I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who fancies himself a thoughtful conservative. We were on a boating trip and I was doing my best to avoid politics on a beautiful, sunny day. He was doggedly persistent and I’m not known for a lack of opinion. Now, this particular friend has a tendency to over-analyze a given topic and work himself in circles so I was prepared to try and steer him back. As the discussion got underway, I found that I was indeed prepared to champion America’s first principles. I just didn’t think I would have to defend them from a self-proclaimed conservative at a tiki bar today.
For starters he was starstruck by the perfect hair of the duo of Romney and Ryan. This is fairly typical of most casual conservatives who get into election mode and leave their scruples at the door. I burst his bubble by reminding him of the tandem’s history with Romneycare, TARP, Auto Bailouts, and Medicare Part D. Hardly conservative positions and hardly an indication that these men were the saviors he felt they were. Of course any criticism of the GOP ticket instantly draws the accusation that I want Obama to win. Hardly. I told him I would certainly vote for the Mormon over the Black Liberation Theologian.
Then he slid a little more to the left and began to talk about the health care legislation that the GOP should pass after repealing Obamacare. He had accepted the liberal premise that there was a health care crisis that must be dealt with at a federal level. I told him when you put out a fire, you don’t replace it with anything else. Just repeal it. This sent him into a tirade about all the poor, unfortunate people of this world that needed our help. Uh oh. He’s really going down the rabbit hole.
He stated that we had a moral obligation to help those less fortunate. As a practicing Christian, I wholeheartedly agreed. Just not via the Federal government. I asked if it was OK that he was holding gun to my head and forcing me to be “charitable.” This caused him great concern and he walked away only to return one drink later with his retort. It was no longer an obligation in his mind, but an “opportunity,” as if that was any more sensible. Things were really starting to slide.
I asked him what authority within the United States Constitution gave Congress the ability to pass such legislation? “General Welfare Clause” he responded. Ugh. Logic right out of a liberal playbook being played by a “conservative.” I tried in vain to explain the enumerated powers of Congress and the role of the General Welfare Clause as a modifier rather than a stand alone power. He responded that he didn’t know what the enumerated powers were. (Facepalm) Maybe I could use another drink myself.
I politely explained the limited powers of the Federal government and how the remainder was left for the states. He was fine with that as long as the Federal government could force the states to “uniformly” implement their own policies. What?!?! “If the Federal government can force the states to all be the same, you lose the ability to vote with your feet” I replied. “That’s not practical” he shrieked. “People can’t just pick up and move!” Of course they can and do. For jobs, relationships, lower taxes, etc… That freedom to escape poor policies and find greener pastures is a hallmark of American Federalism.
Ultimately our wives separated us and we went on with enjoying our day although the conversation continued to bother me. It is clear at this point that the left is winning. They have pounded their message so effectively over the last century that Marxism is now engrained in many facets of society. The uninformed and even the well-intentioned have been indoctrinated. The argument begins at the far left with the liberals and ends up compromised on the not-quite-so-far-left with the neo-conservatives.
We have a lot of work to do just to even begin to reverse this trend. Those who should be our allies are too wrapped up in politics and policies to realize they’ve been compromised. We need a revival of America’s first principles to cleanse its very soul. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get back to basics.