What am I? A Political Pariah, that’s what

I’ve said it many times. I became disillusioned by the Republican Party when I was 15 years old. NRLC declaring _Planned Parenthood v. Casey_ a victory broke my heart, as did the number of people I heard saying, “I agree with Buchanan, but he can’t win, so I’m not voting for him.”

Now, my political views have refined as I’ve learned more about the Church’s *true* economic teachings (as opposed to the liberals’ caricaures of them), and as I’ve learned about the horrors done by the Bush Administration’s torture policies. Then, of course, I did my study of the issues around the Iraq War and found the actual quotations (which liberal Catholics seem to think are unnecessary to cite) where John Paul II and Benedict XVI have called this war unjust.

Therefore, I’m in a situation where:
1. I support an extremely limited, constitution-based, subsidiarist federal government.
2. I oppose laissez-faire capitalism as much as I do socialism.
3. I support distributism, which calls for giving each person the ability to control his or her own labor, so each person has a fair shot at participating in the market. To me, this is a truly “free market,” in the sense of “liberty” that says people should be free to pursue virtue, not free to do whatever they want. Or, perhaps a better term would be “fair market.”
4. People have an inalienable right to property, and they should have the rights to use their property as the basis of income/survival. Thus, I’m opposed to HOAs and zoning laws that prevent people, for example, from growing their own food on their own land or operating reasonable home or from utilizing alternative energy or even hang-drying their clothes.
However,
5. The right to own *some* property is not a right to own all the propety you want. This is true of both Hobbesian conservatism *and* Catholic moral teaching. I find the “Joe the Plumber” argument as morally reprehensible as the NOW position. I used to think capitalism facilitated charity, but I know too much now about how the rich think. I believe that people have the right to a living wage and that there should be caps on exactly how much money any one household can make, derived from a reasonable standard of living and accounting for each person in the household so that only one person needs to work.

6. If there were such income limits, if each person had a fair shot at getting a job or being self-employed, and had ownership over his or her work, and if people were paid a living wage at minimum, then there would be little or no poverty. And families would be stabilized by the ability of the father (or mother, if necessary) to make enough with *one job* to support the family.
Also, if people weren’t expecting to make so much, and if companies didn’t have to make so much money to pay off Interest, then consumers wouldn’t have to spend as much, and they wouldn’t have to get into debt, and that would also prevent poverty.

7. I’m against the war. I’m against “foreign entanglements.” I’m against torture. I am for assassination of dictators.

8. I’m against abortion, contraception, divorce, and legal recognition of same-sex relationships. I am *for* programs that help families. I’m for the idea of expanding the definition of “dependent” so people who live in the same household and support each other can share benefits–unless the relationship is a business one (i.e., a renter or a live-in employee).

9. I’m against globalism, outsourcing, etc.

10. I believe in conservation of natural resources and “Green” living, and I believe these things should be supported by some level of government, but I oppose the Environmentalist movement per se.

So, where does that put me?

I am still, and always have been, a Kirkian conservative.

15 responses to “What am I? A Political Pariah, that’s what

  1. I’m in complete agreement with this except for #1 and #5/#6.

    But my opposition is not total, it’s nuanced.

    For #1: I have been forced, in recent years, to come to the belief that Article I of the US Constitution forbids subsidiarity to any great extent by reserving too many economic influencing rights for Congress. Particularly Sections 8 and 10, especially as 10 reinterpreted by liberals in New York City has led us to a virtual end to American Democracy and the beginning of tyranny by the financial classes, just as Thomas Jefferson warned it would.

    #5/#6- I believe in giving the rich ONE LAST CHANCE, in this form: The maximum salary cap should be set at no less than 1000 x minimum wage, and should, for consideration of what income applies, have loopholes for money paid out as direct domestic payroll and/or given away to charity. All profit above that comes from the stable market provided by the government, and thus rightfully belongs in common to the people. (This gives the rich one last chance to repent and do the right thing with their profit- give it away or use it to employ people at a living wage).

    I’d also add to #10 that distributism suggests a huge and very reasonable solution to conservation of natural resources- decentralization of energy production from centralized fossil fuel sources (such as oil refineries and coal/natgas electricity plants) to decentralized local ambient energy sources (such as wind, hydro, wave, solar, nuclear, deep water, geothermal, concordant, and thermocline sources, depending on what is locally available on one’s own land).

    • Ted, gotta review the articles you’re talking about, but agreement on the others.
      But I don’t know if I’d make it 1000X (that would be what, 30 million a year?). But I would say this:
      A cap per adult, based upon a multiple of the average cost of living, and an amount per minor based upon the cost of educating and raising a child (this would be a solution to school choice).

      The salary cap would be based upon taxes, so the things you list (domestic payroll, broadly defined,and charitable donations) would be taken off the tax bill.
      So something like this:

      Minimum wage would be $30K per adult in the household and $5000 per kid. Above that, it would be a calculation based upon family size, personal wealth, domestic payroll (including school tuition, daycare, and day laborers), charitable donations, and reasonable land/property ownership.

  2. My own personal theory on minimum/maximum wage is this: It doesn’t matter what the minimum wage is, inflation will rise continually to make it the new poverty level. To slow down inflation, one must limit the maximum salary. But one must *also* keep some incentive in the system (the main failure of the communists was that they destroyed incentive) to work and do a good job. Plato originally suggested 10x, but my study of the complexity of modern society with all of it’s technical specialties would suggest up to 1000x, but not much past that. Some even say 100x.

    Oddly enough, that’s not really that much. Current federal minimum wage, $7.25/hr, is only $20,880/year- making 1000x that $20,880,000/year, about $20 million, give or take a million.

    Which is about what our professional athletes make, and quite a bit less what bankers make.

    Here’s my discussion on how we need to change Article I Section 10 to truly legalize localism and subsidiarity, while still paying some tribute to the concept of federalism (in that it gives the federal government a revenue stream not related to personal income):
    http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/2009/03/proposed-ammendment-28.html

  3. Sounds like Andrew Sullivan may be the blog for you! He was an enthusiastic Republican in the Reagan years but has been disgusted by the Party’s moral disintegration since Y2K.

    (I personally think the disintegration was inherent in Reagan’s Republicanism but that’s my opinion, not Andrew Sullivan’s.)

    • Hardly. He’s a liberal.

      • How do you figger that? What’s liberal about him? He’s right-wing on taxes and balancing budgets, on minimal, “leave-me-alone” government, on affirmative action-type issues he’s conservative. He’s also against abortion.

        This is the problem with conservatism now: if you’re anything other than total right-winger extremist on EVERY issue, they say you’re liberal. Ten years ago NO ONE would have called someone with Sullivan’s positions liberal.

      • Well, there’s the sense in which all Americans are liberal compared to the Catholic view. My point that, as a Catholic, he’s a liberal. He may be politically conservative, but he’s morally and theologically liberal–and that includes the positions you identify on economic issues.

      • Then would you classify Dorthy Day or GK Chesterton as conservatives?

      • Actually, I don’t know enough about either to say.
        In society, a conservative believes that laws are important because people are concupiscent. A liberal believes people are basically good and need to be prevented from doing evil by education and social programs.

        In the Church, it’s a little different, but similar principles apply. For example, JPII was a “liberal” Pope in the sense that he tried to emphasize teaching rather than punishing dissenters.

      • Both Dorthy Day and GK Chesterton would hold with the Church- that mankind has become debased and evil in sin, and laws are needed to correct this.

        However, I’d say you’re using very AMERICAN meanings of those words- in the rest of the world, both of those are extreme conservative positions, for they both support, to some extent, the status quo. I’d in fact use the words libertarians (people are basically evil and laws become less important, for all laws are created by fallible humans) and progressives (people are basically good, and laws are needed to prevent them from slipping into evil, especially education and social programs into what the law is all about). In the rest of the world, liberals are for CHANGE, conservatives are for conservation of the status quo.

        From the more international meaning of those words, both Dorthy Day and GK Chesterton are liberals- for they are against the status quo and are for change to something they believe to be better.

        Note, in the world’s definition of liberal and conservative- you can have a very conservative communist in a communist nation, and a very conservative capitalist in a capitalist nation, and both are right wing conservatives.

        The Church, in this alternate definition, becomes liberal- because she is calling men and civilization to conversion, to become something better than they currently are.

  4. I see! In other words, you use the word “liberal” to mean something other than what everyone else means by it.

    Sorry but I can only write in English, not in your private language!

    • Most people don’t use the terms “liberal” and “conservative” improperly, so there’s no real problem there. I use the terms as they’re defined. Of course, you’re just (at least you claim to be), a scientist, so you obviously don’t know anything about higher ranking academic disciplines.

      I use the word as it means. And I also use the word relative to whether the question is politics or religion. One can be politically liberal and religiously conservative, for example–think Bob Casey, Sr., going to Latin Mass. Sullivan, as a gay rights activist, is liberal as a Catholic.
      Or a person who votes Republican and pro-life but advocates women’s ordination or _Gather_ hymnals.

      • I think you mean most people use the terms liberal and conservative improperly. The double negative makes it sound like they don’t.

        In America- hate to say it but there’s the old English Joke that in America they have two political parties: The Republicans, who are just like the Tories, and the Democrats, who are just like the Tories. We don’t have many true political liberals in the United States- and haven’t since the Red Scares of the 1920s and 1950s. What we really have are libertarians and progressives here, not liberals and conservatives.
        The Practical Catholic Gentleman who is faithful to both the Pope and the ideals of the founding fathers, has no political home in the United States at all.

  5. Yet, Burke defined conservatism, and I’m going by Burke, via Kirk.

    What you’ve defined is the difference between a libertarian and a conservative. A libertarian says the laws are evil because the people who make the laws are evil. A conservative says that the laws exist to keep everyone in check. That’s why conservatives are constitutionalists; we hold that the purpose of the constitution is to prevent corruption and abuse of power in the government (this is an Aristotelian position).
    Liberals say the constitution should be open to interpretation.

    I am fundamentally an Aristotelian, a Thomist and a Hobbesian when it comes to my political views. Were I to adopt atheism,, in the few minutes before I killed myself, I’d be a Hobbesian.

    Many people use the terms situationally, particularly in the media, but that doesn’t change that they have fundamental meanings philosophically about how they approach human nature and society.

    The way that the Burkean/Kirkean definitions differ from “most people” is that in their most basic sense, the terms are economic. Aristotle even uses the terms for economics: conservative or liberal in regard to government spending.

    • Boy this is threading weird- but ok. I, like most non-philosophers, are going on what the root words mean. “To conserve” and “to liberate”. Even economically in relation to government spending, normally (not in the last 10 years of Republicans, but hey, this is wartime) conservatives save, liberals spend.

      I have a problem with conservative constitutionalists- there is a very real and basic problem with the US Constitution from the standpoint of Catholicism, because the constitution itself is based on the Americanist heresy of freemasonic ideals.

      In other words, the corruption and abuse of power is built into the Constitution because it was written by (mostly anyway) corrupt deists who were trying to protect their property rights, not by moralists who were trying to define the common good or serve God.

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