Thursday, September 13, 2012

Conservative Side of the Conversation

The conversation continues. My friend asked me to explain a little more about conservatism from my point of view. How do you think I did at answering her question?

“What are the guiding principles and applications conservatives use with regards to taxation, foreign policy, education, and representation at the Federal and State level? Please go beyond the typical phrases like "limited government." I get that sentiment...I'm interested in knowing what "limited" looks like to a Conservative, as an example. What do you support (compared to what you oppose)?”

To answer your earlier question- and keep in mind that conservative ideas vary from person to person just like liberal or progressives would, and many Republicans, especially old timer Washington types, are not conservative at all. I definitely refer to myself as a C and not an R, - but I will do my best.

Taxation-low taxes, fair taxes such as the flat tax are more desirable. A sales tax only would probably be the most fair of all but it would require such a high level of involvement and observation that most conservatives wouldn’t desire it. Personally I would like a flat tax with little or no gradations, just everyone paying the same percent, which is the fairest way to do it, even welfare recipients, because then they have skin in the game. We are nearing a point where only half of Americans pay taxes, and once we cross the line to more than half then they can vote for any increase they want and we become slaves. I do not know much about corporate tax, but I know that a flourishing economy helps towns and states, and I have observed in my lifetime how a state like California gets greedy and will overtax a business, which will drive the business away. States who understand this principle offer incentives to companies because they bring jobs, new homes, more goods and services and a thriving economy. I liken this to the story of the Goose that laid the Golden Egg. You can get a golden egg, in this case taxes and prosperity for your region, on a regular basis, or you can get greedy and cut it open to try and get more, and you will get nothing because the goose will die.

Foreign policy to most conservatives means peace through strength. We want to not start wars, but to defend ourselves and to deter war. In the global age we live in though, you can be threatened from the other side of the planet. Terrorist acts, which are acts of war, are taken against Americans wherever they may be, and we also have made a significant investment to protect our allies, and in some cases our national interest, the greatest being to protect fledgling democracies around the world. High on this list is Israel, a lone democracy and an ally (up until president Obama). The liberal tendency of appeasement to those who threaten us seems wishy-washy and na├»ve. It doesn’t work and only makes our enemies bolder.

Education-I think the teachers unions are the main cause of the poor quality of education. (and most conservatives are decidedly anti-union and pro merit). Good and outstanding teachers will not be afraid to stand on their own merit, but instead they are dragged down by the weight of bad teachers that can’t be fired. Also an exceptional 5th grade teacher, instead of being paid on his or her merit as a teacher, will have to move up to high school to get a significant raise, and maybe then on to the administrative side. Much of the technology in the school is wasted. A great teacher is worth all the ipads and smartboards in the state. Personally I think come raise time teachers should be stack ranked based on a combination of student scores, goals met, numbers of special needs students taught and feedback from the parents, The top ranking teachers getting the big bonus, and the bottom ones getting the boot. This may be extreme even for many conservatives. But the product would be a well educated student. And more new teachers coming into the workforce would get their chance. Oh, and I’d probably cut the dept. of Education altogether and put it at the state level.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by ‘representation at the federal and state level’, other than that, in both cases I want a representative that will care more about the country at large than bringing home pork to their district.

I will add that conservatives favor close adherence to the Constitution and Bill of Rights and reject the liberal notion that it is a living document meant to be shaped to the needs of the times. It is a solid guide, inspired by God to provide a home of liberty where the gospel would be able to come forth.

Government is established to protect our rights, not to furnish us with our needs. That is each person’s job, in their own life and own family. Most conservatives would still agree that there should be some welfare system as a safety net. But government should not siphon funds from my family to pay for the livelihood of another family any more than someone should barge in my house at gunpoint and demand the contents of my wallet, or fridge, or medicine cabinet. They have no right and that power is not granted in the constitution. Conservatives do believe in giving to charity and according to surveys give a lot more to charity than liberal people. But they believe in doing it in private and not waiting for the camera crews and praise of the world. And to me it seems like liberals and progressives want to give freely to the poor- but not of their money but ours.

I suppose when it comes down to it the real question is power. Liberals want power over their fellow human beings to make them do what they want. Conservatives want to clear the way for people to live their own lives with as little hindrance from the government as possible.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Don’t Get It

Some friends on Facebook are having a little discussion about a blog post on Mormons For Obama. Her is the post in question, and here is my response:

The author seems to have a twisted and mind boggling lack of understanding of what conservatives actually believe. (Having said that I will add that Mitt Romney, while I believe him to be a great man and well qualified for president, is far from a conservative. Why do you think conservatives were so happy with the addition of Paul Ryan?).
I think free agency is at the heart of it, but not in the way the author describes. First let me say that as far as gay marriage goes, I'm against it because it will corrupt our country so quickly. If gay marriage passes then the first thing that will happen is that the gay lifestyle will have to be represented in textbooks for children of all ages. The leading textbook companies based in California already have vast guidelines of what politically correct illustrations they can show in a textbook. So what does it mean when those who are morally opposed to homosexuality have their children forced to constantly view what is a sin to them? If people would just keep it in their own bedrooms that's one thing, but our lifestyle is under assault.
As far as giving to the poor goes, what is a good rule for an individual is not necessarily a good rule for government. The government can never make things fair. Taking from those who sacrifice and work hard to give it to another deemed more worthy by some council is decidedly unfair. Redistribution of wealth does not work. It leads to more poverty and larger demands. I am not a libertarian because I do believe government has a right to tax those who are enjoying the benefit of public services deemed important by us through our representatives. But there is a proper amount, and we are way beyond that. I do think it's immoral to force on person to sacrifice their time, life and efforts to serve another. And that's really what liberalism is all about.
God knew there would be suffering and unfairness from the beginning. He gave us a Savior to provide a healing atonement for us and hopefully inspire us to serve our fellowman. But forcing everyone to be kind and good and righteous was Satan's plan, and I rejected it once and I will spend my life rejecting it. It cripples the receiver and enslaves the giver.