Friday, December 20, 2019

We should embrace and build on America’s traditional values

Today’s political atmosphere is toxic. It is filled with hard feelings, bad intentions, exaggeration, insults, misunderstandings, and more. People on one side of the political spectrum often automatically write off people on the other side simply because they hold different opinions.

It is difficult to have a calm, rational discussion about the differences, as some are offended or angered with the mere prospect of coming face to face with ideas that are different than their own. In this atmosphere, details get lost in the noise, and the essence of the broad philosophies of each side, which need to be discussed, compared and evaluated, lie there ignored while the battle rages.

Those on the political right, conservatives, hold to a set of principles that should not scare or anger anyone. They are practical concepts to which our country has subscribed for many decades, such as: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and strong national defense.

Here, stated more broadly, are those conservative principles:

1. The federal government exists to preserve life, liberty and property, and it is instituted to protect the rights of individuals according to natural law. Among these rights are the sanctity of life; the freedom of speech, religion, the press, and assembly; the right to bear arms; the right of individuals to be treated equally and justly under the law; and to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.

2. The federal government’s powers are limited to those named in the Constitution and should be exercised solely to protect the rights of its citizens. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The government closest to the people serves the people best.” Powers not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited by the Constitution, are reserved to the states or to the people.

3. Judges should interpret and apply our laws and the Constitution based on their original meaning, not upon judges’ personal and political predispositions.

4. Individuals and families—not government—make the best decisions regarding their and their children’s health, education, jobs, and welfare.

5. The family is the essential foundation of civil society, and traditional marriage serves as the cornerstone of the family.

6. The federal deficit and debt must not place unreasonable financial burdens on future generations.

7. Tax policies should raise only the minimum revenue necessary to fund constitutionally appropriate functions of government.

8. America’s economy and the prosperity of individual citizens are best served by a system of free enterprise, with special emphasis on economic freedom, private property rights, and the rule of law. This system is best sustained by policies promoting free trade and deregulation, and opposing government interventions in the economy that distort markets and impair innovation.

9. Regulations must not breach constitutional principles of limited government and the separation of powers.

10. America must be a welcoming nation—one that promotes patriotic assimilation and is governed by laws that are fair, humane, and enforced to protect its citizens.

11. Justice requires an efficient, fair, and effective criminal justice system—one that gives defendants adequate due process and requires an appropriate degree of criminal intent to merit punishment.

12. International agreements and international organizations should not infringe on American’s constitutional rights, nor should they diminish American sovereignty.

13. America is strongest when our policies protect our national interests, preserve our alliances of free peoples, vigorously counter threats to our security, and advance prosperity through economic freedom at home and abroad.

14. The best way to ensure peace is through a strong national defense.”

Contrary to the common narrative, conservatives who hold these principles are not racist. They are not xenophobic, or homophobic, or sexist, or white-nationalistic. Those mischaracterizations come from political antagonists who either don’t make the effort to understand conservative principles, and instead react emotionally. Others deliberately twist their meanings in an effort to delegitimize them, hoping to demonize the opposition and generate support for their own rebellious ideas.

Those 14 principles, “True North: The Principles of Conservatism,” were articulated by The Heritage Foundation, and have in their favor ages of proven success. It was upon these steadfast, common sense principles that the United States of America was established, and upon which it became the great nation that it is.

Rather than working to further improve the American system, an opposition force works to tear it down and replace these solid, proven principles with historically unsuccessful and dangerous principles of socialist and communist systems that have failed wherever they have been tried.

Democrat socialists won’t admit that socialism is their goal, saying that they really don’t want full-blown socialism, only certain desirable parts of it.

But socialistic methods are a slippery slope, and once a nation is well down the slope, escape is virtually impossible. For a real life, contemporary example, review the recent history of Venezuela.

During the 1970s, Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America, and one of the most stable democracies in the Americas. Then came the election of President Hugo Chávez, who propagated "socialism for the 21st century," which was about establishing liberty, equality, social justice, and solidarity. 

Today, Venezuela is the third least free economy in the world, ahead of only Cuba and North Korea.

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