“The Inlander” reprinted “Their Own Private Idaho” by Sierra Crane-Murdoch. All in all, pretty good reporting. Before Ms. Murdoch takes offense at her efforts being labeled as “pretty good reporting;” there were a few important things she managed to leave out. Chief among them, how the Idaho natives view the California transplants who “took over” local politics. Since I was not among the people interviewed, I’ll have to answer this myself: I have no use for these people at all. I never did have any use for them and I never will have any use for them. So, let us start off with what is meant by Republican, what is meant by a conservative, and what is meant by a liberal. As in, the latter in particular: who are you to call anyone a liberal when it is yourself who wants to make all these big changes. The real gist that I got out of the entire article is this, these people mostly left California to escape its problems, and brought most of their problems with them. Second of all, I quite frankly wonder if the real reason these people left California (and don’t call them emigrants as they are only changing locations and states within the U.S.), is because they found they couldn’t become big fish in a big sea—and compete with all others who just happened to have the same ambition. So instead, they turn to sparsely populated Idaho and achieve the ambition of being big fish in a small pond. The real reason for “loyalty tests” has less to do with ideology, than with being threatened by competition for control over one county. Otherwise, to take those loyalty or “purity” tests at face value; there is something alarmingly not-so-conservative about them.
My take on conservative needs to follow three main themes: Respect what you have, don’t fix what isn’t broken, don’t fall off the edge of the cliff out of pure blindness or ignorance. Of this latter theme in particular, the so called “Rally Right” tends to go off the cliff with a high level of frequency, as do the “Reagan Republicans.” Why? First of all, either group wants to define who can be called a “Republican.” Abraham Lincoln founded the Republican party. Who did he think ought to be members of this party? What did he think the qualifications of being a Republican in good standing ought to be? The ideology of Lincoln’s time would have first been to force this nation to remain a union despite the civil war over slavery. Was Lincoln a liberal because he wielded big government to achieve an end to this burden on society? Or was he in the stronger sense a conservative? There would have to come a time when slavery would truly be counter-productive to rights that all men should enjoy, and a goodly portion of them now were being deprived of these rights. The pro-slavery politics at the time, wanted the advantages of cheap labor; to be able to trade on the auction block, human chattel. As it were, to not have to recognize these slaves as actual human beings. To Lincoln, that kind of thinking was morally repugnant.
Now to the current political drama that is Kootenai County, Idaho. People like Jeff Ward, among others, are so busy pushing ideology and “loyalty to that ideology,” that they seem to have left out the “we are human beings” factor. And as human beings in a democratic society, we are bound to disagree with one another. There will never be a 100% agreement about any one thing at any time. Trying to create this “complete agreement” through tactics of intimidation, etc.; smacks more of Soviet bloc thinking than anything that can be construed as conservative. But then, most of these guys came from the “Socialist Republic of California,” didn’t they? That was the chief problem they brought to Kootenai County. In any case, it looks from here, that they basically jettisoned Lincoln’s view of “the greater good.” In the end, slavery would not advance this society any further and must be done away with. And replaced it with the ideology that personally serves their own ambitions. That is what the article plainly tells its readers.
Second of all, “conservative” has come to mean how radical you can get and justify it with a label. Economic “conservative:” Is that actually about being anti-tax? Or is it about being against wasteful spending? Or is it an argument against an ideological opponent? Social “conservative:” Why don’t you just mean a big government religious activist? So much use of “conservative” to mean so many different things, that it becomes confusing. “Conservative:” Because you are pro-business. “Conservative:” because of Fundamentalist or Evangelical religious views, you have to think this way but not another. A way of thinking that equals a totalitarian point of view. Or “conservative:” because you pander to the gun lobby. What is missing out of this myriad use and misuse of “conservative?” Each and everyone of these “conservatives” want something from the government. Further, to be a part of the government that makes it happen for their personal agendas. Never mind that the “greater good” for the rest of us, just doesn’t seem to come into play at all.
Which is exactly why the Reagan Republican PAC faced an ass-whupping in at least some of the Kootenai County elections last May. People got tired of the radical ideology, the drama of political in-fighting between GOP camps; and just wanted someone to represent them in a way that mattered most. Education, should indeed be about getting our kids ready to meet tomorrow’s many challenges. Regardless of Hamilton’s beef about a teacher saying that going to church is teaching kids ghost stories and fairy tales; he did have a legitimate argument as to what children ought to learn. What the fellow, who turned school trustee didn’t quite realize? The bible probably does contain a great deal of truth, but that isn’t what churches and their leaders choose to teach these days. That teacher was probably right. The kind of people who could mythologize Reagan into somebody that he never was; could also use the bible to justify a host of myths, ghost stories, and fairy tales. The bible didn’t create such stories. It is the people who claim to follow the bible who created and then re-invented all of the myths. Hamilton, at the last, should look to himself as a source of why that teacher could say this.
What is a Republican? If you register as a Republican, it is because you must like something of what the party presents in its platform. Less government: check. Freedom of conscious to not agree with abortion or gays. I’ll also give that a check. The right to think that way exists. Lower taxes to force government to exist within its means: That part becomes extremely questionable if even Republican members of Congress will continue to spend well outside of government’s means. No new taxes to actually pay for the spending that does ensue? Can we really blame one President for saddling the grandkids with a burden of debt that the GOP have already happily placed on them? I can’t place a check mark there for a fact. The Luna laws that were fully intended to benefit private corporations with public educational money; that was an act that ran contrary to lesser government and not squandering money. Unless the real argument is, that we only “squander money” on teachers, but not on major corporations. That is the public’s money. Turning these major corporations into welfare recipients is as liberal as you can get. The major corporations can’t earn a profit any other way? I can’t put a check mark next to “conservative=”being pro-business. In a truly free market society, business interests would sink or swim based on their overall production and whether their customers liked what they were selling; the overall business approach. Ultimately, government can’t tell customers to buy Microsoft products over Corel. Anything from Apple over anything produced by its rivals. I put a check mark next to conservative who respects the fact that it is the customer who drives the market. Apple can always sue Verizon over a Droid copy of the I-phone. But if the Verizon customer prefers Droid to the I-phone, they’ll buy it anyway. If you don’t factor we the people into these extremist ideologies, end result, they’ll fail. If Karl Marx could have lived long enough to discover what Stalin and his successors did to Marx’s theories? He would surely have died in paroxysms of rage. The human factor of personal ambition can do a great deal of damage to any number of political theories.
Republican, if you register to join the party, you have some degree of agreement with what that party presents. Conservative, because you like what you have now and wouldn’t want to ruin it for yourself or anyone else. It is that simple. As for the argument that the neo-leftists of the GOP gave about a nostalgic more simpler time, even if they couldn’t figure out what that is? Uh, read very thoroughly the history books. When was there ever a “simpler time”in human history, except as portrayed on the boob tube?