The U.S. Capitol
(image by Yodaho)
This article is not specifically about the exploited working class, the disappearing middle class, or the still-controlling ruling class. Instead, it is about describing how local, state, and national governments can be improved, preferably under a new national Constitution. But this article is not just about government; it expresses my worldview about several topics.
Some hardcore pragmatists and realists think it is foolish to contemplate ideas that may take 100 years to implement. But to idealists--visualizing the actual goal or dream is what energizes us. In the first half of this long article (I apologize), I identify some of the major political and religious groups in the United States; and then, in the second half, I propose a fair system that levels the political playing field among these diverse groups.
One political group consists of the paleoconservatives; many of its adherents may not even use this term to describe themselves. Like our founding fathers who said our nation should not get entangled in the affairs of foreign governments, paleoconservatives are Republicans who are against the interventionist foreign policy of neoconservative Republicans. Neoconservatives believe that our government has a right, even a moral obligation, to police the world.
Though Republicans and Democrats have well-known, definable differences regarding taxes, general spending, and social policies, many individuals from both parties favor a neoconservative foreign policy. The neoliberal foreign policy of Democrats is roughly the same as the neoconservative foreign policy of Republicans. Both are imperialistic. It's okay for the United States to intervene in the affairs of other sovereign nations, they reason, because we're the "good" guys.
For those who view the world as a place where dog eats dog, the neoconservatives are right. But Buddhists, yogis, Christian mystics, non-radical Muslims, and other peace-practicing groups would say that, if we take the initiative in showing compassion and benevolence, other individuals and nations will reciprocate with corresponding sentiments, sooner or later. Love conquers all.
Paleoconservatives are socially conservative, so they are less likely to support gay and abortion rights and the legalization of marijuana. They may be concerned about things like genetically modified foods that currently do not have to be labeled, and they are usually against putting more restrictions on gun owners.
Paleoconservatives are quick to argue that our government is a republic with guaranteed individual rights, and it is not a democracy, they say. They will inform you that the word "democracy" is not in the Constitution because our founding fathers feared the "mob rule" of a democracy. Democracy, or rule by the majority, is what you have when two foxes and a chicken decide what's for dinner. Paleoconservatives will argue that our constitution was not meant to be a "living" document that changes with the times. They fear a democracy that can take away their God-given rights if it is the decision of the majority.
Libertarians are another political group. They are socially liberal, but economically they are conservative. They are more likely to support gay and abortion rights, and the legalization of recreational drugs. But economically, they are apt to recommend laissez-faire capitalism. They want a small government with the fewest number of government regulations. Libertarians may want the liberty to become millionaires and billionaires through the free market. Libertarians oppose crony capitalism, which occurs when there is a collusion of private companies that get subsidies and special benefits from the government. Libertarians are also against the interventionist foreign policy of neoconservatives.
Fundamentalist and evangelical Christians are two religious groups that are combined as one group here. The fundamentalist churches interpret the Bible in the most literal way, even more so than the evangelical churches do. But both have a pre-seventeenth century, or pre-Enlightenment Age, viewpoint of the Bible--believing in a fiery, eternal hell for the lost who refuse to take Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They believe that abortion in most cases, and homosexuality, are sinful practices. Evolution is wrong, because it contradicts the first few chapters in the Book of Genesis.
The problem that pastors often have is that if they tell their congregation everything they learned in seminary (that is, if it was a liberal seminary) about the latest scientific research on the Bible, many of the lay people would stop attending and go somewhere else for reassurance, if their entrenched beliefs were challenged. For many people it is, or was, difficult to face the truth and give up certain childhood Christian beliefs. But even after the initial shock and inner turmoil that results when Christians learn what scientific Bible scholars say about the Bible, self-identifying Christians can still grow spiritually: They can become better citizens with broader political views when they stop believing that their religion is the one and only way.
For example, given the way most conservative Christians interpret the Bible, Israel plays an important role in the events leading up to the so-called Battle of Armageddon, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. For this reason, conservative Christians often reflexively support Zionism and military assistance to Israel.
The Tea Party movement is primarily concerned about deficit spending. Every year that our government spends more money than it earns from tax revenues, it creates an annual deficit. Since our government has borrowed and spent more money than it has earned year after year, it has caused our national debt to skyrocket out of control. This is why Tea Partiers want to reduce government spending and taxes, even though many people might benefit if the government spent money to create jobs that are unavailable in the private sector. Of course, we could easily balance the budget every year if we dramatically reduced military spending.
According to www.WarResisters.org/pages/piechart.htm, 36% of the federal budget goes to the current military, and 18% for past military spending, making a total of 54% of the federal budget spent on the military (and this does not include the $200 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan war spending). Reducing military spending is not an option for many Tea Partiers since many of them believe that a very strong military should be a top priority. Before he died, foreign policy expert Chalmers Johnson said that about 30 percent of military spending is secretive, unknown even to members of Congress.
Based on the history of our military and the covert operations of the CIA since the end of World War II, according to foreign-policy expert William Blum, the American people would be appalled and ashamed (or at least they should be) if they learned the details about how our government has coerced other countries over the years. In the past, we believed we had to stop the sinister and exaggerated "international communist conspiracy." Now the new bogeyman is the "war on terrorism."
As a result, socialism or communism, since it first began in Russia in 1917, has never been allowed to rise or fall on its own merits because our government has had the power to undermine it in extremely unfair ways--using disinformation, sabotage, torture, assassination, election tampering, whatever it takes, whenever it, or a semblance of it, erupts in some remote corner of the world. This is your taxes at work! Now we know that it was not just the Russians who were getting a lot of propaganda during the cold war. We Americans were too, maybe even more. Any totalitarian form of socialism is not true socialism, which can only be implemented through a democratic process. Perhaps the former Soviet Union, China, and North Vietnam would have become less totalitarian if they had not been so viciously attacked and undermined by the United States.