Saturday, September 25, 2010

A New Start for America

For anyone who hasn't noticed or hasn't read it, the so-called "Pledge to America" is a pathetic, cynically pragmatic, unprincipled attempt by the neocons in the Republican party to pander simultaneously to the libertarians of the Tea Party and the social advocates of the Religious Right with platitudes, cliches and nearly empty rhetoric. (And let's be serious -- Paul Ryan is a neocon's neocon. A RINO in sheeps clothing who will say anything to get elected to promote the Bush legacy.)

The "Pledge" makes only one clear statement of principle -- that we all have rights to life/liberty/pursuit of happiness -- and then does everything possible to undermine that principle by defending it in terms any member of the Democratic Party could sign up for: like "sacrifice" and service to the "common good" and the "social fabric". Not just rhetoric, but Marxist rhetoric, because folks, that's where it started. 

For anyone who doesn't know: for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to mean anything, it has to mean something. It doesn't mean a litany of concrete issues like "balancing the budget", "restoring trust", or "funding missile defense".  That all sounds nice, but in the grand hierarchy of really important priorities, they are so far down the list, and deserve no more than a footnote in this so-called "Pledge" -- if that. (Seriously, if we sent the right kind of people to Washington to defend rights, we don't have to worry that they'll balance the budget, restore trust or fund missile defense.) 

If you have a right to your life, liberty and happiness then there is one and only one proper function of government:  to protect your individual rights. (There is no such thing as a "group" right.) 

In a properly delimited government, the only power politicians should have, besides budget authorizations, is the power to protect individual rights -- freedom of human action in a social context -- meaning:  the right of individuals to act in any way they damn well choose without having to seek the permission of a government bureaucrat -- so long as they don't violate the rights of others in the process. 

That is a principle you can get your teeth into. That is what the Tea Party is groping to understand about itself -- what it is trying to defend. That is what this Pledge should be pledging.  It is the most important underlying meaning of our Constitution, and all else follows from it.

What individual rights?
  • The right to free speech. To advocate your ideas, beliefs, convictions, observations, or judgments without interference or fear of persecution (of which "freedom of religion" and "freedom of the press" are two forms, and what "campaign finance reforms" so grotesquely violate).  
  • The right to own property without it being indentured to the State for any kind of tax, or stolen from you for any kind of so-called "public good". 
  • The right to defend oneself when the government can't (of which the right to guns is one form). 
That's only a start.  Those rights not enumerated in the Constitution are reserved to the People -- not the government.

Here's another principle that the old-guard GOP missed entirely in their attempt to usurp the power of the Tea Party:  that power corrupts absolutely, and powers not dedicated to protecting individual rights, like the power to tax, regulate and dictate "social policy", are absolute powers corrupting everything about the principle of "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness", not to mention Washington D.C. 

(Taxation is the power of a blank check in direct contradiction to the principle of individual rights -- it is the power to destroy lives for undefined ends.  A proper government, delimited to its essential functions, can very easily be funded by charging fees for services actually rendered -- police, courts, defense. Taxes, on the other hand, become carte blanche for the government to give your money to others while you get nothing in return.)

You will notice the so-called "Pledge" didn't make one single statement renouncing government's right to tax, regulate or dictate social policy.
  • It offered to "stop tax hikes", "provide tax deductions" -- but not end taxes.  
  • It offered to "repeal job-killing mandates" -- but not mandates as such. 
  • It offered to limit federal spending -- but not end federal spending for functions the federal government has no business doing. 
  • It offered to "put people back to work" -- somehow. Meaning, via more federal programs, tax incentives, TARP incentives, regulatory "tweaking", ad infinitum -- but not get the federal government out of the business of interfering with business.
So what you see in this so-called "Pledge" is this:  some chicken bones with a little gristle, thrown out for people to gnaw on, to fool them into thinking they are being fed, while the essential power of the politicians is preserved -- the absolute power to offer handouts to a people starved for real freedom.  Let them eat cake.

If you have a right to your life, then no one (most especially the government) has a right to tell you how to live it.  No one has the right to tell you how much of your life, your earnings, your possessions they have a right to.  No one has a right to sacrifice your life for any "good" cause, not for the "poor", nor the "disabled", nor the destitute in Africa or the con-artists in Washington. That is for you to choose.

What does sacrifice really mean?  The renunciation of a greater value to a lesser one. A person with a right to his life must hold the power to choose how he will spend it -- or it means nothing.  To tell him he must sacrifice is to abrogate the very principle of life. 

Note: if you choose to help someone you love that is not a sacrifice!  If you choose to fight to defend your country, that is not a sacrifice! -- it is giving your highest value for your highest value.  But the altruist advocates of self-sacrifice and duty to the collective don't want you to realize that.  They want you to believe that you are nothing but a serf to the feifdoms of their ends.

No one has a right to tell you what social policy or "cause" you must support, who you must help, what "common good" you must serve, or how much wealth you can accrue on the way to your happiness. No one has a right to tell you how to live by imposing regulations of any kind whatsoever to "guide" your actions. The government's job is only to punish actual violations of rights, not to presume you are guilty before proven innocent and tie you up in a straightjacket of rules.

So what should a proper "Pledge" uphold? As a start for the next legislative session of 2011 - 2012, we resolve to:

1. Pass a resolution asserting that the government's only function is to protect the rights of the individual and that we will work to end all government functions not dedicated to that principle.

2. Resolve to work towards a plan for a complete Separation of State and Economics, on the principle that the government has no proper function "guiding" the economy or "fixing" it.

3. Commit to repeal the Health Care Act of 2010, and repeal all government regulation of the health care industry.

4. Develop a plan to fully privatize Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

5. Commit to eliminating all "economic stimulus" programs, including TARP, and resolve to prohibit any future Federal bailouts for private businesses or any state in the union.

6. Resolve to place the United States on a gold standard, and prohibit issuance of any more debt by the U.S. Government.

7. Commit, as a necessary measure in the current economic crisis, to eliminate all funding for non-essential government functions, including: HHS, Transportation, Foreign Aid, HUD, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, EPA, and the "Corporation for National and Community Service".  (Savings: $311 billion)

8. Pass legislation eliminating "Fannie Mae" and "Freddie Mac" on the principle that the government has no business dictating housing policy.

9. End "nation building" as a function of the Department of Defense or any other branch of government, and de-fund all activities dedicated to that end.

This is just a start.  But it is a start based on solid principles.  I would call it that:  A New Start for America.

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