Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reframing the American Debate

The progressive movement has eroded the foundations of liberty in the United States over the course of decades by putting the onus of proving good intentions onto conservatives. Always on attack and never in retreat, progressives have eaten away at the resolve of the defenders of the American system to positively articulate their principles. By corrupting the language and perpetrating false or empty values, always criticizing the "status quo" and never being forced to articulate a practicable solution to the nation's problems, the left has prepared an ideological terrain that entraps those who advocate reason and American values.

This can and must change. The tea party movement de facto has the majority of Americans on its side, but it has been hindered by a leftist-driven public relations campaign that paints it as a reactionary opposition devoid of positive ideas, productive solutions, or contemporary political thinking. With an awareness of this public relations pitfall, a bit of imagination, and a modern reformulation of ideals, we can turn a fledgling opposition movement based on America's founding ideals into a broader-based modern political force that is here to stay.

The moderate and self-described independent opponents of the tea party movement see it as negative or outmoded. If this image problem is redressed, we will not only bring so many backers into our ranks that it will be politically impossible for the left to stop us, we will forge an undercurrent of positive thinking that will carry it through all obstacles.

So while the tea party movement has been defined as opposition to illegal immigration, climate change, higher taxes, bailouts, the stimulus package, and reckless foreign policy, we must now pivot in time for campaign season to revise these positions and recast them in positive form. After all, we would not oppose these policies to begin with unless we had a positive articulation of American values in our hearts and minds. We need to air our powerful and visionary beliefs as expressed in the nation's founding, in modern political language. The following are examples of what we can do to persuade more Americans as to the justness and necessity of our cause.

1. Illegal immigration - We stand for legal and responsible immigration. We believe that America is a great country that attracts immigrants from around the world and we want them to take part in this nation as fully legal and co-equal members. The current policy of allowing immigrants to come to America unchecked denies them the legal rights and protections all American citizens should enjoy. Such immigrants need to become stakeholders in this country by partaking in their fair share of taxes and allowed to hold their heads high as proud Americans. The current policy of open borders undermines American security, the economy, and the dignity of immigrants.  We are for lawful and orderly immigration.

2. Climate change - It is a fact of nature that, with or without human beings, climate changes. It is always imperative for man to adapt to change. We advocate a vision of humans not as unnatural beings corrupting the environment, but rather natural creatures that utilize their minds and technology in order to survive. While we do not deny that pollution is a consequence of some particular activities, we must also recognize more broadly the tremendous benefit to human life that comes from technological innovation. To suggest that taxation of industrial civilization as a whole will provide solutions to pollution overlooks that law is the proper instrument for redressing damages to the public. We advocate a responsible and prosperous economy, unfettered by centralized planning writ large and one that addresses environmental problems as they arise on a case-by-case basis.  We are for a prosperous and responsible economy.

3. Taxation - We are not anarchists. We recognize that taxation has a proper place in our Constitutional republic. But taxation, and the spending that justifies it, must not be endless. Though there are many worthy causes worth funding, we believe that using coercion to fund all seemingly noble projects is a recipe for corruption and waste. Furthermore, we believe that too much coercion and taxation undermines the economic base that produces the wealth that has so many positive benefits in this country. We believe in the human dignity that comes from self-reliance and we support policies that lead Americans to self-reliance as effectively as possible. We are for a government that spends within our means.

4. Bailouts - We desire an economy founded on success, and we believe that bailouts reward unsustainability and failure. Taking money from American workers to give to big businesses and large banks is not only immoral, it damages the economy. We are for successful sustainable businesses, and meaningful employment within a market framework.

5. The Stimulus Package - We are for businesses and government that take responsibility for their actions. We are for clear rules in an economy, and believe that risk is a part of life. We believe that all enterprises must accept risk as an aspect of reality.

6. Foreign policy - We believe in "peace through strength." We believe that weakness invites mischief. We are not for aggression, but for justified self-defense. We are for defending ourselves against those who have openly declared war on us.

There may be more and better ways to articulate our views in a positive manner, and this is just an exploration of this suggestion. The above is a "middle ground" formulation that attempts to neither deny our fundamental guiding principles, nor shock moderates with end goals that are more consonant with the value of liberty. We must begin to flip the game on our opponents before pinning them down.

6 comments:

Reaganx said...

=By corrupting the language and perpetrating false or empty values, always criticizing the "status quo" and never being forced to articulate a practicable solution to the nation's problems, the left has prepared an ideological terrain that entraps those who advocate reason and American values.=

It is partly true but I believe the conservative movement has mainly been its own grave-digger - THIS is the main reason of America’s downfall. The conservatives have embraced irrational faith, for example, and compromised on each one of those American values.

=-The moderate and self-described independent opponents of the tea party movement see it as negative or outmoded. If this image problem is redressed, we will not only bring so many backers into our ranks that it will be politically impossible for the left to stop us, we will forge an undercurrent of positive thinking that will carry it through all obstacles.=

I don’t think it’s that simple. Fundamental philosophical problems can’t be solved by a little PR tinkering. The Tea Party movement’s main problem is that doesn’t delve into fundamental issues openly and explicitly. It repeats the libertarian slogans that have been repeated for centuries but it doesn’t know their conceptual and ontological foundation.

=We stand for legal and responsible immigration.=

I wonder why you put this controversial and non-obvious issue first. For me, this sounds like “we stand for legal and responsible breathing.” Immigration is ALWAYS legal under natural law, except when someone forfeits his natural rights by committing crimes. It is RESTRICTIONS on immigration that are illegal.

=Such immigrants need to become stakeholders in this country by partaking in their fair share of taxes and allowed to hold their heads high as proud Americans.=

Taxation is robbery. It’s obvious that taxation can’t be abolished immediately (there must be a transition stage) but I don’t see how it can be tied to the issue of immigration. No one has a natural right to rob (tax). Period. No one, including immigrants, has a duty to be robbed (taxed). Period.

=The current policy of open borders undermines American security, the economy, and the dignity of immigrants.=

It is the WELFARE STATE that undermines all that, not immigration. The only serious issue is the abolition of welfare for immigrants (and US citizens, for that matter). There are no other issues that are worth considering here.

=We are not anarchists. We recognize that taxation has a proper place in our Constitutional republic.=

I’m not an anarchist either but I believe taxation has no place in a free society. Any initiation of force, which by definition includes taxation, must be prohibited. There are no exceptions to this principle.
Making a concession to the “hoi polloi” by admitting the legitimacy of taxation will only aggravate the problem. Compromises on fundamental principles are out of the question. Any such compromise results in repeated failure. Just look at the conservatives’ record in the US - they have always compromised.
Admitting the necessity of gradual transition towards a tax-free society is, however, absolutely rational and doesn’t constitute a compromise, since the fundamental principle (taxation is robbery and needs to be abolished) is acknowledged.

Reaganx said...

Btw, have you seen the Big Bang Theory?

Reasonsjester said...

Yeah, I've seen Big Bang Theory. Pretty funny show. I put up a vid in the Humor section related to Sheldon's character.

As for immigration, we are getting killed with paying out welfare benefits to people who speak a foreign language and who have no idea what American values are. I want them to pay taxes in order to pay for themselves, as a minimum. I would prefer to ban public education, national healthcare subsidies, and the like, but that won't happen anytime soon. So I prefer everyone feel the pain of taxes so that there is some political motivation to end the welfare state.

As for PR tweaking, this is simply a suggestion to get the Republicans victory as a means to restore some balance to the country. The Republicans are a quite repulsive little party and are either the most cowardly and ideologically bankrupt political party in world history, or are in on a little elitist game with the Democrats whereby they both are taking two different collectivist tacts to build a police state. I don't have any hard evidence that the latter is the case, so I guess that they are a bunch of lily-livered pukes.

Philosophical regeneration is not going to happen, I'm afraid, until people are forced to struggle for their very existence. There is an almost pathological refusal among many to take ideas seriously. Perhaps when people realize that it is precisely ideas that have led to their slavery will they attempt to esteem them properly as descriptions of truth and as necessary instruments to better the human condition.

Reaganx said...

=As for immigration, we are getting killed with paying out welfare benefits to people who speak a foreign language and who have no idea what American values are.=

1-What’s the logical difference between immigrants who get welfare and American citizens who get welfare? I see none. So opposing allegedly “illegal” immigration per se on this ground is illogical, since it targets only a part of the welfare bums, not all of them.
2-My fundamental objection was to your implying that taxation is OK under natural law (“taxation has a proper place”, “fair share” etc). I strongly disagree. I can admit that immigrants should pay taxes, like everyone else, DURING THE TRANSITION PERIOD to a tax-free society but taxation has no natural-law legitimacy whatsoever.

=I want them to pay taxes in order to pay for themselves, as a minimum.=

Welfare by definition implies that a person pays less in taxes than he receives in benefits. This applies both to American bums and immigrants. Again, what’s the difference?

=As for PR tweaking, this is simply a suggestion to get the Republicans victory as a means to restore some balance to the country.=

The Republican victory, unless it is founded on a proper philosophical basis (and it won’t be), will merely pave the way for a new, more preposterous and irrational Obama. Remember Bush’s victory?

Reaganx said...

To sum up, immigration (other than that of criminals) cannot be illegal, just like trade (other than that of stolen goods) cannot be illegal. Whether some immigrants receive welfare or not (or whether some imported goods are poisonous or not) is absolutely irrelevant for the issue of the LEGALITY of immigration. It is an absolutely separate issue and, logically enough, should be solved separately.

Reaganx said...

1) The fact that some goods are poisoned doesn't give the government a natural right to control the movement of goods.
2) The fact that some immigrants get welfare doesn't give the government a natural right to control immigration.