Monday, October 26, 2009

Ideas and Politics

It is not unusual to hear politicians express contempt for philosophical ideas while simultaneously claiming they are Progressives and Pragmatist---as if those words did not give title to volumes of philosophical ideas---each resting upon the most lethal premise in man’s history.

While many Republicans---conservative and liberal alike---steep themselves in social issues of highly charged emotionality, such as abortion, they evade or ignore fundamental ideas. Some fail to distinguish between concretes and fundamentals completely, thus disarming themselves for a battle that requires intellectual clarity and moral certitude.

Fundamental ideas give rise to, make possible and color every concrete with which an individual deals. To evade or ignore them is to invite disaster. That’s what has happened to the Republican Party. They have for too long mouthed the same Democrat pap that we’ve heard scores of times. If the Democrats, for instance, say they want to provide universal health care, the Republicans do not denounce such a flagrant attack on individual rights. Instead they say, “Yes, we do too, but not your way.” On this issue as on every other, the Republicans are on the same page with the Democrats, singing the same tune, using the same chords, merely in a different key.

Some politicians claim that voters are not interested in ideas. This is patently false. The grassroots assuredly are interested in ideas, as witness the avalanche of interest in Ayn Rand’s books---which deal exclusively with the dramatization of ideas. American voters are not indifferent to ideas as the lines at libraries, the sales in bookstores and the explosion of blogs attests. At present they are looking for ideas more eagerly than ever before.

The Republican Party has said that it wants to figure out how to re-invigorate the GOP. They can do it if they throw out collectivist ideas. This will disassociate the party from past mistakes. In lieu of discarded collectivism, the GOP should rally Americans to the restoration of individual rights, the only effective way to counteract the Obama government's collectivist assault on the American people. The restoration of our individual rights protects our freedoms, makes possible limited government, and leads to capitalism.

The grassroots recognizes the validity and importance of the right to life, property, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They understand the connection between their individual rights and their choice of work, keeping what they earn, disposing of their income as they see fit, choosing their own doctor and paying their own way. They are fully aware that when one takes from the producer/earner to give to the non-earner, one is depleting savings. They know that reducing savings reduces investment in productive enterprises, which chokes growth, which reduces the standard of living.

Collectivism holds that the individual exists for the state. For decades Democrats have advocated taking from the earner and giving to the non-earner. They have advocated enforced unionization, enforced medical care, enforced social security, enforced public education, enforced business regulation. Obama’s Administration has crystallized this practice.

The grassroots has been clearly shown the irresponsible spending that blasts through the stratosphere, the disastrous regulations and take-overs of companies, the harassment and intimidation of businessmen, the support of corrupt union leaders against the membership, the appeasement of our enemies and the snubbing of our allies, the attempts at “fishy” censorship, and now, recently, the attempt to shut down free expression on the net. They have been told the topsy-turvy collectivist line that a rich nation is a bad nation, that producers/earners are demonical threats to society, that those who create jobs are exploitative, that dissent is unpatriotic (now, but wasn't during the 1960s), that supporting countries that deserve it is intolerant but kissing thugs and bowing to savage rulers is sensitive diplomacy.

The preceding are all concrete expressions of a fundamental idea: statism. Statism is the culmination of collectivism, the rule of brute force, in which the state is supreme, the individual subservient to the ruler in all respects and instances. Statism is the complete destruction of the individual and his rights.

To stop the Obama Administration’s giddy plunge toward statism, the Republican Party would be foolish---and self-destructive---not to join the grassroots and commit itself to the restoration of individual rights. The GOP could seek no greater re-generation than to re-establish the abstract ideas this country was founded on: individual rights, limited government and capitalism, and their concrete social expression, our constitutional freedoms: freedom of speech, of press, of assembly, of worship, and to keep and bear arms.

Collectivists say might makes right. But it does not. Rights make right. If the Republican Party wants to be a viable political party, they must self-righteously proclaim the practical virtue of individual rights, a moral principle that assures peace and prosperity. Nothing more than this is needed. Nothing short of this will win.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize & Mr. Obama's Intentions

Americans are well aware that these are troubling times. Things have been turned upside down. We are told that obeying government edicts constitutes "freedom." We are told that government health and insurance plans are "competition." We are offered movies dramatizing the view that a free-market economy---which made this country the richest nation in the world---is barbaric and exploitative.

One sometimes feels that the entire world has gone insane. A case in point is awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Obama for his intentions.

Certainly, Mr. Obama has shown us his intentions.
1. He intends to force every American into government health care and insurance plans whether they want it or not, and to force us to pay a penalty if we refuse.
2. He intends to enact censorship. His "fishy" expedition was merely a trial balloon. He has now gone a step farther. He wants the FBI to monitor the net and fine and/or jail those who dare to dissent from his views.
3. He intends to disarm every American, thereby violating our right to keep and bear arms.
4. He intends to violate our right to peaceably assemble. Police are instructed to arrest those who form a group of more than ten. Others are arrested without cause.

These are only some of Mr. Obama's intentions. Are any of them good? Do they take cognizance of our freedoms stated in the Constitution? Do they acknowledge our individual rights to life, property, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? They do not. Every one of Mr. Obma's intentions promises to generate hostility, anger and violence, if not outright rebellion. Should such intentions be awarded a peace prize? They should not.

It is not surprising that Norwegian officials would consider Mr. Obama's intention to crush Americans' individual rights as meriting an award. Like most European countries, individuals there regard themselves as subjects---not citizens---and have no idea what a right is. The Nobel Committee would be composed of such individuals. They would be pre-disposed to award the intention to destroy the characteristic unique to Americans, i.e., the recognition that each individual is a sovereign and autonomous intellect. That is the essential meaning of individualism. It is what Mr. Obama intends to destroy. From his actions, there is no other conclusion to reach.

The result of Mr. Obama's acts and intentions is that he and his administration have driven an angry and bitter wedge between Americans and their government. Franklin D. Roosevelt was widely disliked and referred to disdainfully as "that man in the White House." But Americans--- thanks to enterprising businessmen---got on with their lives, found jobs, moved to less-congested areas and discovered ways to pick up the pieces left by government interference in the economy. McCarthy and Nixon were tarred and feathered by the media, but generally Americans were split on their assessment of both men's effectiveness. Johnson was distrusted for his back-room politicking, but Americans were more concerned about Civil Rights. Government shortcomings did not create a hostile gulf between our representatives and us.

Mr. Obama has changed things. As promised. Never has there been such deep alienation between Americans and government officials as presently exists in this country. As his acts took form and his intentions unfolded, many Americans for the first time in their lives began to fear the government. Then, as violations of our rights followed more such violations, fear turned into outrage and Americans started to fight back. Their fight is paying off. Those in government are now starting to fear Americans.

That's understandable. Most government officials are no longer Americans. As a nationality, Americans are identified around the world and in their own minds as champions of individual rights, limited government and free markets. But the majority of government personnel---elected, appointed and hired---no longer hold such values. They retain the nationality but that is all. They have betrayed their loyalty to fundamental American values for "pull," for private jets and fine houses, for special medical and insurance plans and salaries that exceed most middle class incomes, all of which the American producer/earner pays for.

The decline of our representative republic toward statism has been gradual and is at present incomplete. Mr. Obama is seeking to complete it. Most government officials and their supporters are rushing to help him.

His Organizing for America, for instance, brazenly performed a skit in which collectivism destroyed individualism. OFA members laughed raucously and loudly applauded. Knowing full well that decades of Soviet collectivism murdered millions on farms and in cities, in frozen Siberian gulags, in the dungeons of the Soviet "police," in countless, unrecorded suicides, Mr. Obama's OFA cheers for collectivism. Knowing full well the terror and agony in which people existed under communism, and refusing to consider the strangled ambitions, the corruption and repeated "Five Year Plans" promising utopia in the future but requiring that wheat be imported from the USA, Mr. Obama's OFA members chanted "Go Communism!"

No matter whether one calls their efforts progressivism, socialism, communism or fascism, it is all the same and it's all collectivism. And collectivism is what Mr. Obama intends for the United States of America.

I hope Americans will embrace their values and not let go of them. I hope they will vote into public office those who will advocate the restoration of our individual rights. We must not allow Mr. Obama to get away with his intentions. 2010 is not that far away. It is time to start working to replace all those who support Mr. Obama and his intentions.

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