Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Conservative Politics

It is true that I am an evangelical Christian. However, that's not the reason I lean to the political right. At least, it's not the primary reason. I'm not driven by topics like abortion and gay marriage, despite the efforts of many on the right and the left to elevate those two issues to the top of the priority list.

No, my reason for moving from a liberal in my younger years (my first presidential vote went to Dukakis in 1988; I also voted for Ann Richards for TX governor in 1990) to my current conservative status owes more to the fact that I took a few history and economics classes in college.

The more I understand economics, the more I understand that less government is better, on two levels: a practical level and a deeper level. By practical, I mean that one can easily demonstrate with numbers how an economy will benefit when the government stays out of it. You give a dollar to the government, and it stays there. You give a dollar to a business, and that dollar gets spent several times, and it gets taxed each time. Businesses gain money, families get fed, and the government still gets money from the fact that the dollar got spent and passed through so many hands, being taxed each time. (By the way, this is why I'm against the lottery; my religious ideas are not even involved). When getting my 2nd degree, I took a class with a boring name (something like "Economics of Public Policy") and explained it very well. The professor, Roger Meiners, is extremely knowledgeable in this area. He's worth googling.

But beyond the practical level is the question of how we are affected at the core. When we think it's OK to force the rich to support the poor, when we think it's OK to expect a handout from the government, I think it's bad for the soul. This past Fall, while the press piled on the guy known as Joe the Plumber, the real story was not him, but what Obama said to him. He said we need to "spread the wealth around." By which he meant having the government force you to spread your wealth to those who have less than you.

While we all should give to those less fortunate, such giving should be voluntary. Forced giving is wrong even when it's phrased in seemingly harmless ways, such as "spread the wealth around", or when we glorify such practices in stories like "Robin Hood", but the result is damaging.

Sadly, I think our nation has devolved into a mindset that forced giving and the expectations of government handouts is the norm now. That doesn't mean it's any less harmful to our soul, but it does mean it's probably irreversible.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fun with double standards

I watched the Oscars last night. Sean Penn is a strong adherent to the value of double-standards. He admonished those who would, for religious reasons, vote their conscience, and specifically mentioned the word "shame". As in: they should be ashamed for voting the way they did. If I understand him correctly, he has no problem with practicing religious intolerance in his quest for tolerance of a non-traditional definition of marriage.

The double-double (double-squared?) standard comes in when one takes note of the fact that Penn made friends last year with the dictator of Venezuela, a country which denies many basic human rights to its citizens, including homosexuals. If memory serves correctly, Penn also spent some time in Iran not too long ago.

Sean, it's a lot more safe to be out of the closet in California than in Iran or Venezuela. I'm puzzled why you choose to spend time in two nations which offer much more oppression, and much less freedom, than we have here in the US, if freedom is so important to you. Like my socks in my bachelor days, your actions and words simply do not match.

First blog

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