A well-known line and popular meme from a popular movie read “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” In many ways, this line from the Princess Bride perfectly describes the politics of today. The popular words of liberal and conservative have taken on different meanings for different people in different times, even in our time. Today, words are a large part of the politics of confusion as much as any other time in our history.
Let’s start with liberal. Today’s connotation means someone, usually of the Democrat Party, or anyone else whose views support policies that are socially progressive (like being woke) and promote social welfare (redistribution of wealth, government involvement in forcing equality of outcomes). In short, a liberal is a person who believes in the cradle to grave nanny-state. They are statists. However, by any other definition of the word, someone who is liberal is one who promotes individual rights and liberties, free economic enterprise and someone who is willing to accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own. By any other definition, other than the political one, today’s liberals are NOT liberal at all. They are progressive (another word with a changed definition to suit the statist, autocratic ideology), believing in the collective, rather than the individual; in the state rather than people; in the “experts” rather than individual common sense. Over time, one can see how being the correctly defined progressive or liberal, political liberals have confused, even appropriated words for themselves to hide the stigma of who they really are and to confuse the non-ruling class.
The term conservative has also been appropriated by political hacks, politicians, usually of the Republican Party persuasion, and nearly anyone professing conservatism while maintaining progressive/liberal ideas. A conservative, politically, is one who favors free enterprise, private ownership, socially traditional ideas, a non-intrusive government, and works to protect the rights and liberties of individuals. Especially here in Idaho, every Republican touts themselves as a conservative. However, we can easily say to most, as I quoted from the start, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Let’s look at some examples of what I mean. In a previous article I charged Governor Brad Little with numerous violations of individual liberties, guaranteed by both the US and Idaho Constitutions. (Charges Against Governor Brad Little). Some of these sited include locking down people from travel, going to work, opening their businesses, etc.; prohibition against public gatherings, freedom of assembly, violations of due process in court proceedings including jury trials, the right to speedy trials; prohibition of holding religious services. In short, he violated, with the threat of force the right to liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Use of force comes with the threat of violation of life, too. Big government decided who could do what. Sounds more like a liberal of today than a conservative, by today’s so-called definitions. Little is a statist, a liberal, a progressive by today’s definitions, not a conservative. Patriot Bob provided further evidence of Little’s not-so-conservative scheme of “cutting regulations,” which made little to no actual cut in regulations. (Did Brad Little Really Cut Regulations?)
The so-called conservative governor of Idaho is in particularly good company with most of the rest of Idaho’s so-called conservative legislature. With super-sized budget surpluses, they continue to fund big government, whether government -re-education schools, woke and bloated Idaho Health and Welfare, which department’s purpose is solely financial redistribution of wealth, or any other aspect of government, while returning a few crumbs to taxpayers. They continue to ignore the plight of property owners whose property taxes are out of control and raising excessively and well beyond the so-called needs of government in fulfilling its sole responsibility of protecting life, liberty, and property
Additionally, the legislature has continued to ignore any attempts at removing sales tax on food, instead giving taxpayers just a few dollars more in sales tax credits, which don’t even begin until you file your 2023 taxes in 2024. The same can be said concerning gas taxes. While Idahoans are paying through the nose at the pump, the “conservative” legislature, with their monster budget surpluses for the last two years, cannot even cut gas taxes by even half of the $0.32/gallon that it collects, which was attempted this last session. Note that so-called liberal states of Michigan ($0.272/gallon), Hawaii ($0.16/per gallon and the most Democratic), Delaware (Biden’s home state, $0.23/gallon), Massachusetts ($0.24/gallon), to name a few, have lower gas taxes than “conservative” Idaho.
Idaho’s “conservative” governor and legislature continue to toot their “conservative” horn over the $500 million in tax rebates plus a few dollars more in ongoing tax cuts for taxpayers. What is ignored is that Idaho’s budget has bloated from $8.8 billion in 2016 to nearly $13 billion in 2021 and is on course to explode with more money to spend for “conservative” legislators who are salivating at the spending possibilities. This despite the Republican Party platform which states “We believe the size and cost of government…must be reduced.” And “We support lower federal, state, and local taxes.” Further, “We believe that tax reductions can be achieved by cutting spending on every level: federal, state, and local.” Finally, this one: “we oppose any efforts, state or federal, legislative, executive, or judicial, to limit the ‘free exercise of religion’ by its citizens at home, their place of employment, or venues otherwise publicly available.” The statists that call themselves conservatives can’t follow these few items in their own Republican platform that I have listed, let alone any other conservative concept.
With so many conflicting ideas over what is conservative or not, as we have seen in what the power-hungry imps have said and demonstrated by their actions, what should be the meter for determining whether someone is liberal or conservative, a statist or liberty-minded, one who is for the collective above the individual or for the smallest minority, the individual? One might be surprised that the answer is relatively simple. That meter is the US and Idaho Constitution. Both inform us, as well as the elite ruling statists in any and all parties (especially the super-majority Republican Party of Idaho), that “We the people of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution,” according to the US Constitution, and “We, the people of the state of Idaho…do establish this Constitution,” according to Idaho’s Constitution.
Let me further explain. The powers that the individual people possess have been granted to government. Naturally, not all their powers but only those specifically enumerated were granted. Furthermore, only those powers which they have can they grant. For example, I, as an individual, have no power to take any property, whether car, tv, money or other property that my neighbor labored to acquire in his or her pursuit of happiness, and then keep that property for myself or dole it out to any other person. That is theft. Additionally, I have no right, nor power to force my neighbor to pay for my children’s education, food, clothing, etc., nor to force my neighbor to pay me for his or her right to open a business and then continue to pay me in order to remain open. I have no power to make him pay me to get a license to travel for himself or his car. Nor can I make him pay for a park I want to build, even if I allow him free access to the park that he may not want and may never use. I could go on.
Simply stated, every person who wishes to represent me must recognize that only the powers which I myself have, namely a power and right to protect the lives, liberty and property of my family and myself and even others around me may be granted to them. Only powers that one possesses can be granted. When government, our statist representatives, our statist governor, and any other government official, exceeds ANY power that any one individual has, they have exceeded the enumerated power that were or even can be granted. Both Constitutions are quite clear. The question that any government official must ask is “Do I have the right to require of or to do this to my neighbor as an individual?” If the answer is no, then as a government official, one must necessarily conclude that the law or rule is unconstitutional and violates either life, liberty or property of my constituent and exceeds any power that was or could have been granted. When government exceeds its authority, the creation of the people has become greater than the creator, the people. That can and must never happen.
In conclusion, what is a conservative? What is a liberal? What is a progressive? In today’s politics of confusion, they are all the same. A conservative is no different than a liberal. Republicans are no different than Democrats. With extremely rare exceptions, not a single person in authority, in government, is anything but a statist, as they continue to prove over and over. What is the meter by which we can judge whether they are a true conservative? The meter is the Constitution. A true conservative seeks to conserve the Constitution. Without the basic, most vital understanding of the Constitution, as I have explained, the individuals tasked with protecting and defending the Constitution, cannot truly protect and defend it. A basic knowledge and understanding are absolutely required. One can easily determine who has that basic knowledge or who ignores that knowledge by their words and actions.
Politics can be confusing, especially when one says, “I am a conservative” and another says “No, I am a conservative” but they all deny the limitations of the Constitution, the limitations so clearly and succinctly defined. The so-called conservatives (or liberals and others) who ignore or are ignorant of the limitations, themselves must be denied all positions of power. They will usurp more, abuse what they have and do all they can to confuse and deceive the people into their corrupt, statist schemes, all for their own gain and glory of the world, while giving only token offerings to the people who they are supposed to serve and represent. Liberals, conservatives, and all statists do what they can to make this state, this nation, this world a world of confusion. The Constitution is the cure. The Constitution is the meter by which to judge who the statists are and who truly is a conservative and even who truly is liberal as the terms really meant. When judged by that meter, the Constitution, the politics of confusion becomes the politics of clarity. We must ignore what the political putzes say. If we don’t, we can expect continued confusion in the political cesspool that statists have forced us to wade through. Focus on the Constitution and vote accordingly. If we do, Idaho and the US will be much better off.