COLUMN: An important year to vote

In a recent opinion article, the concept of “progressive” (looking forward or left) and “conservative” (looking backward or right) was broached. If you look up the definition of “progressive” as a political movement, you often find it associated with liberalism.

The core beliefs of classic liberals, historically, did not necessarily include a government by a majority vote by citizens because, it was argued, “there is nothing in the bare idea of majority rule to show that majorities will always respect the rights of property or maintain rule of law.” At the very least, voting should be allowed only by registered citizens, thereby excluding criminals, visitors from other countries and non-citizens who may be in the country legally or illegally. Proper identification of a person’s status as a legal, registered voter was assumed without question.

For example, James Madison argued for a “constitutional republic” with protections for individual liberty over a pure democracy, reasoning that in a pure democracy where anyone can vote, “common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be imposed by a majority upon of the whole … and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the rights and freedom of the weaker party.” Therefore, we have in the Pledge of Allegiance, “and to the Republic for which it stands.”

In the late 19th century, classical liberalism has developed into a revised libertarian movement, which argues for government to be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of individual freedom through personal choices. This position, however, has become known as “conservative,” while in fact it drives toward a new reliance on personal integrity, economic success through capitalism and freedom of choice. Marketing our own abilities, whatever they may be, rather than being tied to a government-defined job is the direction of success. Each of us is a unique individual being totally unequal in our capabilities of thought and physical actions. At the same time, we expect our government to provide an equally level playing field to allow us to express our efforts for the benefit of all.

The arguments for greater control of individuals, loss of property rights, demands to be “politically correct” and an increase in burdensome taxes have all come from the “progressive left” in the name of some general “benefits” that are ill-defined or non-existent. In all cases where this movement has taken hold it has led to socialism and communism, where the results have been uniformly disastrous. Examples include the old USSR, Argentina and Cuba. Examples of success with libertarian capitalism where at least some measure of individual freedom is available include the new China, South Korea and the USA.

I agree with Jan Conner’s comment that this year is the time to make a choice. I hope that your choice in voting is not driven by a false label of progressive or conservative, but rather by the record of those who would impose more controls and tax burden on the citizens of Minnesota, such as Gov. Dayton has done, versus the upcoming supporters of President Trump, some of whom are Republican, who understand the value of freedom, hard work and libertarian capitalism to bring a better life for all, even those who disagree with us.

This article provided by NewsEdge.