In order to appreciate the importance of the argument suggested by the title, one must understand what is at stake. In order to see what is at stake, one must more clearly see the road that US politics is on. Never before has America been at such a crossroads.
The nation stands at the brink of unbridled socialism at the hands of a man that might not even be whom he claims to be, the other apparent choice being a man who is definitely not whom he claims to be. Let’s leave that a riddle for the time being!
Anyone who has ever read The Law by Bastiat, or The Road to Serfdom by Hayek will understand in depth the political philosophy that rejects Socialism, Communism, and Progressivism in all their forms, instead embracing a form of governmental administration that is formed around individual freedoms and universal justice. At its core, this form of government is defined by characteristics such as fair taxation, equal protection for the individual against attack, individual ownership of property, and intellectual freedom.
This is consistent with the modern conservative political perspective. Conservatism in the United States, and most recently Tea Party membership, embraces these tenants of liberty. We believe that the best environment for human happiness and achievement rest in government that does not reward sloth, protects fairly individual property, does not tax unfairly, does not seek forced participation and association, and does not elevate the few above the law.
In philosophical opposition to conservancy is what is defined as Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, and Progressivism. These forms seek to unfairly redistribute wealth to those who have not earned it. They seek to coerce the individual to accept aberant or experimental behaviors. They allow for governmental experimentation at the expense of the individual. They seek to force the individual to participate in deviant forms of commerce, policies that are unproductive, and programs that either stiffle productivity or redistribute wealth from the earner to the sponge.
Most importantly, they place little value to the individual. Instead, the state and its programs hold all priority. In short, they promote legalized plunder of the individual. Any action by government and any form of government which does not place first the individual and his freedoms is in some way a promotion of this plunder. The unfair US federal taxation system is one of the most obvious offenses, but plunder takes shape in many other instances…ObamaCare is the most obvious one.
To quote Bastiat: “It would seem that socialists, however self-complacent, could not avoid seeing this monstrous legal plunder that results from such systems and such efforts. But what do the socialists do? They cleverly disguise this legal plunder from others – and even from themselves – under the seductive names of fraternity, unity, organization, and association. Because we ask so little from the law – only justice – the socialists thereby assume that we reject fraternity, unity, organization, and association. The socialists brand us with the name individualist.
But we assure the socialists that we repudiate only forced organization, not natural organization. We repudiate the forms of association that are forced upon us, not free association. We repudiate forced fraternity, not true fraternity. We repudiate the artificial unity that does nothing more than deprive persons of individual responsibility. We do not repudiate the natural unity of mankind under Providence.”
To elaborate on this in modern terms, legislated acceptance of gay marriage is a forced association. Prohibition of oil drilling is a hinderance on individual freedom of those who are willing to risk wealth in order to make wealth. Hate crimes legislation is a forced association. Legalized abortion and legislated public financial support of it is a forced association. Governmental promotion of specific industry to the exclusion of all others is forced association. ObamaCare is a forced association and a plunder of wealth.
Is it not plain to see how repulsive these things are? They have no place in legitimate government!
Man, left to his own, without forced compliance to programs of commerce, social adjustment, and equality, will naturally seek greater levels of these things. Consider the commercial achievements of the early United States before progressive government programs began to get in the way. Within a relatively few years, the US became a world power to rival Great Britain, France, and Spain. Individual freedom creates a fertile ground for societal growth.
Bastiat says that is it because liberty and property exist that laws were created to protect them. The progressive, the socialist, and the communist all believe that the law must be created in order that liberty and property may exist. But here is a contradiction within the latter. Progressivism, socialism, and communism all necessarily seek to limit freedom and property in order to realize their goals of universal employment, equal financial status, and equal levels of freedom. They do not see that all of these things exist even without their “leadership”.
Law is only required in order to protect freedom and property from plunder by individuals who would rather take wealth than work to earn it. When the law becomes the force that takes the property of one to give it to the other, it becomes illegitimate. Better to have no law than to have illegitimate law. The French knew this in their dealings with Louis and Bonaparte. But have recently forgotten it in their acceptance of socialism, raising their marginal income tax rate to 75%!
Law instituted solely for the protection of property and freedom is conservatism. Can anyone look at the waste in government social programs and not see that government cannot do a single thing efficiently? The best uses of government is military and law enforcement. These and only these are the things that government does well.
But the only reason military and law enforcement agencies perform as well as they do is because they are specifically removed from the oversight of the bureaucrat! The bureaucrat seeks to continually experiment, tweak, and improve, while in reality only muddying the water and moving the things that he touches farther away from their natural place.
When government begins to get itself into positions where it will directly influence personal behaviors and the individual’s perceptions of what is best for himself, that is where it begins to falter. It would impose utopia, not recognizing that utopia existed before it did. This is progressivism!
All of these arguments were made with the following assertion in mind:
Even political moderation is a form of forced association. Political moderation is a dishonest promotion of the values that often stand in opposition to those of the individual regardless of which position, left or right, they hold. Moderation is a lazy politician’s method of creating a comfortable feeling of harmony for himself. It abandons the true core values of the party, again, leftist or rightist.
Moderation is especially evil because it is both plunder and forced association at the same time. It robs the individual of the honest representation for which he voted, and it puts the individual in a position of having to settle for less, chosing the lesser of the two evil choices that so often make our elective processes. Better, a politician should change political parties and be one or the other, and be honest about his election than to moderate his views and still claim party membership.
Of late, the GOP seems to be enamoured with this notion of bipartisanship. They do not see their error on two levels. First, they do not see that the other party never “reaches across the aisle” to them. It is always the GOP that must water down its views in order to reach an agreement. Second, they fail to remember that this is not what they were elected to do. They were elected for the sole purpose of being something of an opposition to the other party. Otherwise, why are there two parties?
Most importantly, the GOP old-school, old-guard does not recognize that they are the reason for the very existence of the Tea Party. They never gave the time of day to true conservatives in the nomination process. The GOP seems to no longer be the party of conservancy. Rather, it is the party of concession. Conservatives are no longer receiving the full value of their vote.
So, here is the answer to the riddle:
The man who may not be genuine is Barack Obama. He stands accused of having submitted a forged birth certificate and selective service registration card. The media pay no attention to the matter. Congress is afraid to act. Most conservatives only want to know that they are being heard. Currently, they are being ignored, not just by the Left, but also by their own party.
The man that is definitely not what he claims to be is Mitt Romney. Claiming to be a conservative, he at the same time, continues to tout his state’s health care system which was used as a model for ObamaCare, the bane of conservatives. He flip-flops on the issues with regularity. Most recently he changed his position on the minimum wage. First, he had stated that he believed an increase was in order. Now he does not, but he still believes the the minimum should be tied to inflation. He holds the liberal view, not seeing that raising the minimum wage is inflationary, and leads only to the need to again raise the minimum wage!