Saturday, September 12, 2009

Me: Economic Libertarian-Social Moderate; Obama: Statist (fascist)

In political belief assessment surveys (see chart above), I score as an economic libertarian and as a small government left leaning social moderate.  In this secular world, the combination of my beliefs in economic freedom and religious tolerance lead me to conclude that our government should return to the free market system that served our country well during its early years; government should only poke its nose into personal matters when necessary.

Citizens are endowed with inalienable rights (the freewill to choose). In general, charity, military service or abstinence from the use of drugs should not be forced. Forced charity is not charitable or beneficial, forced military service is worthless and anti-marijuana laws are an excellent example of government conservatism gone wild. For using a drug that is less dangerous than beer or wine, millions of US citizens spend years in jail, at the great expense of other citizens. Gang wars are fought and citizens die to protect illegal drug territories. If marijuana were legally produced and taxed like beer, instead of waisting billions on enforcement, millions of American farmers would earn billions and billions of tax revenue would be collected.

Generally, our President believes in big government. He believes the lives of people will be improved by granting our government even greater power to allocate resources; he professes that government will achieve a more equitable distribution. Detractors describe him as a socialist or a fascist.

While he generally leans to the far left on social issues, he is an economic statist who is willing to throw out his social libertarianism if it gets in the way of his big government "solutions".  For example, he encourages the right of a woman to choose abortion, at state expense if he had the final say, but he willing limits her other health care expenditure options.  He would object to this description, but, indeed, his statism leans toward fascism.

Fascist believe that "the smart people" have all the answers, that it is OK to belittle, marginalize, ignore or oppress the ideas and criticisms of opponents, and that a powerful but benevolent government will distribute resources fairly.  The relationships of big businesses to big governments are complicated. Obama attacks certain big businesses while granting billion dollar bailouts to others. Ironically, he needs the support of big businesses to set up the systems that will allow them the excess profits that he desires to distribute more evenly.  

While I believe in as little government interference in business as possible, it has been shown time and again that government must not have a laissez faire attitude toward capitalism. Unfortunately, big business has repeatedly influenced big government to grant or condone oligopoly or monopoly. Vibrant competition leads to low prices for consumers and low profits for businesses. Powerful businesses continuously support legislation to reduce competition. Ultimately big government laws lead to excessive power of business or excessive power of government.

Political terms have double meanings.  I am liberal in that I believe in liberty; freedom!  I am conservative in that I dislike the misuse or waste of resources. Obama is willing to take away certain liberties, provided our resources are allocated more evenly. He is willing to reduce our resources, provided the resources we have are dispersed more evenly. Under free enterprise, we grow our resources, having more to allocate. Under free enterprise each of us has the power to spend our resources as we wish. Mistakes will always be made and there will always be people who need help. Some, who choose to spend their lives smoking marijuana or drinking beer to excess, will spend less on healthcare than others. Their choice. Many years ago, farmers learned that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. In the long run, granting control of healthcare to government will be a disservice to the American people.    

The following is a reprint from  

Defining a libertarian-conservative

Arnold Kling, a writer at TCS and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, has an interesting column asking for comments on a set of principles that would define, in his words, "contemporary libertarian conservatives."
Kling, an economist, has come up with 10 principles in three different categories and is asking readers to "elaborate on the wording that most appeals to you and the wording that needs the most improvement. There are certain to be revisions, and comments themselves are an important part of the conversation."
I know the Legislature and Congress are in session and it can be more interesting to discuss particular policy proposals, but it's alway good to kick around big ideas. This is a lengthy post, but take the time to read it and post any comments-- good, bad, or otherwise.
Here are Kling's principles:
Economic Principles
1. We weave a thread of self-reliance into a sturdy fabric of interdependence. By respecting the law, we reinforce impersonal justice. By competing intensely and fairly in an impersonal global market, we raise our standard of living through specialization and innovation. By upholding Constitutional principles for limited government, we sustain our individual freedom.
2. We are creative and pro-active in helping one another. We do not have the patience to wait for government, nor do we want to be lulled into passivity by the promise of government. Instead, to solve those problems that require collective action, we form voluntary associations, including civic groups, corporations, clubs, standards-setting bodies, consumer information services, and charitable foundations.
3. Government must be kept in its place. We hold government officials to high standards of competence, honesty, and fairness. However, we do not confuse government with family. We do not confuse government with religion. We do not confuse government with business. We are conscious that any expansion of government responsibility, however well-intended, crowds out those institutions that are the true bulwark of our society.
4. We celebrate the successes of others. We are glad when an entrepreneur becomes wealthy by finding a way to fill a customer need. We are glad when an immigrant family climbs the ladder of success. We are glad when people living in other countries make economic progress and spur us to innovate and improve.
Ethical Principles
5. Government cannot legislate morality, but it does mess with the incentives. Those incentives should never be tilted against the institution of the family whose mission is to raise children to be fine, upstanding citizens.
6. We maintain an ongoing conversation about morality and ethics. This conversation is informed by the Ten Commandments and Biblical scripture. It is informed by the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. It is vital to continue the conversation, even when consensus is difficult.
7. Like new businesses, new moral ideals can revitalize our society, even though many of them fail. For example, we recognize that we are a better people without racial segregation or barriers to the education and career opportunities for women. However, we judge some social experiments to be failures, including eugenics, Communism, and nihilistic cultural relativism.
International Principles
8. Our ideology does not have to be sustained by military suppression. Although it can inspire people to fight against tyranny, ultimately our ideology allows us to live in peace.
9. We believe that people all over the world yearn for liberty, and for them we stand as a beacon and a champion. But we recognize that freedom is not ours to give when community leaders are not ready to seize the opportunity that it offers.
10. When foreign leaders issue threats against us, we take them at their word and act accordingly.
Of all the points listed, I think No. 3 and No. 4 are worded exactly how I would have worded them. I think an important distinction many of our liberal friends forget to make is that government works best when it is only a vehicle to do certain things, such as protecting private property rights and helping to adjudicate disputes between private parties. These are things that are available to everyone and no one is favored when the government acts in this role.
But when you cross this line and start to expect the government to do "positive" things such as provide housing, health care, or pensions, then you set up a government that will at first compete, then overrun the institutions that previously provided them, chiefly, the family and business.
When government leaves the realm of promulgating general, noncoercive rules that apply to everyone and starts to pick and choose winners and losers with its' "measures," it tends to pit citizens against one another. That leads to the importance of Kling's No. 4 principle.
This principle recognizes that jealousy is a horrible thing on which to base public policy. It also recognizes that we are all better off when people find success, even if some people's "success" is much larger than ours if measured by money. We may not like it that Bill Gates lives in a massive home with all sorts of tech gadgets at his disposal, such as a kitchen computer that he can communicate with and that will pull up recipes at the sound of his voice. But one day, that technology will be in our homes, and we'll be glad people like Gates had enough money to spur the development of such an expensive technology.
Almost all of the cool technology that the "rich" can only afford today will one day become commonplace in the home of every American. Radios, cars, phones, televisions, computers, the list is endless. All of these things were once only for the rich. And if government policies had been enacted that would have restricted the wealth of these individuals, then we might not have these products today, or at least their development would have been delayed. But when you let people live freely, and you don't restrict competition, then everyone works harder and becomes better off in the long run.