CIVICS LESSON #6 CITIZENS MUST PROTECT THEIR FREEDOM AND RIGHTS

Image courtesy of tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is the sixth edition of FJ Rocca‘s series, Civics Lessons.

The saying “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is a stirring reminder that we must always be alert to threats against our freedom. Those threats rarely come from outside the nation. They almost always come from our own government. Therefore, to protect ones liberty, one needs to protect it from government. That is why the US Constitution was drafted as it was, to protect the liberty and rights of The People, not as a collective mass, but as individual American citizens, each and every one of whom has his or her rights guaranteed independently by our founding documents. Please note that there are no other groups specified as having rights in the Constitution or Bill or Rights.

Liberty is not fragile, because, once people experience true freedom they refuse to give it up. But freedom can be stolen from us if we don’t pay attention to what government is doing, what laws it is passing, how competently or incompetently it is handling such vital factors as the economy and defense. Thus, the first duty of every citizen is to guard against this theft by exercising “eternal vigilance” about what politicians do and say.

Think of freedom as a piece of woven cloth. The cloth is very strong, but the threads from which it is woven are each fragile. Therefore, the enemies of freedom never try to tear the cloth, only to cut the threads gradually, stealing individual freedom and rights by cutting the threads one-by-one until the cloth falls in tatters. The cloth is our nation; the threads are the laws that keep our freedom and rights secure.

Defending freedom against its enemies can be a tricky proposition, because it is often difficult to identify those enemies. They often disguise themselves as protectors of freedom, while modifying the laws that guarantee it until those laws are repealed or made ineffective. But it is unwise to put the fox in charge of protecting the hen house. Politicians often are the enemies within and they are far more dangerous than those who would attack us from the outside, because they will lie cleverly to hide their real intentions. This lying is the first danger against which we must be eternally vigilant, and the greatest liars are almost always the politicians and those who work with them.

These enemies of liberty usually begin by describing grievances that they insist must be addressed. These grievances are always claimed in the interest not of individuals, but of collective groups. Most often these grievances are invented as excuses to pass laws that give government more power and a bigger budget. Political power is always power over people. Politicians are not entitled to power over us. They are elected ONLY to protect our unalienable rights, not to steal them.

To protect ourselves, we must continually remember that our freedom and rights as individuals are not granted by government and must never come into question, no matter what grievance politicians claim they must address. We must always remember that when politicians seek to limit individual rights in favor of some group, they are not really interested in righting wrongs, but merely in gaining more power for themselves.

It is a fundamental principle of free society that each individual citizen’s rights are unalienable. This means that the assertion of collective rights that infringe on the rights of individual liberty, those rights are not legitimate and laws purporting to protect them are equally illegitimate. It is easy to misinterpret this concept, but an example may clarify it. When Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he did so to free the slaves, not as a collective mass that needed protection, but as individual citizens, each with his own unalienable rights. That is the true meaning of freedom.

Corrupting society’s understanding of rights always comes gradually, so that people do not immediately realize the full negative impact on freedom. Norman Thomas, six times the Presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America, once stated, “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

This is why politicians always introduce their proposed changes stealthily in language that is unclear and ambiguous. Some changes are introduced as benefits at first, and only after they take effect are found to be dangerous liabilities. The obligation of every citizen is to guard and protect our unalienable individual rights by refusing to accept “collective rights.” Any changes that lead us away from our free republic into a liberal socialist oligarchy or dictatorship should be shouted down loudly and those who try to destroy the fabric of our freedom should be driven from office by the most powerful tool of every eligible citizen, the vote at the ballot box.

Every American citizen over eighteen is qualified to vote to elect politicians into office. There are exceptions to this rule, such as when someone is incarcerated for committing crimes. Politicians are elected to office to represent the best interests of citizens in legislatures that make laws either supporting or abrogating the freedom and rights of every individual citizen. But we do not vote for laws. We vote for people to make the laws. Therefore, it is the duty of every qualified citizen to vote wisely and to remember that a bad politician will make bad policies, the worst of which can take away their freedom and rights. We must remember that political power is power OVER people. Citizens must elect politicians who will protect their rights and freedom and not elect those who would take them away.

FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital to human discourse.

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INCOME INEQUALITY AND EDUCATION (Hint: Blame the left!)

John Mauldin

John Mauldin

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I think it will be worth your time.

I have mentioned before that I am a huge fan of John Mauldin. Mauldin is an investment analyst/economist from Texas. (You can check out my review of his newest book, Code Red.) I think he’s one of the most brilliant guys I have ever read.

He publishes a free weekly newsletter called Thoughts from the Frontline. There are close to a million people that read it. It’s basically Mauldin’s attempt to explain the world as he sees it. No matter whether you care about investing or not, I think Mauldin does an exponentially better job of reporting what is really going on in the world today. He is incredibly well read, and has quite a knack for the written word. Much of his analysis is done through the lens of economics.

Recentlym he had a three part series on income inequality (“The Problem with Keynesianism“, March 9, 2014; “Inequality and Opportunity“, March 16, 2014; and “When Inequality Isn’t“, March 29, 2014). The whole series is worth your time, but I thought I’d dish out the stuff I found most interesting and appropriate for our purposes here. I’m going to underline the parts I found most important.

Equality of Opportunity

In one of the most far-reaching studies I’ve seen, a group of Harvard economists have compared upward mobility – the ability to rise from lower to higher income groups – among US metropolitan areas, as well as among developed nations. Their rather remarkable website and database can be found here. Their one-paragraph summary is:

In two recent studies, we find that: (1) Upward income mobility varies substantially within the U.S. [summary][paperAreas with greater mobility tend to have five characteristics: less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families. (2) Contrary to popular perception, economic mobility has not changed significantly over time; however, it is consistently lower in the U.S. than in most developed countries. [summary][paper].

Silence of the Left

Conveniently for the discussion of our topic, John Goodman posted a brief article on Townhall.com this week called “Silence of the Left”:

The topic du jour on the left these days is inequality. But why does the left care about inequality? Do they really want to lift those at the bottom of the income ladder? Or are they just looking for one more reason to increase the power of government? If you care about those at the bottom then you are wasting your time and everyone else’s time unless you focus on one and only one phenomenon: the inequality of educational opportunity. Poor kids are almost always enrolled in bad schools. Rich kids are almost always in good schools.

It turns out that homes cost roughly 20% more in areas with good schools. School choice is already in effect because people with more money buy homes in areas with better public schools. Children of families with less money on average tend to be stuck in lower-performing public schools.

Goodman cites a Brookings Institution study that investigated the same phenomenon nationwide:

  • Across the 100 largest metropolitan areas, housing costs an average of 2.4 times as much, or nearly $11,000 more per year, near a high-scoring public school than near a low-scoring public school.
  • This housing cost gap reflects that home values are $205,000 higher on average in the neighborhoods of high-scoring versus low-scoring schools. Near high-scoring schools, typical homes have 1.5 additional rooms and the share of housing units that are rented is roughly 30 percentage points lower than in neighborhoods near low-scoring schools.

Goodman continues:

You almost never see anything written by left-of-center folks on reforming the public schools. And I have noticed on TV talk shows that it’s almost impossible to get liberals to agree to the most modest of all reform ideas: getting rid of bad teachers and making sure we keep the good ones.

Here is the uncomfortable reality:

1. Our system of public education is one of the most regressive features of American society.

2. There is almost nothing we could do that would be more impactful in reducing inequality of educational opportunity and inequality overall than to do what Sweden has done: give every child a voucher and let them select a school of choice.

3. Yet on the left there is almost uniform resistance to this idea or any other idea that challenges the power of the teachers’ unions.

That “socialist” bastion of income equality and mobility – Sweden – uses vouchers for education.

Krugman argues against school vouchers because they might reduce support for public schools. And then he actually writes, “And – dare we say it? – we should in general oppose privatization plans if they are likely to destroy public sector unions.”

We have total academic, bureaucratic, and teachers’-union capture of public education. We are subjecting our children to an education system that that was designed for and that worked remarkably well during the first two industrial revolutions but that is now utterly inadequate for the coming Age of Transformation. The new New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, is working to shut down many of the best-performing schools in his city – charter schools – which are hated by teachers’ unions. Rather than ask what is good for the children, he and many others simply want to expand the power of the unions.

If we want to do something about income inequality, perhaps we should think about the data that shows the remarkable correlation between education, educational opportunity, and income.

report from the American Enterprise Institute gives us a good summary. Notice in the chart below that while the income of the highest fifth of the US population is almost 18 times that of the lowest fifth, there is only a 3.5x differential when it comes to the average earnings of the people actually working and making money in the household. It is just that high-income households have more than four times as many wage earners (on average) as poor households.

And married and thus two-earner households make more than single-person households. That seems obvious, of course, but it is a significant factor in income inequality. That doesn’t make the plight of the single working mom any better or easier, but it does help explain the statistical difference. And it does make a difference in lifestyle. Marriage drops the probability of childhood poverty by 82%.

The AEI report ends on this positive note:

Bottom Line: Household demographics, including the average number of earners per household and the marital status, age, and education of householders are all very highly correlated with household income. Specifically, high-income households have a greater average number of income-earners than households in lower-income quintiles, and individuals in high income households are far more likely than individuals in low-income households to be well-educated, married, working full-time, and in their prime earning years. In contrast, individuals in lower-income households are far more likely than their counterparts in higher-income households to be less-educated, working part-time, either very young (under 35 years) or very old (over 65 years), and living in single-parent households.

Take a look at this chart below. It looks at spending by households on various items split out by quintile. It goes back to 1986 because that was when pretty significant changes to the tax law occurred. Noticed specifically the differences in spending on education and reading.

annualexpenditure

At the beginning of this letter I promised you a “solution” to income inequality. Let me offer this one tongue-in-cheek, as an argumentum ad absurdum.

We simply need to penalize the incomes of older people, take away any advantage there is from being married, reduce opportunities for education, penalize people for working more than 35 hours per week, and of course levy a significant tax on any accumulated savings. This will quickly reduce inequalities of income. It has the slight disadvantage that it will also destroy the economy and create a massive depression; but if the goal is equal outcomes for all, then communist Russia might be the model you are looking for. Except that even there the bureaucrats and other insiders did quite well.

If you’re really serious about dealing with income inequality, you need to worry about equality of opportunity in education, and specifically about making sure that the education system is radically reformed by taking it out of the hands of bureaucrats and unions. We need to make sure the economic and legal playing field is level by getting government favoritism and bureaucratic meddling out of the way and making the pie larger for everyone. However, as I demonstrated a few weeks ago, a natural outcome of doubling the size of the economic pie over the coming 15 years will be that there is an even greater differential between those who have next to nothing and those who have accumulated the most. The only way to prevent such an outcome is to keep the total economic pie from growing, and that doesn’t seem like a very good economic policy.

If we truly want to do something about income inequality, we must stop listening to the left talk about it. They are completely and utterly uniformed on the topic. And more then anything else, they probably are the most to blame. They have destroyed our families socially and culturally, and they have destroyed our schools through unionization and bureaucratization.

Andrew Palmer is co-founder and editor of Conservative Teachers of America. You may reach him at [email protected]

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Book Review: PERSEPOLIS, VOLUME 1 by MARJANE SATRAPI

persepolisGuest book review by Dana R. Casey

The graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi has become ubiquitous in America’s classrooms. Aside from the lowering of standards that is represented by the use of a graphic novel in a high school English classroom, this “novel” should raise some red flags for parents.

The novel shows the Iranian Islamic Revolution from the point of view of Marji, a preteen at the start of the revolution. The story opens with the hijab (veil) being imposed on Marji and her classmates for the first time. They are too young to understand the implications of the hijab and treat them as an irritating imposition or a toy to be used as a jump rope or horsey reins.

From the beginning, Marji gets an “education” from her family about the historical events that led up to the revolution. Her family, excited about the revolution at first because they are anti-shah communist intellectuals, soon realizes that the revolution has been usurped by Islamic radicals. As the plot develops, Marji comes of age as she watches her world become more limited and dangerous for everyone in general and for women in particular. Marji is finally sent to live in Austria at the end of the novel, not knowing if she will ever see her family again. There is a part two to answer that question, but that is for the next review. Be aware that both part one and part two are sometimes combined into one novel.

One of my first concerns with Persepolis, is its overtly positive presentation of communism and leftism. Marji’s parents, in trying to help her understand the revolution which they support at first, provide books and literature for her to read. The texts are about Castro, Palestine, Marxism, Hamid Ashraf, Iranian leftist would-be guerrilla revolutionary, and the evil Americans killing young Vietnamese communists. These texts “enlighten” her and she becomes fascinated with Karl Marx, who replaces her earlier fascination with God.

In a chapter called “The Heroes” Marji discusses two of the political prisoners released after the revolution. Both are communists, both are friends of the family, and both were imprisoned by the evil shah (the propaganda on the shah will be examined later) and would later be re-imprisoned and executed by the Islamic regime.

Her Uncle Anoosh who was also imprisoned by the shah, first supported Marji’s great Uncle Fereydoon who “elected himself Minister of Justice” in the Iranian province of Azerbaijan, which he and his revolutionary friends “declared” independent. He was eventually arrested and executed by the shah, but Anoosh escaped to the Soviet Union where he received a PhD. in Marxism-Leninism. After returning to Iran, he is arrested by the shah, but freed just before the revolution. Marji hangs on every word of her uncle, admiring his revolutionary sacrifices. Anoosh, becoming disappointed in the apparent religious turn of the revolution, declares, “But the religious don’t know how to govern. They will return to their mosques. The proletariat shall rule! It’s inevitable!!!That’s just what Lenin explained in ‘The State and the Revolution.’” Anoosh is ultimately also arrested and executed by the Islamic regime.

My second concern was the revisionist history. I nearly threw the book across the room when Marji’s grandmother says, “You know, my child, since the dawn of time dynasties have succeeded each other, but the kings always kept their promises. The shah kept none…” What really bothered me about this statement are the absolutes: kings always kept their promises; the shah kept NONE! Which kings have kept all of their promises? I would like to have one king revealed to me who kept all of his promises, a king from any country, anywhere, at any point in time.

The shah was certainly no angel by American standards, but by Middle Eastern standards, he was the most modern leader of his time. Under his rule, more Iranians were educated; class lines blurred; freedoms expanded; highways, railroads and universities were constructed; women had the full rights of women in western countries and were government leaders, university professors, lawyers, and doctors; Tehran was a cosmopolitan city. Did the shah imprison and torture revolutionaries and communists? Yep, but if we evaluate him against Middle Eastern standards, his actions paled compared to those in countries around him and, let’s face it, he was fighting communists and Islamists who were trying to take over the country. There is no doubt that the average, non-revolutionary citizen lived a freer life under the shah than under the ayatollah.

In fact, “Amnesty International … finally concluded in late 1978 that there were less than 2,400 political prisoners in the shah’s jails.” Under the Ayatollah “Amnesty International estimates the total number of deaths between 4,500 and 5,000, [and] … as many as 30,000 political prisoners, including children as young as 13…” These inconvenient facts were suspiciously absent from the materials provided to me in the curriculum supplied with this novel by my school system. These materials included several articles that took a positive stance on the hijab and none against.

Ironically, one issue that raises its head repeatedly is Marji’s education. Her parents are determined that she receive a French education. She is in a French school at the beginning the novel, her parents struggle to keep her in French schools throughout all of the difficulties of the post-revolution. They finally send her out of the country to a friend in Austria where she will again study at a French school. I am left to wonder why such a dedicated communist family would not send their daughter to Moscow to study. Apparently a Western education is superior.

Much of the rest of the book deals with the realities of life under an Islamic totalitarian regime. There are constant jabs against the West throughout, but having known several refugees from Iran, much of the oppression of the Islamic regime rings true. Of course Satrapi fails to realize that life under a communist totalitarian regime would have been just as oppressive to any citizen who dared oppose them.

One additional concern is the graphic elements in the novel, both in pictures and in language. Four letter words are scattered throughout. One of the more brutal lines comes from the mother when she is stranded after her car breaks down. She is approached by two fundamentalist thugs who say to her as she reports, “Women like me [unveiled] should be pushed up against the wall and fucked and then thrown in the garbage.” Does this truthfully reveal life in Islamic Iran? No doubt. Does it belong in a book being given to 7th, 8th, & 9th graders? Absolutely not!

There are offensive visual elements too. A man who has been tortured is on the ground while a guard urinates on his whip-marked back. The guard’s penis is clearly drawn. Another man is shown being burned with an iron. A third man is cut into pieces.

One of the most disturbing examples of the brutal contents in this novel is the discussion about Marji’s friend, only 12 years old too, who is executed. Before she is executed, she is raped, because it is illegal to execute virgins. The rapist then sends the family a symbolic bride price. I do not think that such graphic images and human cruelty should be given to young teens. The School Library Journal omits any mention of these elements which, as a resource for making book choices used by schools and school libraries, is a serious omission.

Finally, I have to say that I do not like Marji. She is arrogant, obnoxious, defiant, and difficult to deal with on many levels. Of course, this could be said of many teens. She smokes, she cuts school, she back-talks her teachers, and she actually punches a principal in the face (though that woman may have had it coming). But many of my students love Marji and are surprised to see an Iranian teen go through some of the same challenges and confusions that they face. In fact, my students love this novel completely which is why we should be concerned about the propaganda and leftism presented in the tale. American students are absorbing this misinformation in an appealing package. They receive no counter-balancing perspective and so they will walk away from this book sympathetic to leftists and communists.

Dana R. Casey is a veteran high school English teacher of more than two decades in an East-coast urban system.  She is a life-long student of theology, philosophy, and politics, dedicated to the true Liberalism of the Enlightenment, as defined by our Founders and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

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Book Review: UNDERLAKE by KIA HEAVEY

ISBN: 9780615956046 318 pages

ISBN: 9780615956046 318 pages

Rating=5/5 Stars

Suggested audience: 7th-12th grade female readers (there will be some boys that will like this)

Genre: Fantasy, light Christian fiction

I received a copy of this book for review from the author.

I challenge my students to read various genres every year even if they don’t normally like that genre. Generally speaking, I’m not a fantasy fan (which is odd considering that my son is named after a character from a fantasy book). I often struggle with the stories in fantasy. They just often come off as too unbelievable.

When I took this novel for review I was worried about a couple of things. First, how do I get through this thing if it ends up where most fantasy books do for me? In addition, I’m a guy, and this book screams teenage girl fantasy.

Well…all ended well. I really enjoyed this book.

Heavey’s writing is impressive. It’s rare that I pick up a young adult book that has such excellent word choice. I was seeing words that were new to me up until the end of the story. Usually, mass market YA has the same old boring word choice in the writing.

Underlake  has a very creative plot. Katie Welch is raised in the upper class of New York. She’s pampered, and usually her vacation plans involve some unique travel all around the world. She’s raised by a single mother who works for a fashion magazine. Katie floats among the self-appointed elite (just think anti-Christian, liberal/progressive snobs). But this summer’s vacation will take her and her mother to a remote farm town in rural New York. Katie is dreading the summer as she sees little value in the people and locale.

While in Underlake, Katie meets the mysterious but refreshingly old-fashioned and wise John Howe. Howe is directly tied into the fantasy element of the story. Without spoiling it too much, he’s been in and around Underlake for a long time. Teenage attraction ensues as Katie falls in love with this mysterious boy. I’m going to stop here with the story and hope that leaves you curious enough to go buy the book because I believe it is worth the investment.

I want to highlight a few things in the story. First, there is some discussion of sex in the book. Unlike much teen fiction which seems to be about teenagers “exploring” themselves (in some of the most unhealthy ways possible), Heavey deals with the topic in the way that I think many parents would be pleased with. Many of Katie’s friends, including herself, are encouraged by their parents to engage in high risk behaviors. They have a mentality that seems to permeate American society and pop-culture: pleasure over reason, fun over rational thinking. Katie sees the risks involved in these behaviors and is sick and tired of her mother just being her friend.

Second, Heavey weaves Christianity and the Catholic church into the story well. The book is not preachy at all, and I think would appeal to open-minded, respectful readers of faith and non-faith. Toward the end of the book Katie has some interaction with a long-time friend of hers from the city. I liked how Heavey showed how Christians are often improperly perceived and judged by many in our culture.

Katie laughed again, a sound so full of affection that it didn’t offend Michaela. “You don’t have to,” she said. “That works for me but it doesn’t have to work for you. The whole point is that we’re individuals. We shouldn’t feel so pressured to conform to what everyone else thinks we should be doing. We’re loved just the way we are. And I have plenty of fun, by the way.” she added.

Third, Heavey adds some interesting commentary on art through the story. Katie is an aspiring artist, but much of her artistry is missing something. Through Katie’s interactions with John Howe she begins to grow as an artist.

“But maybe, what you’re missing is that they’re really made of light [people and animals], and that the world around them adds the shadows. Maybe the light actually comes from them and the world takes it away, if that makes sense.” -John Howe, p.117

Underlake is a great contribution to YA literature. It’s a book that will get teens to think about things that matter. This book should be in your teenager’s library!

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CIVICS LESSON #5: SOME IMPORTANT NOTES ON VOTING

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is the fifth of FJ Rocca’s Civics Lessons series.

In the US, we have a constitutional republic in which government consists of elected public officials who do not control us, but who represent us in a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Representatives to Congress are elected every two years, Senators every six years, and Presidents every four years. The cycle of local elections for mayors and of state elections for Governor vary by state and municipality.

The electoral system is called representative democracy, because citizens vote into office officials who are sworn by oath to represent them. We elect our Congressional representatives in organized voting districts within states, our governors by State and the President by what is called the Electoral College.

The Electoral College was put in place to guarantee that votes in sparser populations, such as rural areas and in less populous states, are treated with equal weight to those in larger populated areas, such as cities and more heavily populated states. Without the Electoral College, heavily populated states, such as California, New York and Ohio would always determine who becomes President and votes from smaller states, such as Alabama, Rhode Island and the Dakotas, would have little power.

The Electoral College system has been criticized, usually by the larger states, who argue that their heavier votes are being neutralized in favor of much lighter votes from less populous states, but the Founders, in their wisdom, questioned the fairness of states with large urban centers deciding the ultimate fate of representation of these smaller areas. Until a fairer, more practical system is instituted, it is probably a fair assumption that the Electoral College will remain an operating feature of Presidential elections for the foreseeable future.

State legislatures may “redistrict” areas within a state in order to give sparser populated areas the equal voting power of larger urban areas. This redistricting can and often is used to change the party representation so that members of the party in office in that state will get more votes than the opposing party. This is known as gerrymandering, one definition of which is “To manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.” While this practice is not illegal, it is only marginally ethical at best and is often frowned upon because it allows those in power to manipulate votes to keep that power, even when people want them out of power.

Democratic voting is a process and not a governing principle, because the US is a constitutional republic and not a pure democracy. In John Adams’s eternally true words, the US has “a government of laws and not of men.” We do not elect representatives to make decisions independent of our wishes, but on their sworn oath to preserve and protect the rights of each and every individual citizen against encroachment by government. Many politicians lust after power. We must be on guard against them.

It is a battle to keep voting fair. If not properly monitored, voting can be falsified by what is called “voter fraud,” although voters usually have nothing to do with it. Voter fraud can take various forms. Agents of a particular candidate may inflate the vote in favor of that candidate by putting fake votes to the ballot box, or “stuffing” it. Votes for an opposing candidate may be destroyed or hidden so that they are not counted. Voting machines may be rigged so that the vote count is falsified. A particularly creative kind of voter fraud is to register dead people onto voter rolls and actually vote in their places. All these are illegal punishable as crimes.

But there are also ways for the vote to be skewed legally, if unethically, for example by a candidate telling malicious lies about his opponent either in print or on television. This is called “smearing” and is unethical, even if it is marginally legal. Or, a candidate can lie about his or her position on issues or on his past performance. Overcoming these requires careful scrutiny by voters.

The important thing for citizens to remember is that casting a vote for a candidate who can be trusted is the strongest protection against bad government. But voters must beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, in the form of candidates who promise to protect and preserve our freedom and individual rights, while actually working to undermine them. To be on guard against this eventuality it is necessary to be skeptical of any and all politicians who make promises other than to protect and preserve the principles outlined in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. When someone promises to fundamentally change America, that person must not be trusted, because no change that takes away the fundamental freedom and rights granted to Americans by those founding documents can be a good change.

That being said, it is also easy to preach that voters are free because they have the vote. In order to exercise their vote to their benefit, citizens must be given candidates who truly represent the model set out by our founding fathers; people who are honest, trustworthy and patriotic. Any candidate who is not worthy should be rejected out of hand.

FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital to human discourse.

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