April 12, 2010

Against Hyperbole

Some of you will no doubt condemn Rick Moran as a squishy RINO for writing these words.  But they need to be written, they need to be read, they need to be understood, they need to be implemented.  The political maneuver of "more conservative than thou" has led to an ideological arms race such that it seems one literally has to subscribe to an alternative version of reality in order to gain support from conservatives these days.  What Republicans need is a platform, not a slogan.

I'll try again because last time, it seemed like not a lot of people were listening.  So I'll try again here.

We should strengthen our dollars instead of devaluing them.  China is about to unpeg the Yuan from the dollar and that means greater uncertainty in the currency market -- an opportunity for strong dollars to buy back that debt, an opportunity to invest in China and further link its economic structure to that of the West, which can only create more peace, more stability, more prosperity for everyone.

We should shed our nativism and offer the people of the world a reasonable path to U.S. citizenship for those who wish to come here, work hard, pay their taxes, and add to our national strength.

We should recognize that national security and civil liberties are not mutually exclusive choices and proudly proclaim that America is both the home of the brave and the land of the free.  We are strong enough, clever enough, and powerful enough to have both strength and freedom.  Deranged clerics hiding in dusty caves in Afghanistan are not powerful enough to take that away from us.

We should restructure our tax codes so that those who consume and use the benefits of our society and our government the most are those who pay the most to support it, rather than those who earn high incomes.  A national sales tax offers the most efficient avenue towards a fair distribution of the tax burden and it deserves careful and serious examination.

As we consider restructuring our government's funding patterns, we should also dedicate ourselves to controlling its spending patterns.  We should undertake paying down our national debt as a mission of similar national importance as the Apollo Project or the Cold War were.  This means restricting entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and now to the new health insurance entitlement.  It also means cutting into popular tax deductions like home mortgage interest.  It means the military not buying as many of the awesome new weapons as I would like to see it buy.  No one will like getting fewer government goodies right away.  But after a few years, we'll have adapted and our children and grandchildren will thank us for giving them a government not saddled with a century's worth of debt.

That doesn't mean the government should stop spending money altogether.  We should build a space elevator.  This will inspire a generation of young Americans to orient their educations and careers in the sciences and serve as a tremendous utility for us in exploiting space for generations to come.

We should make it easy for utilities to build more nuclear power plants, and establish a half dozen ultra-safe, ultra-deep repositories for the waste scattered around the continental U.S.  At the same time, oil isn't going away as the best portable fuel for vehicles any time soon, so we should invest in research to further economize shale oil petroleum extraction.

We should buy every poppy grown in Afghanistan and use it to make medicine, which we then sell to the rest of the world.  This puts drug dealers around the world out of business, it defunds al-Qaeda, it wins us the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan such that we no longer need to pin our hopes for a stable government on corrupt, unreliable puppets like Hamid Karzai.

We should cool our political alliance with the ethically bankrupt Saudi Arabian regime.  Not end it; they are economically and strategically important.  But until the Saudis can develop a society that more genuinely embraces friendship with the West and demonstrates a willingness to enter the twenty-first century in terms of morality, law, and diplomacy, they should be kept at arms' length.  Simultaneously, we should understand and exploit the deep sectarian differences between the Saudis and the Iranians, and let it be known to both of them that anything more than hostile words aimed at Israel will be met with an overwhelmingly unpleasant response.

We should warm our friendship with India and encourage American investment in the Indian economy.  India is the world's largest democracy and the strides it has made into the twenty-first century are awe-inspiring.  India should serve as a flagship example of what happens when a nation enters the family of western-style government and society.

In concert with our treaty partners, we should seriously consider expanding NAFTA to appropriate Caribbean and Central American nations.  Good candidates for inclusion in this NAFTA are the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Colombia, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.  More trade means more economic growth, more stability, a freer exchange of people and ideas, and therefore more peace and more prosperity for everyone involved.

We should reconsider how judges serve in our Federal judiciary.  We ought not to be slobbering over the possibilities of what will happen now that a nonagenerian Justice of the Supreme Courtis stepping down, nor should a man be forced to wait until he is ninety years old to retire in order to feel confident enough in the political process that he can know he will be replaced by someone he would trust to responsibly step into his shoes.  Turnover within the judiciary should be slow and measured, but constant and predictable.  It should buttress judicial independence, and not force the members of the courts to keep their fingers on the political pulse of the nation when making rulings on the law.

These ought not to be considered radical proposals.  They do not consist of whining about how health care is fascism or agonizing over the difference between a long-form birth certificate and a certificate of live birth.  They are not Hate and they will not placate the shrill ideologues filling the echo chamber of American politics with ever-more unpleasant screeches.  They are solid proposals and some of them are not particularly fun but they are obviously necessary.  These are the sorts of things people ought to like seeing the government do, and I predict that they are the sorts of things the electorate will reward if they are seriously attempted.

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