LIBERTINE, PURITAN, OR WHAT?

The Libertine Bell?
The Libertine Bell?

One of the things I like to do is study political terms. For some reason today it occurred to me to wonder about the relationship between the word libertine and liberal. It turns out there is a relationship.

libertine (n.) Look up libertine at Dictionary.com
late 14c., “a freedman, an emancipated slave,” from Latin libertinus “member of a class of freedmen,” from libertus “one’s freedmen,” from liber “free” (see liberal). Sense of “freethinker” is first recorded 1560s, from French libertin (1540s) originally the name given to certain Protestant sects in France and the Low Countries. Meaning “dissolute or licentious person” first recorded 1590s; the darkening of meaning being perhaps due to misunderstanding of Latin libertinus in Acts vi:9. As an adjective by 1570s.

Wikipedia (here) claims John Calvin coined the term.  Given that dictionary.com lists puritan as the antonym of libertine, that sort of makes makes sense.

So what about my question? What is the relationship between the word libertine and liberal? Libertines, Leftists, and Libertarians (www.nationalreview.com) offers this observation.

It’s astounding how many times liberals say “libertarian” when they really mean “libertine.” In reality, when it comes to sexual politics, the mindset is far more libertine and left than libertarian. They’re libertine when it comes to certain forms of self-indulgence (don’t tell me what I can do with my body!), but they’re leftist when it comes to the consequences (don’t make me bear the costs of my choices! I thought government is that thing we do together!). (from here)

The author goes on to make this point. While some Libertarians may or may not be libertines, Libertarians do not believe in using government to pay for the cost of their behavior.

Effectively, Libertinism in the guise of New Liberalism has replaced what some now call Classical Liberalism.

When Senator Rand Paul spoke in a speech sponsored by the American Principles Project, he made a similar point.

“‘Libertarian’ …doesn’t mean ‘libertine,’” he said. “To many of us libertarian means freedom and liberty. But we also see that freedom needs tradition.”

He added: “I don’t see libertarianism as, you can do whatever you want. There is a role for government, there’s a role for family, there’s a role for marriage, there’s a role for the protection of life.”

Paul stressed that the value of marriage is economic, as well as “moral” and “religious,” and that those virtues can be communicated through families and communities as well as through the government. (from here)

Conservatism by definition is similar to Libertarianism. Here is how Ronald Reagan put it.

The common sense and common decency of ordinary men and women, working out their own lives in their own way—this is the heart of American conservatism today. Conservative wisdom and principles are derived from willingness to learn, not just from what is going on now, but from what has happened before.” (from here)

Paul Kengor has just written a book, 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative, that explains Reagan Conservatism. Here is his brief synopsis.

What sort of principles? In my new book on Reagan conservatism, I lay out 11 clearly identifiable principles of Reagan conservatism:

  • Freedom
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Sanctity and dignity of human life
  • American exceptionalism
  • The Founders’ wisdom and vision
  • Lower taxes
  • Limited government
  • Peace through strength
  • Anti-communism
  • Belief in the individual

(from here)

CSPAN provides a video (here) of a speech Kengor gave to the Young America’s Foundation. If you are not familiar with Conservative principles, that speech might be a good place to start learning about them.

Related Articles

MUZZLED BY THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE?

taxes.pngThe IRS is changing one of its innumerable rules, and they want to know what you and I think by February 27, 2014 (see 78 FR 71535 – Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Organizations on Candidate-Related Political Activities). Isn’t that nice of them?

78 FR 71535 doesn’t look threatening. This is, after all, the IRS.  78 FR 71535 looks inscrutable. This is the stuff we pay lawyers to read. Reading this stuff and understanding what it means is how lawyers earn their pay.

As understanding of 78 FR 71535 has oozed up through the news media, the significance of this new tax guidance is slowly being made known. Consider these quotes.

According to Hans Bader, we have a clear First Amendment violation. (from www.theblaze.com).

“This is a First Amendment violation,” Bader said.

The IRS has also said it could expand similar rules to to 501(c)(3) groups, such as CEI and other think tanks and nonprofit groups that are forbidden under their tax exempt status from endorsing candidates, but have traditionally weighed in on Supreme Court nominations, cabinet secretary nominations and other executive and judicial nominees that would be classified as “candidates” under the new rule.

“Thus, think tanks, which have historically been allowed to criticize executive and judicial nominees for their misconduct or bad policies, could be banned from doing so, simply by the IRS radically redefining the candidate-related partisan political activity they are already forbidden to engage in (electioneering) to include non-partisan criticism that has nothing to do with election campaigns or electioneering,” Bader wrote in a post on the OpenMarket.org blog.

(from here)

Supposedly, there is bipartisan agreement (from www.nytimes.com).

In a rare agreement between Tea Party and liberal activists, organizations across the political spectrum say new regulations drafted by the Internal Revenue Service to curb a surge in political spending and activity by nonprofits are far too broad. They fear that enforcement of the regulations would chill more neutral civic initiatives such as voter registration efforts and candidate forums.

A strong backlash from conservatives was anticipated after the I.R.S. made the recommended changes public in November. Many contend that the Obama administration is out to muzzle them, citing the heightened scrutiny the I.R.S. gave to nonprofit applications from Tea Party-affiliated groups. But groups associated with more liberal causes are also calling on the I.R.S. to substantially rethink or withdraw the proposal, criticizing it as overreaching, impractical and undemocratic.

(from here)

But maybe not (from thehill.com).

Senate Democrats facing tough elections this year want the Internal Revenue Service to play a more aggressive role in regulating outside groups expected to spend millions of dollars on their races.

In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Democrats are publicly prodding the agency instead of lobbying them directly. They are also careful to say the IRS should treat conservative and liberal groups equally, but they’re concerned  about an impending tidal wave of attack ads funded by GOP-allied organizations.  Much of the funding for those groups is secret, in contrast to the donations lawmakers collect, which must be reported publicly

(from here)

So what should we make of this proposed IRS rule change? Here is a response to the IRS’s request for comments one of readers of this blog was kind enough to share. Note that Denny Daugherty, the author, strongly desires an informed citizenry. Thus, he participates in multiple nonpartisan organizations, and he would not be happy with the change.

February 15, 2014

CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-134417-13)
Room 5205
Internal Revenue Service
P. O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station
Washington, D.C. 20044

Dear Ms. Giuliano:

            I write in opposition to the proposal, which would erase the longstanding distinction between political advocacy and voter education, and forbid the mere mention of a candidate’s name by certain tax-exempt organizations notwithstanding that it is in a communication that neither advocates the election or defeat of the candidate.  Throughout its provisions, the proposal evinces a hostility to the exercise of free speech and the franchise I am shocked to hear from the government of a free people.

            What activity could be more consistent with promoting the common good and general welfare than the promotion of voter registration and voting on Election Day, unaccompanied by an appeal to support particular candidates?  Yet this rule would label such non-candidate related activity as forbidden candidate-related activity. 

            The proposal ignores the fact that among those candidates are incumbents already responsible for serving the public.  Your proposal would muzzle any public discussion by tax-exempt social welfare organizations of business coming before legislatures and other elected bodies that acknowledges the identity of the officials making critical decisions.  Such groups could not mention that Senator Able serves on the Committee on Finance which will soon be voting on matter X or that Senator Baker is one of the few senators who has not yet declared a position on matter Y.  It would thereby effectively stifle the ability of citizens to exercise their right to petition their government, peaceably assemble and speak freely.  So long as communications are not “on behalf of or in opposition to” a candidate, they should not be penalized by IRS.  Why should public officials be free from public scrutiny for 60 days each election year?  Are you going to insist Congress and state legislatures refrain from taking any actions during the period of silence you would impose?

            I lead a tax-exempt organization that for more than 20 years has sponsored debates among the opposing candidates for public offices in our community.  This rule would prohibit us from doing so, if our tax exemption were under 501 (c)(4) rather than (c)(3), by penalizing the hosting of events within 60 days of an election attended by one or more candidates.  Again, by changing the prohibition from express advocacy to a mere relationship, this proposal will penalize organizations which merely attempt to educate and inform voters without attempting to influence the outcome of the election.  This function is vital to the effective functioning of a democracy and more needed than ever in the face of the closing of more and more local newspapers.  No explanation is offered for penalizing an organization because of the mere attendance of candidates, regardless of whether the candidates speak, are endorsed, or face their opponents in debate.  Are we expected to stand at the doors of public events and bar the entry of any visitor who is a candidate for office in the next election? 

            Why should voters’ sources of information about candidates and issues, or where to register to vote, be limited to campaign organizations, political parties and for-profit entities?  Voter guides that honestly present the views of candidates on issues provide important information to voters in low-profile races or when candidates want to obscure their positions on issues on which there is not broad consensus.  When the guides don’t declare a particular position or candidate “right,” they are not “political” but educational.

            Remarkably, the proposed rule would treat as candidates those under consideration for nomination and confirmation as appointed officials. This situation bears no resemblance to a competitive election with two or more candidates competing for the favor of the public.  Rather such appointments and confirmations represent the actions taken by those already elected to office.  Why should tax-exempt organizations and their members be muzzled from exchanging information about this legislative business, any more than they are with respect to any other decisions before their elected officials?.

            You request comment as to whether these rules should be applied to other types of section 501 organizations.  If they are to apply to some tax-exempt organizations, they should apply to all.  However,  they should apply to none.  Trade unions should have no more rights, and no less, than civic leagues.  Those activities of either that inform, rather than seek to persuade, should be free from IRS regulation.  Certainly there is no justification for affording more flexibility to organizations whose supporters are entitled to tax deductions than would be afforded 501(c)(4) groups by this rule.

            As the preamble notes, the Internal Revenue Code has exempted social welfare organizations since its passage in 1913.  The preamble does not provide any justification for changing the longstanding criteria applicable to these organizations.   Recently, we have seen significant abuses on the part of the IRS in the awarding of tax exemptions.  If there have been abuses by tax-exempt organizations, address them by enforcing the current regulations.  You have not shown defects in the current regulations to justify the severe restrictions you propose to impose on the exercise of First Amendment rights.

            I urge Secretary Lew to announce his intention not to pursue these regulations at the earliest possible date, so that civic organizations may concentrate on doing their job without having to divert resources to fighting the threat of losing their tax exemptions.                               

Sincerely,

Denny Daugherty

Without making accusations or casting blame, Daugherty focuses on harm the rule change would cause. Further, he observes the lack of justification. Perhaps we have good cause for suspicion and anger, but we can only guess what might be motivating this change. So we are better off putting the objective first, protecting our rights.

What distinguishes our political campaigns from outright warfare? We observe rules built upon our federal and state constitutions. So it is that our political candidates and their supporters campaign for our votes instead of fighting over us with clubs and bullets. Because the IRS rule change would arbitrarily infringe upon our First Amendment rights (including our freedom of speech and our right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances), we must oppose such rule changes or risk losing our ability to peacefully choose our leadership.

Would You Like To Comment?

I just received an email from The Family Foundation on 78 FR 71535.  Their email provided a link where we can comment online.  Here is what they suggest your comment include.

The IRS is holding a public comment period on these proposed guidelines through February 27thSubmit your comment by clicking here.  Tell the IRS that their guidelines must:

  1. Clearly define the qualifications of an organization “primarily engaged in social welfare” so organizations like churches and The Family Foundation can know definitively if they are included or not.
  2. Apply the guidelines equally to 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) organizations (i.e. labor unions).
  3. Refrain from limiting free speech and religious liberty of 501(c)(3) organizations (like churches and The Family Foundation) by limiting their speech on issues that can be related to candidates.

JOHN BOEHNER IS A CONSERVATIVE? — ANSWERING A COMMENT

humor.pngWhen I started to reply to the comment below on SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER IS A CONSERVATIVE?, I decided my reply was sufficiently amusing (because of a certain comedian) that it deserved to be a post.

Here is the comment (from scout).

I’m having trouble following your reasoning here. Why would Boehner’s “conservatism” (whatever that poor abused term means these days) depend on what Democrats do? (from here)

Who is Boehner most interested in accommodating? Conservatives? No. Those mean, money-grubbing Conservatives pressured that poor man and his fellow RINOs into a position they really did not want to take. Instead of blaming Democrats for shoving Obamacare down our throats, brave Boehner blames Conservatives for decision he made. He cannot even assume responsibility for his own choices. Yet he calls himself a Conservative?  If accepting responsibility for our own choices is not a core Conservative value, what is?    🙄

When Conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz asked the House to stand firm and fight Obamacare, why did some Conservatives doubt it would work? We can count votes. I think most of us did not think politicians like Boehner would stand and fight, and eventually the RINOs did cave.

Since Boehner is not a Conservative, I thought he would cave right away. Apparently, he wants to have it both ways. He wants to look like a Conservative, and he wants to blame the “extreme right wing” for his unending string of failures. Thus, Democrats and the corporate mass media praise him. And he’s is still a Conservative?   😆

Boehner reminds me of a certain comedian’s punch line.

If not for the Democrats (the devil),  he, Boehner, would be a responsible Conservative (an angelic Republican).  As it is, just like a Democrat Boehner gets to spend all the money he wants. The only difference is that he doesn’t vote for tax increases, just deficits.

Perhaps Boehner’s devil is a Democrat with a jobs program for Conservatives. After all, somebody has to pay all his bills.   😆

WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO RIDING OUT THE STORM?

Cover of "The Perfect Storm [Blu-ray]"
Cover of The Perfect Storm [Blu-ray]
What follows is an email from Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter. I like the man, and I think he generally does a good job, but I don’t know what to think about this. While he waits out the perfect storm, I hope Lingamfelter is prepared to do more than just talk.

lingamfelterThe Perfect Storm

You probably recall the 1991 “Perfect Storm”, also known as the Halloween Nor’easter of 1991. This freak weather phenomenon absorbed Hurricane Grace and ultimately turned into a small unnamed hurricane. The initial area of low pressure developed off Atlantic Canada on October 28. Forced southward by a ridge to its north, it reached its peak intensity as a large and powerful cyclone. No one saw it coming. But it was a whopper of a storm.

Liberals in America are now experiencing their own “perfect storm” as the country awakens to the reality that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you’ve got.

Take a moment to see how this storm came together. It began with the election of President Obama, who ushered in a new era of big government. He also was given a major boost when the nation put Democrats in charge of the Congress who did his bidding without hesitation. They quickly put in place the single largest takeover of the economy in the history of the nation, the now not-so-affordable “Affordable Care Act”, a name that drips with irony.

The storm strengthened. Coming into office with a horrible economy, the President’s policies made it worse by dumping huge amounts of “stimulus money” into an economy already sagging under huge debt and waste.   More storm clouds gathered as the President funneled more and more money toward food stamps, cell phones for the asking, failed solar companies, auto manufacturer takeovers, and extending unemployment benefits to levels never witnessed in the history of the country. In the meantime, small businesses struggled to make ends meet under increased taxes with the repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts.

And now politics and policy have come together in a way that could be the death knell of big government liberalism as no single event in the political history of this nation. This ObamaCare behemoth is “big government” without peer and it is failing as we watch.   Indeed, we are witnessing the literal destruction of the world’s finest healthcare system as big government wizards mix potions that will poison the very thing that can help us reform healthcare: free market principles.

So now even people who voted for Obama and his “Hope and Change” message are now very much against the change he heralds.   Many are reassessing their support of an ever-growing government bestowing upon us benefits that we can’t afford and will surely regret as the stage is set for more economic trouble under burgeoning debt and government spending. This big government policy “low pressure system” has now “absorbed” the economic storm that is our debt ridden society. Together they form a perfect storm that could destroy liberal big government dreams.

Where do we go from here? Some say that the Republican Party should “offer an alternative”. You can be sure that Democrats are on their knees hoping they will.   Liberals are desperate to shift attention away from the ObamaCare disaster so they can demonize any Republican alternative as “taking your healthcare away”. So any specific policy alternative Republicans offer at this point in time will not be seriously considered by the liberals in Washington. When the liberals in Congress are willing to actually consider and vote on a serious alternative, the GOP should offer it. But right now Democrats have no interest in a serious “alternative policy”. What they want is an “alternative topic” to shift the criticism away from their failing policy. Painful as it may be, it’s time for the voting public to see and experience what happens when we elect people who want to give you everything you want at a price-financially and otherwise-you can’t pay.

That said, Republicans must take the offensive to shape the debate going forward and the best way to do that is through a full-throated defense of the free market, individual liberty, and a “frequent occurrence to Founding Principles”. In doing so, they will set the stage for that serious alternative that is needed if we are to save both healthcare and our pocket books from the political and policy whirlwind that we are now experiencing.

Meanwhile, strap in for a perfect storm.

Visit www.scottforva.com and help us get out this message!

Consider what the leaders of the Democratic Party intended for this perfect storm to do. Are some of them well-intention fools? Yes, but most of them seek personal power. If with just a little effort we could see ObamaCare would OBVIOUSLY not benefit the people it was supposedly intended to help, can’t we rightfully assume they also knew ObamaCare would not work? In fact, the record shows they did know (see CBS: Obama Admin. Knew in 2010 That Millions Would Lose Health Plans).

That means the Democrats KNEW at some point in time ObamaCare and all the other frauds they have been guilty of perpetrating would start coming undone. So they already have a plan. It matters is what that plan is, and it matters whether or not they can execute it.

We know the Democratic Party is filling the judiciary and the federal bureaucracy with party loyalists. We also know that they have already used the IRS to attack their political opponents. We know that President Obama has no trouble abusing the powers of his office. Therefore, if our republic is to survive the Democratic Party’s perfect storming of the Constitution, we must actively expose and oppose their unlawful attacks on our rights, including the election process.

We cannot sit around and just wait for the storm to past. As important as it may be, talk alone will not dissipate this storm. Not even a full-throated defense of the free market, individual liberty, and our nation’s Founding Principles will dissipate this storm. We must fight. We must expose and oppose the Democratic Party’s assault on the institutions of our republic.

Does the leadership of the Republican Party want to fight? No. Therefore, each of us must demand that those who want to lead either lead, follow, or get out of the way. Otherwise, we face tyranny. We condemn our children to be ruled by tyrants and busybody bureaucrats who will abuse them with lethal force.

Look around the world. Look at history. Compare what you see to what our President and his minions have done and are doing. Based upon what they have already done, why should we believe they are not capable of far worse?