Posts tagged Al Gore

Column on Tea Party Muddles

Tea Party Confusion

Tibor R. Machan

The idea that politicians should sign a pledge to promote personal morality is contrary to the avowed Tea Party commitment to small government. If you want the government to have a restricted scope, you should stick to the US Declaration as your guide: Government is instituted so as to secure our rights! It is not instituted, at least in the American political tradition, so as to be our moral police!

This is the kind of inconsistency that will bode very ill for the Tea Party and the Republicans. IT is just like the liberals’ inconsistency of preaching choice in the abortion debate but loving to take it from us in nearly everything else. Obama care comes to mind which commands people to buy health insurance and is, thus, anything but pro choice. And what about coercing us all to buy green light bulbs?

Who are these people, imposing their standards of right conduct on the rest? Both sides of the political spectrum are still wedded to their tyrannical ways. No wonder so few people vote.

Here is the pledge Tea Party Republican Rep. Michell Bachmann wants candidates to sign:
“Therefore, in any elected or appointed capacity by which I may have the honor of serving our fellow citizens in these United States, I the undersigned do hereby solemnly vow to honor and to cherish, to defend and to uphold, the Institution of Marriage as only between one man and one woman. I vow* to do so through my:
Personal fidelity to my spouse.
Respect for the marital bonds of others.
Official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, supporting the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices.
Vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage – faithful monogamy between one man and one woman – through statutory-, bureaucratic-, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc.
Recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that married people enjoy better health, better sex, longer lives, greater financial stability, and that children raised by a mother and a father together experience better learning, less addiction, less legal trouble, and less extramarital pregnancy.
Support for prompt reform of uneconomic, anti-marriage aspects of welfare policy, tax policy, and marital/divorce law, and extended ‘second chance’ or ‘cooling-off’ periods for those seeking a ‘quickie divorce.’
Earnest, bona fide legal advocacy for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the federal and state levels.
Steadfast embrace of a federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in all of the United States.
Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy – our next generation of American children – from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.
Support for the enactment of safeguards for all married and unmarried U.S. Military and National Guard personnel, especially our combat troops, from inappropriate same-gender or opposite-gender sexual harassment, adultery or intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds (restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc.); plus prompt termination of military policymakers who would expose American wives and daughters to rape or sexual harassment, torture, enslavement or sexual leveraging by the enemy in forward combat roles.
Rejection of Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control.
Recognition that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.
Commitment to downsizing government and the enormous burden upon American families of the USA‟s $14.3 trillion public debt, its $77 trillion in unfunded liabilities, its $1.5 trillion federal deficit, and its $3.5 trillion federal budget.
Fierce defense of the First Amendment‟s rights of Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech, especially against the intolerance of any who would undermine law-abiding American citizens and institutions of faith and conscience for their adherence to, and defense of, faithful heterosexual monogamy.”

Some of this is of course redundant–anyone who takes the oath to defend the US Constitution has made many of these pledges, namely, those that involve protection of individual rights. But many of them are meddling pieces of political posturing as the citizenry’s moral guide, as our nannies, just as Al Gore wants to be our moral guide vis-a-vis global warming or other environmental issues.

Did Global Warming Cause the Gore’s Divorce?

When I mentioned to my daughter, Erin, that the Gores are divorcing she, without missing a beat, looked at me and asked, “Does he blame it on global warming?” That’s my kid!

Column on What is the Public Interest

What is the Public Interest?

Tibor R. Machan

In the midst of the current orgy of capitalism-bashing, unleashed by those who earnestly believe that they should be directing the buying and selling activities of the public, there is once again a good deal of talk about how we must all serve the public interest and forget about our own selfish goals. Just a few days ago Al Gore went on a demagogical frenzy, denouncing “market triumphalism” and lamenting the perfectly sensible concern that “Laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carr[y] a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated” (i.e., Soviet socialism). He even asserted, without a scintilla of proof, that the Cold War victory of democratic capitalism–which means, the mixed economy over a dictatorially planned one–”led, in the United States, to a hubristic ‘bubble’ of market fundamentalism that encouraged opponents of regulatory constraints to mount an aggressive effort to shift the internal boundary between the democracy sphere and the market sphere.”

Of course, no such thing happened at all. Ever since its inception the United States has been a mixed system. One need but remember that even among the Founders there was a vehement debate about how centralized the U. S. government should be, with Alexander Hamilton leading the statist faction and Thomas Jefferson those who favored less concentration of power.

In other words, to quote Ronald Reagan, “Here we go again.” The cheerleaders of statism try to gain advantage by distorting history. In the last fifty or more years there has not been any effective move away from the “democratic sphere.” (Just consider as a case in point, the U. S. Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling that eminent domain law can be used to transfer ownership from less to more taxable private use, a distortion of the market friendly Fifth Amendment if there ever was one.) The Congress has moved steadily toward populism, away from a system restrained by the Bill of Rights, by principles of classical liberal justice. Al Gore simply wants to move faster with all this, more power to his crowd, period.

The moral system these avid fans of statism are peddling is the doctrine of service to the public interest. You know, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” and similar calls to have us all abandon the Declaration’s ideals in favor of those of communitarianism, even out and out socialism. The public interest is back with a vengeance. But what exactly is it?

In the history of political thought the public interest or common good has been identified in a variety of ways but perhaps the most provocative and influential has been Jean Jacques Rousseau’s idea of the general will–in more recent lingo, “the will of the people.” No, this is not some democratic consensus of a majority of the citizenry. It is, instead, a belief in some overarching universal purpose that the citizenry of a country must serve. But then what is that purpose? Yes, that is indeed the rub.

That purpose is exactly what those who peddle the idea say it is. It is in fact the purpose of the likes of Al Gore or anyone else who invokes the idea. The public interest or general will is nothing definite apart from what those who make reference to it want it to be. It is the promoters of the idea that all of us must serve the public interest who, frankly, establish what it is. It is their own agenda, what they take to be important, never mind the rest of the public!

It was in fact the American Founders, who learned a good deal from John Locke, who advanced a pretty sensible and workable idea of the public interest, even while they had some disagreements about it. They believed, and laid this out in the Declaration of Independence, that government promotes the public interest when it secures the individual human rights of all citizens. All of them, not some special group’s with its subjective agenda. Their brilliant solution to the problem of just what is the public interest is that it is the protection of everyone’s liberty to live as he or she chooses, provided it doesn’t thwart the same liberty of others.

Such a minimalist conception of the public interest does full justice to our human nature! We are all in need of liberty and we are also very different from one another which this liberty then fully accommodates. One size does not fit all except for one thing–everyone must be free. And that is the only sensible, morally sound idea of the public interest. Trouble is that this idea doesn’t accommodate the goals of those who want to impose their agenda on the rest of us. It is those folks who give rise to the scandalous special interest politics of Mr. Gore’s democratic sphere. (And he isn’t being up front about that either since if the democratic sphere fails to include the agenda of the AGW crowd, it loses legitimacy for him.)

Al Gore & Co. don’t like market fundamentalism because what that amounts to is individual liberty for everyone and functions as a bulwark against regimenting us all to fall in line behind Mr. Gore. For my money, I take market fundamentalism any day over the kind of fundamentalism that gives Mr. Gore & Co. power over all of us.