Liberty <> Leftist Idealism: To Restore America
by Larry Perrault on January 17, 2011 at 9:18 AM
Once when asked how he churned out 3 columns a week, William F. Buckley famously replied something to the effect that, the world reliably annoys him 3 times a week. I have been writing on a Blog or email list for about 15 years and there seem to be days of nothing and others when provocations pile up. I had just written down two things I wanted to consider when a third arose while reading a book, which seems to take priority over the others.
There is a certain contingent of relatively libertarian commenting at TexasGOPvote, and liberty is a critical element of Republicanism, constrained only by a few principles of basic justice. It’s certainly considerably lost on contemporary popular culture (almost totally on Democrats) and inadequately expressed and propounded by Republicans , but there is a unique and superlative value and social facility of liberty; I think divinely conceived. America’s founding aimed to strike a critical balance of liberty and idealism.
I’ve seen many discussions of it, but am reading Dinesh D’Souza’s book of a few years ago, “What’s So Great About Christianity?” At one point, he notes the distinct domains identified by Augustine of earth, which is ruled, and heaven, which is reserved to God and the individual. D’Souza (who in 2010 became president of The King’s College, where my high school senior daughter will attend next year-had to chirp) called this the embryo of limited government; the respect of the individual conscience. He had juxtaposed Islam, which recognizes no such distinction, demanding the rule of both the body and the mind. But, the sanctity and the refuge of the individual conscience is not only a matter of realms of rule. The freedom of the individual conscience is also the divine spark of creation in society that produced in America the most productive engine of innovation and capacity in the history of the world.
America didn’t become great because of our genetic or geographical endowments, but because the pilot light of individual freedom was left undisturbed, within the constraints of the protection of life, liberty and property. Sure, we have natural resources, but to affirm what I’m saying, consider Israel, which has no natural resources, but similarly has come to respect unregulated human choices. And this tiny resource-less country, surrounded by adversaries, is technologically world-class. Like most all other democracies, Israel veered into socialist regulation of society. But, unlike most, it corrected the situation and in recent decades has soared in creative and productive terms.
The respect of those fundamental principles of liberty and basic human rights are what I consider conservatism. Much due to popular culture communications, what is casually called fascism, is often identified as of the right, perhaps encouraged by the nationalism and militarism of European fascism of the 1940’s and 40s. But of course, the Nazis were one more controlling statist ideal. The Left, including of course the Democratic Party in the U.S., has always inclined to usurp liberty and dampen that creative spark. For decades, America has lagged somewhat behind Europe for example, in the progress of that constriction of liberty. But the lurch has been so gargantuan in the past two years, that we find ourselves in the European regulatory league. Indeed, while Obama and Democrats have marched forward, he has sometimes seemed nonplussed at the sight of European nations at the end of their fiscal rope, fleeing in the opposite direction. Let’s not be giddy at Republican gains this past November. America has one colossal crater to try (I emphasize TRY) to dig out of. We are now the largest debtor nation in human history.
Repealing that ridiculous and particularly untimely monster of sloppy regulation and taxation that is ObamaCare, is only a modest beginning to the process. The guts of that financial regulation bill must be removed too, as there is ZERO chance of regaining any fiscal equilibrium without the jet fuel of free-flowing capital and free markets. There must be a surgery performed on American entitlements that is careful in the morality of honoring existing commitments, and creative in allowing and suggesting the terms for meeting future needs. If this is not successfully navigated, we will be fiscally swallowed whole in THE NEXT DECADE by over 130 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities. Then there’s the precarious status of our currency, with The Fed creating trillions of unsubstantiated dollars and bond evaluators staring at this and our unwieldy and unprecedented debt. If all of this is not deftly managed, we are sure to see violent reactions among a public that is inflamed by abrupt changes, and we may anyway.
In short, this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. What Republicans MUST do is reignite in the public the understanding that respects liberty as an essential of the ideal of both Republicanism and Americanism: big job too long neglected. Otherwise, the torch of liberty must be reignited in a new venture or ventures. As for dealing with this United States, Republicans can wipe that grin off our faces, now. There’s dirty work afoot.