Your humble contributor is an avid political enthusiast, science junkie, former small business owner, limited government, constitutionalist, and all around lover of liberty.
I make every effort to use logic and reasoning, not hate, ad hominem attacks, nor logical fallacy arguments.
How many times have you heard “that’s how they get you” in reference to corporations? Advocates of socialism love to paint a picture of corporations as evil entities that get rich at the expense of the poor working class.
I had someone ask me about corporate person-hood—in particular, the legislation that among other things, allows corporations to donate funds to a political campaign.
I responded that corporations should be able to donate as much money as they want, since it’s their money. As long as the donated money is publicly available information, and there is no expected “behind-the-scenes” quid pro quo—meaning that it remains a donation, not a secretive payment for services rendered, then there is no reason to deem such transactions as inherently bad.
In my perfect scenario, we would get rid of corporate donations along with corporate taxes. Logic being that if they have to pay into the system, they have a right to participate in it. But, if we move to just taxing the incomes of the corporation’s employees and officers, we don’t need to tax the corporation as well, and then we make all political donations come from private individuals.
But back to my friend and his “evil corporations” thoughts.
His argument was that politicians getting large donations from corporations will act at the behest of those corporations at the expense of the American people. But let’s analyze the flaws in this argument.
The most abhorrent reason to me is that they assert corporations are the archenemy of the electorate as if it’s unquestionable fact. While Michael Moore and other self-described socialists would have you believe that corporations are evil, it’s simply not true. They have a highly-vested interest in being responsible and beneficial parts of society, because a free market, and free press guarantee they’ll be destroyed if they’re not.
My friend’s arguments are the position of people who form opinions based off of fictional idealistic utopias, not the historical data available to them. History has routinely shown that economic freedom has always done better by its people than state-run totalitarianism—the evidence is overwhelming.
Nearly every American, including many of the socialists among us, has dreamed of owning their own business or being their own boss, even if few actually achieve it. Usually, those dreams are of providing a product/service they enjoy using or doing themselves. So am I to assume that they would call themselves evil if they were to achieve their dream?
Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and it drives people to say mean, hateful, and ignorant things. What these people are saying, in effect, is, “Although I’d be a responsible business owner, I don’t believe anyone else would be.” It’s a pathetic blend of class warfare and hypocrisy to assert that you and only you would be a kind and responsible business owner.
Corporations are a group of human beings just like the rest of us who deliver a product or service in order to make a living by way of making a profit. There is nothing wrong with that, and you should be wary of anyone who thinks a corporation looking after its bottom line is “evil”.
While some corporate big-wigs might be bad people, to classify them all as evil is irresponsible and unfair. Bill Gates donates over a billion dollars to charity, and yet he ran one of the largest and most fiercely competitive corporations.
The free market is driven by competition. If a corporation didn’t do everything in its power to sell more products and gain market share, then it shouldn’t be in business. The success that comes from this creates jobs and delivers superior products for a reasonable price.
The other problem I have with this is the notion that a politician acting in the interest of a corporation must be acting against the interest of America. The two are not mutually exclusive.
For example, if legislators deregulated the auto industry by curtailing the overreach often employed by OSHA and the EPA because GM, Ford, and Chrysler lobbied them to do so, that would allow those companies to grow, beat their overseas competition, and create more jobs here in the United States. More often than not, what benefits corporate America, benefits all of America. To insinuate otherwise equates to ignorance of basic economics.
America should avoid painting corporations out to be evil. They are the backbone of economy and are inherently good. They provide virtually everything we enjoy for a far more reasonable price than we could attain if we had to build it ourselves, and they help us pay for it by providing us jobs.
If corporations are bad, the only alternative is government. The evidence we have from the former socialist Russia, Cuba, North Korea, etc. all indicate those folks have a significantly worse quality of life than you and I here in the USA.
Earlier this month Justice Ginsburg was doing an interview in Egypt regarding their drafting of a new constitution when she said:
“I would not look to the US Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012”.
There’s no context that I’m leaving out that changes the underlying meaning of her words. She did follow it up by outlining that there are more modern ones that focus on basic human rights (as if life, liberty, and property aren’t all encompassing) and that even though the U.S. is one of the youngest nations, we have one of the oldest Constitutions in use. These caveats, however, do not change her original statement’s context which indicates she doesn’t feel our Constitution is the best constitution or even a very good one worth emulating.
Message to Justice Ginsburg—it’s the oldest one in use because it works better than all the others! Are we not the most powerful nation in the world? That should be a sign that it has done pretty well by us.
It would have been a different story if she said something to the effect of “I think the U.S. Constitution is a great document and worth emulating, but there are certainly other modern ones that are good as well if ours doesn’t suit you.” That would have at least shown a healthy respect for our Constitution without trying to shove it down their throat. However, there were no compliments or even respect shown to our Constitution whatsoever.
U.S. Supreme Court Justices are required to make certain oaths upon taking office. I have outlined them below. Consider the following as it relates to Ginsburg’s words:
The Constitutional Oath
“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
The Judicial Oath
“”I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”
As a citizen, if someone disrespects the Constitution, ironically, that’s their constitutional right; I support that no matter how idiotic I think they are. But, when someone who has taken the aforementioned oaths does so while in office, then that raises an ethical issue as it relates to their job.
I don’t believe she should commit hara-kiri, or even be impeached; her actions weren’t criminal. But as a matter of principle, she should be honest about her lack of respect for the Constitution and step down if she doesn’t feel a duty to uphold it as it is written.
The purpose of a Supreme Court Justice is to protect the minority from the majority based on the Constitution as it is written. But based on her statement, it is logical to have concern that she may base her decisions on what she believes the Constitution should be, not what it is. This is legislating from the bench, and it’s a serious threat to the system of checks and balances that ensure our government’s limitations of power over its people.
The legislative branch (Congress) enacts laws, the executive branch (President) is charged with enforcing laws, and the judicial branch (Supreme Court) determines the constitutionality of laws. The Congress is checked by the president via veto power and the Supreme Court via the striking down of laws they determine are unconstitutional. No branch is allowed to do the job of another.
In order for Justice Ginsburg to attain the position of U.S. Supreme court justice, she was first picked by the sitting president (Bill Clinton). Then once appointed, she was called to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she was asked questions about how she would adjudicate. The questions generally circle around whether she will honor the Constitution as written, or whether she would try to legislate from the bench—the latter being rather frowned upon.
The honorable thing for Justice Ginsburg to do would be to confess that, “I have decided I no longer have a passion for defending the U.S. Constitution nor ultimately believe in its principles. As a result, I feel it necessary to step down out of respect for the American people and the office of the U.S. Supreme Court so that someone with a more dutiful concern for the role may hold that seat in honor.”
Recently, a socialist-minded coworker was having a discussion in the office, and indicated she was disgusted that a famous celebrity bought a new purse, costing thousands of dollars. They said something to the effect of, “Yeah, that’s why the rich need more tax breaks, so they can buy expensive purses” followed by a pejorative laugh.
So I did a Google search for this purse company, Bohlux. As it turns out, they are made here in the United States. Certainly I think $8,000 is a ridiculous sum of money for a purse, but I’ve always told people that it’s important to understand that “expensive” is a relative term. Since I am fairly poor, I couldn’t dream of spending money on something like that, but to someone who makes several million dollars a year, it is less than a week’s pay, meaning that $8,000 to her was like me buying a nice dinner.
My left-wing cohort’s argument of course, is that the money would be better spent in the form of taxes to assist solving every American’s problems at the government level. But let’s think about what would happen in the two scenarios for a moment.
If that money went to the government, it would end up in places like Solyndra. It would end up in the hands of entitlement abusers such as welfare fraud perpetrators or unemployment collectors who could work, but choose not to. It would end up in the pockets of politicians. Or it would end up supporting a myriad of other wasteful government programs—the list goes on.
I’m not condemning all government functions, I do believe that there are some good roles for Uncle Sam, and there is a need for taxes to pay for those services. I’m a libertarian, not an anarchist.
I am not trying to assert that the above list is representative of the whole of government or even the majority of it, but it is a substantial portion. The problem is, virtually none of those people or causes actually did anything to earn that money and therefore should have no right to it.
On the contrary, if a millionaire buys an expensive purse, an American purse maker made money, the store that sold it made money, the employees of the manufacturer and the store got paid. Then all those people probably spent that money on goods and services at local stores who also made money…and the cycle just keeps going into a nice, free-market, economic circle. The most important part of that though, is that the people in this scenario did actually earn that money.
The fact is that the people who get mad at rich people blowing their money on frivolous items don’t seem to get how that helps the economy. The money they spend literally creates jobs because someone is performing the service they are paying to receive or building the product they are buying, where entitlements simply delay the inevitable.
If rich people just sat on their money and stuffed it in a mattress, then yes that would hurt the economy, but that rarely happens. The rich invest their money, they spend their money on needs, they build companies that create jobs, or they enjoy it through wasteful spending on purses and such.
We covered how spending helps, but investing helps too of course.
If they buy a million dollars of stock from a company, that company uses that money to grow their business, often in a new direction. That results in the company hiring new employees which is also a boost to the economy.
If they buy stock from a private owner, that person now has cash in their hands to spend on goods and services, which again creates jobs.
People often refer to the term “Income redistribution.” I think the term is inaccurate because both situations redistribute wealth. However, the system those of us on the small government conservative side promote redistributes it to people who earned it, whereas our big government friends redistribute it to those who didn’t.
So when they talk about “fair share,” I’m sorry but their understanding of the word “fair” is grossly misappropriated.
Let’s imagine there was a country with 50 citizens.
Then let’s imagine they all made a product that generated them $2.5 million in income. For purposes of this argument, we’ll say $50,000 a year for each of them.
Then let’s imagine they decided to elect one person of the group to be their “government” because they felt like they needed someone to handle things a government generally does. This means that they can now only make $2,450,000 worth of goods, because the 50th person isn’t producing any longer.
At that point, the 49 people, making $50k each still, would have to sacrifice about $1000 each to pay their government employee who is no longer generating product themselves because he/she is the government now. The result would be that they would all only make $49,000 each instead of $50k, including the government worker.
Now, let’s imagine that you kept adding government functions and thus needed more people to administrate them until you got to a 50/50 ratio of private sector/government workers. The 25 remaining private sector workers that started out making $50K would have to contribute $25K each so that their 25 government counterparts could make $25k each as well.
Notice that in each scenario, as more workers were moved to the government, the average income for everyone went down while the amount of goods they produced went down as well? The fact that government employees no longer generate a marketable good is often lost on people. They are a necessary expense, but entirely an expense, nonetheless.
Here’s where the math gets interesting though. The drop from 50:0 private sector/government workers to 49:1 resulted in a mere 2% loss for everyone. However, the drop from 25:25 to 24:26 ($25,000 to $24,000) would result in a 4% loss for everyone, and if we were to go from 10:40 to 9:41 ($10,000 to $9,000) it’s a difference of 10%, and the 2:48 to 1:49 ($2000 to $1000) is a difference of 50%!
What does this mean you ask? It means that as we add government employees, the losses are not linear, they are exponential, as it relates to the earner. The addition of each government employee hurts at a higher percentage than the addition of the one before it, as opposed to just the same hit each time.
This is a simplified equation to make it easily understandable, but the beautiful thing about math is that it doesn’t care whether one likes it or not. It simply is what it is.
While it is easy to want the government to solve all of society’s problems, individual problems are the responsibility of the individual to fix—not mine, not their neighbor’s, and not their government’s. When the government grows, we all hurt.
Math Problem #2
People assume that government workers are taxpayers. While it is true that they return some of their income in the form of taxes, from a mathematical standpoint this is false.
Again let’s assume they make a $50k salary, and then let’s assume they pay $15k in taxes. That is a net cost to the actual taxpayers of $35k, right? Wrong actually, but I’ll get to that in a minute. So while they are paying taxes, it’s still a debit, not a credit. The term payer gives the impression they’re contributing, but from a mathematical standpoint, government workers are takers, not contributors, and when they “pay” taxes, they are effectively just reducing the amount they take.
I know I said that that’s a cost of $35k, but like a stereotypical politician, I lied to you. Because if that same person were in the private sector making $50k and paying $15k in taxes, that would be a $15k credit to the tax pool. So it’s either a $35k loss if they work for the government or a $15k credit if they’re in the private sector. This means that the loss is the entire $50k. So yes, they do “Pay” taxes, but be assured their complete $50k salary is the cost to us taxpayers, not just the untaxed amount of $35k.
After reading this, it may seem that I am anti-government. I am not anti-government or even against government workers. Government serves an important role as it is the only thing separating us from anarchy.
However, one should think of government workers like food. It is necessary for us to have government, a proper diet and proper portions are required for good health. But while that stimulus slider, regulation cookies, and entitlement cake may look good and even taste good, they are surely the way to diabetic shock and an early death if not done in moderation.
Assuming you took the easy route at least once in school, you’ve probably used Cliff’s notes. The US Constitution is a fairly long document that uses a combination of typical language from the 1700s with a dose of legalese thrown into the mix as well. So to help out the average 21st century American, please allow me to sum up the Constitution for you in a way that modern day layman can easily understand. So here goes:
We left Europe because we don’t like your monarchies and such. We think government is generally the root of all evil, and we’re going to do everything in our power to limit it as much as possible.
A group of people we’ll call “Congress” are going to make the laws.
Half of Congress will be the House of Representatives. They have to be at least 25 years old, been a citizen for 7 of them, and must live in the state they represent. They’ve got two years to get it right, or they’re out. They’ll represent no more than 30,000 people, and they’ll elect a speaker to oversee it all.
The other half we’ll call the Senate. There will be two senators per state. They’ve got six years to do their best before they can be sent packing, but they’ll be divided into three groups and we’ll vote for a third of them every two years. Since they get longer terms, we might as well require they be 30 years old and have been here for nine years.
I know we haven’t gotten to it yet, but there will be a Vice President’s position talked about later, and this person will be the president of the Senate. For some odd reason, he won’t vote unless there’s a tie.
The Senate will handle throwing out any bums we uncover along the way.
The Congress must meet at least once every year on the first Monday in December.
The Congress will govern themselves, punish their own members if need be, keep a journal in case something important happens and we need to remember what it was. Unless we think it’s some top secret stuff that we don’t want anyone to know about of course, then we’ll keep that on the down-low.
We’ll go ahead and pay these folks for their service.
The HoR (House of Representatives) will take care of taxes. Once they write something, they’ll send it to the Senate. If it gets their OK, it goes to the president, who we also haven’t mentioned yet but we promise we will, and he can either sign it or tell them to get bent. If he tells them to get bent, 2/3 of them may agree to tell him to get bent instead and that they’re passing it whether he likes it or not.
(Notice we always say he/him when referring to the president? We assume a woman will never get the vote, and this is just a subliminal power of suggestion type thing to keep it that way.)
Congress will be the United States’ accounting firm, currency printer, security guards, and any other things we think we need to address.
We’re going to severely limit our powers, we won’t go back on our word, and there will never be any kings or queens up in here.
Hey states, you don’t get to override this stuff—so don’t try it.
Remember that president we mentioned? Well now it’s official, we’ll have one. He’s got four years to do something awesome. If he does, you can let him do it for another four years. He has to be 35 years old, and he must be born here. Because this is a big country and Al Gore hasn’t invented the internet yet, we’ll do this convoluted system we’ll call the Electoral College. Al Gore will be mad that he didn’t invent the internet sooner, because this Electoral College will totally give him the shaft later.
This president will swear in front of everyone not to mess up. If he does, the Congress can, and will, impeach him.
The President will be the head cheese for our military. He’ll appoint judges to the Supreme Court, appoint ambassadors, and fill other vacancies as required.
Once a year, he’ll give a speech about how things are going. Presidents love giving speeches.
He better not commit a crime or he’s out.
Section 1 & 2
We’re going to have a Supreme Court made up of nine justices. They will decide whether any laws that states, cities, counties, etc. pass violate this document. Some of them will try to legislate from the bench, but we really frown upon that. They will not handle trials though. Those must be done in front of a jury. Once appointed, they are in until they choose to retire because we don’t want them making decisions based on what they think will get them reelected.
If someone is suspected of treason, we need at least two people to have witnessed it or they’ll have to confess.
The states have to trust and respect each other.
If someone commits a crime and flees the state, the state he flees to must send him back.
We decide when a new state is admitted to the union, and you can’t have a state within a state. So don’t try it.
If someone tries to invade a state, don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.
This document is set in stone unless 2/3 of us agree that we screwed up or left something out. In which case, we’ll unset it in stone while we make the necessary changes. Then those changes will be set in stone unless 2/3…and so on.
If we borrow money, trust us; we’ll pay it back.
The laws we pass are law of the land. Know your role, states!
We will swear that we’ll adhere to this stuff too since we’re going to make the president do it.
There are nine states currently and they all agree to this.
Bill Of Rights
I know we said we want to severely limit the size of government, but let’s set some ground rules.
Believe what you want, say what you want, and if the press wants to run with it, that’s fine. If you don’t like something, feel free to protest, just be cool about it and play nice.
We like guns. It’s only fair if you want one, you can have one too.
A soldier can’t squat on your land unless we’re at war, then he might do so if the law allows it.
We promise not to invade your privacy unless the courts determine it appears you may have done something wrong.
If we think you did something really repugnant, we’ll put together a grand jury for that.
If we try you for something, and you beat the rap, we can’t try you again for it.
We can’t take your life, liberty, or property unless you do something wrong. If we commandeer your property, you’ll be paid fair market value for it.
If we lock you up for a crime, you have the right to be tried pretty quickly so you don’t rot in purgatory. Twelve people we pick totally at random will decide if you did it or not (if you prefer). We’ll make sure you know what it is we think you did, and you are guaranteed to have someone who actually knows something about law helping you.
If you have a legal issue that’s worth less than $20, don’t bother us. We have more important things to do.
If you do get arrested and/or convicted, we promise to be fair about it.
Assume that you have the right to do whatever the heck you want unless we say otherwise as opposed to the notion that you don’t have the right unless we say it’s OK. It’s a “Free country” thing.
If we don’t write laws about something on our end, the states can if they deem necessary. It just can’t conflict with something in this document.
The Rest of the Amendments
We the federal government won’t interfere with the state governments unless they violate this document—then we’re going to have words.
Remember that Electoral College thing we talked about earlier? This is how it works. We’ll pick a handful of people from each state and see who they like. Then based off that, each state will pick their president of choice. Based on our best guess of how many people are in a particular state, a number of votes will be issued for that candidate per state. It’s kind of convoluted, we know, and once the internet comes, it’ll seem pretty silly. But we like tradition, and we may keep it around anyway.
Hey slave owners. Cut it out. You can’t do that here anymore. Only we can do that, and only if someone committed a crime first.
Don’t test us on this or we’ll do something as yet unnamed, but you probably won’t like it.
If you’re born here, you’re a citizen. No one can take that away from you.
In the HoR, you get a rationally proportionate number of reps per persons that live in your district. Sorry Indians, but you don’t count.
If you do anything that shows you’re an enemy of the state at any time, consider yourself persona non grata around here.
If we say we need money to protect us, just give it to us.
Congress will write some laws about all of this as necessary.
Anyone can vote, even former slaves.
Listen south, we know you have a problem with this, and we don’t care. It’s the law of the land now. Don’t test us! You’ve been warned.
Sorry, but we’ve got things to do. We’re going to need a few bucks from you whether you like it or not. We’ll base it off your income.
There were some issues with the whole senatorial thing. We needed to clean them up a bit.
The party has hereby been canceled—drop the booze.
If we catch you partying, you will be prosecuted
Women—sorry, we completely forgot about you. You can vote now too.
We apparently forgot to be specific about the dates. Presidents, your term ends on January 20th at noon. The rest of us congressmen end our term on January 3rd at noon.
The Congress has to meet at least once a year to earn their pay. They’ll do it on January 3rd starting at noon unless they have a golf tee time or something, then they can agree to a different day.
If the president dies before he takes office or we find he wasn’t legally qualified to be president in the first place, the veep is in.
If some people die in office, don’t worry. We’ll figure it out.
For no particular reason, we want to specify that 1 and 2 take effect on October 15th
If 75% of the states don’t agree with this, forget all of it.
Sorry about all that nonsense earlier in Amendment 18. Party back on!
Let’s be clear, you can party, but you can’t transport the party across state lines.
If the states don’t agree again, sorry, but party is back off.
OK, that president thing seems like it might be a little too powerful for our tastes. So once he’s done two terms, he’s out.
…that is unless ¾ of the states don’t agree
We’ve got new digs. We’re going to call it a district. It’s not really a state or even part of a state, just a district. We know it makes little sense, but don’t worry about it.
If you don’t pay your taxes, you can still vote. We’re not going to let all the rich people run over the poor. So broke or not, you can vote free of charge.
If the president dies or resigns, his BFF will take his place.
If his BFF dies or whatever, then the president can pick a new BFF to be vice president
If we kick the president out, his BFF takes over.
If any other reason comes about that we can’t seem to think of right now the results in the president not being president anymore, the vice president takes over.
You only have to be 18 to vote no matter what state you live in.
If we vote for a pay raise, it won’t take effect until after the election.
There you have it folks. The US Constitution simplified by Gary for modern times. I know I had some fun with this, but I made every attempt to actually be factual as well as humorous. I love our constitution, and encourage everyone to read it, understand it, and demand your representatives abide by it. We the people have the power with our votes to make a difference.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
How many times have you heard people cite this passage, or at least the “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” bit, as part of our constitution? If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard it often. However, also if you are like me, you know this is NOT part of our constitution. It’s actually from the Declaration of Independence. But for this discussion let’s disregard that distinction, because, although they are not one in the same, they are both doctrines outlining our framers’ intentions.
Even if you are not an American historian I think we can logically assume that the founding fathers were not at the local pub watching the Washington Redskins while sauced on mead when they suddenly decided to write some rebellious nonsense on a napkin in twenty minutes which now hangs in the National Archives. I think it’s fair to assume they spent time pouring over every single word carefully.
Many proponents of greater government intervention tend to ignore this. In doing so, they miss a very important distinction—the word “pursuit”. Notice how it only comes before the word happiness and it’s actually there in the first place? This was not an accident.
Had they meant for you to only be able to pursue life and liberty, it likely would have been written, “The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness”. Conversely if they felt like you had a right to be happy, they would have omitted the word altogether.
Proponents of a government-managed economy argue that the role of government is to ensure that all its citizens should be happy in some governmentally-induced Utopia. Yet in the history of mankind, such a Utopia has never really existed. When tried, they’ve usually failed miserably, collapsing under the weight of a tax and spend mentality. Socialism-supporters seem to believe that we have the capability, and the “filthy” rich have the money to do just this. Even if they were right, it was clearly not what our forefathers intended based on that little word “pursuit”.
America was founded on the understanding that without risk, there can be no real reward. Many of us try and fail, some do so to a perilous end. This is unfortunate, but even so, safety nets are not in the American DNA. Let other nations go broke pursing that pipe dream; we should stick to the formula that has served us so well thus far.
The First Amendment
How many times have you heard the term “Separation of church and state” as a Constitutional argument? My guess is thousands. Again, these words are not in our constitution. What people do all too often is further their agenda by modifying the 1st Amendment which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
I’ve confessed before that I am a science and skepticism advocate and have no active belief in any religion, so one would suspect that I want to further the atheist cause, but I don’t. America is largely Christian, and attempting to diminish that because one is an Atheist is no more proper than Christians trying to force me to become part of their faith.
A recent example was the 9/11 cross; a remnant from the original towers destroyed on that tragic day. It was two I-Beams left standing that formed a cross after all the wreckage began to clear. Many Christians considered it a sign, and the cross was taken to a local church during the clean-up process at ground zero. Now that the new structure is being built, the church has returned the cross to the government-owned memorial site. Atheists are citing separation of church and state issues and crying foul.
So my question to them is this—looking at the amendment it says, “Make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Where is the law being passed in regards to them displaying a remnant from 9/11 that looks like a cross? I find this behavior embarrassing to responsible non-believers such as myself who know the Constitution’s intent and limitations.
On the flip side, as a Libertarian, many laws which by their very nature are promoting religious beliefs such as most everything your local vice squad would enforce are based on Christian philosophy and therefore are indeed unconstitutional. One needs only be denied the ability to buy liquor on Sunday to understand why we get upset. There is no reason for such a law except with Christian influence, yet they affect all of us. The church has its laws, the Ten Commandments, which all Christians are to adhere to. For the rest of us, they mean nothing, and our forefathers didn’t intend for us to be encumbered by them
A Libertarian, like many Republicans, will be for the smallest governmental-intervention possible, and we believe our forefathers intended as much with every fiber of their being. It’s why Ron Paul and Gary Johnson run as Republicans. But unlike many in the Republican Party, we take the Constitution and the Declaration a little more seriously. While we don’t necessarily condone and/or endorse the use of the myriad of vices, we feel that by passing such laws, Congress is preventing free expression and denying a pursuit of happiness to those of us who are non-believers.
I’m not necessarily asking for Christian Conservatives to side with me on this, they shouldn’t based on their beliefs. But a little understanding and respect for the opinions of us non-believers and Libertarians would sure be appreciated, and you have my solemn promise that I won’t try to take nativity scenes off display at Christmas, remove “In God We Trust” from the dollar bill, or any other nonsense that doesn’t violate the verbiage of the Constitution. If the majority want these things that do not infringe on my rights, they’re welcome to them with my blessing.
I consider myself to be agnostic/atheist. I am not a devout atheist who has an active believe that there is no God nor am I a true agnostic who maintains that it is impossible to know if there is a God. I am in the middle—I readily admit that I personally do not know if there is a God.
I must also confess that other than my public K-12 education, I’ve received no formal training in science. I am however, a science geek, and I’d like to point out a basic tenet of science and skepticism that I’ve learned:
A person should not assume something to be true until they have evidence to support it. We humans, especially politicians, have this incessant need to purport to know everything. When we don’t understand something, we often opt for a reason of convenience instead of just saying those three beautiful words: “I don’t know” or the three even more lovely words, “I wonder why…”
Politicians on both sides have been conditioned to act as though they know it all because ignorance appears weak, but this is wrong! Lack of curiosity is weak. Ignorance just means there is more to be learned!
Curiosity is one of mankind’s most amazing qualities. It’s the reason why we know how to cure a vast array of illnesses that befuddled us no less than a hundred years ago. Have you ever seen a bear solve a problem it couldn’t have solved a century ago? I didn’t think so.
To give you a practical example of why this is important, look no further than the American criminal court system where you are “Innocent until proven guilty”.
Imagine if John and Jane are at a party. Jane says to her friends, “John is a murderer”.
John will of course exclaim, “I’ve never murdered anyone!”
“Prove it” replies Jane.
Think about that. How would John PROVE he has never murdered anyone? The fact is that he can’t. Proving a negative is often impossible. So the burden of proof should always ride on the person making the claim.
This leads me to skepticism, a word that is often mischaracterized. I consider myself part of the skeptical movement thanks to people like Dr. Michael Shermer. Don’t worry—it’s not a club, cult, or anything else. It’s more of a mindset. The common misconception is that skeptics don’t believe in anything. The truth is that skeptics resist believing anything without supporting evidence. They gather as much data as possible, then make a decision if they believe they have enough evidence to do so.
What does all this have to do with politics you might ask?
The Democratic Party asserts that they are the party of science and skepticism while painting Republicans out as cavemen even though many conservatives, like me, embrace this philosophy as well. Because I’m a small government conservative, I get very annoyed when pseudo-intellectuals (people who assume they are smart with no evidence to support that claim) assume that I must be anti-science and therefore not very intelligent because I’m conservative.
Many of you are reading this and saying, “Yeah, I’ve had people assume that about me once or twice”. Right?
But conservatism and science have NOTHING to do with each other. Being a conservative should mean that you are for little government intervention in your personal and professional lives and that strict adherence to the constitution of the United States is important to you.
Many Republicans wrongly believe that, by acknowledging science, they are admitting to being aligned with atheists, man-made climate change proponents, etc. Don’t sell yourselves short!
The fact is, we as conservatives must embrace accepted scientific evidence. Things like eyeless/pigmentless fish that exist in caves, the human appendix, and countless other examples are proof of some form of evolution whether you believe in a creator or not. To deny evolution exists in some form means to deny much of which we learned in basic high school biology. Conservatives cannot afford to be seen as the “Flat Earth Society”.
Before you think I’m about to tell someone they should not be a creationist, stop! I always feel it is appropriate for me to tell you what I believe, but it is NOT acceptable for me to dictate to you what you should believe.
Here’s where science AND skepticism come in. It is possible that a creator put evolution in motion isn’t it? So it is possible to have a belief yet be open to new information. That open-mindedness is the definition of being an intellectual.
As for climate change: You have Al Gore doing his best Harold Camping impression. Convincing everyone the world is going to end soon rarely helps your career. But, if climate change is man-made (There’s evidence to support both sides), then it’s worth addressing with an open mind.
Democrats claim skepticism, yet they’re in lock step regarding this issue. Objectivity left them years ago. This is where conservatives should capitalize, but instead, Republicans are also in lock step, just in the opposite direction. Conservatives could hit a home run by acknowledging the data, acknowledging the claims are possible, but pointing out that it’s still a theory and not universally accepted fact.
Conservative should make a statement like this:
“I believe the data is real and worthy of concern. However, there’s still research to be done. Until that research is proven beyond any doubt and other contributing factors that we can’t change have been ruled out, I have no interest in breaking the backs of American businesses and bankrupting our country to combat it. Had we done so not that long ago when scientists believed there was an impending ice age, millions would have been wasted for no good reason. So I’m not about to do that to America now.”
My simple statement acknowledges the scientific data, yet responsibly demonstrates skepticism in a way that any reasonable party should welcome. I believe conservatives that do this will display a superior attitude and intellect than most, attract those who are also skeptical about such issues (most Americans are), and will bring the Republican party out of the “dark-ages” pigeonhole that Democrats have worked so hard to put us in.
log·i·cal: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion lib·er·tar·i·an: an advocate of the doctrine of free will; a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action