Friday, November 14, 2008

Healing the GOP Part 3 - Fundamentals and Definitions

As those of you who read me with any regularity know, I've been examining the mess of shaded, separated, and disparate parts that is the Grand Old Party. I've been doing so in order to figure out why the Republican party can't get its collective head out of its ass and win some elections. So I started off with some pieces.

In part 1, I dealt with listing all the groups and wings and collections of people that are gathered into conservatism, some clearly conservative, some less so.

In part 2
, I tackled the most emotionally tense and divisive issue I could find, where my conflicting views on abortion are a perfect mirror for the greatest of the divides in the GOP and conservative movement.

So now I'm ready to whip out the ol' duct tape (and that's it, being all cold out) and start pasting this GOP shit sandwich back into some semblance of something. And that means coming up with the definitions and fundamentals of what conservatism means.

And why conservatism and not Republicanism? Because the GOP is easily a damaged brand, thanks to confusion of purpose in the ranks, demagoguery by both the Democrats and the Obamedia, who, like many liberals, suffer from OES - Obama Elation Syndrome (which involves things becoming magically better at the angelic touch of the beauty of perfection that is Obama), and the simple fact they are no longer differentiated from the Democrat party. And as the Dems hold the mantle of progressive (aka commie lib) though, the GOP needs to fully embrace conservatism in a way that they have never done, even in the Reagan era. This means holding to conservative principles no matter what.

The Fundamentals of Conservatism are: Personal Responsibility, Individual Freedom, and Less Government

These three fundamentals are at the core of everything that conservatism is. If you try to justify something around these three fundamentals, it's not conservatism. So let's get to the defining.

Personal Responsibility - The underlying concept is that as individuals, we are responsible for our actions. Therefore, it's not the responsibility of the government to provide anything beyond that which we have formed the government to provide (i.e. those things that cannot be done by anyone other than government). That is the point of the Constitution. All the benefits, from a new DVD to record oil profits, to the consequences, from a foreclosed home to a failing auto industry, should be borne by those who are primarily responsible rather than the government swooping in to "manage" everything. We must seek then to shift responsibility for individual lives back to the individual and away from government.

Individual Freedom - In taking personal responsibility, we gain more freedom, and the unalienable rights of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This means we control our bodies, our property, and the only constraint on our freedoms is when we would otherwise constrain the freedoms of another. We should work to strip away those laws that violate that tenet. A clear example of this are smoking bans on private property.

Less Government - "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." - Thomas Paine. The purpose of the Constitution is not to empower government, but to restrict it so that people are their own masters. Therefore, the less government encroaches on our daily lives, the better we will be. This is not to say that everything should be immediately repealed that isn't strictly part of the Constitution. But the incessant need of government to grow and assume more power and responsibility is absolutely insane. The examles of this are numerous, from most every social program, to the Dastardly Bastardly Bailout, to the multitude of department in the cabinet, to congressional hearings on professional footbal. This is the trend that must be stopped.

Okay, there they are. Now if you notice, there's a lot of overlap. Look at drug laws, prostitution laws, and gambling laws in this light for example, and there may be some conflicts. Now any policy, whether fiscal or social, should be looked at through them and evaluated thus.

But these are the fundamentals. Applying them is up to our leaders, our elected representatives, and to us. So hop to it.

33 comments:

Gayle said...

"So hop to it!". Gladly. I believe that the Republican Party has learned from this last debacle of an election that straying away from the core values of conservatism has cost us dearly. Attempting to win over groups of people, such as Blacks, Hispanics, etc., and lowering our standards cost us the election. Electing a guy to represent us, although a very patriotic guy with an outstanding military record, yet a guy who "reached across the aisle" far too often to people such as Pelosi and Reid, cost us the election. Just like children, we had to learn the hard way and I think it will be a lesson well learned, especially with the consequences being four years of an Obama administration!

Dave Miller said...

Patrick, could you, or your conservative friends tell me what, except defense, would fit in the "those things that cannot be done by anyone other than government" catagory.

And when you are defining gov't, is it just federal, or local as well?

Should he conservative principles you advocate, be considered universal?

In other words, are they good principles all the way down the line? To states, cities, school boards?

BTW Gayle, McCain did not cost you the election any more than Bush stole the election from Gore.

A majority of people, after considering both candidates, just preferred someone else.

Matt Rose said...

Dave Miller daid.."BTW Gayle, McCain did not cost you the election any more than Bush stole the election from Gore."



Moderates - not left-wingers - made Barack Obama President.

But the conservatives that wouldn/y vote for MCain helped

TAO said...

Basically, with the concept of Personal Responsilibity and Individual Freedom you have just disassociate the social conservatives from the conservative movement.

If government spawns laziness and an inability to work by federal welfare programs then I cannot help to feel that government programs legislating morals, values, and personal responsibility will in turn spawn the opposite....

Then of course you have another group, those who do not understand the concept of democracy and majority rule and believe that the death of conservatism was caused by the selection of John McCain for President. Basically the Republican Party died because it tried to be so many things to so many people and in actuality it was nothing to no one.

Dave brings up a good point, since we all love to rant about big government...are we talking about ALL forms of government or just the government we have lost control of?

Shaw Kenawe said...

like many liberals, suffer from OES - Obama Elation Syndrome (which involves things becoming magically better at the angelic touch of the beauty of perfection that is Obama),

Oh for crap sake. Let's stop this sour-grapping stuff, hokay? Ronald Reagan became the darling of the Rep. Party and the nation because he symbolized hope. Remember "It's Morning in America?" Now the Repubs denigrate Obama for doing the same. The country felt euphoric when Reagan was elected. But that same country can't feel that same way over Obama's election? You sound bitter, jealous, and cranky on this point. Sorry. Perception is everything in politics. If the nation feels a bit of hope during this very dark period, why do you mock that?

Individual Freedom - In taking personal responsibility, we gain more freedom, and the unalienable rights of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This means we control our bodies,

Good. We agree. No overturning Roe v. Wade.

I'd rather emphasize that we make sure that the government we have is competent, caring, and thrifty.

The Hamiltonian model would be a good one.

Bullfrog said...

dave: This article does a decent job of addressing your question pretty succinctly.

"What the U.S. Constitution does, in effect, is protect minorities (racial, religious, property owners and the rich) from the tyranny of abuse via majority rule. The Constitution protects our privacy and property rights from being abridged by arbitrary 'majority rule.''

It is the responsibility of government to uphold the Constitution, nothing more.

Patrick M said...

Gayle: I'm not so sure they have. But I'll reserve judgment until the party either tosses out the idiot leaders (Boehner being a particularly annoying asshat) or keeps plowing down the moderate path of self-destruction.

Dave: At the federal level, besides defense, there's infrastructure, disputes between states, regulation of interstate entities, management of federal lands, AND (and this involves bending principles a little) a safety net to pick up where the states are unable.

And these principles extend down to the local local level as well. But the functions of state and local governments are a little more intimate than the federal government, so a little more involvement is not as bad.

And yes, they should be considered universal.

Matt (and Dave & Gayle): McCain bears responsibility for his loss. It's his (and his campaign's) responsibility to earn and retain votes. They failed to do so. If conservatives didn't vote for him, it's his fault. It is neither a requirement nor is it a duty to support a party's candidate if you cannot do so in good conscience.

Tao: Basically, with the concept of Personal Responsilibity and Individual Freedom you have just disassociate the social conservatives from the conservative movement.

Ah, you noticed. Actually, it's a limitation on imposing morality. But by requiring people to be as self-sufficient as possible, and giving power back to states and communities, then morality can be reinforced there where it belongs.

Shaw: Come on, I'm just mocking. :)

However, this post from Rivka explains exactly why it seems a little more than just humor.

Good. We agree. No overturning Roe v. Wade.

Not necessarily. But the answer is somewhere in between the days before and after.

I'd rather emphasize that we make sure that the government we have is competent, caring, and thrifty.

Caring? No, FUCK caring. Government is a contract, nothing more. If it fulfills those terms, it has done what was right.

Bullfrog: You've got it.

TAO said...

Patrick,

If a society must legislate morality then a society has no morality....

Disgusted said...

Democrats didn’t win so much as Republicans lost.
The election was a negative referendum on President Bush and the Republican Congress, specifically their mismanagement of Iraq, their ethical problems, and their inability to balance the federal budget or refrain from trying to distract Americans..
What we witnessed last week was the final stage of the Conservative party as we knew it.
While Conservatives are currently spending countless hours justifying how and why we lost. To them it is unimaginable that we lost because the bulk of America no longer gave their ideology credence to continue. yet, they fail to understand that Obama did not impact the people just because he was black or new. He attracted young and old Americans that were sick of the cultural wars, race wars and a repressive ideology that ignored the fact that our country was crumbling before our eyes. He brought waht he called change to the table, something that we republicans or should I say Conservatives never do. For example I see the abortion issue here on this board and all over the blogs as well. Well let me tell you that half of America is peo choice, yes, like it or not they are. Abortion has no business to even be on the Conservatives platform. It's to hot an issue and should not be a political one.
If our own party can't agree on it then where the heck are we. We defeat our selves with that one issue alone.
Abortion is not an issue the federal gov. should be involved in AT ALL. ...period
If we are to advance our party and even think about regainging power and the white house then we MUST bring our own party together.
So, the only way for conservatives to win is to bring our selves into the modern times. Get off some of the outdated principles and look into the future. And then mabe we can regain the white house.
Yes, I think that the conservative
platform is out of touch with the times.

Toad734 said...

Well none of those are even remotely Republican. Even sound closer to Democrats philosophy than a Republican philosophy.

Patrick M said...

Tao: I may steal that quote. Especially since it applies.

Disgusted: If McCain had been running on conservatism, I'd agree with you. But if you were reading the conservative blogs the day before and the day after Sarah Palin's nomination, you'd understand how damned far McCain and Bush were from conservatism.

Toad: THIS IS CONSERVATISM. That the GOP has forgotten it is why Obama is president. Not that I see Obama embracing a shrinking of government. In fact, I sincerely doubt it.

Dave Miller said...

Patrick, if the principles are universal, and extend all the way to the local level, what is the function of local gov't?

Should local gov't provide libraries? Or should people just figure out how to do it on their own?

How does "Provide for the common good" get understood in such a limited form of government.

For example, if a group of people has been left homeless and without food by a natural disaster, and they do not have resources to help themselves, in the short run, doesn't gov't, under the common good, bear some responsibility for helping them?

Or how about those libraries. Isn't their very existence, providing access to books and learning that otherwise might be unavailable, part of the common good?

Just askin'.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

For example, if a group of people has been left homeless and without food by a natural disaster, and they do not have resources to help themselves, in the short run, doesn't gov't, under the common good, bear some responsibility for helping them?

No.. the hell with these people! If they had been willing to get up off their lazy ass communist crack smoking welfare bitch asses and go to work they could have built a house that would have withstood whatever disaster Nature could have thrown at it and since they were obviously sitting around eating bonbons on your tax dollars let them all rot.

Plus, you know that while they were sitting around watching Springer and eating the lobster tails they bought with food stamps they traded for sex, they were busy plotting terrorist attacks on America.

They don't see America they way you and I see America, you know.. they don't deserve our help.



..yeah, Patrick.. I'm a bit pissy.

TAO said...

I actually think Satyavati devi dasi said it all....

Most of what passes as conservative thought today is PISSY! Its arrogant, self righteous, and intolerant.

PISSY works just fine.....

Patrick M said...

Dave: The principle is that government should be limited, but the more control we exercise over a particular government, the more it can be involved with our lives. And smaller governments (like local ones) can and should be the government that most impacts us.

Now let me address your specifics:

Should local gov't provide libraries?

Sure, if the people (or their representatives) choose to do so.

How does "Provide for the common good" get understood in such a limited form of government.

This is a general statement. Depending on the level of government, it's interpreted different ways.

As for the natural disaster, let's take Katrina and New Orleans as an example. The primary responsibility falls to the individual to get out and, with insurance, rebuild. The city and other local governments, along with the private organizations, are responsible for
helping coordinate the evacuation, then clearing the way back in. The state then supports the city and counties (or parishes in this example), especially in those things. And if all else fails, or the mess is just too big, then the federal government has a role in assisting where the other governments and the private groups are unable to do so.

Saty: I think you need a hug. That or we need to block your access to Toad's blog. :)

What I outlined was an ideal of a structure of government. To reduce it to a simple "fuck the people" is to take it to a dystopic extreme. As I said, the power to affect our daily lives should not rest in Washington, but in our communities and ourselves. But as long as the average person is relieved of responsibility, stripped of freedom, and smothered by an all-encompassing government, the worled we all want can never exist.

Tao: Don't encourage her. Next thing you know, Shaw will be back too!!! :)

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Obviously you all realize I was merely doing my impression of Mike...

Shaw Kenawe said...

For example, if a group of people has been left homeless and without food by a natural disaster, and they do not have resources to help themselves, in the short run, doesn't gov't, under the common good, bear some responsibility for helping them?

Or how about those libraries. Isn't their very existence, providing access to books and learning that otherwise might be unavailable, part of the common good?


This is what I meant by "caring" government, and this is what Patrick pissed on.

Patrick: Caring? No, FUCK caring. Government is a contract, nothing more. If it fulfills those terms, it has done what was right.

spoken like a true Dickensian meanie.

Dave Miller said...

Thanks Shaw. I was feeling pissed on the for a bit.

But Patrick, you seem to accept that it is in fact to have big gov't, if the people want it.

How else should we interpret the answer to my library query when you say it is fine, f the people want it?

Should not a purist conservative say that while libraries are good, it is the responsibility of private citizens to make it happen without gov't involvement?

I find it a bit disingenuous to argue against the federal gov't on principle, but then say gov't is okay on the local level because we need it.

If gov't is bad and we are to be totally self sufficient, then since you agreed that these are universal principles, the same would apply locally.

Bullfrog said...

Dave, using your library example:

1. Citizens of Anytown USA decide they need a new library, and agree to pay an extra sales tax for 2 years to fund it.

2. The federal government mandates that every state in the union has to have X number of libraries by 2012, and they raise taxes to fund it.

Example #1 I believe is appropriate, because the people agreed to it.

Example #2 is a little more invasive and uses forced compulsion to provide the service, so there is no room for dissent.

Yes, conservatives want as little government intervention as necessary, but no one is suggesting we do away with roads, police, firefighters, etc.

Patrick M said...

Saty: Maybe Mike just needs a hug...

Shaw: Okay, so it's actually a nomenclature issue. The government is not a living breathing individual, but merely a contract. BUT that does not meant that the individuals that function in government should not care. It just means we should not expect the government to fulfill roles that it does now.

Dave: What Bullfrog said.

Bullfrog: A just as good example is government schools. The expectations for individual schools are being driven more and more by bureaucracy and less by the communities that are forced to endure the schools. It's easier here in the small towns, because the parental involvement is more dominant. The goal of the schools (ideally) is to educate. But when education is dictated by one massive power instead of by those who can gauge the progress the best, it results in massive suckage.

And before you liberals start ripping me for wanting to abandon the inner city schools, look at the condition they're in now and tell me they can get worse...

TAO said...

Bullfrog,

Well, as one who has been around the block more than once....I have learned that just when you believe that something cannot get any worse it does....our schools could get worse! I don't know how...but I believe they could.

I know nothing about inner city schools..I know that the high schools here, have daycares for single moms who are kids. I actually believe that we have failed at education when we tried to make our schools convenient and we cater to the the needs of the kids. I am sure that sentence came out all wrong....

I just think that kids today believe that school is there for them and their convenience. I think schools need to be less democratic and are set up so that achievement means something. Right now kids believe that they are going to get through because it benefits teachers and administraters to carry them through...

I know that when my neice informs me that she had a 115 average in a class on a 100 point scale and I ask "how can you get more than the max" and she looks at me like I am stupid something is wrong....
How can a perfect score mean anything if you can achieve more than a perfect score with extra credit?

Robert said...

I am a staunch republican who knows a strong america is good for everyones rights, gay, straight, whatever.
To be quite frank I would have opposed prop 8. Individuals should have the freedom and the right to flourish and feel joy be it with any loved one they choose. As for the politics, with the left clamoring at the gates ready to inflict massive damage on the long term economic and foreign policy of this country, do we on the right really have the luxury to rip ourselves apart over this issue?

I have yet to read anything that justifies gay marriage. I keep no company with the screaming, radical gay people, because they are like all single-issue zealots. They are a mile wide and an inch deep.

I can not think of any compelling state interest in sanctioning gay marriage and I have never read any “justification” that piqued my imagination.

Frankly, I think the idea is a dead end issue. There are some states that can be worn down to accept the issue, but eventually that will cause a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage.

Civil Unions will just have to suffice. For so many gays, the issue is really about directing society in general to accept homosexuality as co-equal.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Civil Unions will just have to suffice. For so many gays, the issue is really about directing society in general to accept homosexuality as co-equal.

Robert,

Do you not believe that our gay bretheren are NOT equal to us????

If so, why not?

I see gay marriage as a civil rights issue.

Toad734 said...

Patrick:

I can almost guarantee he won't exand the government or the powers of the government more than what Bush has.

Patrick M said...

Toad: We'll see.

Gayle said...

In respond to Shaw's last comment:

I don't see gay marriage as a civil right's issue. It belongs to one man and one woman. They have come up with their own idea of sex, let them invent their own idea of marriage. They can invent their own ceremony and they can darn well invent another name for it. Marriage was not intended by God to be between two men or two women, or a man and a goat, or a woman and a seal, period!

Shaw Kenawe said...

I don't see gay marriage as a civil right's issue. It belongs to one man and one woman. They have come up with their own idea of sex, let them invent their own idea of marriage. They can invent their own ceremony and they can darn well invent another name for it. Marriage was not intended by God to be between two men or two women, or a man and a goat, or a woman and a seal, period!

Gays didn't "make up" their own idea of sex. If you believe God created man in his own image, then he created gays and how our gay brothers and sisters enjoy sex. Did you "make up" the way you enjoy sex? Where did that come from? Was it "natural?"

If the state accords certain rights to heteros who marry then those rights cannot be abridged because two people who wish to marry but do not conform to a religious idea of a contract for two people to live together and enjoy all the privileges given to others.

It's as simple as that.

There were plenty of people who believed that racially mixed marriages were against god's law, too.

They were wrong, too.

Fortunately, you'll live to see how wrong it is to deny gays the civil right to marry whom they wish and enjoy the civil rights that the state confers on those marriage contracts.

Toad734 said...

Gayle:

Since when are we a government for God and by God. I don't live under Gods law. God has no place in our laws as per our founding fathers. If your church doesn't want to marry a bunch of gay people that is fine but they have no right making up laws based on Gods word. If we lived by Gods laws you would be cast out to the edge of town every time you had your period and we could stone your children for talking back to adults. Do you really want to live under Gods law?

And if Gay marriage is against God's law, what is the punishment for gay marriage? What did jesus say about that issue?

Toad734 said...

Oh, and define Marriage.

Last I checked Gods law regarding marriage in the Bible was not one man and one woman. In fact, it was often one man and many women, some of whom may or may not be related.

Western society invented the modern definition of marriage, not God.

Patrick M said...

How did gay marriage get into this? Oh wait, it was Robert.

Now I remember why I don't dwell on the social issues as much as the fiscal and individual liberty..

Toad734 said...

But isn't this an individual liberty issue as well?

Patrick M said...

Good point, Toad.

Lista said...

Financial Conservatism, without Social Conservatism is an over emphasis on money and success in my opinion. If people are to be Financially "Responsible", than they ought to be Morally "Responsible" as well. After all, how can a person who is not Morally "Responsible" succeed at being financially "Responsible". I think that the two go hand and hand and should not be separated.