What is the defining issue in our elections, including the elections of 2016? We essentially have two opposing causes: those who would further increase the power of the state and those who would only use the power of government to protect individual rights. Who is winning? Since the power of the state has grown hugely over the last century, we must conclude that the Statists are winning.
An Appropriate Label?
We know people who call themselves Conservatives and Tea Party activists, people who say they favor constitutional, limited government. When we apply these labels, do we always use the expressions Conservative and Tea Party activists correctly? No, but the expressions do mean something, and there are plenty of people who identify as Conservatives and Tea Party activists, but who calls himself a Statist? Almost no one.
Nevertheless, large numbers of people call for government-run this, government-run that, and government-run everything else. Such people often call themselves Progressives, Liberals, or Socialists, and they argue that at least some aspects of government must be socialist in character. Hence Progressives, Liberals, and Socialists and their sympathizers advocate Socialism.
Here is an example of how those “Socialists” excuse their advocacy of big government. They abuse the definitions of the terms.
What is the difference between socialism and statism (www.answers.com)
Statism: the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty.
Socialism: An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise
Socialism is mostly economic and Statism is both economic and political. All Socialists are Statists but not all Statists are Socialist (Case in point: Iran, Statist but not officially Socialist)
Therefore, Socialists object to being labelled as Statists because Socialism is only an economic model, not both a political and an economic model. Yet that is as dishonest as saying one is only a little bit pregnant. Both Statism and Socialism employ the same fundamental principle, that the state must define and provide for the rights of the individual.
Conservatives hold God gives us our rights, and these are rights that relate to body and soul. Because God created us and we belong to Him, we owe Him our service. Our obligations are to Him, and He has given each of us the choice of serving willingly. Hence we each have God-given Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (Declaration of Independence).
Statists, however, view rights as commodities, merely things given to us by the state. This, of course, is a materialistic and secular view of rights that leaves God out. Once we do that (leave God out), we start seeing each other as objects, and we start enslaving each other.
Even Atheists can see the difficulties of Statism. Ayn Rand is famous for her books advocating individual rights, including her definition of statism.
The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.
Rand blamed this sort of “altruism” on Christianity, but the Bible never speaks of involuntary, state sponsored altruism. Besides, Statism does not require altruism as an excuse. That propaganda is just peculiar to Communism and Socialism. The Nazis did not spend much effort faking altruism.
Nevertheless, both Theists and Non-theists reach the same conclusion. Whether we recognize our rights as coming from God or not, when we use the government to give people their “rights” (commodities such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, an education, a job, and so forth), we must sacrifice the inherent rights of the individual to do so, and that adds up to Statism.
What Is Next?
Ideally, I suppose I would have come up with this series and happily used it to promote a specific candidate. Well, I am not entirely happy with any of the candidates. The only one I regard as coming close to being a true Constitutional Conservative is Ted Cruz. Unfortunately, I am not entirely certain the founders would have regarded him as a natural born citizen. I think Cruz believes he qualifies (see here).
How would the courts would decide? Because they would gag on the primary rationale for denying him his rights as a natural born citizen the courts almost certainly would regard him as one (Natural Born Citizen and Naturalized Citizen Explained). So I chuckled at the unpleasant irony and voted for him in the Virginia Presidential Primary.
Because, we have a dearth of honest Conservatives willing to run for public office — because no man is good — we have hard choices. We must choose between the least of evils. We cannot simply do nothing.
So what is next?
- What Does The Bible Teach About Rights?
- How Well Does Statism Work?
- How Do We Choose The Best Candidate?
- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (www.desiringgod.org)
- Unalienable rights (www.conservapedia.com)
- The Declaration of Independence and Natural Rights (www.crf-usa.org)
- Statism: Whether Fascist or Communist, It’s The Deadly Opposite of Capitalism (www.forbes.com)
- Whether You Call it Socialism, Statism, Fascism, or Corporatism, Big Government Is Evil and Destructive (finance.townhall.com)