Can you? Should you? A consideration of Progressivism and Political Ideology

In Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow explains to a young Mr. Will Turner, as the latter dangles precariously over the water astride the mainsail beam, in life there are only two things to consider. Those are, simply, what a man can do and what a man can’t do. In the movie scene, Will must decide if he can square with the idea his father was a good man and a pirate or he cannot. Each subsequent decision related to the matter would stem from his  decision.

Just prior to taking a ride on the mainsail, Will challenges Captain Jack

In an exceptional discussion of the political ideology of today’s Progressives versus the Liberal ideology of Democrats even one president past, Greg Weiner in Infinite Ideology points out the basic premise upon which each operated and now find themselves within a self-consuming paradigm of political thought. Weiner writes, “Liberals believe in the capacity of government to do good. Progressives believe that governmment’s job is to push society forward toward ever sunnier uplands.” (Weiner, 2019)

Such an ideology negates the accomplishments of the past Liberal administrations’ accomplishments for they will always be too small an attempt at what could be. It also consumes any current actions of the Progressives. Whatever a Progressive attempts today will be krill for consumption of the humpback whale of Progressive government tomorrow.

Weiner continues, “…the internal logic of progress reject limits, when progress is employed as a system of political thought or a principle of political action. It cannot respect dissent because progress is an inherent good, not a matter of dispute.” What a man can do and what a man can’t do implies limitations on what can be done and such cannot be visualized in the Progressive mindset. Where Conservatism, according to Weiner, “embodies a natural principle of limitation for one must ask what and how much to conserve.” (Weiner, 2019)  He also alludes to Daniel Patrick Moynihan as a Liberal spokesman who understood limitation because one could ask how much can government do? Such a question is not posed in the Progressive handbook.

 One Step Further

Captain Jack Sparrow

We have left Will Turner hanging on the mainsail long enough, let’s turn the ship’s wheel and bring him aboard. At this point in the movie, Captain Jack Sparrow asks young Turner, as he lays supine and breathless on the deck of the Dauntless, at the point of the Captain’s sword, Can you sail under the command of a pirate or can you not?  For the Progressives, Liberals and Conservatives there must be another subset of questions. It goes one step further than what you can do and what you can’t do.

Politicians must learn to wrestle with these questions, more critical perhaps than the first set, for Americans, as a whole, feel the tension without ever hearing or seeing it recognized. These questions are gigantic elephants in a very small room; the room in which the roles of government and bureaucracies among a people are considered. It is not just what you can do and what you cannot do… the questions are: What you should do and what you should not do.

To admit these questions exists is antithetical to each ideology, whether Liberal, Progressive or Conservative when it comes to the professional politician or the life-long bereaucrat. It reeks of restriction and limitations upon those in government. Yet, the people understand there are things with which an individual American simply does not want the government interfering. No doubt, this is best understood by the Conservatives and most loudly voiced by the far-right of Conservatism. Perhaps because it is most clearly or vociferously advocated by the far-right, many mainstream Republicans shy away from such contentious debate. They ignore such provocations at their peril.

These Americans rally behind political organizations with varying central themes, whether it is the NRA or another strong body of voters. With wagons circled over particular issues, these constituents have declared: “Enough is enough!” They will stand their ground as the politicians and bueaucrats circle relentlessly seeking to gain more and more control over individual Americans and their lives.   They have further decreed:  “This is a space where government will not act in our supposed best interest!” Americans believe they do know better and they have the Constitution on their side to give  them authority to call a halt.

No doubt, if members of the Liberal or Conservative schools would debate internally or among the schools of thought,there would be ample difference of opinion as to where the lines of what government should do and what it should not do would fall. However, the questions deserve to be asked. As Americans consider the dogma of the Progressives, who will not even allow such questions to be raised, American voters will turn enmasse away from the Progressive Kool-aid dispenser in haste.

Impeachment – The Enemy Within

“America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln

1838 speech – Springfield, Illinois

I am driven to write this, not out of a desire to share something of good that has come to my soul and it would near strike me down if I did not share it; rather, this is something heart-rending which tears at my soul and longs to be set down in print for others to consider.

I was not far from a local school recently and as I got closer to it, just about at the ‘School Zone’ signs, I saw a yard sign. Written upon it was a celebratory exclamation because the House had moved forward on impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Gladness and celebration at the prospect of taking the leader of our nation, the most powerful position in the world and attempt to show he has committed high crimes and/or misdemeanors worthy of being driven from office? How many children see that sign every day and what do they think about what they hear concerning America?

No American should revel in the fact that our nation is at a horrendous crossroads requiring us to consider such a trial. We should, rather, be broken and saddened by the state of our nation. This is not a political ‘we win – you lose’ game. This is all about the vibrant life of the greatest nation the world has ever known, so blessed by God; yet, so ardently denying Him.

Yes, it is a good thing we have a system which allows us to hold the President of our nation accountable to the people. But it is a sad and unnerving thing to think we have come to this point. The move toward impeachment should be a very last resort and one which is undertaken with deep sadness and regret, desiring any other option than this one to be possible, regardless of which side of the political fence – because we are Americans first over political party.

It matters not whether you like President Trump or despise him. If the Democrats are doing this solely out of malice and a whimsical belief that to bring President Trump down is to elevate their party, how very wrong it is! Neither American party will be enhanced by an impeachment. Both will lie, wounded and bleeding in the morass of the swamp they are creating. America’s enemies will win the day when we are so divided as to spend our elected representatives’ time dealing with a witch hunt, at its worst and the lawful taking down of a president over what may prove to be another red herring. They all have so much more pressing work to accomplish.

There may never have been a time in our history when the two principal parties in America’s system are so opposite one-another in their beliefs. To bring it to its simplest, the Democratic Party is widely endorsing the socialist economic methods which seek to evenly distribute the wealth of the people, no matter who worked harder or who achieved more. Those who have will give to those who have not, so everyone has a similar station in life. Healthcare is no cost to the individual because everyone is paying for it. That is translated, those who have worked hard and earned the most are paying for it for everyone else. Margaret Thatcher, once Prime Minister of England is reported to have said, “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of someone else’s money.” If Communism is so wonderful, if socialized medicine so great… why do the citizens of countries where such can be had are clamoring at our borders trying to get in?

Sadly, such rhetoric as free healthcare, free college education, a monthly income guaranteed by the government for everyone whether you work or not, whether you are a citizen, or not still comes with a cost. Someone must pay for all these things. The richest will have loopholes to avoid being the ones to pay and, yes, that includes the Democrat politicians who are advocating it. All these bright juicy apples of temptation hang just within reach of those who advocate for this system, but more Democrats are needed. The answer, for them, is open borders. Let those who want to come, come regardless of any previous immigration limits and, yes, they all can have all the benefits – the freebies and they can have the right to vote, too! Problem solved, more Democrats. If one can get past the allure of all the free stuff, common sense tells you such a system cannot work. Why model ourselves after a system which failed so badly across Eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R.

The Republican Party claims allegiance to ‘conservative’ governance with capitalism or free enterprise being the standard applied for economic planning. You earn it, you keep it minus a fair share to the government for services such as the military protection we value so greatly. Immigration is strictly limited to those who, coming in will be income producing and a positive benefit to the nation. Healthcare, insurance and as much of everything else as possible is privatized getting the government out of running every portion of our lives. The failure of Social Security should prove to anyone the government has no business trying to manage your money!

 The federal government has a very limited role, constitutionally. However, those roles have morphed over time by more stretching than any elastic has ever done – except for some Walmart shoppers’ wardrobes. Limited government, greater home (local) rule and the private lives of people being private; such is where the Republican Party has historically stood. They need to return to their roots.

Many who read this will say I have incorrectly stated this position or that and want to argue the fine points of each party’s platforms. Remember two things. First, I gave the caveat that I was stating the sides at their simplest. Second, this is not about which party is saying or doing whatever. This is focusing only on the issue of factionalism which is tearing our country apart. Every single one of us is to blame. If we have voted, we are to blame. If we have not voted, we are to blame. It is time we, the American people, held our representatives accountable to do the job we have sent them to do and to stop trying to destroy one another in hopes of improving their own station. If self advancement or even party advancement is what this entire impeachment is about then those behind it should be seen as traitors to the people they are supposed to represent.

Impeachment without true cause is horrific abuse of a political answer to the most grievous of situations with a President – using impeachments as a party tool to create division, confusion, and prevent progress to an administration simply because you disagree with him and long for something you think is better, but haven’t been able to win at the ballot box, is itself a misuse of authority and should be prosecuted.

 Any elected official who uses their Congressional power to advocate and vote for impeachment with the only motive being obstruction of the administration in office should be held accountable for their own misuse of power. Voting for impeachment should be a very heavy, last resort kind of move; when there truly are high crimes and misdemeanors being committed and every other remedy has been attempted and come up short then is the time to wrestle over the need to impeach. Not before every other possible solution has been exhausted. When people begin to clamor for impeachment before a person has even taken office is more than ridiculous, it is criminal.

Abraham Lincoln was right about many things. His quote, written at the beginning of this is so sadly correct. May God help us.

Art provided courtesy of Nathan Greene Studios.

The ‘Father of our Country’ our first president, General George Washington was elected to office before there was such a thing as political parties. As he prepared to retire after 8 years, when he was encouraged by many to seek a third term; he wrote an impassioned letter on his retirement from public office. He believed the Constitution needed to be ratified and he sought that through his pleas. To promote the strength of the Union, he urges the people to place their identity as Americans above their identities as members of a state, city, or region, and to focus their efforts and affection on the country above all other local interests. He reminds the people that they do not have more than slight differences in religion, manners, habits, and political principles, and their triumph and possession of independence and liberty is a result of working together.

Copy of lithograph courtesy of http://www.thefederalistpapers.org

President Washington was very wary of political parties and the sectionalism and greed for power and wealth may have on those in government service. Washington warns the people that political factions may seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government, or to prevent the branches of government from enacting the powers provided them by the constitution. Such factions may claim to be trying to answer popular demands or solve pressing problems, but their true intentions are to take the power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men. His wisdom echoes down through the centuries and should shake us from our slumber and urge us to watch with prayerful resolve the outworking of today’s political power-hungry despots. These political swankpots may actually have convinced themselves they are the answer to America’s concerns. Some who push for impeachment may truly believe our government will be so much better off with them at the helm. More likely, they have no altruistic motives but desire only the self-aggrandizement which pulls at their already grossly inflated egos.

Allow me to close on a more up-beat note. I have had the pleasure of knowing some very bright, dedicated and patriotic political persons. These truly seek office in order to serve their local communities, their state and our nation. Some of these are veterans who put their life on the line in countless ways and remain excited about coming to work in the people’s house daily. They too are bothered by what I have described here because they see it up-close and personally. These men and women long for a better day in America and they fear the demise we have outlined here. They deserve our prayerful support. Their’s is not an easy task and it is one which can be overwhelming to the point of despair. If you know of such a one also, please let them know you are in their corner. They need to hear from you.

Intrepidity

THE POLICE BLOTTER              THE MINISTRY MINUTE

Dr. Ross L. Riggs, Director         Global Security Consulting ~ a subsidiary of Security Consulting Investigations, LLC

26 June 2012

What defines a hero in America?

According to an Act of Congress, ‘…members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States” are eligible to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.’ These men and women are, without a doubt, America’s heroes. The first CMOH was awarded to Pvt. Jacob Parrott, 33rd Ohio Infantry, for actions on March 25, 1863. Along with a small squad of soldiers plus two civilians, Pvt. Parrott infiltrated 200 miles behind enemy lines and captured a railroad train. Pvt. Parrott was from Franklin and Hardin Counties in Ohio.1

There have been, since then, 3,459 Medal of Honor recipients in all kinds of campaigns in known wars and in obscure actions in every corner of the world. The single commonality is their uncommon intrepidity. The classification in the English language of intrepidity is that it is a noun. A noun names a person, place, or thing and in this case, it is a ‘thing’ that is marked by courage and boldness. John Wayne is credited with saying, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”2 General George Washington wrote, “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”3

 

America has a great many heroes. Of the 3,459 CMOH recipients, 81 are currently living. But one does not need to hold a Medal of Honor to be a hero. There are heroes among us every day. They wear a badge and gun or a fire fighter’s helmet and an axe; they wear a clerical collar or caduceus; they wear blue jeans and hard hats; they wear coal miners’ lanterns attached to their helmets and high altitude flight suits over their uniforms. They are moms and dads, sisters and brothers, and aunts and uncles. They all believe in something larger than themselves. Sometimes they wear pink remembrance ribbons. The common denominator is much too uncommon… a commitment to caring for others around them, more than they care for themselves.

America is facing a very difficult road ahead. America needs people that care more for others than themselves. America needs heroes and I know that if we, as a people, will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He will do as He promises and “exalt (us) in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6) And once we have sought Him, He will restore our nation. We need to be a nation of heroes. We must be willing to saddle up anyway even when we are afraid. We might be afraid of devastating illness, unemployment, an out of control government over us… but we can, as General Washington wrote: ‘conquer fear.’  Franklin Roosevelt, perhaps second only to Barak Obama in pushing a socialist agenda upon the United States, said in his first inaugural address, “…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”4 He went on to ask for broad executive powers from Congress, (notice that he, at least, asked Congress before taking such power to himself) to turn away from the free market economy that he saw as the cause of the economic depression and turn to a future of mutually assured (self-imposed) mediocrity; no one getting more than their ‘fair-share with ‘fair’ being determined by the federal bureaucracy. Still, though, he saw that fear had caused people to stop fighting. American needed to be no longer paralyzed into non-action. Roosevelt at least provided a spark to get the people hoping again, even though they placed their hope in the government rather than the God of heaven and His ability to bless their labor when He felt the time was due.

Today, we need to ‘saddle up,’ get to work, make the hard choices, do what is right to get the debt under control, stop wasteful spending, get the private sector working again and creating jobs without the burden of heavy taxes, particularly ‘health care “taxes”’. Within the hard choices are America’s heroes forged. Under the crucible of adversity are our heroes shaped. America should never need the government caring for the elderly, sick and infirm. Christ created His church for just such a role. God created families to care for one another, brother to brother, son to father, distant relative to hurting cousin. During the Great Depression families did not usually send their sick and elderly off to government-run shelters with obviously poor facilities and high costs; they brought them in, under their own roof, and yes, it was hard; sometimes a crushing burden for a family. But together, they held up their families, their communities and, even though the federal government provided some employment relief. It was the family that rebuilt America and for the most part, they were families of faith.

In 2012, an American hero works hard at whatever job he or she can find to help support the family. The American hero works hard to pay his bills on time and to reduce his own debt. The American hero reaches out a hand to a family member or a neighbor in need and doesn’t just give him a hand out, he gives them a help up. Yes, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Some wear a Congressional Medal of Honor, but most wear a flannel shirt and blue jeans, perhaps stained and torn by hard work; many more wear the uniforms of this great nation, some military and others safety services. We need to eliminate the theme of the liberal ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and replace it with the biblical. It takes a family to raise a child, depending on God, trusting in His provision and following His commands. America needs families that worship God, who love their country but are wary of their government.

I disagree with Roosevelt’s socialist reforms as much as I disagree with Obama’s Marxist ideology. However, the last line of FDR’s first inaugural address is probably not one you will ever hear President Obama say with sincerity. It went like this: “In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.”

To get America leading again, it takes a ‘can-do’ attitude and American heroes forging the way. May America bless God and may God bless America!

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