Liberty’s Future: Pragmatism Vs. Dogma

Amendment One: A Battle for Conservatism’s Soul

In November 2010 the North Carolina Republican party conducted an electoral revolution, ousting the Democrats from power in the state house for the first time since the Reconstruction era. However, if they want to retain their majority, their priorities need serious re-calibration.

The Republican Party plays to the rhetoric of its various factions; military hawks, social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives — but often the party falls dreadfully short of executing the intentions of its fiscal voting base. Unfortunately for the GOP, it is that voting bloc that the Republican Party needs in order to survive in the 21st Century.

North Carolina’s Amendment One battle is symptomatic of a Republican party rife with inner-conflict. In terms of the unemployment rate, North Carolina is ranked above only three other states: California, Rhode Island, and Nevada — sitting at 9.7 percent. Instead of working on policies that would cultivate economic growth and attract business, we’re voting on gay marriage tomorrow.

The referendum proposes an amendment to North Carolina’s constitution, allowing the state to ultimately define marriage, not the church.
The text of Amendment One:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.

Now, being the defiant libertarian-oriented Republican that I am (like most Millennials), I’d love for the state to get its nose out of marriage entirely. That’s not the world we live in though, and until we see a radical shift in the structure of our federal tax system (or custody laws for that matter), such things are a pipe dream.

What we don’t need, is to let the state further interfere in marriage. This amendment essentially does that, and goes a step further: it denies equal application of law to a segment of citizens. It makes them second class citizens.

This won’t sit well in the stomachs of young people, or the business community, where the bottom line is everything.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers recently compared Amendment One to the disgraceful Jim Crow laws of the 19th and 20th centuries, “if this amendment passes, we’re going to look back 20 years from now, or 10 years from now, and we’re going to think about that amendment the same way we think about the Jim Crow laws that were passed in this state many, many years ago… this is the 21st century, and we’re competing with people around the world… we’ve got to be inclusive and open.”

Charlotte Business Journal reported that WRAL-TV in Raleigh was unable to find even one CEO willing to speak in favor of Amendment One.

With international media descending upon Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention, the state will have a chance to showcase the best it has to offer; the opportunity is nearly invaluable to the business community. It would be a less-than-ideal time for news stories about writing discrimination into our state’s highest legal document.
Young people will be equally repelled from Republican politics by this move.

A quarter of young people, ages 25 to 34, are living with their parents. I’m 26 and I just moved back in with mine. Only 55 percent of Millennials from age 16 to 29 are working at all. The oversaturation of college degrees has lowered the quality of jobs available, and saddled students with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. This doesn’t even begin to delve into the underemployment problem either.

We have bigger problems than whether or not two gay people want to be married. We can’t even afford to get married ourselves. The last thing we want to hear is a politician preaching piety from a state office while we’re busy trying to figure out how to put gas in our cars.

The Republican Party has failed to address our problems, in any notable manner.

Ron Paul is an exception, and he frequently speaks to the woes of the young – he’s seen growing support for it too. He’s willing to talk about the debt, about inflation, about the insolvency of Social Security; he’ll speak out against the wars that Washington interest groups and contractors would eagerly send us off to. In fact, the possibility of a brokered GOP convention looms overhead, as Paul’s delegate strategy is beginning to retroactively award him state victories. Young people are at the vanguard of Paul’s organized efforts.

If a tireless group of politically-adept Millennials can stir up this much trouble in a Presidential nomination race? Imagine what else they can do with a little more time and practice. The GOP should want these activists on their side, which means toning down theocratic ambitions of social conservatives and tackling the real issues.

Social conservatism as a movement seems unable to separate the importance of personal virtue, over government mandate. But what is a social conservative? Does one have to coerce others to qualify as one? Must they inject their religious convictions into legislation to win the merit badge?

I’m old school. I’m devout Christian who believes in getting married and having lots of children. When I’m a little older, I’d like to be able to afford to do that. I think children do best in a loving, supportive home that has both a married mother and father. I advocate going to church on Sunday, and eating at the dinner table as a family. I also realize that plenty of straight families do not have these blessings. Alcoholism, cheating spouses, abuse, child neglect – these are all rampant problems. Should we also pass constitutional amendments against infidelity? It’s destroying marriages. Should we pass one against divorce? These are undeniable problems, but they are not best handled by the state—remember, this is the same organization that runs the DMV.

Tami Fitzgerald of the N.C. Values Coalition, a pro-Amendment entity, says “the people of North Carolina want to determine for themselves how they want to define marriage. They don’t want activist judges doing it for them.” But if activist judges are bad enough, how is letting the state’s most supreme legal document supersede the authority of church and family any better?

Passing Amendment One tomorrow will bring no benefit to anyone. Passing this will not advance the banner of liberty, conservatism, or the Republican Party. The issue of government coercion should give followers of Christ pause – marriage should be something we want done under the eyes of God, not under the eyes of the state. It will be seen as a law of exclusion in the eyes of the business community. It will be seen as an anachronistic, discriminatory blunder in the eyes of young voters. And it will be, not just in perception, but in reality, a law that denies equal legal protection to a group of people. Business and Millennials are the GOP’s future, if it intends to have one—not aging theocrats.

The GOP’s Millennial Crisis

The Millennial Generation is decidedly more libertarian than those that came before them; they are far more tech savvy. What does this mean for the future of elections? what does it mean for the future of the GOP?

Donald Trump needs a new act

Donald J. Trump

Mitt Romney got the King Maker’s blessing Thursday.

Funnyman Donald J. Trump has finally endorsed a Republican for President.  Oh, he’s a businessman you say? One might wager he is less an effective business leader so much as he is a gambler; his Atlantic City casinos and hotels have had to file for Bankruptcy on three separate occasions. Maybe he just wants Romney’s insider tips on good hair.

For a man once leading Republican Presidential polling (around April Fool’s time last year), one has to wonder just what his conservative credentials are, besides suggesting we be marauders. Ron Paul’s campaign can help fill in the blanks; they expressed their extreme regret at missing out on The Donald’s endorsement.

Reality TV star, Donald Trump, who endorsed and contributed money to Harry Reid and Charlie Rangel will travel today to Nevada to endorse a Republican candidate?

Please explain to us why anyone would care.

Please explain to Republican voters in Nevada why they should consider the opinion of a billionaire from New York who endorsed the arch enemy of all Republicans in Nevada, and really the enemy of all Republicans in the US…

Shepard Smith over at Fox noted that we’re all still waiting to hear who Big Bird and Shakira will be backing for the Republican nomination.

Donald Trump needs to find a more appropriate venue in which to focus his masterful showmanship. Apparently reality TV just cannot quell his thirst. I hear Barnum and Bailey Circus is touring right now.

Bill Kristol vs. The Daily Show Generation

“Neoconservative” is a loaded term these days — considered a pejorative by most, some on The Right remain the textbook definition; self-proclaimed conservatives who yet see a role for welfare programs in the state’s functions, and support the use of American military power to promote democracy abroad. Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol would have a difficult time taking shelter from such a label, seeing as his father, Irving Kristol is considered the ‘godfather’ of the political philosophy. The younger Kristol himself has been very vocal in support of neoconservative policies — he’s had extensive activity around the beltway with various neoconservative think tanks such as Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

Unfortunately for neoconservatism, the philosophy has proven ineffective, if not disastrous for America, when put into practice.

With Iraq and Afghanistan becoming the endless quagmires everyone wished to avoid, and the military credit card driving Chinese-owned debt up to unprecedented levels– the idea that the Middle East would be set alight with pro-Western democratic movements has effectively unraveled. Even the organic, Millennial-driven ‘Arab Spring’ is running into strong pushback from autocrats in the Muslim world — Egypt remains in a precarious state.

Intervention in the markets here at home is proving equally disastrous, economic woes are malignant. Endless bailouts, out-of-control debt levels, and inflation soaring; the cost of living is exploding. The employment situation remains Lukewarm at best — with the Millennials being socked harder than any other age-based voting block. Many remain under-employed and stuck in the rut of living with their parents… using their college degrees to pursue what big box retailers would describe as “exciting sales careers.”

There is a problem with politics in general, but especially Republican politics.

Bill Kristol agrees with that, but it isn’t the GOP’s recent big-government-liberal-ish behavior that he’s talking about.

The problem is Ron Paul;  his views aren’t going with the GOP’s current, and it’s time for him to go, Kristol says.

[Buchanan] left the party in 1999 and a lot of people, and I was one of them, said, goodbye and good riddance, you’re not in the mainstream of the Republican party, go run as some Reform party candidate . . . he did in 2000 and he didn’t get many votes and actually George W. Bush I think was helped—and the Republican party was helped—to be free of Buchanan’s extreme isolationism, protectionism, anti-Israel views, and the like. Ron Paul is a little different from Pat Buchanan—but he’s no better, in my view. And I actually think we’d benefit in the long run—but even in the short run . . .

Gingrich and Romney both expressed support for bailouts in their various forms. Of course, if you dig around, you’ll probably find Romney flip-flopping on that, as he so famously does. Both he and Gingrich have shown to be devoid of integrity when it comes to opposing individual healthcare mandates. Almost one year after killing Osama bin Laden, Rick Santorum insists that America’s foreign policy needs no serious critique. Santorum also supported Medicare Part D.  Apparently, all of these positions are acceptable to what Kristol would define as the GOP’s “mainstream.”

Ron Paul, who stood firmly against all of the aforementioned liberal positions, is instead the one most deserving of vilification, if you’re asking Mr. Kristol.

Kristol, like many anti-Paul pundits on The Right, seems to be overlooking one critical element when it comes to the future of political demographics,  The Daily Show Generation.

Ron Paul’s following is not the same one that made Pat Buchanan a contender in the 90s. Ron Paul’s rise is not the result of simple protest voting. It’s young, it’s internet savvy, and it’s out in force. It will continue to grow. The Millennials can turn a would-be serious candidate into an internet laughing stock in less than a day (look up the controversy behind ‘Google Santorum’ sometime, but don’t say I didn’t warn you). Very soon it will wield an immense amount of political power, and Paul’s successes in the early primary states were the first signs of that muscle flexing.

Not even taking substance of Ron Paul’s positions into account, he’s needed solely for voter coalescence alone.

The career-challenged Millennials become the largest age-based voting block in 2016. Overwhelmingly, the candidate of choice for young people on The Right is Ron Paul, he took 48% of the under-30 vote in the Iowa Caucuses, and he’s stirred up energy in college students like no other Republican candidate has. The political philosophy is decidedly libertarian.

Anti-Paul Republicans, and conservative pundits like Hannity, Limbaugh, and Kristol might be riding a wave of Anti-Paul sentiment with the aging Baby Boomers, but that wave will crash.  Turning the Repubican Party into a high school clique too-cool for libertarians will effectively destroy the GOP in the next several years. Without the Millennial vote, the GOP’s lifespan drops significantly.

If electability is the issue, and the future of the party is the concern, maybe it’s time for Bill Kristol to leave the GOP. I think we’d benefit in the long run… but maybe in the short run too.

The GOP’s 2012 Primary Race is a Cartoon Circus

“Oh Craig Holland Dixon… why is it that we cannot have nice things?”

Well, it’s quite simple my dear friends.

Newt Gingrich is now leading the pack. I thought he was supposed to stay sealed away in the 90s for all eternity like those bad guys in “Superman II”. What happened?

Well, it appears someone let Newt out of the Phantom Zone. Additionally, it appears that voters of the Republican base forgot about all the lobbying and lying Mr. Gingrich is known for.

In case anyone forgot, this is the same asshole that refers to himself as a ‘historian’ for taking a bunch of tax-payer money via Freddie Mac. Echoing what Conor Friedersdorf over at The Atlantic has said, if this guy gets the GOP nod, that’s lights out for the Tea Party. Done. Curtains. Thanks for playing.

[Gingrich] is the epitome of the Inside the Beltway insider, and not only because of his long stint in Congress. After retiring, he profited lavishly off connections he made on the taxpayer dime, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars influence-pedaling. Most famously, he got $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, the very entity that many conservatives regard as most culpable for the financial crisis. And then he had the temerity to insist that he was paid as “a historian,” an explanation so transparently farcical that it can justifiably be seen as an insult to the intelligence of GOP primary voters.

As if supporting such a man weren’t incoherent enough already, a movement that valorizes Joe the Plumber, family values and hockey moms is now rallying behind a long-winded former academic turned career politician with an affinity for private planes, chauffeurs, and buying Tiffany and Co. jewelry for his third wife. It’s as if Kanye West wrote a politician into his last album.

And yet here he is at the top of the GOP dog RINO pile.

So, remembering your classical education in public school, I’d like you to recall Juvenal who once said (to paraphrase) that deteriorating empires eventually come to be defined by bread and circuses. Just kidding, I know public school wouldn’t ever teach anything of substance like that.

But, if it be so, the GOP primary race has the circus on lock, even without Gingrich.

On Friday, Herman Cain suspended his campaign for presidency, amid allegations of a 13-year-affair. Or as The Onion put it, ‎”Rumors of Extramarital Affair End Campaign of Presidential Candidate Who Didn’t Know China Has Nuclear Weapons.” It appears even The Onion can no longer compete with the comedy of the actual campaigns of this election cycle; they’re just running with the raw material.

Perhaps there’s another reason Cain is backing out. Maybe he ran out of quotes from Pokémon: The Movie.” Cain has admitted to using a quotation from the animated children’s film at least four times during his campaign.

 Gary Johnson will continue to get nary a mention, and seems to want to marginalize himself further by talking to the libertarian party.

 Donald Trump is moderating a gameshow GOP debate which Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul have refused to attend, prompting the following response from Donald Trump’s hair:

Few people take Ron Paul seriously and many of his views and presentation make him a clown-like candidate… I am glad he and Jon Huntsman, who has inconsequential poll numbers or a chance of winning, will not be attending the debate and wasting the time of the viewers who are trying very hard to make a very important decision…”

“Clown-like.” I’d like to reiterate that Herman Cain, former front-runner, was peppering his campaign rhetoric with lines from an animated feature based on a children’s video-game. He also didn’t appear to know China had nuclear weapons. Or what was going on in Libya.  Or that there was about to be an economic catastrophe in Fall of 2008. Clown-like Ron Paul knew, how about that!

Rick Perry did this. Michelle Bachmann’s clinic claims to ‘pray the gay away.

But a Reality Television star with a dead animal atop his skull is calling Ron Paul the clown-candidate.

Perhaps worst of all, Rick Santorum is still Rick Santorum, and that’s basically bad enough on its own.

This is the state of the GOP. A RINO-filled circus, with snake oil salesmen like Trump to provide the sideshow… but the elephants are hard to come by. Come one, come all, to the greatest show on Earth!

Trump: Let’s be marauders

According to Adam Tragone at Human Events, Trump proposes in a new book, ‘Time to Get Tough‘ that U.S. forces should take Iraq’s oil to repay debts incurred during the war:

In his explosive new book, Time to Get Tough, Trump expands and explains: “Call me old school, but I believe in the old warrior’s credo that ‘to the victor go the spoils.’ In other words, we don’t fight a war, hand over the keys to people who hate us, and leave. We win a war, take the oil to repay the financial costs we’ve incurred, and in so doing treat Iraq and everyone else fairly.”

“It’s hardly a radical idea,” continues Trump. “In September 2010, our own Government Accountability Office and others studied the issue in depth and concluded that a cost-sharing plan is feasible and wise.”

“From the very beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I believed we should have hammered out the repayment plan with the Iraqis – through exiled Iraqi dissidents,” says Trump. “Oil revenues could have been used to reduce the sticker price for occupation. And there’s still no reason we can’t or shouldn’t implement a cost-sharing arrangement with Iraq.”

Real estate mogul. Reality television star. And now, foreign policy expert, Donald J. Trump.

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