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The struggle for power and the cost of conscience
The Daily Inter Lake ^ | September 21, 2013 | Frank Miele

Posted on 09/21/2013 9:07:14 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Nothing about the political battle between conservatives and liberals is new — not the passion, not the beliefs and not the absolute certainty on both sides that the country is doomed.

You could go back to the nation’s founding, and you would find similar disputes such as we are engaged in today. Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson waged a fierce fight over the notion of a central bank, for instance, and the same underlying themes were apparent then that are now being discussed regarding the need for federal oversight of health care, education, law enforcement, marriage and virtually every other element of daily life.

The essential distillation of the argument comes down to this: Freedom versus big government.

Jefferson believed in an innate moral sense that he and others called natural law. This inner wisdom could be trusted to guide most people to govern themselves, while in Jefferson’s mind, government at its best existed only to ensure that when bad people (or bad governments) worked to deprive others of their basic rights, there would be some power marshalled to restore balance.

Hamilton, on the other hand, like all good liberals, thought that people would make a muck of it if they were given their free hand. He thus saw the role of government as essential to protect the people not just in rare instances, but on a recurring and routine basis. It is arguable that the nation might have turned in an entirely different direction had Hamilton not met an early demise at the hands of Aaron Burr, but maybe not. Because over the course of the past 225 years, the dour paternalism of Hamilton has seen a genuine resurgence while the boyish optimism of Jefferson has been sent a-packing by one after another do-gooder who thought average folks just aren’t very good at managing their own lives.

Jefferson’s freedom-lovers haven’t entirely given up the fight, but to some extent they’ve gone to ground. The Tea Party you always read about isn’t nearly as scary as MSNBC’s bomb squad makes them out to be. Other than the occasional Koch Brother, in fact, the Tea Party seems more or less impotent. That’s one of the problems of the Jeffersonian model in the modern age — its propopents have a natural fear of large government, and by extension, large organizations. They’d rather take care of their problems on their own, which means showing up as part of a mass movement is largely foreign to their make-up.

Liberals, on the other hand, rather enjoy wielding power in bulk. They truly believe they know better than you and I, and they are convinced that their well-meaning laws, regulations, agencies, bureaucracies and reforms will keep herding us sheep toward a better life, even if one or two of us have to be sacrificed as mutton along the way.

When enough liberals get together, they call it Occupy This or Occupy That, and they feel pretty successful when they get to take over a college campus or a city park. I suppose they never thought about the fact that for most of us the verb “to occupy” refers to an invasion — and that’s exactly what their nanny government’s incessant encroachments into our personal liberties feels like.

If I sound a little bitter, don’t worry. It’s nothing that a little medical intervention won’t solve. And when that Obamacare kicks in on January 1, I’ll be able to get a 100 percent reimbursable checkup to find out what ails me. Maybe those government-funded doctors will be able to give me a shot or a pill or just shrink my head so that I fit in better with the small-minded people who run things these days.

And, yes, I understand that a fair number of people out there see me and my love of freedom as the problem — individual responsibility does require a certain degree of orneriness, after all, and a willingness to shrug off the dictates of the majority — but unlike big government, my conscience has no power to conform anyone to my will.

That ultimately is the difference between liberals and conservatives. Whereas liberals seek to wage war on injustice by wielding the power of big government, conservatives wage war against big government by wielding the power of conscience.

Choose your sides carefully. No matter who wins, there will be losers.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: government; occupy; statism; teaparty

1 posted on 09/21/2013 9:07:14 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Liberals waging war on injustice? You must be kidding. When America was a Christian nation, people fought over things like a central bank. Today we fight over who is going to bail out that central bank that was bankrupted by government.


2 posted on 09/21/2013 9:23:52 PM PDT by trubolotta
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Choose your sides carefully. No matter who wins, there will be losers.

Again, we are splitting the blame baby with this article, which appears to conclude that reasonable people can differ and there is a downside to either ideology.

The truth is otherwise. True conservatives have maintained consistently that the culture of dependency, which appears to be immediately compassionate, is a false compassion which makes everyone worse off and most harms those it pretends to be helping.

This is why the pronouncements of the Bush Family elders about a "kinder, gentler" America, or about "compassionate conservatism" were never anything more than hogwash. They never understood conservativism to begin with, or why conservatism is already compassionate.

We want people to be as successful as they can possibly be, to take responsibility for their own choices, and to be ready to help them when there are catastrophes or opportunities that truly require collective action. [And many of those don't require, or benefit from government involvement.]

Meeting liberals halfway by saying: "there is some hardship with the things we propose as well," is nonsense. That's simply us taking on the burden for the hardness of life. That's natural evil and it isn't the fault of conservatives or conservative ideals. There is simply no scenario in which their nostrums produce actual solutions, and there is no possible way that their ideas can lead to more productive, happier, or more materially or spiritually fulfilled human beings. We ought not to pretend they have some good ideas. They don't. They just, simply, don't.

3 posted on 09/21/2013 9:37:02 PM PDT by FredZarguna (And yet remain evil. To me shall FĂ«anor come soon.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I don’t think Hamilton and Jefferson fought about whether the Constitution mandates that states may not protect babies from being torn apart alive.


4 posted on 09/21/2013 10:27:59 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: FredZarguna

Bravo! A very precise and concise answer to a whole lot of fuzzy drivel.


5 posted on 09/22/2013 6:10:15 AM PDT by trubolotta
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Opie and His Merry Men
6 posted on 09/22/2013 6:19:31 AM PDT by EBH ( Freeman: A person not in slavery or serfdom.)
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