Saturday, January 07, 2017

Why Am I Not A Democrat? An Answer

It's simple, really: the modern progressive notions about the human person--abortion, euthanasia, marriage, alternative sexualities, and countless related issues. This radical and false individualism undermines not only the common good, but the State's authority for defending the common good.

Everything must be re-thought, examined along the lines of humanity's purpose, and final end.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Why Am I Not A Democrat? A Few Thoughts

I have received this question recently, as well as pondered it myself. As you know, I'm not terribly thrilled about the ascendancy of Donald Trump, nor of what he represents: the politics of grievance, of reaction, anger, and division. No need to recount all that here.

On the other hand, this is a temporary condition, or so we hope. Why would I change my opinions in that event? Well, I wouldn't.

But indeed I have re-thought a few things.

I still retain a basic philosophical orientation that limits government in accord with federalism, which in its most perfect form is equivalent to the Catholic concept of subsidiarity. However, in contemporary politics, the notion of limiting government for the sake of individuals and what they can accomplish has been lost. In its place is almost an anti-government dogma, that admits of no distinction between unnecessary or unwise, and unlawful. People have mistaken individualism for individual liberty; some have made a virtue of selfishness. On the contrary; the idea of limited government presupposes its goodness and necessity, even in that limitation. Allow me to pose this question: Why does a belief in limiting the federal government not also correspond to increases in public spending at lower levels of government? Is it reasonable to also assert that government exists to facilitate that which cannot be accomplished by other means?

I believe that "general welfare" from the Preamble to the Constitution is equivalent to the common good, if not in original intent, then in practical terms for the present situation.

Accordingly, no economic system, no matter how effective at managing the scarcity of finite goods, can by itself serve as a blueprint for an entire way of living. Some problems aren't governed by scarcity, for one. For another, one can make the argument that certain scarcities are arbitrary, and to accept them is to beg the question with respect to the question of what ought to be. In any case, enough abstractness has been spoken. "I want details!" shouts the reader.

The federal minimum wage. Before we jump to an immediate discussion to the effect that raising the minimum wage will be damaging, and to what extent, we ought to come to terms with the fact that $7.25 per hour isn't going to be sufficient for any adult. And for families? Forget it. The reason I support a massive increase in that mandated wage is that a wage is fundamentally different from remedial spending. Government spending on assistance programs is by nature a stopgap; wages are due in justice. And if, my friends, we have an economic system that cannot pay people at the lowest end enough to make it in America, we change the system. We don't cast aspersions on people we do not know. I can never again in conscience accuse the Democrats of class warfare until we get real about this issue.

Climate change. We know it's happening. If you are one of the people in denial about this, well, you're in denial. The United States is not in any real danger of socialism, by the way. But we are in danger of continuing to damage the Earth, our home. It doesn't take much of an increase in the relevant gases to alter climate on a global scale. We need to start listening to scientists who have been studying this for decades.

The death penalty and the surrounding justice system. The United States certainly has executed innocent people. In addition, it isn't clear that we face an existential danger from violent crime such that execution is the best way to ensure safety. We face a grave lack of resources for indigent public defense as well, which surely increases the chance of the worst injustice. We have not fully emerged from the shadow of racism, and so, as long as we endorse the system in its current form, we give tacit approval to those injustices. I support the abolition of the death penalty.

Foreign policy. The present leadership of the GOP is content to use American military force without reservation or limitation. The United States has no coherently articulated principles governing our use of military force. It seems that American wars are nothing more than an arena for the airing of our political and cultural grievances with one another! I support a wholesale re-evaluation of American military commitments around the world.

These things pretty well summarize my departures from GOP orthodoxy, though not exhaustively. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for my answer.