Well we can all admit that with names like Clinton, Trump, and Johnson (a crook, a Nazi, and a pothead), there is going to be nothing but big government twaddle mixed with a general view that the entire world can burn for all we care for foreign policy. So as there will be no conservative and/or sane party platforms from anything resembling a major party we here at Elementary Politics thought it best to show you what a real conservative platform would look like.
Conservatism is a belief that goes beyond individual people, times, or nations. People are human and subject to weakness of ethics and reason. Different times dictate different solutions to different problems. Nations are subject to a variety of different traditions, cultures and circumstances. But conservatism remains conservatism throughout.
From Demosthenes to Romney, the underlying philosophy of conservatism has remained the same no matter what name it came under. It is a belief that the goal of life is Happiness for the individual; for the individual that means personal ethics and spirituality in a society that removes as many of the obstacles to Happiness as possible without putting up more; for a society that means a government dedicated to protecting the rights of the individual while removing any obstacles to the individual’s pursuit of Happiness that it can; for government that means limited power directed mainly at protecting rights and setting up a legal structure that is most conducive to the flourishing and achievement of individuals; for now that means Classically Liberal democratic Republics providing a Capitalist structure.
Within this framework conservatives believe that government should seldom veer away from limited government and from the protections of rights, and when it does it should be for policies whose benefits to the individual and society radically outweigh the cost. We also believe that while no system past or present is perfect, history and reason have shown that change for the sake of change, change that is not slow, contemplative, and well reasoned, even with the best of intentions, often creates problems far worse than the problems they seek to resolve.
As such for now a conservative is more concerned with stripping the improper functions of government away that harm the rights of an individual and provide obstacles to their success, in other places and times a conservative may actually be about expanding government to its proper function.
We are not populists to give you things. We are not progressives trying to make you live the life we like. We are not libertarian who only want small government at the cost of the pursuit of Happiness. We are not authoritarians who want control. We are conservatives, we want just the right amount of government to allow the individual, and by extension, society, to thrive.
This balance is hard to maintain, but that is why conservatism is the least appealing to the masses. It is the philosophy that demands the most study, the most reflection, the most patience, and the most character. It is not an easy philosophy, and when implemented by human beings it will not always result in perfect results, but it is the right philosophy for all people at all times.
The Federal Government
The Federal government has an important role to play in the safety of the nation, it has however gone well beyond that role in the economy and in internal state matters. The federal government needs to be pulled back in it’s power and it’s influence in the economy and our lives. To do with conservatives advocate for the following policies.
The Creation of a Department of Internal Affairs
To check what has become rampant and unending government waste, corruption and overreach we have come to realize that the Attorney General cannot be always trusted to police their own administration and role of special prosecutors is not consistent enough. Therefore we advocate for the creation of a Department of Internal Affair which will serve the purpose previously held by special prosecutors in investigating government abuse. The office will have the power to subpoena witnesses, call grand juries, and indict federal employees for violations of federal law. Unlike other Departments this office will answer to Congress and not the President, and will have two directors each with equal power, equal funding, and equal sized staffs. The two directors will be picked by Congress at the same time and the two candidates to get votes will be the directors of this department (thus ensuring that there will always be one director from each of the two largest parties and ensuring that no matter who is in office they will be under constant investigation).
The federal government needs to implement an across the board 10% cuts for the budgets of all departments. No department is without waste and 10% is easily attained by even the most lean departments. If possible for all departments except Defense, Justice, State, and Treasury, the cuts should be 20% but should not go below 10% at this time.
All federal departments needs to implement a 4 year hiring freeze. In addition to the cuts to spending a complete hiring freeze for all non active duty military needs to be put in place. No department cannot handle cutting the fat from their ranks as natural attrition due retirement, people leaving for the private sector, or firing thins the ranks. This will allow for employees who are being under used to be trained and utilized to their fullest potential at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.
Any federal function that can be done by the state or is already being done by the states needs to be delegated back to the states. This will likely result in the selling of millions of acres of federal land to the states, and the closing (or at least serious reduction) of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Commerce, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Energy as most of these function are already being done by the states, or can be done by them, with greater efficiency and lower costs.
To restrain the power of the federal government which has been growing without check since the Great Depression several new Constitutional Amendments need to be passed by Congress and then ratified by the states. These include:
The power of the the majority of state legislatures to veto a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President.
The reaffirming of the Commerce Clause that the federal government only has jurisdiction over commerce that actually crosses state lines not over commerce that could theoretically cross state lines.
The reaffirming of the right to property and putting severe limitations on eminent domain actions.
And as democratic-republican government works when the forces of the will of the people are balance against those of experience the 17th Amendment of the Constitution needs to be repealed and replaced with a strict amendment stating that Senators can ONLY be appointed by the state legislatures or a mix of the state governor and legislature. The people however should be given the power to recall any Senator to ensure these appointed Senators are still answerable to the people.
Line item veto – Despite this item giving over more power to the President, it is an important and beneficial power that really only has the potential to be used for cutting funding and potentially avoiding government shutdowns. The only area that should remain exempt from this veto power should be payment of military personnel.
Balanced Budgets and term limit amendments have been implemented in many states. Not once have they resulted in better budgets, better legislation, or better legislators. Any attempt to pass such amendment is a waste of resources and is only there as a bread and circus show to aid crony policy from those who wish big government spending.
The supply-side revolution of Kemp-Roth during the Reagan era was a major step forward. However since then we have relatively little substantive progress made on tax reforms. Be it useless tax cuts that come with a sunset dates like the Bush tax cuts, cronyist deductions, and liberal increases have been the rule for almost three decades.
In line with the wisdom of supply-side Chicago school economics that is based in reality and research rather than pie in the sky idealism of Austrian economics, the goal is to eventually reach a single federal flat tax with possibly nothing more than a single standard deduction (maybe with additional deductions for children and charitable donations–which will be based in further research). No corporate taxes, no capital gains, no tariffs, no death tax–only a single flat income tax with very limited non-crony deductions.
However that is the goal, as conservatives we balance pragmatism against idealism, and realize that right now it is better to get half of what we want rather then fall on our sword like a petulant child over not getting everything we want right now. As such right now the best option available right now for meaningful tax reform that can pass is the Rubio-Lee tax plan.
The negative income tax championed by Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek is the ideal version of entitlement reform as it eliminates the needs for federal welfare, food stamp, housing, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and a federal minimum wage.
Short of this ideal solution a Universal basic income to replace most of welfare and serious reforms to spending of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare (which includes cutting of benefits and turning much of the programs over to the states).
While ideal most federal regulations would be eliminated by a proper understanding of the Commerce clause, until such an amendment is passed federal regulations need to be capped at how much they can cost the private sector on a yearly basis. This if the costs of regulations for any department exceed the cap that department must immediately remove regulations to reduce the burden of such regulations on the private sector.
Federal reform of tort law to favor individual responsibility is an absolute necessity. Current tort law exploits the legal system to the benefit the public.
Current copyright law has become stifling to innovation and the spread of the arts in opposition to its stated purposes in the Constitution. The goal needs to be to reduce current copyright laws to no more than 75 years after the creation of a work, and no more than 20 years for a patent.
However copyright reform is needed. The burden of proof needs to be put on those claiming copyright infringement to prevent patent trolls from stiffing innovation with their modern extortion schemes. Further the clock on patent should not start until a company is legally allowed to bring their product to the market, thus reinvigorating medical research which is now hampered by the fact that a drug spending 10-15 years in FDA trials and then only has a few short years to make back the money for all of the costs of research.
The Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy
The Federal Reserve needs to be audited. However, calls to end the Fed are clearly based on an infantile understanding of how monetary policy works. The Fed needs to become more transparent, needs to end endless quantitative easing and needs to bring the prime rate back up to a pro-growth level and then have much stronger limits on how much it can do, but it does need to exist.
During the Great Depression, limits were put on what employees could be paid, creating medical care as a benefit to become a common practice. Government regulation then controlled those plans resulting in the need to create Medicaid, Medicare and the HMO. The problems caused by these resulted in the ill conceived Obamacare program. History show that without question government intervention in the medical field only results in cures far worse than the disease. Government needs to get out of the medicine. Obamacare needs to be replaced. The current GOP plan on replacement is a good start regulations on such things ban on terminal patients not being allowed to try experimental treatments.
One of the most harmful and misused regulations is the Endangered Species Act. While well intentioned the laws has been consistently put the poor science ahead of the needs of human beings. The act needs to be stripped of many of it’s powers and the harm it has done to private property.
One of the few things that federal government does have a responsibility for is standardization of regulations. In environmental policy this can come in easily with creating a federal standard of oil blends in refining instead of the mishmash of 50 different sets of blends which drastically raises the cost of oil refining and increases the chances of environmental issues.
Cap and Trade needs to be returned to the pro-capitalist ideal it was supposed to be when Milton Friedman first proposed it and not the ant-coal, anti-growth policy it has been perverted into.
Ethanol has proven to be one of the greatest disasters in the history of environmental policy and all federal requirements for ethanol need to be ended immediately.
Conservatism is about reducing the size and scope of the government down to its necessary functions, as a result social issues should not be an overly regulated or discusses part of party policy. The party should seek to reduce the roll of the government in the personal lives and decisions of it’s citizens as long as those decisions do not adversely impact the rights of other citizens.
Abortion – Legal, regulated at the state level, safe, infrequent and not publicly funded.
Gay Marriage – The concept of marriage should be split into two very separate functions. The first function being the social and religious function and the second being the legal function. The social and religious functions should be carried out without government interference or the need for permission or permits from the government, state or federal. The legal function, which gives legal protection (such as next of kin, custodial rights of children, joint taxation and property ownership) would be carried out by the state through contracts filed with the state as to the people who have entered into a legal relationship. This legal function will only be referred to as civil unions and not as marriage which is a religious institution. Neither of these functions would be dependent upon the other.
Drug policy – Drug laws should be a state level issue in both policy and enforcement. The only federal involvement should be on interstate commerce of drugs, which should remain enforced the same way it is currently enforced.
Immigration – Reform for our legal immigration should be one of our main priorities. Changing our system to prioritize merit, rather than family ties, should be one of the first steps to reforming the system.
When dealing with the issue of illegal immigration the issue is not much more complex. Securing the border to reduce future illegal immigrants and beginning the process of deporting those illegal immigrants who are actually a dangerous criminal element is the first step. Then implement a tracking system for those who come in on visas or (a large part of our illegal immigrant population) and provide a pathway to eventual citizenship for those illegal immigrants who are already in the country and are not a criminal element. This path should include fines, taxes, and a probationary period in which any serious criminal offenses would be met with deportation, as well as the rest of the requirements for citizenship that are already in place.
Religion Freedom – Government allows all religions to be practiced up until the point that they are harming others and does not privilege one religion over another. Religious people have the right to comply with all teachings of their religion that do not violate anyone’s basic natural rights. This includes the right to discriminate for religious (or any other) reasons so long as they are willing to take the public backlash that may come from such a stand. This also includes the right to speak publicly about one’s religion but they cannot compel anyone to listen. We also believe that people have the right to speak out against religions they disagree with. However with this right comes the right to fail or be ignored when the market and/or public decides to be against you. Discrimination is often a foolish and short-sighted practice, but less harm can be done when the right to discrimination is an individual right than a government power.
The government should treat individuals equally regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or political ideology. No group should be singled out for special treatment.
As conservatives we are dedicated to the idea that inalienable human rights are not privileges of only those lucky enough to live in America, but natural rights for all people in all places at all time without exception. Life, Liberty, Property, the Pursuit of Happiness–these rights are things every human has a right to.
As such we are committed that wherever and whenever we can to help expand.
The easiest way to do this is through an unwavering commitment to free trade. Without question or exception free trade has always expanded liberty and improved the quality of life wherever it extends to. Free trade always brings about higher paying jobs, lower costs of living and a greater restrictions on government power. Only those who wish to restrict liberty and exist without competition are against free trade as all evidence shows free trade is an absolute and unqualified good. As such conservatives are for encouraging free Trade on every continent with commerce and in every area of the globe as even so called “bad” free trade agreements are still working toward the expansion of liberty and capitalism.
After free trade we are committed to defending our allies. First among those allies is Israel–as the only nation in the Middle East which defends the rights of people it is a beacon that cannot be allowed to go out.
For our enemies we as conservatives are for imposing strict sanctions against any government which aides or even turns a blind eye to terrorism. These include North Korea, Iran, and Russia which must be either blocked off from the civilized world or through these sanctions induced to rejoin civilization though not tolerating this aberrant behavior.
Finally when all else has failed conservatives are willing to spend blood and treasure to end tyranny as there are worse things in existence than war, and those things must be stopped. But when committing to use force we must engage in a plan to not just destroy our enemy but to rebuild the place our enemies existed to ensure that not only that we do not have to deal with the same kind of evil again in that part of the world for generations, but that in it’s place it built a new haven of liberty. This is a time consuming project and it means it has to be done slowly, carefully, with forethought and only one nation at a time. It is a plan that has been lacking from so called conservative policy for some time and it needs to be brought back if we are going to ensure liberty not only for ourselves but for our posterity.
Indian Affairs – Federal policy needs to fully transfer control the Native Americans and cease treating them as children and allow them to handle their own affairs.
Governments owned land – Sell federal land back to the states, which will then allow them to sell lands to private owners or sell contracts to run state parks to private companies who will run the parks more efficiently.
Removal of draft – A voluntary army is a more efficient and better working army. The draft is no longer necessary.
Internet – Freedom of speech brings with it danger, but that danger is infinitely better than allowing the government deciding what we can and cannot say and do on the internet. The First Amendment must be vigorously defended both offline and online and attempts at government censorship should be stopped in their tracks.
Additionally the FCC’s Net Neutrality should be immediately shut down. We must allow the market for internet to operate freely, which also includes removing all laws at the state and federal level that would create artificial monopolies for service providers.
Education – Choice in education should be the main focus of our party. The competition between schools will increase quality for student education and give students more choices to specialize and get the education that best suits them as learners.
Until a better option is found for showing results in education, testing must remain a factor in education. These tests help to give people a standard by which to judge the education offered by a school.
Pragmatism – Any of these items can be negotiated on in favor of gaining ground in the others. Five steps forward in one area is worth one step back in another. Only a damned fool chooses to fight every battle when a strategic retreat benefits them more in the long run.