Tuesday, May 23, 2006

When the good of the party trumps the good of the nation

There ain't no good guys,
There ain't no bad guys,
There's only you and me,
and we just dis-agree...
-Dave Mason

The past few months in blogger land have been somewhat depressing in many ways. Those with whom I've had the pleasure in communicating with can testify to our common theme of the moment,.. the insane "absolute-ism" that exists in the political discourse. No liberal wants to give a conservative credit for anything, no conservative wants to get caught dead agreeing with a liberal, etc. Nobody of any stripe of ideology want to throw a Libertarian a bone of any sort. Why does partisanship trump the better of the nation? why do we each feel that EVERYTHING our platform stands for is better that what YOURS stands for? How can it be that we dis-agree on 95% of everything... is it that difficult to give credit to opposing views when they show you a better path than your own?

Take foreign policy. Libertarians (the party that your truly identifies with the most) believe in virtually no foreign policy intervention whatsoever. An almost Wilsonian credo to our platform. If Hitler incarnate were to rise in the halls of the Kaiser's palace my party would say "Screw you Europe, you're on your own, its not our problem". There is a troubling absolute-ism to this issue that makes me think not everything in my party makes sense. I think most of us can readily agree that although we agree with a majority of our own partisan platform, the rest is just appeasement for the fringe elements that help us in the primaries,.. at least that is my view. Why not be honest then? Example, I am fully for a woman's right to choose and never talk about the subject as it is polarizing to the 12th degree, but that does not mean that the casual view of late term partial birth abortion is something to which I subscribe (save the slippery slope argument, I know it). For reasons of my own and that I choose not to share that's where I draw my line. There HAS to be a point that we as people can say, "Although I am a loyal partisan, my party is out to lunch in this issue and I do not support this or that"...

So in order to fully whip my own self, cleanse my soul, and flog my beliefs I offer you 3 things I DON'T fully or partially agree with within my own Party. There,.. I said it! (is this what AA meetings feel like?.... ) All of the comments on quotations (") are taken from the issues page of the libertarian party home page (http://www.lp.org/). My comments of retort, are in blue.

1. End Welfare
"None of the proposals currently being advanced by either conservatives or liberals is likely to fix the fundamental problems with our welfare system. Current proposals for welfare reform, including block grants, job training, and "workfare" represent mere tinkering with a failed system.
It is time to recognize that welfare cannot be reformed: it should be ended.
We should eliminate the entire social welfare system. This includes eliminating AFDC, food stamps, subsidized housing, and all the rest. Individuals who are unable to fully support themselves and their families through the job market must, once again, learn to rely on supportive family, church, community, or private charity to bridge the gap"
(Although I agree in principle with the reasoning behind this ideal, practically speaking we know there in no way in hell this will ever happen. There is too much inertia and "grandfathering" of social programs to believe this is even in the realm of do-ability. I wish my party would come to a practical solution that is palatable to all and not seem as draconian. I work in the affordable housing industry, and trust me, there is good work being done by good people. And those very same people use the subsidies, grants and other Federal and State funds with great care and fiscal wisdom. My party is out to lunch on this)
2. Reform education
"There can be no serious attempt to solve the problem of poverty in America without addressing our failed government-run school system. Nearly forty years after Brown vs. Board of Education, America's schools are becoming increasingly segregated, not on the basis of race, but on income. Wealthy and middle class parents are able to send their children to private schools, or at least move to a district with better public schools. Poor families are trapped -- forced to send their children to a public school system that fails to educate.
It is time to break up the public education monopoly and give all parents the right to decide what school their children will attend. It is essential to restore choice and the discipline of the marketplace to education. Only a free market in education will provide the improvement in education necessary to enable millions of Americans to escape poverty"

(Again, I think there is enough education spectrum and diversity of thought so as to make public schools, charter schools, private schools, home-schooling and other methods co-exist and not pee on each other as if they are afraid of loosing their political or union clout. Education as a whole should trump our individual career agendas, not the other way around. My party is halfway out to Brunch on this...)

3. Immigration
The Issue: "We welcome all refugees to our country and condemn the efforts of U.S. officials to create a new "Berlin Wall" which would keep them captive. We condemn the U.S. government's policy of barring those refugees from our country and preventing Americans from assisting their passage to help them escape tyranny or improve their economic prospects"
(I love my party, but they are freakin' nuts in this issue! For a party that is for fiscal discipline and strong individual responsibility they sure act as if I love paying taxes for the caring of every refugee who can make it here,... I sure as heck don't! I swear I am neither a racist or xenophobe, but to say that the house of America is open to care for all the refugees of the world, while noble and Utopian, is not near the pragmatic thought patterns I subscribe towards. My party is not only out to lunch on this,... but I am fighting from within to fight this)

Now, If I can just get a Democrat and a Republican to tell me what 3 items on their platform are full of it, we may yet save all of us,... from ourselves.

This Libertarian man did not vote for Mr. Bush, but if I think pragmatically (and close my eyes really tight...) and look at every thing he has done, and all the laws passed by the Congressional bodies during his administration, I can find some things that I can applaud and hail as noteworthy,... and believe me, its not that hard. It just takes loving your country more that you love you party.


betmo said...

i am not really sure at this moment what the democratic party stands for- so i am going to wing it :) the hot button issues:

education- we need to fix the system-period. the school district by school district is not working(see previous posts) and it is a 50+ year old system that doesn't work anymore. let's stop throwing money at it.

abortion- i personally feel that if the abortion issue was separate from the contraception issue more people would back emergency only abortions. women have a right to have sex and not get diseases and pregnant and should not use abortion as a birth control measure. unfortunately, both sides use this issue to galvanise their fight against the other side. give me my pills and condoms and fight it out about abortion. not all of us who are married and have sex want kids either(see numerous posts on that issue).

immigration- really disagree with both sides but especially dems- who want free citizenship for all. fine- but for what reason? to make the other side look bad. no one is actually listening to what any illegals are saying- or the legal immigrants and guest workers and student visas- who are here in this country.

i think my biggest criticism of both parties is that they have been hijacked by the fringe. i would say 'lunatic fringe' and centrists and moderates need to take things back and stop being lazy. i have friends who would disagree and say we need progressives and forward thinkers- and i would agree in part with that. i just don't see how anything progressive can occur with the current regime in power and i don't see how it would make more sense with the equivelent from the other side. it seems that the country did better with the checks and balances working more in sync. not with one party controlling all three branches of government.

oh- let me add welfare to my lengthy diatribe:

i thnk that the basics of welfare- temporary assistance, food stamps, and rental assistance(temp) should be what there is. why do we need a huge bureaucracy? to make jobs and professions so people have benefits. i used to work in human services and have seen the need to have a basic net there for the absolute neediest to get on their feet. but i do know that in new york, medicaid is bankrupting the state. that's for another time.

Truth-Pain said...

Wow, terrific and instrospective. Just what I was hoping for from somebody. It is never easy to self-examine our own credo's is it...
What I find fascinating is that that little diddy of a profile we both filled out calls you to be a 75% liberal... I don't see it. Not that I am challenging the moniker or see it as a negative,.. its just that most persons of liberal tendencies (at least the ones I know or read about..)go right down the party line with socialist-tinged agendas and diametrically opposed to anything that smells of individual responsibility or independent thought.
I don't have enough time to reply to all your points, -and will add more later-, but you gave me a lot to munch on. :)

betmo said...

no- i am definitely not a bleeding heart liberal. i side with the dems because they seem to have more compassion for people than the 'compassionate conservatives' or the christian right. i consider myself an independent thinker but since there hasn't been a decent 3rd party candidate(i consider nader a nuisance)i side with the dems. also, far from the republican agenda, this batch of repubs are eroding the constitutional rights of americans and doing so on the flimsy pretext that we are at war- and at war indefinitely. i find that hard to swallow- and i really think that this is why there is so little middle ground these days. the dems feel like we are in a fight to save our lives- against the incumbant repubs who are taking our civil liberties away and moving this country towards a totalitarian state. i just don't buy the 'war on terror.' i think that we could protect ourselves and not have the patriot act, domestic spying, homeland security, etc. it is all moving towards dictatorship- maybe not within the next set of elections- but the repubs current thinking makes me nervous. so- i lean left out in the war on big government- as odd as that sounds. i would much rather pare down a government full of social programs than one that is building a military state.

Publius said...

I can comment here too.
Big business does not look out for the good of the people it looks out for the good of big business. The almighty dollar trumps all beliefs and traditions. If the Republicans could back away from the Big Business money they would find a lot more supporters.
Big Oil, sort of the same lines. If we want to have fewer problems in the Middle East, then stop buying their oil. Want to stop buying their oil then encourage biodiesel and alternative energy, don’t just say it and then give a tax break to the oil companies that are making billions in profits.
Guns. Sure a gun is harmless on its own, but in someone’s hands they kill. So why make it easier to kill others by letting people have automatic weapons, armor piercing bullets, M-50s that can take down airplanes, and gun show loopholes.
I got more but you only asked for three.

Truth-Pain said...

Thanks to the both of you for your thought-contribution... I have enough ammo (pardon the pun) to do 2 or 3 more postings on this very subject just on the amount of input given.
Betmo, I'd like to think that everytime America skews a bit to the right (as in the Reagan/Bush 41 years) it tends to auto-correct itself almost by instinct,... there is a natural ebb and tide about the way we calibrate our motion and the way we go about making sure we don't implode. Although I can understand your fear of the direction that this administration is headed, I am the eternal optimist that we know when the precipice is near, and when to take drastic measures to secure what we all hold dearest to our hearts...
Publius,... I was pleasantly surprised at your stance on guns. I myself am a 2nd amendment activist BUT within reason. NOBODY needs an UZI or a 50 cal. for home security,.. these are the areas that I think common sense would reign if the majority was not so entrenched in their narrow interpretation of their own view.

Publius said...

Truth, you might be surprised about a lot of crazy wacko Totalitarian ideas that I have. Here is one too.
The government is involved in some companies like Amtrak which should otherwise be private enterprises but because they do not compete with other businesses they co-operate the trains. We have a lot of dead factories in the Rust Belt and a lot of former factory workers who have no jobs. Why doesn’t the government buy one of those plants and build televisions? There are no American companies that make televisions so there is no conflict. The factory workers could all become government workers with the same pay scale and benefits, and the televisions built could all be used to only supply schools, government buildings, hospitals, etc but not personal consumers. The government could sell the TVs to themselves at a cheaper price than buying them from say Best Buy, and imagine the gratitude of the people in some town when the government comes in and open a factory and puts them all to work and gives them health insurance. You think the Congressman from that district who proposed that legislation would not be the most popular person from that district ever? And this could be done with other industries where there is no American competition. Wouldn’t it be good for kids in school to watch a television with a name brand of say, USA Products, than one that says Sony?

betmo said...

i posted on my blog regarding your suggestion- and then i thought- huh- why didn't i post on the other blog as this is my blog? anyhoo- email? mine is at my site too- www.betmo@stny.rr.com.

Always On Watch said...

I love your commentary on education. I work with homeschoolers now, but previously I worked in both public and private education.

We cannot have too many choices when it comes to education!

Truth-Pain said...

Thanks, I have friends who are members of the ATA and another Teacher's Union. I tend not to carp on any well-meaning union, but the things she has told me about how the Education system is being hi-jacked by political groups is really pathetic. I am working on a posting on this very subject and I'm sure I'll have the left pissed at me for that too.

Rosemary said...

1. Give welfare to the Church (or whatever) and get the government out of it.

2. Get the government out of education. They did not start it, the Church did. So bye bye!

3. Immigration? Do you by any chance mean ILLEGAL ALIENS? GET RID OF THEM.

Okay, I've calmed down. We have the Sovereign right to decide who, what, how many, where, and every other damn thing when it comes to INVITING people to this country.

There is NO law anywhere in OUR constitution that guarantees anyone the right to an INVITATION! Thank you. I needed that. :)

Truth-Pain said...

Rosemary, you feel better now? :)
I feel ya', I am for the Total removal of state or federal sponsorship of education, period. But since I profess to the a quasi-bastion of pragmatic thought,-and in the interest on not sounding draconian-, I have to take the middle ground in this. Your views are pretty libertarian Rosemarie.... I'm curious to see what else we agree on...
As to number 3... That is the one thing my party is out to lunch on, alas, our platform cannot be perfect, can it?
Feel free to use the truth-pain emporium whenever the world becomes too much to bear :)