Monday, September 20, 2010

Conscience of a Conservative

"...the Constitution is: a system of restraints against the natural tendency of government to expand in the direction of absolutism."
Barry Goldwater, 1960
Conscience of a Conservative

If you don't have a copy of Barry Goldwater's, Conscience of a Conservative, buy one. If you have one, pull it out and re-read it. Focus, in particular, on the chapter entitled "The Perils of Power."

In that chapter, Goldwater recounts for the reader the intentions of the founders in constructing our Constitution and three-branch government: to limit power. He reminds us that our founding document is "an instrument, above all, for limiting the functions of government." That "throughout history, government has proved to be the chief instrument for thwarting man's liberty." Government, not rich guys.

He also presciently reminds us: "The framers were well aware of the danger posed by self-seeking demagogues--that they might persuade a majority of the people to confer on government vast powers in return for deceptive promises of economic gain." And, finally, that no matter how airtight they crafted the hull of the Constitution, dishonest men would attempt to sail it anywhere they pleased, without regard for the will of the passengers. Goldwater writes, "rules of government... would be no match for men who were determined to disregard them. "

Which brings me to the health care law looming before us. Rasmussen reported today that 61% of Americans at least somewhat favor repeal of the law. Up 8 points from last week. And still, few Americans--including Nancy Pelosi and most of Congress--actually understand what is in the bill. My prediction? When Americans understand the gritty details of the law opposition will rise to 70%.

As you prepare to vote on the candidates, inform yourself. Even if you're voting for City Council-- or especially if you are voting for City Council and live in the city of Bell (population 37,000) where the city manager earns $787,000 annually and the city council members who work part-time earn approximately $100,000--learn about the candidate and his/her positions on the issues important to you. Treat your ballot selections like an exam where getting the right answer is the difference between life and death. Of our country as we've known it. Of our liberty.

Then cast your vote for the candidate who says as Goldwater wrote: "My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them."

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