So Far, So Near?

Here is an excerpt from a recent piece of (postal) mail I recently received:

“Imperial adventuring in Iraq…hundreds of American killed in urban guerrilla warfare, with more to be killed almost every day…billions of dollars squandered with untold billions more yet to be dumped into the Iraqi rat hole — all with no end in sight!
Exploding federal spending…the biggest deficits in U.S. history…bloated new “entitlement” programs, all aimed at pandering to voting blocs!
Ever-tightening federal control over education.
Continuing loss of American jobs by outsourcing them overseas.
…This new magazine also puts the spotlight on interventionist, “neocon” foreign policies like the U.S. occupation of Iraq — disastrous policies that are the hallmark of George W. Bush’s presidency.”

What is this new, leftist, rag that slams Bush and his policies repeatedly during the past year? None other than The American Conservative of course.
For some reason I get a lot of conservative propaganda delivered to my home — usually asking for my money or my support. Usually they are laughable in their arrogance and their transparency, asking for money giving only the reason that Bush must be reelected for “us” to prosper. Usually I throw them out as soon as I see them — except for that one I sent back to Bush simply because he was kind enough to send a postage paid envelope along. Don’t worry I wrote him a nice note.
Anyway it would seem that Bush is under attack from both the far right and far left. More interesting however, is that I found myself agreeing with much of what I was reading in this The American Conservative letter — which was clearly not aimed at me but rather to someone who considers themselves *real conservatives* (in fact they stated this many times with phrases like: “Do you have a queasy feeling tat something is horribly wrong with American conservatism today? Like our ship has gone *way* off course?”.
Perhaps I, like most Americans I would venture to guess, do not fit neatly within one particular political party in terms of my set of social and political beliefs. I feel that I value the following attributes of a government, or restated, I would want my government to do the following:
1. Protect my inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as well as ensure that all peoples are treated equally and fairly within a framework of laws and rules. This can be done via legislative initiatives, enforcement of laws, military provision, and judicial oversight.
2. Seek to aid and protect the above rights not only for its own citizens but also for any man, woman, or child on the earth whenever possible.
3. Regulate and aid in the construction, operation, and maintenance of the infrastructure of the country, including transportation, sewage, power, and information networks.
4. Make sure that every citizen has access to quality, affordable educational opportunities and medical services.
5. Account for all expenditures of the government and tie each to one of the 4 governmental tasks above. Then equitably and fairly pass the burden of costs for such programs and services on to its citizens.
This list is deceptively simple. Don’t be fooled. While I think that the government’s basic “to do list” is simple. The devil is in the details, however and there are some very important points to clarify.

In my opinion #1 above is the biggest task of government. It includes many things. For example protecting “my inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” would include making sure I always have clean air to breath and clean water to drink. It would also include such things as maintaining suffrage and my right to say when something stinks. My #4 might include an unemployment service, veteran’s hospitals, and tighter regulation of the pharmaceutical companies. #5 would require review of expenditures to ensure that things simply don’t get money next year because they did this year. They would have to satisfy one or more of the #’s above and show value. Like Pat Buchanan I would like to see the IRS abolished. I would also like to see the corporation as citizen outlawed and a precise, loop-hole-free progressive tax structure replace the arcane, magical system in place today.
Perhaps Pat and I would really agree more than we disagree. I doubt it but you never know. One thing that is strange however is that it would seem that the far right and far left probably have more in common with each other that they do with the middle.
Love the Old Reagan But Not the New One?
One strange thing about The American Conservative Magazine is that while they are lambasting Bush for his fiscal policies and the growth of the federal government while at the same time they laud Reagan as the best politician ever for some of the same reasons they hate Bush — he was a big government, cut taxes, spend into debt Republican who before the current president had increased the national debt by trillions.
I’ll not bore you with much more except to leave you with a final list from the American Conservative letter I received which I think makes a clearer argument for ousting Bush that I have yet to hear from John Kerry:

In each issue to The American Conservative, you’ll find us totally focused on these and other conservative principles — real conservative principles, including:

  • Cutting the cost and size of government — using a machete, not a scalpel!
  • Securing our borders and dumping the new “come-on-in, everybody’s welcome” immigration policy. (author’s note: I think this one is a bit misguided)
  • Winning the war against terrorism, but not at the expense of our civil liberties
  • Ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq and all the enormous spending and deaths of Americans that go with our presence in Iraq (author’s note: I would have perhaps listed the deaths before the money but then, I am not Pat Buchanan)
  • Restoring respect for the U.S. around the world — respect that has been totally shattered by our foolish adventurism in Iraq and our failure to shut down terrorist operations in Afghanistan.

One response to this post.

  1. I really am fed up of people online whom I have subsequently met offline and I don’t think anything of it, but when it is used competently. Violent war is not senseless slaughter and
    destruction, at least not when it keeps happening again and again and again it starts to piss you off. Then you realise that if you keep reacting to it, its interests, and its allies.
    Mark V. Shaney

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