As a disclaimer, let me begin by stating that I am generally ‘leftist’ in my political philosophy, so you can expect that I will be in disagreement with the overarching paradigm outlined by the ACP. However, I think policy should be based on pragmatics, and real outcomes. Therefore it is useful to analyze political thought on a point by point basis, in doing so I think there will be occasion for agreement between myself and others like me, with the principles set forth by the ACP. I may post opinions separately to avoid reader exhaustion.
All quoted snips are taken from the website: americanconservativeparty.com/
“Accordingly, we believe in equal opportunity but not equal outcomes. Since redistribution of wealth runs counter to these values, we vigorously oppose any actions by government at any level to engage in such activities.”
I understand how libertarians feel about redistribution, but if this statement is true then providing equal opportunity has everything to do with education. It is education alone that can provide a springboard from which individuals might go forth into adulthood with an “equal opportunity.” Level of education is directly correlated with income over lifetime, and ability to be upwardly mobile. Of course there are always a few success stories about individuals who succeed without education, but those tend to be outliers. So, if providing equal opportunity for all citizens is indeed a desired outcome of policy, then I would expect to see a large investment into making sure that all schools are providing high quality and pertinent education for the populace, at least through the 8th grade. To do so will require a collective funding source that can best be accomplished through taxation. The quality and consistency of education cannot be guaranteed by home schooling. Charter schools can do well with appropriate oversight, the state of Michigan is a good example. (michigancapitolconfidential.com/18164) However, I think it is very important to keep in mind that without a robust educational system Americans will fall behind in global competition, innovation, and production of new technologies.
It is my feeling that there may be some role for the federal government in this arena. I am against the onslaught of standardized testing that has brought public schools to their knees and prevented them from offering a more diverse and rich curriculum. Teachers need to be respected, and work in tandem with parents and community institutions to make sure that students learn to be critically and creatively thinking members of society, rather than automatons who cannot engage with the tool of reason and make choices for themselves.
I fear that the educational vision we are currently laboring under is misguided and is mapped from a corporate model that creates good ‘workers’ but not excellent ‘citizens.’ Schools should not be run for the profit of investors, but for the betterment and preparation of their students. For this reason I am against market solutions to public education. An excellent talk on how market solutions can be harmful to civic life: ted.com/talks/michael_sandel_why_we_shouldn_t_trust_ma...h_our_civic_life
“…Federal, State, and Local Governments to embark on a crusade of “comprehensive planning”–striving to manipulate and guide human behavior through transportation, infrastructure, land use, and “economic development”–completely ignoring that the American experiment owes its success to the primacy of individual rights and private ownership of capital and property...”
I think this statement is a little disingenuous. One might argue that America was built by slave labor, African and Chinese, or one might argue that we came to greatness due to various movements and revolutions: independence, labor, civil rights, free speech, and other cultural revolutions that incited pervasive changes in intellectual orientation. Or, you could argue that War is what brought this country to dominance. But, to say we owe our success to private ownership of capital is a reductionist statement, one made without any reasonable justification.
Further, comprehensive planning it what brings us into the future, it is how communities shape themselves, and on a broader scale, it is the creation of "Civilization": Public transportation, community parks, recreational land, zoning laws and civic planning are all aspects of local government that I value, engage in, and enjoy.
I am a firm supporter of local control and decision-making, especially with regards to the fair use and distribution of primary essectial goods i.e. water, fuel, shelter etc. So, perhaps there is some common ground to be found here. For example: Transnational corporations use the WTO to sue governments in order to override local decisions regarding primary goods. This is a grievous wrong in my mind, and essential primary goods need to be handled with the utmost integrity and equity to avoid suffering and mass deprivation. We, as social animals, understand that some things are essential to life itself, and need to be managed in a fair and just manner. I don’t see that happening without some form of government regulation and public ownership.
“If a State Government violates the rights of the people, then the Federal Government has a duty to step in and right that wrong. Conversely, if the Federal Government’s checks and balances fail to protect citizens’ Constitutional rights, or the Federal Government actively seeks to violate those rights, then it is left to the States to provide the check required to protect its citizens.”
I agree with this.
“We do not believe it is in our national interest to impose ourselves into other nations or to instigate war with other nations without sufficient provocation; however, when United States interests are threatened and all peaceful means have been exhausted, the United States must exercise decisive military force to protect its vital interests or to defend its sovereignty…”
I might be in agreement here, but that depends on the definition of “interests” in the above statement. I do not support using our military for wars of business - to protect the interests, or profit of large corporations. I also do not support ‘war’ as a way of doing business, or stimulating the economy. War should be a choice of last resort, not a business in and of itself. It seems to me that our overly bloated defense department is doing just this: they are in the business of war, war as a means to profit and power.
“The American Conservative Party believes the land that is required to support legitimate Government functions should be held in trust for the citizens, while the rest should be returned to the States. Any collective actions to preserve wetlands, wilderness areas, etc, can be determined by the citizens through their respective State Governments and voluntary trusts…”
As a person who makes constant and extensive use of public lands I am staunchly against the further privatization of such precious resources. With regards to public lands, they are the most important legacy we can leave to all future generations to come. I live out west where there are vast tracks of open areas, I grew up on public land, and cherish that it is open to all for use and enjoyment.. I fear that privatizing our beautiful public lands will mean, barbed wire fences, “keep out” signs, and an end to the free access to natural beauty that Americans now enjoy. If all land were privately owned we would be back in feudal Europe, a place of land owners and serfs.
I, for one, would fight, or even die, to secure the right of all Americans to share and enjoy our incredible state and national parks. Having traveled to 14 different countries, the number one thing about the U.S. that is both admired and envied by other countries is our vast tracts of public lands. I will be forever grateful to Theodore Roosevelt for his gift to all future generations of Americans in this creation of our priceless National Park System: nps.gov/history/logcabin/html/tr5.html
ALSO - Research shows that humans need to see and experience nature for their own sanity and wellbeing:
Finally, this is the real sticking point with me and libertarians. To sell off public lands for private ownership would be a crime, against Americans, liberty, human nature, and against beauty in the highest sense. If all land is owned, where will average (non-land owning) people vacation, explore, camp, hike, boat, fish, hunt, climb, photograph, hang glide, mountain climb, and go, to find repose from the manic pace of modern life?
“The EPA has gone from protecting our environment to managing human behavior for specific environmental outcomes; it needs to be completely reset with new, very limited authorities to enforce laws to protect our soil, water, and air from harmful pollution.”
The EPA has undergone regulatory capture, and can no longer be trusted to protect our environment from short-term, profit-motivated business interests. I support stronger regulation with regards to protecting our vital resources of soil, water and air. The protection of primary resources is more important than anyone’s profits, or even the profits of an entire industry. For example, the use of municipal water by private fracking companies. The EPA has failed to protect us, and our state politicians have regularly sold out citizens interests, for example: the sale of municipal water to private fracking companies. Once again I must come back to reinforcing the need for local control over primary goods and resources. If the Feds can’t do it, and the states won’t, then it comes down to the citizenry to protect themselves from predatory businesses or individuals who would seize, destroy or contaminate soil, water and air essential to life. Primary goods cannot be privately held, or many will die.
I do agree that when the Feds fail us, it is within State's rights to take back what we need in order to survive and flourish as human beings.
Thank you for reading this far, I look forward to further discussion.....and I may add more commentary at a later time.