Am I a Liberal Cream-puff, a Pinko-Socialist, a War-Monger, an Obama-Lover, or even a Libertarian?

I like to examine both sides of an argument before I write an opinion, and while I fully admit I’m no expert, I do make the effort to make comparisons to history whenever possible before wading into the debate.

Lately however, I’ve found it rather difficult to get two sides of any political conversation. My more liberal sources are equitable enough, and internationally conservatives are quite willing to have intelligent conversation. But within the USA, every Republican with whom I could once have a respectable conversation has become a screaming four-year-old. Or, they immediately pull out their Bible and say:

“Raise your right hand. Do you swear to hate every word, deed, associate, and cause of Barack Obama, as long as you both shall live so help you God? Do you pledge to uphold the tenants of the Obama haters and spend your every waking moment counteracting the continual advance towards the Obama-Nation of the United States?”

If my answer is not a resounding “I do!” then I’m blocked out by a wall of juvenile petulance and insults until I simply exit the conversation.

And I can’t count the number of times a conservative has called me “socialist” in the past 100 days. So in an attempt to get past this asinine meeting ritual of determining my political affiliation, I will do my best to explain what I’m about here.

I identify with Libertarianism in that I consider personal freedom to be my ‘true-north’. When I come across a political conundrum, I consider freedom to be the first concern ─ freedom for all people in terms of the well-worn, but not outdated truism ─ of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To achieve this, people need the resources to survive, but beyond that they need the room to strive for greatness without undue exploitation. And the best way to achieve this is through decentralized governance.

We as a society have an obligation to make sure that the least of us can survive, and should they so wish, have the opportunity to advance their station in life. In my social obligations book that means providing a bit of food and shelter for the homeless, for example, but beyond that the government’s obligation ends and individuals and private organizations need to take over from there.

By decentralized governance I mean this: Power divided among many ─ government, church, corporations, citizens, all separate and individual, acting as checks and balances to ensure that one does not get undue influence over the other, while acting in their own self-interest. Decentralized governance also means governance over smaller geographic areas and smaller niches within aspects of culture, capitalism, and church. Smaller niches mean more choice, and more choice means more freedom.

To apply this to more current issues, public schools should not have any policies or curriculum influenced by religion. If parents want religion integrated into their children’s education, they need to attend to this at home, or find a way to pay for private schooling, which should be able to teach whatever it likes, as long as basic educational standards are met. Conversely however, if an individual, state, or municipality wants to fund religiously influenced programs on their own, then they should be able to with no government constraints.

In addition, information via the media needs to be available as early it possibly can, and the masses should be not be restricted in saying what they want to say, loving whom they want to love (child molesters not included here, obviously) and even hating whom they want to hate, as long as they do not impede another’s facility to have the same freedoms.

Further, the “bail-out plans” being instituted by nearly every government across the globe are what the people are demanding. If you were not one of those people making such a demand, you are in the minority. The fact is that governments were responding to pressure from the majority of citizens internationally to pass these budgets. In the United States, George W. Bush was responding to that pressure when he urged Congress to be swift in bringing this money to bear, as was Barack Obama, when he took over.

Beyond the desire of the citizenry for these bailouts, I honestly have no idea how effective they will be. I don’t question the citizens’ right to demand this measure, but instead, I observe how the separate institutions will use this money, with a keen eye on the long-term. And the way it is now, I think we all can see that bailouts are effectively giving governments a free reign to spend a lot of money however they want. And as long as their spending is justified as “economic stimulus,” it will probably not be questioned. I’d watch out for that exploitation. Though exploitation is a core element of life, when a human being is being exploited to the point of being unable to pursue greatness and the aforementioned ─ whether capitalist, socialist, religious, or criminal in nature ─ those conditions need to be remedied.

I also believe that the US standing in the international community depends largely on how effectively it can use its military. Keeping in mind the decentralization of government, I do not believe that giving more power and influence to the UN military is wise. Having said that, I see that the United States military is overextended in its obligations, and unless it lightens said obligations, it will not be able to maintain its station within the global theatre. If the US does not have its military ready to aid its allies and deploy against its enemies, if needed, then countries will not listen to US diplomats. If that occurs, other nations with their own agendas will fill the power vacuum. Whether or not this is good or bad is debatable. However, in the United States self-interest, losing international influence is not a good thing. In that case, wouldn’t it be wise for the US to avoid any new military entanglements? Why antagonize Russia, North Korea, or Iran, which all have the military strength to pull the USA into a long battle it can ill-afford?

Finally if freedom is my north star, than the United States Constitution is my map to that star. It was penned by men I consider very wise, and creates the most ideal conditions for freedom that exist so far. Deferring to the US Constitution as it stands rarely steered any government wrong. But trouble has always occurred when it was undermined. Therefore, I try to consider that first and foremost before I voice an opinion.

Does all of the above make me a liberal cream-puff, a pinko-socialist, a war-monger, an Obama-lover or even a Libertarian? I’ll leave that for you to decide. After all, you’re free to choose.

Last 5 posts by Tony Hoffart

Last 5 posts by Tony Hoffart