Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Republicans: Kiss Choice

The Messrs. Reinhold Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Karl Christian Rove, Republican political consultant, can sure raise the money, but they can’t turn a phrase. In the Wall Street Journal’s “How Senate Republicans Can Close the Sale,” by Karl Rove, Opinion, October 2, 2014, he discussed 11 Republican principles that Priebus presented in a speech at George Washington University. They included, "we should leave the next generation opportunity, not debt" and “our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty and hard work;” 23 words all together. Remember K. I. S. S.? It is an acronym for “Keep it Simple, Stupid,” which is a principle that systems work more effectively if they are kept simple and understandable. For example, “choice” is one word while Priebus’s and Rove’s philosophy is 23. That one simple word – choice – encompasses Republican principles better than any other.  Yet it is virtually owned by the Democratic Party which puzzlingly offers actually only one “choice” and that only to women. It is time that Republicans seize that word – choice – and present it to the nation as the embodiment of their philosophy. Republicans want to offer many choices to everyone, Democrats want to control.  That is the dividing line between left and right.

Why can’t all Americans choose the schools their kids go to? Why can’t we choose to keep our long-time family doctor? Why can’t we choose not to join a union? Why can’t we choose to have an adjustable-rate mortgage, if it fits our budget? Why can’t we choose the crib we want, a crib won’t hurt our baby, only our neglect will. Why can’t I choose to take a drug that might save my life? Why can’t I choose whom to hire and whom to fire in my business? Why can’t I choose not to wear a helmet when I ride my motorcycle?  (This is a 55-year old gripe of mine!) I think I can make  better choices for me than some political appointee sitting in Washington, D.C. can.
Myriad governmental institutions limit the choices of the American public. They include the Federal Trade Commission, its Division of Advertising Practices and Fair Information Practice Principles, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission among countless other U. S. government agencies, commissions, divisions and so on. They substitute their choices for ours.
Obviously, there are circumstances when the knowledge of elite experts in a field is needed for something dangerous that I can’t begin to understand. But is using the word “natural” to sell corn flakes something really so dangerous it needs an expert to stop me from choosing whether to believe it or not? Really?
Why will the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) prohibit me from being able to be one of 75,000 students to choose Corinthian Colleges, Inc. to get an education, or its 15,000 employees from choosing to work there if the government forces it out of business but doesn’t protect me from choosing or working for Harvard or the University of Washington? The CFPB says Corinthian deceived, bullied, misled and was predatory to students.  But what if I am a bartender with a B. A. from Yale and owe $100,000 in student loans, that’s OK?
Why can’t I choose to buy Bucky Balls, those magic magnetic magnetized balls? Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned them in its first stop-sale order in 11 years. Kids might eat them. What about pennies, nickels or quarters?
Sure, I might get hurt or cheated but it will be my choice; anyway, I think we’re smart enough to know. After all, practically all the information ever known to humanity is available to anyone on a little cell phone. But it seems politicians primarily of the Democratic persuasion don’t think we’re smart enough so they invent governmental institutions and pass laws to protect us from ourselves. Or do they?  Over a million U. S. government employees belong to unions, which contribute vastly more to the Democratic Party than to any other. So for whose benefit really is it to have thousands of union members make decisions for me?
Politicians can say anything true or false, benign or dangerous, and it is protected. The Supreme Court decisions on the First Amendment make core political speech more important than other forms of individual expression. I’d argue that political lying can be severely dangerous to individuals and the country.
The question is, should We the People be able choose for ourselves or should a few politicians, unelected political appointees and union members choose for us?  Who is more capable of looking out and deciding for us, we ourselves or politicians? Republicans, advocates of free enterprise, believe we ourselves generally are capable to choose for ourselves while Democrats, advocates of a large, powerful government, believe that generally their elite political appointees or hires are capable and they should make our choices for us.
Mr. Priebus and Mr. Rove, which do you think more powerful? "[W]e should leave the next generation opportunity, not debt" and “our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty and hard work;” 23 words, or “Republicans offer Choice” one word?” Choosing or obeying?

“We the People” is democracy, free enterprise, and choice.  That is the Republican Principle.

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