by Greg Cain
Matthew Melton, as a good Christian man, I encourage you to take a good hard look in the mirror and repeat the lines you wrote in a recent article: "All I've read from Susan Shelton is her ferocious attacks on local budgetary waste." Now wipe the smile off your face and try it again. "All I've read from Susan Shelton is her ferocious attacks on local budgetary waste." Try prayer this time. There feel better?
But let's quit playing word games. No matter how hard you apologize or try to mask yourself in a conservative cloak you will not succeed in confusing people who have been subjected to ridicule from your colleagues at the Bradley News Weekly. The issues supported by your paper also do not speak to local budgetary waste or traditional values. Readers understand clearly your message: "We don't like the County Commission so they should not get a raise." I like the County Commission and I do not support a salary increase either. But since the Bradley News Weekly likes other elected bodies they should get a raise. Hmm…makes one think and hope you never like another government agency again.
So go ahead Matthew, beat your chest about the community service provided by the Weekly, but to me, your newspaper is nothing more than a compilation of pages representing the phony and opportunistic, and is often hypocritical. By understood definition, liberals today believe in big government and high taxes. To them life is unfair. Government is there to do their bidding and should level the playing field to give them every advantage. In their opinion most taxpayers are too stupid to spend their income wisely. So it is not only appropriate, high taxes are morally justified. We should be thankful we have liberals in government capable of doing a better job of spending citizen's hard earned dollars. That is the message portrayed by many articles that have appeared in your paper the last decade.
Matthew, you like to give history lessons in regards to the American political scene at a time of slashing political attacks and searing personal and ideological divisions---the late 1700's. Let's agree, Hamilton did support government that had the power to raise a militia, regulate trade and banking, and perhaps more importantly, unify the 13 colonies, fearing that the new nation would be destroyed by internal strife. His vision was to forge a coherent nation under a strong centralized federal government. By contrast, let me add Thomas Jefferson had disdain for the federal government, and feared it could be governed by a likely repository of tyrants. Jefferson favored an agrarian society with strong individual rights. Of utmost importance to Jefferson was the sanctity of the individual's liberty and property rights, and he saw government's primary purpose as the preservation of those rights. These very distinct views have guided our understanding of America's Revolutionary generation: the Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian. In many respects, these splits--urban versus rural, federal versus local--define our politics to this day.
With the close of the First Congress on May 3, 1791, Jefferson saw the outlines of Hamilton's economic program and feared its implications. Unlike Jefferson, Hamilton believed that man is fundamentally selfish, and that government should be formulated with that reality in mind. Hamilton thought in global terms: with the establishment of a nationally administered manufacturing economy based on a publicly funded debt and foreign investment, he hoped to foster the emergence of America as a world financial force.
Thomas Jefferson helped to found the first American political party, the Republican Party, to uphold the agrarian ideal and fight for a market economy in which men could trade freely, without the tampering and controlling measures of government. A classical republican who feared the potential for corruption in even the most balanced of governments, Jefferson especially feared the potential for corruption in Hamilton's scheme, in which power seemed to be concentrated in the hands of an elite few, who could, like Robert Walpole, subvert representative democracy through patronage and privileged influence.
I know many so called "progressives" are scared by words like "Marxism" and "socialism," and no one has produced more astute analyses of what went wrong with socialist-led revolutions -- than Marxists. So whether you are familiar with the term or not, you would be wise to see how and why it collapsed. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the "real socialist" systems in central and Eastern Europe in 1989, it seemed that victory for democracy was complete. Paradoxically perhaps, it is this very development that demonstrates the importance of holding a critical debate on democracy.
Jefferson stated in his First Inaugural Address, that the "the sum of good government" was a "wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread that it has earned." The reach of the government should never encroach upon an individual's autonomy and privacy--the fear of tyranny was always at the forefront of Jefferson's mind. Jefferson envisioned a republic in which the citizen could hold property with security and actively participate in civic affairs. Jefferson trusted the people as instinctively virtuous and humanitarian, and he designed the new republic in order to best cultivate those impulses.
Which reminds me of the old joke: "If a communist has two cows, he gives both to the government, and the government sells him some of the milk. If a Socialist has two cows, he gives both to the government, and the government gives him some of the milk. If a Capitalist has two cows, he sells one and buys a bull. If John Kerry has two cows, he will take your cows and give everyone two cows. If he doesn't have enough, he gives them bull."
Your paper instinctively distrusts people by supporting candidates and policies that support bigger government. Rather than appear as a "Fourth Estate," the Bradley News Weekly is like a fertilizer machine: all that comes out of it is manure and you are spreading it everywhere.