Sunday, February 8, 2009

Our Nations' Character

Warning!!! This one is going to be a bit long.
You know growing up I never really got what the heck people were talking about with political left and right. I’ve really appreciated making more of a study of it as I’ve gotten older and it makes sense. Read The 5000 Year Leap for some great insight.

In a nutshell the very farthest left is Tyranny and the very farthest right is Anarchy. Our forefathers knew that the best form of government would be one that was right smack in the middle. They designed our Constitution with the purpose of government being to protect the rights of the people but without becoming controlling and/or oppressive.

Our forefathers (was anybody else really confused by us having four fathers when learning about our country in grade school?) also knew that government would need some flexibility in order to protect the rights of the people. They thus established 2 wings of American politics that leaned to the left or right. The left wing is the problem solving wing. The founders knew that this type of thinking would be necessary in order to foster changes needed for the good of the governed. The right wing is the Conservative wing. The founders knew this type of thinking would be necessary in order to keep government from creating problems rather than solving them. The Conservative wings' job is to ask if the proposed changes take away the rights of the people, and will it cost too much? Answering yes to either of these questions should give serious pause at the least to any changes.

Looking at it this way there is nothing inherently good or bad in either problem solving or Conservation. In fact each one of us individually should have elements of both when making decisions in our own lives. The problem solving wing has taken up the title of Liberalism or Progressivism. Liberalism tends to go along with the Democrat party and Conservatism with the Republican party. That does not mean that Republicans look down on change. Lincoln was a Republican, Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. They were examples of political leaders who knew change needed to happen, but in a way that still protected the rights of the people.

I want to take a few sentences here to describe the difference between Democracy and Republic. Democracy is the rule of the people. A Republic is the rule of law, with the people being represented by elected officials. Democrat is left leaning, Republican is more center-right or at least it should be. Our nation is a Republic, remember the Pledge of Allegiance. Over the years the notion that our country being a Democracy has been taken as fact. I will compromise and call it a Democratic Republic because the voice of the people do elect officials and do vote on amendments and such. But, our forefathers understood an important tendency. Democracy or rule of the people, eventually leads to Socialism as the people turn more into sheeple. Socialism leads eventually to Tyranny. More on that in a bit.

You hear a lot of talk about the nation’s populace being center, usually they say center right. I think that is true particularly with regards to social issues such as abortion and marriage. But, looking at our government I think there is no doubt it is tending left, perhaps dangerously so.

It did not start with the election of left leaning President Obama. His ideology is just continuing a trend. President Bush actually is an example of Compassionate Conservatism (which actually really bugs me because it is almost saying that Conservatives are not compassionate people or something). He in his own words “abandoned free market principles in order to save the free market.” What the heck does that mean? It means he made changes that went against Conservative values like less government and letting the free-market companies be free to succeed and fail. Talk about left-leaning. I respect him and think he is a good, God-fearing man, and he has kept us safe these past 7 years. But, this was bad form. It also opened the gates for even more leftism.

Again, the problem-solving wing is not bad. In fact historically I could see some things that I would have been a left-winger about, civil rights and suffrage for example.

But, the political left now subscribes to more than Liberalism, it is Progressivism. My biggest question about Progressivism is “progress to what end?” The biggest goal of Progressivism is the ideal “Great Society.” The idea of the Great Society reeks of Socialism. Looking at the social programs the government has already tried to enforce gives us a hint about the problems of Socialism.

Socialism is not just about spreading the wealth, though economically that is the goal. No, socialism also is about the government taking responsibility for the social needs of the population. The problem with this is it leaves the people without responsibility and they become reliant on the government. Look at some of the ways the government social programs have created a perpetual poverty loop. Those who receive welfare checks often monitor their income to make sure they don’t earn too much to lose their welfare benefits. I’ve come face to face with this reality in my work. It’s sad and you can see in so many of their faces no willingness to try to get out of the system because they are getting by. It’s a lousy system. Pulling the plug on it would create an outcry. But, there has to be a way to modify it, little by little if necessary, but it’s gotta change. Another related system is Medicare. That is government run medical insurance. As a person in the health field sector I can tell ya that the system is riddled with problems. The idea that the government wants to take over the entire health care system. . . Let’s just say that I’m not too thrilled with the idea.

How has this happened? Well, the government got involved in social areas that it shouldn’t have. It started from a place of compassion. The idea was that people were suffering and that something needed to be done. But, government is not the solution. Government protects our rights to help each other. In fact our founders knowing that poverty and other social ills would be a problem, specifically did not address those problems in the Constitution because they relied on the goodness of the citizens to take care of each other.

Once the government got involved, the people started making more demands. The government responded to the voice of the people and started to make even more changes. You can see how Democracy perpetuated can lead to Socialism as the people start demanding more from their government. They then become reliant on the government instead of themselves.

One of the biggest problems I see with Socialism is that it affects the character of the citizens and thus the character of the nation as a whole. Consider this, if the government is taking care of my neighbor, what responsibility do I have? None. When we stop caring about each other we lose some of the greatness of this country.
The greatest societal changes occur first with individuals and families, then communities and eventually out to society as a whole. Then if necessary (that's a big if, because it is probably not needed) laws can adjusted to protect those correct principles. When it goes the other way around, when government takes responsibility for societal corrections problems ensue.

The government absolutely at times needs to examine and make policy changes in order to protect the rights of all of its people. That is their job. But, the government right now has their hands in too much of our lives.

It is also their job to let us be free. Free to choose how we live, and how we build our own personal character. Free to feel compassion for one another and help each other.

*Phew* that was a long rant. I feel like I’m only getting started. Needless to say I am concerned about the direction of the nation. But, our Constitution is firm and if we turn back more to the center we will be alright.

God Bless you and God Bless America, I know He does.

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