Opinion | Approaching the election with an economic perspective makes the choice clear
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 23:08
I do not believe that most people get their personal values or political beliefs from a political party, but they call themselves either Democrats or Republicans to easily communicate which side of the spectrum best represents them.
To identify as either one does not mean a person gets his or her values from the top down as some people may assume.
In my opinion, Independents classify themselves as such because they’ve become cynical about the process, they do not wish to be labeled, or, most likely, they are unsure which of their values is most important to them, and thus unsure of their political leanings and philosophies.
The political parties’ values have become even more divergent, resulting in gridlock, which understandably frustrates Independents.
I believe that history has shown there are ultimately two general political philosophies, both involving different views on government and economic relations.
What I will call Philosophy One, has always existed and still exists to varying degrees, and consists of: collectivism, government granted liberties (or entitlements), and a government-controlled economy.
Any country consisting of these components falls under this philosophy. Philosophy Two is an American development — that is, we are the only nation originally built on this philosophy—consisting of: individualism, inalienable rights, limited government and a free market economy.
Of course, there are shades of gray in between these two philosophies. For example, an economy may not be completely controlled by a government but may be too controlled to be considered a free market.
I think it is obvious which side of the spectrum is the best. No rational person would wish not to have freedom and choice.
So why would anyone take a risk and move away from a free market system when the pendulum could continue to swing past a ‘nanny-state’ all the way to the extents seen in Maoist China and the Soviet Union?
But one may argue that a pendulum swinging too far towards a free market leads to fraud and greed. That argument is inaccurate since a true free market has regulations—as in to keep regular, not to control. A free market requires the government to establish rule of law to enforce contracts and protect intellectual property.
Fraud and greed are results of human choices, and are not caused by outside sources such as free enterprise. A manifestation of fraud and greed is crony capitalism, which is becoming more endemic in government.
The components of the two philosophies are not interchangeable. For example, a limited government built on inalienable rights and a government-controlled economy are incompatible, because a government-controlled economy requires the power to control people’s economic choices. Even more noteworthy, there has never been a tyranny that has resulted from limited government.
Our Founding Fathers understood this concept and that is why America is unique and exceptional.
So, I often ask myself, why would anyone want to move towards bigger government? I think most voters who favor bigger government do so out of good intentions. But I think they don’t realize that good intentions and social objectives are not always compatible with reality. Also, these voters, I believe, assume or are led to believe that government is the only solution, which it is not.
A government solution to social ills requires a more powerful and bigger government. A government cannot create wealth. It can only redistribute it. Isn’t it greedy to vote in favor for a government that will take from your neighbor and give to you?
I understand the frustrations of most Independents, and in my future articles I will endeavor to help illuminate their perspective by examining in depth the topics introduced in this article.
Due to the divergent paths the political parties have taken, this election is a critical decision for the soul of America. Every voter – Democrat, Republican or Independent – will be making this decision.
My goal is to provoke a sense of responsibility and seriousness in this year’s voters and offer some thoughts for their further reflection, especially since our generation will be heavily impacted by this election.
Being an informed voter and confident in one’s values is as crucial as ever for this November.