Recently, I took the symbolic step of changing my Florida voter registration party affiliation from Republican to “none”. Florida does not provide for registered Independents, so “none” was the best approximation of my preferred status. I have no particular, directed beefs with Republicans or Democrats. I just want to be my own man instead of being pigeonholed as one thing or another.
That having been said, both major parties stink to high heaven. Influence peddlers have long corrupted politics in the United States, with the major parties being the preferred targets for obvious reasons. While our party sanctioned candidates are on the campaign trail, they vow to be different, to bring hope and change to government; when they take office, the old boy network takes hold and it’s business as usual. For all the polarization apparent on the surface, and for all the great barroom debates among amateur analysts, you would think that there would be a difference between Republicans and Democrats. Separate what policies they support from the main impulse that drives them — power mongering — and you’ll find that they are part of a perpetual motion machine that is kept well greased by those who would pay for favors. They all essentially drink from the same fountain.
I could have registered as a Libertarian party member, but no one really knows what that is. There have been as many philosophies of libertarianism through the years as our national debt has zeroes. Many are inconsistent with one another. Some libertarians have espoused flat-out anarchy. Some don’t believe in private property rights. All believe in the unfettered freedom of the individual, but I don’t think they know how to get there. They’ve never been a serious force in a two-party system. In any case, while some of my philosophical beliefs are consistent with libertarianism — they would have to be because libertarianism is all over the map — I also believe that government has its place. I believe that individuals should own property. I do not believe in the collective.
One of the things that drove me to the brink of separation from the Republican Party was the whole notion of a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only), a disparaging term that the loudmouths on Internet comment threads tend to fling around at and about moderate Republicans, as if the disparagers were the judge of what a Republican truly is. In my opinion, any political party represents its prospective constituents, and that implies a broad range of philosophies. Thus, there is no such thing as a “true Republican”, no matter what the loudmouths spout. I do not view Ronald Reagan as Jesus Christ incarnate, and speaking of Jesus, I don’t need him to be involved in politics. I would be considered a “liberal troll” if I made such a comment on a right-wing message board. Just think of the hate messages I would get if I were to lionize Bill Clinton as the best pure politician of modern times, which I happen to think is true even if I can’t fathom some of his political leanings.
The point I raised in the previous paragraph is a very important one, so I’ll reiterate it: Do not tell me what I should believe, just because I joined the same political party as you did! Who made you the arbiter of who a proper Republican or Democrat is? I’m tired of the labeling and name-calling. Neither party’s dogma should include total subjugation and compliance of all its members. If it ever comes to secret police visits in the middle of the night, I’m happy to say I know nothink… NOTHINK!
I personally have no debt, but I believe there are appropriate uses for borrowed money. Buying votes is not an appropriate use for money borrowed at the federal level. Neo-Keynesians will bitch and moan that not running deficits in a recession will create a worsened economic downturn, but conservative economists disagree and so do I. There comes a point beyond which any borrowing exacerbates a situation that consumes an unhealthy share of GDP for non-productive interest payments on the federal debt and crowds out private investment, thus retarding the economy. The more debt the government has, the flimsier our nation’s credit rating will be, and that means higher interest rates. More money down the sewer. The number one problem to be solved today is getting the huge pile of debt under control. I am all ears, greedy politicians who love to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, just to keep your asses in power. Go ahead and tell me how you’ll fix the problem.
I do not believe in socialist redistribution of wealth. I believe in the free market. You’d think I was a Republican or something. I do believe in social welfare for the least functional members of society, but I do not believe in creating welfare sycophants for a ready-purchased electoral base.
I believe in limited unionism, where it protects workers’ health and safety, but I do not believe in unions that protect useless workers. I do not believe in public sector unions at all! Their very existence is ridiculous.
I believe in preemptive military strikes, so you can go ahead and say that I deviate from libertarian principles. I think it is naive to believe that man will ever transcend his inherent bellicosity.
I believe in limited government and individual responsibility. I despise oppressive regulation of industry. The Department of Energy has gotten too big for its britches and needs to be completely disbanded. I believe that the function of the Department of Education should be to maintain statistics and coordinate states’ efforts, not to dictate policies to states and blackmail them into compliance. The Department of Education should become a sub-department of another executive branch operation.
I believe that individuals should be responsible for their own health, whether they choose to buy insurance or not. Again, like food, clothing, and shelter, I also believe in a health safety net for those who cannot take care of themselves, but not a $100,000 kidney transplant. I mean basic, minimal care.
I do not believe in political correctness, coddling every affinity group who gets “offended” at some word they usurped, affirmative action (which has outlived its usefulness), and legal protection against “hate speech”. Hate crimes that injure persons or property, yes, hate speech that injures sensitive or feigned feelings, no. We still have a First Amendment, as far as I know. Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States, outside of obscenity, defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words. The United States federal government and state governments are broadly forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech.You might not like what I say, but I have the right to say it, whether it hurts someone’s precious feelings or not.
Private industry should not be told by government how to run their business. If a fat slob’s ass is wider than one airline seat, I believe he or she should buy two seats. Why should the rest of us pay higher fares because fatsos demand equal rights? When they have equal bodies, they can demand equal rights. I once had to screw up the design of a perfectly good auditorium for a wheelchair ramp leading to the stage. There was a stage entrance at the side of the building that was wheelchair accessible, but the ADA coordinator in this public sector operation objected because if it was raining, the wheelchair driver might get wet. I was regarded as an asshole when I suggested that an umbrella would be a helluva lot cheaper and wouldn’t obliterate one whole aisle in the auditorium. This happens all the time in the public sector. Don’t let it happen in the more efficient private sector.
On the other hand, I believe that Wall Street, along with laissez-faire in Washington, are culpable for the economic morass we’re in. I’m not singling out one side or the other. Both are to blame. The permissiveness in Washington is a bipartisan (or non-partisan) thing. Don’t let anyone kid you — it is not just the Republicans who cozy up to the bankers. Both major parties are in thick with Wall Street, even though you’ll hear nothing but hypocritical condemnation from them. Chris Dodd and the sniveling, whining, farting Barney Frank ought to be held accountable for some of the problems going forward, but there’s plenty of blame to spread around Washington for the bubble bursting liberal banking policies of the past on both sides of the aisle. Folks, we’re going back thirty years here, all the way back to the S&L fiasco during the Reagan Administration and through various boondoggles in every administration since then. Congress is the culprit, spurred on by the White House at times.
I do not believe in corporate taxation. It benefits no one but greedy government. The rest of us pay for it in increased prices for goods and services. Influence peddlers use it as tool to curry favor with certain industries. As part of the old boy business as usual paradigm in Washington, D.C., it needs to go out the damn window.
I do believe in tax simplification and equalization for individuals. Hermain Cain’s 9/9/9 plan is a step toward sanity, as is the Fair Tax. Please, no more use of the tax code to reward or punish individuals!
I do not believe in social engineering, eugenics, or high-handed intervention by government in any aspect of our lives. Let them promote the general welfare by building effective dikes in New Orleans instead of protecting the mythical “rights” of dykes in New York, and spending some damn stimulus money on infrastructure improvements without tying it to tax increases and pork barrel legislation.
I’ll reiterate what I do believe in: individual responsibility, individual achievement, free enterprise, efficient markets, and living a life unfettered by governmental heavy-handedness. I have found some good ideas — damn few, though — in diatribe coming from both major parties and the libertarians, too. But we need fresh thinking in Washington and not just lip service about change, followed by business as usual. The voters wanted change. They elected Obama. He didn’t change a damn thing. The old boy network is still going strong in our nation’s capital.
I despise being lied to and being taken for an idiot, especially by the President of the United States. I am weary of the monotonous mantra of mendacity coming out of the dilettantish White House at every press conference and whistle stop. Before years of budget cuts and dictated dogma dumbed down our public schools, any bright eighth grader could have seen through the mendacious, self-serving prevarications emanating from Mr. Obama. I want this guy out of the White House, and I want to forget that he was ever in there! He was elected by people dissatisfied with the status quo without regard to how dangerous the combination of a president with strong socialist leanings and a compliant congress would be. It was a radical and reckless direction for the country to take, and I hope that people have now learned their lesson. It ain’t that easy! You want hope and change? You have to work for it — individuals, private industry, and government working together.
I regularly read the New York Times but I don’t want to be accused of reading Communist propaganda; I regularly watch Fox News but I don’t want to be accused of being a “sheeple” by those who have written off what they cutesiely call “Faux News” as right-wing propaganda. Those accusers are all knee-jerkers, who pretty much travel in condemnation packs without really knowing what the hell they’re talking about. It’s a monkey see, monkey do kind of thing. My feeling is that I’m grown up enough to read what I want to read and believe what I want to believe. I am fully capable of researching any dubious claims and I am equally capable of seeing through the language of bias. I have discredited articles of supposed news in the biased mainstream media, from MSNBC to Fox to the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal, while I have found truth in places like Salon.com, huffingtonpost.com, and RealClearPolitics.com. I do not want to be told what to believe. I’ll believe what I want to believe, no matter what the source. My bullshit detector is very sensitive to the smelly stuff.
Being unlabeled lifts an incredible, elephantine weight off my shoulders, but I’m saddled with the disadvantage of not being allowed to vote in partisan primary elections. I’ll accept that as the price of freedom.