We talk so often of the struggle between the left and the right. How many of us have clarity about the core value pillars of each side? We can all rattle off policies and laws that sit on one side of the argument or the other but can we articulate the underlying values from which those policies and laws are derived? To argue about the policies and be ignorant of the principals is akin to arguing about weight loss programs without understanding nutrition and exercise.
I believe that the Right seeks to preserve Traditional American Values. I understand those values to be the ones established by our Founding Fathers and reflected on our currency. They are:
- In God We Trust
- E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One)
- Limited Government
I believe the Left desires to replace these values with other values. Ones that are more secular, European, and socialist. Their replacements would be:
- Big Government
Liberty means preserving as much authority and agency for the individual as possible, only curtailing that liberty when the liberty of another or the nation is under attack. The Left believes that Equality, ensuring that life is fair, is more important, and they are willing to take from those that have in order to provide for those that have not.
In God We Trust means that there is a Divine Creator of man and it is from this Creator that we gain our rights, powers, and authority as individuals. This is a philosophy, not a religion. It is a principal that means governments cannot take our rights away because they are not the author of them. Without this principal the question of authority and where it comes from is suspect and ripe for infringement.
E Pluribus Unum (or Out of Many, One) means that we welcome others into our nation but expect that they will honor our American Values. It does not mean they must abandon their cultural roots. It means that they will learn of us, our history, our language, so that we may together build a common future using the values of our past as a common foundation.
Limited Government because Big Government corrupts and controls. The free market as an extension of the people and private property rights is the innovative engine of the nation, and government should be kept within clearly enumerated and restricted powers. A government not of entitlements, depts, and deficits.
The move from the traditional values of the right, to the new values of the left, represents a fundamental transformation of America. I do not want a transformed America, I always want an improved America, but there is so much to retain.
Define: Transform -- to change something dramatically: to change somebody or something completely
As a final thought you will note that I have omitted the term 'liberal' - that is because the historical meaning of the term has been hijacked. John F. Kennedy was a liberal, but not the left of today:
I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. I see no magic in tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale federal bureaucracies in this administration as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well.
-John F. Kennedy, Sept 14, 1960
This is not the language of the left today which has taken over the leadership ranks of the Democratic party. I am not saying that JFK would be a conservative, but he was far from the leftist liberals of today that speak of ‘social justice’ which is simply a euphemism for economic equality, an enemy of liberty. JFK was unlike his leftist brother Senator Edward Kennedy as he himself points out:
In another sign of lukewarm support from his own party for Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s reelection campaign, Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy today branded the Connecticut incumbent as “a J.F.K. conservative, a relic of another era. "I’m not sure we need someone in the Senate who’s still mired in the provincial, hawkish John F. Kennedy ideas about U.S. military power,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy.
The bottom line is this nation is the greatest success story the world has ever seen. It has enabled individuals to increase their standard of living and the standards of the world more than any other. It has sacrificed for the good of the world time and time again, through the sacrifice of our military strength in the face of evil and through the generosity of our citizens in the face of natural disasters, which was made possible by our prosperity. This was all made possible by the principals that our Founding Fathers put into place: Liberty, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One), and Limited Government. If we abandon these and replace them with a different foundation we will lose that which brought us to this magnificent place in human history. We will be transformed into something smaller, less hopeful, less free, less capable, and more dependant – I pray this transformation of America does not happen.