Posts Tagged ‘Mike Pence’

I decided to put out an article I wrote when the whole “don’t ask don’t tell” debate was going on in the US in may last year. I originally (unsuccessfully) tried to get it published in an American magazine, and forgot about it.

Since a lot of my friends “over there” have asked me to write something in English, I thought I’d put it out here, although the article probably isn’t that interesting now that the policy has been repealed.

However I still think the debate discloses some pretty interesting inconsistencies within a movement that on one hand consider themselves the most vehement defenders of liberty and freedom, and on the other consider themselves legitimate moral judges of a persons private lovelife.

So heres a short piece I originally wrote in may, 2010, comparing todays republicans to the days of Barry Goldwater looking at it with a european conservative viewpoint.

Here’s the article:

Leave the preaching to the priests:

(feel free to publish or quote this article anywhere you like)

There is every reason to worry when the terms moral and immoral become consistent with the terms legal and illegal. Different groups, societies, and individuals will always have different opinions on what is deemed moral or immoral. Therefore society must have defined rules for right and wrong irrespective of what moral grounds lawmakers base their life upon.

The Republican party today, once a beacon of freedom in the days of Barry Goldwater, seems to suffer from this confusion, lacking the capability of separating their own moral guidance in life, and their legitimate basis for forcing them upon everyone else.

I write this as a young conservative politician in Norway, but with close emotional bonds towards the United States of America. Growing up as a dual citizen, with an American mother, and family relations in Texas I have always found it my duty to follow the American political climate as closely as possible.

The ever growing combination in the GOP and American conservative movements, where good conservative notions of sensible anti-statism and family values are being mixed up with pure intolerant moralism, is quite appalling from a Norwegian conservative viewpoint.

Scandinavia is, in some ways, what conservatives in the US are warning others about, and in a lot of aspects they’re right. Government is way too big. Business regulations and high taxes prevent many from releasing their feasible potential. Norway even has a fortune tax, making people pay additional taxes based on their amount of savings or investments with already taxed income if it exceeds a certain (pretty low) amount. This again results in many small businesses that end up paying more taxes then their total surplus.

These are policies that I, as a conservative, oppose with every fiber of my being, but my understanding of conservatism also includes a deep repugnance towards people who try to dictate their moral beliefs on everyone else. There was a time when a majority of the Republican Party would agree.

When Barry Goldwater wrote «The Conscience of a Conservative» he described the conservative politician as one who «looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order». I would add that conservatism also bears within it a fundamental understanding of mans insufficiency in planning history, the importance of some institutions, and the notion that society gets its wisdom from the people and not the other way around. With this in mind, todays GOP has drifted so far away from the days of Barry Goldwater.

With tension between North Korea and South Korea reaching critical levels, and allied forces facing huge challenges in Afghanistan, many republican members of congress seem more occupied with the «fear» of American male soldiers being allowed to openly admit that they kiss men instead of woman.

Sen. John McCain, whom I voted for in 2008 despite his stance on these issues, recently said that he was «deeply disappointed» by Robert Gates’ remarks in testimony before the Senate Armed Services, where he said he fully supports the presidents decision on repealing “don’t ask don’t tell”. McCain said the current policy is «imperfect but effective,» at a time when the nation is engaged in two wars.

Perhaps John McCain should go back and read the words of ‘Mr. Conservative’, who summed up this foolish matter pretty accurately: “You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.” You should think that is the most important thing when our proud nation is engaged in two wars.

Even within the TEA-party movement – the most vehement advocates in America today for liberty and limited government on just about every domestic matter – we find these – eager to be – moral judges. Even Ron Paul, who proudly and powerfully promotes that ‘freedom is the answer’ on approximately every subject, just recently changed his mind on «don’t ask don’t tell».

Sarah Palin, now touring the nation with hear heartful endorsement of the TEA-party movement, firing up rallies carrying a message of freedom and self-government, has such a big problem with the idea that men and woman should be ensured the lawful right to call a person of the same sex their husband or wife, that she even wants a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Clearly, the value of self-made men and woman, according to Sarah Palin, only apply when they agree with her moral guidelines. How consistent.

It’s pretty ironic how the same republicans that quickly wave banners warning us about the nanny state whenever there’s talk of government regulation on health or the economy, think it’s perfectly right to deny two grown individuals of the same sex the right to formally declare their love for each other. I find it hard to understand how the same people that understandably tell the government to keep out of their pockets and stay out of their family matters, find it perfectly sensible to try and make peoples personal religious beliefs a campaign issue. Isn’t the whole point of religion finding some kind of spiritual comfort and guidance in your life beyond earthly comprehension?

In that case you should think that ones trust in his or her maker is considerably limited if you find it so vital that the president shares your exact religious beliefs.

I hope one day we’ll see a conservative frontrunner for president, be it strongly religious for all I care, who manages to combine good old fiscal pragmatism and economic freedom with personal liberty and trust in every citizen regardless of them being gay or straight, and no matter if -or to whom they say their prayers at night. A president who talks about family values with the meaning of trusting families in figuring out for themselves how they want to organize their lives without the state figuring as a moral judge.

A president who leaves spiritual guidance too church-communities, and chooses to concentrate his leadership on the people here on earth, where his decisions will be measured by the results in this life. That would be showing some real leadership.

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Det er ingen hemmelighet at jeg ikke er president Obamas største fan, men nå skal jeg komme med en støtteerklæring. Bakgrunnen er at Barack Obama vil ha slutt på hemmeligholdet rundt homofili i det amerikanske militæret. Det skulle jo bare mangle. At folks seksuelle legning i det hele tatt er et spørsmål i forbindelse med deres ønske om å tjene landet sitt er for meg ubegripelig. Likevel er det ganske problematisk i USA.

Den republikanske kongressmannen Mike Pence, lovet et forent GOP (Grand Old Party – vanlig offisiel betegnelse for det amerikanske republikanske partiet) i oppoisjon mot Obamas forslag.

«The American people don’t want the American military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda. And House Republicans will stand on that principle,»

– uttalte Pence.

Han evner derimot ikke å se at han selv nettopp bruker det amerikanske militæret for å promotere sin egen agenda med dagens lovverk. Mike Pence skal selvsagt få lov til å synes at homofili både er synd og det som verre er, så mye han orker, men jeg skulle jo tro at fysisk form, mental stabilitet og militære tekniske ferdigheter var viktigere enn folks legning?

Jeg er selv dobbel statsborger, har amerikansk pass, og kan stemme ved amerikanske valg. Selv om man aldri er enig med alt et parti eller en person står for liker jeg å bruke stemmeretten min. Dessverre begynner jeg å bli mer og mer usikker på om jeg kommer til å klare å stemme ved neste presidentvalg.

Det demokratiske partiet er uaktuelt for meg. De har et såpass stort etablissement som kjemper for mer regulering og mer offentlige utgifter at partiet overhodet ikke appellerer til meg. Tradisjonelt har jeg, siden jeg begynte å engasjere meg i amerikansk politikk, følt meg nærmere republikanerne fordi størsteparten står for strengere budsjettdisiplin, en mindre ekspansiv stat, mer makt til delstatene, mer valgfrihet, og en tydeligere utenrikspolitikk. Grunnen til at jeg klarte å svelge deres standpunkter om f.eks. homofili og abort ved forrige valg var fordi dette fremsto som underordnede temaer. Nå ser jeg et republikansk parti som mer og mer gjør religion og moral til hovedsaker og samler seg rundt religiøse høyreside-kandidater. Et parti som går til valg på en slik hovedagenda vil være komplett umulig for meg å stemme på.

På samme tid begynner den såkalte TEA Party bevegelsen å vokse som en av de sterkeste stemmene i amerikansk grasrotbevegelse. Deres hovedsaker er mindre offentlige budsjetter og mindre skatter. De ønsker en stat som blander seg mindre inn i folks liv. En agenda jeg støtter helhjertet. Likevel finner vi også her sterke moralister som ønsker å prakke sine religiøse og moralske overbevisninger over på andre som aldri har gjort noen andre noe galt. Personer hvis eneste «feil» er at de forelsker seg i mennesker av samme kjønn.

Selv den republikanske kongressmannen og prominente libertarianeren Ron Paul, som i omtrent alle andre sammenhenger mener at staten skal holde seg unna, enten det er snakk om sentralbankvesenet, helsevesenet, skolesystemet, narkotika, osv… ser ingen problemer med at staten regulerer kjærlighet mellom mennesker av samme kjønn. Også han er nemlig motstander av homofiles rett til å gifte seg. Hvordan dette henger sammen med den ellers kompromissløse frihetsagendaen fatter jeg ikke.

Det er forøvrig også ganske komisk at republikanerne er mest opptatt av de militære styrkenes seksuelle legning, mens forholdet mellom Nord Korea og Sør Korea er på et kritisk punkt.

Mange konservative, libertarianere eller andre frihetsforkjempere burde gå tilbake til 60-tallet, da frihet virkelig sto sentral i det republikanske partiet. Barry Goldwater, republikanernes presidentkandidat i 1964, oppsummerer egentlig debatten om homofiles rolle i militæret ganske presist:

“You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”

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