Conservative Thought

Recently on the other thread one of our resident liberals tried to define one of our regular conservative posters as typifying conservative thought. Ironically this liberal has never been able to define conservatism despite many calls from conservatives for him to do just that, so allow me to define what conservatism is to me on just four issues. Of course this is just me, I do not speak for any other conservative poster here but I would like to hear from the other conservatives on their thoughts, as well as the liberals. so here goes:

Government – I would like to see a more limited and a more constitutional federal government, with as many programs as possible pushed down to the state level, this would include Medicare, Medicaid, education,  etc.  In fact I would be open to discussing the possibility of having nearly every entitlement program administered at the state level. I would also like to means test social security and Medicare. Means testing would mean less benefits for the rich, allowing more aid for the poor, and if that aid were administered at the state level, it would be more efficient and effective. I would then like to evaluate every federal program and determine first the need, then the size and scope. In my opinion, we could eliminate many programs altogether and then trim every other department by a minimum of 10% without sacrificing a thing.

Economy – I am firm believer in competition. Competition improves people, product and service every time and brings prices down. Government stifles competition so naturally I would like to see as little government involvement as possible in the private sector. Obviously some industries need more regulation than others, but the best and most effective regulation government can exact, is the justice department. As long as the government ensures that everyone plays by the rules, the private markets will work just fine.

Abortion – life begins at conception, period. Therefore abortion is manslaughter, however, I do agree that this detestable practice should be made available in the event of rape, incest, or provable physical harm to the mother. Aside from that, I wish our society would stop glorifying this practice as a “choice” and start stigmatizing it, and educating both men and women on the numerous ways to prevent it. It is not a choice.

Gay Marriage – I fully support civil unions with all the legal rights therein, and not only for same sex couples, but for many other unions as well. I believe marriage should be reserved for the time honored tradition of the one man and one woman union. This is a union that is universal, and pre dates nearly all other institutions including many governments, so it should be left alone. Besides, marriage is not a right.

So this is just where I stand on these four issues. I invite everyone to comment on my positions, and include their own on not just these topics but others as well. Have fun.

Advertisements

198 thoughts on “Conservative Thought

  1. Amazona August 21, 2012 / 12:21 am

    Many of us have had the experience of giving someone a recipe and then being told that it “just didn’t turn out”. Using tuna casserole as an example, it would turn out that the other person had substituted canned mushroom soup for white sauce, smoked salmon for tuna, had forgotten the onions, thought that rosemary could be substituted for thyme, cooked it in the microwave instead of the oven, and didn’t bother with the panko crumbs on top.

    But the complaint would be that my “tuna casserole” just wasn’t all that good.

    The point of this is, when you change something, you change it—–it is no longer what it was before you changed it.

    The same thing is true of the Constitution. You cannot take a document which outlines a government severely restricted in size, scope and power, and then change it to expand size and scope and power and still say it is the Constitution. It WAS the Constitution, and then it became a distortion of the Constitution. However, we have told people that they can make these modifications, or at least demand them, and that’s OK because this means not that they have subverted the Constitution but are just “moderates”.

    They are told that insistence on following the Constitution as it is written is “extreme” and that nibbling away at it here and there, stretching and changing it (without being bothered with the process of official amendments) and just ignoring parts they don’t like is really a virtue, is just “moderate”.

    It is a process of eroding the Constitution by maligning those who want to preserve it as “extreme” and praising those who undermine it as “moderate”.

  2. Amazona August 21, 2012 / 1:03 am

    From beloved-of-the-Left wikipedia: (emphasis mine)

    “…. the Supreme Court held the understanding of the General Welfare Clause contained in the Taxing and Spending Clause adheres to the construction given it by Associate Justice Joseph Story in his 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Justice Story concluded that the General Welfare Clause is not a grant of general legislative power, but a qualification on the taxing power which includes within it a federal power to spend federal revenues on matters of general interest to the federal government. The Court described Justice Story’s view as the “Hamiltonian position”, as Alexander Hamilton had elaborated his view of the taxing and spending powers in his 1791 Report on Manufactures. Story, however, attributes the position’s initial appearance to Thomas Jefferson, in his Opinion on the Bank of the United States.

    (Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson argued that the Bank violated traditional property laws and that its relevance to constitutionally authorized powers was weak. Another argument came from James Madison, who believed Congress had not received the power to incorporate a bank, or any other governmental agency. His argument rested primarily on the Tenth Amendment: that all rights not endowed to Congress goes right to the States (or the people) exclusively. Additionally, his belief was that if the Constitution’s writers had wanted Congress to have such power, they would have made it explicit. Jefferson……..agreed that Hamilton’s proposal was against both the spirit and letter of the Constitution.´)

    As such, these clauses in the U.S. Constitution are an atypical use of a general welfare clause, and are not considered grants of a general legislative power to the federal government.

    • Amazona August 21, 2012 / 1:14 am

      Our responses seem to be placed a little randomly but I think they can be followed, if anyone but us cares.

      I point out the phrase in the Story ruling “..a federal power to spend federal revenues on matters of general interest to the federal government..” which can be taken to mean pretty much what I said earlier, that the clause refers to the general welfare of the nation/government, not the citizenry at large.

      The arguments of both Jefferson and Madison do seem to indicate that they thought they had expressed their views and intentions quite clearly. They seemed rather surprised that anyone could find a different or expanded meaning in their wording, particularly after they had employed the belt-and-suspenders tactic of first laying out the enumerated powers and then coming back with the 10th Amendment and saying “Look here! This part says what you have to do and this part says what you can’t do, and if what you want to do is not listed in the first part then the second part says you can’t do it!”

      • Count d'Haricots August 21, 2012 / 4:30 pm

        Amazona,

        This random placement is unnerving; I see I (independently) posted almost identical information regarding Judge Story, Jefferson and the Bank of the United States. My apologies for restating what you had made obvious, but I honestly didn’t see your post.

        Moderator, feel free to delete my duplicate information and leave Amazona’s fine evaluation as a better example.

      • Amazona August 21, 2012 / 11:36 pm

        No, Moderator, please do not.

        The Count uses mo’ better words

  3. Amazona August 21, 2012 / 1:16 am

    It’s late. Thank you for our first real discussion. I enjoyed it.

    • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 1:17 am

      It is the age of eternal optimism here at B4V. 🙂

      • Retired Spook August 21, 2012 / 9:28 am

        Seems I went to bed too early. I have one comment WRT one of Watson’s earlier comments.

        If the constitution intended “the general welfare” to mean something very specific, then why wasn’t it described in specific terms in the constitution?

        Actually, the Constitution is very specific on it’s description of what constitutes “general welfare”. The opening phrase in Article I, Section 8 that starts with “The Congress shall have the Power to” is followed by a semi-colon, which is, in turn, followed by 17 ennumerated powers associated with “laying and collecting taxes and providing for the common defense and general welfare of the United States, each separated by a semi-colon. There is no period in Article I, Section 8 until the very end.

        The framers were very specific, but even absent that specificity, Watson doesn’t seem to be willing to accept the actual framers later explanations of exactly what they meant. And yet he seems to be perfectly comfortable with what a 20th or 21st century judge says the Founders meant. That is precisely how Leftists throughout our history, but especially during the last century, have re-written our history and distorted the Constitution (without amendment); by ignoring original writings and attempting to put a modern spin on what very smart people did and said 2 centuries ago. In Constitutional law, this process is known as establishing and building on precedent, as opposed to interpretation of original intent. And each time history gets re-written, it gets a little farther from the truth. The modern Conservative movement, more than anything else, is about pushing the pendulum the other way and restoring historical truth. The truth, however, is the mortal enemy of Progressivism, so I understand why Progressives want to suppress it as much as possible. Fortunately, the truth doesn’t have an agenda and doesn’t need a majority to prevail.

      • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 12:39 pm

        Spook said, “The framers were very specific, but even absent that specificity, Watson doesn’t seem to be willing to accept the actual framers later explanations of exactly what they meant. And yet he seems to be perfectly comfortable with what a 20th or 21st century judge says the Founders meant.”

        I don’t accept that you can govern the country by citing selected writings of selected Founding Fathers. Those writings are not the governing documents of the United States; if the founders intended them to be, then they should have written that into the constitution. They did not.

        By your own admission, the constitution must be interpreted. Otherwise, why do you refer to secondary documents in order to tell us what the constitution truly means?

      • Retired Spook August 21, 2012 / 1:08 pm

        I don’t accept that you can govern the country by citing selected writings of selected Founding Fathers.

        You’ve made that pretty obvious from your comments, Watson. But if you don’t accept the Constitution as written and amended as the sole governing document, and you don’t accept the Founders’ own original writings expanding on and explaining the rationale behind provisions of the Constitution, then exactly what DO YOU ACCEPT?

        I would like to play poker with you using Hoyle’s Rules. However, since Hoyle’s Rules don’t say 9’s can never be wild, I would be allowed to declare, when I get a hand with two aces and two 9’s, that 9’s are wild. Is that how you want the country governed, because that’s essentially what we’ve done with the Constitution over the last century?

        By your own admission, the constitution must be interpreted. Otherwise, why do you refer to secondary documents in order to tell us what the constitution truly means?

        The question, though, is which secondary documents should have preference, original writings or a precedent based on a precedent based on a precedent, based on………well, I think you get the idea?

      • Count d'Haricots August 21, 2012 / 3:43 pm

        Random Placement Gremlins,

        If you take the time to study Law, you’ll find that the terms and conditions of the Constitution are de rigueur for an 18th Century contract.

        The Constitution was never intended as a comprehensive compendium of rights and responsibilities, nor was it intended to direct all human interaction under its jurisdiction. The language and construct predate the Magna Carta (1215) and has its roots in English Common Law. As such it follows the same theory of interpretation as those documents on which it was based; first go to plain language, then to precedent, then to the Framers’ Intent, and finally to English Common Law.

        In the 18th Century, bias and ambiguities in the Law were treated as pleas for substantiation by way of the understanding process; a feature of common law was an absolute protection was afforded to interests in property, mostly land. Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas as a prevailing concept which we understand today as torts. Contract Law was not a common practice as we know it which means the language of the Constitution was designed as everyone reading would draw the same conclusion; the voluminous detail we use today was unnecessary and considered an impediment to clarity.

        Still, the application of the Constitution as understood by Judicial Review (Marbury v. Madison 1803) is that the plain language is a declarative statement; precedent is our interpretation of plain language and English Common Law is the genesis upon which the Founders’ drew the plain language.

        Now, to Hamilton; the discussion of General Welfare vis-à-vis Hamilton’s Report on Manufacturers was his interpretation of Jefferson’s statement on the Bank of the United States; Hamilton’s references were not to the uses of revenues generated for “General Welfare” but to Congress’ ability to raise funds for General Welfare. That is the General Welfare Clause was not a grant of general legislative power, but a qualification on the taxing power which includes within it a federal power to spend revenues on matters of general interest to the federal government.

        In 18th Century terms; as reasoned by several Courts notably Justice Story in 1833 (above), general welfare refers to the affectations of community at the federal level such a transportation stations, roads, ports, public storehouses and other necessities for conduction commerce and associating as a community. It was not intended as charity to groups or individuals but as necessities of communal living.

      • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 4:30 pm

        Spook said, “But if you don’t accept the Constitution as written and amended as the sole governing document, and you don’t accept the Founders’ own original writings expanding on and explaining the rationale behind provisions of the Constitution, then exactly what DO YOU ACCEPT?”

        I accept that ultimately questions of constitutionality must be decided by courts and judges, even if I don’t personally like the results. You said I seem to be “perfectly comfortable with what a 20th or 21st century judge says the Founders meant.” I am comfortable with the Supreme Court deciding these things because I don’t think there is any better way–at least constitutionally. You dismiss it as “leftist attempts to distort the constitution.”

      • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 4:31 pm

        Thank you, Count. That was interesting.

      • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 4:47 pm

        Well, accept you had to thrown in the belittling “wattie.” Must make you feel better.

      • Count d'Haricots August 21, 2012 / 4:59 pm

        With apologies; I didn’t realize we were actually trying to be civil.

  4. Amazona August 21, 2012 / 10:22 am

    Thank you, Spook.

    I agree with everything you said about the specificity of the enumerated powers, as well as the Progressive agenda.

    There is another point I can make, which may or may not shine some light on the confusion, if in fact the confusion is real, and that is the erosion of proper language usage.

    We are no longer held to the old standards of English usage and often don’t even understand it, so your comment about the placement of the period in the description of the enumerated powers might not make sense.

    Punctuation is supposed to be the traffic cop of language, telling us when to pause and when to stop. Now we see it discarded. Now younger people are growing up reading books (when they read at all!) in which the author appears to think that a sentence is just a group of words with a capital letter at the beginning and a dot at the end, and punctuation is equally misunderstood and ignored.

    A great example of this is the title of a book on this subject, “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves”. The point is the difference between the two sentences:

    1. The koala bear eats shoots and leaves.
    and
    2. The koala bear eats, shoots, and leaves.

    If you don’t understand the purpose of things like commas and periods, their placement or lack of placement is meaningless to you. But in fact, even today, it is of vital importance, and the placement of punctuation can and does completely change the meaning of sentences.

    You rightly pointed out that the 17 enumerated powers were gathered together in a specific, finite, linked group, with the boundaries of a semi colon at the beginning and a period at the end.

    Jefferson pointed out that the general welfare clause referred only to the enumerated duties. He could not have been more clear or specific.

    “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

  5. Retired Spook August 21, 2012 / 11:40 am

    Amazona,

    Clearly we have Liberals who post here who are challenged when it comes to punctuation and sentence structure. The other day one of our resident Libs, in reference to Obama’s “you did not build that” comments, said that anyone who had any knowledge of diagramming a sentence knew exactly what he meant.

    • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 12:42 pm

      Coming back to a topic raised earlier here, Amazona said, “Medicare was another step in the determination to both buy votes with government money and create another class of dependency.”

      My question remains, was the free market successfully providing affordable health care to the elderly when Medicare was enacted?

      • Amazona August 21, 2012 / 1:21 pm

        “the elderly”—–a pretty big group.

        The free market was making affordable health care available to most of the older people in the country but not all. This was not the fault of the market but just the nature of man to have some who are less able to provide for themselves than others.

        The “solution” to this was to implement a massive plan that swept all of “the elderly” into one identity and then come up with a federally funded plan designed to cover them all.

        The inclination of the Left to divide the nation into large demographic groups and then address them as one homogenous identity, refer to them as on homogenous identity, determine that any perceived problem must apply to all as if they were a homogenous identity, and devise a “solution” that applies to all as if they were a homogenous identity, is evident in the overall rhetoric of the Left.

        The Left routinely uses sweeping terminology: Women, Latinos, Blacks, the elderly, the rich, the poor, etc. It’s a tactic but it is grossly inaccurate.

      • Count d'Haricots August 21, 2012 / 2:40 pm

        “Affordable health care for Seniors” was never the intent of Medicare.

        Compulsory health insurance was introduced in every Congress from 1934 until its passage in 1964.

        It was essentially “dependency-shifting rather than dependency-reducing: mandated dependence of the elderly on the federal government and taxpayers replaced potential dependence on family and charity.”

      • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 2:50 pm

        Count: “It was essentially ‘dependency-shifting rather than dependency-reducing: mandated dependence of the elderly on the federal government and taxpayers replaced potential dependence on family and charity.'”

        That may be, but if the free market was already providing for the majority of the elderly, then it seems highly unlikely that there would have been the public and political will to be enact it. So the question remains, why what it enacted?

      • watsonredux August 21, 2012 / 2:50 pm

        Amazona said, “The Left routinely uses sweeping terminology.”

        Talk about sweeping terminology…

      • Retired Spook August 21, 2012 / 3:14 pm

        My question remains, was the free market successfully providing affordable health care to the elderly when Medicare was enacted?

        Watson, the Cato Institute had an excellent analysis several years ago. It’s been a while since I’ve read the whole thing, but my recollection is that it will answer your question.

        Just a sample:

        Americans now stand on the brink of transferring massive additional powers over their personal health care to the federal government. Politico-economic techniques used to pass the original Medicare legislation in 1965 are being employed again in the 1990s to secure passage of expansive new health care measures despite resistance of the public at large. Passage in 1996 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–whose less publicized provisions criminalize aspects of the practice of medicine and jeopardize the privacy of doctor-patient relations through a compulsory nationwide electronic database–was achieved largely through techniques similar to those used to pass Medicare. Correct interpretation of Medicare’s politico-economic history is therefore central to understanding ongoing attempts to enlarge the federal government’s role in the market for medical care.

        This article analyzes the nature and timing of Medicare’s origin. My objective is not only to chronicle Medicare’s evolution but to evaluate its history in a consistent theoretical framework. Based on thousands of pages of original congressional documents–House and Senate hearings, House and Senate reports, the Congressional Record, and other sources cited below–I show that Medicare’s passage was achieved through government officials’ deliberate decisions to restructure political transaction costs to overcome the widespread public opposition which had prevented passage of such bills for more than 50 years. History shows that Medicare did not and could not achieve passage without the misrepresentation, cost concealment, lying, and incrementalism to which its supporters ultimately resorted.

        BTW, there’s lots of information out there on the status of medical care at the time Medicare was passed in 1965 if you’re genuinely interested in learning more.

      • Retired Spook August 21, 2012 / 3:18 pm

        Great minds think alike. It appears the Cato paper is the source of the Count’s quote regarding “dependency”.

      • Count d'Haricots August 21, 2012 / 3:39 pm

        Charlotte Twight.

        There was no public will for enactment;

        “For more than 50 years before the 1965 enactment of Medicare, the American people repeatedly rejected the idea of government-mandated health insurance. Yet advocates of such federal power inside and outside of government did not take no for an answer. Year after year they kept coming back–pursuing incremental strategies, misrepresenting their proposals, even distributing propaganda paid for with government money in apparent violation of existing law. In the end Medicare’s passage was anything but a spontaneous societal embrace of one of the pillars of President Lyndon Johnson’s ‘Great Society.'”

  6. dbschmidt August 21, 2012 / 6:27 pm

    To Watson, the readers and posters of this blog, and of course—the Shadow (aka. Moderator).

    I wish to address my earlier (on this post) behavior which was unacceptable for many reasons. Without going into the reasons I wish to extend my sincere apologies to all that had to deal with my ranting.

    First & Foremost—Watson, who does not agree with my views but such childish behavior on my behalf is not deserved. To honor your request–this is my final post directed at you. Try to honor it with a direct answer someday to another poster.

    Posted/Readers—With such a bountiful vocabulary the English language (American version I mean) there are a lot better ways I could have conducted myself without resorting to the lowest common denominator of name calling.

    Moderator—Point well taken and will be observed if I ever post here again.

  7. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] August 23, 2012 / 12:26 pm

    Still banned due to repeated racist and bigoted statements. What part of “banned” do you not understand? //Moderator

  8. Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., O.Q.H. [Journ.] August 23, 2012 / 12:33 pm

    Still banned due to repeated racist and bigoted statements. What part of “banned” do you not understand? //Moderator

Comments are closed.