The Republican philosophy

Cal Thomas's picture

All public policy is founded on an underlying philosophy about humanity and the world. Some call it a “world-view,” but whatever it is called, everything government does (or does not do) derives from a philosophical foundation on which it is constructed.

While the usual suspects have criticized the Republican’s “A Pledge to America” document, I find it a refreshing reminder of the founding philosophy that “brought forth on this continent a new nation,” in Lincoln’s words, 234 years ago.

The Republicans might have chosen a word other than “pledge.” They could have selected “promise” (a declaration that something will or will not be done), or “covenant” (an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified), or even “assurance” (a positive declaration intended to give confidence), but they chose “pledge” (a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something). Pledge is best, because “solemn” is the most serious of words.

Not to nitpick, but something is missing from the document. The pledge speaks of what Republicans will and won’t do should they regain power and how they will cut this and repeal that, but what about us: the unelected who voted them into office? What’s our role?

The pledge speaks of having a “responsible, fact-based conversation with the American people about the scale of the fiscal challenges we face, and the urgent action that is required to deal with them.” OK, but will this be a one-way conversation, or will we be told what is expected of us? If the people are to have a minimal role in the restructuring of government, if this is just an anti-government agenda, the pledge will not work.

The first sentence of that conversation should be “we can’t go on like this.” Too many Americans have been riding the gravy train called “entitlement” for too long and it is about to derail. Republicans should make weaning them from dependence on government a patriotic duty and the essence of liberty. Focus on those who have overcome poverty and let them serve as examples of what others can do.

Let’s talk about individuals demonstrating more responsibility for their lives and ensuring their own retirement, with Social Security returning to the insurance program it was originally designed to be: a safety net, not a hammock. Get serious about reforming Social Security and Medicare so that younger workers can save and invest their own money and have it with interest and dividends when they need it. Older workers and retirees would continue on the current system.

Specifics on reforming Social Security and Medicare were left out of the pledge because Republicans know Democrats aren’t serious about taming these twin monsters. Democrats would rather use these issues to demonize the GOP than offer practical solutions to amend them.

Since the New Deal, there has been an unhealthy relationship between government and the people that has harmed both. But like illegal drugs, there would be little supply if the demand were not high. The idea that people are incapable of taking care of themselves and their immediate families would have been foreign to our Founding Fathers. What too many lack is not resources, but motivation. Remind politicians of the stories from our past and present about people who overcame obstacles, start teaching these stories to the kids in our schools.

Perhaps no one in modern times articulated the conservative philosophy about government and its rightful place better than Ronald Reagan, who said in a 1964 speech endorsing GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Philosophy is easier to express than to apply. Republicans, should they win back Congress this year and the White House in 2012, will face enormous opposition from entrenched interests that will test more than the strength of their philosophy. It will test the strength of their character.

[Cal Thomas is America’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist, appearing in more than 600 national newspapers. He is the author of more than 10 books and is a FOX News political contributor since 1997. Email Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.] ©2010 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

PTC Observer
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Republicans

Will do nothing different than they did before. They will use government to consolidate their power at the expense of the American people.

Unless and until the American public rise up against established interests in Washington, our form of government will disappear from this earth. It is our country to lose.

Get off the entitlement cocaine.

Courthouserules
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"rise up against established interests."

Does that include lobbyists for the medical industry, communications industry, tobacco industry, alcohol industry, banking and finance industry, and so forth?

Or is it just those wanting stuff for people?

Courthouserules
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As an Independent I don't subscribe to either republican or democratic philosophies in toto!

So according to Cal Thomas, the republican philosophy is to eliminate Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and probably all other government programs---including state ones, and allow every Tom Dick, and Harry to fend for themselves no matter what wage earning group they fall into? That of course produces a large segment the population from generation to generation with NOTHING to live with upon being fired for being too old!
We have a minority now of about 15%-20% that have produced from generation to generation poverty and ignorance.
Cal wants another group of them.

As to President Ronald Reagan's philosophy of no help from Washington elite (that we elect), he once helped Franklin Roosevelt's philosophy along as an active supporter until General Electric made him rich and he liked that better!!

A combination of the two parties best ideas will work much better. Anything else is simply selfish polarization!

Observerofu
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Massive cuts coming

and we had better get used to that fact right now.

Between the Democrats and Republicans mismanagement of OUR funds we are in a hole and seem to just keep digging away.

If we (USA) were a bank we would already be closed down.

NUK_1
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+100 points for PTC Observer

Everything you stated is so very true and yet so depressing.

EDIT:
"Perhaps no one in modern times articulated the conservative philosophy about government and its rightful place better than Ronald Reagan, who said in a 1964 speech endorsing GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

That's a pretty fantastic statement from Reagan in '64. I really wish it could become a reality.