By JIM BEERS
The raging "partisanship" and argument in Washington these days over the
proposed federal "Bailout" and "Stimulus" legislation and attendant government expenditures is a dramatic example of what is ailing this nation in recent years. No it is not politics or radical organizations or lazy citizenship, those things are symptoms of a deeper problem like the rash or soreness mistaken for the result of something you ate or did rather than the undiscovered cancer beginning to manifest itself. What is ailing this nation is abandonment of a common acceptance of who man is and what this nation is.
The emotionally charged debate over taking Trillions of dollars and dumping them into the economy isn't a Democrat/Republican thing and it isn't a vehicle for a panoply of hidden Socialist agendas, although both of these are true: it is basically an expression of opposed and strongly held opinions by large segments of the population about very basic things like:
- The role of government.
- The future of the nation.
These two things are based on very deeply held beliefs about:
1. The nature of Man, that is to say his relationship to the State and his innate worth as a creature created by God or merely just another animal, albeit a bright one, that is therefore as subject to government as a hog or swan.
2. In the case of the "Bailout/Stimulus" there is the additional belief that either government "intervention and power" are good and should be increased or that government "intervention and power" are counterproductive and dangerous and should be avoided.
It is the last of these two beliefs that I submit contain a lesson for all of us that applies to animal owners, animal users, meat eaters, ranchers, loggers, hunters, fishermen, trappers, rural residents, rural businessmen, and all of those that find the concerns I write about related to their own.
How do we argue for or against the stimulus? We try to mention "facts" that "experts" make available. For instance, one economist says that the last
eight years of tax cuts are responsible for the economic downturn while another says tax cuts are necessary to "stimulate" the economy. Another economist says that government spending is needed to "stimulate" business and "innovation" while another says that government spending depresses business and innovation. European (socialist) economists point to American debt and warrior foreign policy as "the" cause for their woes. Chinese (communist/socialist?) "leaders" consider changes in their economy based on their innate skepticism of capitalism and their hold on power as news photos of Chinese "Job Fairs" show mobs of people at a few booths and reinforce worldwide opinions that "more" government (in China) is needed everywhere.
The point is that each person or group involved in any such matters does two things:
1. They confront the crisis with their own justified preconceived beliefs and a common concern for preserving their best interest.
2. They begin with these perfectly natural biases to examine facts, assemble
proposals they believe in, and then advocate what they honestly believe to be best.
Internationally, we must understand what others are advocating, why they are advocating it, and what we must do in our own best interest as a nation (as does every other nation). Nationally, we are fortunate to live in a nation where for over two hundred years the Constitutional basis for our government has been to, simply put, protect the rights of each of us to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". This simple yet vital role provided something unlike any other place on earth:
- A tightly circumscribed government that would not grow to oppress individuals or groups as governments always have.
- A social environment where religious beliefs and immigrants of differing societies of origin could intermingle and live in peace.
- Guarantees of local community controls of day-to-day activities and the protection of all the basic rights enumerated or inferred in the Constitution for all citizens.
If we do not accept this American concept and defend this proven model then the wheels of society as we know it fall off and we crash. If we accept altering the circumscribed role of government or denying other citizens their rights or diminishing property rights or any of the other guarantees we have come to take for granted (to our great dismay): then the power of "our expert" and the "findings" of "our" scientist or economist or educator or fill-in-the-blank from dog whisperer to the guy on some wildlife program is "the scientific basis" for the changes we demand. Never mind the biases they bring to the table, their government grant or their interest in advancing their career or pay or tenure or power or whatever, their "findings" are "The Truth" if they are supported by "the central government"
Think about Endangered Species "science". Think about fishery and marine mammal claims. Think about when Life is reputed to "begin" or not be "worthy". Think about animal "welfare claims about horses or gamefowl. Think about pets and cattle regulations. Think about parental rights and school curriculums. Consider global "warming" claims. Think about claims about polar bears and sea ice fifty years from now as a basis for draconian government growth and action.
None of this is meant to say that there are not worthy considerations in all
these matters. While dictatorships like Venezuela or Zimbabwe do not come up with such matters and hard economic times in freer nations tend to suppress such matters; I submit that the freer the nation and the more prosperous the nation (US/Europe, etc.) the more they make of such matters and the more they come to believe that their beliefs (because of their freedom?) are worthy of trumping all others. It is apparent that they either believe that there is no danger to their or others' rights by imposing themselves on their fellow citizens or that they intend to change the nation and our relationship to government. Environmental and animal rights, lifestyle, diet, "social issue", and expanded government advocates all are examples of those using "their" truth to change us. We need to somehow redirect these advocacies into the American Constitutional way of life and away from the dissolution of our society. If we can lower our unquestioning acceptance of what the latest "expert" or "scientist" demands and once again treat it as the advice it is and then accept or reject it in whole or in part in line with the freedoms we enjoy; we may be on the road to needed reforms.
Whether or not simply keeping the "findings' of "experts" in perspective in and of itself, without examining our common agreement with The Declaration of Independence assertion about our own status as people "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights", can help is another question. When we accept the notion that there may or may not be a God and that we may or may not be "special" "animals", we have jumped on the water slide that only takes us down into deep waters where we may enjoy the initial splash but then we face either getting out of it or drowning.
by Jim Beers 2/7/09
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