Out of context

In this morning’s (23 July 2014) Coeur d’Alene Press, was a letter to the editor by one Ed Torrence.  I glanced through that letter, that is I did not choose to read it, because it was larded through with the usual talking points.  “Liberalism spreads like cancer.”  “SCOTUS and the POTUS usurping our powers.”  “Progressive politics.”  Even further, “how we need to vote for ‘conservative candidates’ with a backbone.”  Finally, “our need to take this country back, and if you haven’t voted you are part of the problem.”

So how about a history tour?  You know, when “progressive politics” was actually against the state and all forms of oppressive authority, that would have diminished the standing of some people in society, and elevated others.  Especially of the latter, where their financial circumstances were such as to make them a “revered” presence.  The actual progressive politics or socialism, even anarchy, was in reaction to this “Social Darwinism.”  Precisely, I am “socially fit” because of all the money I have.  Certainly the argument of the late 19th century to the early 20th century, up and until the financial crash of 1929 that led to the great depression.

Or even the progressive politics of the 1960s, which was anti-war, anti-authority… With reference to the Underground Weathermen, Students for a Democratic Society, etc.  But of course, Mr. Torrence isn’t discussing an originally left wing “anti-statist” point of view here, he wants to reserve that argument for these unidentified “conservative candidates.”  Liberalism or “progressive politics” is that of a central authority, who gives no consideration to constitutional constraints on government before, laying even more tyrannical claims on the freedom of individuals.  What is so interesting, is that the deep red anarchists used to say the exactly same thing.

I addressed the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision in a previous post.  If anything, I can agree with Mr. Torrence as to the liberalism (statist activism) of the Judicial branch of government that did indeed usurp the freedom of individuals and handed them off to corporations such as Hobby Lobby.  The Hobby Lobby decision was one of five justices (I believe) appointed by Republicans, who truly had taken the powers and rights of the people away from them.  Now, exactly whom would Mr. Torrence recognize as being “conservative?”  Further, on who’s behalf would he “take this country back?”

If it costs money to build a Crisis Mental Health Center in Kootenai County, Idaho; it also costs money to subsidize, or give tax breaks to major corporations, agribusiness, and wealthy individuals.  If it costs money to educate young children, it also costs money to tax exempt churches.  If it costs money to provide subsidies for health care to the very poor, it also costs money to pay legislative and congressional salaries.  If it costs money to take care of the veterans of war, it costs money to send them to war.  If welfare and food stamps cost money, in order to feed young children, then opposing birth control makes that a most ironic argument.  And while I will agree that a woman who smokes, drinks, takes drugs during pregnancy, isn’t doing her “unborn child” any favors. Apparently, it is cheaper to send an e-mail to complain about it and compare such an act to aborticide, than to spend the money to actually do something about it. 

Government that outsources to private enterprise the technology that it wants to receive costs money.  To turn to private (for profit) prisons to place its convicted inmates, also costs money.  The Idaho Luna educational “reform” laws in which out of state businesses would receive huge chunks of taxpayer money, until it was voted down state wide, would have cost a whole lot of money.  Not only that, but there is no proof of efficiency or even cost effectiveness, when it comes to this symbiotic relationship between government and private businesses.  Instead, going back to Ronald Reagan’s complaints (and I think those complaints were legitimate at the time), private enterprise in general sees a free meal ticket through government, and will seek to take advantage of it when ever it can.  When outright fraud isn’t being perpetrated by far more criminal sources.

So yes, the U.S. Constitution isn’t being strictly followed, but that is true of both the Democrats and the Republicans.  An out of control government bears as much of a Republican imprimatur as it does of the Democrats.  Spending other people’s money isn’t party specific.  Neither is representing only specific special interests, party specific.  So, identify what is supposed to be “conservative with a backbone” as opposed to “progressive politics?”  Because “conservative” has become a pro-business and pro-wealth argument.  “Conservative” is now an argument that oligarchies are preferred to people actually having a Democratic say in their government.  Just as “conservative” is a demonstration of deep contempt being felt towards one’s fellow human beings.  Of this latter, against whom then would you “take this country back?”  The poor, the mentally ill, the disabled, the elderly, the children you previously said you wanted born into this world?  And if “progressive politics” is a label to be tossed at everything you don’t like, such as: starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used the federal government to begin the process of lifting this country out of a depression.  A Lyndon Johnson, who’s “great society” introduced the war on poverty.  Or even President Barack H. Obama’s Affordable Care Act which only harkened back to Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man.”  Well, it is a “progressive politics” that only demonstrated a government of the people that tried to promote the common welfare.

Then is “conservative with a backbone” supposed to be against the common welfare?  I’ll put it bluntly to anyone who holds that kind of thinking:  You were born here.  You have the advantages in everything this country provides.  You have the advantages of prior legislation and SCOTUS decisions that assisted you in voting rights, when you could legally drive, hold a job and the perks that came with being employed.  What you are granted with marriage and the number of children you have in your family.  What you have in privileges or rights in general that come with being an American.  You are guaranteed streets and other infrastructure to travel on, you can go to a public library.  You can take your family for a picnic in a public park.  A policeman or fireman answers your 911 call.  The snow removal guy makes it possible for you to go to work.  You are still going to complain?  That isn’t “conservative with a backbone,” that’s just being a spoiled rotten child.

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