What’s a “patriot”? What’s a “conservative”? A Republican? A liberal? A libertarian? (Plus a brief Davenport, Part 14)

What’s a patriot?

The Associated Press wrote the following about Ronald Reagan in 2004:

“Ronald Reagan, an infectiously optimistic president who forged an enduring relationship with the American people, dedicated his presidency to two goals — the destruction of Soviet communism abroad and the reduction of government at home. He lived to see the first achieved, if not the second.”

Reagan adored the United States of America. He loved the American people, even those who disagreed with his political beliefs or policies. His adoration and love never ended.

That’s a “patriot.”

There aren’t many patriots around anymore, because it seems so many people feel hatred for others who disagree with them. People who express hatred towards President Donald Trump are not patriots. He’s the President. He may disagree with you but none of his actions would indicate the slightest dislike of the nation in which he enjoyed his successes (and his failures).

Who is an example of a non-patriot? Michelle Obama during the 2008 election when she expressed that she was “ashamed of my country.” That’s not patriotism by definition.

What’s a conservative?

Senator Barry Goldwater wrote his classic book, The Conscience of a Conservative, in 1960. It ignited the modern conservative movement in the United States, was a bestseller, and helped to inspire Ronald Reagan and many others to enter politics. Goldwater was a transformative figure and political thinker throughout his United States Senate career spanning from 1953 to 1987.

Goldwater wrote:

“…the Conservative’s first concern will always be: Are we maximizing freedom?” (page 13).

Goldwater explained:

“Government does not have an unlimited claim on the earnings of individuals.” (page 42).

Even back in 1960, Senator Goldwater evaluated the worth of government with respect to the direct freedom it takes away from the individual:

“Here is an indication of how taxation infringes on our freedom. A family man earning $4500 a year works, on the average, 22 days a month.Taxes, visible and invisible, take approximately 32% of his earnings. This means that one-third, or seven whole days, of his monthly labor goes for taxes. The average American is therefore working one-third of the time for government: a third of what he produces is not available for his own use but is confiscated and used by others who have not earned it. Let us note that by this measure the United States is already one-third ‘socialized…’ The very imposition of heavy taxes is a limit on a man’s freedom.” (page 43).

Goldwater made clear that conservativism did not include those, like Charlie Riley and Craig Doyal, who try to justify more government spending as a spur for “economic growth.” That’s not conservative. That’s what we refer to as “LIBERAL” in the United States. The Senator wrote:

“The need for ‘economic growth’ that we hear so much about these days will be achieved, not by the government harnessing the nation’s economic forces, but by emancipating them. By reducing taxes and spending we will not only return to the individual the means with which he can assert his freedom and dignity, but also guarantee to the nation the economic strength that will always be its ultimate defense against foreign foes.

In other words, even 57 years ago, people like Riley and Doyal were around who tried to usurp “conservative” principles by claiming that advocacy for more government spending was somehow something other than the “socialism” which Goldwater, Reagan, and other conservative leaders recognized it to be.

Goldwater was a conservative. Reagan strived to be a conservative. Arguably, political activist Kelli Cook of Montgomery is a conservative.

So-called “social conservatives” are often not conservatives at all especially where they fight for bigger government. A great example of the conflict between “social conservatives” and real conservatives arose in Montgomery County when a group of people called for a committee to censor books in the public library. That’s not conservative. That’s calling for bigger government. Similarly, when the American Library Association seeks to direct which books should appear in public libraries, they’re not conservative either. (Could the problem be public libraries?)

Under the foregoing definition of “conservative,” Goldwater would not call any of the members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court “conservative,” with the possible exception of Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack.

What’s a Republican?

It’s easy to find the answer, although it might take some time to figure the answer out. The definition of a “Republican” lies within the Platform of the Republican Party. Since we live in the State of Texas, the Republican Party of Texas Platform is the definition of a Republican.

You might retort: a “Republican” is anyone who wins the Republican Primary Election. The tens of thousands of Republican activists who worked very hard in Precinct, Senatorial, and State Republican Conventions to craft the current Platform would likely disagree. Just because democrats Malcolm Purvis and Craig Doyal switched political parties, on their stated ground that “we want to win,” and just because they did win, that doesn’t make them “Republican.” That only means that they won an election.

Their actions after they won the election are the true judge of whether they’re “Republican.”

Interestingly, looking at the voting records of the five members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, it’s fairly easy to identify the “Republicans.” Noack is clearly a Republican. Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark is the next closest to voting as a Republican. Doyal, Riley and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador are Republicans in name only (“RINOs”).

What’s a liberal?

A classic 19th century “liberal” was someone who believed that government has limited functions: national security, public safety, and contract enforcement. Economist Milton Friedman was a “liberal” under that definition. 7th Circuit U.S. Appeals Judge Richard Posner was a “liberal” under he became a judge and the power seems to have gone to his head.

A modern “liberal” is quite different from the classical variety. A modern “liberal” is someone who believes that government is the solution to problems. Are there any modern liberals in Montgomery County? Doyal, Riley, and Meador are prime examples.

What’s a libertarian?

Sadly, “libertarians” are not classical “liberals” nor are they “conservatives.” They’re an odd political party that seems to be a strange version of modern liberals, even though many of their members would vehemently disagree. Gary Johnson was just strange as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. Former Republican William Weld, who had served as Governor of Massachusetts, is nothing other than a modern “liberal.”

What are the Davenports and their cronies?

The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has received several hundred requests on its tipline requesting more in the series about the Davenports, Marc and Stephanne.

Marc and Stephanne Davenport have no ideology. They just want power and money. That’s an anti-ideology, although modern “liberalism” seems to fit nicely with those types of people. Some of their “enforcers” seem to follow the same “principles”: Wayne Mack and Judge James Metts. They want power and seem willing to do just about anything to get it. Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace candidate, who is otherwise reputed to be a pretty good guy, seems to follow orders.

Rand Henderson, the Sheriff, and Rowdy Hayden, the Precinct 4 Constable, seem to have set themselves somewhat apart ideologically, although Henderson at least “tows the line” for his Davenport boss.

A philosophy of “the end justifies the means” would seem to be Machiavellian and little else (although Nicolo Machiavelli was far more principled than his historical reputation.)

 

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