Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Stand With Rand

Many conservatives believe that media criticism of President Obama has been lacking at times.  Recently, mainstream media buzz has been absent on issues such as the drone program, Benghazi, and other issues where Republican presidents have bore the blame.

Senator Rand Paul has found a way to develop some of his own media buzz today.  Currently, Senator Paul is engaged in a lengthy filibuster (at time of writing, closing in on 11 hours) on the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director.  The filibuster stems from the belief by the current administration that the execution of American citizens on US soil by a drone without due process is constitutional.

While media coverage of the topic may not capture the nation's attention, the filibuster itself is gaining steam.  Regardless of how you feel about Senator Paul's libertarian tendencies, his past votes, it's hard to ignore the merits of what Senator Paul is standing for.  While the left has historically been the bigger advocate of civil liberties, Senator Paul is one of the few to stand up for the Bill of Rights on the drone issue.

While the positions of politicians may not change from this political theater, hopefully the public will become more informed.  In the meantime, I stand with Rand!

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Bastiat's The Law

There can be little doubt that we are a more intelligent society than we were in the midst of American Revolution when Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations, but there is still much truth to the reasoning on his pessimism toward economic liberty.  Smith wrote that two things oppose economic liberty, they are the prejudices of the public - who could not then, and cannot now, carefully consider the nuances of a economics and liberty - and the private interests of many individuals - who more easily profit from government intervention than from an entirely free market.

It is with this background that Frederic Bastiat wrote The Law. I read the book (a mere 80 pages) this weekend and felt compelled to share my reactions to his writings.

History is written by those in power, and for that reason, I believe we venerate the leaders of the past and hold them in the highest regard. We have romanticized Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Presidents. It raises the question of why people want to rise to power now - to mold mankind? to bring virtue? to satiate the desire to control? or to be remembered? I think of historical leaders as having virtue, based on what I've been taught, because of this I strive to be a leader to share what virtue I have through my leadership.  However, I do not believe that morality can be legislated and my political beliefs are based on the theory that mankind is better left to its own devices rather than government intervention.  The underlying question of government then is man to be ruled or is man to be free?

I believe I know squarely where we stand on this issue as a society today.  And while we say man is to be free, we place him under restrictions to rule his actions.  While the Constitution limits the government, our laws limit the citizens.  We speak in normative terms about liberty and wave our flag over the "land of the free" while legislating what conduct man can engage in even when it is of no consequence to society as a whole.

I want the government that will allow me to drink, smoke, and eat fast food even when it means my own demise.  The only valid argument for legislating what options are available to destroy my body is that it creates a larger burden on society, specifically when I utilize a Medicare, Medicaid, or other entitlement program.  This is not then solely a problem of liberty, but a clear example of why the extension of the legal government plunder that goes toward these entitlement programs leads to nowhere but a society that cannot fully enjoy liberty.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night 2012

In the coming hours, America will find out the results of today's election.  It has been a hard-fought and emotionally trying battle for people all across the political spectrum where we have seen our nation at our best and at our worst.

No matter what the results are, and I don't think that we'll know for sure what they are until tomorrow morning, I hope that Americans can strive for a better society in the future.  For months, we've listened to partisan pundits portray their own candidate as an infallible hero that can do what it takes to get America going in the right direction while portraying the opposing candidate as an incapable villain that is only serving his own self-interest.  While it is disturbing enough that this form of political discourse exists, it is even more disturbing that this is the increasingly preferred method of gathering information.  Instead of a 1984 society where we're fed information from the government, we're a society where we choose which propaganda to listen to without realizing that the news is little more than a means of earning money. There is no solution to the problem, other than educating ourselves and doing our best to sift through misinformation to get down the facts.

It is also important for the electorate to no longer tolerate candidates that use doubletalk to either redefine terms or not say anything at all. Let's discuss what a "fair share" is or if "kinetic military action" is war. On the other side, an "unlawful enemy combatant" or "enhanced interrogation" is nice flowery language that's used to make you think it means something other than what it really is.  Let's ask of our leaders and ourselves to say what we mean and mean what we say.

I hope the Republican party can get things sorted out and be truly conservative.  Neither party should be supportive of legislation like the Patriot Act of the NDAA which can rob Americans of their liberty.  Conservatives that believe in smaller Federal government should not be meddling in the bedrooms of America, or attempting to define marriage, which is covered in no portion of the United States Constitution.

Finally, I hope that Americans can refrain from voting so heavily in self-interest.  There was much discussion this election cycle of the 47% of Americans that don't pay taxes, which Mitt Romney claimed to have written off as supporting Obama.  First of all, writing off this percentage is a miscalculation. I am a part of the 47%, I have had no job over the past two years when I've been in law school. There are good conservatives that aren't a member of the tax-paying majority, but still have principled stances that align with the Republican party.  Secondly, I think it's imperative for those that benefit from government programs to take an inventory of the values that they hold.  I'm for smaller government, because of that I won't be accepting any taxpayer benefits (student loans excluded.) I believe that there are people out there that receive things like TANF or food stamps that actually want a smaller government, that don't want big brother looking over their shoulder, but don't vote that way because they care for their self-interest.  That is too be expected and is entirely understandable, but a citizenry that votes based primarily on the personal benefits they receive from the government will be a recipe for disaster sooner than later. Thirdly, and finally, some of those 47% are the beneficiaries of a convoluted tax-system that needs its loopholes closed.  Taking these three things in to consideration will lead to a common ground among the American Electorate and a more principled nation.

I hope that no matter what the results are, Americans can move forward together. Regardless of who the President is in 2013, there will be gridlock in government and relatively little will change in our everyday lives.    I ask that everyone keeps an open mind and instead of engaging in demagoguery, we strive to understand one another.  The healing process for the United States should start tomorrow.