Responsibility is the Opposite Side of the Freedom Coin



(Published 4/08/05)

Is there a real net difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, or are they only two sides of the same political coin? Despite significant differences in the ways they want to spend the money, Repubocrats from both sides of the aisle obviously agree that spending much more than America earns is just great for the Repubocrats. The Optimist hastens to provide some data to back up that statement before he is inundated by angry emails insisting that "Our party is perfect! All the problems in the USA are caused by that other (expletive deleted) party." Well, the Optimist is prepared for that kind of blind loyalty, and he presents the data below as proof that both factions of the Repubocrats are prolific at spending money that we Americans do not have.


Growth of Debt by Presidential Administration 1901 - 2003



Even though the numbers are astronomical, there is no need for a Doctorate degree in Celestial Mechanics to determine that the spending habits of Repubocrats easily put to shame the worst spending abuses that a whole fleet of drunken sailors can accomplish!


The Optimist can find no trace of remorse in Repubocrats, and no evidence of concern about the terrible level of debt into which we have descended. This observer can only conclude that we do indeed need an effective alternative to lead America out of the debt debauchery inflicted by Repubocrats, and onto a path toward financial sanity!


The Optimist has read commentaries that presented a compelling case for a vibrant and effective third political party which offers a viable alternative to the Repubocrats. The possible alternatives the Optimist is aware of to replace the debt accumulating Repubocrats all have excellent credentials in strongly supporting freedom, individual liberty, and a substantial reduction in the size of our bloated bureaucracies at all levels of government . Unfortunately, all suffer from a fatal flaw that you will learn about only from the Optimist. That flaw is a failure to offer adequate solutions to the obvious problem of a very large and growing population of inadequately educated people who are unable to take care of themselves financially, and who would be essentially defenseless in a true free market economy without a strong government to carry them through life.


Relax, gentle reader. The Optimist is not a bleeding heart liberal, and this is not the beginning of an emotionally painful plea to have the government continue to use unlimited amounts of taxes, debt, and inflation to provide massive support for the poor unfortunates in our society. Instead of perpetuating the problem of the uneducated in our society like the Repubocrats persist in doing, the Optimist will propose a real solution to the problem, and thereby make it really possible for a third party to succeed while staying true to the core values of freedom, liberty, and financial integrity.


But first, consider a few more details about the nature of the problem. There is a mass of essentially uneducated people in America. Some uneducated people do have high school diplomas, but only because some high schools are no better than elementary schools should be. Most of the uneducated would be unable to get or keep a job without the strong arm of government carrying them much of the time. Many of the uneducated in America continue to be fully dependent upon the many variations of the welfare system, which has provided sustenance to the uneducated masses for half a century, but which has not yet begun to reduce the scope of the problem. The Repubocrats well realize the enormous expense that the welfare system costs the working taxpayer, but they brush aside concerns about cost by simply repeating endless versions of the rhetorical "What else can we do? We can't just let millions of people starve, or be exploited because they cannot take care of themselves. And what about the innocent children of the uneducated people? Surely we can't permit those poor children to suffer. We must continue to feed the welfare system forever without end!"


The Optimist is grateful that he lives in a society that is properly concerned about humanity, and that is willing to sacrifice to help those who are less fortunate. The Optimist is pleased to report that a huge majority of voters feel the same sense of compassion, and they would not vote for anyone who advocated shutting down the welfare system without concern for the human suffering which would follow that action. This is exactly the key point that potential third political parties must address. They cannot campaign solely on good intentions toward freedom and liberty, and on a return to financial integrity. Those are precisely the qualities that are needed by educated people who can adapt and take care of themselves, but those educated people are all too well aware of the intense suffering that could be experienced by the less fortunate people who are not educated and who cannot chart their own course through the difficult and treacherous waters of freedom and liberty without the compass of coerced compassion. The concern for the suffering of helpless and uneducated masses is the fire that gives reason for the bloated dragon of pervasive bureaucracy to exist. To slay the dragon, it is essential to quench the fire by removing the fuel which feeds it. To have hope of real success at the ballot box, potential third parties must either violate their own principles by supporting the endless welfare state, or those third parties must offer a real solution to the endless circle in which welfare provides the support that uneducated people need so they can raise families who become the future uneducated people who continue to depend on the welfare system.


Fortunately, the Optimist does have a solution which can be a major plank in a third party political platform, without needing to bend other critical planks to the point where they would break. The two part solution is first to make a pledge that those who need the life support of the current welfare system will continue to receive it. Both educated and uneducated voters must be convinced that the third party will not impose excessive hardships on people who have grown over several generations to depend on welfare handouts. With that assurance to alleviate their concerns, educated and uneducated voters will be better able to focus on the other primary messages of freedom, liberty, and financial integrity, and the third party will win many converts from the ranks of dissatisfied Repubocrats.


The second part of the solution is to focus on individual responsibility. Since everyone wants the freedom and liberty to do whatever they like, it will not be too difficult to explain the value that freedom and liberty offer to the individual. It is essential, however, to begin the process to remind all that responsibility is the opposite side of the freedom coin. People must do the right things, and that includes parents who have a responsibility to properly raise their children. The Optimist considers it important to philosophically expand the list of natural rights enumerated by the Declaration of Independence from "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to add an additional right of all people to have an equal opportunity to achieve. While no one can be guaranteed success in life, we should all be able to agree that each person deserves to have a full and equal opportunity to achieve to the natural limits of that person's ability. People who will not or can not provide to a child the resources necessary for an equal opportunity to achieve should not be parents. Furthermore, parents have almost full freedom in the manner in which they raise their children. If the way a child is raised results in that child committing a crime, then the parents must shoulder part of the responsibility for the actions of the child. The Optimist will provide additional perspective on these issues in future commentaries. For now, the important message is that individual responsibility is an essential element in the process to correct some of our nation's greatest problems. Part of the primary message that a potential third political party must convey is that it will begin the process to reduce and eventually eliminate the need for welfare programs in the future by encouraging people to act responsibly now.


It is sad that the Repubocrats have not focused on the need for individual responsibility, but their omission provides a great opportunity to the third political party. By adding a strong emphasis on individual responsibility, in addition to the essentials of freedom, liberty, and financial integrity, the third party can realistically hope to be victorious on election night.


4/11/05 Tom N. from Houston, TX writes:

Amen! Debts and destruction of our currency could not have been brought about without the gleeful cooperation of Democrats and Republicans. Your chart of Presidents versus the debt omits the minor distraction of which party (not that it matters) controlled congress during each president's term. That simply becomes another excuse for each party to blame the other side.


All three of the branches of government have become the new aristocracy. The question of which side of the royal family will occupy the royal time share condominium on Pennsylvania Avenue is followed with great excitement but in the end doesn't seem to matter. The currency gets weaker, the debts get larger, the economy gets more distorted, and despite our well intentioned constitution, government just keeps getting bigger.


I wish I knew how to get a third party up and running.


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This commentary presents only the viewpoints of the Optimist, and it is intended only for perspective and entertainment.  Please do not interpret any portion of this work as investment advice.  If any of the concepts discussed here appeal to you, then you must do the work to decide if and when and how you should invest.  The Optimist does not ask for any profits you make, and he cannot be liable for any losses incurred as a result of your investment decisions.  The Optimist wishes you the best of luck in whatever you decide to do or not to do.  Cheers!


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by Jim Otis