Boehner a certain amount of respect from all Wings of his Party. The fact that he orchestrated 40 votes to repeal ObamaCare, passed over 300 pro-growth bills (80% of which had bi-partisan support), passed and got President Obama to sign the most far reaching anti-human trafficking bill ever, worked with President Obama to pass a trade bill which the president's own party was against as well as one of the most strident Democrat constituencies (the unions), and he stopped the president on legislation such as card check and carbon credits, should have earned him at least a competent grade from conservatives.
     Some have criticized Mr. Boehner (as well as Mr. McConnell) for not defunding Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has been federally funded since 1970, and it is only since the surfacing of videos showing its practice of harvesting baby parts for sale that conservatives have been so vocally against its funding. The defunding battle is one in which there can not be success for conservatives until there is a Republican president who will not use his veto power against it. The fight to defund Planned Parenthood is a worthy battle, the strategy of allowing a government shut-down is not worthy of the fight. That is why the National Right to Life organization is against it.
     The fulfillment of the original goals of the Tea Party, and their subsequent moving of the goal posts to ever more unrealistic goals, has come at a cost (at least in my mind) of their legitimacy as a voice for the conservative movement. They began on the Right side of the political ideology circle, but have moved so far Right on that circle that they now occupy a space on the Left side of it. We allow our emotions to dictate our politics at our own risk. And when we engage in the absolutism of making what is perfect the enemy of what is good, we hurt our cause and the cause of Liberty in this great country. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

You Are a Member of the Establishment If...

     Words are funny things. Their definition can fluctuate depending on the person using them. In the world of politics, words are used to advance an agenda or cause the retreat of an opposing agenda. Even for those on the same side of the political ideology circle, words can be used to demarcate persons who are "true" to the ideology from those who are pretenders to it. One of the most overused words on the Right is establishment. It is used by many as a pejorative against those with whom they disagree on one issue or another.
     Writing this blog and commenting on social media about political issues has exposed me to being too conservative for some and too far Left for others. I have found the most harsh criticisms have emanated from those with whom I agree with on a majority of the issues facing this nation. I have been called derogatory names for even suggesting reason in the face of ideology, and rationale in response to unbridled political zeal. For anyone reading this who are not clear as to whether they are part of the establishment, or part of the politically pure unadulterated Right, following is a list of issues and the appropriate responses for anyone interested in avoiding the dreaded label of establishment.
     Illegal Immigration: If you believe in any solution to this problem short of mass deportation and the building of a huge wall on our southern border, you are a member of the establishment.
     Muslims in America: If you do not believe that every member of the Muslim faith are head-chopping, women-abusing, Sharia-law imposing, pedophiliacs, and bestiality-practicing evil bastards, you are a member of the establishment.
     President Obama: If you do not believe that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim hell bent on destroying America because he was born in Kenya and never actually achieved the academic accomplishments he said he did, you might be part of the establishment.
     Government Shut-Downs: If you do not believe that the constitution gives the right and authority to congress to shut down and defund parts of government in order to advance a political agenda when your Party is in the majority, you may be part of the establishment.
     Congressional Republican Leadership: If you do not believe that Republican leadership in the House and the Senate are exact copies of Democrats, and have done nothing but support the Obama agenda, and you further refuse to ignore the 70% cut in the deficit among other accomplishments, you are a member of the establishment.
     Term-Limits: If you believe in the vision of the Founders for a legislature consisting of duly elected individuals with no restrictions of choice put upon the voters, and you support the self-government model which does not impose term limits on members of congress, you are a member of the establishment.
     Well there you have it, a partial list of some issues which will allow you to determine if you indeed are part of the establishment or not. For further evidence of membership in the establishment, just tune into your nearest self-proclaimed leader of the conservative movement. There is no shortage of these folks on talk radio, on cable TV, or on social media. If you have any confusion about your matriculation into the establishment, these helpful folks will set you straight.   

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What Does The Holy Father Know?

     Pope Francis has embarked on his adventure to the United States of America, and in so doing has received both accolades and admonitions from both the Left and Right. The Left does not like his talk of religious freedom and pro-life convictions, and the Right does not like his advocacy for global warming and wealth redistribution. It is hard to understand where this Pope stands on the issues, or maybe more to the point, he should not stand anywhere except keeping alive the message of Jesus Christ, of whom he is suppose to be the direct successor.
     It is easy for the Pontiff to criticize capitalism in America, remain silent on communism in Cuba, and preach wealth distribution as a means to solve poverty in the world. I say it is easy because it really does not affect the Holy Father one bit. He, like many in the clergy hierarchy of the Catholic church live cloistered lives, not so much participating in the world, but watching from a different planet and passing judgment. The Vicar of Christ has traded the simple robes and sandals of a savior for the opulence of Vatican City and the protection from the outside world it offers.
     So, for instance, it costs Pope Francis nothing to give stern warnings about America taking in refugees from around the world, because he knows that Vatican City will not be held to the same standard. It is quite effortless for Francis to advocate for distributing others wealth around the world when his lifestyle will not be impacted by such a redistribution. Somehow the Church, and most notably Vatican City, will escape the rigors of redistribution and receiving immigrants, legal or illegal.
     Pope Francis can play the compassionate man of God while having personal chefs and drivers. He can preach to others about "social justice" while not getting his hands dirty by speaking against the specific injustice of the atrocities being committed against his flock by members of a different faith. He can preach the false gospel of man-made climate change because it is easier than dealing forthrightly with abortion, and the murdering and organ harvesting done by those who support this barbaric practice. The Pontiff lives in his bubble of misperception spoon-fed to him by his handlers and  advisors.
     Growing up Catholic I was taught that the Pope was infallible on matters of faith. Of course back then the Pope's pointy hat did not tilt to the Left. Pope Francis has not only limited himself to matters of faith, but has made political pandering part of the faith. His virtual removal from the real world is necessarily a result of his position. He has no more concept of the world's problems, and apparently the difference between good systems of government from evil systems of government, as does a small child or an alien from another planet.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Get Rich Quick With Donald Trump?

     I have been trying to put my finger on the appeal of Donald Trump to some on the Right. Many say they support him because he says what is on his mind unvarnished by political correctness. That characterization would apply to every loud-mouth drunk I have ever met in a bar. Others say that it is because he is an "outsider" to the world of politics. I guess these folks do not consider someone an insider who has proudly admitted to "buying" politicians. Still others site Mr. Trump's business acumen as a reason to elect him president.
     As compelling as the above reasons are for some to support the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, I think they ignore what I believe to be the reason for his zealot devotees. I am convinced the support for Mr. Trump is a cultural character flaw in our society. That flaw is the get-rich-quick mentality to which many in this nation have fallen prey. The idea that cultural issues which have germinated over the last 100 years can be resolved by one candidate, one election, or an unyielding position on one issue.
     The contrast between The Donald's simplistic understanding of the trouble plaguing this nation, and the clear-eyed articulation by Carly Fiorina that our political malaise is rooted in a cultural one, was no more evident than it was in Wednesday night's Republican debate. Ms. Fiorina expressed not only her knowledge of political and geopolitical issues of the day, but that our country has succumbed to the cultural rot of Leftism. If Donald Trump is the get-rich-quick candidate, Carly Fiorina is the more sensible and realistic wealth-building-over time candidate.
     I have stated many times that the lottery mentality of many in this country has infected our politics with a sense of the quick fix syndrome. The quick fix syndrome as it relates to our culture seeks to repair decades of damage by the Left in one Feld swoop. Many see the embodiment of that swoop in the bombastic rhetoric of Donald Trump. This mentality is the same one which leads many to substitute long term financial planning with the false hope that they will someday win the lottery.
     The trading of substance for style in which many of my fellow Republicans have engaged by supporting Mr. Trump is analogous to those who invest their life savings in penny stocks, hoping they will appreciate so rapidly in value as to make them millionaires over night. As any investment broker worth his weight will tell you, investing in established companies over time is the best road to a successful retirement. The temptation of Trump supporters to risk their vote and the country's future on the flashy penny stock known as Donald Trump is great. Especially with the predicament in which we currently find ourselves at this point in history.
     The best road to a prosperous and more free future for the United States is paved, not with words of invective and acrimony, but with the ideas that flow from thoughtful, well-informed candidates. After all, get-rich-quick schemes almost never pay dividends, whether one is investing their hard earned money or their vote.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Is Power of the Purse a Constitutional Concept?

     One of the biggest complaints from some on the Right in the conservative movement is that their elected representatives in congress have not done enough, or even all they can, to stop the Obama agenda. The charge against Republican leadership in the House and Senate is that they roll over for President Obama. Evidentiary to that charge is that Republican leadership refuses to use the power of the purse to stop the Obama agenda. I counted myself in that camp until I realized the hypocrisy of that well-intentioned position.
     The very same persons who claim constitutional fidelity in opposing much of the Obama agenda seem to have no problem being infidels to that very constitution as it applies to their own agenda, right or wrong. If we as conservatives say we want to hold the president, any president, and congress, any congress, to the principles of the constitution as they relate to enumerated powers, we must hold ourselves to the same standard.
     Primarily, the constitution gives the authority of raising revenue, laying taxes and imposts, and paying the debts of the United States to the House of Representatives. The Senate of the United States has a secondary role in the revenue process insomuch as it can add amendments to such bills. The framers of the constitution felt that all fiscal matters should at least originate in the House because it was closer to people than the Senate. This of course was before the Founders' purpose for the Senate was bastardized by the 17th amendment by allowing popular election of its members.
     There is no such wording as power of the purse present in the United States constitution. And even that oft used phrase has morphed from the congress' responsibility to pay the nation's debts to meaning they have some constitutional power, which does not exist, to defund of their own accord outside the legislative process, or even shut down parts of the government over policy disagreements with the president.
     As conservatives we are right to question and criticize any president who oversteps his constitutional boundaries. But we are also bound by the same document, whose enumerated powers gives congress certain authorities and responsibilities, none of which includes withholding payments for government functions with which we do not agree. The Founders' never intended for the authority to pay the nation's bills to be used as a political tool against a president from an opposing Party. And we run the risk of engaging in hypocrisy when we claim such powers, and then spew invective at members of congress for actually following the constitution by not exercising those fallacious authorities.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Illegal Immigration: The Cancer of the Republican Party

     The presidential election of 2016 would have been a coronation for the Republican nominee. The average voter being at the end of their rope with the lawless Obama administration and the virtually no-growth economy. A coronation, that is until Donald Trump, et al misdirected the Republican electorate away from every other issue that is plaguing this nation except illegal immigration. Not that illegal immigration is not a problem for this country, however, it is an issue, more than any other I have seen, which has been dominated by emotion displacing reality.
     Real debate about solutions to this nation's illegal immigration problem has been replaced by invective doled out by the Trump-ites aimed at anyone who disagrees with anything short of mass deportation of upwards of 11 million persons. Every other well intentioned position is characterized as amnesty by those who are too politically simplistic or intellectually lazy to engage in an honest analysis of the problem and consider any other action but the aforementioned mass deportation.
      The Kato Institute (a well respected Libertarian think tank) has recently completed an exhaustive study on the illegal immigration problem. Their findings will, I am sure, earn them the ire and acrimony of the deport-them-all crowd. But one of the tenets of conservatism is a pursuit and respect for the truth, whether that truth supports the conservative ideology or not. The Kato Institute's findings are in opposition to some of the fanciful rhetoric being spread like manure by a particular Republican presidential candidate and his votaries. But as someone once said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."
     Kato has found that even with the well publicized child migration of some 15 months ago, the illegal immigrant population in this country has actually decreased in the last ten years. That, by the way, was the last time we had an economy growing at more than the pathetic 2% it has been since President Obama was inaugurated. Kato has found that the illegal immigration population has shrank by several million in that period.
     Further findings of the Kato study show that the illegal immigrants who are in this country have a lower unemployment rate, and rate of welfare use, than those persons actually born in this country. Poking more holes in the delicate fabric of the deport-them-all crowd's argument for such an action. Many illegals, almost half, entered the country legally and have simply overstayed their visas. Many more have been here for more than a decade and have jobs, have raised families, and even own property.
     Kato has also found that the incarceration rates for illegal immigrants is actually lower than for those who were native born to this country. Further alienating the deport-them-all crowd from the actual facts. I do not intend to suggest that illegal immigration is not a problem, only that the fallacy that binds the argument of the deport-them-all crowd has caused them to be zealots against those on their own side of the aisle with respect to 80% of the other issues facing this country.
     The cancer of extremism clothed in misconceptions, manufactured realities, and downright lies is eating away at the Republican Party like a cancer. If not stopped, and some reason brought to the discussion, we will not only lose next November's election, but very possibly any opportunity to recover the nation from the oppression of Socialism in which we have been sinking evermore quickly.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thoughts of Memorial On This 9-11 Anniversary

     I have recently taken a job where I am instructing 16 year olds. One thought that has occurred to me during the time I have spent with them is how very long it has been since I was that age. A second thought that has pierced its way into my conscious thoughts is that these bright-eyed youths have no memory of a pre-911 world. This is especially salient to me on this, the 14th anniversary of the worst attack on American soil by a foreign power since the British invaded and burned Washington DC to the ground during the War of 1812.
     As I have listened to the memorializing on radio and elsewhere, and the almost mandatory recounting of each person's recollection of that horrible morning, I can not help but think of those teens in my class. What must they think of their elders' painful and tortured retelling of an event which to them is as ancient a historical marker as Pearl Harbor was to my generation? After all, to them this day is filled with the immediate concerns over that math test in second period, whether the object of their affections returns those affections, and hoping they pass their drivers' examine.
     Of course fourteen years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, was a decade removed from the end of hostilities between us and them. Today's remembrances are a mile marker on the road of our struggle with the enemy that attacked us 14 years ago, not a look back at the highway of that battle that we have long ago exited. There is no memorial celebration knowing that we were ultimately victorious over our attackers. There is only the stale taste of our strife with an enemy that only seems to grow stronger and more resolved.
     Many on this day have chosen to mark the anniversary of the 14 year old act of war as if it were a battle from some distant conflict. Others have chosen to relive the event as if somehow they can recapture the minutes and hours before those aircraft, guided by their terrorist masters, plunged us headlong into a dark and barbarically murderous future. But then history always moves forward, never backwards. And we must live through the history we are given, day by day, conflict by conflict.
     It is important to remember the significance of this anniversary of 9-11, and pay cognitive homage to the awareness that this struggle, and this war, has not ended. But it is also important to understand that we have been changed irrevocably as a country, those of us that lived through that day as adults, and those who have no personal memory of that day.
     I have tried to place myself into the mindset of growing up in a post-911 America, I cannot. I went through that day, and the days of aftermath that followed. Those students in my class did not. To them the post-911 world, as chaotic as it may seem, is perfectly natural. Every generation is somehow changed by events from the previous generation. And each one in its own way loses some of the innocence that is associated with youth as defined by the older generation. So on this anniversary of 9-11 allow yourself the memorial of your experience. But be careful not to deny others with disparate experiences the reaction to this day that that experience requires of them. Even if it is no memorial at all.     

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Justice For Sale In Baltimore

     Traditionally, wrongful death law suits are filed after the criminal liability of a person's death has been settled. Occasionally a family of someone who may have died as a result of another's negligence or intent will file a suit against such a person before the criminal aspects of the case have been adjudicated. Baltimore city leaders, headed by Stephanie Rawlings Blake (the mayor of that city who gave "room for those who wished to destroy" to do so), has decided to pay the family of Freddie Gray $6.4 million in compensation for his death in the back of a police van. This decision was arrived at before the family has even filed a suit against the city.
     In addition to being fiscally irresponsible with Baltimore taxpayers' money, Ms. Blake has jeopardized one of the founding principles of this country, i.e. a fair trial for her six officers being charged for Mr. Gray's death. By paying out city funds to the family of Freddie Gray before any resolution to the criminal case against the officers, or the filing of any civil case by the family, Ms. Blake, et al have essentially admitted the city was at fault, and by extension the officers charged in this case.
     How can these officers hope to ever be treated fairly by jury members who are culled from the very city that has admitted guilt in the case before the gavel has been pounded to initiate the legal deliberations on the merits of the charges against them? It is analogous to one's employer paying the city for an employee who has not even received a traffic violation. I am not an attorney, but if I were representing any of the officers in this case I would think this move by the city of Baltimore would be reason for a change of venue for my client(s) trial.
     There is certainly reason to believe that Mr. Gray had some, if not all, responsibility in his own death. He apparently had a well documented history of injuring himself and trying to sue others for those injuries. And now it appears as though his family, with the aid of Baltimore Mayor Blake, will finally receive the big payoff that Freddie dreamed of for so many years. And the taxpayers of Baltimore are the innocent dupes of this flim flam operation in which the dead Freddie Gray and Mayor Stephanie Blake have colluded to defraud them.
     In this new America justice apparently is for sale and has become the property of the highest bidder, in this case the Baltimore city leadership. No need, in the mind of Stephanie Rawlings Blake and her ilk, to wait for justice from an actual court of law with a judge and jury, they know better what justice looks like. This decision to award the family of Freddie Gray $6.4 million is not just a sin against fiscal probity, but a violation of the very cornerstone of our republic and its legal system. The actions of Mayor Blake completely ignores the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

Friday, September 4, 2015

What Law Did Kim Davis Break?

     Kentucky Clerk of Courts Kim Davis has gone to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses, because to do so for same sex couples would violate her religious conscience. There are many on the Right that have said she is wrong to expect to keep her job while choosing to not perform this one aspect of her position. The argument from many on the Right is, "Well it is the law and she must obey it or resign her elected position." They also employ the worn and to oft used platitude, "We are a nation of laws, not men."
     Primarily I am in agreement with the ideal expressed in the latter statement above. However, if we claim to be a nation of laws, the most sacred of which is the constitution of the United States, then the "law" that Ms. Davis has violated is opinion and not law. The constitution is very clear that the sole legislative ability in the United States of America is vested in the bicameral body known as the House of Representatives and the Senate. And since those august bodies have passed no legislation which was signed into law by the president respective of same sex marriage, what law then is Ms. Davis violating?
     The idea of judicial review breathed to life by Marbury vs. Madison was in the opinion of the defendant in that case (and primary father of our constitution) not in keeping with his understanding of this nation's guiding principle. How much more dismayed would Mr. Madison be today if he could see the representative republic he helped to originate imprisoning one of its citizens for practicing her religious freedom of conscience guaranteed by the very document he helped frame? There is nothing to suggest, even by judicial review, that a Supreme Court decision in one case could bypass the constitutional legislative mandate given to congress in favor of law by fiat.
     Think about the tyranny of a government that only needs the opinion of 5 justices to impose their will on a nation. It is a concept that is completely antithetical to the principles of our republic which were so torturously brought into being by the Founders. The whole concept of Supreme Court decisions having the weight of law corrupts the foundations of self-government in which the Founders believed so mightily. And if the deliberative process of congress is bypassed in such a manner, how much easier the road has been paved for tyranny.
      If a government is given the awesome authority to impose, not law but opinion, on its citizens, whether elected or appointed official or ordinary citizen, then the nation is no longer a republic but has crossed the line into oligarchy. And if that same government, lead by five lawyers in robes, is given domain over millennia-old institutions of civilized society and the prerogative of God, then we as a nation have certainly left Liberty's stage and are waiting in the wings of oppression and tyranny.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Political Correctness: Not Just For Leftists Anymore

     As a conservative I have always held in high esteem the Founders fidelity to the tenets of free speech enshrined in the United States constitution. Along with limited government and fiscal responsibility, freedom of speech has always been the foundation upon which Liberty was built and maintained. The assault on free speech that is in opposition to the Leftist agenda has been the cornerstone of that destructive ideology's edifice of oppression. It is what has given birth to political correctness and speech codes on the campuses of the modern day university.
     I have been less than sanguine to witness in recent years the same assault on free speech committed by the Left taking root in the garden of conservatism on the Right. Thoughtful disagreement among some on the Right has been replaced by invective aimed at anyone who strays from the absolutism of their political ideology. This behavior has recently reached a crescendo of acrimony in the struggle between the so-called establishment and those who refuse debate on the intellectual merits of positions held by those they deem unworthy of the conservative moniker.
     My thesis is in no way an endorsement of the establishment in the Republican Party. But for anyone holding dear the ideals of free speech to meet distinctions on public policy held by fellow conservatives as differences of ideology is not only an affront to that ideology, but a violation of the very tenets of the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution. If as conservatives we allow our intra-party debates to occupy the intellectually low brow position of insult and invective, we are in a real sense no different than those on the Left who impose speech codes and the misguided guardrails of political correctness.
     Political correctness is after all a desire to dismiss truths that its practioners find in contradiction to their political ideology. So while the political correctness practiced by the Left is rightly found to be antithetical to free speech, the political correctness practiced by some on the Right can not justly be held in higher esteem in the eyes of free speech than that engaged in by the Left. To characterize some on the Right with which one disagrees as traitors, treasonous, or worse, is as much an exercise in intellectual laziness as that which is perpetrated by the Left against all those on the Right.
     Illustrative of my thesis is the illegal immigration debate on the Right. Those who are absolutist refuse to engage in the intellectual heavy lifting of debating their points of contention with those who support a comprehensive solution to the problem. They instead re-characterize the position held by those with whom they disagree as amnesty. This creating a straw man argument for what they find as an offensive position has a kinship with the method of those on the Left who impose political correctness in order to avoid an honest debate on a subject. As conservatives we should give preference to facts and data, or at least well thought out argument over simply demonizing those with whom we disagree. Otherwise we run the risk of being just as much an enemy of free speech as those on the Left.