Monday, August 24, 2009

Unholy Alliances Then and Now

Exactly 70 years ago (August 22-23, 1939 to be precise), Germany and the USSR stunned the world by signing a non-aggression pact. In a moment, years of animosity had to be covered and new propaganda created to explain this shocking development. Two bitterly opposed totalitarian states working together? How could this happen? This pact sealed the fate of Poland (with the secret protocols dividing the nation) and ultimately plunged the world into another World War.

Each dictator hoped to gain time to consolidate power for what they knew would be a showdown in the future. When Germany violated the pact on June 22, 1941 and launched Operation Barbarossa, she invaded the Soviet Union and launched a war of extermination unparalleled in history. Stalin was stunned. Stalin was not expecting an invasion so soon and his own military was eviscerated by the recent show trials and massacres of the military elite. Hitler miscalculated Germany's ability to deliver a crippling blow to the USSR before winter. Germany's ultimate defeat was sealed in the snow outside of Moscow.

These facts are well-known. What makes them important for 2009 is the parallel between the Hitler-Stalin agreement and the current tacit understanding between the radical Left and militant Islam. Paraphrasing Jonah Goldberg, we have liberal fascists joining arms with religious reactionaries in order to undermine centuries of democratic development. Each side thinks it can co-opt the other to serve its agenda.

I am not accusing all liberals of fascism or suggesting that most Democrats do not want democracy. This would be as unjust as those who call opponents of current health care plans Nazis. I am also not suggesting that most Muslims support the violent Islamic radicals.

With these caveats, I am making a direct parallel between the unholy alliance of ideological powers in 1939 and the bizarre capitulation of the Western Left to Islamofascism. The Left will berate Judaism and Christianity, question the US Constitution, create a European Union with no reference to any religious heritage and protect the rights of those who preach the literal destruction of Israel and the USA. Meanwhile, a combination of demographics and slick propaganda are preparing Europe to come under the Crescent in the next few decades.

We must debate policies and we can differ greatly, but the citizens of freedom around the world must be on guard against the inflexible totalitarian ideologies that threaten liberty. The strong monotheism and morality of Judaism and Christianity are guarantors of freedom because they inspire a self-regulating and virtuous citizenry. If we do not wake up and put our moral and political house in order, American and Western civilization will be a historical memory very soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Third Way

My last blog was a polemic against the totalitarian tendencies I see in the current administration.

Today I want to offer a way forward for our nation that draws on the brilliance of our Founders and the ingenuity of today's citizens. I still believe that the USA is the greatest experiment in freedom and that we do not have to change our foundational principles to continue this adventure into the 21st century.

In all the debates on economics, health care and infrastructure, we are forgetting one Constitutional principle and one lesson from our history.

Our Constitution clearly enumerates the limits and responsibilities of the federal government. All other prerogatives and rights are left to the states or the people (Amendments 9 and 10).

Why does this matter?

For 80 years the influence and power of the federal government has been overtaking the responsibilities of local and state government and well as individual citizens. It is one thing to defend the inalienable rights of millions (the Civil Rights Movement); it is quite another to legislate services as rights.

The federal government exists to protect us from foreign attack and secure our basic natural rights. It does not exist to provide all the goods and services we need. From our founding, political leaders have argued about the scope of government. The Hamilton-Jefferson debates are profoundly important. Neither of these men would be happy with the power and size of our current federal system.

Our President does have a bully pulpit - to influence citizens, local and state leaders to do the right thing on a number of issues. Congress can mandate ethical oversight of a variety of arenas. These hortatory and regulatory actions are consistent with our Founders' vision. What is tragic about today's federal system is the amount of inefficient and oppressive agencies. George Will was right when he argued that much of government seems to exist for an academic class that cannot make it in the real world!

What we need is a serous public dialogue on how local and state governments can provide the services that their citizens deem important. It is OK if there is a difference between the policies of Missouri and California. People in power forget that their budgets come from real money earned by real people.

Mayors and governors need to sit down with health care providers, corporations and public employees and create viable solutions that fit the particulars of their region. The federal authorities can help by providing ethical oversight and - please note this - resolving the immigration issue!

If we removed the illegal immigrants from California prisons, we would have no overcrowding issue and we would solve some of the budgetary problems. If we create a legal process of assimilation toward citizenship and/or guest worker status, we can improve fiscal health nationwide and be fair to those who want a chance to be part of our great nation. Of course, unscrupulous Democratic politicians who want cheap votes and unethical Republican business leaders who want "undocumented" labor must be called to account!

The historical principle that needs revival is private-public partnership. It is possible to make money and offer reasonable services. It is possible to deploy brilliant entrepreneurs to solve our infrastructure issues without capitulation to rapacious capitalism. Again, local and state governments need to solve most of our issues. Federal "cap and trade" will only stifle our economy and force more people to become dependent on government largess.

Democrats and Republicans share equal responsibility for the issues confronting us. Both parties have forgotten their basic principles - principles embodied in leaders like Eisenhower and Truman. We can have ethical oversight of free enterprise. We can have lively but civil debate on issues. We can oppose all forms of totalitarianism at home and abroad while being accountable for our actions. We can love our nation and want to make her better at the same time.

We need to argue about the role of government. We need to argue about all types of issues. Conservatives must not assume all advocates of nationalized health care are
Communists. Liberals must stop using the "Nazi" of "Fascist" moniker for all opponents of Barack Obama. Is anyone ready to debate fully the merits of the plans before the Congress? More importantly, are we ready to take personal responsibility to work with local and state leaders to provide the services we deem compassionate?

I am a conservative. I reject abortion, infanticide and active euthanasia. I affirm the brilliance of the free market system. I do not believe, Mr. President, that our Constitution was flawed because it did not address the issue of wealth distribution. The only flaw in our Constitution cost us a Civil War.

More than being a conservative, I am a thoughtful Christian and I believe that we can unite freedom and compassion. We must care for single moms and children. We must tend to the elderly and infirm. We must hold business leaders responsible for their ethics and all health care providers have a moral obligation to offer the best possible services to all their clientele. We must renew urban neighborhoods with the help of clergy, business and civic leadership. We must see the complexity of some issues (like certain farm subsidies) and the simplicity of others (like 99% of abortions).

During these hot August nights I worry that these real issues will be avoided while the chattering classes scream at each other.

Arguments created our Constitution. Civil debate can renew our liberties and unleash creativity. Let's engage for the good of our nation and the world. Oh, and by the way, we have to live within our means.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Some Forty-Year-Old Medicine

The Democractic leadership is displaying a palpatable arrogance unparalled in U.S. history. Marginalizing anyone who disagrees with them as "Nazis" and suggesting that the grassroots protests are no more than "astroturf" are tactics designed to hide their grasp for totalitarian power.

Let the record show that it is Democrat operative Axelrod who created the "astroturf" genre of public manipulation.

There are real debates on how to improve health care that are not taking place because the ideologues are in power rather than competent public and private leaders working together to improve American life.

We DO need government regulation of the ethics and standards of medical care.

We DON'T need government administration of health care - it will only become a greater nightmare than it already is (for some).

Health care is not a right - it is a service best provided for by local and state agencies. We do not need a national debate - we need concerned people working hard to create care without another federal agency.

President Obama had the arrogance to take credit for the recent (small) improvements in the economy and he is using the mistakes of a few to aggrandize power for his chosen few. We do not need "a new foundation" for economics - we need to root out dishonesty and corral the corrupt politicians and business leaders.(Are you listening Barney Frank?)

The Democratic leadership screams, "Foul!" when a town hall is disrupted by protestors. I do believe in civil discourse, but I also think that the Dems are guilty of sour grapes!

When leftists are disruptive, it is "free speech" - even when condoms are thrown in churches and conservative speakers booed off college platforms.

When conservatives get feisty, they are called "Nazis" even though Hitler's minions hated business, loved socialism and created the largest welfare state in Europe.

When ACORN intimidates, it is called "grassroots agitation."

When conservatives protest, they are either ignored or marginalized - the arguments are never refuted!

Obama and his court - yes, his attitude is closer to Fidel than JFK - have forgotten that America is more than an urban elite or masses to be manipulated. America is a diverse land of individuals who want effective government to protect them from tyranny, not impose it.

We must remember that

* Obama is the most liberal politician ever elected.

* Obama continues to suppress information about much of his past and gloss over the outright lies in both his narcissistic autobiographies.

* Obama is pro-death - his own votes and recent appointments affirm that he has never met an unborn or newborn that cannot be killed.

* Obama's vision of what America should be is so out of touch with our history that our Founders would shudder at his interpretations of their work.

* Obama has never renounced his radical roots or friendships or displayed any willingness to compromise on any legislation.

* Obama maintains distance from all legislation, making vague promises while boasting that he has not read all of the bills. I guess he took a lesson from Senator Conyers who caustically stated that the bills would take "two lawyers and two days" to read and understand. Gee whiz, Mister Senator, you find the time to travel around the nation screaming at conservatives. Why don't you just read the bills - and maybe make them clearer? By the way, dictators throughout history have allowed agencies to fight while they stayed above it all.

* I hope I am on the new White House "enemies list" that Obama is creating as he calls on people to inform the Administration of anyone making "strange arguments" against his policies. The spin is that they want to refute the arguments - the reality is that they will try to destroy anyone who is a serous opponent.

* Obama is determined to remake the economy and force Americans into collectivist and globalist molds, ignoring our liberty and deliberately risking our financial future by increasing deficits so much that is places us at the mercy of the powers who control him.

* Obama does not have any personal experience with anything resembling real work, so he cannot understand what small business folks experience.

* Obama and his fellow-elitists refuse to solve the immigration problem because they do not believe in national sovereignty and they see endless power through an endless stream of poor workers in the system.

To all thoughtful Americans, Democrat, Republican and any other affiliation (or none): There are real issues that deserve serious debate. We can avoid real estate bubbles again - if both business and government leaders decide to live ethically. We can provide health care for all through public-private partnership. Obama loves to speak about the selfishness of doctors and medical providers and how they either run too many tests or turn down claims. Yet he offers no solid solutions and current legislation would reduce the quality of care for most people who have (and pay for) health insurance!

To my fellow thoughful-folks: let's stop calling names, overgeneralizing and putting blame on our favorite demons, whether they are left or right. What we must do is renew our commitment to the Constitution. Primary power is with the people and the states. The role of the federal government is protection of rights, not the bestowal of largesse.