Blake Masters, a Senate candidate in Arizona and a newbie to politics, can’t figure our where he stands on the invasion of Ukraine and people are making note. Masters, a self proclaimed isolationist, was originally quoted by Axios as saying Ukraine shouldn’t matter to the American people and that he didn’t care about helping democracies thousands of miles away.
“This country has actual problems that our politicians should prioritize. The Ukrainian border isn’t even in the top 20. You’d think we would have learned our lesson by now when it comes to policing the world and ‘democracy building’ thousands of miles away.“
Then on March 1st after American public opinion became overwhelmingly supportive of Ukraine and the world turned on Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Blake Masters flip-flopped and advocated for sending the Ukrainians more military supplies.
This kind of thing happens on the campaign trail but considering he is running for the US Senate he should decide on a more principled foreign policy.
Over the past half century, conservatism has become the dominant political philosophy in the United States. Newspaper and television political news stories more often than not will mention the word conservative. Almost every Republican running for office—whether for school board or U.S. senator—will try to establish his place on the political spectrum based on how conservative he is. Even Democrats sometimes distinguish among members of their own party in terms of conservatism.
Although conservatism as we know it today is a relatively new movement—it emerged after World War II and only became a political force in the 1960s—it is based on ideas that are as old as Western civilization itself. The intellectual foundations on which this movement has been built stretch back to antiquity, were further developed during the Middle Ages and in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, and were ultimately formulated into a coherent political philosophy at the time of the founding of the United States. In a real sense, conservatism is Western civilization.
The basic foundations of American conservatism can be boiled down to four fundamental concepts. We might call them the four pillars of modern conservatism:
The first pillar of conservatism is liberty, or freedom. Conservatives believe that individuals possess the right to life, liberty, and property, and freedom from the restrictions of arbitrary force. They exercise these rights through the use of their natural free will. That means the ability to follow your own dreams, to do what you want to (so long as you don’t harm others) and reap the rewards (or face the penalties). Above all, it means freedom from oppression by government—and the protection of government against oppression. It means political liberty, the freedom to speak your mind on matters of public policy. It means religious liberty—to worship as you please, or not to worship at all. It also means economic liberty, the freedom to own property and to allocate your own resources in a free market.
Conservatism is based on the idea that the pursuit of virtue is the purpose of our existence and that liberty is an essential component of the pursuit of virtue. Adherence to virtue is also a necessary condition of the pursuit of freedom. In other words, freedom must be pursued for the common good, and when it is abused for the benefit of one group at the expense of others, such abuse must be checked. Still, confronted with a choice of more security or more liberty, conservatives will usually opt for more liberty.
The second pillar of conservative philosophy is tradition and order. Conservatism is also about conserving the values that have been established over centuries and that have led to an orderly society. Conservatives believe in human nature; they believe in the ability of man to build a society that respects rights and that has the capacity to repel the forces of evil. Order means a systematic and harmonious arrangement, both within one’s own character and within the commonwealth. It signifies the performance of certain duties and the enjoyment of certain rights within a community.
Order is perhaps more easily understood by looking at its opposite: disorder. A disordered existence is a confused and miserable existence. If a society falls into general disorder, many of its members will cease to exist at all. And if the members of a society are disordered in spirit, the outward order of society cannot long endure. Disorder describes well everything that conservatism is not.
The third pillar is the rule of law. Conservatism is based on the belief that it is crucial to have a legal system that is predictable, that allows people to know what the rules are and enforce those rules equally for all. This means that both governors and the governed are subject to the law. The rule of law promotes prosperity and protects liberty. Put simply, a government of laws and not of men is the only way to secure justice.
The fourth pillar is belief in God. Belief in God means adherence to the broad concepts of religious faith—such things as justice, virtue, fairness, charity, community, and duty. These are the concepts on which conservatives base their philosophy.
Conservative belief is tethered to the idea that there is an allegiance to God that transcends politics and that sets a standard for politics. For conservatives, there must be an authority greater than man, greater than any ruler, king, or government: no state can demand our absolute obedience or attempt to control every aspect of our lives. There must be a moral order, conservatives believe, that undergirds political order. This pillar of conservatism does not mean mixing up faith and politics, and it certainly does not mean settling religious disputes politically. It also does not mean that conservatives have a monopoly on faith, or even that all conservatives are necessarily believers.
Each of the four pillars is closely related to all the others. Liberty, for example, is considered a gift of God and must be protected by the rule of law. The rule of law itself is dependent on the natural law—a transcendent law reflected in every orderly and civilized society, demarcating good and evil. Tradition and order are best reflected by our common law—a law developed over centuries by reasonable people in their everyday lives, which sets the rules for social order consistent with the past. And tradition is an important dimension of belief in God. What could demonstrate tradition and order more fully, for example, than the Old Testament and the history of the Jewish people, or the doctrines of the Christian Church?
By John Semmens –Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Recent revelations that the Clinton Foundation neglected to report over $26 million in payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups was characterized as “a mere oversight” by Foundation Chief Executive Officer Donna Shalala.
“The Foundation has raised more than $2 billion dollars over the years its been in existence,” Shalala pointed out. “The $26 million everyone is hyperventilating over is relative pocket change amounting to barely 1% of the total. It’s on a par with a Congressman failing to report a free vacation from a lobbyist or a waiter forgetting to report all his tip income to the IRS. It’s no big deal.”
Others aren’t so sure it isn’t a big deal. Peter Schweizer, author of the book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, wondered “why a Nigerian newspaper paid former president Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech. And if it was all legit, why was this payment among the $26 million the Foundation ‘forgot’ to report?”
“As everyone knows, the Clintons were flat broke when Bill’s term as president was over,” Shalala said in response. “Why should anyone begrudge him earning a little money from sharing his wisdom on the talk circuit? Isn’t it time that the harassment and persecution of one of America’s great families come to an end?”
Bush Defends Warrantless Government Surveillance
While one GOP presidential candidate filibustered legislation extending the National Security Agency’s (NSA) authority to spy on Americans, another alleges that “there’s not a shred of evidence that this surveillance has violated anyone’s civil liberties.”
GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken) spoke for 10 hours on the floor of the Senate contending that NSA’s warrantless violations of privacy are unconstitutional. “The Fourth Amendment was intended to protect us from unreasonable searches,” Rand argued. “It calls for government to obtain a warrant from a judge based on ‘probable cause.’ The gathering of massive amounts of private information without such warrants flies in the teeth of the Amendment’s prohibition. We should be abolishing this intrusion, not extending it.”
Prospective rival for the Republican nomination, former Florida Governor JEB Bush disagreed, calling the NSA “a virtual guardian angel watching over and protecting us. I just can’t buy the argument that we have anything to fear from our own government. They’re on our side. We need to give them all the power and tools they say they need to keep us safe.”
Bush said that “the fact that the only people killed so far based on information gathered by the NSA are enemies of our government ought to reassure everyone that as long as they behave themselves they have nothing to fear. So the government knows who you phone, email and tweet. So what, as long as you’re not doing anything wrong why should you care? I don’t find the so-called scare phrase ‘Big Brother is watching you’ particularly frightening. The whole idea behind the NSA originated with my big brother and he’s a swell guy. We should be glad that he helped develop a program to watch over us.”
Hillary Defends Benghazi Lies
Evidence that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was informed that the assault on the Benghazi Consulate and murder of Ambassador Stevens was a planned terrorist attack before she went public with the misleading cover story of a video protest gone bad failed to dislodge her from defending it.
“Sure, we knew within hours of the Ambassador’s death that the attack had been planned at least 10 days in advance, but for us to have publicly acknowledged this would have put the country into even greater danger,” Clinton maintained. “Remember, this attack occurred just two months ahead of a presidential election. Our first priority was to counteract the domestic insurgency being led by Mitt Romney. Staving off this attempt to overthrow our government was more important than adhering to some quaint notions of honesty.”
Clinton characterized the bogus video-inspired-uprising story as akin to President Roosevelt’s feigning surprise at Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. “Imagine the damage that would have been done to his government if he hadn’t seized control of the narrative,” she hypothesized. “By diverting attention away from our lack of preparedness and onto Japan’s treachery he was able to rally the American people and save his government. Why shouldn’t we have emulated a man most historians agree was one of our greatest presidents?”
In related news, Clinton’s presidential campaign manager disputed press claims that her motorcade reached speeds in excess of 95 mph on the way to a fund raiser in Iowa. “While the media vehicles following the motorcade may have sped, we did not,” Robbie Mook asserted, attributing the quick transit time to “our use of new technology allowing us to travel using a ‘worm hole’ through hyperspace. The confusion afflicting those still confined to normal three-dimensional space is understandable.”
Candidate Says “Everything Will Be Free When I’m President”
Self-described socialist and candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders promised voters that “everything will be free when I’m president.”
“In a country as rich as ours it is shameful that mere lack of money should block anyone from having all the good things of life,” Sanders said. “No one should be stigmatized by having to grovel to qualify for food stamps or be denied entry into college because they can’t afford it or don’t have good high school grades. Anyone who wants to eat should simply be permitted to take food from a grocery store or restaurant. Anyone who wants to go to college should be allowed in, no questions asked.”
Payment for all these freebies will come from a confiscatory tax on excess assets and income. “Only pure arrogance drives the notion that people who are smarter and harder-working should get more than those less well-endowed by nature or nurture,” the Senator contended. “Just because you are lucky enough to inherit intelligence or learn to be enterprising from the good example of your parents doesn’t mean you earned it. A person born to stupid and shiftless parents isn’t at fault for his lack of effort. Why then should his rewards be contingent on the exertions he doesn’t make?”
“Every human being is entitled to an equal share of the Earth’s bounty,” Sanders declared. “Ensuring an equitable distribution is government’s responsibility. Voters can count on me to fulfill this responsibility.”
Pay Hike Needed to Boost Congress’ Morale
Several Democrats, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md), made the case for higher compensation this week citing “the low morale among those of us in the legislature who can only salivate at the sums being hauled in by ex-presidents and others for trifling amounts of work. As members of a body of 435 we won’t have the same name recognition. We won’t be invited to pontificate on sundry topics for piles of cash.”
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla) seconded Hoyer’s remarks saying “we need to get a bigger piece of the pie now! We pass laws doling out billions to important constituencies, yet we get dinged for accepting gratuities in exchange. It’s just not fair.”
Hastings went on to complain that “the $174,000 annual salary is barely four times the median household income in this country. It’s humiliating for members of the ruling class to have to scrape by on such a pittance. Plus, if our salaries were higher those hoping to influence policy would be encouraged to up the amounts they pay for our efforts to deliver the goods.”
Hoyer also warned of “a possible exodus of the best and brightest from public service if we don’t take action to increase the rewards. The loss of human capital from the departure of legislators who have served for decades would be catastrophic. Congress would likely degenerate into a body staffed by short-term citizen-legislators instead of long-term professionals who dedicate their lives to wielding power for the common good.”
Kerry Calls for Stricter Government Regulation of Internet
In a speech in South Korea US Secretary of State John Kerry called for government to play a bigger role in what goes on the Internet. Kerry advised that “we take a lesson from what’s going on in North Korea. Sure, there are a lot of things wrong with the way Kim is governing his country, but that doesn’t mean everything he’s doing is a mistake.”
“A key positive in Kim’s policies is the government’s larger role in filtering what the citizens of North Korea can see and hear from the Internet,” the Secretary maintained. “Antisocial content that could undermine his people’s contentment is severely dealt with. Positive messages aimed at raising the people’s sense of well-being are encouraged. This helps boost the people’s faith in their government.”
“There’s some good lessons we in the West can learn from Kim’s model,” Kerry argued. “Granted, we wouldn’t want to resort to executing every dissident, but there are less bloodthirsty methods of enforcing compliance with the values and practices that will help stamp out the evils of racism, hate speech, and sedition that infest the unregulated Internet that currently prevails in the United States.”
Kerry concluded his remarks with “a wish that the independent Federal Communication Commission will not let President Obama down by allowing an unwarranted respect for freedom of speech to cloud their judgment.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties our Founding Fathers tried to protect.
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