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

WHAT IS IN A INSULT?

What it is like to be mooned by a peacock
What it is like to be mooned by a peacock

choosing language carefully – being considerate byvioletwisp is an interesting post. I suppose it is also a relatively harmless post. It only begins with what thinks of Christianity.

What is ‘s focus for the use of considerate language? Well, she does not like certain insulting words, especially “retard”. Here we can sympathize, but we still need perspective. “Retarded” is a word that people use to describe people with learning disabilities. It is simply a word that describes a problem nobody wants to have. “Cancer” is the same sort of word. “Retard”, on the other hand, is a word that some people decided would be cute to use as an insult instead of “stupid” or “dumb”. Hence, the problem is the desire to hurt or insult, not the word.

Why do we insult people? Generally, this desire comes from a deficiency in character. In our pride (see the peacock above), we want elevate ourselves over others. Thus, we can get into these discussions over whether my stuff is better than your stuff, or whether my way is better than your way, or whether I am better than you. Hence, as The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux indicates in the comment thread on ‘s post (see here), intent matters. Are we trying to help someone or put them down beneath us?

silenceofmind makes a different observation in the comment thread. He observes that ‘s post (see here) “is an ode to political correctness and is thus a disgusting insult to the free exchange of ideas”.

Political correctness is a method of shutting people up by shaming them into silence. Supposedly, the politically incorrect are mean and selfish because they don’t use the right words and believe the right things. Political correctness is ironic, actually. When those propounding the glories of their own beliefs angrily shame the “politically incorrect”, they are just engaging in another form of bigotry. To silence their opponents, they end up being at least as insulting and hurtful. Because they can put an end to communication, such exchanges risk unraveling our nation.

What is the alternative? Is it not liberty, the freedom to believe what we wish, the freedom to exercise our own beliefs? So long as we do not infringe upon each others liberty, we do not have to pay attention to people spouting senseless insults. We still retain the right to choose better company.

What about our personal conduct? How do we avoid insulting people? How do we avoid political correctness? To some extent we cannot. No matter what we do we cannot control what others think of our words. We can only work on what is in our own hearts.

Matthew 5:21-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

We can also strive for reconciliation, but that works only to the extent the fault is within our own heart. We cannot make our brother or our sister repent of the their sins. We can only repent of our own.

IS IMMIGRATION A NATURAL RIGHT?

border.pngAt A REPLY TO NOVADEMOCRAT, I got a very worthwhile comment from plainandsimplecatholicism. I hope you will agree that it warrants your consideration. I believe ‘s comment provides an excellent springboard for a debate on immigration. Hence I have included my reply to comment and invite others, pro and con, to add their own thoughts to the comment thread.

plainandsimplecatholicism

I really don’t think it is appropriate to recreate my entire blog on this one post. It is a public blog and you are encouraged to read it.

The immigration issue is not one being properly addressed by either party. One side wishes to violate national sovereignty and the other wises to violate natural rights.

The key is to balance both interests without immense prejudice on one or the other. The boarder needs security. But even a militarized boarder–as East Germany and North Korea prove–are not a deterrent to the desperate. It requires a look at the root causes for the migrations. The root causes are a lack of authentic human development in impoverished nations south of us. The solutions thus far presented are to throw money at the problem and hope it goes away. (Or you support “fair and free elections” in El Salvador which gives legitimacy to the military dictator oppressing everyone. http://www.latinorebels.com/2016/02/11/why-hillary-clinton-doesnt-deserve-the-latino-vote2/)

You may ask why should we care about the banana republics and their problems. The answer is simple: Solidarity. Like it or not, we are all connected by our humanity. It was never the design of the creator that we be divided. Though we may not be united now in common worship of the Almighty due to our various misconceptions of the same, we can perceive our common humanity and the inherent dignity therein. It was Jefferson who immortalized in American philosophy the founding principle that ALL men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. When any human is denied these rights, we as humans have a duty to them inherent in the rights we share as humans.

August 8, 2016 at 9:56 am

Citizen Tom

@plainandsimplecatholicism

You sort of explained what you think is wrong with both of the political party’s positions on immigration, but I wonder if you clearly explain your own. I believe you think that immigration is some sort of natural right, that it is unstoppable. I believe neither of those assertions is true. Moreover, The Declaration of Independence does not support a natural right to immigrate. If we are willing to do so, we have the capacity to control our borders. We just have to elect people who will do it.

Should we defer to the opinions of our Creator? Yes. Should we recognize each others natural rights? Yes. Should we recognize the natural rights of other Peoples? Yes.

Nevertheless, borders have significance. Without borders OUR GOVERNMENT cannot protect OUR natural rights. Why? Every country tends to have a distinct culture and its own ways. Our belief that we have God-given rights is part of OUR culture. It is not part of the culture of other Peoples.

The United States the home of the People of the United States. We, The People of the United States, have a distinct identity. For the sake of our children, we have a duty, an obligation, to protect that identity. We have a duty keep our country, our home, safe for OUR distinct culture, to preserve the blessings of our beliefs as a gift to our children. To maintain our own culture and to protect the security of our home, we have an obligation to properly control who enters our home.

So what about our solidarity with the Peoples of other nations? What about our common humanity? We love as individuals, not as nations. Individuals care, not governments. As individuals we can work to assist the poor in other nations through private charities.

Does our government have a role? Yes, but government rarely works well. Government is designed to exert force, not to persuade. Therefore, when we resort to government, we should do so in desperation. Otherwise, we are more likely to create bigger problems.

Because it exists to either make people do things they do not want to do or to keep people from doing things they want to do, government is powerful. However, government is organized as a committee of committees. So government is terribly awkward. Imagine trying to drive home a thumbtack with a huge sledge hammer. Doable but usually far more abusive than helpful.

August 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Why have I focused so much on this issue? Trump launched his candidacy with the attention he brought to the issue. Consider the angry nature of the debate. Consider that this issue could decide the election.

We can debate what Khizer Khan said at the Democratic Party’s National Convention until Dooms Day, but that won’t resolve the immigration debate. To intelligently resolve immigration debate, we have to talk about the ethics of immigration. Instead, we have one side beating the other over the head as bigots. At the same time, the so-called bigots are calling the name callers “politically correct”. Such a discussion is unlikely to produce good results.

What has done is calmly addressed the ethics of the matter, and I hope that strikes everyone as much more constructive place to start the discussion.

SEQUEL TO “IS THE UNITED STATES MILITARY A SOCIALIST INSTITUTION?”

 D-Day1: The barrage balloons depicted in this D-Day invasion photo were a vital part of protecting Allied forces from strafing German aircraft. The balloons were manned by Soldiers of the all-black 320th Very Low Altitude (VLA) barrage balloon battalion. Steel... (from here)

D-Day1: The barrage balloons depicted in this D-Day invasion photo were a vital part of protecting Allied forces from strafing German aircraft. The balloons were manned by Soldiers of the all-black 320th Very Low Altitude (VLA) barrage balloon battalion. Steel…
(from here)

I wrote IS THE UNITED STATES MILITARY A SOCIALIST INSTITUTION? years ago, but the post still gets a fair number of hits and the topic has come up in an email debate. So here is a bit more on it.

As the title suggests, that old post argues the military is not socialist institution. However, some people argue that the military provides an economic service. That is not really true. Who wants to be blasted into tiny little pieces? Not many people. Who wants to pay to blast people into tiny little pieces? Well, in some countries the people in charge don’t ask that question. Therefore, we reluctantly have to build our own military forces to defend ourselves.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

 D-Day: GEN Eisenhower Supreme Allied Commander U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks with 101st Airborne Division paratroopers before they board airplanes and gliders to take part in a parachute assault into Normandy as part of the Allied Invasion of Europe, D-Day... (from here)

D-Day: GEN Eisenhower
Supreme Allied Commander U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks with 101st Airborne Division paratroopers before they board airplanes and gliders to take part in a parachute assault into Normandy as part of the Allied Invasion of Europe, D-Day… (from here)

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

(from Address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower “The Chance for Peace” delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953.

Eisenhower knew war as a grim necessity. He knew military forces as instruments of war. He had ordered too many men into battle to see it as anything else (What Does Day Mean?).

Government itself is a grim necessity. Consider James Madison’s often repeated words.

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51

Both the military and the government are grim necessities. In fact, the military is just part of the government. Consider the first definition of government and an example word usage dictionary.com.

government (noun)

the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states; direction of the affairs of a state, community, etc.; political administration:
Government is necessary to the existence of civilized society.

Without military and police forces, there is no way for any governing body to exercise political direction and control. As George Washington found out during his administration, it is isn’t even possible to collect taxes (see THE MORALITY OF TAXING AND SPENDING).

Government exists because we are sinners.  Too many of us are unwilling to leave others in peace. We need the threat of punishment to behave ourselves. Unfortunately, the people who hold the reins of power are also sinners. Therefore, each citizen must hold those who govern accountable.

Eisenhower feared the growth of the military industrial complex, but time has shown that he feared the wrong thing. We Americans have a horror of diverting the results of our hard work into the waste that is war. Unfortunately, we are suckers for social programs.

When socialists propose to increase the size of government, what they propose to do is make a grim necessity more dangerous and more difficult to control. For while it may seem wonderful to give politicians the power to solve the problems of poverty,   healthcare for the needy, pensions for the elderly, and so forth, giving conniving human beings so much power is foolhardy.  Don’t we all know that power corrupts? Well, that knowledge doesn’t seem to be evident from the way we vote.