Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Politics

I know some people may have been offended by the link I posted to a conservative blog on my last post. It is a blog written by someone I don't know (she is my cousin's best friend's wife's friend). She is not a supporter of McCain but has definitely decided against voting for Obama. She posted another blog this week that I also enjoyed even though I don't agree with her on many things.
I do not consider myself a conservative. I have always registered as an Independent. I have voted both republican and democrat in different elections at both the local and national level. For this election's primaries I had to register as a republican so I could vote for Ron Paul. He is what some people would call a Libertarian or Constitutionalist. (I still think he is far better suited to deal with the deficit and probably the economic crisis than either of our two main choices). I vote on issues rather than parties. I think bi-partisan politics and the whole two-party system are flawed and ridiculous.

My friend Andy recently ran for political office, he is very politically active in other ways too. He is a law student, he has high morals, he is incredibly intelligent, and I greatly respect his opinions even though I don't always agree with him. Here are some snippets from an email I received from him this week that you all might enjoy:

"Certainly it is crucial for freedom that government keep taxes low, for a person with no money has no choices and a person with little money has few choices. If government lowers my taxes by $100 per month, I have $100 more freedom to do whatever it is I might like to do with $100. If government raises my taxes by $100 per month, I have $100 less freedom since the government is now spending that money for me. Money is necessary to fully exercise the freedoms that we have less -- even abortions and gay marriages cost money and are impossible for some people because of the tax burden they must bear (if not by direct taxation, then by the tax of inflation)."

"Abortion is a question of when life begins. Most Americans, regardless of political persuasion, want murder to be illegal, and some of those Americans do not see an acceptable legal distinction between a one second old fetus and a one week old fetus and an 8 month old fetus and a just born fetus and a fetus born a year ago. There are plenty of reasons for this - religious, biological, philosophical - but abortion is a moral question only as much as murder is a moral question. The real controversy is understanding when life begins (we need not have that argument now) and true conservatives differ on that point.
Gay marriage is a hot-button issue primarily because government took it upon itself to "marry" people in the first place. Until government stops licensing marriage (which is not on the political horizon), everyone will jockey to make the government's position look like their church's position. There are plenty of people out there (I think it would probably surprise you) who don't really have any issue with full legal rights for same-sex couples as long as it is not called "marriage". Gay-marriage advocates generally have made it clear that they will not cease their crusade for anything less than "marriage". For the true conservative, it is a tough issue with legitimate arguments on both sides."

"I think you'd agree that government action is justified under some conditions less than anarchy on the streets, but I understand your point and generally agree with it. That is one of the reasons that taxation is such a serious issue - people going about their business, not hurting a fly, still must affirmatively report the inner-most details of their financial lives to the government (nevermind the insanity of our withholding system, inflationary monetary policy, banking regulations, etc.) and then sacrifice their freedom (money) based upon that reporting. Does that not just piss you right off?"

"The simple fact is, government cannot take money in taxes and then somehow magically increase the worth of those dollars so that when government spends them they somehow provide more 'support for the people' than those dollars would have provided if the people spent those dollars directly. Think about it - is pizza ever made cheaper because you have it delivered to your house? Of course not (unless the pizza is significantly smaller or crappier). Government is no different in this respect - its intervention has enormous costs that are reflected in the quantity and quality of the services it provides."

"I'd rather pay the money and see our schools run better, our citizens be able to eat, and our war debt paid off than buy yet another pair of $130 jeans.1)" - Lisa (another highly respected friend of mine)
(Andy's response):It is certainly your right to use the money you earn toward whatever legal purposes you desire... but not mine. Your desire for all of those things more than a $130 pair of jeans cannot justify taking my money for that purpose when I did, in fact, desire the jeans. It is my money. Leave me alone government... I am not out on the street creating anarchy or slaughtering anyone.
2) There is absolutely no guarantee that your money will be put to ANY of those uses when it is taxed from you. Probably the most glaring example here is the war debt -- you don't honestly think your tax dollars are going to pay war debt, do you? (Of course, thanks to inflation, they already have - by being devalued through the sale of government bonds sold to foreign governments... but that's another story, I suppose.) We don't "get what we pay for" when we pay our taxes we "pay for what the politicians want"... which must be something other than what we wanted, or else why the government have to take it from us in the first place?
3) Finally on this point, do we really want the same people who run Social Security, FEMA, Homeland Security, etc. responsible for FEEDING US? For feeding ANYONE? Surely, whoever that poor soul may be will starve (or at least not get the meal they could have gotten otherwise... see the pizza delivery example above)."

"People would [donate to churches] more if [the people] weren't taxed so much... and you better believe churches, etc. spend those dollars much more carefully than the politicians spend our tax dollars, and with less overhead. This is how we get the pizza delivery boy scenario to make sense, since some people (the needy) can't buy the pizza (necessity for life) themselves, we hire delivery boys (charities) to deliver (purchase/provide) the pizza to them. If the charity does a poor job, we find another charity that we feel does a better job - which is absolutely impossible with government, since withholding payment of taxes results in all sorts of scary things that charities cannot do to people who quit donating. (Those scary things also cost money... which is part of the overhead government must pay before the dollars it collects can actually be put to work for whatever purpose the politicians like that year.)"

"A government who allows it's people to starve while it prospers is not an ethical country, and is not democracy." - Lisa
(Andy):"Sadly, government is not all-powerful and does not have the ability to prevent starvation in perpetuity. In fact, for every mouth government feeds, a charity could have fed dozens, maybe hundreds (no joke).
As for ethical... should starvation should be an affirmative defense to armed robbery? That is, if a person were to rob a grocery store because they were starving, should that person, upon proving in court that they were actually starving, be found "not guilty"? I think the ethical answer is no. Just because one man is starving, he still does not have the right to initiate force against another man or men. But that is the exact mechanism at work in the welfare state that we live in. Government, as usual, is just a middle man - robbing from the grocer (you and I as taxpayers) at gunpoint (yes, taxes are collected under threat of force, otherwise I wouldn't pay them) to deliver some of the food it stole (but only some, since it must eat, too) to another person (whoever the politicians deem worthy).
As for democracy... democracy gives us whatever 51% of the voters want... if that is starvation, so be it - "democracy" does not care. This is the great danger of democracy which the Constitution sought to avoid to the greatest extent possible."

This is actually how Andy began his email, kind of introducing his politics and introducing himself to Lisa:
"Okay, I'm going to do a little point-by-point... but I want to start with a general comment about partisan politics. Too often, people become jaded by or even angry about one person (Bush and Obama are excellent examples of this) or issue (abortion is an excellent example here) related to a political party, so they turn to the opposing party and lower their intellectual guard on every other issue in order to fulfill a very basic human need: acceptance. The gang mentality is alive and well in politics and is used against every voter by Republicans and Democrats alike. I am a Republican because I think that being a Republican affords me the greatest opportunity to make the changes in government that I would like to see. Period. I'm not buying into the gang mentality -- no party or elected official is going to tell me what to think on any issue, but if I disconnect myself from the two-party system that has a legal and de-facto "bi-opoly" over the political process, I will be impotent. "

I pretty much agree with all of the things Andy shared in this email. I also agree with this:
"The job of a government is NOT to tell you what to believe." - Lisa A.

Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness people. Life, Liberty, Happiness...


brimstan said...

You published some great conversation and I started to reply earlier and erased it so I posted my comments at my blog.

brimstan said...

You should also read this if you can.