The United States has been politically divided for a while now between statists who want big government and big spending, and those who want minimal government intrusion in their lives, which includes smaller (less expensive) government. It is sad, but since Woodrow Wilson, the majority of politicians of either party have been on the statist side of things, varying only in degree. Although there have been a few exceptions.
Whose side are you on? Well, personally, I resent it every time the government gets in my business – or my wallet. They can and do both of these things, and so far as I can see it is only rarely to my benefit. The government clearly does NOT know (or care) what is best for me, as demonstrated almost continuously for as long as I have been paying attention. Make no mistake about it, I am committed to our form of government; but I definitely fall into the small government / maximum personal freedom category.
Robert A. Heinlein once said: “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”
I am firmly in the camp of those who don’t want people to be controlled. This is fundamental to me, but I am also conservative in my view of, for instance, abortion and gun control (there shouldn’t be any of either). So for most things, I fall into the camp currently known as “conservatives”. ( Side note: both abortion and gun control represent areas that should be controlled by self discipline – not the government. Misuse of either is the result of a personal failure of self discipline; and both failures result in dead people).
Notice I said Conservative, NOT Republican; for a large part of the body politic, the only real difference between a Democrat and a Republican is whether they put a D or an R after their name. If you don’t believe me, check the spending record of our government. Doesn’t seem to make much difference which party is running things; spending runs rampant without regard to ability to pay, and often by cooking the books.
Although on moral issues I tend to vote Republican. I have hopes for the Tea Party, though.
How do you decide which side you want to be on? Well, for me it is probably largely personality; I don’t see myself as a sheep, to be herded, controlled, and have somebody else determine everything about my life, including how and when it will end.
Having said that, I also have to observe that logic and self-interest supports my views. The group currently known as “progressives” and “liberals” require an insane amount of spending to support their redistributionist views, and that money has to come from somewhere. Yet they willfully ignore this logic. They act as if they are kids with a credit card, and they spend as if nobody has to pay the bill. Out of pure self interest (and also in defense of my family) I view this with alarm. Great alarm. The progressives and liberals may yet cause the financial collapse of this country, and they are well on their way to doing it. Yet when confronted with facts, numbers and logic, they cannot coherently defend their position, and so they descend into elementary school tactics of calling names and making accusations of racism or whatever.
So besides reasons of personality and morality, logically I see that to preserve the well-being of my family I should be on the conservative, small government side.
Those who choose the big government / nanny state (progressive) side apparently fall into two classes; those who think they will be running things; and those who buy into it because they think they will have a life of ease, paid for on the backs of others. Both progressive groups delude themselves into thinking this can go on forever. When those who work for a living get tired of giving a free ride to those who don’t; or when they simply can’t sustain that parasitical load any longer; the end will be catastrophic. Not just politically, either. The trucks will stop running, and a lot of people are going to starve to death or die in conflict. I believe this is a real possibility, possibly in the near term, and it will be the fault of the progressive / liberal / statist group when it happens.
So of course I oppose that group.
Is it possible to simply be neutral? Sure. However, the environment that will arise from this current philosophical divide will have concrete effects on how we all live, one way or the other; as a domesticated animal in an impoverished world, ruled by elites; or as a free person in a world full of capitalist potential, if you are willing to work. You have the opportunity to influence the outcome; if you want to be neutral politically, you forfeit that. And by taking sides, I mean more than just vote; also talk about it, try to explain your side to people you know, and recruit for your side; this is how you influence politics – while you still can, that is. Don’t waste the opportunity!
So – take sides!