Saturday, October 13, 2012

Abortion on Demand, Homosexual "Marriage": what will they think of next?

By Michael David Rawlings

David Kirby writes some good news . . . sort of.

Emily Ekins and I have an op-ed in today's Politico1 pointing out that while the Tea Party is united on economic issues, there is a split virtually right down the middle between traditional social conservatives and those who think government should altogether stay out of the business of "promoting traditional values." Candidates and representatives hoping to appeal to the Tea Party, we argue, need to focus on a unifying economic agenda that takes into account this strong libertarian undercurrent.

We conducted a survey of 639 attendees at the October 9, 2010 Tea Party Convention in Virginia, one of the larger state Tea Party gatherings of its kind to date. We included the same questions from Gallup and the American National Election Studies that David Boaz and I have used to identify libertarians in our previous studies. . . .

In our new survey, we found libertarians were 48 percent of Tea Partiers, versus 51 percent who held traditional conservative views. We defined traditional conservatives as agreeing that "the less government the better," and that "the free market can handle these problems without government being involved," but also believing that "the government should promote traditional values." Tea Party libertarians agreed that less government is better, and prefer free markets, but believe that "the government should not favor any particular set of values."  —David Kirby, "The Tea Party’s Other Half"2

Caution:  The libertarian faction of the Tea Party "think[s] government should altogether stay out of the business of 'promoting traditional values.' "

Well, it's not the government's role to promote any particular set of cultural values!

Wait for it. . . .

However, the government—if it's to be legitimate and stable—must obey the commands of certain principles commonly lumped in with things that have come to be thought of as mere traditional values.

John Locke's Two Treatises of Civil Government was the preeminent influence on the sociopolitical theory of the Founders. Locke is the Father of Classical Liberalism and the Grandfather of American Democracy. He was also among the leading lights of laissez-faire, albeit, before the term denoting that construct became widely used outside of France.

The earliest and most notable proponents of laissez-faire were Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguilbert; Jean-Claude Vincent de Gournay and René-Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, marquis d'Argenson . . . before French political thought went south.

Following in the footsteps of Locke, the leading proponents of the Anglo-American tradition of free-market capitalism were James Wilson, Richard Cobden, Richard Wright and George Whatley of England. Though, technically, they were classical economists, Adam Smith of Scotland and David Ricardo of England aggressively promoted its principles. Perhaps the most famous promoter of laissez-faire in America was Benjamin Franklin.

Their anthem: the less interference of the government in the affairs of the people—from the exchange of ideas to the exchange of goods and services—the better!

The fruition of liberty.

However, Locke extrapolated the sociopolitical principles for his theory of government from Judeo-Christianity's moral system of thought. He held that (1) the sanctity of human life and (2) the biological family of nature were the first principles of private property, the security of which, backed by an armed citizenry, serves as the practical bulwark against the ever-threatening usurpations of government upon the free exercise of the natural rights imparted by the Creator.

The foundation of liberty.

Libertarianism is a semi-definitive constellation of limits on government power . . . suspended in midair.

Hence, the operative difference between the libertarian and the conservative, relative to their shared political heritage, goes to a disruption, as it were, in the premise-to-conclusion flow of Lockean theory. While both want to maximize individual liberty: one faction emphasis limits on government action, while the other emphasis legitimate parameters of human behavior. The former is subject to endless revision and is unsustainable sans the maxim of the foundation. Both intuition and historical experience reveal the truth of that. The foundation consists of the sociopolitical implications of specific moral imperatives grounded in Providence, the Source and Guarantor of human life and liberty.

One need not believe in the mystical or theological trappings of Judeo-Christianity or even believe in the existence of God to appreciate the efficacies of the foundation. And the much ado over the fact that many of the Founders were Deists is about nothing.  First, most of them weren't. Second, it's the sociopolitical principles extrapolated from the Judeo-Christian moral tradition that matter. Both the Deist and the Christian of the Anglo-American Enlightenment embraced them.

The society that fails to properly balance the respective concerns of security and liberty, for example, will inevitably be blindsided by tyranny. So too will the society obsessed with freedom sans a respectful regard for the legitimate parameters of human conduct. The freedom of the latter is merely license and perversion systematically imprisoning its practitioners. And while the foundation of liberty can never be emphasized enough, those who conclude that the government must prohibit any number of immoral practices do not fully appreciate the self-sustaining properties of liberty, which, uninhibited by government charity, for example, naturally encourage responsible behavior.

Beyond certain imperatives, government-imposed morality in our post-feudal world will inevitably give way to the sentimental emotionalism of collectivist, redistribution schemes. It's apparatus will be hijacked by bootlick statists: brutish bureaucrats trafficking in the ill-gotten gains of fraudulent rights and entitlements.

There are  things the government is obliged to do in order to uphold the rights of the people and maintain a stable society, and there are things government should never do.  There are things that the body politic must never permit an individual to do with impunity, and there are things that the body politic should never officially embrace, though it need not, necessarily, prohibit them.

If the body politic permits the government to disregard the common defense of the people, the common design of nature relative to the natural state of man and/or the imperatives of nature's God: the actual outcome will always result in an increase of government power. The bigger the government, the smaller the people. The extent to which the government is permitted to disregard these things is the extent to which the people's security in their private property and fundamental liberties will be lost (See also "Objectivism:  The Uninspired Religion of 'Reason' ".).

Neither of today's major parties adequately reflect the ethos of America's founding; however, in my opinion, all classical liberals should rally around the Republican Party's banner. They should strive to make its platform and its representatives adhere to the principles of liberty, not waste their efforts on marginal parties or split their votes among them. Most of the Libertarians in the Tea Party movement understand this. 

Let's hope they get the rest of it soon.

We are up against a Democratic Party that eschews the Anglo-American tradition of liberty forged during the Enlightenment in favor of the Continental European tradition of collectivism, that is to say, the moon-barking madness of Rousseauean-Marxist Utopianism, which, in the West, is rooted in the Platonic political theory of The Republic, that oh-so brave new world of ''enlightened'' bureaucracy, in truth, that authoritarian theocracy sans any gods but the self-anointed of the temporal realm.

Oh yes, indeed, it's an ancient, festering pile of statist crap handed down over the centuries under a slew of guises.

1David Kirby and Emily Ekins, "Tea party's other half", Politico (Oct. 28, 2010).
2David Kirby, "The Tea Party's Other Half"Cato @ Liberty (Oct. 28, 2010).
Biblical and/or Spiritual Concerns

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