“Best of Intentions”
Doing what we didn’t do during the Regan Revolution.
I.e. Following through with the idea of making it personal.
The dream of Conservatives for less government and more individual freedom can only be achieved through political means. It is then held through individual effort.
Much like the 1990’s now is a time of great promise for turning conservative thought into constructive programs or lack thereof (i.e. nongovernmental programs). In order not to revisit the failures of the previous revolution during this new renaissance in the belief of “Constitutional Government” and individual rights we should study what had brought about the past mistakes, in efforts of both the left and the right.
A plethora of writing was done in the 1980’s/90’s about the evils of “collectivism” or “stateism”. After the People had their fill of the failures of the “Great Society” the Conservatives under Reagan had the chance to govern using alternate conservative ways to attain the same lofty goals through different means. The Reagan Revolution also failed to fulfill its promises.
It was that failure and sense of broken trust that caused the majority of the public to “change sides” and become willing to give the Liberals another chance.
This broken trust first led to the Regan Revolution and when that failed to fulfill its promises led to the Clinton years, then back to Bush and ultimately out of frustration with both parties we put our blind faith put into the untried hands of Obama simply because he was different and he promised change.
The failure of Obama to fulfill his promises brought us back around to the 2010 election cycle and a new chance for conservative theories to be tried. This time it was the Spontaneous creation and rise of the Tea Party that demanded change again and the public was willing to back those politicians that subscribed to the Smaller Government agenda.
The question remains will this just be another “same old, same old” swing of the pendulum; or will some real change take place. Will the people the Tea Party helped elect stay true to their promises or not?
In his new book, “the Battle” http://www.amazon.com/Battle-between-Enterprise-Government-Americas/dp/0465019382 Arthur C Brooks carries on the conservative promises and arguments Charles Murray put forth in the 90’s so well in his seminal book “Losing Ground”. http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Ground-American-1950-1980-Anniversary/dp/0465042333/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300651812&sr=1-1Both books were and are excellent, putting forward many usable ideas to help wean us from our reliance upon big government to solve our problems which were previously solved without such pervasive government intervention. Together these two books show the progression in the thought of our quest to revamp education along conservative lines.
The goal as with all is to have individuals or private groups solve the problems we as a country face because the bottom line is that the problems we face are individual problems and can be best solved on an individual basis and not the cookie cutter approach all large bureaucracies are so enamored by.
As a blogger friend of mine loves to state, “It’s the spending Stupid” when talking of the only realistic way of making government smaller. Simply by being more efficient with the money the government has will not shrink government. We need to cut some programs out totally and prune others drastically where the programs are most needed. To make up for the shortfall, we as individuals and small self governing groups need to step up. Only by this “drastic” action will we feel forced to step up and accept the responsibility for this action.
Many will rightly claim that the problems weren’t solved by private means in the previous conservative cycle, therefore necessitating government intervention. The problem I see is that in the mind of the American people, “government intervention” has become the “default” solution to more and more of our problems. That is what we must fight by example.
My default position will always be Individual Freedom.
The default position I have is “What can I do”.
For this new conservative effort to last and to actually make a difference it needs to be done from a Bottom Up point of view. To be crystal clear on this point, people themselves have to get involved in the political process; control of the bureaucracy has to wrested back by and for “We the People”.
We not only have to cut government but actually individually step up and lend a hand first with helping ourselves and then others in our orbit. If you think that is unrealistic, how realistic has it proven to be that simply throwing money at education will produce better results? Who really believes that anymore? Both Murray and Brooks with their books debunk the idea that the government programs work, by showing factually how those programs haven’t been solved, in fact in many cases they exacerbated them.
Good stuff that, but only the beginning.
The lesson I see that I need to learn from the failure of the past is that debunking the left’s concepts such as the “Great Society” or Social Justice is only half the battle. If we want to win the war we need to understand that debunking those arguments is only the beginning.
To complain about the status quo is the easy part while coming up with workable nongovernmental solutions is quite another, and learning how to implement those alternatives at all levels is quite another and a very labor intensive effort. That effort by the way takes the work of many people at all levels.
It involves in the hard real work of taking care of ourselves.
Ask not what your country can do for you; but rather what can I do for my own damned self?
If when faced by a problem we continue to allow the default solution to be “government intervention” we not only help the left but hurt the cause of individual freedom. This constant pilfering of our individual rights saps not only both our willingness and ability to solve our own problems by ourselves but blinds us to the notion that we even can.
Historically reliance upon one’s self to take care of life’s problems has been the measure of how ready a person is to cut the apron strings of adolescence and advance to the adult world. Still today in our daily life the measure of respect we may earn from our peers is by how well we accept the consequences of our actions. (So too are nations judged)
The individual has the right and the duty to involve themselves in the workings of their community. As far as education, we need people to assert themselves on school boards, township, village city and county boards demanding to be heard and making their cases whatever they may be. What we don’t need is for another National Education Association plan.
This country and its constitution were founded upon the sovereignty of that idea.
The best book I’ve read lately is “Self Governance” by Scott Rassmussen. This short book explains what conservative thought is all about. Namely freedom from government, and the responsibility we as individuals need to pick up if we truly want that freedom.
http://www.amazon.com/Search-Self-Governance-Scott-W-Rasmussen/dp/1449593542/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300652923&sr=1-1Rasmussen gives great insight in why we have gotten all the government we have and then ways to get rid of what we don’t want.
All of these books allude to the unique American belief that we can solve our own problems at an individual and community level better than can be done at the national level.
Rasmussen’s book talks of Alexis de Tocqueville’s admiration for American’s self-reliance as evidenced by their forming of groups and organizations to tackle a problem and not relying on the European default position that the government or persons of noble rank is needed to get the job done.
If we truly examine the American landscape today we must admit that we have been slowly legislating away that uniquely American trait of reliance upon the individual. How many laws do we have to follow now if we want to gather together and do something we feel needs doing? How many forms for safety and tax reasons do we have to comply with how much will we have to pay just to get a group started. How much time and effort do we need to expend just to comply with all the regulatory laws of the land?
We all know the horror stories of small businesses getting so over run with red tape that they never open. The oil rigs and power plants not built or construction stopped because no one can afford the extra time and trouble to follow the sometimes contradictory red tape to its conclusion. At a personal level the bureaucracy shutting down a 10 year olds lemonade stand, to telling a mother she can’t let neighborhood children wait for the bus in her house without filing the appropriate forms. Absurd? Farfetched? Well read this which happened in Mi.
Pay attention to the line near the end.
“The stay-at-home mom said DHS officials ordered her to stop watching the kids, obtain a state license, or face possible penalties.”
All this in the name of “Protecting us – For our own good.” Both government and individuals make mistakes. The question is which is more harmful to the public? My decision to do something even if wrong will only affect myself and at most a limited few; if the government’s decision is wrong thousands if not millions will be affected.
When asked I will tell a child to open a lemonade stand.
When it comes to it I will vote against those who say otherwise.
Even if they say it is for the best of intentions.
I believe I have the right to decide what is best for myself regardless of others intentions.
Regards, Live Dangerously Be a Conservative