Archive for the abortion Category

Conservatism as Moral Imperative: Why am I Conservative?

Posted in abortion, civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags on May 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

In July of 2003, a group of Berkely researchers for the American Psychological Association did a study on what makes a Conservative.  Rather unsurprisingly, after basing their “research” on the fairly specious definitions to be found in “fifty years of literature,” they basically decided that Conservatives are narrow-minded, bigoted fearmongers by nature or psychology.  That Conservatism, in other words, was a pathology rather than a set of values.

I’m not going to spend this post dispelling the moronic notions put forth in this five-year-old study; if I recall it was fairly deftly dispatched at the time.  But I did come upon this study again the other day, and it got me thinking:  why am I conservative?  What is it that makes being Conservative make so much sense to me?

It is that question I’ll try to answer.

I like to tell people I tried being a liberal once, while I was in college.  I found out I felt neither guilty for my own position in life, nor entitled to anyone else’s.  As glib as this is, there’s also a lot of truth to it — and it cuts to the heart of my position of Conservatism. 

In contrast to the mainstream (and incorrect) view of Conservatism, I am not judgemental or pessimistic.  I’m not wealthy by any financial standard.  I’m not distrusting of, nor biased against, those of other races or genders.  I’m also not a fan of NASCAR, just to eliminate all stereotypes.

Instead, I am something of an optimist.  Although I usually consider myself a realist, the fact is, I believe the best is always possible.  I’m quick to give my trust (though not as quick to give it back once I’ve been burned), and quick to believe in people.  True to stereotype, I am an Evangelical Christian, which goes a long way to explain my concern and, yes, compassion, for my fellow man.

All these things are why I am a Conservative. 

I believe Thomas Jefferson was right when he said, “A man is governed best who is governed least.”  I believe man — every human, regardless of race, creed or sex, is capable of providing for himself without help from a government entity.  Because of this, I believe every individual ought to be responsible for himself and his own family.  Indeed, I believe we function at our best when we are unfettered by government intervention.  I don’t believe a man ought to be given special dispensation because of race.  Being black is not a handicap, and anyone who thinks it is, is a racist.  The same goes for being female.  Or gay, for that matter.  I believe it is not compassionate to foster dependence upon others. 

Real compassion, I believe, is in allowing a person to make his own decisions with the same opportunity for reward and consequence as everybody else.  I don’t believe compassion is forcing others to provide for anyone — rather, when somebody needs help, compassion is providing for them yourself.

I am Conservative, because I believe it is the morally correct position.  I believe a man’s thoughts, beliefs and actions (so long as those actions don’t adversely and without permission impede another’s freedoms) are between him and God alone.  I don’t believe in telling somebody what they can and can’t do within their own persons or households — with exceptions only for that which would needlessly harm another human being.  I also don’t believe in forcing members of society to morally justify or accept those positions in others that they find distasteful or immoral.

I am a Conservative because my conscience demands it.  Slavery in any form — intellectual, moral, political or physical — is evil.  I believe the money a man makes is his money, and that when that money is taxed, it is to be for the purposes outlined in the Constitution — and not for anything else.  To do otherwise is to make that man a slave.

I am a Conservative because I believe life is precious, and must be protected.  I believe humanity is the highest life form on earth, and created after God’s own Image.  Therefore, at all costs, human life must be sustained.

Finally, I am conservative because I believe it is the job of government — the job we, the People, pay them for — to protect us from those who would do us harm.  This is the mandate from the people.  This is the only morality of government:  to keep the peoples’ trust.  To keep us safe. 

Conservatism is for me, a moral imperative.  I am Conservative because it is the way that makes the most sense — from an intellectual level, as well as spiritual. 

My Government II: Life — The First Part of Freedom

Posted in abortion, civil rights, healthcare, My Government with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2008 by Randy Streu

In the first “My Government” essay, we explored the syntax and some history of the Bill of Rights, and what that meant for Liberty in an American context.  However, more important even than the Bill of Rights in terms of American liberty is the right to life.  The single most fundamental right we have as human beings is the right to be alive.  This is the primary and most natural of our rights.  It is the foundation on which liberty is built.

The Founding Fathers of the United States agreed:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
-From the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

I believe there is a reason the Founding Fathers put these three rights — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — in that order.  In order for liberty to exist, life must exist first.  To pursue freedom, man must have liberty over his own person.  These rights build on eachother — and are mutually necessary.  After all, what is life without freedom; liberty without the will to live (pursuit of happiness)?

The extermination of human life, then, is the ultimate denial of human rights.  To claim authority over human life — the ability to grant or deny the right to life — is to claim authority over every right.  There are times when such a decision does become necessary — but only based on the participation of the person in question.  War, for example, is the mass extinguishing of human life.  Warriors, soldiers, however, are people who have already given their lives to a cause or country.  They have, in essence, given consent to sacrifice their God-given rights for a cause greater than themselves.  For an American soldier, should he survive the war and retire from service, his consent is removed and he reverts to the natural state: the living American Citizen, free to pursue happiness.  Even those who have willingly put themselves at risk in this way, however, are still accorded the right to life, as much as is possible within the above context.

The destruction of innocent human life, however, outside the context of the individual’s choice, is the ultimate human rights violation — what society has rightly defined as murder.

And, sure enough, the disconnect is not with the definition of ‘murder.’  Most would agree on that.  Where we disagree most sharply is on the definition of ‘life.’  What appears to be the most widely accepted definition, and the one I will be using, appears on the NEWTON site for educators, in the “Ask a Scientist” section: “… made up of one or more cells, can grow and develop, reproduce, respond to stimuli, and have a metabolism.”  Human Life, then, would be defined as meeting these requirements, and a member of the species homo sapien

This is where we reach the crux of the matter.  Is an unborn child a human life, or isn’t she?  A human fetus satisfies all requirements for life — save, arguably, the ability to reproduce.  This is a meaningless argument on several counts, of course.  First, because the cells of a fetus, like the cells of a grown human, do reproduce.  And, in taking the definition in the context of all of life, cellular reproduction is the heart of the matter in this.  Second, just to discount the utterly ridiculous, to require biological human reproduction as a definition for life would, necessarily, exclude children who have not yet gained this ability, men with zero sperm counts and infertile women.  A fetus is alive.  The termination of an unborn human is the extinguishing of a life.  No reasonable person can refute this — and no responsible doctor would.

So, if the question of life is settled, what of the question of humanity?  This is an even simpler matter than the first.  A human fetus does not develop into a sheep, or a wolf, or a chicken, or a cabbage.  It grows into a person.  Theoretically, if you were to take a human embryo, the product of a human male and a human female, and transplant it into any other species capable of incubation, you would still get a human at the end of gestation.  Why?  Put simply, a human is a human is a human.  Just like a fly larvae is still a fly, so a human fetus is still a human.

Scientifically, then, a human fetus is a living human being.  Morally, therefore, the extinguishing of such a life is murder.  The denial of this is willful blindness; self delusion.  The killing of a child — any child — is barbaric.  Almost nobody looks with anything less than anger and disgust at that mother who chooses to end the lives of her born children.  Why, then, do we not only turn a blind eye, but as a society encourage, the wanton destruction of an unborn child?  To be blunt, it’s a question of “out of sight, out of mind.” 

Doctors, politicians, activists and media have done society the “favor” of allowing us to view a human fetus as something less than human.  It isn’t a child, we’re told.  It’s a demonstrable lie, but we believe it, because it helps us sleep better at night.

The reality, though, should burn us.  It should anger us just as the prospect of slavery does.  More so.  Abortion is an ongoing human rights violation worse than any in our short history as a nation, even basing it simply on sheer volume.

The government I believe in would protect human life — all human life.  It would not only discourage abortion, but indeed criminalize it.  Not to deny rights to a mother — a mother does not have the God-given right to abortion any more than I have the right to shoot my neighbor.  It isn’t a question of liberty.  It is a question of life.

What I Want in a Party

Posted in abortion, civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, First Amendment, immigration, My Government, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags , , , , on January 21, 2008 by Randy Streu

As the elections continue to draw near, it becomes more and more clear to me that the Republican Party has lost its identity.  That, or it’s finally coming into its own.  Either way, the party is seemingly becoming something with which I can no longer proudly associate myself. 

To avoid being disingenuous, I’ll point out for those who aren’t as familiar with my personal politics that, though I am a registered Republican and most often vote that way, I have generally identified myself as Libertarian since around 1996 or so (yeah, I voted for Perot — I got over it, so should you).  I have my own reasons for not registering myself as Libertarian, and more still for voting Republican, generally speaking.

But, as the Republican party — that with which I am registered and have associated — appears to be undergoing a redefinition away from the Goldwater/Reagan policies that first drew me in, I’ve decided this is a good time for me, also, to examine what it is I really want for my country — and therefore what I really want in a political party.

First, I want a party that understands liberty is not ‘granted’ by government.  Freedom cannot be given; it can only be limited, regulated or taken.  Liberty is granted by God.  It is the natural state.  Laws, in a democracy — or Democratic Republic, as more accurately describes the US — are intended to govern human decency; to establish a means of living with one another and forming a society.  Such laws are enacted with the limited purpose of providing a means of restitution for doing harm to another’s life, liberty or property.

I want a party that understands the primary role of government to be the protection of her constituency against harm to life, liberty or property by both domestic and foreign enemies.  This includes the security of our borders, protection of our sovereignty and watchfulness over national interests abroad.  When it comes to immigration, this would include, as Fred Thompson has said, tall fences with wide gates.  Immigration is and always has been important to the foundation and continuation of this country — but so has assimilation of such immigrants.  As Thompson also noted, we as a sovereign nation get to decided when, to whom and for how long that wide gate is opened.  My party would recognize that this is fundamental to national security.

I want a party who recognizes that a government who seeks to “equalize” the monetary position of the citizenry through taxation, redistribution and regulation will succeed in making everybody equally poor.  The party who recognizes this will also see it as a moot point: the right to keep what you make (or earn) is fundamental — the right to what somebody else makes or earns is nonexistent.  The government that grants a person this second, nonexistent right does so to the detriment of this fundamental and actual right.

I want a party that will protect the right to life — even for the unborn.  Primary to all other rights is this simple liberty: to live.  To deprive the life of an innocent human being for the sake of convenience, cosmetics or any consideration beyond (perhaps) to save the life of the mother is beyond immoral; it is barbaric and fascist — and out of keeping with the type of free society envisioned by our forefathers.

I want a party that understands the economics of Freedom.  Such a party realizes that market freedom has built this country into the greatest on earth, and that other nations have evolved and improved not by regulation, but when they have chosen to allow free and independent thinkers the ability to work toward their own betterment — and thus better the lives of those around them.

I want a party that will fight for the preservation of our Constitution; one that would amendment our Founding Document for clarification, and to further maintain freedom — rather than to diminish it.

If a party, a president, or a government will start here — how can they go wrong?


Choosing The President Based on Amending The Constitution?

Posted in abortion, Constitution, Elections, Fred(!), Mike Huckabee, politics with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2008 by Randy Streu

This election season has seen more than its share of candidates vowing to “create Constitutional amendments” that will do … well, whatever: end abortion, ban gay marriage, permanently end the income tax, or what have you.  These promises have certainly proved beneficial for those candidates making them — and somewhat detrimental to those who refuse to.

But these promises, unfortunately, are less than empty.  This is true for two reasons, both of which have to do with how an amendment comes to be.

First, the proposed amendment has to garner a 2/3 majority vote in the Legislature.  Never happen — especially when you consider what those proposed amendments would be.  The amendments in question this year are largely Republican-oriented; bans on gay marriage and abortion.  Even if 2/3 of the Legislature was Republican (which it isn’t, and I’d wager won’t be, certainly for the next eight years), not all Republican representatives would agree to vote for them.  So, barring slipping Sodium Pentathol into the Congressional coffee urns, it’s unlikely any proposed amendment would even pass this first step.

But let’s, for the sake of argument, pretend that whatever needed to happen, happened, and that some amendment — let’s say a Family Protection Amendment to ban gay marriage — did pass the first test.  Now, it has to go through the Legislative houses of every state, and garner a majority vote there for ratification (by 3/4 majority of the states).  This, of course, is a process which could take years.  For example, Amendment 27, restricting pay raises for congress, was proposed in 1789, and not ratified until 1992.  Granted, this is an extreme case, but you see the point.

Does anyone (Mike Huckabee, for example) honestly believe that such contested ideas as the gay marriage ban and abortion ban will even get to the ratification level — let alone pass?

Fred Thompson has been ostricized by neo-con activists such as James Dobson for no other reason, frankly, than being a realist.  There are other, better ways to fight abortion.  Ways that could actually work.  But it starts with good judges. 

The promises to pass amendments, as dear as these are to the hearts of many conservatives, are simply empty words.  And the sooner voters understand that, the better.


Thompson on the Move

Posted in abortion, Fred Thompson, Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul on January 11, 2008 by ambrose7

Its good to See Fred exposing the lies that Mike Huckabee has based his campaign on.  He has pointed out time and time again the flawed record of the Huckster who has been able to do little to defend himself.  Giuliani Seems like a non player, McCain just looks Old.  Mitt seems to be sitting back and enjoying the fact he not being attacked much tonight. 

The commentator just threw the Huckster a curve ball about him being quoted in the paper about wives being submissive to your Husband.  He answered it sort off, But the religious right should take note he just said He would in no way impose his religion as President.

They now just asked Ron Paul if he even felt he had a chance to be elected.  By the way Ron Paul seems just as crazy as ever.  I wish they would stop asking him to participate.  Instead we could get a parrot who sat in the corner and just continued to say “No war, no war, no war, no war”


On-the-job training and political plagiarism

Posted in abortion, Constitution, Elections, Fred(!), Hillary, politics with tags , , , , on November 20, 2007 by Randy Streu

Posting two blogs in one day is not really a norm for me… but I had to point this out.  Hillary Clinton, who keeps touting her experience (!?!??!) attacked Obama’s inexperience, suggesting America “can’t afford on-the-job training” for the presidency.  This sounds remarkably similar to Mitt Romney’s website, which said, according to the exact same thing about her: “Romney’s website says that Senator Hillary Clinton does not have experience and our nation cannot afford a leader who needs on-the-job training.”  Maybe she reads USA Daily.  Or maybe she listened to Mitt’s new ad.

Mitt may not be my candidate of choice… but I do find it amusing to find word-for-word plagiarism by Clinton.  Not surprising, necessarily.  But definitely amusing. 

Kind of reminds me of some inner-party plagiarism by Huckabee with my man Fred(!).  Seems Huckabee, in spite of his Fred-bashing regarding his stance on abortion, has taken up the exact same cause.  Overturn Roe V. Wade and give the power to the states.  Boy, does that seem familiar……

Seems ol’ Huck wants to be viewed as the “constitution candidate”.  Sorry, bud… you may have noticed that the white papers you plucked your new ideas off came from the candidate who’s already there. 

National Right to Life endorses best candidate

Posted in abortion, Elections, Fred(!), general, politics with tags , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2007 by Randy Streu

National Right to Life is expected to endorse Fred (!) Thompson on Tuesday. For knee-jerk Dobson-conservatives, this seems somehow wrong. That would be because, instead of carefully considering the issue, and the real-life, pragmatic way to approach abortion, these reactionaries believe it is somehow better to continue to allow millions of babies to die annually while they fight for an all-out abortion ban, rather than get someone with a commitment to the overturning of Roe V. Wade to select judges who have actually read the Constitution. The reactionary conservative approach to this reeks of the same partisan idiocy that is leading Democrats to keep introducing anti-war and SCHIP bills they know Bush will veto. It’s counterproductive.Let’s put Huckabee in office, hypothetically, to see how this would play out. President Huckabee, true to his word, puts up an abortion ban bill. Doesn’t pass in the Dem-controlled Legislature. Children continue to die. Children keep dying until, by chance, Republicans take over Congress. President Huck once again puts up an abortion ban bill — but enough republicans are Giuliani Republicans that, once again, the bill doesn’t pass. Children keep dying.

Let’s contrast this, now, to a Thompson Administration. President Thompson continually vetoes every bill the Dems come up with that is in any way pro-abortion. Fortunately, there are still enough true republicans in the Legislature to avoid an override. Thompson carefully selects Supreme Court Justices based upon their views of the Constitution as written, and their commitment to judging based on the constitution instead of rewording it to suit political ends. Thompson makes good on his commitment to get Roe v. Wade overturned — finding ways to put the issue back on the front-burner instead of waiting for the issue to just come up again. States now have the ability to ban abortions on the state level — and many do. Right to Life groups, instead of fighting the governmental system, now carry the fight state-to-state, working locally instead of nationally, spreading smaller amounts of work out to individuals. Fewer children die this year than last — by a lot.

Can any of the other Republican candidates do what I’ve described above? Sure. In theory, they all could. But will they? Giuliani is pro-choice. He will remain pro-choice. Can we depend on him to appoint judges who disagree with him? Do we know he will veto legislation that makes abortion more accessible? Are we sure he’ll sign legislation that protects parents’ rights on teenage pregnancy? I doubt it. Fred (!) will. Romney says he will. But then there’s that whole political convenience thing. As late as 2002, Romney had a commitment to “protect a woman’s right to choose (Lowell Sun, March 20, 2002). Romney endorsed the abortion pill, RU486 (Boston Globe review of 1994 campaign issues, March 21, 2002). (Source:  Romney says he’s pro-life now.  Really.  I wonder.

Huckabee has two key problems in regard to abortion. The first and most obvious is, put simply, if Hillary wins the Dem nomination (which is by no means certain, but clearly seems likely), Huck can’t beat her. I believed this months ago, and I believe it now. The second issue, which I touched on earlier, is Huck’s ability to keep the eye on the big picture. Would he be able to prioritize a Supreme Court Roe v. Wade overturn as Fred(!) has committed to; would he make it a point to protect the rights of parents when it comes to pregnant daughters; or would he be too busy trying to push an impassable anti-abortion bill?

Thompson is the pro-life candidate. Thompson is committed to the overturn of Roe v Wade, and, more than merely pushing the pro-life agenda, Thompson can save lives. He is a consistently pro-life conservative, and the NRL is absolutely right in its endorsement.