Like DrBacchus, I have been struggling with my choice of presidents. Unlike him, I find something disagreeable in even the Libertarian position, even though I am closer to that than any other position.
It is decent on domestic economic policy, especially since it inherited a recession from the policies of the previous administration. Unfortunately, we probably won’t see the most significant benefits until at least another four years. Its foreign policy is good on military strength but poor on diplomacy. It seems to think acting like a parent is appropriate for a young sibling. I guess the opposing argument would be that the parents are getting fat in the parlour, so someone has to be the parent. Perhaps. Conciliarity seems not to be its strong point. The programs meant to put expression to the campaign phrase “Compassionate Conservatism” seem to have evaporated after September 11, 2001, as defense spending increased. It appears to think that Americans would gladly trade essential liberties for some temporary security. In speech, it is absolutely committed to traditional values, though there are dangerous hints and allegations of cronyism.
He likes the word “non-partisan.” In his recent campaign book A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America, he tends to start with the word “non-partisan” and follow with an argument for Democratism over Republicanism. That’s hardly non-partisan, Mr. Kerry. He definitely has a sense for diplomacy and building strong alliances with other nations, but I’m concerned that he would leave Iraq a vacuum for despotic leadership. Domestically, I sympathize with his intent to help the poor and oppressed, but his economic policies are crypto-socialist, as all Democrats tend to be crypto-socialists. I think I might like a socialist country, but our Constitution isn’t that flexible. A robust socialism would require a new Constitution, and I rather doubt anyone wants that. Mr. Kerry appears not to think civil rights abuses are a campaign issue.
I like these guys. They don’t interfere with your freedom. If you’ve grown up with a deficient grasp of ethics, they’ll let you drown yourself, along with anyone who wants to go with you. On the other hand, if you are hardworking and thrifty, they will not steal your money and give it to those who are not. Should you have acquired the virtue of charity, you are free to bestow your earnings upon anyone you please. More powerfully, you are free to parlay your earnings and your time to create voluntary associations that multiply the practice of charity with each voluntary participant. The role of government is not to be charitable but to govern among free men. The charity is up to us.
Unfortunately, Libertarians take a dim view of foreign policy, preferring the safe blanket of isolationism to the cold armor of beligerence or the superficial evening wear of diplomacy. I happen to think this is short-sighted and rather dangerous at the present moment.
So, whom do I choose to govern me? I am very torn. The Byzantine theocrat in me says the Libertarian position is too libertarian in a declining society. The Democrats, on the other hand, would encourage the decline into ethical darkness. The Republicans? Well, they want us to believe they’ll act on the problem, but their track record is mostly show and little go. We now have a Republican Congress and a Republican President, and the slaughter of innocents continues. Other ethical issues, though, leave a lingering question: Given our Constitution, is it really the place of government to dictate virtue to it’s people? I believe our Constitution limits the power of the federal government to enforce shifts in morality.
It’s a tough choice, but the answers everyone seems to want involve rewriting the Constitution, in my opinion. And I don’t think anyone wants that. It seems like the Libertarians are the only ones who actually want to implement the Constitution we actually have.
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