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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Classic Liberal vs Traditional Conservative

Mike Shaner
Dec.16, 2010
What is a traditional conservative? That’s me. I hold a very conservative view of the Constitution. I believe the founders said exactly what they meant to say. I agree with Jefferson that we should not render the Constitution meaningless through construction. Congress must act within the guidelines of article I section 8. In other words, I am a traditional conservative because I believe that people should be allowed to consume any thing they choose, marry whomever they choose, and be allowed to travel any place they choose. So being conservative means I am anti prohibitionist, support homosexual rights, and favor open borders. Not your dad’s conservative huh? More like your great great granddad. I also favor bringing home our troops from all over the world and drastically cutting the defense budget. I can picture the blood boiling in some of you reading this. I imagine you are screaming to yourself or anyone who will listen that I must be some kind of Liberal. You are correct. I am a classic liberal.

I believe in individual rights and civil liberty. I am a classic liberal because I believe a person has the right to protect himself, to keep the money he earns, to hire or fire an employee for any reason he chooses, and to not be forced to purchase or not purchase a service or good such as health insurance. “Wait a minute,” you say, “this guy is trying to tell us that he is a liberal because he supports gun ownership, is against affirmative action, against income taxes, and against nationalized health-care?” That’s right. That is exactly what I’m telling you. I also think we should abolish all federal institutions that are unconstitutional such as the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve. Welfare, Medicare, and Social Security should also be abandoned.  While we are at it, we should end farm subsidies, foreign aide, and all federal regulations on businesses that do not make inter state commerce regular. “Some liberal,” you must be saying. “More like a Republican extremist!” Well, let’s examine that.

How can I call myself a classic liberal if I support repealing the federal income tax? The more appropriate question is how could anyone be labeled a liberal who does not?  By imposing a tax on income, the government is suggesting it owns your body and the labor it produces. This does not sound like something an advocate of liberty could support. That sounds more like something a statist would promote. I believe a person has a natural right to keep the money he earns.

At some point, society became confused and began to define civil liberties as protecting a person from what someone else might do in the future, as opposed to the real meaning-- allowing an individual to make his own choices and then fail or succeed based on those choices. What is terrifying is that this horrible new definition has been expanding in recent years. Now, Progressives not only want to protect us from potential employers, neighbors, and Christmas parade organizers, but they have gone so far as to tell us we must be protected from ourselves. We need to be told what foods to eat, what books to read, and what movies to see. This is the price that we pay when we give up liberty for protection. And it applies to both side of the aisle.

As a constitutional conservative how could I support something so expressly unconstitutional as the Patriot Act or the War on Drugs? It is my conservatism and faith in the founders’ vision that allows me to unwaveringly support the rule of law written into the Constitution. I believe that man’s rights are granted by his Creator. This includes men of all skin tones and of all tongues. If our rights are granted to us by a government, they can easily be taken from us by a government. If our rights are natural to us as I believe they are, then liberty can be taken from us by no one. Everything begins and ends with liberty.

Republicans claim to be “conservative” but with the notable exception of a small handful, they believe in increasing government interference in our lives at every turn. Republicans justify unconstitutional thefts of liberty by using the mask of protection. Ben Franklin was wise enough to warn us not to fall for such a trick: “If a person were to trade essential Liberty for temporary protection; he would inevitably lose both and deserve neither.” Sadly, 300 years later, his warning seems to fall on deaf ears. On a daily basis, I see Republicans shouting from the rooftops about government over-reach and respecting the Constitution but when someone mentions the Patriot Act or points out that the federal government has no Constitutional authority to prohibit drug use or make laws regarding religion (think: mosques), they turn red with anger.

Democrats mostly acknowledge that they have no regard or respect for Constitutional authority yet the hypocrisy is just as evident. They claim they believe in civil liberties yet abhor free speech if it is politically incorrect. What they truthfully want is a nation of sheep who will yield all liberties to a government that cannot effectively run a post office.  Democrat’s will mostly acknowledge that consenting adults should be able to engage in sexual or drug related activity as long as it doesn’t harm others but notice the fangs come out when some one chooses to use his personal freedom for an act they find offensive. The problem with forced tolerance is that it must be intolerant to someone. This intolerance is usually forced on the group with the most unpopular opinion. Ironically enough, it is the minority that becomes oppressed under this politically correct doctrine of forced tolerance. The same is true with welfare programs and every other form of “social justice” that is destroying this Republic. You cannot claim to support individual liberties when you believe it is morally acceptable for the government to help one person by robbing another.

The message here is for consistency and honesty in debate. If you believe the government knows better how to run one’s private life than the individual himself, then say that. Just don’t argue that you want government out of our lives when in the same breath you are asking it to legislate your view of morality. It is foolish to brand yourself a constitutionalist while advocating unconstitutional wars. It is silly to condemn Obama-Care as unconstitutional while championing the Patriot Act as vital and necessary.

It is admirable to stand up for the rights of those who are discriminated against. It is noble to fight for the right to speak and act freely. It is hypocritical to assume people should be able to speak freely as long as you agree with them. It is silly to assume that people have the right to act freely except in economic situations. It is ridiculous to say that I should be allowed to pay a prostitute but forced to pay an insurance company. It is counter-intuitive to suggest I can distribute pornographic or sacrilegious images but can not use the term Christmas in public. The great thing about this country is that we have a right to be offensive. If we start excluding people based on race or religion from the right to be offended, we are setting a dangerous precedent. It is through the philosophy of individualism that racism can be eradicated.

So Republicans want less government in most economic areas, but not all. They still won’t allow you to purchase some products (Marijuana) or services (prostitution). Perhaps they know better than me what I should do with my body.  Democrats want less government in some private areas, but not all. They still believe they have the right to tell you what subjects your children must learn in school (sex-ed.) They also believe they have the right to distribute your earnings and tell you what to eat and how to speak in public.

Where is the consistency? It is found in Article I Section 8, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. It is found in the principles of traditional Conservatives like Madison and classic Liberals like Jefferson. If you truly believe in civil liberties and the rights of individuals and are fed up with the WWE mentality of Democrats versus Republicans, perhaps you are a classic liberal like me. Maybe you believe in the Constitution and the rule of Law. You want the government to be kept in check and realize that they are public servants, not public masters. If this is the case, then you could be a traditional conservative like me. In either case, I suggest you read the Constitution and contact the Libertarian party for more information.

-Mike Shaner
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  1. JeromeDec 17, 2010 06:56 AM

    i share many of your POV, and like you i stand aghast when i look at the political landscape of this country. i strongly support the abolition of the war on drugs, and that we should cut back most of our defense budget which nowadays has nothing to do with defense, the "patriot" act, and many others. i believe the current 2-part system is so corrupt and wasteful sometimes i despair of breaking the logjam.

    HOWEVER, this is a purist view which is simply not good enough in this brave new world; if we really revert to the purist view of our constitution, abolish federal tax, and revert to the founders vision, we have no chance whatsoever to compete against the China, India, and long term even Brazil of the world; pure private enterprise simply cannot deal with long-term infrastructure and education needed to maintain a modern, competitive society.
    another beef of mine is the "right" to produce anything you want. if you produce poison and dump it in public lands, you are poisoning everyone down the road. the "tragedy of the commons" law almost guarantees that private enterprise alone will never solve this issue.
  2. Mike ShanerDec 17, 2010 09:39 AM
    If private property laws are enforced no one would be able to "poison the stream down the road." They would go to jail for trespassing on my property.
  3. Paul HugenbergDec 17, 2010 01:45 PM
    Well said. I may reference it a quote it.
  4. Mike ShanerDec 17, 2010 01:47 PM
    Please do Paul
  5. RonDec 17, 2010 02:15 PM
    In reading Jerome's comment, I have this to say
    The reason we can no longer compete globally is because of high tax,regulatory and labor burdens built into the unit cost of each commodity produced here. At least 23% of the final cost is pre-sales tax embedded taxes alone. Add to that regulatory burdens imposed by legislative and bureaucratic fiat,and hyper inflated labor costs kept artificially high by government mandated, government protected unions.
    All these free market inhibiting forces worked well in the 50s,60s and 70s when the US was the worlds manufacturing base and had little to no competition from outside of what was essentially a closed system where everyone competed following the same rules.
    We remained competitive with the Europeans when they re-industrialized because of the embedded social taxes that kept their prices on par or higher than our own. And then Asia started industrializing without the tax, labor and regulatory constraints we have. We first started reducing embedded labor cost by shipping low tech assembly jobs to Mexico to compete with Japan and then Korea. As these and other countries started modernizing more and more internationally financed Corporations started migrating whole industries overseas to take advantage of more Laissez Faire climate that increased profit margins.
    It is government that inhibits competition. It is government that inhibits infrastructure growth of our power system by over regulating nuclear plants so that none have been built in 30 years, Over regulating gas,coal and oil fired power plants so that all construction on these have halted since 2009. China, Brazil and India are working under none of these constraints.
    I could go on and on with examples of how our government is killing jobs in this country.
    We are fighting not only with both hands tied behind our back but our ankles too
  6. Mike ShanerDec 17, 2010 02:18 PM
    Well said Ron!
  7. AaronDec 17, 2010 02:57 PM
    Mike, I would ask you to expand on how removing the Department of Education would help American moving forward. I understand why it is unconstitutional, and the corruption and hypocrisy within is rampant, but I am curious if you have a solution as how to educate young Americans so that they can grow up and remain competitive with other countries around the world. I am curious if those working at the lowest labor cost would be able to afford to send their children to a private school.

    Additionally, as more and more production is automated, technology careers, which require even higher levels of education, become more and more necessary to remain globally competitive.

    If the US has the ability to prevent or stop a genocide in another country, would you rather stand by and let it continue?
  8. Mike ShanerDec 17, 2010 03:21 PM

    I do believe that privatizing all schools would lead to greater competition which would naturally lead to lower cost and a better product. That being said no one says that by removing the Dept. of Education that schools must be privatized. It simply means that education would be the responsibility of states and local communities as it should be. Allowing the Central Government to control education leaves open the risk (if it is not already the case) of nationalist indoctrination.

    The U.S. should not meddle in foreign affairs no matter how noble the intention. One obvious reason for this is WW2. Hitler would have never been in a position of power had the U.S. never intervened in WWII. Also who is to say that the lives of American soldiers who die is worth less than the lives that may be saved by intervention. Would I like to see a genocide? No. What is the stopping point though? If we can meddle in the affairs of one country when their immorality reaches a peak are we to refrain from meddling when another countries atrocities are just below that level? This is a hypothetical question and one in which deserves a better answer than I can really put forward here however I do know that most of our occupations are endless and are for far less moral reasons than ending genocide. I believe the best answer to this is to lead by example and show other countries especially developing countries the rewards that can be had through the virtues of peace and protecting natural rights of the citizenry. As opposed to the current example of empire building by means of war and occupation
  9. NaomiDec 20, 2010 02:15 PM

    I'm sorry, but I find your "down the river" logic to be inherently flawed. Let's say I have a huge corporation & nasty pollution to get rid of. An inexpensive way to get rid of it would be to dump it in a river. I buy a parcel of land with a river flowing through it and use this parcel of land to dispose of my waste. This is a simple, cheap solution for me.

    The river then carries it downstream, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem and damaging other peoples' properties.

    It's evident from this very simple example that what is in a corporation's, or even individual's, best (financial) interest is not in the interest of the common good when environmental regulations are not it place.

    Your response was merely that private property laws SHOULD prohibit dumping at the river down the road, but if you have property dependent on that river in some way (even if you get your water from that river and it doesn't go through your property) then you are effected without my ever stepping foot on your property.

    Furthermore, enforcing "no trespassing" laws and putting people in jail for things like trespassing (who--by the way--the CEO or the worker?) is a very expensive solution that would need to be funded. (It costs 3 or 4 times as much to keep an inmate in prison than it costs to, say, educate a child.) For this reason, I find your response less than satisfactory and request than you elucidate your position on environmental protection laws.
  10. TimDec 20, 2010 02:31 PM

    How can you figure Hitler would not have been in power had the U.S. not intervened in World War 1? I hope you aren't trying to change history to complement your views (even though it is just a wild guess)

    I want to know how you felt on September 12, 2001? In all honesty, did you cry for war? Or said we shouldn't be meddling in foreign affairs and to bring U.S. troops home from every country?
  11. Mike ShanerDec 20, 2010 02:49 PM

    If your pollution spills on to my property you will be trespassing. If I take a bucket of trash and dump it in your yard you can have me prosecuted. The same should happen to corporations who pollute our streams and air ways. It is quite simple really. The environmental regulations always benefit the big corporations and force out the little guy who cannot afford to keep up...However if we hold all people accountable to private property's a pretty easy solution.

    Tim: A simple google search will answer your question about WWI. As far as 911 goes....Which country attacked us that day? I think it would also be wise to understand the disease as opposed to just the symptom.
  12. Mike ShanerDec 20, 2010 02:52 PM
    I didn't say you should be prohibited only from dumping down the road....I said private property laws should be enforced...If I stand on the street and roll a wheel barrow of trash into your yard...I am still responsible for the trash ending up in your yard. You are responsible for disposing of your trash in a way that does not tresspass onto my property
  13. TimDec 20, 2010 03:27 PM do you suggest a nation defend itself from nationless terrorist groups? Or should we all ignore it and pretend it's not there?

    & to your google search. I thought we're talking facts here, not what would have happened. You answered a question about the U.S. if it should stop genocide if it has the means.

    "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
    Albert Einstein

    You do make many logical points but the world in 2010 is very different from the one in 1776. And to your income tax argument, here is Einstein with another quote lol.
    "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."
  14. Mike ShanerDec 20, 2010 03:30 PM
    Naomi: The CEO or whoever is in charge of a given plant and the person who did the dumping. If I commission you to commit a crime we are both guilty. Comparing the cost of housing an inmate vs education is irrelevant in this argument. Prison cost would be much less expensive in a free society as people would only be punished for violating the rights of others. No one would be in Jail for smoking Marajuana or gambling or other such victim less crimes. It would cost some money of course to enforce laws but this would be more than offset by the rise of industry. For one imagine the new jobs that would be available and the technology advances if companies were commissioned to measure pollution levels. Two: No one can dispute that businesses thrive in environments that are less regulated and not taxed to death.
  15. Mike ShanerDec 20, 2010 03:34 PM

    If we were not occupying foreign nations they would have no reason to attack us...and if they did decide to attack us wouldn't it be easier if we had troops here protecting the interior as opposed to not here? Of course I was referring to both facts and what would have happened...the argument was if we had not done one thing...another would not have happened. Switzerland operates Militarily in the way our Constitution intends for us to act....When is the last time Switzerland was attacked?
  16. SoulfulllDec 20, 2010 04:25 PM
    According to the constitution I'm still 3/5ths of a person so I can't agree with you there.

    I don't know.... I agree with many of your points but without things that force employers to hire minorities and women we would probably still be segregated- which isn't necessarily a bad thing but more than likely is- separate but equal was never a reality.
  17. Mike ShanerDec 20, 2010 08:48 PM

    The 3/5ths compromise referred to slaves not free people so you and I are actually considered whole people. Everyone from Helen Keller to MLK JR are examples of people who thrived before affirmative action. I acknowledge that some racist on both sides of the aisle would prefer to hire people who look like them however the main color most business people care about is green. It is in a company's best interest to hire the most qualified people regardless of race/ most companies would...or they would lose out to superior competition. I would recommend you look up Jesse Lee Peterson as he is much more suited to explain the negative impacts race based laws have inflicted on minority communities. Forced segregation has no place in a free society. It is this collectivist mentality that keeps racism alive in this modern age. We must judge individuals by the content of the individuals character however it is impossible to do this if we must also offer him/her a job based race/gender.
  18. Mike ShanerDec 20, 2010 08:57 PM
    Also it would not only be trespassing laws but also destruction of property....I think a good thing to look up in regards to government regulation is crony capitalism
  19. JonthePatriotDec 20, 2010 11:37 PM
    I find all of these arguments very interesting, but my biggest argument has always been about tyranny vs liberty. When you look at the Constitution and Bill of Rights, you get a solid idea of the amount of freedom that our founding fathers intended for this country. It was based on very simple and sound principles that we have gotten so far away from over the past few hundred years. The biggest problems are what Mike touched on in an earlier post. The Federal Government is completely out of control and it has taken the power of the States away, bringing them to their knees, through federal incentives and entitlements. These should have all been left up to the state, but somehow 'Jack in Ohio' is paying for 'Mary in California's education or abortion'..It has gotten to the point where the Governor cannot turn away monies or they can be taken to court by another entity within the state they govern. The Federal government (through our own blindness and inability to say no) has gone off the deep end and the Congress and POTUS are all just making it worse. It doesn't matter if it is George W. or Obama, their statist views on Federal government our ruining this country and if you take a step back and look at what Mike is saying, you will realize that the further we go into this direction, the more we become like the other failed countries globally. If you think for one minute that the EU or even China are doing so well, you are kidding yourself. They are all teetering on financial disaster due to the current financial system run by the IMF, World Monetary fund and of course our very own Federal Reserve. Do you realize that not one tax dollar that you pay actually goes to fund the operations of government? Do you realize that every penny goes directly to the Federal Reserve (a private bank) that pays or loans, prints more devalued currency, artificially lowers interest rates for their banker buddies while charging you full price? There is a lot going on here that many of you don't understand. It is like having a conversation with a child and I don't mean that to sound egotistical or demeaning, I mean that coming from a place of frustration, realizing that even through normal casual conversation and debate on a blog like this, only so many of you will take the time to really study history, to really study the true status of our financial stability both domestically and abroad. It doesn't mean that you have to believe in 'conspiracy theories' it just means that you have to question the modus operatus of our government and the two party system, along with the banker elite who dominate the global system at so many levels.

    Mike - sorry for the rant, but I really enjoy reading your posts
  20. SashaDec 21, 2010 05:05 AM

    The link between American involvement in WWI and Hitler is quite plain - before the US entered the war, it was basically a stalemate. The US tipped the balance, and allowed the allies to demand a complete surrender, along with the murderous and unfair terms of the treaty of Versailles, that wrecked the German economy and brought about great indignation, creating fertile ground for the Nazis to sprout.

    How should the nation defend itself from terrorist groups? Well, the "nation" does not exist. It is merely an abstraction. What there are are millions of people, acted both as individuals and loosely confederated into various types of organizations, that each have a strong individual incentive to not be the victim of terrorism. So, the answer is that all people will act in whatever way they see fit to protect their communities and their interests - just as government is not involved in mandating homes or companies have security systems on their houses.

    P.S. Einstein was generally a wise man, but he was also a socialist. He wasn't right about everything - physics left him behind in the end, when he rejected the possibility of quantum mechanics.

    @Dept of Education -
  21. Mike ShanerDec 21, 2010 09:36 AM
    very well said Jon and Sasha.
  22. PubliusDec 21, 2010 05:50 PM

    I am not a big fan of the Patriot Act, for sure, but I don't think you can say that the basic concept is unconstitutional or somehow against what the founders would have wanted. After all, George Washington himself led an army against other Americans in the Whisky Rebellion and he engaged in espionage quite heavily as general of the army during the revolution. I think some of what is in the Patriot Act he'd have seen the logic of.

    Next, I always find libertarian-minded folks amusing when they claim that they are for absolute freedom. Are you for the "freedom" of pedophiles to rape children? If not then you ARE for some sort of limits to absolute freedom. Further, the founders were in no way for the sort of license that absolute freedom would bring. Society cannot long exist in the anarchy of absolute freedom. Also, the founders were not for absolute free speech, either. They were for free POLITICAL speech, not absolute free speech. There is a difference.

    Additionally, the founders were for public virtue and Christian morals. They would not agree with you that prostitution was all well and good for everyone to engage in. They had laws against such things. Admittedly they also made sure that some areas didn't fall under those laws, so they were quite hypocritical where it comes to sexual mores in many ways.

    Finally I say you are a neo-conservative and not a classical liberal in your feelings against foreign aide and in isolationism by keeping the military only on our soil and in drastically cutting defense. The founders were in no way isolationist. They were very, very involved in the world of their time. And to point to Washington's farewell address and using that as proof that "the founders" thought we shouldn't be involved in foreign affairs is a bad misreading of that speech.

    Washington did not say we should never be involved in foreign affairs. He just said that we shouldn't in his day because we were not militarily strong enough to back up our diplomatic words and prescriptions. After all, the US was thoroughly involved in the world throughout Washington's presidency and since before we became a country. The isolationist ideas of neo-conservatives like yourself re not really representative of the founders's ideas.

    Remember all of our first four presidents -- founders all -- involved themselves in the business of foreign nations.

    So. I would call you a neo-conservative, isolationist with classical liberal underpinnings. But I would not call you someone who is just like the founders in all cases. In many cases you clearly don't believe exactly as they did.
  23. WaltDec 23, 2010 07:42 AM
    Funny, the Dept of Education did not exist until Jimmy Carter created it in 1979, yet we managed to put a man on the moon and lead the world in most education parameters up until that point. If the entire Dept of Education were to disappear, we would spend $71,000,000,000 less as taxpayers in 2011 alone, and state and local educators would be relieved of layers of centralized bureaucracy.
  24. M. SimonDec 29, 2010 09:49 PM
    Who do you foresee filling the power vacuum when the Americans leave?

    Churchill thought that if the lessons of WW2 lasted 50 years that would be about the best we could expect. It is 65 years on now. The stupidity is returning. No surprise.

    The only question I have is how long it will take for a world war to ensue?
  25. M. SimonDec 29, 2010 10:08 PM
    Einstein was generally a wise man, but he was also a socialist. He wasn't right about everything - physics left him behind in the end, when he rejected the possibility of quantum mechanics.

    Einstein never liked the Copenhagen Interpretation. Neither do a lot of modern physicists. At this point in time we really don't have a unified physics. We have islands of knowledge. Good enough to do engineering. But it is not a cohesive whole. Which could mean one of two things:

    1. The universe is not cohesive
    2. We don't yet have sufficient information and/or understanding.

    But yeah. Einstein got socialism wrong. BTW Germany was resentful of Versailles long after the treaty ceased to have a practical effect. The psychology of the 30s led to the war of the 40s. Dictators saw that the democracies wouldn't fight and acted accordingly. The Austrian Corporal thought Chamberlain was a wimp.

    Churchill (before the unity cabinet came into being) said:

    ”Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war." Winston Churchill

    As long as there is enough Jacksonian spirit in America (I believe there is) the peacemongers are unlikely to bring us to war. Of course warmongers can bring us to war too. But they are easier to watch. You never know when you are spending too little on war making until you go below the minimums. That is usually way more expensive than exceeding them.
  26. Mike ShanerDec 30, 2010 10:21 AM
    No one is saying we should not fight or have a strong military. What is being said is that we should have a strong military that is only used for self defense. I believe if the U.S. did not have to fund it's empire all over the world and traded freely the standard of living here would be higher not lower. Again, Switzerland is an outstanding example of this. They have one of the most free economies in the world and are non interventionist. The Swiss Standard of living is to be envied. Being non-interventionist does not mean you are somehow isolationist or pacifist.
  27. Mike ShanerDec 30, 2010 10:25 AM
    I do not hold Switzerland as a model for the U.S. as I disagree with many swiss policies as well such as nationalized health care...but they have it right on Capitalism and defense
  28. Mike ShanerDec 30, 2010 02:35 PM

    I disagreed with a lot of it but it's ok to disagree...For instance your pedophile scenario...I am not an I stated in the blog I believe in the rule of law...I believe people should be free to do as they please short of trespassing on the rights of others...Obviously rape/murder/molestation tresspasses on the rights of others.

    I never claimed to be a clone of the founders and my beliefs are certainly different than those of Hamilton, Adams, and Washington...But they are in tune though not a copy of Jefferson's.

    The States making laws against homosexuality has little to do with my argument...The people of a given State should be able to make laws that are in line with the morality of that state...The central government cannot. I don't believe anyone should have to ask any government permission to marry anyone...more than I believe that I believe the states have the right to make laws representative to the people of the State. If one does not like it they can be free to move to another state.

    I did not touch on this because it will be material for a future blog but while I do believe in open immigration, I do not believe in it for our current situation. As Milton Friedman said you cannot have a simultaneous welfare/open border state. I believe if we eliminate the welfare state immigration would not be a problem. I also think it is ridiculous to say that we need illegals to do the jobs Americans will not do yet we need infinite unemployment benefits to pay the Americans who will not do them. If a hard working immigrant wants to come to this country to better his life I have no moral right to stop him...however with limitless welfare there is no way to filter out who is good/bad.

    I admit that I paraphrased the Franklin quote and I should have made clear that I was paraphrasing. The spirit was the same though.

    I'm sure there are others but unfortunately I have to work :-)

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I imagine that philosophically we are very is the role of government in the distribution of those philosophies where we may find disagreement. I want to say again that I very much appreciate you taking the time to respond to this. It was helpful and it meant a lot that you put such thought into it. Your critique is welcome any time
  29. Mike ShanerDec 30, 2010 02:38 PM
    @ publius...I am not an stated I believe in free trade. Jefferson said (paraphrasing) that we should neither grant nor request special favors from other countries...I agree. Anti interventionism is no way the same as isolationism. Isolationist is a neocon buzz word...
  30. M. SimonDec 30, 2010 03:37 PM
    No one is saying we should not fight or have a strong military. What is being said is that we should have a strong military that is only used for self defense.

    That was the animating spirit of the 1930s. We wound up defending ourselves in Tunisia and Guadalcanal.

    Some one will be keeping the peace in the world. (Power vacuum theory) Who would you prefer? The Chinese? The Japanese? The f*n Europeans?

    Yes it is very expensive. In my estimation the alternatives are even more expensive. I have some recent history on my side. YMMV.
  31. M. SimonDec 30, 2010 03:57 PM
    A little about my background:

    I voted for Ron Paul in 1988. I was Secty/Treas of my local Libertarian Club for 3 years.

    I broke with the Party over its reaction to 9/11. I'm now (like Ron Paul and a few others) a libertarian Republican. I hope to return the Party to its roots.

    Libertarians (and those with similar foreign policy aspirations) are mostly ignorant of the political and military history of WW2 and the events and zeitgeist that led to it. Shame.

    I was once in that camp. But I decided that if I wanted to end war I needed to know something about it. In fact I needed to know rather a lot. So I studied. And I will give you a hint: if you have not read Strategy cover to cover several times you are woefully ignorant on the subject.

    My estimate of the best way to reduce warfare on the planet? A Pax Americana. Essentially what we have now: peace through superior firepower. American peace keepers everywhere. It is working. The incidence of warfare has been declining for the last 65 years.

    Yeah. We could try something different and see if it works. And if it doesn't........?
  32. Quantum TubaDec 30, 2010 07:37 PM
    Overall I agree with this post, but I think your claims about progressives trying to stop people from saying Christmas are patently false. The ACLU's "limitations" on religious expression are purely limitations on that expression being funded by taxpayers, which is perfectly consistent with the First Amendment. Nobody is trying to stop you from saying "Merry Christmas", although if you can show me some, I'll oppose them. The most I've seen are organizations choosing to say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas.

    Other than that, props on your intellectual consistency and advocacy of liberty across the board.
  33. Mike ShanerDec 31, 2010 11:29 AM
    It says Congress shall make NO laws regarding religion. It does not say Congress shall make some laws regarding religious expression in public settings. A community has the right to set it's own standards and washington does not have constitutional authority to legislate those rights away any more than it has a right to oppose a mosque... I attended a "holiday parade" this year....last year and every year before that it had been a christmas parade
  34. Mike ShanerDec 31, 2010 01:29 PM
    @ Simon:

    Ron Paul's foreign policy is non-interventionist like mine.

    Who will police the world if we do not? I don't care. I do not care who intervenes in israel/palestine or other foreign affairs. I only care that we do not.

    I don't agree that America will lose it's place as top dog in the world if we discontinue the police/empire state....but It is in consequential

    history is actually on my side...constitutional republics prosper and thrive...empires fall...our empire is crushing us.

    if we were defending ourselves in the 30's as you say we would have been fighting on American soil...we were not. We were not attacked.

    My goal is not to end warfare on the planet nor to be a democracy...My goal is to live freely in a constitutional republic and have a non-interventionist foreign policy...we have no more moral right to intervene in the affairs of zimbabway or kosovo than China has to meddle in our affairs.

    The way to promote liberty and peace is to lead by example....not to force other nations to follow a preaching that we ourselves do not follow.

    If our defense is sound, if our interior is protected, and if we don't give others cause to hate us by bombing them, we will not be attacked.

    You say war has been reduced the past 65 years but this is not true...I am not a globalist so I speak for the U.S.A. which has been involved in some war or another for nearly 100 years. Every modern president has over seen some attack on usually a third world country

    I would suggest you read Revolution: A manifesto by Ron Paul

    Again, Switzerland has an overwhelmingly capitalistic economy and a non interventionist foreign policy but an outstanding military...they are both prosperous and safe.

    Liberty prospers. Empires fall.
  35. M. SimonJan 4, 2011 04:56 AM
    Who will police the world if we do not? I don't care.

    It was a non-issue in America in the 30s too. It got us the roaring 40s.

    You might recall that when Great Britain was no longer doing the world policeman job for us post '76 that we ended up in a war with the Barbary Pirates. The stakes are bigger.

    Fortunately for the time being I do not expect your views to prevail. But the memories of WW2 are fading. And peace and non-intervention are so seductive. Especially considering the $$$$$$$$$$.

    Liberty prospers? How well under Japanese/Germany hegemony do you think? Or Soviet?

    There will be a hegemon. I prefer it be the USofA.
  36. M. SimonJan 4, 2011 05:01 AM
    BTW in what sense is America an Empire? We conquer no territory permanently. We extract no tribute. We enslave no one.

    We trade.

    So is all this deployed military power protecting trade? To be sure. It is a traditional function of the Federal Government.
  37. Mike ShanerJan 20, 2011 12:53 PM
    In what sense is America an empire....In the sense that it occupies foreign countries for economic gain or sustaining the empire. You say we conquer no territory permanently....but we have troops stationed in over 120 countries...With no withdraw plan in sight....I have already said I believe if we are spending less maintaining the empire and our troops are at home we will be more prosperous and have a stronger national defense. Liberty prospers. We are in a global financial crisis, the dollar is worth next to nothing, and Congress now must decide if we should default on our debt now or borrow trillions and default later. I contend we are much stronger as a non interventionist country than a crumbling empire. If the empire crumbles under it's own weight who will fill your "vaccum" then? We have nt the moral or constitutional right to police the world. Just as Japan or Israel has no right to occupy this country or tell us when we can or cannot defend ourselves. WW2 was caused by intervention...not peace and non intervention
  38. tmaxPAJan 25, 2011 02:49 PM
    "I believe the founders said exactly what they meant to say. I agree with Jefferson that we should not render the Constitution meaningless through construction."

    That's not conservative. What you are insinuating is that liberals do not believe these things, and that is a lie.

    "In other words, I am a traditional conservative because I believe that people should be allowed to consume any thing they choose, marry whomever they choose, and be allowed to travel any place they choose."

    The strawmen just keep coming.

    "How can I call myself a classic liberal if I support repealing the federal income tax?"

    Easy enough; you are not held back by a requirement that your positions be consistent or practical. Self-righteousness isn't really that hard.
  39. Mike ShanerJan 25, 2011 03:11 PM
    tmaxPA. You say that liberals do believe in the limits of the constitution and that you agree with Jefferson about not making the Constitution meaningless through construction...and then you call me self righteous and illogical because I support repealing the income tax. You can't have it both ways hoss.
  40. Mike ShanerJan 25, 2011 03:15 PM
    By mean consistently democrat or republican I assume. It seems that saying the government should not have access to my civil or economic liberty is quite consistent. The idea that I work hard for my money and should not be forced to turn it over to the federal government is also quite logical. To suggest that in a free society a people or entity should be allowed to force me to turn over my property or income somehow seems much more illogical.
  41. AnonymousJan 25, 2011 05:27 PM

    I like your blog. Although I disagree with your politics, I think you are addressing important issues in a responsible manner.

    However, in your post dated December 30, 2010, you misstated the First Amendment restriction on government support of religion. The amendment reads as follows: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." That prohibition was extended to the states by the 'privileges and immunities' clause of the 14th Amendment. The courts (meaning mostly the Supreme Court) have generally held that the establishment clause means that the government (federal, state and local) cannot provide financial or other support for any particular religious faith. That prohibition includes governmental services, and also providing a place for a religious display that is exclusive to a particular religion. That's why there's often a menorah in the park near the nativity display.

    The reason the former Christmas Parade is now a "Holiday Parade" is likely related to some sort of government subsidy for the parade organizers, or a waiver of reimbursement for government services such as police that might otherwise be required for exclusively private or uniqely religious activities.

    I think your Libertarian views fail to encompass the change in the size and nature of major business entities, and the affect that those entities are able to bring on the lives of individual citizens. I am reading Vol 3 of Edmund Morris's life of Theodore Roosevelt (one of my Christmas presents). I think you might find it interesting reading, and it has much to say on the matter.
  42. Mike ShanerJan 26, 2011 12:30 PM
    The 14th amendment was passed as a spoil of war and needs to be revisited but it does not negate the first amendment. Also, the bill of rights gives power to the states and the does not restrict them.The states were not intended to be restricted by the bill of rights only the federal government. The supreme court often hears cases it is not authorized to hear but the 1st amendment says what it says. The Constitution says what it says. Not what any court or constitutional law says that it says.
    I appreciate the civil disagreement and the reading suggestion. I would also like to recommend a book by Dr. Kevin Gutzman called The Politically incorrect guide to the constitution.
    I believe the shear mass of corporations is a byproduct of government intervention generally and crony capitalism in particular. The government regulates in order to protect big business at the expense of individuals and small business people. Not the other way around.
  43. Mike ShanerJan 26, 2011 12:35 PM
    The federal courts are an agent of the federal government. It is unlikely that they would rule against there own interest. It was John Marshall who wrongly established the system of Judicial review based on precedents that we follow today. The federal courts are not constitutionally authorized to hear matters such as abortion or state prayer...these are state issues. Also, the court was not authorized to make or apply law. It is not a right of the court to say that the states must act within the confines of such and such amendment.