Saturday, February 14, 2009

'Godless' Liberals

The word 'godless' is an insult true and without time; the principles which it demonstrates remain consistent whether spoken by a priest of the Spanish inquisition in the Fourteenth Century or an exceptionally caustic radio host in the Twenty-First. It is quite easy to use - you must merely aim it towards the closest person superficially different from you - and even perhaps considered to be justified in said use, as religion is a choice of the soul and not a quality of body or heritage. The sneer itself, though, shows appalling hate, judgment and superiority, none of which I deem it appropriate to tolerate on the topic of religious freedom either in the realm of government or in that of common life.

Liberals, in America, have been 'Godless' since the advent of Communism, and since the deep association between the political left and a truly terrible foreign enemy. There is no question that Communism is wholly unsuccessful; and, indeed, in liberal policies of expanded government and graduated taxation one may find echoes of Communist or Socialist policies, as one may perceive a person taking two steps towards the North and thus accuse him of attempting invasion of Canada.

Not only is the association false, but the term 'Godless' itself has no grounding in fact. This does not deter those who level the term; they are entirely unconvinced by either figures of overall church attendance or personal anecdotes of religious incidence on the liberal side.

Furthermore, this country was not founded on religious tenets. That certain populations within this country would insist that membership in a particular religious group is essential towards 'Americanism' angers me greatly. There was quite a concrete reason the framers of the Constitution - myself and the soon-to-be Democratic-Republicans, for the most part - insisted on a Bill of Rights and a passage including the freedom of religious practice.

I have no conception when patriotism evolved into simple praise of this country's principles and practices. It is as though one must preclude every argument with an insistence that America is a great nation - as though its accomplishments and freedoms do not speak for themselves! If such were the definition of patriotism then I, readers, am the least patriot of all, as I never passed the opportunity to call the government into question, even when I was at its head.

Friday, February 6, 2009

On Philosophies and War

I am, of late, given to rumination on the natures of religions which have entered the sphere of the public awareness in the years since my death. Particularly, I have noticed a surprising popularity of religions - or philosophies, I suppose - with origins in Asia.

Buddhism, especially, is considered by many to be a near-perfect philosophy, a standard of life impossible for the many but ideal for the few. I cannot comprehend the reasoning behind this outlook. The insistence on detachment, in Buddhist philosophy, seems the last refuge of a mind so obsessed with its pain that it must likewise relinquish joy. They come hand in hand; you may not have one without the other. Therefore, so as to live the clearest life possible, in Buddhism, one may have neither.

Similarly, in the Taoist concept of the Uncarved Block, ignorance and haplessness are idealized to an utter perfection of contentment. Ignorance, quite literally, is bliss. Taoism would have each of its followers relinquish all responsibility for the ebb and flow of the world, and instead hold themselves apart.

For those who would advocate the Buddhist support of unconditional peace, I would remind you that, though the evil of war is great and terrible, there is good that may not be accomplished but with blood. Fighting for freedom is not made wrong simply because it is fighting - that is not only folly, but a dangerous disrespect to those who have fought.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Economics of Socialism

I must preface this with an acknowledgment that I am no easy hand on the matter of economy. It seems a discipline which has only made itself more complex and impenetrable over time, attempting over and over to create mathematics to explain the inexplicability of human behavior, succeeding only in discovering mathematics with the same vagaries of the human psyche. Nonetheless, I must first explore briefly the main theory of economics that dominated the last century of history.

Communism began as a theory, but, in practice, entrusted the public with the responsibility to work for everyone else's welfare, while simultaneously denying them the freedoms that are every man's right and ensuring that they, themselves, did not have sufficient means to eke a living on their own. The foolishness of such a proposition is well obvious.

A near-synonym, among the uneducated, is 'socialism', which, as a derivant of communism, instead trusts control of the economic system to the government. Many accuse our own new president of being socialist, of enacting socialist ideas and setting this country on a socialist path. The word itself evokes horrifying memories of communism and the war that wasn't a war at all but merely the threat of one.

Many accuse our current president of socialist policies, in attempting to throw further nonexistent contents of the government budget at the economic recession. It bewilders me that one half of the country may claim this 'stimulus' is essential to give American businessmen (and women) a fair chance to succeed in the economic climate, and the other half of the country compares the policy itself to an economic system used to enslave and oppress its people. Obviously, one of them must be right; they cannot both be so. However, even the nation's experts seem divided on the matter.

Perhaps it will have no effect at all. It does not matter - each side of the argument may find evidence to support them, regardless of the outcome.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Division of Politics Along the Continuum of Liberal to Conservative

I find it difficult to understand the purely arbitrary distinction between modern liberals and conservatives, within the sphere of the politic. It seems to be based on such contradictory and niggling issues as marriage equality, the current war against terror (though admittedly I find the name of said war is not without a certain irony), the method by which citizens are taxed, certain reforms concerning the health of the environment, and many others.

I am amused at those who level the complaint that the word 'liberal' is used as a slur, a defamation of character and belief. To those, I challenge you to remember a time when it was not; in my own tenure as President, and before, I regularly had to defend my own stance against those who would accuse me of having values too Democratic, or supporting the right of direct election from the people.

To me, then, the battle between 'conservative' and 'liberal' is simply another way to categorize the factions and deep divisions with American politics. By the standards to which I am accustomed, you are all liberal - radically so. Your distinction is but a tiny one on a continuum you are hardly aware of.

Moreover, there are none who would countenance peace or surrender to terrorists; the battle about marriage equality has no place in the state, as one side is almost purely defined by a religious position; taxes could be lower overall were the government to reduce its attempted sphere of influence and control; and the health of the environment is an obvious matter of responsibility and citizenry, and should not be subject to such argument and dissonance as it is.

I hold little hope, however, that this country will cease its overuse of the 'conservative' and 'liberal' epithets and instead let cool intelligence prevail; it has shown no history of such so far.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Inauguration of the President of the United States

I admit I had not watched all of the Inauguration; there are other matters that occupy my time, as such an ostentatious display of popular politics fills me with, if not distaste, then at the very least some unease at its scope and breadth.

I can scarce imagine the sheer quantity of those attending - estimates have the number near two million. If such a vast swarm of citizens believes it necessary to freeze themselves to death in order to hear a new President and Chief Justice each fumble the oath of office, in their turn, then I have no will to stop them, but I would remind the electorate that the flagging state of the economy requires their own personal industry to pull it together again - a goal certainly stated clear enough in Mr. President Barack Obama's inaugural address. Better that they should have stayed home and lent a good few days of work to this country than lend their voice to a crowd that certainly needed none more and could have used many fewer.

As for the address itself, I had caught an echo or two of my rhetoric, from the Declaration of Independence, which I found flattering and unsettling in equal measures. Similarly, I do not believe Mr. Paine would have entirely appreciated the quote of his used in the manner it was (especially since it was credited to George Washington, who did not write a quotable word except by the hands of Alexander Hamilton or James Madison); we suffered through many a crisis proportional to the modern threat of terrorism, and Mr. Washington indeed forced upon the country a rather dark time of trade in order to support principles over wellbeing. Principles - and inspiration - in this case seem to have been rather handily traded for unashamedly pro-American rhetoric. Inspiring, after a fashion, but in essence not much different from the President we just set aside.

All in all, I did find myself moved - forty-one men have claimed the Office of the Presidency since I stepped down - but it was due in very small part to the ceremony itself and the man assuming leadership of the country.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On the Qualifications of a Mr. Barack Obama for President of the United States of America

As this blog is new, and therefore does not have many regular readers (though I prize unaccountably those whom it does), no doubt you are still unsure of the extent of my own political leanings, much less the party I would call my own or my approval for our newly inaugurated President. Indeed, I have never even mentioned which way I cast my own vote, which is the greatest indication of a man’s preferences. In order to rectify this state of affairs, I will dedicate this post to explicating my stance on the now-current president Barack Hussein Obama.

When I do lean partisan, I tend to favor the Republican Party, with great reluctance. I find the Democratic Party stance towards a larger, more controlling federal government not only imprudent but threatening; however, their favorability towards individual rights and their more coherent stance on separation of church and state leans me towards their side. As for the Republicans, their advocacy of the right of arms, and reduction of the power of federal government appeal to me. However, I am no typical Republican, nor would I be a typical Democrat, had I chosen that party.

As for the recent election: in my own views, Barack Obama is not half the ideal candidate he is made out to be.

The unprecedented popular support he enjoyed – indeed, the sweeping wave of new voters he rode comfortably to the White House – gives him what may be, and has been, termed a ‘mandate’ from the people. Such a mandate, and its heavy influences in the Senate and House of Representatives, the true location of the government of this country, cause unforgiveable danger to the institution of checks and balances within the Constitution.

The president has already taken an extraordinary amount of extra power from what was originally intended of the executive branch. Mr. President Obama continues that trend.

I cannot help but be similarly anxious by his method of entrance into office. His campaign was of swollen and crushing weight on the opinions of the electorate; once he pulled ahead, it was as though nothing short of an act of God could stop him, though Heaven knows Mr. McCain attempted valiantly. It became futile to speak out against him – indeed, foolish to even try. (Mr. McCain’s campaign was on the nose, just as Mr. Obama’s, but, unlike Mr. Obama’s, was run with unforgiveable clumsiness, not only insulting the people but failing to coherently insult his opponent.)

I do wonder how many voted in this election who ordinarily would not have, inspired by the crass quantity of Mr. Obama’s campaign commercials, his army of volunteers, and his popular charm. If it weren’t for the sheer overwhelming opposition to any government other than that of democracy among the citizens of this nation, I would indeed fear that Mr. Obama could declare himself king.

However, the main of my argument is now explained, I may turn to the question I have waited to answer. I did, indeed, cast a ballot on the 4th of November, 2008, though I remained undecided until the near eleventh hour before the election. While John McCain did not represent nearly the threat to the semi-autonomy of local government, Barack Obama did not seek to run on the strength of his record of military service alone; while Barack Obama used the weight of his fundraised fortune to eradicate resistance, John McCain attempted to court the weight of his own party by appointing a horrifically under-qualified beast of a vice presidential candidate.

In conflict, I finally chose Barack Obama, in hope that not only would he work towards eliminating the foolishly accrued national debt but that he would listen to his foes as well as his friends.

I do congratulate him, on becoming the first non-white President in this nation. May he lead us to prosperity and peace without sacrificing the ideals that our Constitution holds dear.

Signed: Thomas Jefferson

On the Choice of the Courts to Support and Condone Illegality against American Citizens

Are we children, too young to reassert our own reality, frightened at each crash of thunder, at each cry of 'terror'?

Is this the 1790s, that the government may turn against its own people, that merely opposing political views turn the might of the American military inwards?

Have the courts lost their minds, that they may, by due process of law, authorize a violation of privacy and of fair criminal investigation that they do injury to the Constitution, penned by our forebears, set as the law of the land?

Does the departing president truly believe that the safety provided by a sacrifice of freedom is enough to shelter that selfsame freedom from harm?

Perhaps Mr. W. Bush takes his example from John Adams. An honorable, if egocentric, man, whose presidency, combined with the monetary mismanagement of the father of our country George Washington, nearly ran this country into the ground before it had even begun. Threat of war with France - or Britain - looming high on the horizon, spies were everywhere, and conflict had not even begun. The Alien and Sedition Acts, signed in a moment of weakness, thrown into effect with bold cowardice, dawned a dark day on American history, and the PATRIOT Act did nothing different.

One may not negotiate with terrorists; one must hunt them down and eradicate them, destroying their cause and sapping their will to fight. The fight against threats from abroad should never be taken with the same methods against those with legal citizenship within our fair country.

Does citizenship of the United States mean nothing, in terms of freedoms, rights, justices that other nations do not have? Must we exercise force the same way to every suspect of terror, regardless of the rule of law?

This court has made the wrong decision. It is my most sincere hope that they do not insist upon it for long.

Signed: Thomas Jefferson