Sunday, February 14, 2010

“Fundamental Principles”

By Ryan Smith

As we approach the November 2010 elections, it is an anxious yet exciting time to be a conservative. We are anxious because we are overwhelmingly in the minority of both houses of Congress, and the White House is currently occupied by possibly the most radical socialist ever to hold the office of President. It is also a very exciting time to be a conservative, because for the first time in quite awhile the American people seem to be awake and ready to make true changes to the “status quo”.

For nearly a century since the time of Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and other “Progressives” we have been in a sort of “modern-liberal” era in which the country has gradually moved away from the original and limited meaning of the Constitution. The people have put up with it, because it was a subtle shift and never really seemed to affect them. However, with the election of President Barack Obama (who, for the record, I DO believe is a citizen) and overwhelming Democrat majorities to Congress, this move away from strict constitutionalism has been accelerated. This has caused the vast majority of people to wake up and realize that we are in deep trouble.

At the current time, we must support a set of three fundamental principles. There are many issues, but I believe they can all in one way or another be covered by these three things: Fiscal Responsibility, Strong National Defense, and Limited Government as defined by the US Constitution.

1. Fiscal Responsibility: This principle is made up of two parts: spending and taxing. The government must control its spending by spending money on only those things that it should be involved in. In doing so, the government will only need to tax enough in order to raise the money required to do those items.

2. Strong National Defense: This principle is the first and foremost responsibility laid out for the Federal government by the Framers in the Constitution. The most obvious thing that falls under this heading is military defense, but it also includes a strong border defense which has been seriously lacking in recent years. I am certainly not anti-immigrant, but I am anti-illegal immigrant. I believe that the United States (like every other nation on the face of the planet) has a right to protect its geographical sovereignty from a blatant (military) or subtle (illegal crossing by millions of aliens) invasion.

3. Limited Government: When our framers set down the US Constitution, it was intended to be limited to the enumerated (listed out) powers. As James Madison, the “Father” of the Constitution said:

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal (national) government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former (national government powers) will be exercised principally on external (outside of the states) objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State." (Emphasis mine)

In other words, if the powers are not listed (or implied by what are listed) then the Federal government has NO business doing them. They are to be left to the states! The vast majority of things that involve the Federal government have to do with war, foreign relations, and relations between (but not inside) the states. Notice that principle number 2 (strong defense) is covered by this. It is also interesting to point out that if government only spends money on doing the enumerated things and no others, then it will only need to tax to be able to pay for those enumerated things. Suddenly, we're back to fiscal responsibility. Ultimately, it all ties back to limited government. It's interesting that Ronald Reagan said, "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."

As we approach the coming elections, we must be very careful to elect the right people. This is no longer a time for “Party X = good, Party Y = bad”. We must look past the party labels to look at the actual people running. For me this will probably mean more Republicans than Democrats, because I believe that the Republican party tends to be closer to the proper constitutional view, but there are also good Democrats and independents who deserve support.

We must do our absolute best to determine the character of those candidates running for office. They must not give only lip-service to the “Big 3” principles, they must also govern by them! If at all possible, investigate the candidates you are thinking of supporting to see if their speaking matches up with their previous history. If it differs, demand to know why you should trust them to live by the fundamental principles. We must demand this of the incoming group of congressional members, or we will wind up of with more of the same. If they do not live up to their word, then we must have the courage to vote them out...even if it means voting for an opposing party. This is the only way we can ultimately keep our elected officials in check. The good news is that this time around the people seem ready to do this.

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