Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thoughts on Liberty and Civil Discourse

I spent some time on liberal leaning political blogs the past few days and it was not surprising to see there are many on the other side of the political spectrum that love the concept of liberty just as conservatives and libertarians do. It also struck me that there is as much rancor, no strike that, more of the rancor and name calling going on at liberal blogs than I typically see on conservative political blogs.

One only has to visit a few to believe it representative of most liberal political blogs. It seems almost as though while some liberals love the concept of liberty, they are locked in the thought that liberty means believing precisely as they do on all issues. There are certainly some conservatives that are guilty of this, there simply seems to be more liberals that are guilty of it.

Thinking about this had me jotting down some thoughts on liberty, what it means, and how best to preserve it. For the most part it has been a constant thread through most of my posts since beginning Rational Nation USA on June 30, 2009. However, the liberty thoughts have been part of my beliefs, well before FOX News became the influential network it is today.

The liberty thought list begins with the quote from Benjamin Franklin at the top of this post.

2) Liberty is the ability of the individual to make free choices in his/her life.

3) Liberty is the ability of the individual to work and create security for oneself through private owership of property.

4) Liberty is retaining the right to use, distribute, spend, grow, and pass on the security that one has created as they see fit without government stealing a portion of it.

5) Liberty requires government to be a servant to the people in that it remains limited and thus under control.

6) Liberty is best preserved when the people limit the governments ability to tax their efforts freely, and then spend the fruits of that effort as it chooses. (Wealth redistribution)

7) Liberty will be best preserved when the corrupting influence of money, flowing from huge corporations in the form of campaign contribution to candidate for the purpose of buying favors is stopped.

8) Liberty is insured when the wealth of a nation is first used to increase the security of its own citizens, not that of the rest of the world through misguide foreign aid.

9) Liberty is insured when a nation retains its productive capacity and manufacturing base in large part within its borders. Something we have failed to do.

10) Liberty is strengthened and insured when individuals accept total responsibility for their livelihood and economic welfare. Those who are infirm, unable either physically or mentally to provide for their own welfare the use of tax dollars is then appropriate. This includes limited unemployment benefits. However, runaway entitlements threaten not only individual liberty put national fiscal health as well and are irresponsible.

11) Liberty is safeguarded through the maintenance of a strong, highly trained and effective civilian armed force for the defense of our nation against outside aggression. The only appropriate use of force is in response to an act of aggression on our nation and people.

12) Liberty is preserved through the proper education of our populace in the disciplines of science, history, philosophy, and civics. Not through a system overseen by a huge federal bureaucracy known as the Department of Education but rather through state and local efforts and oversight.

13) Liberty in America will survive in so long as we retain our language (English), our culture (Anerican), and our borders (against uncontrolled and or illegal immigration) for if we fail to do this we will eventually lose our uniquely American heritage.

There is more than can be and should be added to this list. Please feel free to add your own. It is quite likely there are those who will criticize and attack this list and the values each points of thought represent. To do so is everyone ones right, and should be respected.

However, it is quite possible that if those who disagree with the values embraced by this list have their way, we will all lose our liberty, and thus our pursuit of happiness will be affected as well.

Now, back to my premise that civil discourse seems to be more commonly found on Conservative blogs. Perhaps some would find it a bit of a stretch. Maybe it is, but the point is this, civil discourse and discussion leads to growth. To characterize a politicians views and philosophy as one sees them is fine. Personal attacks are not, and it just seems the left is more proficient at it than their conservative and libertarian counterparts.

Just one mans opinion, what's yours?


  1. To me, liberty means and can be measured by free choice. The more one can freely choose, the more liberty they have.
    Of course as a society, we have passed laws that define when someones free choice interferes with another persons rights.
    Whenever the federal, or a State legislator passes a law, someones free choice is eliminated somewhere, somehow.
    The law says I must wear a seat belt. Do I have the right to choose whether or not I wear a seat belt? One more choice taken away from me in the name of public safety.
    The federal government says all States should have a 55mph speed limit on its highways, or they will lose a percentage of federal highway funds (taxes that State paid to the federal government). So not only did another free choice disappear, we have the federal government practicing blackmail and extortion, in the name of public safety.
    Same applies to tougher questions like abortion.
    If there is a political, or moral disagreement, the decision should favor a persons right to choose. People totally disagree with abortion, but what about the individuals right to choose, they would lose it. Why? Because some believe it to be against THEIR values?
    Certainly the government has a right and duty to put limitations on peoples choices in order to preserve the rights of others and protect society, but I contend that excuse has been overused.
    Your contention that the liberals are more uncivil than conservatives, is like beauty, what your eye beholds. I could give you a long list to dispute your contention, all of which I'm sure you have seen and read before.
    Those who contend that incivility has risen might have a point, but having read what some 18th, 19th, and 20th century people have said to each other, I believe it is a moot point.
    Your points of liberty certainly don't show a party that promotes liberty more than another party. The Republicans have ignored implementing many of your points of liberty.
    Social programs are wealth shifting. So are tax cuts aimed unfairly at one segment of society.
    The financial debt that has been built up in the last 30 years (mainly under Republican Presidential administrations) is a great killer of liberty, because it is a great killer of free choice. It restricts (more than most things) what options and choices we have, or can make.

  2. Without a strong government to insure these liberties none of them would exist RN.
    Our differences are not big vs. small. It's what amount is the correct amount. Each case is different.

    My apologies also. I thought I had signed up as one of your followers a long time ago. I finally corrected this oversite.

    Civil discourse? I'd love it although I admit to being uncivil at times. Every now and then a hot button gets pushed. But I will also say this in regards to attack blogs and blogs like yours. Tom the Redhunter's and LAOT's. Or The L Comment and among others. I got twice as much traffic when I was swearing at righties more. I really don't care if I get 50 or 500 hits a day. But I think blogs like ours are mostly for our own entertainment. If we take them too seriously we'd end up going nuts.

  3. Tom - I would not dispute the majority of you points. Many of them have validity and has been considered by yours truly.

    I do wish to go on record that I am not a Republican, nor do I support much of that parties agenda. I am in fact registered as a conservative, which of course deny's my right to vote in primaries in my state. I chose to do this more as a statement than anything else. What I really am, after many years of thinking about it is this, a modern day conservative and classical liberal. It does require thought and a historical frame of reference to fully understand the tag.

    Yes republicans have done much to create the current situation we are in. In fact Teddy Roosevelt, America's first progressive of note, and political serious influence, set us on the road to where we are today. Republicans, Democrats - same end. The only difference is which party gets us there sooner.

    Which leads to a discussion of statism, a subject for another time. Suffice to say BOTH parties are statist.

    Truth - i agree with your first point. I do, however disagree with the reference to size. Large government = less liberty. Small government = more liberty. Correct amount, now there is the tough one. We likely would take years to agree on the right amount. Amazing our founding fathers did it in such an abbreviated space of time.

    Truth, there is no need to apologize. These things happen in ones busy life. our reasoned responses to my posts, and comments on your blog is what is most important. But thank you for following as time allows. I really do enloy visiting your blog often.

    You are correct on the civil discourse observations. With respect to my blog, I shall strive, as difficult as it sometimes may be, to refrain from incivility and attack.


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