Monday, July 9, 2007

What IS a democrat?

I am trying to figure out how a staunch democrat will argue with me about Ron Paul (what he represents, really). After starting a few times, I realize that I'm a bit confused about what democrats stand for (other than being against all things Republican).

More money (taxes) for education? the environment? old and sick people? poor people? basically anyone who needs help? I've heard it said that democrats believe that government has a role to play in making life "better". Have I got it? Or am I way off?

What ARE the fundamental principles of democrats? I really wonder.

I googled "principles of democrats" and found this Declaration of Progressive Principles.

"Through government, we honor our responsibility to promote the common good."
That is the most nebulous, impossible to define statement! What is the common good anyways?

"America must keep a watchful eye on the economy to ensure fairness, transparency and genuine opportunity for all."
This keeping a "watchful eye on the economy" is just a code word for centralized economic planning, ie. socialism!

"recognizing that with the great freedoms afforded us comes an even
greater responsibility to see that those freedoms are extended to all people in all places"
- freedom and democracy for the whole world? how? at the point of a gun? why does it follow that because we have freedom it is our responsibility to give/force freedom on the rest of the world? is that even possible? look where it's gotten us so far....

OK. I am going to channel my intense desire to rant about how democrats are just socialists in disguise (as well intentioned as they may be) into a positive statement about what I believe.

I believe that the purpose of government is to protect our individual rights.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness - That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men..."

Our rights are not granted by the government, they preexist government, hence they are "unalienable".

What are those rights?
- The right life, liberty and property.
- Freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion.
- Due process of law, fair trial, and freedom from self-incrimination, cruel and unusual punishment and being held in jeopardy twice for the same crime.

I do NOT include the following as unalienable, natural rights:
- the right to food, shelter, health care, retirement income, and other goods provided by the government.

BECAUSE: 1.) They require that property (taxes) be taken by force from some to be redistributed to others, and 2.) History has shown that this ultimately leads to a tyrranical form of government which violates (the first and proper set of) individual rights.

The rights of liberty and property are the logical extensions of the right to life. How can you preserve your life (right to life) if you are not free to act as you see fit (liberty)? We are the owners of our lives (liberty). And when we work to support our life, and our labors accrue value to land or materials, those things become our property (right to property). It is nonsense to say that we are not the owners of our own labor. How would I be considered free to, say, grow a crop for my survival, if I'm not entitled to the harvest? To deny the right of property is to deny the rights of liberty and life.

I am not alone here. Read the Declaration of Independence. Check out the struggles that led up to it. Read John Adams. Read John Locke.

OK, so no one is really going to read those things. But the point I'm trying to make is that I'm not just loony! If you study ancient republics and our own history you will come to the same (or very similar) conclusions about the proper role of government (limited!).

Enough for tonight. This is good. I need to think about this stuff so I can actually talk about it.