Joshua Heath: A Democrat’s defense of the GOP

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Though I have served as an official in the California Democratic Party for the past four years, I deeply admire the GOP as an entity. Its core philosophy, conservatism, has an elegance and wisdom worth savoring.

Personal responsibility, hard work, strong communities and families — these virtues are critical for individual happiness and collective prosperity. By constantly promoting them in our civic debate, Republicans do an important service for the country.

If a time were to come when conservatism became politically extinct, every American would be worse off as a result.

At critical moments in our nation’s history, Republicans have introduced important innovations. For example, after World War II, many liberals sought to improve the lot of the poor by giving them more government handouts.

To this end Republicans enacted the food stamps program and worked to give every poor person a basic income, among other initiatives.

President Ronald Reagan upended this approach when he declared, “the best social program is a job,” not a handout. And he was absolutely correct; jobs are far superior to government benefits.

Not only do they allow the poor to integrate into mainstream society, free of stigma, but they give people’s lives meaning and purpose.

Reagan was so effective in making his argument that he reoriented the conversation around poverty in America. Future presidents, from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, would center their efforts for the poor on delivering them quality employment, not government benefits. For this welcome development we have the Republican Party to thank.

Republicans have additionally studiously fought against anti-American attitudes on the left for decades. Far too often, liberals define America by its flaws — a harrowing history of racism, Native American genocide, class and gender oppression and more.

While these issues are mighty and worth constant discussion, the GOP has rightfully offered a more nuanced perspective, the contours of which go like this:

It is certainly true that America has sinned, but so has every nation in the history of man. The evil we’ve done is not due to some sickness in our national character but the malice in human nature itself.

America’s mistakes are of a piece with the errors of all nations, and therefore it is foolish to hate our country for them.

By contrast, our achievements and wisdom are uniquely our own. We were the first democracy in the modern world, the first nation dedicated to human rights and a government of the people. Our founding documents, in their embrace of the dignity of man and human equality, laid out a guide for improving the lot of mankind.

When you consider these facts, Republicans say, the only proper feeling toward our country is one of awe and love. And they’re absolutely right. It is vital to continue to fight to improve our society, but at its heart, this is a marvelous nation that we should be proud of.

I am thankful for these contributions, and more, that the GOP has given us in the past 150 years. They’ve made our country stronger, wiser, and more secure. I could have mentioned others, including Republicans’ fight for the nuclear family, the rights of the unborn, government efficiency, free trade and a strong military.

But the critical point is that whether you are a Democrat, an Independent or communist, you should respect the Republican Party and what it has given this country.

Though I am a Democrat, I would never want a country in which my party ruled supreme. That would be cancerous for our democracy. When only one side has power, its members become arrogant and conformist; their ideas grow stale and resistant to revision. America needs Republicans to remind us of the importance of our traditions, the capitalist system, a strong work ethic and a patriotic spirit.

Without that influence, as well as the contributions of a vigorous Democratic Party, we will never Make America Great Again. The great problems that plague us today will only metastasize further until our country is little more than a hollowed shell of its former self.

So my message to the Republicans is this: As a Democrat, I obviously hold different views on most key issues, but I also recognize that America needs all of you. And I hope that you can conclude the same about my side of the aisle.

Politics is war by other means, but in this war, Democrats and Republicans must be collaborators, not enemies. Our combat must be against the problems of society, not each other. We must not continue to weaken this great country with more unproductive partisanship.

Our American heritage of freedom, equality, rugged individualism and perpetual progress, so delicately woven by the founders, Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan, is a frightful gift. To ensure its protection and safeguarding for future generations, we are commanded to work together—succored by the courage of our convictions, with enough humility to admit our flaws — and devise solutions to the great problems before us.

Joshua Heath is a Valencia resident and a political science student at UCLA. He has served two terms as a delegate to the California Democratic Party.

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Joshua Heath: A Democrat’s defense of the GOP

An American flag waves in the wind outside of City Hall in Valencia. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Though I have served as an official in the California Democratic Party for the past four years, I deeply admire the GOP as an entity. Its core philosophy, conservatism, has an elegance and wisdom worth savoring.

Personal responsibility, hard work, strong communities and families — these virtues are critical for individual happiness and collective prosperity. By constantly promoting them in our civic debate, Republicans do an important service for the country.

If a time were to come when conservatism became politically extinct, every American would be worse off as a result.

At critical moments in our nation’s history, Republicans have introduced important innovations. For example, after World War II, many liberals sought to improve the lot of the poor by giving them more government handouts.

To this end Republicans enacted the food stamps program and worked to give every poor person a basic income, among other initiatives.

President Ronald Reagan upended this approach when he declared, “the best social program is a job,” not a handout. And he was absolutely correct; jobs are far superior to government benefits.

Not only do they allow the poor to integrate into mainstream society, free of stigma, but they give people’s lives meaning and purpose.

Reagan was so effective in making his argument that he reoriented the conversation around poverty in America. Future presidents, from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, would center their efforts for the poor on delivering them quality employment, not government benefits. For this welcome development we have the Republican Party to thank.

Republicans have additionally studiously fought against anti-American attitudes on the left for decades. Far too often, liberals define America by its flaws — a harrowing history of racism, Native American genocide, class and gender oppression and more.

While these issues are mighty and worth constant discussion, the GOP has rightfully offered a more nuanced perspective, the contours of which go like this:

It is certainly true that America has sinned, but so has every nation in the history of man. The evil we’ve done is not due to some sickness in our national character but the malice in human nature itself.

America’s mistakes are of a piece with the errors of all nations, and therefore it is foolish to hate our country for them.

By contrast, our achievements and wisdom are uniquely our own. We were the first democracy in the modern world, the first nation dedicated to human rights and a government of the people. Our founding documents, in their embrace of the dignity of man and human equality, laid out a guide for improving the lot of mankind.

When you consider these facts, Republicans say, the only proper feeling toward our country is one of awe and love. And they’re absolutely right. It is vital to continue to fight to improve our society, but at its heart, this is a marvelous nation that we should be proud of.

I am thankful for these contributions, and more, that the GOP has given us in the past 150 years. They’ve made our country stronger, wiser, and more secure. I could have mentioned others, including Republicans’ fight for the nuclear family, the rights of the unborn, government efficiency, free trade and a strong military.

But the critical point is that whether you are a Democrat, an Independent or communist, you should respect the Republican Party and what it has given this country.

Though I am a Democrat, I would never want a country in which my party ruled supreme. That would be cancerous for our democracy. When only one side has power, its members become arrogant and conformist; their ideas grow stale and resistant to revision. America needs Republicans to remind us of the importance of our traditions, the capitalist system, a strong work ethic and a patriotic spirit.

Without that influence, as well as the contributions of a vigorous Democratic Party, we will never Make America Great Again. The great problems that plague us today will only metastasize further until our country is little more than a hollowed shell of its former self.

So my message to the Republicans is this: As a Democrat, I obviously hold different views on most key issues, but I also recognize that America needs all of you. And I hope that you can conclude the same about my side of the aisle.

Politics is war by other means, but in this war, Democrats and Republicans must be collaborators, not enemies. Our combat must be against the problems of society, not each other. We must not continue to weaken this great country with more unproductive partisanship.

Our American heritage of freedom, equality, rugged individualism and perpetual progress, so delicately woven by the founders, Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan, is a frightful gift. To ensure its protection and safeguarding for future generations, we are commanded to work together—succored by the courage of our convictions, with enough humility to admit our flaws — and devise solutions to the great problems before us.

Joshua Heath is a Valencia resident and a political science student at UCLA. He has served two terms as a delegate to the California Democratic Party.

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  • Ron Bischof

    An excellent column and I commend your recitation of facts and spirit, Mr. Heath.

    It’s true that no one person or group has all the answers and a vigorous but civil contest of ideas is best practice.

    I’m curious to know if you consider a de facto single party state like CA healthy for our polity.

  • Brian Baker

    The problem with your thesis, Joshua, is that the traditional Democrat Party you describe is virtually non-existent, having been hijacked by far-left extremists who seem to be obsessed with destroying our social order and cultural norms.

    You have effectively described the political order that existed when I was your age. That was a very long time ago. In my opinion this country is currently engaged in a civil war every bit as intense and fundamental as the one that took place in the 1860s, the only difference being that thankfully much less blood has been shed… so far.

  • lois eisenberg

    “I deeply admire the GOP as an entity. Its core philosophy, conservatism, has an elegance and wisdom worth savoring.”

    Is this worth savoring :

    the Oval Office oozes with brooding grievance and reflects the degree to which Trump has adopted a bunker mentality. ”

    “It also underscores how much Robert Mueller’s escalating investigation bothers and preoccupies the president six months into his term.”

    “Trump shows disdain for rule of law with the attacks on Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller.”

    • Josh Heath

      I don’t define the GOP by Trump. It is a 150 year old, noble institution that is so much more than one man.

      • lois eisenberg

        I define the Republican party being for the very rich, and trying to obstruct social issues ***

  • Jim de Bree

    Joshua–I want to commend you on an excellent column.

  • Ron Bischof

    Thanks for the courtesy of your response, Josh.

    Again, I commend you on your grasp of facts, which are independent of political ideology. It serves no one to talk past the other in rancorous feuding.

    I’m sure you’ve noted there’s a dearth of principled intellectuals like a Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the current Democratic Party. As a consequence, introspection and renewal aren’t within the grasp of your party.

    I hope there are other young thoughtful Democrats like yourself that will offer an opportunity for constructive engagement. Contrary to partisan assertions, I think you’ll find those in the conservative to libertarian political spectrum ready to participate in dialectic discussion.

    I’ve lived in California since the late ’50s and its decline is palpable. I’m quite concerned because my preference is to maintain residency in our beautiful city and state.

    Carry on and I encourage you to write future columns.

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

  • Jim de Bree

    Terrific points. Your points pertain largely to California where the Republicans are virtually a non-existent factor in politics. When I read your column in the hard copy print edition this morning, the situation in California is precisely what came to mind.

    • lois eisenberg

      Thank you Jim for making your point about the California Republicans are a non-existent factor in politics ****

  • Brian Baker

    I don’t agree, Joshua.

    The transformation of the Dem party into what it’s become today began with the radical left of the 1960s, with the Vietnam War and race relations being the pivotal issues of the time.

    If there’s a watershed event, it’s the 1968 Democrat convention in Chicago. You should research that event. There had already been riots over race relations, but they’d been primarily carried out by minorities.
    The lesson for the radical left that the Dem convention debacle illustrated was that mainstream Middle American whites could also riot, and that the rioting could have a profound influence on the policy decisions of that party.

    LBJ withdrew from the election; the Dems nominated his VEEP Humphrey, and Nixon was elected in a solid repudiation of LBJ’s policies on the Vietnam War.

    And so the fuse was lit.

    Over time, the left and right drove further apart, and rioting and other forms of bad behavior became a standard tool of the left. And one has to be honest and acknowledge that you just don’t see equivalent
    behavior of that scale from the right.

    Further, the prevailing ideology of the left also moved steadily further toward radicalism, with formerly “mainstream” liberalism being more and more marginalized. There’s a cliché that in today’s political
    climate, Democrat icon JFK would actually be a Republican, and frankly, it’s true. That alone symbolizes the changes that have taken place to the Dem party.

    Your statement that “The partisanship and division stems from the actions in Washington” is only true in the sense that Washington’s political landscape, particularly in the Dem party, has been warped and distorted by the rise to prominence of the radical left in that party.

    When you consider the political landscape of today, your assertion that “The average Democrat and the average Republican are far more commonsense than most realize” simply doesn’t stand up to examination. This country is incredibly polarized. In my opinion, your view is reflective of a political landscape that existed decades ago, not today.

    • Josh Heath

      Mmm….there’s a lot your claiming here. First, I deplore any attempts at violence by political folks of all stripes. On both the left and the right, however, these individuals are a small minority. Its disengeous to paint either side with a broad brush and say they believe in political violence.

      I certainly agree with the fact that today is a horrible moment politically. We have become Sunnis and Shias. Parents don’t want their children marrying young people of the opposing party. Partisans on both sides avoid becoming friends with those who hold different political views. It is profoundly tragic.

      But even in this political landscape, I stand by my assertion: the average citizen is more reasonable than the politicians. If we all just started talking to one another again, we would realize this and not be so quick to stereotype the other side.

      • lois eisenberg

        “the average citizen is more reasonable than the politicians.”
        Not the deplorable supporters for Trump ***

      • Brian Baker

        And again, Joshua, I disagree with you. First of all, who’s doing all the rioting? Certainly not professional politicians. So, I’m not sure how you define “average citizens”. Further, stories have become quit common nowadays of friendships and even families breaking up over politics; holiday events being cancelled; people refusing to attend weddings and other parties because of political differences.

        You captured it yourself: “We have become Sunnis and Shias”. And that’s not going to magically change and turn into people sitting around the camp fire holding hands and singing “Kumbaya”.

        • Josh Heath

          It won’t magically change, but we all must make an effort to reach out to the other side. That’s the only way we’ll heal our divides.

          • Brian Baker

            WAY too late for that. That ship has sailed, and it’s far over the horizon.

            We’re not talking about minor disagreements about policy. We’re talking about profound and fundamental differences in social and cultural issues, an effort on the part of your party and its adherents to redefine the social contract.

            How are you going to “heal the divide” between people who think it’s okay for a dude to claim he’s a “transgendered woman” and demand to be able to use the women’s shower room in the gym, and those who think it’s a grotesquery, legalizing sexual deviancy? How will you “heal the divide” between LGBTWhatever activists who demand that practicing Christians participate in their “marriage” ceremonies, and those Christians who believe that to do so is a mortal sin? And the problem with a government that tries to FORCE them to do so? How are you going to “heal the divide” between Black Lives Matter whack jobs who are demanding special privileges based on race, and people who believe that race shouldn’t be a determining factor on anything, as MLK advocated? How are you going to “heal the divide” between your party’s advocacy of outright socialism and those who believe in constitutional governance as created by the Founders?

            I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. We’re way past the point at which we can work this stuff out by “discussing” it.

          • Ron Bischof

            Reasonable individuals can be persuaded, Brian.

            Irrational and destructive ideas must be fought, defeated and assigned to the dustbin of history.

            Any idea so “good” that it requires the force of government should be a cause for skepticism.

          • Brian Baker

            Yes, exactly, Ron. That goes to my point, which I think escapes Joshua: the policies of the left, and the people who support them, aren’t “reasonable”. They can’t be persuaded. The differences and the issues are too stark and profound. Where’s the common ground between people who buy into the “transgendered bathroom rights” position and those who think it’s sexual deviancy legitimized? Where’s the “compromise” on that issue?

          • Josh Heath

            Brian, I understand your point of view, but I don’t believe you are taking enough time to understand the left. Consider your point on black lives matter. They advocate for race-based policies to uplift African Americans only because in the past, government policies have inflicted race-based harms on black communities. Redlining, for example, passed during the New Deal Era, prevented African Americans from owning homes. Under this policy, the federal government refused to insure mortgages in any neighborhoods that had even a small black population. So as a result, the banks didn’t lend to black people.

            And this is just one instance where big government inflicted harm on black people. There have been many others. Don’t African Americans deserve policies to help them when in the past they have been unjustly injured by government action? Isn’t that the basic, fair thing to do?

            I urge you to try to understand and comprehend those who think differently than you. You will find that they are not wackjobs, as you suppose, but folks with wisdom and folly, just like you and me.

          • Brian Baker

            And there it is, Joshua. Instead of accepting the fact that their riotous behavior is completely unacceptable, you make excuses for them instead. That is exactly the problem. You just don’t get that most non-leftists and I don’t CARE about their complaints if they can’t be civilized about it, and don’t want to “understand” them to rationalize their behavior.

            Further, I notice that you didn’t even TRY to address the issue I’ve used twice, that of “transgendered” bath room use, also known as the legalization of sexual deviancy. Yet it’s the perfect issue to illustrate my point, that there’s no common ground to be found there anywhere. It’s an insane policy.

            I wrote a column about your problem once, at my personal blog. It’s entitled “FLHHC”. If you want to read it, here’s the link: https://theviewfromtheisland.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/flhhc/

            You suffer from the second “H” of the acronym: a denial of the reality of human nature. Apparently you think this country is the Good Ship Lollipop, and the reality is very different. Pollyanna doesn’t exist. My own essay rebutting this column of yours was published in the Signal last night for the Weekend edition, and as I stated there (which was taken from my comments here) we’re engaged in a so-far bloodless (pretty much, anyway) civil war every bit as profound and fundamental as the one that took place in the 1860s.

            That’s just the way it is.

  • lois eisenberg

    MAKE. TRUMP. PAY.
    “A shocking 20% of Trump’s time as President has been spent on the golf course.”

    “And every one of these vacations was on the taxpayers’ dime.”

    “That’s why Democrats in Congress just introduced the SWAMP Act to make Trump PAY for his vacations:” YEAH ***

  • lois eisenberg

    The liar-in-chief’s 6 month update of his pathological lying and his false/misleading claims: 836 claims in 182 days ”
    An average of 4.6 lies a day ****

  • lois eisenberg

    “Tillerson’s Exxon violated Russia sanctions while he was CEO, Treasury says”
    What a great cabinet the liar-in-chief has ?????

  • lois eisenberg

    “Who knew that electing republicans was the best way to stop republicans.”
    “I LOVE IT “

  • Josh Heath

    Thanks so much. I try my best to be thoughtful, though I fail just like everyone else sometimes.

  • Josh Heath

    Absolutely, the Republican party has incredibly noble origins. Abraham Lincoln was a model conservative. As for the point about government assistance, the Signal made a typo in my piece. Where I discuss the enactment of food stamps and a basic income, it should say Democrats enacted those things, instead it says Republicans did.

    But you are correct in that Republicans have sought to make these programs temporary, not a life style. Which is exactly right. Having folks needlessly on the dole abuses taxpayers AND the poor, by robbing them off the chance to have a diginified life. That’s why I think every poverty program should have a work requirement. Folks should have the right to assistance, but the responsibility to make an effort and ensure they aren’t on it for very long. That’s what citizenship is all about: rights and responsibilities.

    The lack of diversity of thought on the left is something that profoundly troubles me as a liberal. Far too often, we assume that are ideas are the only right ideas, and anything conservative is either bigoted or stupid. Which ironically is a perspective you have to be an idiot to believe.

    For example, the GOP has the log cabin Republicans, but the left makes no room for Pope Francis Democrats–people of faith who believe in social justice, but also more traditional approaches towards marraige and abortion. And that’s wrong.

    But anyway, thanks so much for reading. Please check out my stuff in the future and I look forward to debating these points further.

  • lois eisenberg

    If Trump is under investigation and knows that he is innocent
    don’t you think he would do everything in his power to facilitate
    and aid in the investigation to prove his innocents ?????????
    This evil mad man is doing the opposite *****

  • Brian Baker

    Which has exactly nothing at all to do with what I wrote. You have a firm grasp of the irrelevant. Good job!

    • lois eisenberg

      We went to different schools together ++ SARCASTIC

  • Josh Heath

    Solid Question! Well for starters, I believe the Democrats, even with their imperfections, have a vision for moving America forward in the 21st century. They recognize that, for example, we need a high-skilled workforce that can thrive in the new technology economy. To this end, they advocate for policies like making college tuition-free and implementing strong worker re-training programs so older folks can learn new skills and stay competitive in the free market.

    By contrast, the GOP seems too stuck in its ways. Their program seems to consist solely of shrinking government to a miniscule size and cutting taxes for rich folks. Those policies are insufficient for leading America to a better future.

    The finest Republicans–like Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon–advocated conservatism and the importance of traditions, but also recognized the need to change with the times in certain ways. This is the way of thinking that the GOP must restore if it wants to remain competitive in the modern era.

    • lois eisenberg

      Josh, love your response to why you stay a Democrat **** BRAVO ***

    • Ron Bischof

      Although I’m not a Republican, I’d posit you’ve accepted some caricatures here, Josh.

  • lois eisenberg

    The folks that voted for Trump are the one’s that are going to get hurt the most.
    This man conned this people with promises that were so outrageous.
    Unfortunately they were gullible and were taken in by a snake oil salesman
    that showed his true pathetic crude behavior in private life, during the
    campaign and his unethical way of doing business and cheating people out of
    their money.
    His crudeness toward women should of been enough to turn away from him
    showing that a decent man doesn’t act this way let alone one that is
    aspiring to be President of the United States.
    Any decent person who was going to vote should of avoided this crude kind
    of behavior by this indecent evil man.

  • lois eisenberg

    vladmir BINGO ***

  • lois eisenberg

    The values that you set out in your column have and come and gone with the
    present Republicans.
    The old boys Republican club of the past were not spineless, stuck to their convictions, if not always reasonable, and were beyond being bullied by a despot.

  • Ron Bischof

    This Trump obsession…

    What explains the precipitous decline of the Democratic Party in governors and state houses over the last 8 years, Josh?

  • Brian Baker

    “As for the transgender bathrooms issue, this is not an actual problem.”

    Good grief. Are you kidding me? Do you SERIOUSLY think this isn’t one of THE most divisive issues anywhere? You think some kind of “bipartisan consensus” can be forged on it?

    Further, it’s merely one issue that illustrates the enormous divide between your side and mine.

    I have to tell you, your naiveté is simply breathtaking. Denial ain’t a river in Egypt. I can only assume you live in a cocoon of Blue coastal ignorance of the reality of how those regular people in flyover country think. And, Joshua, they happen to be the majority of this country.

    And this: “I agree with you that there is an irrational sect of the left, but conservatives should combat those folks with thoughtfulness”.

    Pard, we’ve already been doing that for about a half century, and what’s been the result? Your side acting worse all the time. In fact, the ONLY reason this civil war has been pretty bloodless so far is because conservatives haven’t risen up and smacked your side down. Let’s hope that continues, but there’s a point beyond which people just can’t be pushed anymore.

    Good grief.

    • Josh Heath

      Brian, while you may think transgender bathrooms are a problem, the facts indicate they are not. There is no epidemic of trans folks committing sex crimes in bathrooms. You may have anxiety that that is the case, but your anxieties don’t dictate reality. The data does. So yes, it is not a real problem.

      Furthermore, your reading of U.S History is uncharitable to say the least. Liberals are not solely responsible for the division in this country. Part of the blame lies at the feet of the right, in their dismissal of minority issues, their callousness towards women and the LGBT community, their cruelty towards low-income Americans (as seen in the crude “makers vs. takers” analogy).

      You can continue to live in a make believe world in which conservatives are perfect angels and leftists are the devil, but I encourage you to join reality and try to find common ground with those you share differences with.

      • Brian Baker

        “Brian, while you may think transgender bathrooms are a problem, the facts indicate they are not.”

        What “facts”, kid? You keep making those grandiose pronouncements based on nothing more than your wishful thinking.

        And exactly where did I say that “conservatives are perfect angels”?

        But thanks for actually proving my point here. Your column advances the preposterous thesis that all we have to do is sit around and have a dialogue, and voila! Like magic we’ll be able to solve our problems and enjoy a Kumbaya moment, serenaded by leprechauns while unicorns dance. You sound like Rodney King; “Can’t we all just get along?”

        And what we see right here is the actual reality. We can’t even agree on the nature of the problem, let alone reaching any “solution”. YOU don’t even think there even is a problem, which I find utterly amazing, frankly.

        You need to get out more, kid. There’s whole world out there beyond your little UCLA and Democrat party echo chamber.

  • Ron Bischof

    Gerrymandering has a history in both parties and you’re right in comprehending it cannot explain why the Democrat as at their lowest ebb since the 1920s.

    “…1,030 seats. That’s the number of spots in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress lost by Democrats during Obama’s presidency.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4063898/As-Obama-accomplished-policy-goals-party-floundered.html

    May I suggest you also entertain the thought that’s it’s a rejection of policy by large swaths of the country?

  • Ron Bischof

    Your premise is incorrect, Josh.

    You’re welcome to clarify but you appear to assume that government is the solution and that “programs”, i.e., centrally planned Federal government management by unelected technocrats, are to guide the economy and behavior of private individuals and businesses.

    If you make it a competition between high tax and redistributive policies to achieve perceived beneficial ends, you’re correct that no political party competes with Democrats on that score.

    Democrats conflate government with society and posit its centrality in our lives.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gLa9Te8Blw

    However, this also assumes the Democratic Party governing philosophy is correct and efficacious. Empirical data reveals it’s not.

    The USA became the dominant global economic power without a large Federal government. Consider how that occurred and don’t allow your thought process to be bound by circumstances in your immediate environs.

    The proper role of government isn’t a new debate.

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

    ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

    • Josh Heath

      I am not necessarily looking for massive federal programs, but you seemed to imply that conservatives have an economic agenda to help families succeed in the 21st century. My question is: where is it? Merely cutting taxes and eliminating government initiatives is not enough to help folks. That won’t stop rising college costs, help workers retrain for the technology economy, or launch an attack on what the pentagon calls our largest national security threat, climate change.

      Furthermore, I critique the idea that government action harms economic growth. Giving workers vouchers to retrain and develop the skills employers need for the high-wage jobs of today, for example, would greatly BOOST growth while helping families achieve the American Dream.

      This idea that government can only harm and does no good is contradicted by basic facts. Medicare and Social Security were two of the greatest policy successes in the 2oth century and lifted tens of millions of seniors out of poverty. Food stamps did the same by curing millions of hunger. I’m not asking you to endorse socialism, just to consider a more nuanced point of view than “Government always bad, markets always good”.

      Times have changed, but the Republican party platform is stuck in the past. That is why I am a Democrat.

      • Ron Bischof

        You’re still thinking programmatically, leading me to conclude you haven’t considered carefully what I wrote and what I did not write, Josh.

        Also, “government does no good” is a straw man. Nowhere do I posit that.

        I’ll leave you to consider more carefully what I wrote and we can resume tomorrow.

      • lois eisenberg

        “Times have changed, but the Republican party platform is stuck in the past. That is why I am a Democrat.”
        BRAVO TO YOU JOSH ***

  • Ron Bischof

    Another perspective appropriate to this Independence Day month:

    A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM BIG GOVERNMENT
    by Richard M. Ebeling
    July 5, 2016

    https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/declaration-independence-big-government/

    • Brian Baker

      Ah, yes. Those pesky things called “principles”. Or, as the linked column asserts, those bedrock issues that can’t be “compromised” nor negotiated away.

      I know them well. They’re what Joshua and his fellow Dems can’t seem to grasp.

  • Ron Bischof

    Let’s pick one that’s no doubt top of mind.

    Do you not comprehend that government and the business of higher education created the “student loan crisis”, Josh? And that politicians and academia exploit the perception?

    I have 3 sons in college. They all work while attending and have no student loans. They pay for their mobile phones, autos/registration/insurance, clothing, entertainment, etc. We provide room and board.

    Curiously, none of them have a “crisis”.

  • Brian Baker

    Kid, if this is your idea of “discussion”, then you don’t know squat about human nature. So, all you need to do to reach a “compromise” or “understanding” is tell the other guy that he’s wrong? There is no “issue”, and then voila, problem solved?

    That’s the problem with you leftists. You’re just SO convinced of your moral superiority and SO dismissive of, when not outright hostile towards, those who disagree with you, that talking to you people is about as productive as trying to talk the sun out of rising. It’s an utter and complete waste of time.

    I’m done with you, kid. You’re not nearly as bright as you think you are, and I don’t have the time to waste here anymore.

  • Ron Bischof

    Here’s the game I guided my sons to avoid:

    https://www.facebook.com/turningpointusa/videos/1478125065563678/

  • Brian Baker

    “Angry”. “Hatred”. The buzzwords of the intellectually bankrupt left. Transparent and contemptible attempts to dismiss and delegitimize the concerns of the opposition.

    Kid, you confuse mockery and scorn for “anger” and “hatred”. All you have to do is re-read this thread to see how and why you’ve earned it.