Conservative verbiage, what government do you want?

Eric Hill

Opinion Editor

This issue we have a letter from the VCU chapter of Young American’s for Liberty, a Libertarian political group. The letter is about their opinion regarding the Tea Party movement, which is a new political faction with members whose political ideas are not yet fermented.

In the spirit of good judgment, we should have a thorough understanding of what it is a political movement means. For example if you show up to a Black Panther Party meeting, thinking that it is a conservation group for endangered South American panthers, you might find yourself saying things that are not entirely logical in context. This type of confusion has led to a lot of criticism regarding the Tea Party movement whose size, influence and purpose are as yet undetermined.

Most of this confusion stems from the level of conservatism the “tea partiers” endorse. Are they libertarians (strict constitutionalists), conservative Republicans, some mixture of the two, or just a mob of angry people? This confusion has led me to believe we should publish a chart explaining just where to pin the Tea Party. Please put this up in your restroom, and when you discover a new political movement (while reading the newspaper, of course) mark an X next to where you think it belongs. Take a look at where you fit and see what government you believe meets the needs of the people.

Some might dispute the semantics of this chart but the point of this exercise is to get some perspective on how people classify themselves within this political spectrum.  Most industrialized countries fall somewhere between “moderate” and “democratic socialist,” the United States being mostly moderate and France being mostly democratic socialist. China is a fringe communist state, and North Korea is a military junta. Sudan and Somalia are anarchist and Nigeria could be classified as Libertarian (Nigeria just experienced a coup d’état because their president attempted to exceed constitutional term limits). This chart occludes theocracies such as Iran and is defined in context of general American considerations.

  1. Anarchist:  No government, burn everything, fend for yourself.
  2. Libertarian:  Government can only do what the constitution states, everything else is organized by the people privately.  Taxed accordingly.
  3. Strict Conservative:  States determine the course of local government policy, federal government participates in some social programs but only the bare “necessities” (e.g. defense, policing, banking etc.).  Very low taxes.
  4. Moderate Conservative:  States play lager role in local governance but Federal government may dictate some social policy.  Some welfare programs, but strictly regulated (e.g. social security, Medicare, Medicaid, small business programs etc.)  Low taxes.
  5. Moderate:  I am the middle, show me a good plan and I will go along with it for a while.  Federal government should participate in welfare of the people, but individuals are still responsible for their own well being.  States and Federal government should be responsible for the tasks they can perform the best.  Taxes should be low, but can be moderate or high for important purposes.
  6. Moderate Liberal:  States are reliant on the federal government to set roles and precedents.  The Federal government is responsible for the people and should establish programs to improve their lives, even if it taxes wealthy citizens.  Government regulates business heavily, taxes as necessary to maintain social programs.  Taxes absorb a considerable percentage of personal wealth.
  7. Democratic Socialist:  The government must help all of its citizens meet a certain standard of living, even if it lowers a higher standard of living for some citizens.  Many aspects of life are regulated by the government but for the benefit of raising citizen’s health and wellness (e.g. higher education, transportation choices, luxury goods).  Taxes are very high to provide a minimum standard of living for all citizens, low opportunities to become wealthy.
  8. Communist/Military Junta/Fascist/:  All citizens serve the government, to whatever ends the ruling body dictates.  No personal wealth except through corruption of the system or government production.  The government is responsible entirely for your well being, but may not be able to meet all of its citizens needs.

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