John Livingston News

Is Government the Source of our Liberties?

Is Idaho’s Legislature Truly Conservative?

What the heck happened during the last weeks of the Idaho legislature? Republicans hold 80% of the seats in both houses and most fancy themselves to be conservative.

I am one who watches the daily debates on the floor of both the House and the Senate. I very much appreciate the somber civil and dignified debates in the Senate, and I equally appreciate the passion and jocularity of the debate in the House. Both are important.

My favorite Senator to watch is my own from District 19 Senator Grant Burgoyne. He is a gentleman and treats his fellow Senators and the process of debate itself with dignity and respect. I disagree with most of his votes, not because I disagree with his logic, but because I disagree with the premise upon which his logic proceeds. The “1st instances” Aquinas’ term, proceed from The Natural Law and are the bases of all of our liberties. Government is not the source of our liberties, but rather guarantees and secures these liberties. A political constituency dependent on government, no longer has liberty but lives in a state of indenture hood. Many politicians are comfortable with government being in the position a Feudal Lord and dispensing the fruits of other’s labors to a dependent class of people who are happy to live in a State of perpetual dependence.

There is hope. Despite what the media and community organizers may tell you upward opportunity thrives in our country especially in places like Idaho. According to The Department of Labor statistics 80% of people—adults and children, living below the Federal Poverty Level today will be living in a higher quintile within 20 years. That is called upward mobility. Despite economic incentives that are designed to create dependency and politicians that exploit that dependency and try to use it as a political lever, the people of Idaho want for their families to be independent.

I differ very much from the “Blue Boise Coalition” on social issues. Is not the right to life based on the most fundamental principles of The Natural Law? And is not creating a “special class” of people based on gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality or whatever else one could think of to make us different from each other; the antithesis of The Basic Principles of the Natural Law? “All men are created equal” means all of humankind. Equal rights are Natural Rights, Special Rights for special people or special groups only serve to divide us. Special Rights have no bases in Natural Law.

Finally, I follow the Idaho Freedom Index. It is a good way of evaluating individual lawmakers against a very conservative standard. What I would also be interested in is a measure of the individual legislators against each other a statistical mean. Such a measure would show us that Legislators like Senator Burgoyne vote almost exactly like the Republican leadership. I believe it would demonstrate to many conservatives that the Republican Leadership in the Idaho Legislature is more in line with the “Bush, Romney, Kasich, Ryan” branch of the Republican party than it is with President Trump.

Early on during this legislative session this was demonstrated to me when a group of citizens organized a letter campaign to Republican legislators to support a resolution it was understood by all that this would have no formal legal standing, in support of President Trump during the impeachment proceedings in January. Initially, there was a groundswell of support for such a resolution. Many other State legislative bodies sent letters of support to our President. But within a day the idea was put to rest by many senior legislators most but not all who are in leadership.

I want to believe that we have a conservative Idaho State Legislature, but as I look back on the past 3 months and especially the last 2 weeks I really don’t believe this to be the case. Are those who call themselves Conservatives—many who hold important committee leadership positions or even those aspiring to those positions, really who they say they are? Do they know what they believe and most of all know what principles their beliefs are based on? Are they “Trump Republicans” or “Romney—Kasich—Ryan—Bush” Republicans, who are more interested in serving the special interests and lobbyists that contribute to their campaigns and to their Governor’s Cup tickets? Do they care more about the salaries of State employees and teachers, or the ever-increasing tax burden on their constituents?

Thank you Senator Burgoyne for letting me know where you stand on the issues and why you take those positions. You respect my positions and take time to engage the opposition with logic even though in my opinion it is a logic-based on a moving standard of relativism. Maybe because you are in the minority, you can’t hide in the heard and pretend to be something that you are not. I wish some of my fellow Conservative Republicans would demonstrate a similar courage and respect for their constituents.

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