Liberty or justice for all?
November 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
Did you vote to suffer under the economic tyranny of Big Banking and Business?
Or is being crushed by Big Government more to your liking?
Do you like living under ever-growing taxes and astronomically unpayable debt?
Or would you prefer no public services, no social safety net?
Do you rejoice to have swarms of Officers to harrass you and eat out your substance?
Or do you aspire to shrinking opportunity for yourself and your kids, thanks to a broken free market and predatory capitalist excess?
Or are you really sick of the false choices politics keeps serving up?
THE RECENT ELECTIONS, in large part, were about Americans’ fundamental beliefs about the purpose of government. (It remains to be seen whether the “winning” side will actually see their ideals prevail — remember, just two short years until the next election!)
The debate is driven by two sets of values which, if you believe the dominant voices on either side, seem totally incompatible.
Liberty! That’s what we need. You know: good old-fashioned freedom and rugged individualism and can-do spirit. We need to buck up, stop being a nation of whiners, put our noses to the grindstone. We need to Restore Honor and don our powdered wigs and three-cornered hats and aim our muskets at those progressive professors and tools of tyranny and useful idiots who want to kill America by a thousand cuts of “kindness.”
Not! We need Justice. We need a fair shot for everybody. We need a safety net for the poor and the unfortunate, the out-of-work, the down-on-their luck. We need power to the people on Main Street, rather than derivatives-shuffling, seven-figure-bonus-making Wall Street weenies. We must protect the small people from the gigantic, heartless and greedy corporations merely out to rape our Mother Earth, use us and abuse us, take our money and run to offshore tax havens and Asian sweatshops where they enslave children to make the “cheap” consumer goods we still can’t afford to buy.
Liberty? Or Justice? Pick one or the other. And while we’re at it, let’s stereotype each other!
YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE teabaggers? Ah, you’re a hater and an extremist. Undoubtedly, you are white—and you thank Jesus for making you that way. You say you “want to take the country back”—which we intellectual types know is really code for “back to Jim Crow, and maybe even slavery.” You might even be in a militia that wants to blow up the government!
To you, “social justice” is a four-letter word, and to hell with all those annoying poor people who’re too godless, shiftless, and feckless to work, too stupid to pore through the 50 pages of fine-print legalese attached to their adjustable-rate mortgages, too unmotivated to pay their astronomical health care costs, too weak to just deal with the generally rising cost of living. Let the weak die: that just leaves more for the hard-working and virtuous, like yourself.
OH YEAH, WELL here’s something for you latte-sipping liberals, you Obammunists. You are equal part mushy-hearted, mushy-headed Care Bear and Maoist control freak. You think Utopia comes from the barrel of a gun. You wield “justice” like a hammer to pound down the nail that sticks out, a sickle to cut down the poppy that stands a little taller, to level everything and everyone to a state of uniform misery. You want everybody to wear the same grey jumpsuit and spend all day in bread lines and wait eight months praying the government death panel will give them a lifesaving operation. You want to take everything away from the virtuous, the smart, the hard-working, and give it all to the irresponsible, the lazy, the losers at life.
You’d rather have a parental government plan your life than think and exercise personal responsibility. Perhaps you felt unloved by Daddy and Mommy, and you fantasize about Barack and Nancy changing your diaper and tucking you in at night?
Oh yes – one more option: you can be a “centrist” or a “moderate,” which means you’re allowed to take a little bit of each poison, and then feel smug about not being an extremist!
OR PERHAPS YOU’D PREFER none of the above.
Think for a moment: What if the Tea Partiers and the latte-sippers are both right?
Maybe political and economic Liberty—which by definition includes maximum freedom from government—is absolutely vital. Maybe few—Tea Partiers included—truly understand its full dimensions.
Maybe Social Justice —which in its most basic sense, simply means equal opportunity and equal treatment under law—is just as important as Liberty. Yet if the Progressives don’t know how to truly achieve social justice, then their calls for more government, more spending, more regulation and more taxation may actually wind up destroying not only Liberty and prosperity, but Justice as well.
These are serious times. We need serious solutions, not more political party games that produce more heat than light. We need to deconstruct the left-right paradigm because obviously it’s not working; these artificial constructs have skewed and boxed in political debate for too long, and it’s time to be rid of them. We need to quit attacking branches and twigs, and get at the root causes of inequality, recessions, joblessness, high taxes, government bloat, massive subsidies to corporate fat cats, the roller-coaster economy, and the array of social, health, and even spiritual implications that flow from these. Only through understanding what drives these issues – and the solutions proposed – can we solve them.
This blog will devote itself to just those issues and solutions. As we put our own ideas out there, we’d like to hear from you.
What do your solutions look like?
* Just so you know, I love tea and I take the occasional latte with soy.