September 12, 2010
Are We Clear Yet?By John Fricke
On my personal list of political values, clarity is at the top of the list. It is clarity that defines issues, debate, and resolutions. Without it, you are stuck with platitudes and generalizations and, worse, the ability of any elected official to use broad, meaningless nothings to grab power. See "Hope and Change" circa 2008. I repeatedly asked for that to be defined, but it was not. Now we are getting a clear definition through action, and it's not good. This goes without having to mention the other obvious obstruction of clarity regarding our current president -- the fog of just who he really is.
If I may, I would like to be as clear as possible regarding just a few issues of the day. I will be comparing a politically motivated definition (for purposes here called "PMP") against clarity.
PMP: Liberals view the minority as collective groups of people that, in any given total, are a sum less than the majority.
Clarity: The true minority in America is the minority of one. The individual. Protecting the rights of the individual from the potential oppression of the majority (government) is the true definition. This is how conservatives protect true minority rights.
PMP: Homosexuals are denied rights accorded to heterosexuals and are fighting for equality under the banner of gay rights.
Clarity: Two points. First: all Americans (excluding those serving penalties of law) have the exact same rights. What gay rights advocates want are additional rights above and beyond that of current state laws. In most states, a man cannot marry another man, regardless of whether those men are homosexual or heterosexual or a mix of the two. Second: marriage is not a "right" at all. It is a state-licensed privilege. That distinction is large and critical to the clarity of the debate.
"A Living Constitution"
PMP: Our Constitution was written by men who could not have foreseen the dramatic changes that lay ahead. It was intentionally worded broadly so that it can be refined and so that it allows for the judiciary to have supreme authority to determine intent, enforce action within the intent, and set precedent.
Clarity: Our Constitution was written by men who did, in fact, foresee that they could not know what the future would be. As such, they provided instruments to allow for the document to be altered if required. It is a living document, but not through judicial fiat. It lives through the amendment process. In addition, the framers warned directly of the danger of the judiciary ruling authority for itself. Another point of clarity within this is the clear understanding that not only is an activist judiciary a major issue, but it might well be the single most dangerous threat we live under in our country today.
PMP: Rights are extended to people and that those rights are positively assigned through the Constitution. The Constitution even allows for a subset of undefined positives, such as the positive right a person has to police protection.
Clarity: There are no positive rights extended to individuals by governments -- only negative rights to protect individuals from government (e.g., "Congress shall make no law," "shall not be infringed," "shall not be violated"). Every American has equal and inalienable rights through God, and the government must be restrained from encroaching upon or eliminating those rights. Positive rights are those extended by man to man, and as such, they can be taken away.
"Separation of Church and State"
PMP: Government is allowed, through a positive right of protecting an individual from being offended, to act to regulate religious expression in all forms and all ways on any function with any degree of involvement.
Clarity: The founders intended a secular government alongside a free religious society. Through a Constitution of negative rights, all government would be forbidden from intruding on the free establishment and exercise of religious expression. The inalienable right of individuals to express themselves through their beliefs supersedes the power of government to regulate that action, and the government must, at a minimum, make allowance for that expression in areas of secular government involvement.
PMP: Equality of outcome is desirable and obtainable through government action. "Fairness" is foundational to the American experience and must be actively pursued through regulation and oversight.
Clarity: Freedom is protected only through equality of access. Government manipulation designed to achieve equal outcomes is not just counterproductive, but in fact, it does damage to the intent of the Constitution. Fairness is an indefinable, and thus impossible, goal that can be addressed only through government protecting equality of access and the allowance of the opportunity for success or failure on an individual's own merits, terms, and desires.
PMP: Liberty is protected solely by government action to defend it. The government must actively enforce the positive rights of people to be protected from assault of any form, physical or otherwise.
Clarity: The defense of liberty requires government action solely and only in the form of raising armies ("armies" being a broad term of physical force protection). The defense of liberty in all other cases is a defense against (federal) government intrusion upon individuals (or states under the 10th amendment).
PMP: The rights of all humans are equal to those of Americans, and Constitutional rights must be extended to them with limited regard. We as a nation must agree to abide by the laws governing international actions.
Clarity: Our Constitutional rights are just that: ours. We are willing to extend those to anyone who seeks them so long as that individual does so in a manner prescribed. Our individual rights supersede the authority of any foreign law.
There are many more examples (like the left's view of America as an illegal aggressor in world affairs, as opposed to an historically unrivaled charitable protector and freedom path leader) of clarity within the positions of the left and right in our country today. One particular area of clarity is the understanding of the immense difference between the two major political wings and the desires and goals of each.
When it comes to being clear, we must demand that any officials who seek to act on our behalf provide clarity on what it is they have done, are doing, or intend to do.
The first step is that we must demand clarity from ourselves -- that we define and say exactly what it is we want as citizens to protect the individual minority from our own government.
Odds seem now that on the coming Election Day in November, individuals will band together to send a loud message of the desire for clarity. I pray it is heard clearly.