Not everybody that votes this November will think deeply about what it means when they vote for a particular candidate. Some people vote based on emotion or on single issues. But as for me, I choose to emphasize principles first and then I will try to select the candidates that best express those principles. No candidate will perfectly represent the principles for which I believe. It is just that some will have a better fit than others. So, I am curious. Do you vote on principles? If so, then what principles guide your decisions?
As for me, I believe in the following ideas:
- I believe that our individual human rights from God, not the government. Like the founders, I believe that those rights include life, liberty, and property. Property, you say. Well yes, property, as it was stated in the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Property includes anything for which you have worked or which has been given to you, say, by your parents.
- I believe that when a government official starts claiming to have given us “rights”, that they are really making false statement, because the government cannot give to anyone, what it has not first taken away from someone else.
- At the federal level, I believe we should be invoking the doctrine of enumerated powers more forcefully. This doctrine says that the federal government's powers are limited those expressly written in the Constitution, such as Article II, Section 8, which describes the powers of the legislature. It was expounded upon in Federalist 45, written by James Madison, who wrote that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” He further went on to write that the federal government would primarily focus on external affairs while the States would focus on internal affairs. This was also reinforced by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which are referred to as the explanatory amendments. The federal government has not followed these restrictions for around a century and it is high time that we get back to them.
- At same time I believe that it is not only unwise, but immoral for the government to spend money that it does not have. Multiple quotes from Thomas Jefferson come to mind, but I will share one. “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” Our legislators are seemingly incapable of comprehending that. No entity, however big and powerful, can disobey the laws of economics. Default will come and then we will all suffer for their stupidity.
- Progressives and statists believe that the government is like a living organism and that it must adapt and grow, a sentiment shared with us by Woodrow Wilson. I agree with the idea that a government needs to be able to adapt to the times, but I disagree with the sentiment that the government itself is a living organism. It is composed on living organisms called human beings, and human beings have faults, faults that the founders tried to counter by creating institutions that created a natural balance between opposing tendencies. They also created a mechanism for the government to adapt, but they wanted to be sure that any adaptations to the government were well thought out and considered by the bulk of the population before being implemented. It is called the Amendment process and we have failed to make use of it properly.
- Finally, I believe that we need to show a healthy respect for the dangers of excessive government. This was a major concern of the Anti-federalists, who believed that power would gradually accumulate in the central government, and therefore that the states and the people would gradually lose their freedoms. I believe that history has proven them correct. I agree with Thomas Paine when he said, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”
When I vote, these are the things that will be on my mind. What principles are most important to you?