Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From the "Full Disclosure" Dept.

Let me say this and get it out of the way (on the off chance you haven't been able to piece it together from the fine and large print). In terms of politics I am a conservative. A "movement*" conservative.

Furthermore, I have always been one.

I volunteered to work my first political campaign in 1976, in Reagan's first fight for the GOP nomination; when he narrowly lost, I supported (and volunteered for) Gerald Ford. I did the same in 1980 and again in 1988. I didn't in 1992 because I felt very much let down, not by the principles I held/hold dear, but by the party that claimed to uphold them, and did so with too-irritating variability. 1996 was a more tired rerun of that, and 2000 was an upbeat rerun of that.

There was a moment in the mid-1980s when I flirted with Libertarianism, but I gave that up when I realized most of the people with whom I interacted in that party were interested only in legalizing the purchase of drugs but no taxes thereupon.

Of course, I can see my way clear to compromises. Sometimes. It is acceptable to compromise in matters of distance (I want a 20% increase in the funding of widgets and settle for 11%) but I set my jaw firmly against compromises in terms of direction (new gummint bureaucracies for new gummint entitlements).

I believe in free markets for a people endowed with free will, and I believe in behaving according to Adam Smith's dictum of "enlightened self-interest." I am a Constitutional literalist, I believe the public education system suffers from delusions of adequacy, I believe that nobody -- including the unborn -- ought be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. I believe in the Laffer Curve and in the impoverishing effects of confiscatory tax policies. I believe a democratic republic cannot long survive with its constituent population adrift from the Judeo-Christian values that inform same.

I believe that a nation has the right to determine who is to cross its borders and has teh obligation to secure those borders. I also believe such a nation also ought deal firmly, but compassionately, with those who break those laws. I believe in individuals, not groupings, and individualism not egotism. I believe sometimes the only way to a lasting peace is through victory. I believe sacrifice is to be honored and hard work rewarded and loyalty exalted. I believe hope comes from a free people, tempered by faith, honoring their gifts from God in harmony with their neighbor. I believe in being environmentally prudent, not slavish earth-worshipers.

I don't believe George H.W. Bush is a conservative, nor George W., nor John McCain, though I have voted/will vote for all of them. I don't believe in climate change (in either direction), I don't believe anyone's race or ethnicity has any bearing on anything, I don't believe the gummint ever improves anything except by leaving it alone.

I believe the legitimate functions of gummint are appallingly few. I believe that helping the less fortunate is an individual moral obligation, not something to be fobbed off on bureaucrats flush with monies extracted from individuals via the police power of the state. I believe in the right to defend yourself and your family by whatever practical means. I believe that granting "marriage" to any combination of people that's not one man and one woman is like giving a dog license to a cat, a turtle or a parakeet. I believe the only way to eradicate poverty and bring about social justice is with economic liberty.

All my life I have held these views. I have argued with ostensibly brilliant people who held views opposite these and have yet to be swayed...or convinced of their brilliance.

I believe there is a difference between working with your political opponents and caving to them, and that neither is a substitute for convincing people that one's ideas are right.

There, now we're clear.

-J.

* What everyone else calls a "hardcore" conservative.

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