Republican Does Not Equal Conservative

Southern Avenger Jack Hunter: Conservatism in Exile

Simple explanation of why Republican does not equal conservative. Jack Hunter makes clear and concise points about the how the Republican establishment is not only similar to the Democratic party in terms of trending towards socialism, but in some ways worse.

If the goal is to reduce the size and scope of the government, voting Republican simply isn’t going to work.

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Republican Does Not Equal Conservative

Southern Avenger Jack Hunter: Conservatism in Exile

Simple explanation of why Republican does not equal conservative. Jack Hunter makes clear and concise points about the how the Republican establishment is not only similar to the Democratic party in terms of trending towards socialism, but in some ways worse.

If the goal is to reduce the size and scope of the government, voting Republican simply isn’t going to work.

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Government Free Fantasy Pledge

This is what happens when you show up at a tea party with a “no medicare” pledge?

This pledge to stop using governmental programs is very popular with big government advocates. Underneath, the argument is quite simple: if you don’t like governmental control in one area, you should forgo governmental control in all areas.

It’s the updated version of “Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican.” The newer version is The Tea Party Pledge.

The main purpose behind the pledge is to label as “hypocrites” those who would halt the expansion or call for reducing the role of government. The implied argument is that if you think its wrong for the government to be in control of the items listed but do not abstain from using them, you can’t be taken seriously.

In essence, it’s asking people to act as though they live in a world that doesn’t exist. Government is involved with almost every aspect of our lives; it’s impossible to live government-free. The argument is tantamount to telling an environmentalist who complains about air quality to stop breathing.

Those calling for government to stop farm subsidies are not hypocrites for eating. An environmentalist calling for the elimination of fossil fuels isn’t a hypocrite each time they use a fossil fuel, because the fossil fuel free world does not exist. Calling for the reduction of government in a life dominated by government isn’t hypocritical, either.

The hypocrisy here is in ignoring how government has slowly taken away from people the ability to be self-reliant. The money for all the services government supplies comes from the people. A natural consequence of taking  wealth from people is that they become dependent on the entity that now has control of their wealth.

The cruel nature of these attacks is especially clear when asking people to abstain from Social Security. Money taken from paychecks for Social Security throughout the years hinders individuals’ ability to save for their own retirement. These activists then have the nerve to call people hypocrites to accept some of their own money back from the Social Security system in order to survive.

These listed items in this pledge makes a very different point than intended: Government is too big–so big it’s clearly impossible to live without direct involvement in each of our lives.

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Mandatory Purchases: New Lane on the Superhighway to Serfdom

Not enough fear mongering has been done about the mandatory purchase of health insurance. I know it’s a slippery slope argument, saying having mandatory health insurance will lead to government specifying mandatory purchases on everything. The slippery slope  helped make mandatory health insurance purchase requirements possible, by virtue of mandatory auto insurance.

It’s not a stretch to assume at some point, something else will be added to the list of mandatory purchases. Health and auto insurance will be used as the justification for further governmental control of personal income. I can’t predict what the next mandatory purchase will be, or how many there will be. Once the government has been granted a new power, it inevitably discovers additional “need” for exercise of the new-found power.

To avoid abuses of such authority, the next logical step would seem to be to set limits on how far government can go in requiring mandatory purchases. This obviously won’t work, because the federal government has repeatedly shown itself to ignore limits. Case in point, the federal debt limit:  each time the debt limit is reached, congress simply votes to raise the debt limit. Once a limit has been placed on power, they simply vote to extend the limits of the power.

There is the belief that as long as you have freedom of speech and religion, you still live in a free country, or that if you loose some of the ability to decide what to do with your own money but still have these basic rights, you are still free. The fallacy of this belief becomes clear as the percent of control the government has over income becomes closer to 100 percent than to zero percent.

Once the amount of taxes crosses fifty percent of income, people take notice and start to complain. They quickly come to realize the closer you get to being taxed at 100 percent, the closer you are to having zero freedom. If 100 percent of what you make is taken by government, then basically government owns you and the fruits of your labor. So government has to be careful not to go too far past the halfway point to enslavement.

The TEA Party protests indicate to me the government has pushed the boundary of taxation about as far as it safely can. While I’m sure there is still some room in there to squeeze in minor taxes, there is no room for large-scale tax increases–the type needed to fully fund health care coverage for all Americans. That’s why a new form of governmental control over income was needed. Enter mandatory purchases.

Allowing the federal government the ability to mandate purchases has opened up this new lane in The Superhighway to Serfdom. You’ll still have somewhere around half of your income in your hands, but the amount of your income you’ll have control over will gradually decrease through mandatory purchases.

Government needs to be careful not to load up this new lane of serfdom to quickly. Once people are heavily taxed and burdened with mandatory purchases, seeing they have little control over their lives, it sometimes produces consequences like the French Revolution. I hope a movement will form to undo this new dangerous power, and I hope it will be called the BABE Party, Bitten At Both Ends.

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SPLC: Where is the map of propaganda groups?

After seeing this Dylan Ratigan video from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which grouped ‘Patriot’ groups with hate groups, I decided to look into how these groups are defined.

From the Southern Poverty Law Center – definition of ‘Patriot’ groups:

Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines. Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist. The list was compiled from field reports, Patriot publications, the Internet, law enforcement sources and news reports. Groups are identified by the city, county or region where they are located.

The list doesn’t imply theses groups advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist, but Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center does imply these groups advocate violence in this video.

The kinds of things we’ve seen in the last year are for instance the murder of six law enforcement officials by people, members of the radical right. We have seen plots to murder Obama, we have seen plots to murder black people, to murder jews and so on. I think these are all prompted by the rise of Obama to power. These real changes that are happening around us, people are really angry and hurting out there and many of them feel quite ready to take action.

The terms hate groups and radical right and patriot groups were used throughout this video from Southern Poverty Law Center. I can’t tell exactly which group Potok means in referring to violence, because all these organizations have become an amalgam of one group to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

But what they (Oath Keepers) are really about is the idea that Americans are about to be herded into concentration camps that martial law is going to be imposed, that foreign troops are going to be on American soil, putting Americans done and so on. If what the Oath Keepers did was merely plead one more time to defend the Constitution there would be nothing remotely bad about it.

I can’t say if Americans are about to be herded into concentration camps, but Americans were herded into concentration camp during WWII, so it’s not delusional to believe it could happen.

What is really worrying about a group like the Oath Keepers is this is a group of people who are armed by the rest of society. And in the case of police officers these are people who sometimes have the power of life and death over you or me, and what that means if these men and women are animated by ideas that are completely false, completely paranoid and groundless, you’ve got to worry about who they are going to see as the real enemy and what kinds of decisions they make in stressful situation.

Not everyone knows about the Readiness Exercise of 1984, the plan by the US to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of civil unrest. Calling these fears completely false, completely paranoid and groundless is worrisome and inaccurate.

Whether the tea party movement becomes something more like the patriot group, more radical yet, or whether it becomes something else is something we don’t know yet.

So worrying over what the Tea Party movement might become isn’t paranoia, but worrying about what the government has done in the past being repeated is paranoia? The underlying argument is that Mark Potok’s paranoia about ‘Patriot’ groups is the good kind of paranoia and the concerns of ‘Patriot’ groups is the bad kind of paranoia.

Summing up the SPLC position on patriot groups: It’s OK to verbally defend the Constitution, but citizens possessing anything other than harsh words to defend the Constitution are dangerous.

The SPLC has a map of hate groups on their site.

Where is the map of propaganda groups?

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Rand Paul and Ron Paul on compromise

Rand Paul and Ron Paul are questioned by Anderson Cooper about congress and compromise.

Ron Paul “they compromise on the welfare state, they compromise on the warfare state, they compromise endorsing the monetary system”

Rand Paul “we are compromising, but we are compromising for more spending”

Congress should be willing to compromise on what gets cut from the budget, but cutting the budget should not be compromised.

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TEA Party Convention Circa 1957

The Republican Party had done enough damage by globing on to every TEA Party protest, and Sarah Palin comes along to bury what was left. What started out for some as honest revulsion to uncontrolled taxing and spending has been fully transformed into marketing endless wars.

Sarah Palin has done more damage to the TEA Party than all the media’s straw man attacks and FoxNews promotion combined. The lesson learned: any group that starts to threaten established political power will be attacked from all from all angles.

Here is a clip from A Face in the Crowd (1957) that sums up what Palin’s performance turned the TEA Party into.

Full version of A Face in the Crowd available on YouTube

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