And I Am Not A Liberal

This was originally published at United Liberty.

Now that I have alienated all of the conservatives that read my articles, it is only fair that I explain how I should not be classified as a liberal either. I made my case for most of the tenets of liberalism I support in part one, so let’s see how I stack up against “the other side.”

As with abortion for conservatives, gun control seems to be a definitive issue when considering one’s level of liberalism. I read the Second Amendment as an American’s right to possess a firearm for whatever reason they deem necessary. If guns are outlawed, then only those who already run afoul of the law will have them. Disarming eligible citizens makes them targets, waiting for an inept police force to “serve and protect” them after they have been victimized.

I find myself at odds with many liberal Democrats over their love of unionized workplaces. In my opinion, unions serve three purposes, to weaken an individual’s relationship with their employer, to force an employer to pay the most money for the least amount of work, and to line the pockets of the union bosses with dues. The idea that more union involvement in the American economy would be beneficial is laughable. They have done more for outsourcing jobs overseas than any horribly capitalist CEO. Also, the union mentality of owning the jobs their workers labor for brings about an interesting question. Do the unions and the employees develop the skills for a position and take applications from and interview different firms for which one will be the most beneficial for the job? I did not think so. Oh yeah, America is NOT a manufacturing economy, no matter how much people complain about manufacturing jobs being sent overseas. That was two economies ago, and nations that have developed beyond agriculture have cost and efficiency advantages over the high-priced American labor force. Now is their time to perform those jobs and create those products, while America innovates in the information economy and beyond.

I do not believe in the oppressive, progressive taxation on income, where those that earn more money pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes. I think that income, inheritance, and capital gains taxes punish achievement, while a consumption-based tax system will lead to lower prices and more choice among taxpayers. They will be able to decide how much they pay in taxes based entirely on how much they consume, and the social engineering built into the current tax code through incentives, deductions, and credits will be eliminated. I think that eliminating the 16th Amendment and implementing something similar to the FairTax will provide the best method for assessing and collecting taxes, while shifting a vast amount of influence and power away from lobbyists and legislators and back to the citizens where it belongs. The punishing taxation of corporations will be over, and many will return their headquarters and operations back to the states.

Health care is not a right, nor is it a privilege. Successful people make the right choices with their lives and finances to assure that their health will not be their downfall. Whether it means to take a job that they hate with good benefits or choosing to work independently and choose their coverage. Insurance companies offer the same policies to everyone in a group plan due to governmental regulations, and that carries over to private individuals seeking a policy that meets their needs. Does it make sense that I am covered by my company’s insurance for pre-natal care and delivery with no way to drop that coverage, even though it’s biologically impossible for me to carry a child? Interestingly, that same policy also covers Viagra (which I am not old enough to be considering use of), while it does not cover a vasectomy or any birth control medication for my partner. Since I am pretty young and in relatively good health, my needs for an insurance policy vary greatly from a chronically ill woman in her fifties that may work in the same office, though we are offered the same coverage and premiums. Since the government has no faith in my choices for what I may need, the insurance company is forced to cover us equally. Also, my financial choices allow for health care coverage before my cable and internet, my cell phone, even my vehicle, and rather than living beyond my means, I save money beyond my retirement accounts for a disastrous situation.

On that note, I am fully aware that my contributions into Social Security will be returned to me with a negative rate of return in the best-case scenario. I contribute to a 401(k), a Roth IRA, and a high-yield savings account to ensure my financial future, both immediate and long-term. I have made these choices over living in a more expensive home, driving a newer car, and buying every new doodad and whatsit that comes along. I also believe that anyone that does not make those same sacrifices is a fool. Social Security was never meant to be anyone’s retirement, but rather a short-term safety net for those affected by the Great Depression that would not be collecting their pensions after they found themselves unemployed in the worst financial situation the nation ever faced.

In terms of safety nets, I think they should be handled privately. There are many quality programs that will assist those in need for a short period without the need for federal funding. In my opinion, we have far too many people able to work that have found an easy way to game the system, especially as the “stigma” of welfare and food stamps has been eliminated by the use of direct deposit and EBT cards. The government sets high hurdles for charitable organizations, barring entry to new players and adding administrative costs to existing charities. The citizens of the United States have proven to be the most charitable in the world, flush with foundations and other organizations that raise far more than any other nation in the world. With more money in the pockets of the citizens with the aforementioned tax plan, that is likely to widen that gap even more.

I am a strong believer in the Constitution as it was adopted in 1787, and it has survived since as a living document. Beyond the Bill of Rights, it has been amended seventeen times to change with the times, the most recent to limit Congressional pay raises. One of the most perfect amendments in my view came about in the Bill of Rights, and it is the Tenth Amendment, which delegates powers to the states not governed by the previous nine. Unfortunately, the process for making changes to the Constitution is not easy enough for some, and they have decided to seek out like-minded judges that will “interpret” the Constitution to add more power to the Federal Government’s duties. This bypasses the procedures set forth for changing the supreme law of the land, setting judicial precedent for future Supreme Court and lower court decisions.

The theorists in support of global warming have not presented enough evidence to include me among its believers, let alone someone who wants the government to dictate what toilet they can buy, car they can drive, or degree they can set their thermostat. Environmentalism has changed from a movement truly about preserving life on this planet to a plan to systematically destroy capitalism led by someone who wants you to do as he says, not as he does, in Al Gore. I think that the ideas of conservation, alternative fuels, and recycling are great for the community, but more importantly, for the individual. There is no need for the government to intervene here.

It seems to me that the liberal agenda revolves around group identity, with many programs being designed for “the poor,” “the elderly,” and “the children,” while vilifying programs viewed to be benefiting “the rich.” What this thinking fails to consider is the efforts of the individual. I may be white, male, straight, and from the South, but I know that my life is different from many others who fall into those same groups. Thinking based on group identity splinters society into different races, genders, age, and religions, segregating each group from sharing commonalities with anyone from another classification. This leads to special considerations being made for only certain classes of people, where the recipient group gets special treatment in certain situations, like hiring with affirmative action programs or crime with “hate crime” legislation. These types of group thinking makes one group more important than another, in the interest of “fairness,” when it actually provides an advantage or disadvantage to someone based on something they have no control over.

Most important to me, liberal thought automatically looks to the government to provide solutions to every issue, eventually moving on to preemptively address issues that are not present. Big government does not solve everything, in fact, I believe that it causes more problems than it solves. Personally, the idea of freedom and liberty, unencumbered by government, providing solutions on its own sounds like an ideal situation to me. “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”  Ronald Reagan certainly had it right when he joked about those being the nine most terrifying words in the English language.

It is my belief that I have done one of two things with this two part article. Either I have thoroughly alienated everyone who has read them, or there are more liberty-minded individuals than I realize, and I have woken them up from their lives as sheep. Here’s to the latter…

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