Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Politics made simple

As I grow older, I am finding that almost all social theory is based on simple principles -- religion, government, economics -- everything. The Bible says as much in Ecclesiastes 7:29: "I tell you this, God made man simple (or upright), man's devices are of his own making."

In Vandalia, I will discuss how monetary policy is really much simpler and less mysterious than the Federal Reserve Bank would have us believe; and later this year, I will deliver a sermon at my church on the simplicity of the Christian faith.

Ideas are made complicated, because it serves the interest of those who complicate them -- it is a way of making knowledge esoteric, therefore profitable to those who hold the "secrets."

Applied to politics and government, here is the simple truth. Our Founding Fathers stated that the purpose of government was to protect the lives, liberties, and property (pursuit of happiness) of the people. Nothing else. Our responsibility as citizens is to look at everything government does through that lens. Nothing that government does that does not have the net effect of protecting the lives, liberties, or property of the people should be tolerated.

Protecting property also means preserving the sanctity of contracts freely entered into against wilful changes by governments. Private property makes personal security and economic growth possible. Keep this in mind when the Federal Reserve practices "quantitative easing" once too often and wipes out your retirement savings through hyperinflation.

I will add two corollaries to this. First, protecting lives and liberty for children means to protect their innocence. Children should not be subjected to inappropriate ideas about the adult world (especially sex) until they are old enough to handle those ideas. Laws against child pornography or other forms of exploitation are necessary and appropriate. I would also argue that protecting the lives of children means that abortion should be illegal, at least when the fetus is known to be sentient. The precise point when this takes place seems to be unknowable; however, the detectable heartbeat concept being promoted in the General Assembly strikes me as a reasonable indicator.* Secondly, it is appropriate to legislate to protect the dignity of elderly and disabled people to protect them from being defrauded or abused by greedy family members and "caretakers".

* It seems reasonable to me because it at least provides an empirically provable benchmark; as opposed to the arbitrary restrictions of "first trimester," etc. I have friends who are passionately pro-choice who will consider this opinion to be nothing less than barbaric -- to them, I ask, at what point do we discount personal responsibility? In most cases (rape and incest being two exceptions), pregnancy is the result of at least two bad decisions by the parents: the one to have sex outside of marriage, the other to have it unprotected. Freedom and mass personal irresponsibility cannot coexist in the same society. It is the duty of the family and community institutions to teach morality, but a government that ignores morality is subverting it. I am using morality in the broadest possible sense to mean living in a way that respects the rights of others, not any particular religious doctrine.

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