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Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm no moderate, just an unorthodox extremist

While my political views are overwhelmingly conservative, there are areas in which I disagree with what the pundits call conservative orthodoxy. Do I believe in fiscal responsibility? Of course. Do I believe we need a strong military, including missile defense? Hell yes! Do I believe abortion is murder? By definition. Do I believe that government which governs least governs best? Definitely.

I am what you might call a Jeffersonian Republican. The federal government has its role, but it should not overshadow the states or the individual. I'm excited about the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a program in which a majority of states have come together to adopt universal standards for what is to be taught without federal intervention. This is a good first step. Thomas Jefferson would have approved, as he was the first prominent spokesperson for the idea of common schools.

Education in public schools is essential to having a common culture. I've seen it for many years as an educator. So long as we have immigration, we will need public schools. Assimilation will never occur in an education environment dominated by an array of narrowly-tailored private and charter schools. Why go to a school with the infidel, for example, when you can establish an all-Islamic school at government expense? Why learn to blend in when you can simply exist within the comfortable cocoon of your own ethnicity? Public schools not only routinely outperform charters (see data here), but also perform social functions private institutions simply cannot match.

Republicans also tend to give the concept of free trade quite a lot of undeserved credit. America is undergoing so much dumping (the sale of cut-rate merchandise that destroys native manufacturing) that it isn't funny. I'm all for free trade, all being equal. But all is not equal. We are competing against totalitarian dictatorships who force their citizens to work at slave wages in unsafe conditions. We are facing nations who manipulate their currency to make their goods sell for less internationally. We are giving nations a free pass on tariffs that tax our goods at such a rate that their government often makes more from the purchase of our goods than our own companies do.

I say we tax foreign goods, category by category, at the same rate they tax ours. I say we establish our own exchange rates for foreign currencies; what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I say we abolish income taxes in general and establish a national sales tax of twenty percent on all goods except food, medicine, utilities, and any housing in the first three quartiles of home values for each state. This may sound like a lot of taxes, but when you consider the percentage of one's income that goes to mundane expenses, most people would be paying fewer taxes. However, all foreign goods sold in our country would contribute to federal revenue, whereas under the current system they contribute nothing. In addition, such a policy would remove a major incentive to relocate businesses out of the country and add an incentive to move them back.

However, on none of these issues am I a moderate. There is nothing "wishy-washy" about any of my policy positions. I just try to look at things objectively and rationally with the intention of solving problems by the most efficient means. That doesn't make me a moderate, just someone who exercises the use of reason.

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