Freedom Animates Me
Updated: MORE FREEDOM, EQUAL TREATMENT, LESS WARFARE–NOW, for everyone’s sake.
I care about individual freedom–economic, civil, and political liberty. I wish to preserve and expand these values, because freedom animates me.
An essential aspect of political conservatism is a limiting principle, a concrete set of values with which government action must be consistent. Absent limiting principles individual freedom is perilously subject to majority rule. Hence, Republics – democracy subject to limiting principles.
Thus, I am politically conservative and my limiting principle is freedom. I favor Republics because they are conservative in nature and capable of protecting individual freedom.
Despite that individual freedom is my guiding rule I am not a Libertarian, as a noun at least. I accept in practice some measure of government, realizing that government necessarily constrains individual freedom. In my view the Constitution and Bill of Rights, when adhered to, strike an equitable balance between government and individual freedom. The amendment process reserves to the people the power to peaceably change the limiting principles constraining the democratic process. As a whole it’s served America very well.
Thus, as a matter of government I am a Constitutionalist. As an individual, I advocate for expanding the measure of individual freedom in America and oppose amendments and laws to the contrary.
As to party affiliation, my basic problem with the Republican and Democrat parties is that they consistently mistake freedom for the exercise of government power over others. I principally oppose coercion, particularly by government, and would limit government’s role to holding citizens accountable for the consequences of their actions insofar as they adversely affect others, rather than proscribing citizen conduct.
My issue with the Democrat Party is its lack of concrete limiting principles. Democrat party values are issue and identity group specific, waxing or waning with the polls. They are insufficiently rigid. This is inconsistent with equal treatment and incapable of conserving individual freedom.
This is not to say, though, directly or by implication, that the Republican Party is a paragon of principled consistency. It is not. But unlike Democrats, Republicans at least purport to establish and abide by limiting principles. The problem with the Republican party is that its limiting principles – at least those held by a significant portion of the party – are a grab-bag of affection for big-government, social engineering, economic intervention, and corporatism, all buttressed by mega-church morals that effectively trump equal treatment, logic, and science. In short, the Republican party is conservative, which I like, but its limiting principles too often conflict with individual freedom.
I would like to be affiliated with a conservative political party whose limiting principles are a plain reading of the United States Constitution and the individual freedoms articulated in the Bill of Rights. As it is more realistic to reform the Republican party’s limiting principles to being consistent with freedom than it is to reform the nature of the Democrat party into conservatism (or convince Libertarians to principally accept government and become a viable third party), I throw my political advocacy and support behind Republican candidates whose limiting principles are consistent with the Constitution and freedom.