Libertarians vs Christians

Too much for a comment…

I can understand the need to “govern from the center” but I think this article completely misses the point of this last election, but I’ll come back to that.

First the author contradicts himself when he says:

“The difficulty, of course, is that a conservatism that cares only about “limited government,” “fiscal discipline” and preaching about “traditional moral values” will shy away from Levin’s practical, problem-solving approach”

So first they’re not natural allies but then they’re lumped together as one? I’ll come back to that as well.

Second the contention that the “creative destruction” of market forces is by definition at odds with family values is simply ridiculous:

“Traditional values…discourage the spirit of competition and self-interested ambition essential for free markets to work, and their adherents sometimes seek to enforce codes of conduct that constrain individual freedom.”

Maybe I’m a little naïve, but a good portion of the “free-market” success books I have read (and I have read several) talk about the importance of putting ethics and morals at the forefront of your business agenda. Pretending that family values and free-market competition are mutually exclusive (macro-economically and micro-economically) sounds good, but it just doesn’t hold water. Market forces have a tendency to eventually punish destructive evil-doers on a large scale (Enron, etc.), and it’s those forces that create the right checks and balances on future corruption.

But this is where “Progressives” simply do not get it. The whole premise here is that free-markets are by definition selfish and not moral, and “values voters” need the Federal Government to enforce their morals and values. “Christian Conservatives” (and let’s go ahead and call them that because that’s what we’re talking about) do not consider the Federal Government to be the authority of moral values and ethics, and never have considered it that.

Actually, in my opinion, (and this is important if you want to understand my views on this) the whole foundation of our fine Republic is the concept that a Higher Power is where our faith and trust should be laid, and the true authority over morals and values lies there. The government, on the other hand, is created by us to serve and protect us, and not the other way around. This is why Fascism (the State is the religion), Communism (the party is the religion), Socialism (the “council” is the religion), Theocracy (the religion is the government) NEVER WORK, and WILL NEVER WORK. Because they truly do not separate church and state.

Unfortunately, this is where I believe Libertarianism has its limit; it doesn’t acknowledge the importance of religion, but depends on individuals to have their own moral center, which typically results in SOMETHING filling that authority gap…namely a regime that is the exact opposite of Libertarianism (see above).

However, Libertarianism has it right that market forces are more efficient at managing market forces than the government, and there is nothing about Christian Conservatism that would disagree with that.

Now there is the point that if Mr. Dionne were talking about lobbying groups that are pushing for less or more Federal Government controls on social and economic issues, he would be right that the two ideals are definitely at odds.

But that’s not what he’s talking about. He’s talking about voters…”the parenting class”. He tells us that the crucial segment making $30,000 to $100,000 went over to the Democrats because of the Republicans’ “flight from a solution-oriented politics designed to deal with the pressures on working- and middle-class families.”

Probably true. But if this is a sign of a divide between Libertarianism and the “Traditionalist” right, and the Republican party leaned too far to the far right, meaning the “Christian Right”, does that mean the security moms, disaffected men, and Reagan Democrats are all atheist Libertarians who aren’t into the whole “morals and values” thing?

Not buying it.

The truth is it’s unfortunately as simple as those EVIL NEOCON TALKING HEAD PARTISANS are saying:

The Republicans lost because they for 12 solid years have completely bailed on BOTH Libertarian AND Christian values.

Limited-government, and fiscal discipline, and morality issues are not dividing issues within the Republican party; they are indeed the uniting ones (and that’s why the author lumps them together again, betraying that he believes in neither)

(Actually Mr. Dionne deftly misses the point that two of the three issues that he mentions regarding Mr. Levin (health care portability and school choice) are actually limited-government concepts—but details.)

Simply put, there is nothing moral or ethical or Christian about squandering taxpayer money on earmarks, allowing moral bankruptcy and corruption to define the Congress (Cunningham, Foley, etc.), and being horrible stewards of our economy. Neither “free-marketers” nor “Christian Conservatives” appreciated any of this, and they either stayed home, or decided to throw the bums out. Meanwhile, the Democratic party jumped on an unpopular war, a raging deficit, and the aforementioned corruption, and drove voters to the polls to throw the bums out.

Not a sign of a divide, but a sign of a party who took its entire base completely for granted.

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The Divide

“…Pro-market libertarians and pro-family social conservatives are more aware than ever that their respective values and interests do not coincide.

“In an article in the latest issue of the conservative Weekly Standard, Yuval Levin, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, explains the tension between the market and the family as clearly as anyone has:

The market values risk-taking and creative destruction that can be very bad for family life, and rewards the lowest common cultural denominator in ways that can undermine traditional morality. Traditional values, on the other hand, discourage the spirit of competition and self-interested ambition essential for free markets to work, and their adherents sometimes seek to enforce codes of conduct that constrain individual freedom. The libertarian and the traditionalist are not natural allies.

“Levin acknowledges that the policy fixes he proposes (including health-care portability, long-term care insurance and school choice) are “barely a start” to what needs to be done for those in what he calls “the parenting class.” Still, he identifies a central conservative problem.

“The difficulty, of course, is that a conservatism that cares only about “limited government,” “fiscal discipline” and preaching about “traditional moral values” will shy away from Levin’s practical, problem-solving approach by government that might involve — horrors! — new or different kinds of spending.

“That’s one reason the decline of the moderate Republicans hurts the party: The moderates were always looking for innovative ways to use government for practical ends. And as an electoral matter, the 2006 vote proved that if Republicans lose too many of their moderate members in areas such as New England, the mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest, they no longer have a majority. Sarah Chamberlain Resnick, executive director of the Republican Main Street Partnership, said moderates had, to no avail, warned their leadership of “the consequences of pushing a legislative agenda kowtowing to the far right in our party.”

“The flight from a solution-oriented politics designed to deal with the pressures on working- and middle-class families had the final effect of driving many of the onetime Reagan Democrats, the “security moms” and disaffected men over to the Democrats, who enjoyed strong gains in the large swath of households in the $30,000 to $100,000 annual income range.

“The GOP desperately needs to disenthrall itself from old thinking. Some inventive Republican presidential candidate might study the policy playbook of a politician who liked to condemn “the brain-dead politics of both parties.” His name was Bill Clinton.” — E. J. Dionne

What’s the Rush?

One thing I’m comfortable with on the campaign front is inspiring a sense of urgency. But, big shock, it seems the Democrats are in no hurry to come up with a comprehensive plan of their own on the most critical (and arguably urgent) issues. But thank God the Brookings Institution feels that a “step-by-step, deliberative approach” is wise.

So what we’re saying is that they didn’t have a plan for success in Iraq either, and they’re just going to wait for Lee Hamilton and James Baker III to save them while they rush to raise the minimum wage, and get after them Big-Oil companies. Implementing the 9/11 commission? So would that include keeping continuity in key intelligence commitees, or is that only if those members are close personal friends of Nancy’s?

Speaking of Brookings, check out their budget presentation for the “fiscal wake-up tour”. My personal favorite line is in the conclusion where Brookings calls for (get this):

“Public Willingness to forgo tax cuts or accept spending cutbacks.”

Two HUGE things wrong with this:

1) “Forgoing tax cuts” is a euphemism for “accepting tax hikes.”
2) “Accepting spending cutbacks” assumes that all spending is good. How absolutely ridiculous.

How about “bureaucratic willingness to accept the public’s desire for spending cuts instead of tax hikes.” or “Congress’ willingness to give up their little fiefdoms in the name of fiscal responsibility” ?

Just a thought.

Death of the Monroe Doctrine

The popular elections in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, in which Morales, Correa and Ortega (2nd time) have all come to power, are a huge blow to US aims in the region.

These newly-elected leaders have all chosen similar models as the Chavez model, and it is clear that there is a grassroots-level revolution going on in Latin America.

This despite, or because of, the last 100 years or so of US intervention in places like Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua,Panama, Dominican Republic, Chile, et al

It is clear that the people of these countries want a break from the traditional US economic model imposed by the IMF, the World Bank, and treaties like GATT and NAFTA.

I am interested to see how the CIA becomes involved in funding national resistance movements aimed at balancing out the socialistic-leaning models these counties seek to impose.

There are too many countries now for the US to try and isolate. Can’t really isolate the entire Latin American world.

One state solution

Just saw on Democracy Now a new book coming out where the premise is two groups of people living inside Israel side by side …

Guess I should have beaten the guy to the punch!

I thought the one-state solution was fairly obvious 2 years ago or so. I guess diligence is rewarded.

I know which side will put the kaybash on that proposal. I offer a hint : it is the side that has led the rejectionist camp for 30 years now … What Kissinger called a policy of “stalemate”

Hurricane Katrina?

Forget the fact that this guy is a complete and utter tool. The question is, of course, how productive is it to get together and talk about nothing but racial issues anyway? Somehow it’s completely forgotten that many white people lost their homes and lives from Katrina (and Rita) as well. That gets continually aggravating to me.

A sane voice echoes my sentiment

I have just about had it with Glen Beck. I watched his interview with Netanyahu prodding the US to attack Iran on Israel’s behalf, and this is not the first time I have seen this grinning chicken-hawk beating the drums of war. This guy is an absolute lemon, and his network is re-running “Exposed : blah blah blah” again, due to what he said was incredibly high ratings.

Well, sir, if the ratings were so high the first time through, why re-run the damned thing? To further indoctrinate the already-brainwashed of your viewers?

One wonders.