The Foundations of Good Government: It’s time to take a hard look at American politics

When a person is in the United States they should have some idea of what an American is. It doesn’t matter what sex a person is, what age or country of origin, an American should conger up some image of a common value system that is immediately recognizable. For instance, there are lots of different people in England who have lots of opinions that differ, but there is a kind of basic foundation of value that all English people share and we can term them as people of Britain. We could say the same about China, Japan, India, Mexico—pretty much anywhere in the world. Only in the United States is there an expectation that diversity is the key to a successful society when it clearly isn’t. And to that effect, Republicans and Democrats cannot live in the same country together and expect it to be run properly at the level of government so long as that American definition lingers. America is a big idea country but the nation cannot hold so many differing opinions about the very foundations of our thinking, as a people. It just doesn’t work and it never will. We cannot have such different political philosophies operating our country and expect it to survive. Further, it is easy to conclude that Democrats do not want America to survive as it has and they only care about changing the nature of the nation which is an assault on those who love it in the traditional sense so no matter what happens, somebody is going to be unhappy.

A common political philosophy is essential to any nation. Political philosophy is like the foundation of a house. With a foundation you know if you are going to have a basement in that house, and what the shape of the house will be based on how the foundation is dug out into the ground. You’ll know if the foundation is made of stone or is of poured concrete—but the foundation is something that everyone will have to agree on who are part of building the house that goes on top of it. Once a house is built people may differ on the kind of curtains that will hang in the house, what color the paint will be, what type of shingles will go on the roof. But the basic nature of the foundation of the whole building is constant and makes everything built on it possible. The political philosophy of our government has to have a foundation of belief that everyone can agree on otherwise building anything on top of it just isn’t possible.

Democrats don’t just want to argue over the nature of the cosmetics of a house of ideas, they want to change the fundamentals of the foundation itself. If our original house of our Republic was built-in Ohio for instance, complete with a basement Democrats want to move it to California and to have a slab foundation that makes the house much less stable but easier to rebuild after every earthquake. They have no intention of building a house on the foundation of our country, they want to change the location of it and change the basic design as well. We aren’t all talking about the same basic philosophy in how America should be run, let alone agreeing on even basic things because our value systems are just too radically different. Thus, there is no way to build a proper government for the people, by the people because all the people can’t agree on a basic foundation of philosophic thought. And in many ways, that is the point of attack that the political left has leveled at the United States. They never wanted to go along to get along. They always wanted to build the house in another place, a different way. They didn’t care to argue variations on a political philosophy such as a paint color, tile or wood flooring, or window shapes, they want a different house of political philosophy completely on an altered foundation and they are unyielding in that demand.

That is why I think war with those people is inevitable in America. We are currently in a new kind of civil war and both sides cannot and will not be able to live in the same house of a Republic together. It’s just not possible. We’re not talking about basic disagreements, we are talking about the most epistemological elements of a political philosophy. Every organized association regardless of the number of people within it requires a philosophy to unite their thoughts. It doesn’t matter if the organization is as small as a sports team, or it’s a community—there must be a basic philosophy that everyone follows. For instance, people know that if they move into a wealthy neighborhood, they will be expected to take care of their property, mow the grass, maintaining their cars and not run around naked in their streets. A poor neighborhood where people are addicted to government services would likely feature people who don’t care about how tall their grass is, or what they look like, or whether or not there are people running around naked. That’s why the neighborhood has a bad reputation because the people within it don’t have a philosophy that is conducive toward success. They are free to do and think what they want, but if they are competing in the world with a community that does have a foundation of successful thinking, they will lose in relation. If Democrats want to change America into something else while Republicans want to preserve the values that built the nation, how can the two function together?

There is always talk about how dysfunctional our congress is at not only the national level, but the state and local levels too. I doubt these days there is any city in America with reasonable council members who are plugged into reality on governing their municipalities. The reason is because they are not formed, and functioning based on the foundational philosophies that drive the capitalism of the rest of the nation. People who do not recognize the values of people who tend to live in America’s cities for instance, move out into the suburbs and essentially are running their own kind of country. This arrangement works until one group imposes itself on another and there is nowhere left to move to. Much or rural California is conservative, but the cities are very liberal taking the state into that direction governmentally and it has had a crippling effect on the state as a whole. They like Illinois have serious debt problems because they have governed themselves poorly in relation to the rest of the country and this is the essential cause of having two different political philosophies running the country. Its one thing to argue over curtains, flooring and paint the way the Founding Fathers envisioned. It’s quite another to argue foundations and the style of a house to live in. Our government could work if all Americans were functioning from a basic foundation philosophy—such as an agreement on the nature of our Constitution. But if one side wants to adhere to that foundational government and one wants to change the foundation of it, then there is no way the two sides can work out even easy problems because their philosophies are from different houses completely.

Before we can ask a government to work together well, we all have to get on the same page, and if we can’t do that, then we need to just admit that we are at war and one side will win and define the nature of America for all time. Dancing around the issue isn’t good for anybody. Pretending that liberals and conservatives can eat at the same Thanksgiving table is nonsense. Going along to get along isn’t solving anything—its just prolonging the inevitable. Before we can work down the debt, and even begin to ask congress to work together—we must all get onto a political philosophy that is built on a foundation we all agree to. Without that, we have nothing.

Rich Hoffman

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