General Managers Note: This article paints U.S. Presidential Candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders as an advocate for Communism when, in fact, he is openly advocating for Democratic Socialism. So to ensure intelligent discourse, we offer readers the proper definitions below so this article is read and discussed in an educated context.
Communism is a philosophical, social, political, economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.
Democratic socialism is a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on workers’ self-management and democratic control of economic institutions within a market socialist economy or some form of a decentralized planned socialist economy.
by Ed Mattson
This past week I was in Washington DC to attend the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) hosted by the American Conservative Union. Over the years of writing for Veterans Today, I have taken my share of flak for my conservative viewpoints, but then again I earned that right serving in The Corps.
Unless you have been asleep the past decade, and in particular, the last four years, and if you served in the military, the political landscape in this country would have to make you sick. We have a gaggle of leftists who live in this great country who just don’t like it here. Many do not have a decent thing to say about America yet I don’t see any of them waiting in lines to leave our country.
I think it is safe to say that all those has-beens, elitists, and out-and-out Marxists running for a chance to represent the “Democrats” in the 2020 Presidential Election, literally hate this country . . . just listen to them! Then ask yourself why anyone who thinks so little or the U.S. would want to sit on top of such a racist, homophobic, and misogynistic country.
Unfortunately for America, all of them who would have to be sworn into office should he/she win the presidency, would not be able to take the oath of office.
In fact, many of them at some point in their careers, have already taken an oath of office very similar to that which will be administered to the newly elected president.
To anyone of moderate intelligence, they have already violated the solemn words in the oaths they took if they served in a public office or military in the past. To now represent the Democrat Party, they must be considered LIARS! In short, their support of the actions against the sitting President in the “Deep State” coup d’etat (the bogus impeachment effort), is only part and parcel to the other violations they are proposing under their Democrat Platform.
- Proposing to overturn the Second Amendment which would take a new Constitutional Amendment.
- Not defending the U.S. Borders (their open border/sanctuary city policy).
- Their support of two systems of justice; one for we the people, a second one for themselves.
- Inciting a massive government takeover of services not listed in the 10th Amendment (This amendment states that any power not specifically given to the federal government by the Constitution belongs to the States and the people – healthcare, education, free student college tuition, free services for illegal aliens, etc.).
All Americans should consider the Oath of Office a key component of government because it has an Important Historic Legacy . . . The U.S. Constitution mandates that all Federal civil servants, including members of Congress, take an oath to faithfully execute their duty to “support and defend” the nation against all enemies. From Cornell Law:
“I, _______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” This section does not affect other oaths required by law.
My venture to Washington for this educational conference is one that would benefit those citizens who have any doubt about what has made America the greatest country on earth. Believe me, it wasn’t government handout programs or socialistic schemes that deprive the average citizen of his/her ability to succeed.
There are those who simply do not understand the concept of conservatism until it comes time to extract bits and pieces that fit a given narrative that benefits only themselves. Often some people don’t want to learn the historic relevance of conservatism because it is just too easy or they are just too lazy to think beyond the media headlines that seldom apply logical thought to the narrative they are so proud of trying to sway.
A quick refresher course in conservative thought is that there a difference between Edmund Burke’s original notion of conservatism and what we call conservative today? While Burke is considered the father of modern conservatism, there are many differences with the term Conservatism from the late eighteenth century of Burke’s time, to the conservatism we see in today’s American political arena.
Burke championed the search for truth with as much integrity as his opponents, those of the Age of Enlightenment thinkers, but from an entirely different perspective. The Age of Enlightenment was during the 17th to 19th centuries in Europe where John Locke and the French philosophers idealized the potential of reason, human nature, and the possibility of creating a better world. Burke took a position that challenged their ideals with a dose of realism. His conservative challenges were important because they dragged enlightenment idealism back to earth.
Burke accomplished this by pointing out the limits of reason while arguing the importance of intuition, along with the wisdom of the ages, on which tradition is based. It is in this period of “differences” we find a conservative thought to challenge the new idealistic firestorm that spread across Europe and inspired the founders of the United States.
Burke viewed colonialism as a bad idea and considered radicalism as dangerous, and democracy as a threat to social stability. He considered governmental conventions as spiritually based and not to be tinkered with. As Burke said in one of his parliamentary speeches (1782), “Prescription is the most solid of all titles, not only to property but, which is to secure that property, to government . . . far different than our thoughts today regarding an individual’s right to own private property!
While he conceded human equality in the eyes of God, he felt no such compunction for equality here on earth. Yet, “his respect for a higher power was essential to his philosophy, that no matter what the religion, the Church and State were inseparable, but in spiritual, not a mechanical sense. Both were derived from God.
He also believed the Government finds its authority not on a social contract, but on virtuous principles and that there is a collective intellect, seeped in ancient wisdom, that people inherit and culture safeguards. We learn about principle through the understanding of nature and history”.
Some of Burke’s thoughts run contrary to modern sensibilities. Today Americans are taught to believe in and cherish democracy. This, however, was not the case for the Founders of the United States, whose distrust of the masses produced a republican form of government instead (a democratic representative republican form of government that is). While this was “democratic,” in the true sense of the word, it was not a true democracy.
The electoral college was seen as an early safeguard against democracy and ensures the vote of the minority will be protected because it was designed to protect the people from abuse of the majority over the minority. The Democrat Party also implemented a form of the electoral college with what they call the so-called “super-delegates” used in their primary presidential election procedures.
Those who follow politics from the liberal progressive side of politics, claim “the times have changed”- That the United States is now home to obscene wealth and privilege for the few, and general disregard for the rest. They claim the wealth disparity we see today between the haves and the have-nots would horrify Jefferson, who believed that the Founders, to the last man standing, were morally incapable of such greed. Therefore, we must now disregard the Constitutional process which has served America well for more than 250 years. Yet in taking the Oath of Office, our leaders swear to protect the Constitution!
Jefferson believed virtue in the new government of the U.S., would protect us from that. This thought totally contradicts the basic tenant for all to have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and if I may interject, the opportunity to succeed as nowhere else in the world. The Founders would never have uttered a thought about restricting any American from being successful or in forcing a citizen to share his prosperity with others.
While Jefferson and the Founder’s thoughts were commendable, Burke’s observations ended up closer to the truth. For Jefferson and the Founder’s ideas to work, it is the citizens who have to make such ideas work, meaning they have to be open and interested in the functioning of government. The term “morality” has to be more than a “feel-good” phase. While Jefferson, the Founders, and Enlightenment thinkers of those days placed “virtue” at the top of the list of human values, it turned out to be “greed and the lust for power”, which took over the top slots as our government matured . . . surprise, surprise, surprise!
The Founding Fathers, as stated in the Federalist Papers, spelled out their fears that the so-called project of “democracy” comes with great responsibility. Those who vote only to fulfill their “duty” can consider their duty done well when they understand the ramifications of who and what they are voting for.
After studying both sides of an issue are they then in a position to cast an “informed ballot” . . . not before! If they have not been open to both sides of an issue, they are truly uninformed. It is important that candidates and political parties must be held accountable for their actions, which never seems to occur.
The media has to report what is going on with integrity, not the “fake news” we have seen from the media over the last two decades, and not by treating everyone with the same disregard for the truth. It seems there has been no regard to the over abused buzz-phase, “fair and balanced” which all sounds logical but does not enforce a level of competency regarding what is right and wrong. Legitimate “think tanks” have tried to be more concerned about the truth, with all its nuances, rather than the media’s obvious goal to trying to shape people’s thoughts.
If democracy is considered dangerous because of the faults of the governed, who should actually lead the nation? Burke, like many in his time, believed that the upper class should be the leader; those who are cultured, well educated, and wealthy enough to resist corruption. The most trusted opinion and goodwill of the aristocracy along with successful business people, rather than the people at large.
We see that power and wealth are no safeguards against corruption. As a matter of fact, just the opposite is more likely to occur. We see many powerful and wealthy people indulge in the abuse of governmental powers without restraint. Even in Plato’s Republic, only people of real virtue were to be placed in control, so that virtue will most likely be found at the top of the list of qualities desired of those entering politics.
Conservatism today is not a replication of Burke’s idea of conservatism though many similarities remain. Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization, emphasizing social stability and continuity.
Conservative philosophy is as old as Western civilization itself and was ultimately formulated into the coherent political philosophy at the time of the founding of the United States, and became the basis of the U.S. Constitution which has served the country well for all these years. In a real sense, conservatism is Western civilization, and the conservative philosophy has enabled the United States to become the most powerful economic nation on earth and the defender of peace and liberty for all.
The fundamentals of American conservatism thought are basic concepts. They claim there are 4 pillars, but there really are 5 pillars of modern conservatism:
“The first pillar of conservatism is liberty or freedom. Conservatives believe that individuals possess the right to life, liberty, and property, and freedom from the restrictions of arbitrary force. They exercise these rights through the use of their natural free will. It means political liberty, the freedom to speak your mind on matters of public policy. It means religious liberty—to worship as you please, or not to worship at all. It also means economic liberty, the freedom to own property and to allocate your own resources in a free market”
“The second pillar of conservative philosophy is tradition and order, that have been established over centuries and that has led to an orderly society.
“The third pillar is the rule of law. Conservatism is based on the belief that it is crucial to have a legal system that is predictable, that allows people to know what the rules are and enforce those rules equally for all”.
“The fourth pillar is the belief in God. Belief in God means adherence to the broad concepts of religious faith—such things as justice, virtue, fairness, charity, community, and duty”. It is interesting to note that the reference to “Belief in God”, makes no mention of a specific religion. These are the concepts generally established by all religions and on which conservatives base their philosophy.
“My fifth pillar of conservatism is the need for a government with a sense of fiduciary propriety. And though over the last couple of decades, this pillar has seemingly lost its way, it is as important to the foundation of the government and the governed that transcends most other concerns.”
It was Benjamin Franklin who prophetically stated, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic”). The politicians discovered long ago that they can bribe the vote of the taxpayer by promising to implement giveaway programs paid for from the U.S. Treasury. This has been a tenant of both conservatives and liberal progressives and must be stopped for the sake of the country.
Almost every Republican running for office—whether for school board or U.S. senator—will try to establish his place on the political spectrum based on how conservative he is. Even Democrats sometimes distinguish among members of their own party in terms of conservatism.
How should we see democracy today? The sad truth is that most voters do not adequately educate themselves on the issues, are easily swayed by ideological strategists, and often cast their votes for reasons unrelated to the office. Elections have boiled down to popularity contests based on negative advertising.