Already in the midst of an epic ideological struggle, our Countryâ€™s attempt to answer this question has even further defined the massive divide in political philosophy that has beset us.
The form this divide has currently taken is the debate on whether to raise the debt ceiling and, if so, on what conditions. While this has merit as a political reality the whole discussion is a mere surface abrasion of the underlying issuesâ€”issues that canâ€™t be solved by each side conceding a point or two and adjusting some numbers.
The real value for Conservatives in the debt ceiling debate, and all budget related squabbles, is that it exposes the Country to the true fundamental underpinnings of modern day Liberalism. These underpinnings are a vision of America that not only runs counter to the fabric of our greatness, but counter to rational sensibility. Liberalism itself consists of a whole slew of false and misguided notions that have gone well hidden or under-challenged for too long.
The collection of these various notions is a vile construct. A vile construct that seeks to redefine terms and co-opt concepts. It is a world view that claims taxes=patriotism, a government expenditure=virtue, a Federal budget=a reflection of morality, increased spending=increased benefit, not raising taxes=balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, and that â€œwinning the futureâ€ is some kind of government purchased financial transaction.
Not only are these beliefs untrue, their acceptance as facts would be a death blow to Conservatism and the key to Liberal victory. If they succeed in getting people to associate these words with the meaning they have attached to them, they have won. Letâ€™s take a brief look at each.
Taxes=Patriotism: While it is not too surprising that Liberals would misunderstand love of Country, this is simply ridiculous. Taxes are a legal obligation a citizen has to pay for their government, nothing more. Clearly you can be un-patriotic and pay a lot of taxes, just as you can be patriotic and pay none. By this logic are we to assume that the more taxes you pay the more patriotic you are? How about vice-versa?
Government expenditures=Virtue: The human necessity services of food and shelter (that made up welfare at its genesis) are a reaction to need by a compassionate country, not a virtue. Not surprisingly, treating this activity as a virtue has led to a system completely out of control, and not just in welfare. Endless un-employment checks now seem to be approaching â€œhuman rightsâ€ status, in many states a pregnant mother (and the child until the age of one) qualifies for Medicaid at 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, and then you have a real monsterâ€”the earned income tax credit. This tax credit is largely responsible for the fact that in 2009 not only did 51% of American households pay no Federal income tax but 30% of households not only didnâ€™t pay they actually received money. Donâ€™t believe it? Click here â€¦completely out of control.
A budget=A reflection of our morality: The root of this view is that to a liberal governing is an emotional exercise. Above all else this must not be allowed to become the prevailing view of the American citizenry. This approach makes spending decisions based on your â€œcaringâ€ about people, not on stewardship or prudence. It is the reason that, despite being $14 trillion in the hole, their rhetoric never changes and removing them from power is the only way to stop them from spending. If they cease spending money and providing for tens of millions of people, in their own minds, this means they donâ€™t care about them anymore.
Increased spending=increased benefit: This has been disproven countless times. In the past we have had the â€œwarsâ€ on poverty and drugs and recently a stimulus bill that spent nearly a trillion dollars with miniscule results. Probably the best example of this fallacy is in our public education system where per pupil spending has doubled over the last 40 years while performance has remained stagnant.
Winning the future=A government purchased financial transaction: Republicans have spouted non-sense similar to this in the past, and they were dead wrong too. You donâ€™t â€œwin the futureâ€ by government spending. You â€œwin the futureâ€ with tough, determined, self-reliant, and motivated citizens, the kind that we used to have in abundance. You â€œwin the futureâ€ with strong families and good parenting that produces disciplined, moral children. What our big-government entitlement society seems to be producing is an increasing number of wimpy, whiny, obese, and dependent people. With traits like that it doesnâ€™t matter how much money you spend, you arenâ€™t winning anythingâ€” let alone the future.
As the House and Senate debate numbers and move decimal points around to solve one tiny problem at a time, the real resolution lies elsewhere. At some point in the next two years the philosophical battle that is raging will be decided by the American people, any preceding negotiations are theater useful only to stake out 2012 political ground. The possibility exists to chart a financially sustainable course even if President Obama manages to win re-election, but as long as Liberal Democrats control the Senate nothing substantive will be agreed to. Their ideology simply will not allow it to happen.
While the most important factor for Republicans is making the electorate truly realize that the financial disaster is real, much hinges on Independents accepting or rejecting the false premises that Liberalism is built on. This is why so much is riding on the Republican presidential nominee and on the candidates running for the open Senate seats in 2012. Can they effectively communicate the debt crisis and can they aggressively refute the vile construct that is Liberalism?
This is the big pictureâ€¦and these are big, big stakes.