Although the constitution specifically forbids religious tests for federal office, I suggest we, the voters, apply an ideological test for all candidates in any office.
The following questions can be used to determine a candidate’s ideology.
- Do you believe in government?
- Where do the people’s rights come from?
- What is the proper role of government?
- What should be done with governments that exceed or do not meet their proper role?
Anyone who is born and bred in the American political tradition, of any party, should be able to answer these questions easily.
Do you believe in government?
The correct answer is, “No.” Not just “no”, but “Hell no!”
The only thing we can and should believe in is God, of course. Anyone who believes in government is an idolater, someone who worships a false god that is powerless or worse, destructive.
Every elected official should understand, as the people do, that the government is the gathering place for those criminals who wish to commit crimes under the color of law and authority. That means every elected official should go into the government the same way a soldier enters enemy territory. They should treat every elected official, bureaucrat, every law, every regulation, every line of the budget and every tax and every bond as evil. That’s because it is.
They should attempt to take the natural, evil tendencies of government and twist them around on itself into a pretzel. This is the philosophy of “separation of powers” and “checks and balances”. The only areas where the government should find itself suddenly free to act is in those areas where we, the people, demand they act. This includes battle in war, the enforcement of our laws against the lawbreakers, and so on.
Where do the people’s rights come from?
The answer to this question is likewise simple: God. There is no room for equivocation.
Even devout Atheists should answer this particular question in this way, even though to them it means “nothing”.
The reason for this is simple: Our basic, natural rights are beyond the reach of any government or any philosopher or scientist. We have the right to live because we have the right to live. We have the right to do what we like because we have the right to do what we like. We have the right to keep what we create because we have the right to keep what we create.
Anything beyond this opens us up to losing these precious rights.
What is the proper role of governments?
The answer to this is, of course, “to protect the individual rights of the people.”
This is a difficult concept to many people. They do not understand the difference between “protecting rights” and “giving things”.
This confusion is manifest when President Obama declares that a law that mandates health coverage would finally grant the people the right to health care. Little does he know that we already have the right to health care in the same way we have the right to free political speech and the right to bear arms. Granted, we have to buy the microphones and television ads, and buy our guns and ammo, but we have the right to make such a decision for ourselves.
Note the careful wording of “protect” versus “provide”. Government is supposed to remove obstacles to the free exercise of our rights, not provide the resources we need to exercise those rights. For instance, there are people that would gladly censor my speech. They may use a variety of methods to accomplish their purposes, including writing a policy that if I work at such-and-such a company, then I can’t speak my mind freely in public places as an individual. The government’s job is to make sure such a scenario can’t arise by enacting laws that prevent just such a thing from occurring, thus protecting my right. It is not the job of the government, however, to provide an open mic where I can go to say my piece.
What should be done with governments that exceed or do not meet their proper role?
The answer to this question is, of course, “insurrection.” That is, we should replace the government with one that will do the right job.
Insurrection in America typically occurs at the ballot box. Rarely, if ever, does it occur in any other way. In fact, even the Civil War wasn’t that great of a tool to change the country. It took an amendment passed by congress to change the government.
As Americans, we have a right to voice our displeasure with current governments and demand that they be changed.
We also have a right to change the governments. We can change the people in the government by a majority vote. We can change the structure itself with constitutional amendments.
Note carefully the ways that we do not change governments. Let me list a few.
- Unconstitutional or illegal actions of government officials, elected or otherwise.
- Unconstitutional laws and budgets.
- Judicial rulings that violate the clear text of the constitution and the clear text of the laws as written.
- Disregard of the laws by the people.
- Mob action and violence.
- Armed revolt.
Other countries may allow these methods of changing governments. We do not.
Note that we have seen, from time to time, various combinations of the above work together to change our government. We are seeing it today. These things are not new, but they are never right.
Hopefully, armed with the above four questions, you’ll be able to decide what kind of philosophy the candidate lives by. This should be enough information to make a good decision on election day.