Tag Archives: conservatives

The Right: Party Of Personal Responsibility

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

There are many ways to define what differentiates the left from the right. Some issues seem to go along party lines, but they don’t necessarily define us. While one key element is big government versus small, I believe there is another, less commonly noticed, but that often separates us—personal responsibility.

If one looks at many of the policies favored by the right, they generally have the air of personal responsibility behind them. We want people to work hard and achieve the American dream all on their own, without government holding them back or giving them an unfair advantage.

The left, on the other hand, tend to champion the idea that all who are unsuccessful are not in their situation due to their own faults, but instead because of greedy corporations and fat cats. It makes for great Hollywood drama, but it’s most definitely fiction.

While statistics have shown that conservatives, contrary to popular myth, are generally more charitable than their left-wing counterparts, the fact is, we generally give assistance to those who are truly incapable of helping themselves or those who are in their position for admirable reasons such as The Wounded Warrior Project, that helps wounded soldiers returning from battle.Wound Warrior Project

We want to help people, but more importantly, we want to help people help themselves. Charities are great, but self-sustaining jobs are better. Socialists can give someone a fish if they want, we prefer to give them a fishing pole and kick them out of the nest.

By wanting to severely revamp and limit programs like welfare, unemployment, Social Security, and other entitlements, we are often deemed as heartless and cruel, but that is unfair and offensive. We want people to succeed; we just don’t feel we’re liable for their success or failure at the expense of ourselves and our loved ones.

Those programs are wrought with abuse. For instance, I know people who remained on unemployment until it ran out so they could find a preferred job when they could have easily found a lesser paying job to get off the government dime sooner. I also know people who are collecting disability assistance, but still able to play golf several times a month.

Disability Fraud Scheme
Disability Fraud Scheme

One can hardly blame them. It’s not illegal if they have the proper documentation from a doctor, and are indeed disabled in some small way. Most people simply aren’t going to turn down free money if they can get it. I dare say you’d be lying if you said you didn’t know someone like that.

One other personal responsibility issue is the Four Loko debate, and eventual ban. People have insisted it should be removed from shelves because young adults have overindulged and gotten injured due to the energy supplements keeping them from passing out when they get too drunk. Banning products because people are too ignorant to know when to say no is not the American way.

Americans have the right to be an idiot, put themselves in danger, and do themselves harm as they see fit. We largely reject nanny state policies, and rightfully so. People believe protection laws save lives, but the evidence often proves contrary. There is a little-known phenomenon called the Peltzman Effect that shows making things safer often leads to more dangerous behavior.

Here is a great article about the Peltzman Effect if you want to read more about it.

For instance, some local dangerous 4-way intersections were recently replaced with roundabouts. People here had never even seen a roundabout in person, and there were concerns the confusion would lead to more accidents. However, it had the opposite effect because people were now paying close attention to how they navigated through it instead of breezing through on mental cruise control.

Every time our government puts up a safety net, people engage in riskier behavior because of it. Would you be a better employee if you knew that there were no unemployment insurance to help if you if you lost that job? For many, it would change their behavior immensely.

Four Loko
Four Loko

The Four Loko incident is very similar. People refer to alcoholism as a disease, which infuriates me. It’s insulting to everyone who legitimately contracted a disease they had no control over, as opposed to doing it to themselves for a good time. Unless you are born unto someone who didn’t refrain from drinking while pregnant, alcoholism is a self-inflicted condition; not a disease in my opinion. And I will vehemently reject the American Medical Associations claim otherwise.

The reason this infuriates me is because by calling it a disease, people are attempting to absolve themselves of responsibility for it. Then when you get fired because you’re an uncontrollable drunk, the left want to pass legislation that says you should be sent to rehab, not fired, and your employer is a heartless bastard for sacking you. Think I’m joking? Think again.

I however believe the drunkard is a selfish jerk that puts themselves, their family, other motorists (if they are driving), and their employer at risk by putting their desire to have a good time above all else. They alone are to blame.

The Tea Party compared to the Occupy movement were great examples too. Tea Partiers feel compelled to leave the location in as good or better shape than they found it, Occupiers defecate in public and blame Wall Street for their apparent lack of ability to properly identify a toilet from a police car.

Occupy Wall Street Protester Defecating on a Police Car
Occupy Wall Street Protester Defecating on a Police Car

The concept of blaming others for your own shortcomings is an attractive one. How could YOU possibly be the cause for your own failures when you’re so awesome?! (In your own mind anyway)

The left can embrace that philosophy if they want. But while they’re whining, complaining, blaming, and finger pointing; we shut up, get to work, and get things done. We are proud to be the party of personal responsibility.

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Libertarians Are Not Mindless Anarchists, Time for the GOP to Embrace Us!

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

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” ~ Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

I believe that libertarians are simply the staunchest of conservatives. We want the government’s role to be limited more than any other faction, even more so than your average Republican. Where they often differ is the legislation of morality such as the war on drugs, gambling, and prostitution laws, etc.

From the time I was 16 and became interested in politics; largely thanks to Reagan, I considered myself a Republican. In recent years, I gravitated towards libertarianism. The distinction feels somewhat misplaced to me. because to me, they should be the same party. Ron Paul is and Gary Johnson was a Libertarian running as a Republican after all.

Someone dismissively referred to me as a “Paulbot” for saying I was libertarian. Never mind that my first choice would be Gary Johnson, not Paul. I believe Reagan was the best president in my 40+ year lifetime and probably the 3nd best president of all behind Lincoln and Washington.

George Washington
George Washington

A recent survey shows I’m not alone. Sadly, many in the Republican Party often talk about libertarians with the same dismissive attitude that the liberal elitists use to talk about conservatives, which is troubling. Just because we embrace libertarianism as Reagan sometimes did, doesn’t mean that we have no brain and cannot think for ourselves. Referring to us as Paulbots has no place in adult-like political discourse.

Stereotypes are the work of fools. Republicans AND libertarians should strive to be better than these figures, yet many on radio and TV sadly can’t be bothered to be better. We both promote personal responsibility, which is part of acting like an adult. So let’s lead by example.

“Paulbot” implies one is a mindless robot that agrees with whatever Ron Paul says. The insulting nature of this statement is obvious, and it’s arrogant and stupid to think you understand someone solely based on their party affiliation. I disagree with Ron Paul and Gary Johnson on more than one issue, but I don’t let it push me away from men who are the most like me, that are contending for the presidency.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul

The reason libertarians seem so fanatical is because we’re passionate about liberty, freedom, and the Constitution. We don’t believe government has the right to tell someone how to live their life, and we get upset when people try to take that from us. If I said I was going to take away your freedom, you’d get pretty passionate too.

The left isn’t completely stupid though, they rephrase these positions using words like fair share, regulations, and protections for the consumer. Republicans use phrases like public health, responsible behavior, etc. Sorry folks, it all means “government control and loss of freedom” no matter what you call it.

The Libertarian Party does have a platform on their website. I defy many of you to find a considerable amount in there that you disagree with. As a Republican, I used to dismiss Libertarians myself. After I read their platform, I couldn’t help but think, “Why are we fighting when we generally want the same things?”

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

Many people think libertarians are anarchists. It’s like saying all Democrats are socialists. While many Democrats champion social policies, few of them actually advocate making everything property of the state. Most Libertarians reject anarchy too, I assure you. It’s another incorrect stereotype that needs to be quashed. Judging the majority of a party by its fringe is simply irresponsible.

So with that being said, I’ve come up with Gary’s three roles of government that I think we all can agree on:

• The government should protect me from OTHERS that would do me harm, but NOT from myself.

• Do the things that need to be done for the common good (such as infrastructure), but ONLY if the private sector cannot or will not do it themselves due to a lack of financial incentive.

• Get the heck out of my way!

Most conservatives generally espouse those principles. Libertarians just emphasize the third one more, and adhere to them more strictly.

I understand that conservatives are often times religious, and things like gambling, assisted suicide, marijuana use, gay marriage, etc. are things they think people should not do. On occasion, we agree with you.

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Gavin McInnis
Gavin McInnes stated it perfectly on an episode of Fox News’ Red Eye when he said that just because we want to legalize it, doesn’t mean we endorse it. He’s right!

I personally think recreational marijuana use is irresponsible behavior. But it’s not the government’s role to protect that person from themselves. It’s a free country and you should have the freedom to be an idiot, irresponsible, and foolish, up until the point you become a danger to others.

Someone else said about gay marriage that opposition to gay marriage by a straight person is like someone being mad at you because you’re eating a doughnut while they’re on a diet. At some point, we simply have to recognize it’s none of our business how others live their lives as long as it doesn’t affect us.

Republicans and Libertarians should unite just as Romney and Paul seem to have done during the election by largely avoiding pot shots at each other, and realize that either is better than Obama. But please stop with the mischaracterizations of us being mindless anarchists. It’s utter nonsense.

Simple Math: Economics 101 – Why Government Sucks

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

Math Problem #1

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.

Summation:

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.

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.