Earlier I argued “civil government should be limited to (1) ensuring the safety and security of the nation’s citizens, (2) protecting individuals and minority groups from abuse, i.e., ensuring their rights, and (3) providing the services the citizens assign to it.” This statement fails to fully address the role of government in economic matters and it fails to cover some aspects of the role of a federal government in a republic. In economics I recognize the role of the federal government in establishing a sound financial currency and ensuring a just system of interstate commerce. In this age, this later issue requires oversight of a complex national economic system. In short, the federal government must mediate relationships between the various states and protect the citizens from economic abuse.
I further stated “We can best achieve our national potential by helping each member of our society achieve their fullest human potential; this requires (1) a sense of personal responsibility for one’s future, and (2) hope that one can attain to an abundant life.” For me this is the bottom line of distinction between conservative and liberal philosophies. How can we best achieve peace and prosperity for everyone? How can we maintain a balance of personal responsibility with government assistance? As a conservative I believe our society has a responsibility to provide for the needs of those who cannot provide for themselves, i.e., the disabled. When economic problems make it impossible for citizens to work, the government (cooperating on various levels) has a responsibility to assist them in finding gainful employment. However, I am opposed to extended welfare for those who are able to work; I consider subsidizing adult (re-)education focused on employment a good investment in society’s future; I support workfare or public works programs that provide the unemployed temporary employment at near market wages on projects for the public good (highway construction, shelving books in the library, teaching in under-served schools, mentoring youth, etc., the options are limitless).
On healthcare, I favor free enterprise as the base model. Personal choice should be protected. However, I believe we have a responsibility through our government to ensure everyone has access to health-care and that is best achieved through universal access to health insurance. I prefer a model that mandates that individuals purchase insurance over a model that gives universal medical insurance or universal direct healthcare to individuals. While I am hesitant to endorse a law requiring everyone to purchase insurance, I recognize we have already entered into an age where basic healthcare is considered a human right, i.e., we have laws making emergency healthcare available to all. I would therefore endorse a mandatory insurance law on grounds similar to state mandated liability insurance for drivers and this on the basis of protecting the innocent, i.e., the principle of justice. It can thus be argued that we have a moral obligation to ensure we do not accrue medical debts we cannot pay and therefore insurance is a civil responsibility. In short, require everyone to have minimal medical insurance with the government providing assistance for those who cannot afford it. In any case, parents should be required to provide insurance for their children with the government making up the necessary gap in funding. I am of course opposed to socialized medicine.
On international relations, I prefer a model of cooperation and support. We have a moral obligation to promote democracy, justice, and the general well being of all. Our aid to other countries should be modeled on the suggestions I have given for domestic aid, integrated with the principle of self-responsibility. We should not act militarily without (1) having first been attacked, or (2) broad international support, with (3) undeniable evidence of gross injustice and human suffering, with the only exception being irrefutable evidence of an imminent attack on the USA or her allies. In other words, I am generally opposed to war as contrary to the Word of God and serving as a platform for gross evil. I allow for violence only when necessary for defense of self or others; nations can work together to police rogue states that threaten peace or act immorally toward their own citizens (think the killing fields of Cambodia, or present day Somalia).
With this, I end this series. No doubt I have rambled and failed to close all the loops. I will probably make other comments on politics this election season and beyond. Some seem to think I have written this series to try to convert them to my political views. However, my purpose has been to simply explain why I am a Republican. Many people I greatly love and respect, people who share my religious beliefs and social concerns, are Democrats or independents who usually vote for the ticket of the Democrats. For the most part they have not asked me why I am a Republican. Well, I have a deep psychological need to be understood (grounded in a childhood speech impediment no doubt), in this case to be accepted as a person who has seriously attempted to integrate his faith with his political philosophy. I am a holiness-Pentecostal follower of Christ; I am committed to social justice; I abhor idolatrous patriotism – the nation should not be worshipped or in any way equated with Christ or His Kingdom; I am committed to being a good citizen as a Christian duty; in my opinion the United States of America is the greatest country in the history of humanity but not free of guilt; I believe we can be better – God expects us to be better; I believe the conservative political philosophy is the best means of holding all of these together, serving the needs of all citizens, and achieving our greatest national potential. My goal in things political is not to enlarge the rolls of the Republican Party; it is to serve the cause of Christ by promoting the common good. In this I trust I bear witness to the gracious presence of God among and within all His creation and our need for salvation through His Son.