Big Government Liberal vs Limited Government Conservative

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

A quick explanation of the title: In order to put a stop to semantical nonsense, I specify Big Government Liberal (BGL) and Limited Government Conservative (LGC) so there is no doubt to whom I refer. Some Liberals have indeed championed limited government, and some conservatives have adopted causes that grow Uncle Sam’s estate.

Here are a few viewpoints about these two paradigms that I’d like to share that are rarely discussed:

BGL’s are lazy.

To represent my point, let’s start with Warren Buffett’s new mantra that he should be taxed more. We have a man who is clearly a genius that lives modestly compared to his net worth. A recent interview showed he drove an older used car and lives in a fairly small home relative to his income. He asks to be taxed more because he presumably hopes the government will use those extra tax dollars for good causes.  Meanwhile, he is oblivious to the historical data that demonstrates the contrary.

I think it’s commendable when people give to charity; Bill Gates is a great example. But my apologies Mr. Buffett, government is NOT a charity. There are endless stories of government waste, fraud, and abuse.  Unless he’s never watched a news program or read a newspaper, he certainly knows this! Why would someone knowingly give money to an organization with a reputation for waste and expect that money to be used properly for good? It’s like going on holiday and giving your alcoholic roommate the keys to your liquor cabinet for safe keeping.

The reason I say this is lazy is because Warren is a brilliant man. Can he not think of a job creating or problem solving idea on his own that he could invest his money in that will be far more effective than giving it to the government? Instead, he’s essentially offering to donate to a fiscal toilet bowl that has proven highly proficient at flushing money down the drain.

So I would politely ask Mr. Buffett to stop being lazy and either invest his money in a worthwhile endeavor of his own creation or give it to a reputable charity, but PLEASE stop trying to give it to Uncle Sam. Coming up with a business idea that he could start for $100 million would create a lot of jobs and, if run properly, would be self-sustaining. He wouldn’t have to pump money into it continuously like a charity. He could just start it, run it, and watch it grow, create jobs, and better our economy…AND if it makes a profit, he could donate those profits to charity if he doesn’t want them. But such an idea would require effort on his part. Instead, he just wants to write a check to the Fed and hope it works.

He should look to Bill and Linda Gates who employ a mountain of people and have a charitable foundation that they oversee to make sure it does what it is supposed to do. As a result, they do significantly more for the world than Warren Buffett ever will even though both have a respectable charitable mindset because, while Warren wants to take the lazy way out and give his wealth to the government, Bill Gates rolled up his sleeves, got to work, and solved many more problems all on his own.

BGL’s fight nature, LGC’s adhere to it.

We all should know that self preservation is not a learned behavior; it is instilled in every living creature in the animal kingdom and is evolutionarily beneficial to us all. Accidentally put your hand on a hot stove, and without conscious thought, you’ll remove it immediately. It’s because your brain will always force your body to do whatever it thinks it needs to do to prevent injury or death; it is nearly impossible to resist that instinct.

If you have ever flown on a commercial airline, you’ll remember the speech given every flight about the oxygen masks and how one should secure their own mask prior to attempting to help others such as your spouse or children. Even if you are altruistic and want to help others before you help yourself, the fact is that except for organ donors, you can’t help someone else if you’re dead. The best way to put yourself in position to help others is to make sure you are healthy FIRST.

LGC’s inherently understand these concepts. For instance, they know when they send their child off to school, not to give them a debit card from their bank account. They give him one that is linked to a separate account that they put a fixed sum into every month. Why? Because little Johnny is likely to spend $100 a night at the local club on wine, women, and song based on collegiate history. While the parents may trust their little angel, it’s still not a bad idea to avoid giving them the opportunity to drain the family bank account lest they all go down in financial ruin.

BGL’s however feel better about themselves if they get the government to bilk the wealthy out of their fortune because they are oblivious to the harm it does to these folks. They seem to think the wealthy are immune to going broke, and that no matter what they take from them, somehow they’ll never be poor. Of course we know many rich people in history have gone broke—usually  as a result of misspent fortune. Many former professional athletes and musicians can surely attest. Contrary to BGL beliefs, wealthy people are not infinitely rich. There’s only so much money to be taken from these people. More often than not, this incessant desire to rob them of their fortune is born out of envy, not altruism.

So while BGL’s assume the LGC’s are just being greedy, it’s really just natural self preservation at work. There’s nothing wrong with that! The thing that infuriates me the most is that BGL’s are routinely just generous with other people’s money, Warren Buffett excluded. Look no further than Michael Moore, a self-professed socialist that believes rich people who live extravagantly should be stripped almost completely of their fortune, yet he resides in an approximately $2 million estate AND has a posh apartment in NYC. I’ll bet he rarely invites a homeless person to stay at either one.

LGC’s are the people of personal responsibility, BGL’s…not so much.

Many BGL social platforms seem to revolve around the notion that people who are downtrodden have been abused by the top 1%. This is simply not true. People with money are rich for four potential reasons.

A)     They came up with a great idea, worked hard, brought it to fruition, and are reaping the benefits.

B)      They won the lottery

C)      Were born into A or B

D)     They are engaged in criminal activity

While the legal system works hard to expose the nations pilferers, the fact is most wealthy individuals came about their fortunes quite legally. I’m all for liquidating every single asset from the criminal classes, but BGL’s act as though the A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s are one in the same. The entrepreneurs of this great nation worked hard, invested a lot of time, money, and effort into what they did, and they’re responsible for their success. For BGL’s to think that somehow they have a right to force these folks to give up their wealth for things like Solyndra, Fannie/Freddie, GM and Chrysler, saving the whales, foreign aid for countries that don’t even like us, or any other avenue that the government gives tax dollars to defies all that is just. It’s their money. They should have the absolute right to spend it or give it away as they see fit.

While I am certainly aware that there are people who are unsuccessful, often through little or no fault of their own, the fact is that people who are poor are often a product of their own lack of personal responsibility, motivation, or personality. The wealthy had nothing to do with the poor’s condition. People talk so often about big corporations like Walmart destroying small businesses, but Walmart, like almost every other corporation, started out as a small business itself. Small businesses fail—not  because of the rich–but  because of poor business models, products, or leadership. We’ve all worked with someone who constantly shows up late for work if they show up at all. When they do show up, they have a bad attitude, they put in a mediocre effort, they complain about every aspect of the company, and when they don’t get the promotion they wanted, they act as if somehow it’s not their fault.

America is flush with success stories where someone with nothing achieved greatness. So I’m not buying the notion for one second that success is only available to the upper class because there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence to refute that argument. Herman Cain was right to tell people that if they are not successful, look in the mirror. More often than not, the biggest hurdle is staring back at them.

So the class warfare blame game is the ultimate display of a lack of personal responsibility, and it’s time honest hard working Americans said, “Enough!”  I’m responsible for my success, YOU are responsible for yours. May the best person win!

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When, Where, and Why to debate a big government person

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

When I was younger I tended to choose my side then argue it passionately. Often I did so with little care or understanding of my opponents beliefs. I don’t think I was foolish enough to actually believe that I would change the mind of my opposition, but somehow I didn’t seem to grasp the futility of trying to change someone’s mind when it has already been made up.

As conservatives, we must first understand that it is nearly impossible to convince a big government proponent that the government should be the last line of defense, not the first. However, we must keep in mind that, when we are debating, other people may be watching. Many of whom, may be the “independents.”

Partisans will always vote their party and are rarely swayed, but a majority of Americans are either apolitical or independent. It’s those independents that decide elections. That point cannot be overstated and must be understood if you are to have a discussion with your opposition.

Often, these independents quietly listen to both sides make their respective points, then go to the polls and vote without either side being aware they were even paying attention to them. We’re often ignorant to the fact that those on the fence are the ONLY ones to be swayed by who presents the best argument.

So it is important for conservatives to debate big government liberals every chance we get, but with the knowledge of what we can reasonably achieve doing so. Mark Twain wisely said, “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”   It is important that we keep this in mind. So let me introduce you to “Gary’s rules about arguing with a big government proponent”:

Rule #1: NEVER DEBATE A BIG GOVERNMENT PROPONENT WHEN THERE ARE NO INDEPENDENTS AROUND.

I love debating politics on Facebook or in person when others are around because I hope to sway a few independents. I have no intention of actually swaying the liberal themselves because I know that’s virtually impossible. Big Government vs small government is often a core belief, just like religion, and it is rare someone lets go of that. I can only hope to present a better argument than my opponent for those who are watching. However, arguing with a big government type by yourself is utterly pointless unless raising your blood pressure was recommended by your doctor. So don’t waste your time even trying.

Rule #2: ALWAYS LET THEM SAY EVERYTHING THEY WANT TO SAY.

Always let them say everything they are trying to say because, more often than not, they will shoot themselves in the foot. Let’s talk about Nancy Pelosi’s famous, “We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it” statement. Had I said to someone prior to that that Nancy Pelosi is not very bright, people might have thought I was just being mean or simply didn’t like her. The more she speaks and makes statements like that, the more she demonstrates it all on her own without me having to come off as mean-spirited. So by all means, if you get one that’s about to spew nonsensical ideas, let them do so without interruption. Independents are smart enough to know insanity when they hear it. So let them hear it without interruption.

Rule #3: MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE SAYING.

This is important because you want to demonstrate you’re the intelligent one in the argument.

I’ll give you an unrelated example that always annoys me. Comedians often joke about those annoying mattress tags and the illegality of removing them. To most, it seems like big government nonsense. However, it is only illegal for the SELLER to remove the tag, not the buyer. This is because the tag outlines the chemical content of the mattress so that a buyer with allergies can know prior to purchase if they’re facing a potential health hazard sleeping on the mattress. Unscrupulous salespeople may have removed such tags because the information on them might cost them a sale. However, the buyer legally has a right to know that stuff before they spend their hard earned money. So if you make such a joke, people who understand why the tag is there will be aware of your ignorance regarding the subject, and to them you’ll look like a dolt.

So in order to dismantle someone’s argument, understanding it is crucial lest you risk looking like the ignorant one.

Rule #4: ACKNOWLEDGE THE GOOD INTENTIONS OF WHAT THEY’RE SAYING, AND THEN TELL THEM WHAT IS WRONG ABOUT THEIR ARGUMENT.

Communism is evil! We conservatives have felt that way since the beginning of time. However, independents that grew up reading the story of Robin Hood are not often as convinced.

Ronald Reagan once joked, “How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin”

He was making a humorous quip as he often did so well, but it demonstrates a valid point. Some independents are that way because they have little interest in learning about politics and the fundamentals between capitalism vs. communism. For many, it’s simply a boring subject. If you tell them robing from the rich and giving to the poor is evil, they’re not going to buy it.

So if I were to argue against socialism, it is important I acknowledge the morality of the notion that if we all pooled our resources and worked hard as a unit, no one would be left behind and no one would live in poverty. Once you acknowledge that, THEN you move on to the how it has historically played out in the real world.

The importance of empathy for your opponent cannot be understated. If you debate that way, independents will get the impression that you gave your opponent’s view serious consideration before deciding it was wrong based on the historical data. It shows objectivity, which is critical to being seen as the most genuine person in the room.

Rule #5: STICK TO HISTORICAL FACT, SCIENCE, LOGIC, AND REASONING. LEAVE THE EMOTIONS AND ATTACKS AT THE DOOR.

When one wants to be entertained, they watch a comedian. When they want to learn something, they ask a scientist. If you’re debating, you’re trying to educate. So leave the personal attacks to the other side. Big government types LOVE to call us small government folks evil, greedy, heartless, etc., and they often use much more colorful language to do so.

DON’T BITE! Stick to the facts and show that you’re above the name calling. While attacks can be entertaining, they’re rarely seen as the work of a genius. If all they do is call me names and tell me I’m an idiot, and all I do is recite historical facts, science, logic and reasoning to counter their argument, who do you think will win the debate in the minds of the viewers?

We all know the cliché that those who profess their innocence the loudest are that much more likely to be guilty. Even if you’ve never heard the cliché, you’ve probably experienced it by watching an episode of Judge Alex. So less passion and more logic in your argument will assure you’re deemed as “the smart one”. Don’t get drawn into a fight. Let your opponents act like schoolyard bullies while you recite facts, make intelligent points, and show objectivity and reason. You can’t help but sway a few independents to your side debating like that.

 

 

 

The Ten Commandments for GOP presidential candidates

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Have you ever been around someone who constantly attacks other people, complains as if their life depends on it, and deals in personal and/or ad hominem attacks?

What did you think of that person?

I’m guessing words like “Leader, Visionary, Brilliant…Presidential” didn’t come to mind.

Unfortunately, the angry person I describe above, characterized quite a few of the GOP presidential contenders in the last primary debates.  Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum dealt attacks as if they were part of their religion. Meanwhile, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and oddly enough Ron Paul, seemed to stay on point—largely ignoring their opponents.

President Reagan’s famous 11th commandment—Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican—was largely ignored. Reagan knew that such attacks not only make you look petty and unprofessional, but they also give your opponents ammunition to use against your own party later in the general election. Since he won 44 states the first election, and 49 the second, I’d say he’s a decent presidential role model to learn from.

Aside from that, running on the “At least I’m not him/her” platform doesn’t convince people you are exceptional, because it doesn’t showcase your ideas; it just demonstrates you don’t like your opponent.

Herman Cain
Herman Cain

It’s also important to understand that party loyalists don’t win elections; independents do. The majority of Americans can easily be swayed to the left or right depending on who has the most positive message—Obama proved that style wins over substance. A majority of Americans do not like his policies (when they’re told of them without knowing they’re Obama’s ideas), yet he resides in the White House because he has a positive character and demeanor that convinced independents he was the best candidate. These voters largely ignored the substance behind his rhetoric, and didn’t apply much critical thinking when he spoke, because they just liked him so much as a person.


With that in mind, here are my Ten Commandments for the upcoming crop of presidential hopefuls.

1) Never speak ill of your opponent: Only talk about what you would do to fix the current situation. If you get attacked, defend yourself without attacking back. Don’t make a case as to why the other candidate is a worse candidate than you. Make your case for why YOU are the best candidate—period.

2) Always stay positive: Ever notice that even when Reagan cracked on Carter, it always came off as polite ribbing or a humorous quip? That wasn’t an accident. He won because he came off as a good man, not a hateful one. He was always amiable and affable. If you want people to vote for you, they first have to like you, and no one likes a hater.

3) Lose the fake smile: You’re not fooling anyone, so don’t fake any mannerisms; especially your smile. Anyone who has ever taken a picture knows the difference between a real and a forced one when they see it. So anything that doesn’t appear genuine comes off as a lie, including your smile. You’re politicians, not actors—just be yourself.

4) Sell your message to independents and conservatives alike: Preaching to the choir may get you the party nomination, but it will rarely get you the election. Assume that people aren’t on your side from the start, and tell them why they should join you. Reach out to non-traditional GOP voting blocks and try to find the common ground with them instead of ignoring them.

5) By all means be detailed in your plan, but simplify your message: You want everyone from economic geniuses to those with little to no experience in economics or politics to understand what you are saying. There was a perception that Newt Gingrich was the smartest man in the last debates, but to the politically uninformed, he just came off as someone who used a lot of big words they didn’t understand. This made him seem untrustworthy since it appeared he was just pulling the wool over their eyes. Find a way to give enough details to show the informed you aren’t just blowing smoke and you have a workable plan, but make it understandable to all.

Newt Gingrich

6) Try to find something good to say about your opponent before you criticize their policies: I specify policies, because if you criticize them personally or their character, you might as well just quit now and save your donors from supporting the next presidential runner-up.

Let me give an example: If you were debating against Obama, you might say something like: “Obama did show courage in sending troops into Pakistan to kill Bin Laden, and he absolutely deserves credit for that. But pulling the troops out of Iraq under an aggressive timeline puts our troops and the mission in danger”.

This shows objectivity. When you demonstrate you can give credit to your opponent when it is due, then it shows independents that your criticisms are honest, not just incessant bemoaning by a partisan who will never say a positive word about their political rivals.

Admit when you make a mistake: Herman Cain and Rick Perry admitted to previous mistakes in the debates.  This did great things for their likability. On the other hand, Mitt Romney continuing to support his health care plan as he condemned Obama’s looked completely disingenuous and hypocritical. Blindly defending everything you’ve done and never admitting fallibility shows that you are not honest. Everyone knows that people make mistakes. If you can’t admit to yours, any credibility you may have had goes out the window.

Show flexibility: People want to know that you’re willing to grow and change as president. If you’re inflexible, it says you’ll never get anything done. It’s an extension of not admitting mistakes. Herman Cain revamped his 9-9-9 plan to 9-0-9 for the impoverished in an effort to show his flexibility. Partisans think it shows weakness. Independents think it shows willingness to improve and work with others.

Scientists change their hypotheses all the time based on new information, because it’s the most effective method to attain the truth. There’s a lesson in that.

Crack a joke now and then: “I will not let my opponent’s youth and experience be an issue…” ~ Ronald Reagan. It was moments like that that made America love Reagan. If you’re a horrible joke teller, don’t force it, because it will come off horribly. But genuine light-hearted humor shows your human side. No one wants to elect a robot.

Don’t manufacture rage: Entirely too often, candidates will take an issue that no one really cares about and make a big deal about it.
Every chink in your opponent’s armor should not be seen as an opportunity to attack, it risks the “crying wolf” effect. Eventually your rage is just seen as incessant whining, and it makes you look petty and immature.

Save your rage for things that most Americans are honestly upset about and let the media pundits make a big deal out of the little things for your base. Behaving cool as a cucumber until a real crisis confronts you looks presidential.

For a great example of how to behave this way, look at former White House Press Secretary and Fox News analyst, Dana Perino. She’s certainly a Republican, but every time she’s on set, she’s fair in her analysis, so that when she does truly report on something we should all be furious about, you tend to take her more seriously than others who are in full-blown attack mode 100% of the time. She rarely takes the bait when given an opportunity to turn a molehill into a mountain.

Former White House Press Secretary and Fox News Analyst Dana Perino
Former White House Press Secretary and Fox News Analyst Dana Perino

I could go on, but those ten are a good start. I implore every conservative candidate to remember that you win more bees with honey. Respect the other position first, those on the fence between that position and yours will laud you for it. Once you’ve shown them some respect, THEN point out why you think your opinion is better. If you follow the Commandments, you’ll find that those on the fence will decide they’d rather be in your backyard than your opponent’s.

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

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