Originally Published: December 4, 2003 6:10 p.m.
It appears I touched a nerve with Courier columnists Ron Barnes and Tom Cantlon. In addition, it spurred a guest editorial by James Kimes, a retired state employee, "Three core values bolster the liberal cause," Nov. 6.
Let's examine these core values. First, inclusiveness. Liberals extend their world beyond their own family, community and ethnic group to include a wide range of others. I'm not sure what defines a liberal world. History suggests a liberal world would have government programs to provide shelter, food, other services and health care for all citizens. Government currently provides these services to welfare families via numerous bureaucracies.
Ethnic groups should be angry with liberals saying they need special help as a group. Liberals provide no support for individuals who take the opportunity America offers to those willing to work and excel.
Liberal core value two, social justice. Liberals speak to the fundamental right to live in a just and humane society, ensuring that the weaker and poor members receive fair treatment. If social justice includes persons in the country illegally and the incarcerated, I reject these groups' claims on U.S. taxpayers.
As for all others, a variety of programs have been around for decades. But Congress is in an ongoing debate over the costs and conditions for qualification for such programs. I think it is healthy for liberal and conservative dialogue to merge into a sufficient program for a safety net of services.
Liberals seem to want a comfortable life style for these people who can turn the safety net into a hammock without the stigma that should go with taking a handout. Such Americans should be grateful to taxpayers for paying their bills and if, at all possible, be eager to get off the program and become self-sufficient. That's the conservative view.
Liberal core value three, a positive role for government. Liberals view a strong and fair government as a counter-balance to special interests and as a restraint assuring that an economy based on maximizing profits does not trample fundamental needs. Conservatives believe in necessary, but limited, government. Again, I think Congress provides the competition to balance programs for society's safety net. A government role in controlling – limiting – business profits is wrong. High profits in business bring in competition, and competition (free enterprise) will lower costs to consumers and profits as well. Our economy is based (70 percent) on consumer spending, not high profits of business.
It seems serious liberals are in fact, socialists. Socialists want the power of central control over the economy and all facets of consumption and services. Socialism limits opportunities for individuals and creates shortages in essential goods and services.
The Soviet Union had 74 years to perfect socialism and we know what a failure it administered to its citizens.
The Constitution of the United States is a document outlining the rights of government as determined by "we the people." We are in the only country so defined in the world and I like it just fine.
(Tom Steele, of Prescott Valley, is a semi-retired businessman and political activist for limited government.)