As a traditional conservative Republican, I join many others, possibly a majority of others, who have observed such a shift to the “left” in our country that those of us who abide at the “center” of the political spectrum are being labeled as radicals.
Our founding principle of government, “of the people, by the people, and for the people” declared in our Declaration of Independence and secured in the Constitution of the United States of America, establishes a democracy within a republic under the rule of law. This form of limited government, through its structure, function and correct operation exists to preserve, protect and defend individual liberty better than any other form.
A republic is the representative form of government. A republic resides at the center of the political spectrum; the individual citizen is sovereign and runs the state and nation through the election of representatives to the legislative and executive branches and the appointment of the judicial branch by the elected executive; there are some cases where the judicial branch is also elected.
Under a republic, the individual citizen enjoys both political liberty (equal opportunity) and economic liberty (the equal right to work and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor, where individual charity, not government intervention and control, helps to preserve the general welfare of the republic).
Under a republic (representative form), the primary responsibility of the elected representative is to preserve, protect, and defend individual rights, leaving citizens free to live, work and worship according to the dictates of their hearts, protected by the rule of law. Political party affiliations are expedient and can be helpful for gathering like-minded people together, but joining one is not a requirement of U.S. citizenship.
The balance and separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers was elegantly designed by our Founding Fathers to secure the “Blessings of Liberty” for individual citizens of the United States of America. The Blessings of Liberty (from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution) can be defined as our unalienable Creator-endowed power to choose that which is perfect or, having failed to choose that which is perfect, to retain our power to choose again.
Liberty, the power to choose, carries with it the corresponding responsibility to make correct choices. If we fail to make a correct choice in politics, we retain our power to choose again in the next election. If we fail to make a correct choice in the free market, we return to the market and choose another product or service.
As one moves either “left” or “right” of center, various administrative (counterfeit) forms of government increasingly erode individual liberty and accountability.
Moves to the left of center gradually replace representative form as increasing numbers of citizens believe it’s OK to do whatever is right in their own eyes; truth is relative; there is no standard for correct human behavior; no accountability; anything goes; if it feels good, do it — regardless of consequences to others. This type of radical self-government absent the rule of law leads to anarchy.
Moves to the right of center replace representative form with more tyrannical forms of government characterized by false claims of divine right, the force of arms or the power of persuasion.
In some cases, moves right of center gradually replace representative form with an “administrator” to define correct human behavior; the administrator may be an unelected bureaucrat, king or dictator. Some modern day bureaucracies exhibit these so-called right-wing characteristics. For example, Adolf Hitler was at first persuasive; he later became a tyrannical dictator.
Administrative form of government exists only as we fail to operate representative form of government correctly.
History demonstrates that individual rights are best preserved, protected and defended under a republic. Unlike civil rights, which can be alienated or suspended by government mandate, or human rights, which can be given or taken away by human authority, our republic acknowledges and secures unalienable creator-endowed rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is therefore to the Republic of the United States of America that other traditional conservative Republican centrists and I pledge our allegiance, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. If this has become radical — so be it!
Hayes Gahagan of Presque Isle is a former state senator from Aroostook County and is a member of the Republican State Committee.