I am posting Gossenius's thoughtful reply to my call to articulate a political philosophy (I continue to encourage you all to add your voices to that discussion). The following essay is provocative. Gossenius asks sincere and penetrating questions that demand honest introspection from Republicans and conservatives. As I am the most upper-case Republican within our community, I will take it upon my self to defend my Republicanism. You may expect my response forthwith.

Guest Blog: Gossenius

I agree with much of what Farmer says [from the comments section of the aforementioned post], and all of paragraphs 6 and 8-10 describe me as well. However, I would never consider myself conservative or Republican, and see the Republican Party and self-described conservatives being hostile to most of the values articulated there: Republicans in office seem to favor top-down moral control, big government, and a wholesale rejection of the restraint and humility expressed in Farmer's last paragraph. The reaction of Republicans to these charges seems to be often the same: But look at what Democrats do! A strange response on its face-- to say that 'the other side doesn't live up to the values we Republicans espouse and then betray.'

Seriously, what does the modern Republican Party have to offer if you are someone who believes in the following, which were articulated by Farmer and I agree with:

1) Freedom from government interference in matters of faith

2) Small government

3) Humility in public service.

Again, I know the answer will be "Look at the other side!" Ok, I will. On item one, I think no one can dispute that liberal politicians are better-- unless you define government declining to force prayer in schools as some kind of discrimination. On item two, Clinton is the only President in my memory who through the course of his presidency lowered the rate of growth for government spending. On item three, the Bush presidency has aggrandized to itself as much power as possible at the expense of Congressional oversight, the personal freedoms of citizens, and the constitutional powers of the judiciary.

The primary political difference between Farmer and I probably has to do with military spending. He is for a "strong defense," which means a gigantic world-wide military infrastructure. I find it a violation of the principle of small government to have a military which spends more than the rest of the world combined, and which not only makes our government bigger, but seeks to become or control the government in foreign countries such as Iraq. Seriously, our most successful export to Iraq was the idea that government can solve everyone's problems-- Bush and Republican leaders continually say that we can fix things there through the strong hand of (our) government. Of course it didn't work there! Big government doesn't work here, either.

And securing that source of oil sure kept prices down. Again, markets trump big government.

In defining me, correctly, as a small-government liberal, Farmer did me the service of defining a liberal as something in terms other than the usual Republican slur-- that a liberal is someone who wants government to solve all problems. Yeah, there are some Democrats who want that, and lots of Republicans, too, as has been well proven by now.

As a liberal, I believe in personal freedom, even if that is at the expense of someone else's desire to legislate their morality into my life. As a liberal, I believe in a secular state full of vibrant, empowered churches like the one Farmer and I share. As a liberal, I believe that government is a servant of the people, and not vice versa. As a liberal, it saddens me that government money is so often given over to welfare, these days in the form of farm subsidies, corporate tax breaks, and policies advantageous to oil companies-- that's our money, and it should be retained by the people rather than taxed.

And I'm not ashamed of any it.