THE GROWING POWER OF GOVERNMENT AND THE THREAT TO LIBERTY: ELECTION 2016

declaration of independence

OF A POST TO COME promised to compare the governing approaches of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with respect to two issues.

  • The growth of the power of government.
  • The protection of our rights.

The Growth Of The Power Of Government

Why is it a problem when government is powerful? Government exists to protect our rights. Yet the power we give our government makes government itself a threat to our rights. Therefore, we must choose between giving the government just enough power and giving it too much.

  • To give our government the resources it needs to defend our rights, we must give our leaders the authority to tax us and spend our money. Nevertheless, the more we allow our government to tax and spend, the more we work for government instead of ourselves. At some point, we risk slavery.
  • Some decisions which effect a people must be made jointly. Thus, government must sometimes make decisions we would otherwise make for ourselves. So it is that in a nation of free men and women, we have laws that restrict us from harming each other (traffic laws, for example). In a nation of slaves, however, the laws just list a few trivial decisions that the leaders permit the people to make for themselves.

Here is a table that summarizes where the candidates stand.  Not certain the information is correct? Then check their web sites. I have only provided links where their positions are not available on their own websites.

ISSUE Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Taxing and Spending Favors tax simplification and reduction Favors increased taxation and spending (inferred from lengthy list of proposals)
Healthcare Private market solution Doubling down on Obamacare
School Choice For School Choice. Will end Common Core Against School Choice. Favors Common Core.
Immigration Favors extreme vetting Open borders/put new immigrants on the dole
Government Regulations Committed to reducing regulations Defends the current regulatory regime
Free Trade Opponent of the big trade bills Helped to craft TPP

To be continued: The Protection Of Our Rights

WHY I SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP

Trump in August 2015 (from here)
Trump in August 2015 (from here)

Why am I going to vote for Donald Trump? If you check earlier posts on my blog you will find I once supported Senator Ted Cruz. Since Trump and Cruz parted with bad feelings, I am not happy with Trump. I think Trump has a problem with keeping his ego in check, and he gets very nasty when he doesn’t.  That said, Trump’s problems ego problems look to be of the ordinary variety. He is not a political pro, and the stresses of running a political campaign are extraordinary. So there is not much reason to expect him to handle those stresses like a pro. Hopefully, he is learning. After you needlessly insult someone, it can be difficult to patch things up.

Still, I have a problem. Like every other voter I have to figure out who to vote for.  The two candidate with a serious possibility of winning are either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and I vastly prefer what Donald Trump has promised to do.

Here are my key issues (See Trump’s Positions Page).

HealthCare Reform

Trump will fight for the repeal of Obamacare.

But none of these positive reforms can be accomplished without Obamacare repeal. On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare. (from here)

Trump has also promised to work to replace Obamacare.  I am not sure I will like what he and Congress cook up. Nonetheless, he promises to work for a system that uses free market principles.

Tax Reform

Trump will fight for a simpler tax system and to eliminate the death tax.

When the income tax was first introduced, just one percent of Americans had to pay it. It was never intended as a tax most Americans would pay. The Trump plan eliminates the income tax for over 73 million households. 42 million households that currently file complex forms to determine they don’t owe any income taxes will now file a one page form saving them time, stress, uncertainty and an average of $110 in preparation costs. Over 31 million households get the same simplification and keep on average nearly $1,000 of their hard-earned money. (from here)

We should get rid of the income tax. As the paragraph above indicates, the people who advocated the 16th Amendment to our Constitution, created a monster that has funded the excessive growth of our government. Note that Trump’s tax reform does not address Social Security or Medicare, a major part of that 16th Amendment monster.

Trump’s plan includes tax relief for corporations and small business. That would help keep businesses from fleeing our country. Trump would also eliminate the Death Tax. That would also be a boon for small business and increase competition.

Therefore, what Trump proposes is progress. How do we get rid of the 16th Amendment. I expect that would take a Convention of the States.

Immigration Reform

This issue is the one that kicked off Trump’s campaign. I am not a big fan of the wall or Mexico paying for it. I just want to vet immigrants BEFORE they come into our country.

  • So we know each people coming into the United States is not a security threat.
  • Can speak English fluently.
  • Has a job or some means of support.

Currently, our welfare system is a draw to both legal and illegal immigrants. That’s stupid. We don’t need a welfare system so the Democratic Party can import voters.

In addition, we are allowing terrorists into the country. Instead of trying to help refugees as close to their homeland as possible, we are bringing them here, and we are not separating out the terrorists. There is no good excuse for that.

Trump is running on securing the border and securing our country again. I am happy with that.

School Choice

School Choice is my main issue. Unless we put education back under parental control, civil servants posing as teachers will continue to indoctrinate children. Am I trying to say I hate teachers? No. Of course not.

When government runs the schools, teachers are civil servants. That is a literal fact. As civil servants, teachers must teach what politicians who pay their salaries want them to teach. What politicians want children to learn very often not good for children. Politicians don’t necessarily love our children, but all them are tempted by power and prestige.

So I am disappointed Trump does not mention school choice prominently on his website, but he did say he favors school choice in his book (see my post, CAN DONALD TRUMP DELIVER ON HIS PROMISES?), Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again. In addition, Gov. Mike Pence, his running mate, apparently has an interest in the subject (see Ryan Applauds Governor Pence As Vice Presidential Choice) and Trump is on the record as being against Common Core (see DONALD J TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL ANNOUNCEMENT).

Conclusion

On the issues that matter most to me, Trump is the best choice.

OUR RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED APPROPRIATELY

school.pngWhat follows is an email that I received Wednesday evening from Dottie Miller, Chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee. This is a call to action she broadcasted to all committee members.

Committee Members,

I am writing to inform you about yet another controversy regarding our School Board.

On June 15, 2016, Brentsville District School Board member Gil Trenum, a Navy reservist, announced that he has been called up to active duty to serve overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom for one-year beginning in August. Trenum has served his country as a United States Navy officer for nearly 12 years and has continued to serve as a Navy Reserve Commander for 14 years. In all, this is his 26th year of service to our military. Virginia’s Division of Legislative Services has advised Trenum, a Republican, that he can hold his School Board seat and choose a temporary replacement while deployed. However, School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers, a Democrat, is seeking to ignore Trenum’s wishes and appoint someone else. Trenum has provided three candidates to temporarily fill his seat while he’s deployed, however, Sawyers wants to appoint Don Shaw, the current Vice Chairman of the Prince William Democrat Committee and former candidate for office. Sawyers is currently seeking a legal opinion on the matter from Attorney General Mark Herring. Democrats already hold a 5-3 advantage on the School Board, yet Sawyers wants to create a larger majority to implement his agenda.

Here is a recent Washington Post story about this matter: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/pr-william-school-board-seat-up-in-the-air-ahead-of-reservists-deployment/2016/07/01/40f32440-3fb3-11e6-84e8-1580c7db5275_story.html

Chairman Sawyers’ objection to Mr. Trenum’s wishes are particularly disappointing for several reasons:

1) By not honoring the wishes of Gil Trenum during his deployment, Chairman Sawyers is disrespecting veterans and military reservists and using a reservist deployment for personal political gain.

2) Sawyers’ partisan behavior will only discourage reservists from seeking public office in Prince William County in the future.

3) Chairman Sawyers is openly disrespecting the will of the Brentsville voters by attempting to appoint someone who doesn’t share Trenum’s policy positions or philosophy. Brentsville voters have elected Trenum as their School Board Representative three terms.

Since Ryan Sawyers was sworn-in as chairman of the Prince William County School Board on December 11, 2015, he has engaged in controversy after controversy. Whether it be school-naming fights, teacher intimidation, or retaliation of a H.S. principal, Chairman Sawyers has been more bully than consensus builder. Please make your voice heard on this latest controversy.

Action Items:

-Make your voice heard by calling/emailing the School Board Chairman and your District Representative about this matter. Find their contact info here: http://pwcs.ss9.sharpschool.com/cms/one.aspx?pageId=690983

-Share this information with our neighborhood and friends via conversations and social media.

Dottie Miller, Chairman

D.J. Jordan, Vice Chairman

Prince William County Republican Committee

If we want our leaders to behave honorably, the we have to hold them accountable. Is Brentsville District School Board member Gil Trenum’s request honorable? Would it be honorable for School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers to ignore it? Please consider the matter and then contact your District Representative.

WHAT IS THE LAW OF THE LAND? — PART 4

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657
Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657 (from here)

In the first post of this series, we took up the task of Defining The Law Of The Land. After that, we considered The Purpose Of The Law Of The Land. The last post focused upon the effect of what we believe. How do we achieve a consensus? What should be The Law Of The Land? That post considered The Means of Persuasion — Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

Here we will look at our leadership, but first a diversion.

Fun On A Saturday Afternoon

On Saturday afternoon, I attended Delegate Bob Marshall‘s Campaign Kick-Up” Event (Virginians will vote on November 3, 2015.). It was fun, good food, dancing, and politics.  Got to watch Delegate Marshall dance with his lady, Cathy, and Senator Dick Black dance with his lady, Barbara. That obviously made the ladys happy. Now my wife is after me to dance. Oh well….

I was there for the food and the politics. In addition to Delegate Marshall, Congressman Rob Wittman, Senator Black, Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, and Willie Deutsch (candidate for Member School Board – COLES DISTRICT) spoke. Clerk of the Court Michele B. McQuigg also attended. McQuigg surprised Marshall a bit when she declined to speak, but she did had little reason to do so. Wittman and Marshall both spoke glowingly of her, and she obviously supports Marshall. And there were plenty of good speeches.

Strangely, however, what I found most memorable was a speech not given by a politician. Instead, the fellow giving the invocation made the most powerful statement, and his quotes of Charles Finney and Noah Webster formed the core of his speech. I then decided quotations from those two gentleman would form the core of this post.

Why Must We Choose A New Leadership?

Many wise and learned men have written about the problem of finding good leadership for a republic. That includes why we must be careful.

In 1838, Abraham Lincoln gave this address, The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois (January 27, 1838). Here is an excerpt.

It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?–Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.–It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs. (from here)

Note that Lincoln speaks of only the chief leader. He predicted that some leaders would be controlled with only the greatest difficulty, and we now have a leader who speaks brazenly of the power of his phone and his pen. Yet what is our real problem? Is President Barack Obama a man possessed of the loftiest genius, or is it that at every level of public office we have elected unscrupulous men and women? Thus, when our president does not fulfill the obligations of his office — when he violates his oath and breaks The Law Of The Land — he finds support. Therefore, we cannot stop him. We cannot even slow him down. And so our leader, the leader of the world’s most powerful nation, has set the whole world in turmoil, and we can only watch the unraveling.

fatter_disaster

What have we failed to do?

Some call Charles Finney the Father of American revivalism. Whether he was such or not, Finney spoke at a time preachers were willing to speak of politics.

The church must take right ground in regard to politics. Do not suppose, now, that I am going to preach a political sermon, or that I wish to have you join and get up a Christian party in politics. No, I do not believe in that. But the time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them. They must be honest men themselves, and instead of voting for a man because he belongs to their party, Bank or Anti-Bank, Jackson, or Anti-Jackson, they must find out whether he is honest and upright, and fit to be trusted. They must let the world see that the church will uphold no man in office, who is known to be a knave, or an adulterer, or a Sabbath-breaker, or a gambler. Such is the spread of intelligence and the facility of communication in our country, that every man can know for whom he gives his vote. And if he will give his vote only for honest men, the country will be obliged to have upright rulers. . . . As on the subject of slavery and temperance, so on this subject, the church must act right or the country will be ruined. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation were becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you, he does see it, and he will bless or curse this nation, according to the course they take. (from here)

Was Finney right? Is politics part of the religion in a country such as this? All I know is that who we vote for reflects a moral choice. When fail to vote for the welfare of our family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen — when we vote selfishly — God cannot sustain us as a free and blessed country.

Noah Webster is famous as a lexicographer for his commitment to education. He stated our obligation as voters this way.

When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, “just men who will rule in the fear of God.” The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. (from here)

So what should we do? How should we select good leaders? Fortunately for us, the Bible offers us some good advice. A couple of thousand years ago, here is what the Apostle Paul told a young protegé about selecting leaders for the church in Ephesus, which was then a corrupt city.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 Good News Translation (GNT)

Leaders in the Church

This is a true saying: If a man is eager to be a church leader, he desires an excellent work. A church leader must be without fault; he must have only one wife, be sober, self-controlled, and orderly; he must welcome strangers in his home; he must be able to teach; he must not be a drunkard or a violent man, but gentle and peaceful; he must not love money; he must be able to manage his own family well and make his children obey him with all respect. For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of the church of God? He must be mature in the faith, so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the Devil was. He should be a man who is respected by the people outside the church, so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the Devil’s trap.

We tend to overlook Paul’s advice and think only of church leaders. Yet our nation’s borders envelope thousands of churches. Our political leaders ensure the morality of our laws. Like it or not, our leaders impose their values upon society. When our leaders are immoral, they endanger our own values and the values of our family, friends and country.

We also may think of Paul’s advice as quaint, not appropriate for today.  For example, when Paul wrote this passage, he wrote to people who would not have seriously considered women as leaders. Paul, however, appointed women to positions of trust, and he readily accepted their help. As 1 Corinthians 9 explains, Paul adapted to the culture of each people he visited. He wanted people to listen to when he preach the Gospel, not argue over side issues.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 Good News Translation (GNT)

22 Among the weak in faith I become weak like one of them, in order to win them. So I become all things to all people, that I may save some of them by whatever means are possible.

23 All this I do for the gospel’s sake, in order to share in its blessings.

Thanks to a couple of thousand years of such patient Christian teaching, in this country we no longer allow men to select themselves to lead by using the point of their swords. Instead, we vote. Hence, each Christian now has an obligation to demonstrate how a Christian should participate in politics. When we support our candidates, and when we vote, we can put Paul’s words to action. We can back the candidate we would most like to have in charge of our church. If he (or she) is not fit for that job, he probably won’t do a good job as a leader of our county, our city, our state or our country.

Character does matter.