Skip to comments.Tackling Fairness and Justice
Posted on 12/29/2012 8:46:43 AM PST by Kaslin
The last year has been a tough one for conservatives. The hope that four years of failed policy would be enough to repudiate the liberal/progressive ideology of the Obama administration ended when the majority of the American public voted to maintain their entitlements -- so long as someone else paid for them. And the conservative response to the debacle has been for the various factions within the movement to declare war on each other.
It's time for conservatives to give serious thought to what they believe and how they can make a more persuasive case that conservative principles offer the best path for America. Conservatives have to do more than invoke small government, lower taxes and protection of the family. They have to explain the principles on which such policies are based and why those principles are more likely to fulfill the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on which the nation was founded.
Liberals always argue for their policies on the basis of fairness and justice. It's only fair, they say, that those who have the most share what they have with those who have less. The whole basis of the progressive tax system rests on this principle -- and it is at the heart of the Obama tax message even now.
Conservatives' arguments that this economic redistribution will harm the economy (it will) or that the taxes raised still won't be enough to pay for ever-expanding entitlements (they won't) never confront the false premise that the principle is just and fair in the first place. Here is where conservatives seem to have lost their footing, almost as if they no longer know why they believe what they do.
The idea that it is right and just for one group of persons to take from another the fruits of their labor simply because they have more political power would strike most people as unjust. Yet, the debate around raising tax rates on the rich ultimately boils down to that.
At least in the short run, we could raise more revenue to pay for government programs by raising taxes on everyone -- rich and middle class alike (few people argue for making the poor pay taxes) -- than we could by taxing only those who earn $250,000 or more. No politician argues for that because middle class Americans still make up the voting majority in this country and the middle class have no interest in redistributing their own hard-earned wealth. And why should they? Most people believe they're entitled to what they've earned through their own efforts.
But this natural response actually stems from an understanding that it is a basic right for a man to enjoy the rewards of his own labor. If a man works twice as hard as his neighbor or is more skillful, is it really fair or just to say that that individual should be entitled to keep less of what he earns?
That is not to say that conservatives should forget about the poor and needy, but here again, their arguments should rest on principle not politics. There is no right to be taken care of (except among children, the severely disabled or very old). But there is a moral obligation -- for the individual and community -- to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. So, too, is there a moral obligation on the part of the individual not to take advantage of others' charity to avoid taking care of himself and his family -- if at all possible. Conservatives too often act as if the problem with social welfare programs is that they cost too much, rather than to point out the way in which they breach both moral obligation and responsibility.
It's not too late for conservatives to try to make these arguments -- but first they have to understand them and believe them themselves. Conservatives shouldn't concede the justice or fairness arguments of liberals; they should tackle them head on.
Nice essay. The biggest problem with Republicans is that they are arguing for principals, while the opposite side has no principals, only tactics. Yes, this will be viewed as a big victory for Democrats, but from watching the Democrat operatives on the news shows, some seem nervous as to where this is going. The victory here will be more taxes, mostly on successful small businesses, and no limits on spending.
The revenue being brought in is less than one tenth of what is needed, but these tax increases have been sold as magically bringing back the Clinton (actually the dotcom) boom overnight. Debt will skyrocket even further, and the tax increases may hurt growth further.
Everybody just hang tough, take our licks and keep the faith. Let’s see what the fallout will be over the next two years.
The answer is too simple for purely political minds to articulate.
The choice is between individual freedom and slavery to government--a tyrannical form of slavery.
The formula structured by the Constitution of the United States and laid out in its philosophical foundations--as asserted in the 1776 Declaration of Independence from an overly-powerful government administered by King George III--were explained by America's Founders.
Their writings and speeches, as well as the wisdom writings from previous defenders of liberty, are available online.
THE FEDERALIST, that collection of 85 essays explaining the Constitution's provisions and protections, now can be read in every home and school as a means of enlightening a public which has become too willing to yield their Creator-endowed liberty to a collection of would-be tyrants who call themselves "progressives," but are, in fact taking American citizens back to the bondage from which their ancestors fled in other parts of the world.
Several years ago, a business man by the name of James R. Evans, in his book, "America's Choice: Twilight's Last Gleaming or Dawn's Early Light," suggested 7 simple principles which every citizen could benefit from considering as they watch the so-called "progressives" attempt to enslave them through legislation and Executive Orders.
"1. Does this legislation or idea increase, or decrease, individual freedom and creativity?
"2. Does this legislation or idea increase, or decrease, the power of some citizens over other citizens?
"3. Does this legislation or idea recognize that the persons who will exercise the power are themselves imperfect human beings?
"4. Does this legislation or idea recognize that government is incapable of creating wealth?
"5. Does this legislation or idea authorize taking from some what belongs to them, and giving it to others to whom it does not belong?
If 'thou shalt not steal' is a valid commandment, can we assume that it is meant to apply only to individuals and not to government (which is made up of individuals), even if those persons in power pass laws which sanction such redistribution of the wealth of others?'
"6. Does this legislation or idea encourage, or discourage, the very highest level of morality and responsibility from the individual?
. . .when government makes actions 'legal' by some citizens at the expense of other citizens, the result may be behavior which would not be considered possible by individuals acting alone.
"7. Does this legislation or idea propose that the 'government' do something which the individual cannot do without committing a crime?"**
**7 principles drawn from James R. Evans book, "America's Choice," and reprinted in a Stedman Corporation (Asheboro, NC) booklet entitled "I'm Only One, What Can I Do?"
The simplicity of these questions and of the core message of the following words by some of America's Founders might jar some citizens into a recognition of what "progressives" and this Administration are doing to the future of liberty for their posterity:
"...nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society." - John Adams
"This was a favorable moment to shut and bar the door against paper money." [This statement referred to a proposed provision in Article I, Section 8, that would have read 'and emit bills of credit (paper money) of the United States,' which the Founders rejected by an overwhelming vote.] - James Madison- Notes of the Federal Convention 1787
"...there have always been those who wish to enlarge the powers of the General Government. There is but one safe rule...confine (it) within the sphere of its appropriate duties. It has no power to raise a revenue or impose taxes except for the purposes enumerated in the Constitution....Every attempt to exercise power beyond these limits should be promptly and firmly opposed." - Andrew Jackson's Valedictory
"...experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government), those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate...the minds of the people...to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth. History, by apprizing them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future...it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views...." - Jefferson's Bill for the more general diffusion of knowledge for Virginia
"Although all men are born free, slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorant--they have been cheated; asleep--they have been surprised; divided--the yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson?...the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it....It is universally admitted that a well-instructed people alone can be permanently free." - James Madison
"These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety." - Thomas Jefferson-First Inaugural Statement of Principles of Good Government