- Racial Equity
- Talk About Race
By Philip Young,
From the title I know that I will receive automatic negative responses and knee jerk reactions to what I about to say without even reading the material. There is an ever growing lack of respect for alternative viewpoints and an impatience that has reached near manic proportions.
Having a healthy dialogue between factions who disagree can be very enlightening. In social settings we enjoy talking with people who have some novel ideas or have had interesting lives and so we enrich our lives through this exchange of ideas and experiences.
Not so when it comes to politics. Like discussing religion, our passions are intertwined into our dialogue and someone can question a core belief that sends us through the roof in anger, despair or utter frustration that they don’t see eye to eye with us because it’s so obvious.
Political sentiments and opinions are interwoven with our core belief systems and values. This is because politics, far from being a remote abstraction, can affect us or others in a way that is very personal. So it is in our best interest to understand the impact or ramifications of political beliefs are on our daily lives.
Yet this rarely seems to mean that one is willing to hear alternative viewpoints. People go into most discussions with an opinion that is already formed and not easily persuaded though logic or rational communication.
So it is when it comes time for me, a conservative, to write an opinion for a Liberal newsletter. I hope those who are reading this actually read and try to understand what a conservative is and from that, why , I , have become a conservative.
I think the conservative has been misapplied too many times and mostly by Republicans. Its been misused as much as the word progressive has been and now connotes something entirely different than its true original meaning.
Personally, it’s easier to believe in something if it makes common sense and its simple to understand. Conservative is based on simple tenets:
1) Government works best at the local level. The closer the government is to the people the more participation and the more the government represents the people.
2) America is Unique and is the result of history and fate converging such that the circumstances surrounding the founding of this country make us Distinct. Therefore we should not impose our institutions on other countries or peoples.
3) Government’s role is to facilitate us in our pursuit of our own goals, that which makes us happy and to insure that peoples liberty and freedoms are not hampered or hindered by others. That we are entitled to these freedoms and liberties.
4) The people have a contract with their past and their future. Just as parents want to insure their children inherit only the best and we have a social responsibility to all to protect and to preserve what we have so that it exists for future generations. This includes conservation of our resources and our lands; our legacy is how well we have taken care of our country
5) People are naturally industrious and want to produce, they want to build. Government should not intrude or decide what, where, how or when we can be industrious. Free markets are the open exchange, trade and display of our industrial inclinations; government should not intrude or dictate commerce but insure fair and just competition.
6) As we live in neighborhoods, we resent someone who lives far away telling us how to live our lives, how to raise our children, what they should be taught and how they should do business. We do best when provided freedom and liberty. Government works best when it is local and therefore a centralized Federal Government becomes the least effective and the most insensitive to our needs.
7) Taxation – a free grant from the citizen to the government to affect a common consensus from the people, to enact positive change again reflecting a common consensus or to insure our liberties and freedoms are protected from enemies foreign and domestic. Taxation has become a weapon of tactical advantage for political parties. By increasing taxes unequally or promising to reduce taxes unequally it is used for political advantage and with representation minority groups can be singled out and penalized by the government. Taxation has become extortion to win votes to obtain position and power. Taxation while never constitutionally mandated has become a platform of its own.
8) Charity and compassion in a society are the hallmarks of its civility and its sophistication. The primary beneficiaries of charity should be ascribed to a voluntary donor and the recipients of materials goods or services from a central authority show no gratitude. We have turned away from the poor in this country and it is more a crime than a social position. We should first work harder to provide for the poor and disenfranchised than burden those who have more to compensate without benefit of a voice. This has become forced charity and is resented by those who have had taken from them what they have earned. Personally I will attest to this. I am unemployed and have asked for assistance. Now, when I was working I paid up thousands in taxes each month. But now that I need help, I am denied because I own a home. Is that fair?
9) Entitlement – this has been confused with our countries providing opportunity. This is not to be confused with taking from the rich to redistribute to the poor. Here again, we, in our local communities should work to help those who are set upon by health issues, tragedies or other events outside of their control. We should not be too busy to not help others and then expect a centralized government to take care of the disenfranchised because we are too busy. We must all learn to value what we have. Children do not value what they have because they have not had to work for it. This is human nature. Entitlement only increases consumption of what is available and insures that a greater burden be placed on those who are productive. Eventually resources, including those who are willing to work so that others will benefit, simply vanish.
There is little else I can add to this. Its vital that we listen to each other and better understand what it is we are against. I know that I had misperceptions about the Conservative party. Now it makes sense to me . Common sense.
What I will add to this is the following; the problems that assail this country require solutions that look outside the box. Traditional values can guide us just as morals help us decide how we might act but the details necessitate our being innovative and not being biased. Unfortunately traditional values are sometimes considered antiquated values.
You can’t apply old outmoded solutions to new and novel circumstances especially those encountered in our modern age. This is really not true when it comes to human behavior. There is an unappreciated advantage from examining contemporary problems through a traditional lens; you generally find historical precedents that are very relevant to contemporary issues.
For me, I read a great deal of fiction during my junior high and high school years. Much of the seminal works that formed the basis of socially relevant thought during the 70’s is from material written in the 30’s and 40’s. I can say that Anthony Burgess, Ira Levin, Aldus Huxley, V. Nabokov, George Orwell and others whose social visions seemed so accurate and contemporary wrote during the 30’s and 40’s.
When reviewing the works from the intellects of the time and those originating from the first 50 years of this nation’s life demonstrate an intelligence and depth of reasoning that appears to be missing from our more contemporary contributions.
It is in our best interest to try and read more and understand a wider range of possible perspectives regarding this country and its heritage. That before we change its direction or modify its agenda, let’s make sure we are not discarding something that may have more value the way it is.
Perhaps, to use a crude analogy, we have a classic car that only needs some work, quite a lot of work, but it will be even more valuable if we hold onto it. There are some events in this countries life that are embarrassing, but it’s a new country still. We don’t throw away something because mistakes have been made. Let’s correct them.
Many of us don’t really know what it is that we want to change and why. We only strike out in anger and frustration
I will say very honestly that the recent election of a new president gave me pause for its historical significance. Simply for that reason, it was a proud moment in this country. That we can dispense with the introductions – such as – John H – a French American or Jenny P. a Asian American and just start calling us all Americans. Perhaps that’s overly naïve on my part and for some reason we must continue pointing out our differences.
We, in America have a long way to go, I would rather see this nation learn from its mistakes, rather than continue to be apologetic, to mature beyond them and use what is right with us and begin prospering as we should.
Government can show us the way but it is us who will have to put the labor and the effort into it and in so doing gain value and once we have value are less willing to discard it. There is no other nation on this earth that has the potential that we have, provided for the freedoms that we stand for and fought for principles we all should believe in.
What it will take is listening and for all of us to become Americans. To discover those unifying principles may simple mean we need go back through history and try to discover why this nation was conceived and why we cannot afford to allow this nation or any other nation so conceived to perish from this earth.
Phillip Young is the County Chairman for the Conservative Party and the Editor for the California Conservative Party Newsletter County Chairman for the Conservative Party and the Editor for the California Conservative Party Newsletter http://www.conservativepartyca.org