Thursday, February 07, 2008

Could this be the end?

Is this the end of the Conservative branch of the Republican Party? Citing his love for his country and his party, Mitt Romney has "suspended" his candidacy for the nomination for the Republican Party Presidential race. This comes on the heels of declarations by several conservative pundits--most notably Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Anne Coulter, and James Dobson, that they would rather surrender the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan to Islamofascists than support front-runner John McCain. Laura Ingraham also stated that she cannot support McCain, but she stopped short of saying she would rather vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, as Coulter has said she would.
Now these pundits will be the first to declare that they are not telling people how to vote; that they are merely expressing what they stand for and it is up to their listeners to agree or disagree with them. But we know some of their listeners and we know that some would go along with their political commentary no matter what they say.
Mitt Romney's admission of fear that a conservative-moderate rift within the Republican Party would hand the presidential election to the Democratic candidate is well founded. For those of us who remember the way the economy was during the Carter years, a new Democratic administration that embraces fiscal ideas similar to Carter's spells disaster.
Romney's assertation that he would rather step down than see surrender to the Islamofascists in the Middle and Near East made a strong statement relevent to those of us who are concerned about where we would draw the line of defense, the disasterous effects of a precipitous withdrawal. McCain, as we all know, was advocating a surge and counter-insurgency operations in Iraq long before General Petreaeus came into the picture. We now know that McCain was correct in that the counter-insurgency operations in Iraq have shown a fair amount of success, and promise even more. I have long said that the quickest way out of Iraq is to let the military finish the job, so in this sense I am a McCain supporter, and I applaud Romney in making this a major factor in his decision to step down.
A question that should be asked of the conservative faction is where were they when the time came to vote for Romney in the primary elections and caucuses? The number of voters who have turned out for the Democratic Party nominating process is twice that of those who felt it important enough to vote in the Republican Party process. If it is so important to these conservatives to have a candidate who represents their values, why didn't they get out to support the candidate they felt best represented those ideas? Only those who failed to vote can answer that question, but it seems as though they had already accepted defeat.
Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are still actively campaigning in the race for the nomination, though neither of them is numerically viable at this point in the process. I agree with nearly everything Dr. Paul stands for, except that his ideas on foreign policy are a gross display of his naivete or outright ignorance of consensus reality. Even Hillary Clinton has suggested that she would leave a garrison in Iraq for technical support and military training, and Barack Obama has said that he would shift the majority of military force to Afghanistan and invade the "friendly" country of Pakistan if he felt it necessary. Although their ideas would cost more than any country could afford in the long run, they are still better than Dr Paul's theory that to shut America inside locked doors and ignore the rest of the world would immediately bring peace and prosperity. Still, his stand on Social Security, illegal immigration, supporting the Bush tax cuts, and ending government interference in the economy is worth consideration in building either the Republican or Libertarian party platform. Dr Paul's ideas on the economy would put much more in the pockets of Americans than any plan thought up by the majority of the other candidates from both the Democratic and Republican Parties.
What I really like about Governor Huckabee is his support of the Fair Tax Initiative. The Fair Tax Initiative abolishes the IRS and ends the confiscation of wages and earnings. This is essentially a federal sales tax that is truely voluntary--you only pay taxes on what you buy. Even those in the underground economy created by prohibition would pay taxes as opposed to the current system where their earnings are not reported and thus they do not pay taxes. Not having to pay taxes on your earnings is truly fair, it puts more money in the pockets of the consumer and encourages economic growth. McCain has indicated that he might be interested in the initiative.
Both Huckabee and Paul believe in the ability of the free market to come up with energy alternatives to replace petrofuels, while McCain stands for government controls to artificially influence the market toward alternative energy. McCain is known for stubbornly sticking to what he believes, but hopefully this is one issue he feels he should concede to the conservatives.
In fact, if Huckabee and Paul stay in the running long enough, their ideas would be given enough attention that they could become part of the Republican Party platform after the national convention. Then the Republicans could have a platform that could appeal to the conservatives and a candidate who would appeal to the moderates and independents, whose votes are always important in the general elections.
Personally, if I feel, come November, that John McCain has a chance of winning the presidential election, I will likely vote for him. However, if it seems that the Republicans are willing to hand the office of the President to the Democratic Party, I will, with clear conscience, vote Libertarian.I am certain that many independent voters will feel the same way, at least those who are genuinely concerned about the economy and the long term effects of a large scale growth of government as promised by the Democratic candidates. The whole idea of the Demopublican nominating system is to present the most electable candidate. The Republican party should understand this and follow the lead of Romney, if they are, in fact, concerned about their principles. Otherwise, in four years, the electorate will be so fed up with Demopublican politics, neither Republican nor Democratic candidates will have a base on which to ensure electability.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Another half-hearted attempt to explain myself

A commenter on this blog expressed curiosity of how I could reconcile being "Christ-oriented" with being a Phenominological Panthiest. It's actually easy for me to answer that. I believe in Christ as a philosophy, rather than as a religion, taking "religion" in the modern sense of organization and control. It is the teachings of Christ about the nature of the Spirit and mankind's relationship to God, that constitute my conviction, rather than the system of mandates and opinion set forth by "religion."
If you remove all the scriptures that make the foundation of Lucrecius of Antioch's church, and leave the scriptures that contain the teachings and the history of Jesus Christ (And why not? Lucrecius himself edited out many Gospels he felt weren't pertinent to his vision of the church), as Thomas Jefferson did for his own use, you have a concise record of Christ's answers to questions of the nature and relationship of God and Man, one that would cross reference well with the Tao tse Ching, and the teachings of the Buddha.
Jesus Christ teaches us that we simultaneously exist in three major realms, The Soul (The Father), the Holy Ghost (The Spirit), and the Son (The Material Body). He teaches us that what we do in one realm effects the other realms. He teaches us that we are capable of the same miracles that he performed, if we had Faith "but the size of a mustard seed."
And, He demonstrated "Salvation" by being crucified and returning to the material realm. It is with His Wisdom and Knowledge that we are made aware of our own immortality and of our true nature; that is, as Children of God, and as being in the Image of God.
In my personal reality, I believe that each individual exists in his or her own reality. If one believes in the tenets of modern religion or the edicts and dogma of a church, that is the real world in which that person exists. If a person believes that the Earth is only 5,000 years old, that is the reality of that person's world. If a person believes that God and Science are one and the same, that is yet another reality.
I hope I have satisfied your curiousity.