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Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Earlier A Waco Farmer challenged us, partners and readers, to articulate a coherent political philosophy. I am easing into the challenge first by stating what I am not, and why not. Libertarian. Socialist.

In a nutshell, I am not a Libertarian because I perceive that political philosophy to have a faulty view of human nature: it thinks of humans essentially as isolated atoms without an appreciation for the social aspect of our nature. And, it tends to see sin only in structures like government, not in the hearts of individuals.

In a nutshell, I am not a Socialist because I perceive that political philosophy to have a faulty view of human nature: it thinks that humans can behave altruistically for the common good, and, not have their virtue corrupted by dependency.

Today Fascist, Nazi, or Communist. While these may seem diverse political philosophies, in my view they are foxes tied together at the tails, capable of burning down all that is good in life (let's see which commentator can recognize the biblical reference).

First, all of them put a nearly absolute priority on the collective, the social, over against the individual. In other words, they are the mirror image error of Libertarianism. If the latter system absolutizes the individual, these three absolutize the state. They misread the human situation, that of social individuals.

Second, all of them are totalitarian systems. That is, they are philosophies and ways of life that seek to explain and to govern every aspect of human life. They therefore make the claim of omnicompetance for human systems, and try to exert omnipotence over individual life. If Libertarianism is individual hubris, this is social hubris.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Tocqueville recently directed me to this link (interesting blog) and issue, which he suggested was an "important discussion taking place across the blogosphere."

The post discusses an essay by Brink Lindsey entitled "Liberaltarians" (on the Cato Institute website) and a discussion of the essay from the American Spectator.

What is a Liberaltarian?

According to Lindsey, libertarian-leaning voters are increasingly unhappy with the conservative-dominated Republican Party over so-called big-government conservatism and the growing influence of evangelical Christianity in GOP policy making. That is, libertarians favor small government and less regulation in business and personal morality. The current Republican Party seems perfectly content to allow (facilitate) the growth of government and runaway government spending. The other gap is on moral issues (values): "The old formulation defined conservatism as the desire to protect traditional values from the intrusion of big government; the new one seeks to promote traditional values through the intrusion of big government."

What is a libertarian-Republican to do? The old fusion of libertarians and traditional conservatives appears more and more tenuous. As the original blog post points out, most traditional conservatives are more than ready and willing to show their erstwhile Cold War allies the door. Lindsey suggests that the libertarians ought to start thinking about a new alliance for progress and freedom with liberals.

My real question today, however, is how would you define your own political philosophy? In the comments section a few days ago, the Okie Gardener took renewed umbrage at a remark I made years ago, when I observed that he was not a pure conservative--but a Midwestern populist. Frankly, after reading the Gardener on a daily basis, he writes much more conservative than I originally believed him to be when I made that statement, but I would not back off from my assertion that populism and regionalism play a significant role in his worldview.

As the piece on "liberaltarians" argues, there is great difficulty in fitting one's political philosophy into one category. Gossenius labels himself a small-government liberal. I see myself as an evangelical-conservative-libertarian. Joab claims to be a libertarian-conservative. Steinway is a Goldwater Republican. Tocqueville is the most orthodox conservative I know. What about Martian Mariner? Photognome? Bear-Tex? Evrvglnt? And others?

So, my question: how would you define your political philosophy? How did you get there? Where do you want to go? Feel free to comment on the Liberaltarian article--but I would also really enjoy hearing about your intellectual journey.

Note: Obviously, I should lead by example, but I may not be able to offer my story for a few hours or days.

Update: I have now posted some of my thoughts in the comments section
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Dick Morris has some concrete suggestions for real reform in Congress, if anyone is serious. Here. From Jewish World Review.

I especially like banning immediate family members from lobbying.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Wizbang has this post arguing the affirmative. Seriously? We link, you decide.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
I am grieved by the news today that partisanship and petulance forced the resignation of John Bolton as UN Ambassador. I fear that all the talk of a new tone in Washington is altogether disingenuous. The opposition to Bolton purportedly centered around alleged past incidents of incivility and similar breaches of decorum, which raised doubts about his ability to perform in the sensitive diplomatic post. However, his sixteen-month tenure at the UN seemingly trumps any of those speculative worries. Notwithstanding, no one seemed very interested in a review of his job performance and/or a public discussion of the question. Today's events confirm that that the accusations of ill temperment were merely a facade for mindlessly destructive partisan politics.

I agree with President Bush:

"I am deeply disappointed that a handful of United States Senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserved in the Senate," Bush added. "They chose to obstruct his confirmation, even though he enjoys majority support in the Senate, and even though their tactics will disrupt our diplomatic work at a sensitive and important time. This stubborn obstructionism ill serves our country, and discourages men and women of talent from serving their nation."

I also agree with Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, who opposed the Bolton appointment sixteen months ago and had this to say today:

"John Bolton has risen to the occasion and done a good job under the harshest of circumstances," Voinovich said in a statement. "I'm extremely concerned with him leaving since he's been so deeply involved with the situations in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and North Korea and has been working in concert with fellow ambassadors toward true U.N. reform."

Shame on Senate Democrats and outgoing Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee.

The above quotes come from the Washington Post story (linked here).